The Brane X Portable Speaker Packs Performance from Hell in a Small Package • Alaska Green Light Blog
#Brane #Portable #Speaker #Packs #Performance #Hell #Small #Package #Alaska Green Light Blog Welcome to Alaska Green Light Blog, here is the new story we have for you today:
You’ve probably never heard of it bran audio yet, but trust me on this one: you will. One of my highlights at today’s CES in Las Vegas was hearing the company’s debut speaker, the Brane X, side-by-side with several other well-known speaker brands. The company’s founder has a background in high precision magnetics and after retiring from his previous company decided to apply this expertise to another area where magnets are important: loudspeakers.
The company’s first product is the $700 Brane X, which will open to pre-orders shortly. The big innovation is the company’s Repel-Attract Driver (RAD). It uses a combination of moving and stationary magnets to create a force equal and opposite to the force caused by large changes in air pressure inside a speaker enclosure. The result is the ability to move a large amount of air (and therefore punch out a lot of bass) in a small package that the company claims uses 10% of the power that a conventional tech subwoofer would.
“We have developed a new way of audio production. In particular, we have a new type of subwoofer. It uses a technology we call Repel-Attract-Driver or RAD. It uses magnetic forces to cancel out the air pressure forces inherent when you create deep subwoofer notes. With traditional technology, there is even a law – Hoffmann’s law – that is, no deep bass, an efficient speaker and can be compact. As you make a subwoofer smaller, the air pressure increases and you draw more and more current,” explains Joe Pinkerton, co-founder and CEO of Brane Audio, in an interview with Alaska Green Light Blog. “By having this compressive force canceled by a magnetic force, it stays in its container. That means everything you need to overcome your own inertia. It is about 100 times more efficient in the subwoofer range. That allows us to make it a tenth the size and use a tenth the power.”
You have already done the math, dear reader: Smaller, lighter and less power-hungry, equally interesting technology for portable loudspeakers. And that’s exactly what the company built into the Brane X. It packs an 8-inch subwoofer into a portable speaker that can run on battery power for 12 hours. It also has all the other bells and whistles you’d expect from a high-end portable speaker: it has Alexa, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and can run Spotify. In addition to the aforementioned bass pumper, it includes a pair of tweeters and a pair of midrange drivers, so it retains its ability to reproduce stereo sound. The speaker is IP 5x certified, which means it’s more rainproof than your BBQ or pool party.
In the suite where the tech was being demonstrated, I checked behind the sofa to see if the company had hidden any extra speakers: A massive amount of bass, plus an oddly immersive soundscape coming out of a box the size of a small toaster oven was one downright spooky experience. I couldn’t locate the other speakers and the team assured me that yes, it was all coming from their small box.
Pinkerton began Active Power, an energy company in the early 1990s, which spawned giant 15,000-pound magnetically levitated flywheels for energy storage. The precision required to use a combination of static and dynamic magnets to precisely balance these flywheels with a magnetic thrust bearing required the development of an extremely precise feedback loop. A while after The company went public in 2000, he founded a Clean Energy Labs to look for other opportunities. One of the technologies the company was investigating was using graphene to make more efficient switches.
“When we switched it 5,000 times per second. We were like, ‘Wow, that makes a lot of sound for its size,’ and that was just a chip-level device,” laughs Pinkerton. From then on, he wondered what would happen if they intentionally tried to make noise. “We acquired Brane Audio from Clean Energy Labs in 2015 and we just said, ‘Hey, let’s build this diaphragm-based speaker.’ We have been working on this for several years and wanted to bring something to market in 2020. Then COVID came and the factory closed.”
From there it was back to the drawing board – but Pinkerton wasn’t ready to let the technology rest just yet.
“Our experience is something that a normal audio engineer doesn’t even know exists. It took us years to perfect the technology,” says Pinkerton, describing the path to a final, bootable speaker.
The speaker is large for a portable speaker; It’s more of a small boombox than the kind of speaker you can just toss in your carry-on for an overseas trip. It seems like it would be better for a speaker you take on a road trip, move from room to room in the house, or settle down outside for a pool party.
“This is a small preview of the Brane X. We’re doing a full launch at South by Southwest in Austin in mid-March,” concludes Pinkerton, suggesting that the company has speakers with its technology in smaller form factors and with more modest price points on the drawing board .