Specifications Airsound technology, 3D formed metal grilles, PC-ABS sealed chassis, 3x custom neodymium 2in full-range drivers, 3x curved, mass-loaded bass radiators, 3x Class D 20W per channel amplifiers, 75Hz to 18kHz frequency response, 3.5mm stereo aux cable, NFC, 4-14 hour playback with lithium-ion battery, Bluetooth 2.1, 220x190x88mm, 1.1kg
BRITISH AUDIO FIRM Spaced360 launched its first portable Bluetooth speaker of the same name earlier this year boasting the company's patented Airsound technology, previously seen in the firm's sister company Orbitsound's devices such as the Airsound Base, which was released in 2013.
Promising to "revolutionise the portable audio industry", the Spaced360 speaker sets itself apart from competitors by taking advantage of "sum and difference" audio signals within three 3D formed metal grilles to produce what Spaced360 calls "the third generation of sound".
Sound and technology
What makes this speaker distinctive is its ability to produce a 360 degree surround sound from six "radiators" via Airsound, a technology that makes use of "spatial sound", which refers to the firm's patented technology that takes advantage of "sum and difference" audio signals.
Sum and difference refers to frequencies that offer a more natural, wider sound and don't suffer from problems caused by overlapping signals. This is achieved by converting a standard stereo signal into a mono "sum" signal on the left output and a mono "difference" signal on the right.
The result is that you get two tracks, one that is the main information and one that is the signal that makes your ears respond differently to one another. The Spaced360 portable speaker takes both sides and mixes them together into one signal, so they can be played back through a normal left, right signal, offering a fuller sound called "spatial sound".
Below is a video of Orbitsound product manager, Dan Fletcher, explaining in detail the sum and difference audio technology in the release of the M9 and M12 soundbars last year.
Though the technology isn't new, Spaced360 claims that the way it positions the speakers and plays back the sum and difference through them is new.
The benefits this is supposed to bring to the listener in products using this technology are that it can fill a room with sound and create non-directional stereo, where you don't need to sit in the "sweet spot" to hear a track at its best. This is the main selling point of the Spaced360 speaker, and more than a marketing gimmick.
During our tests, we found that the sound is superb. As the company promises, the audio is full and this is apparent when using it for playback through a variety of devices. Playing our favourite tracks on Spotify through the speaker from an iPhone over Bluetooth, for instance, provides an excellent balance of rich tones and bass from any point in a room. Positioning the speaker differently, for example in alternative places around the room, doesn't change the playback quality.
This is thanks to the Spaced360's three Class D 20W per channel amplifiers. Airsound fine-tunes the output of these amplifiers using hi-pass and low-pass filters so that they output only the frequencies that deliver this "positional audio".
Equipped with three custom neodymium 2in full-range drivers, the Spaced360 also uses programming to reduce distortion even at the highest volume levels. Turning the music up to a level even your next door but one neighbour could hear well, the Spaced360 sound maintains clarity with no distortion. Overall, we were impressed at hearing such an excellent overall sound from such a small portable device.
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