Where reality meets virtual

November 7, 2021
 by Paul McGowan

In yesterday’s tongue-in-cheek post, I poked a bit of fun at augmented reality. And you know what? It’s good to have a laugh at some of the crazy stuff we’re being introduced to.

That said, many of you wrote me (with some excitement) to ask about this idea of virtually placing our speaker in your home to see how it fits, how it looks, how it meshes. So, let me just say that at some point in the not too distant future you’re going to be able to do exactly that.

But not just now. We’re working out the details and it takes a good deal of programming and work to make this a reality.

That said, I do want to share with you my first real-world experience with the power of this amazing new technology of AR.

As we work on the new Octave Record’s recording studio we’re daily measuring and planning. So this morning, engineer Chet Roe and I were trying to visualize in the new control room where the speakers would go and how they will fit relative to the room—a not too easy task that takes a lot of imagination.

Then Chet had an idea.

“Wait! Let’s try the new AR model of the speaker I have been working on. And we did. OMG. The model, which is accurate to tenths of an inch, can, with nothing more than your iPhone (or Android) be placed anywhere you want. It can even serve as a measurement tool to see the tweeter height and so forth. I was so blown away with the power of this new tool I just had to share this with you.

Yes, I know I look like I am asleep, but at the time neither of us was thinking about posing for a picture. But, you know me. I just had to share. In my right hand (outside the photo’s frame) is a tape measure which I used at Chet’s direction to check tweeter height relative to the control board.

I’m guessing sometime in December I will be able to share with you the actual ability for you to place our speakers in your home, walk around them, examine minute details, etc.

In the meantime, if you’re curious about the recording studio progress you can go here and watch the short video.

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21 comments on “Where reality meets virtual”

  1. I looked at the photo first before reading the post and thought this was a caption competition.

    Thanks FR for the post – ever since I went to see The Stylistics I’ve had a soft spot for male soul groups in velvet suits slow motion dancing around microphones in perfect syncopation.

  2. The technology is cool. Not sure how necessary or important it will be in determining a speaker choice.

    In fact there’s potential for a hindrance. You made the choice for the speaker, your significant other gets ahold of the app… what you have carefully described as “not that intrusive” and “will blend in” quickly becomes apparent in ‘others’ mind that you were stretching the truth. Then “other” says look I can push them in the corner or put them together over here. Or worse, “look they fit right in the back of the garbage / recycling truck”.

    The next AR picture you see is a couch with you laying on it…. Possibly for the long term….

    1. You’ve nailed it, Mike. This technology has been around for years in the furniture industry. Most likely the wife will discover how easy it is to plug in a new sofa, new drapes, area rugs, repaint the walls…and suddenly your discretionary speaker funds begin to diminish while the décor of your room is elevated. 😎

  3. Over the years PSA has developed an irresistible urge to do things differently (for the sake of being different ?).
    I mean, is there any other company that makes speakers with a round cabinet at the bottom….?
    Is that a good thing or a bad thing ?
    Looks odd to me, but as always YMMV.

  4. I am not sure what I think of this, it is strange. I would think wives might be more interested in how it looks in the room. I have to agree with FR, for me it is all about sound and not the visual.

  5. This reminds me of Warby Parker’s app that allows you to try on glasses frames virtually. I haven’t tried it yet, but on the television commercial the app superimposes the frame on your selfie live video image and you can see how they look on you as you move your head three-dimensionally. It appears to be a wonderful tool for at home shoppers. I doubt it shows the effect of different lens prescriptions.

    I notice in the Post photo that the metal bass is painted or anodized black, instead of the raw aluminum (or stainless steel) look in the earlier photos. I prefer the exposed metal look rather than painted. Also, I would want a glossier black finish on the cabinet to match my grand piano. An issue with white color is that it could make nearby walls look dingy if the speaker is pure white and the walls are an “off white,” which nearly all interior white paint is. I assume paint sample chips would be available upon request.

    1. Matte dark gray reminds me of the color of a stealth bomber. I had some dark matt gray studio monitors once and it was almost impossible to keep the surface at a uniform sheen. The finish would show finger and palm prints from the natural oil on people’s hands. On glossier paint it’s easier to polish the prints away and to wipe the dust off.

      1. Some people have to learn the hard way not to touch their audio gear, with regard to their loudspeakers, with greasy, unwashed hands…especially black piano gloss finishes.
        I suggest that people should at least wash their hands, twice with soap, before putting their hands on their home audio gear.
        Best to wear clean cotton gloves or just a couple of clean cotton T-shirts if you must handle to ‘lift & place’…respect for your equipment.
        Microfiber dusting cloths are ideal for removing dust & ‘settled airborne particulate’ …use very, very gently on piano gloss finishes as even dust can scratch.

        1. I’m not suggesting we need to have a box of white museum gloves for dirty hands…LOL

          I’m just saying you are going to eventually get prints on your speakers. It’s easy to wipe prints off a glossy surface, which IMHO is why from a maintenance standpoint glossy is better. A matt surface can show oil or sweat even from people who have recently washed their hands. Most soaps have an oily or waxy substance in them. And our skin produces oil and sweat. To clean matt finishes one should use a special oil and wax-free cleaner meant for matt finishes. Otherwise, the matt surface may appear splotchy. There are, of course, different kinds of matt finishes. The rougher grain ones generally hide finger prints. The finer grain ones are more difficult because the oil fills the little voids between the grains and make areas appear glossy and non-uniform.

          Lighter color matt finishes are better at concealing prints and non-uniformity. Silver color is the best concealing because its grains are larger and diffusely reflective. I actually think a silver color for the FR-30 would be an attractive option.

          1. My message is purely that prevention is better than cure, if you can manage to observe it…prevention that is.
            My floorstanders have the stock-standard black woodgrain vinyl-wrap all-purpose poverty-pack finish, so it’s really easy to keep clean.
            As soon as you touch piano gloss-black finishes you will start to scratch them, even if it’s only microscopic.

            1. Got it. I’ve had my gloss black piano for 22 years and still not a scratch on it, despite my clumsiness, an equally clumsy roommate and frequent house guests. Amazingly, the piano survived a music recording studio in pristine condition. I typically just use a soft cotton cloth to wipe off any fingerprints and dust.

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