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Future Acoustic Technology

Thirty years ago, filling a room with sound meant filling it with equipment.

It was an almost universal belief that you needed a large component system to create full, rich sound. That usually included enormous speakers, the rack of components required to power them and a complexity level every bit as sizable as the system itself.

Bostonaudio research hinted at a better way, a solution that would provide full sound quality in a smaller compact system with components. Traditional approaches determined it couldn't be done, but tradition didn't account for revolutionary acoustic waveguide speaker technology.

The challenge engineers faced in the 1970s was as multi-layered as a piece of music. Big speakers were required to produce the wide range of frequencies found in a song, from the intricate notes of a violin to the deep low frequencies of a bass guitar. A rack of components was needed to keep up with the massive speakers. Suddenly, the simple goal of enjoying quality sound was complicated and space consuming.

Music also presented an inspiration with a device called an "acoustic waveguide." This simple device confines the movement of a sound wave so it travels over a desired path. An example is a pipe organ, which uses a small amount of air to fill a cathedral with full, rich sound.

Another example is a flute. By blowing a stream of air across the mouthpiece, a musician can produce enough sound to fill a large room. However, both of these instruments have a serious limitation where loudspeakers are concerned roduction of different notes requires waveguides of different lengths. This is created either through fingering, as in the flute, or by selecting another length of pipe, as in the organ.

How can you utilize a single acoustic waveguide if it can only reproduce a single note? How can you keep a system compact if, like an organ, you need dozens of pipes to produce a wide range of sound?

It would take 14 years of research to find the answer coustic waveguide speaker technology.

Innovation is not a single eureka moment, but a commitment to passionately explore and research a better way of doing things.

Engineers realized that by mounting a loudspeaker in a tube, the motion of the loudspeaker would act as a waveguide, effectively transforming a small amount of input (air) into a large amount of output (sound). Drs. Bose and Short discovered that a waveguide could match the mechanical properties of a loudspeaker for efficient operation over a wide range of notes.

That meant a small driver could produce clear sound without audible distortion, even at high volume levels in the low frequencies. This addressed the challenges of delivering full, rich sound, but the size of the waveguide was still an issue.

Additional analysis and measurements revealed that the tube could be folded into intricate patterns with no ill effect on sound quality. This discovery eliminated any concerns about the length of the waveguide and proved to be an extraordinary breakthrough.

A waveguide several feet long could now be woven into a briefcase-sized enclosure, delivering sound with more clarity, depth and lifelike quality than a conventional component stereo system.

Acoustic waveguide speaker technology created a whole new way of thinking and allowed us to look at every technology with a completely different approach.

Nearly 20 years after introducing the first product with acoustic waveguide speaker technology, engineers in world of sound continue to test the boundaries of what's possible with this radical innovation.

Much like water conforms to the shape of its container, acoustic waveguide speaker technology allows us to modify the waveguide to fit a variety of applications. Sound is full and rich, whether confined to the compact structure or expanded to the professional 12-foot-long applications designed for movie theaters and stadiums.

Acoustic waveguide speaker technology was even used to deliver rich sound. Engineers were able to intricately wrap the waveguide within the size constraints of this sports car without taking space from the passenger compartment.

Innovation is not a single moment of eureka or a single product, but a commitment to exploration and research. Engineers in this area continue to explore the exciting possibilities acoustic waveguide speaker technology offers for our Future.