Woodnotes LoudWhisper

Mar 23, 2015
Extra: Kari Nevalainen

Here's how it goes nine times out of ten. First one pays a visit to a Hi-Fi shop, buys a pair of loudspeakers, take the speakers home, place them where's possible and start listening. Then, when the sound isn't exactly what was expected, one starts to reason that the main culprit must be room acoustics, and that something must, perhaps, be done to that.  

The other way to do it is this. Start by inventing something for the room acoustics first, eg. by dampening the worst reflections in order to make speech sound more or less correct. Once speech sounds fine and natural the likelyhood that music too sounds good has grown significantly. Now it's time to go and say Hello! to the shopkeeper, and buy a pair of loudspeakers. 

If you go for the latter option, here's a solution:

Any of rectangles can be a loudspeaker, and the rest acoustic panels. Not exactly, but you got the idea. Famous for its paper yarn carpets and K-chairs, Woodnotes offers acoustic panels under Whisper brand. Designed by Tapio Anttila and Woodnotes Design team, the panels are made by Ewona out of recycled polyester insulation. The cover and sides are upholstered with sand paper yarn cotton fabric. The back is plywood (suspension with wall rails and fittings). 

The panels come in different dimensions, and what's important in terms of their appearance and acoustic properties, in two depths. With Whisper acoustic panels it's relatively easy to create painting and sculpture like combinations of panels, some sort of wall collages.

 

As said, Whisper acoustic panels are now available also with Whisper loudspeaker, Loudwhisper. The point is that Loudwhisper speakers look exactly like Whisper acoustic panels, the same fabric (paper yarn) and the same colors (excluding white). It only requires taste and imagination (within the limits of acoustic sideconstraints, of course) to include the speakers in the collage.  

Viewed from a closed distance, the finishing of Loudwhisper speakers is of high quality. The paper yarn lines are straight, as they should be. The corners are smooth, and the surface of the fabric suitably lively, not mechanical. The "feeling" the product conveys is very pleasant, not too industrial, not too handwoven.

 

Loudwhisper is available in 60x60cm and 60x80cm panels. Thickness 10cm. Both are passive two-way  designs with high-quality ScanSpeak mid-woofers and Seas tweeters. The smaller box is sealed, the bigger one ported. The technology is provided by on-wall speaker specialist Sonolux. The bigger one is specified to reproduce frequencies from 30Hz up, the smaller one 45Hz up (minus some dB). 

Initial impressions of the sonics of the biggger Loudwhisper are promising. The tonal balance is smartly executed. Had this speaker been among the ten or so on-wall speakers that I recently auditioned, I would have ranked it high. 

As a niche product, Loudwhisper doesn't come cheap: the bigger one cost 2790 euro per pair, the smaller one 2490e. But keep in mind what can be done with these speakers in designing the interior. Not for Hi-Fi nuts, but for friends of aesthetics & good sound, certainly.  

www.woodnotes.fi

www.sonolux.fi

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