Amplifiers and speaker cabinets have long been used to add tonal qualities to the sound they are producing. But these are usually directed at specific instruments such as guitars. In more general amplified sound we’re often looking for transparency so that we can hear the desired output of the music or instruments. So using acoustic soundboard resonators for your synthesizers and electronic devices would seem an unexpected choice. But with the Onde and Pyramid La Voix Du Luthier are demonstrating how character and naturalness could have a marvellous effect on the acoustic space around electronic instruments.
La Voix du Luthier has designed two new speakers, Onde and Pyramid. These are powered resonators, with the sound coming directly from 2 separate soundboards (similar to a guitar soundboard) designed and tuned by a master luthier (stringed instrument maker). They have a jack socket in the side for plugging in whatever instrument you wish. The vibrating soundboards offer a completely unique listening and playing experience.
They are omnidirectional, they deliberately colour the sound in pleasing ways. They suggest “it is usually recognized that they sonically augment a light and clear mix, and will be less interesting for heavy or very compressed mixes.” That discounts the majority of modern music then! The electronics inside includes a Bluetooth receiver so you can absolutely use them as speakers for your over-compressed music collection. Or perhaps you’ll need to be a bit more discerning.
It’s their use as a speaker for synthesizers that I find most interesting. They’ve been designed to have a level that’s consistent with other acoustic instruments so that it would happily sit alongside an acoustic piano or stringed instrument. Essentially it would turn your synth into an acoustic instrument – that’s very cool.
Check out the guy from Deep Forest playing an iPad synth through the Onde, in a forest (ok, a garden). The sound you hear in the video is the live sound from the Onde – if you see what I mean.
Onde resembles a harp or the main body of a toy grand piano. It’s designed to be portable and can be setup in various configurations. It comes with a tripod stand and all sorts of attachments for instruments. The idea being that you want to connect the Onde directly and physically to your synthesizer body. This will transfer vibrations from the soundboard into the case of your synth that you’ll feel as you play – how cool is that? You end up with a sort of beautifully weird hybrid electronic/acoustic instrument that just looks amazing.
Pyramid is a larger, more robust device designed to sit and probably be worshipped like a relic from the Illuminati. The Pyramid has a wider frequency spectrum and is also a bit louder. Rather than being attached to anything it stands proud on the floor.
They both come as standard with a Class D amplifier but the Pyramid can have a high-end Class-A amplifier designed by Luc Bourachot if you so wish.
The Kickstarter page contains lots of information about the two resonators and plenty of video demonstrations. The starting price is €690 for the Onde and €1090 for the Pyramid for delivery next summer. They are fully funded and still have 26 days to go.
These are elegant and somehow joyful sound reproduction systems that could bring an acoustic character to and playability to your electrical instruments. Simply lovely.
- Kickstarter page.