One Speaker, Many Options

April 30, 2011
2 mins read

Now here’s an interesting loudspeaker design, and strangely enough, it comes from a company best known for making turntables and tonearms. Origin Live has introduced a range of speakers, well it’s actually only one speaker, the Astute but it comes with a bewildering range of stand and amplification options.

The Astute is a hanging design i.e. it is literally suspended from the stand and the physical speaker makes no contact with the ground. The standard cabinet is the C10, which is passive, with a 10” driver and horn loaded tweeter. The finish is a “leather look” with silver metallic coated front and rear baffles. The price in the UK is £1,800 (no local press release has been received as yet).

Then the options for powering the speakers are as follows:

A3-2C includes a two channel power amplifier, this enables users to plug in directly from portable devices like an iPod, iPad, notebook etc. (+£1,700)

A3-4C includes a four channel power amplifier, which represents a considerable step up from the A3-2C in terms of performance and can be used with Digital Signal Processors. (+£2,500)

A3A-4C is the four channel active power amplifier version with internal cross overs (+£3,500) to which the AD3 Digital Signal Processing module (+£3,700) can be added to give control of parameters including in room compensation.

Then there are options to change the finish of the speaker and the baffles and a wide range of stands made up from Aluminium, Steel or Stainless Steel, clear acrylic, MDF or solid laminated wood and finished in spray painted, brushed, polished, anodised, chrome plated, leather look, real leather, various veneers, natural wax or clear lacquered finishes.

According to Origin Live there are clear benefits to designing a speaker like this:

“The trend at present is towards ever smaller speakers with sub-woofer systems. The major side effect of this is that sound quality decreases drastically. There is simply no comparison between a good large speaker and the “unobtrusive” small satellite / subwoofer combinations on offer.

• Highly efficient due to horn loaded tweeter and large woofer size. The Astute speakers have much better dynamic response than smaller speakers and are also easier to power cleanly. Experts have always said of speakers “a good big one will always beat a good little one” – this is drawn from the laws of physics and cannot be overridden no matter how well a small box is designed.

• Specially selected high grade components: Many speakers look great, but the quality of components can be completely inadequate for high performance – it’s a bit like taking a Ferrari body shell and fitting it with the engine, chassis and suspension of the cheapest car on the market.

• Superb bass performance due to spacing away from the floor and other key design aspects – Subwoofers tend to be “one note boom boxes” fairly incapable of producing the right textures, power and harmonics of bass frequencies.

• Three dimensional sound image – The ability of a speaker to produce a believable 3D sound image is not easy but the Astute delivers an amazing “out of the box” sound. It should be added that “in wall” or rear wall placement will never produce this type of performance for a variety of reasons.

• Reduced internal standing waves: The radial cabinet shape reduces the resonance problems common to box shaped speakers.

• Compatibility for all types of room: Most rooms will alter the perceived sound of your speakers from what it should be. To overcome this problem the sound can be “corrected” with optional Digital Signal Processing (DSP) .

• No hot spots with top models in the Astute range – A major shortcoming of conventional sound systems is that, you need to be positioned centrally to the speakers to hear a proper 3D sound image. Origin Live’s ground breaking design revolutionises the ability to hear the system almost equally well wherever you are in the room.

• Electronics are housed outside the speaker cabinet thus isolating them from vibration and the effects of driver magnetic flux changes. This preserves the delicate nuances of the signal from being destroyed.”

The New Zealand agent for Origin Live is

More information on the speakers can be found at

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