Connected Objects Interviews Music

The Backerjack Interview: Mass Fidelity’s Ben Webster on packing big sound into a travel-friendly speaker

Mass Fidelity’s Core is a paradox — a portable speaker that’s designed to produce a convincing stereo effect from virtually anywhere in the room. Actually, that’s true of multiple rooms as the system can be networked throughout the house like a Sonos system. Backers responded and the Indiegogo campaign was one of the most successful ever for a Canadian campaign. We caught up with Mass Fidelity co-founder Ben Webster to learn more bout the physics and functionality of the powerful desktop speaker due this summer.

Backerjack: Tell us a bit about Mass Fidelity and the Core.

Webster: Mass Fidelity was founded as an audio technology company with the intent on redefining the audio space. The name has a dual meaning that encapsulates our goals of bringing high-fidelity audio products to the masses and making products of substance. I started by looking at how many of my friends and family didn’t have high-quality sound systems and how much the technology scared them away. There ceased to be a middle ground at somewhere in the late 70’s, early 80’s — that’s when the divide became extreme, to the point where you were either buying junk or extremely high end stuff. What I wanted to do was build something that was attainable for the normal person that would give them a real, engaging musical experience.

This prototype of the Core has been traveling with me for the last six months and it’s changed my life. As the founder of an audio company, I have a big beefy system at home and I barely use it anymore. This thing is so convenient and it actually sounds like a stereo. You’re not gonna get around physics when considering my living room system with nine drivers, but it’s also thousands and thousands of dollars worth of components whereas this thing we’re selling for $595 gets 80-90% there. I really feel like there’s a combination of technologies about to completely flip the audio game on its head.


coreXtreme offers a rock hard core, lets you plank on planks

Strengthening the core is one of the most important ways to get in shape. Core strength helps your posture and assists with back pain.

Coming to the core scene is the new coreXtreme, a core strengthening fitness device. The product lies flat on the ground and is designed with two long planks and a series of multi-colored fitness bands. Each color indicates a different resistance in the bands, making each workout customizable. Using this product, fitness buffs can plank and workout their arms, legs or abs.

CoreXtreme joins scores of other fitness devices we’ve seen on Backerjack like the STABALLIZER and the BodyBoardX. While this product may offer great fitness training, it’s a very awkward shape and doesn’t fold up like many other devices do. In addition, it seems a bit limited in its capabilities. One will cost backers a donation of $1,000, woah, for delivery in February 2015. This product is hoping to raise a ridiculous $1,000,000 goal on Kickstarter—good luck with that.


STABALLIZER exercise sphere helps with lifting, balancing and gaming

Everyone’s still talking about the core. A’core’ding to fitness professionals, a strong core helps the rest of your muscles perform at an optimal level as well as improves your posture. There are lots of workouts that target the core and most involve balance.

The STABALLIZER is a eight-in-one fitness device. All clammed up, it looks like a simple medicine ball. However, it breaks apart and can be used for destabilized push ups, as free weights, a balance device, footweights, a kettle ball, plank handles and an AB roller handle. With the STABALLIZER, fitness buffs can engage in planks, squats, lifting, pushups, crunches and more. Additional handles and straps secure the ball to your hands for added comfort.

Interestingly enough, STABALLIZER is meant to be used with your smartphone or tablet. The campaign shows a woman planking with her hands on the half ball. On the flat surface rests her tablet showing a tilting game. Using her strength and precision, she can play the game and have fun while planking at the same time, challenging herself to last the length of the game.

At a first glance this seems like just any other fitness product. However, its compatibility with tablets and smartphones make it a little bit more interesting. While the name is still in typical all caps, yelling at us to buy the product, it offers more than just beefier muscles. This is an entirely new way to integrate technology into our workouts. One goes for $220 for delivery in September 2015 with higher tiers offering more accoutrement. STABALLIZER is hoping to raise an ambitious $200,000 on Kickstarter.


BodyBoardX tones you by stretching and swaying

Core conditioning is the foundation of most workout regimes. With a strong core, you can improve your balance and overall strength. The Bodyboard X provides you with an easy core workout. This product is committed to improving your strength, spatial awareness and planes of motion all in a low impact way. Shaped like a curved skateboard, the Bodyboard X rocks side to side on the ground with you on top of it. Straps attached to each side come up while the rider holds them with their arms stuck straight out to the sides.

While the reasoning behind this product is certainly sound, the execution is a little funky. The campaign shows a gif of a woman on the Bodyboard X rocking side to side with her arms out and she looks a little, well, awkward. Or perhaps like she’s posing for a Vitruvian Man-inspired painting. Still, for $75, backers can enjoy theirs by March 2015. Bodyboard X hopes to raise $80,000 on Kickstarter.

Connected Objects Music

Core multiroom speaker system claims superior audio separation

Streaming audio wirelessly may seem like an old concept, but in terms of audio fidelity, convenience, and uniform functionality across multiple devices, the technology is only really starting to blossom. With options like Play-Fi and AllPlay beginning to come into their own, devices like the Sonos are starting to set the standard in home audio.

The Core is a similar multiroom audio solution that takes into consideration how technology has grown around it and how to interact with it rather than alongside. With Wi-fi functionality, NFC phone syncing with the tap of the device, and even Bluetooth gesture control, the Core is loaded with features. It can also handle answering phone calls in any room as easily as it handles streaming music, and can be used to charge devices using its 12-hour battery and USB port.

In terms of audio, Core delivers a uniform acoustic bubble in its space, giving depth and presence to the sounds without the use of multiple speakers in a room. Like Bose and other high-quality home audio products, Core sets out to do more with one speaker than many audio systems can do with two or more. Mass Fidelity, the company responsible for the creation of Core are looking to raise $48,000 to amp up their tooling department to be able to handle the extra load of creating the Core. The Core costs $389 to pick up, but for those who want a little more bass, they’ve added a wireless subwoofer to the package as well for $229. Products will begin shipping out in March.

What’s great about the Core is not only does it offer clear, sharp audio that fills any space, but it does so with a space-saving design and comes loaded with convenient features. Audiophiles will be quick to notice and praise the power of this speaker. In terms of an actual user experience, Core seems far, far more convenient than many of its competitors when it comes to syncing devices with and using the product.