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La Voix du Luthier has designed two new speakers, both without speaker cones ! These are powered resonators, with the sound directly emanating from 2 separate soundboards (similar to guitar soundboard) designed and tuned by a master luthier (stringed instrument maker).

The Onde and Pyramid were unveiled at ContinuuCon (the Haken Continuum Fingerboard conference), held this year at the prestigious Institut de Recherche et Coordination Acoustique/Musique (IRCAM) in central Paris, and then presented again at SuperBooth 2018 in Berlin.

These resonators, designed in collaboration with Haken Audio, give the sound of a luthier’s expertise in acoustics to any electronic musical instrument, guitar (acoustic-electric, or electric), electric violin, theremin or Onde Martenot.

Pyramid at Deep Forest’s studio (look also behind…)

 

What are the Onde and the Pyramid ?

With the Onde and the Pyramid, the sound directly comes from the vibration of the 2 soundboards. There is no speaker cone inside, only acoustic exciters transmitting the vibration to the wood. It is the same principle as for a guitar: the strings themselves make very little sound, but they are transmitting their vibration to the sounboard through the bridge, and what you hear is the sonic amplification via the soundboard. In our case the exciter is acting as the bridge and tansmits the electric « vibrations » to the wood.

Contrary to a traditional speaker who is very directional, the Onde and the Pyramid are omni-directional. it is a very immersive sound. In spite of this immersion effect transients are no compromised, and are much more accurate than on traditional speakers. These resonators are not sonically « neutral », but they are not meant to be: they offer a colored sound carefully tuned by the luthier. See the « The main characteristics » section below for more information.

Use them with your electronic instrument, guitar, violin, computer or smartphone …

The Onde and the Pyramid can be used with any electronic instrument (synth, modular set-up, portable devices, iPhone/iPad, etc.) and any electro-acoustic instrument (guitar, violin, or any instrument having an analog audio out).

But you can also I use them to listen to any music (since they are Bluetooth receivers). However not being sonically neutral means that the sound you will get will be slightly different from the one you are used to. It is mainly a matter of taste, but it is usually recognized that they magnify a light and clear mix, and will be less interesting for heavy or a very compressed mix.

They have been tuned to produce a sound level consistent with acoustic instruments, so you can play together with a piano and will still be clearly heard ( even if the piano plays loud! ).

The with multiple instruments

 

How different are the Onde and the Pyramid ? There are several differences between the Onde and the Pyramid. Most obvious is the shape and size but also in the technical specification, described below. The Pyramid has a wider frequency spectrum range and is also a bit louder. The Onde has been designed to be easily portable and used in a variety of different situations (several positions on feet, attached to an instrument, on specific stands, etc.), whereas the Pyramid has one single standing position, most likely floor mounted. Their sound colors are also slightly different (more oriented to the warmth of sound for the Pyramid, and with a stronger focus on brightness for the Onde). The Onde is provided with a Class-D amplifier, the Pyramid is provided with either a Class-D or an amazing very high end pure Class-A amplifier (custom designed by Luc Bourachot). More than stereo: they naturally spatialize the sound ! You may wonder if you would need two to accommodate a stereo sound source. The answer is No: with the two soundboards and using a stereo input, an Onde or a Pyramid will give you a very immersive and spatialized 3D sound. It will be different from stereo but even more interesting. However, if desired, you can still use two of them for more a traditional stereo sound. It’s a musical instrument ! The Onde and the Pyramid are not any more fragile than an acoustic guitar. The most « fragile » component would be the front soundboard, exactly the same for a guitar. So if don’t do things you won’t do on a guitar, everything will be Ok. Also remember that the Onde is provided with a soft case (or with an optional wooden hard case to go in the hold of a plane) that will allow to easily carry them: they are designed to be mobile!

Multiple usage of the Onde

 

How to use them

 

  • Two possible vertical standings: the Onde can stand on both of its flat sides thanks to the 2 provided tripod feet.
  • Onde flat: the Onde can stand horizontal thanks to 3 provided wooden feet. Remember that nothing should touch the soundboard: it would harm the sound and possibly be noisy from this direct acoustic coupling with the soundboard to another surface.
  • Attached to a synth: strongly attached to you synth (we are providing a whole set of mounting options), it will transmit the sound vibration directly to your fingers through your instruments case!
  • On stands with a synth (or anything else): one of the mounting options uses necks that you can easily attach to the tubes of an X-stand or nearly any traditional stand.
  • With a guitar or a violin: vertical or flat, just connect (mono 6.35 Jack adapter provided) !
  • Through Bluetooth: turn on Bluetooth (or APTX) on your phone, tablet, or computer, connect to « La Voix du Luthier » and play your music !
  • With Bluetooth backtrack: while playing a backtrack via Bluetooth you can still connect your instrument to the Onde via the jack input and play over the backtrack.
  • Outdoor (powering your USB powered synth) : with the battery option, you can power your portable synth or device via USB, go in the middle of the (deep) forest and play (1/2 to 1 day depending on the connected device and playing volume).
  • As a complement to a traditional HIFI or studio sound system: people are used to add subwoofer to a traditional audio system, just in the same way you can add an Onde! It will highly enhance your sound spatialization, and all the transients. You will hear things you never heard before.
  • Infinite number of mounting possibilities thanks to the Kodak screws: the Onde is provided with 8 Kodak screw mounting points, meaning you can use an amazing number of mounting options initially design for camera, GoPro, etc. and with a small 1/4 to 3/8 adpapter also use all traditional music stand (mic stands, lighting stands, etc.).

 

The main characteristics 

  • They generate a 3D auditory space, just like a traditional acoustic instrument  (as opposed to traditional speakers being very directive).
  • They are not sonically « neutral », but it’s not meant to be: they offer a colored sound carefully tuned by the luthier.
  • They offer a highly dynamic sound: all the transients, like the attack off sounds, mechanical noises, will have a much better rendering than on traditional speakers.
  • They enhance any electronic signal, imparting a carefully balanced acoustical environment into the source, immersive like an acoustic instrument.
  • They have two fine wooden soundboards with oppositional placement that are complementary sounding, further enhancing the 3D experience. Each soundboard has a separate volume control allowing for fine-tuning of the tonal balance.
  • They are design to be able to transmit vibrations to your instrument, and offer a high number of possible mounting options to be attached to electronic instruments. This means that electronic musicians now eventually can feel the vibration of the sound they produce while playing, like any acoustic instrument player !
  • Like acoustic instruments, they are deeply interacting with their environment, allowing to fully take advantage of the specific sound of a venue.
  • They perfectly integrates with an acoustic ensemble.
  • They offer a very elegant wooden design (different finish are available).

  • 72 cm high, 57 cm large, 8 cm depth, 2.6 kg weight
  • 2*30W Class D amplifier driving 2 carefully selected wideband transducers
  • Build following the traditional stringed instrument maker’s know-how, and integrating two soundboards, tuned to be sonically complementary
  • Separated volume control for each soundboard
  • Line level stereo in (3.5 mm stereo jack)
  • Bluetooth Audio (and APTX). Line level and Bluetooth can be mixed together
  • Battery-powered option, with initial tests showing up to one full day of use between charges
  • The Onde can supply power for two other USB devices during normal operation
  • One permanent side opening, and one closable side opening allowing to tune the sound color
  • 8 Kodak screw mounting point allowing a huge number of accessory mounting
  • Provided with 2 tripod feet (for vertical standing), 3 wooden feet (for horizontal standing) and a power supply
  • Numerous possible options (see option section)

  • 72 cm high, 57 cm large, 8 cm depth, 2.6 kg weight
  • 2*30W Class D amplifier driving 2 carefully selected wideband transducers
  • Build following the traditional stringed instrument maker’s know-how, and integrating two soundboards, tuned to be sonically complementary
  • Separated volume control for each soundboard
  • Line level stereo in (3.5 mm stereo jack)
  • Bluetooth Audio (and APTX). Line level and Bluetooth can be mixed together
  • Battery-powered option, with initial tests showing up to one full day of use between charges
  • The Onde can supply power for two other USB devices during normal operation
  • One permanent side opening, and one closable side opening allowing to tune the sound color
  • 8 Kodak screw mounting point allowing a huge number of accessory mounting
  • Provided with 2 tripod feet (for vertical standing), 3 wooden feet (for horizontal standing) and a power supply
  • Numerous possible options (see option section)

Where are they built ? where does the parts come from ?

All the woodwork will be done in France (Vendée – Sainte Hermine), and that’s where we need Kickstarter to help us building the production chain. The wood itself is coming from mountain areas in France, from northern Europe and from north Canada. The electronic components are coming from Germany, France, Japan and China. The Class A amplifier is assembled (soldering, testing) in Paris area, France (and may be some in Italy if there are too much to assemble). PCB and the Class D amplifier are coming from China.
The global assembly and testing will be done in France (Vendée – Sainte Hermine) and this is also where the shipping will be done of course.

Listen to the Onde and the Pyramid

It is difficult to convey how amazing the sound of the Onde and the Pyramid is just through text, images and videos, but believe us, it is a unique experience. Also during the Kickstarter campaign you will have the opportunity to listen to them if you are able to come to Soundmit in Turin on November 3/4, we have a booth there !

Haken Audio

The Haken Continuum Fingerboard is an instrument that was born to be as expressive and as rewarding to play as an acoustic instrument. The uniquely designed sensitive and expressive playing surface has been symbiotically merged with its powerful synthesis sound engine to produce a truly unique playing experience. The Continuum is an electronic instrument that puts its player at the heart of a uniquely fluent, gestural and intuitive musical playing experience.

Connecting the Continuum Fingerboard to the Onde and the Pyramid was therefore totally natural to complement it with a truly acoustic sound, and a nice wooden resonator capable of transmitting the vibration to the musician’s finger, putting him in an even deeper feedback loop with the sound.

The ContinuuMini is the latest creation from Haken Audio and has been designed to be a portable, flexible and a more affordable version of the family of Continuums. It can be powered by the Onde to make it truly portable. The ContinuuMini is also available through Kickstarter.

Why do we need Kickstarter

We have completely managed the early steps on our free time and our own personal funding. We can already provide the Onde and the Pyramid in a “one at a time” manner for a small local market, but each requires several days of work. We think this luthier’s speaker is of high interest to musicians everywhere in the world.

We need support to build our specific production chain and associated tools (about 12 dedicated tools needed for the Onde and 15 for the Pyramid) in order to lower the prices, and to be able to produce a high number of devices, while still keeping the quality of hand crafted items. We feel that the support from end users, as proposed on Kickstarter, is the best way for us to achieve our current goals.

Onde Martenot tribute

The Ondes Martenot was invented in 1928 by the French cello player Maurice Martenot.It is one of the earliest electronic instruments. It can be played with a keyboard or by moving a ring along a wire, allowing a continuous control of the pitch. It is used in a lot of classical and pop-music compositions (Olivier Messiaen, Radiohead,Daft Punk, etc.).
The Onde Martenot has its own resonators (instead of traditional speakers): one based on a gong, and the famous palm using strings tuned to all 12 semitones of an octave. So the Onde and the Pyramid are obviously inspired by the work of Maurice Martenot (and the Onde name is a clear tribute to Martenot), providing additional resonators using different technics than the ones used up to now. We really hope that Ondists will also make a nice use of the Onde and the Pyramid.