ross mcleod


The marketing, storing and playing of music has radically altered with the development of online downloading. This design studio sought to design speaker systems which addressed the potential uses that the new generation of ipod and mp3 interfaces make possible. How does the humble speaker match the design aesthetics of the ipod and become a high performance sculptural sound element in the modern domestic or office interior?

The design brief asked for a new generation of speakers that moved away from the traditional concept of a bland set of stereo boxes that are hidden in the corner of a room or housed in a cabinet. Instead students were asked to develop an original idea for the reproduction of sound on a low voltage/ wattage amp system that compliments new technologies, aesthetics and lifestyles.

The studio spent the first three weeks coming to terms with the concepts behind amplifiers, speakers and speaker boxes. Concepts such as amps, watts, hertz, decibels, parallel and series wiring, crossovers, resonant frequencies, tweeter, mid and woofer speakers and the various terms used to describe the sound quality of speaker boxes were introduced and discussed.

The design revolved around the use of an 8 watt amp and stereo speaker kit which had an external transformer. The students wired up a working test rig (amplifier, wiring, connectors and speakers) from which they could test different materials for there sound propagation and acoustic qualities, make some simple enclosures that enhanced the performance of the speakers and test various arrangements and combinations of speakers to achieve a high level of sound quality, clarity and spatial affect.

After presenting working test rigs and concepts for the speaker system at mid semester the students then engaged in the complexity and simplicity of crafting a beautifully designed and detailed working prototype.

The final exhibition wired each ispeaker system up to a central amplifier and each piece was carefully positioned within the gallery relative to their sound quality and the acoustic affect they would create within proximity to each other. The final ‘orchestration' of the exhibition and the careful selection of a soundtrack too last the duration of the show was done with great care and a carefully tuned ear.



STUDENTS: Darren Bourne, Chi Wa Cheung, Nicholas Chuwattanakul, Nicole Collins, Blanche De Guzman,
Hannah Eisen, Anthony Hamilton-Smith, Hooi Ye Keong, ChristopherJames, Kim Ji Hea, Ka Kit Lam,
Monika Sabari, Thuanthanat Taechapimanwong, Sara Tonini, Weng Xueying, Fiona Whitehouse