Earlier this week, I spent time with Bose Corp. at The Mountain in Framingham, MA. Bose introduced new speaker technology that (in my opinion) that has significant implications for Digital TV audio technology. Bose introduced what they call a "Computer Music Monitor," which is a small diminutive pair of speakers that completely eliminates a stand-alone subwoofer in a 2.1 speaker system, and is priced at $399/pr.
Through several years of R & D, Bose engineers developed several innovations that go into these speakers including the invention of deliver deep low notes from very small enclosures: the dual opposing passive radiators. With this technology in place, Bose used two small passive radiators rather than one large one that eliminate air friction and vortices. By placing the passive radiators in an opposing fashion, the primary mechanical vibrations created by one are canceled by the other, which preserves desired audio quality and keeps the small enclosures from moving. The passive radiators are configured inside the aluminum enclosure, and the sound is symmetrically distributed through a small slot that runs side-to-side through the enclosure. In other passive radiators, they needed to face outward requiring visible grills.
The electrical package of the speaker system uses proprietary digital signal processing algorithms that reportedly improve instrument detail and definition. The speakers also use proprietary switching amplifiers, which were pioneered and patented by Dr. Bose back in the 1960s. To keep the size down, Bose is using twin Class D amplifiers. The speakers also employ neodymium transducers as part of the acoustic package. These transducers use neodymium iron boron magnets, which reportedly deliver 10 times the magnetic energy density of conventional magnets.
Now you may be wondering why I've spent the last several paragraphs describing these new speakers. While the initial introduction of these speakers begins next month, I believe that this new innovative technology has implication beyond simply desktop computer speakers. Now, I have to say that after a listening test, I was quite impressed with this tiny pair of speakers. Certainly because of their diminutive size and the elimination of the subwoofer entirely, Bose could easily use these speakers in their Lifestyle, 3-2-1, and Acoustimass systems. They could very easy be the inheritors of their Cube speaker technology also. Presumably, all that they would need is some tweaking. So, this makes the "Computer Music Monitor" speaker system revolutionary.
As we all know, speakers in TVs have always been an afterthought putting out tiny, tinny audio quality. Most higher-end displays offer between 5 - 10-watts per channel for simply abysmal sound quality. To this day, TV speaker technology is still quite bad. I think that the technology that goes into the "Computer Music Monitor" could be easily adapted and placed into new flat-panel displays. Since the drivers only measure about 1.5-inches, it seems to me one or more could be placed into the frame of the display. It may take a slight re-design of the bezel of the display to accommodate the dual opposing passive radiators, but I think that it could be easily overcome. Now, I know that Bose tried a partnership years ago with Zenith, which didn't work out. I think that the time is ripe for another partnership with a display company that wants to improve the aural experience of their HDTVs. Are there any takers out there?