|Sony's Glass Speaker|
|Written by Murphy Simmonds|
FANCY hearing your favourite tunes pumping out of a big glass tube? Yeah, well you can't afford one.
Speakers stand on hallowed turf. We’re well aware that our strange fondness for gadgets is not universal - most would rather have a nice cup of tea and a sandwich than waste time fawning over a GPS collar for their dog - but speakers dwell in a different domain to the average pointless gadget. A place known as the land of the dad.
This territory was first observed in the childhood of the shed. Our father, a man for whom programming a video recorder required four days of research, who would stand flummoxed at a cash machine before walking inside the bank to withdraw £20, a man whose stovetop coffee maker actually exploded, had a dearly beloved stereo in the attic."God only knows if it’s any good, but if you can afford one you’re probably too busy driving your 12 Ferraris across the Moon to care about anything so trivial"
Unlike his son’s first real stereo, a one-size-fits-all grey lump with two bundled speakers, this device was comprised of separate parts, each bearing a different brand name. CD player, radio, cassette deck, amplifier and graphic equalizer, seemingly gathered from the four corners of the audiophile’s globe and united in a single, ominous black tower. He didn’t use it very much, of course, but its mere presence was sufficient to stifle the sonic chasm in his soul.The icing on that cake of cuboid tiers was the speakers. Like every other component, they were perfectly chosen, and while we now sense the advice of a predatory audio visual salesman may have played a greater part that we had realised as a youth, if that gave father the sense of manly satisfaction he needed, then who are we to complain.
Today, speakers fall into two categories: normal and stupid. The normal ones come in a traditional box shape and convert electrical signals from your music source into actual sounds. Stupid ones come in any other kind of shape and, while they do also convert electrical signals from your music source into actual sounds, their primary function is to imply great wealth to anybody visiting the owner’s house, apartment or - oh, to dream - shed. They can look like anything, from the Big Brother diary room chair to a floating orb to a scale model of the underground heating system of a hospital. Whatever form they take, there will be a very good reason given for said appearance in the promotional literature, doubtless citing extensive laboratory research by devoted audio boffins. This functions as a useful diversionary tactic to help the purchaser hide from the fact that he or she is merely buying it in order to look rich.
The Sountina speaker, recently put into production by Sony in Japan, is firmly embedded in the “stupid” camp. Essentially it’s a glass tube. A six foot glass tube, crafted from organic glass- which sounds like it makes as much sense as free range rubber - that stands upright in the middle of your lounge, yacht or castle, pumping out sound in 360 degrees. That’s pretty much all available degrees. Any more would just be confusing.
God only knows if it’s any good, but if you can afford one you’re probably too busy driving your 12 Ferraris across the Moon to care about anything so trivial. In which case, we’d heartily recommend it. Just make sure it doesn’t fall over.