MUSIC AND DESIGN: INTRODUCTION
Those who like to spend a few hours in the company of music have never been too careful about the impact of their products in the home environment. They must sound good and give emotions, if they are cumbersome and full of cables, patience. Those who can afford a dedicated listening room certainly enjoy more freedom. But if the system must somehow blend with a more ‘versatile’ environment, the need to find beautiful and functional solutions becomes very important. Mission difficult to accomplish until a few years ago, definitely more affordable. Music and design now go hand in hand, and that’s a great thing.
All devices today are created to be not only versatile and quality, but also beautiful to look at. Not that Hi-fi has ever had a problem in this respect. The power meters on the tube amps of yesteryear were a sight for sore eyes.
The trends, in the world of consumer electronics, are very clear. In the audio-video world first there was the race towards integration, then the rediscovery of the pleasure of separate components. But one of the big trends going on remains the focus on design. Whether it’s a compact system with source/amplifier module and dual speakers, attention to detail remains a constant.
The absolute most important step forward for the aesthetic impact of a music or audio/video solution was the transition from the wired to the wireless world. It didn’t happen yesterday, but with each passing day solutions are being studied to eliminate those few remaining cables. The reasons are obvious. Not having to use thick cables to connect the devices allows them to blend brilliantly into the context of the room.
The need was felt by Home Theater enthusiasts, who had to integrate 5, 7 or more speakers in the room while trying to maintain the charm of the environment. To solve the problem, the first solution was to miniaturize the components, especially the rear speakers. From bulky, though often bookshelf-sized, music models, we moved on to small, thin, aesthetically pleasing speakers whose goal was to ensure a noticeable sound presence but a less bulky ‘physical’ impact. There remained the question of cables, which was soon solved by wireless rear modules. Although these are still plugged in, it remains a brilliant solution. The front end is connected by cable, the rear end lives without a physical connection except the one that powers it.
The next step was soundbars. An “extreme” step from the aesthetic point of view, if we want to say it all: here in fact we go just to eliminate the back front entrusting it to a single device that we hide cleverly under the TV or in a dedicated shelf. Some solutions, however, continue to make use of the rear speakers, which are also wireless here. And even wireless can be the connection between the soundbar and the TV, provided both devices must support this type of connection.
In addition to lines dedicated exclusively to Interior Audio, today a category of musical devices is that of wireless speakers, which are the culmination of this path. These diffusers, designed for installation in different rooms of the house, can be considered real furnishing accessories. Colorful, with neat lines, often compact and beautiful to see, they are born to play music in all rooms of the house without the hassle of cumbersome dimensions or the need to connect via cable to a source.
It’s only natural that, in products of this kind, there is an almost perfect balance between musicality and aesthetic appeal: the wireless speaker is a component that should be proudly displayed, not hidden away in a cupboard. Beyond the aesthetic impact, the versatility of these products is also surprising: some connect to the source via Bluetooth, others add the possibility of integration into the home Wi-Fi network, which allows them to “talk” with all the other devices that are part of it.
Anything else? Sure. The industry’s attention to the aesthetics of its products has in fact “transformed” grey, soulless components into furnishing accessories, central to the context of a modern, well-kept home. Eloquent, from this point of view, are above all the Hi-Fi components: in the house of Yamaha we consider for example the turntable MusicCast VINYL 500, which in addition to offering high-profile technical specifications, has a retro flavor that makes it extremely charming.
The same goes for the amplifiers, some of which not only sport a beautiful aluminium chassis, but also large level meters that on one hand bring us back to the past, on the other give them a class without limits. The same can be repeated for the compact systems, in which the aesthetic elegance of the loudspeakers is also surprising, and for all those products that, playing with shapes, colours and light, aim at transforming the home, making it a design reference.
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