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Published: 2012-01-18 - 12:03:38
Home Theater : News and Show Reports

iViolin's ViolinSpeaker is Always in Tune, Even if You're Tone Deaf

By Peter Suciu

A well-made violin can often be seen as an art piece to display in a home, even if it can't be played. As one of the most enduring musical instruments, a violin can look as good as it sounds. For those whose playing skills are more Jack Benny than Itzhak Perlman, the instrument is probably best left silent.

But today the instrument can be used to help spread wonderful music, even for those who are tone deaf when it comes to actually playing. At CES last week iViolin showed that the violin can be a functional art piece and still play music. The Chinese based company introduced the ViolinSpeaker, which as the name suggests is a speaker system built into a violin body.  It can play music, movies and other audio just like any other speaker, albeit in a very different package.

The form factor doesn't affect functionality or performance. While it certainly won't be ideal for surround sound systems, as you'd need multiple violins around the room, it is a nifty and kind of interesting novelty approach.

A driver set inside the ViolinSpeaker produces sound, which uses the resonance of the instrument to project the sound in a room or space. The footprint is minimal, as the violin sits on a stand while a wire trails from behind to connect to the receiver.

The speakers are made from actual violins, as well as other string instruments to offer size options. And the larger the instrument the more sound the speakers can produce, so should someone want to go for bigger sound this could entail opting for a cello, viola or even a double bass. The look would be a virtual stringed quartet or stringed orchestra!

ViolinSpeaker.jpg
While not ideal for all décors, this one does evoke a certain type of kitsch style

These instruments are made by Hua Xing String Instruments, a manufacturer based in Guangzhou, China. So while these should sound good as speakers, don't expect these to deliver the performance of a Stradivarius should you want to actually play any of these.

The ViolinSpeaker can connect with virtually any audio source, including Hi-Fi, AV speakers, portable music devices and even car audio systems - should you wish to trick out your ride with violins.

iViolin's ViolinSpeaker is expected to become available sometime this spring. At CES the U.S. distributor J&P International demonstrated the ViolinSpeaker in its booth playing classical music. While the booth was a bit noisy with sounds from surrounding booths, the music sounded rich and full. We'd want to hear it playing something more contemporary, but anyone opting for a room with violins will probably handle Igor Stravinsky or Flex Mendlssohn better than Lady Gaga or Slayer.

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