Connected Objects Music

Auris Zwing implants an Android tablet into a bassy boombox

Once upon a time, the mighty boombox was a staple of audio on the go, a pulsating package of portable partying. When the iPod became a huge hit, a number of battery-powered docking speakers arrived to amplify its extensive music libraries. And more recently, Bluetooth-based products accept streams from smartphones. But the reliance on iPods and smartphones took something away from the mostly self-contained boombox experience.

Those are the days that Auris is trying to recapture and modernize with ithe Zwing, a high-powered (110 dB), bass-tuned portable audio system that features a 7” Android touchscreen between its stereo speakers. Tapping Google Play, the Zwing can access virtually any mainstream music streaming service from a Wi-Fi connection. It can also access video streaming services that it can accompany with powerful audio. At least for music playback, the Auris is rated at 20 hours of battery life, so it should be able to provide the soundtrack through even Charlie Sheen-class blowouts.

The Zwing also has an HDMI connector for easy connection to a TV. And for those who would rather store their music and movies than stream them, it’s offered with up to 32 GB of flash memory plus room for 64 more via microSD. There’s also Bluetooth support for the opportunistic use of a smartphone’s screen versus the Zwing’s. Auris seeks $75,000 in its Flexible Funding campaign (which means it will deliver rewards even if it fails in its goal) due to end June 3rd.

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.