Exclusive: Freestanding Stealth Speaker, No Ugly Grille Cloth
Stealth Acoustics introduces first line of freestanding speakers that disappear behind wood and paintable finishes, just like the company's hidden in-walls.
So imagine my surprise when I discovered some visible free-standing speakers during a recent visit to the Stealth offices.
The forthcoming Monolith line, available in early 2011, is like an invisible speaker that you can see. And I sure like what I see, both inside and out.
Instead of ugly cloth grilles, the face and all sides of the flat speakers are covered with wood grain or your choice of finishes if you select the paintable model.
Why not? If you can hide Stealth speakers within walls, then you can certainly put them behind other solid surfaces.
Behind the façade, you’ll find multiple emitters for smooth frequency extension to 20kHz.
Oddly for a freestanding speaker in the world of two-channel audio, the width of the sound field in the Monolith is amazing. Stealth speakers generally have a really wide sound field, and the new visible speaker is no exception. In fact, it was difficult for me to even pinpoint the sweet spot. It seemed to be everywhere.
The clear delivery of everything from jazz to classical and even Metallica was amazing. Crystal clear horns, snares, and guitar solos were a joy. Gone was the “blurriness” that I have noticed with the Stealth’s earlier products.
Moving down the speaker, you’ll find real cone woofers – something that all hidden speakers have been missing. The bass in my demo was extremely responsive and the lows were never weak.
Seeing some CDs rattling on a nearby desk nearly brought a tear to my eye – bass you can feel from a woofer you can’t see? Magical.
Stealth expects to sell the wood grain speakers for around $4,500 to $6,500, and a paintable model for slightly less.
I would put the speakers on par – if not better – than many models that sell for $8,000 to $10,000. I might put them side by side with the Totem Wind, Dali Helicon and other noteworthy models.
Stealth is still tweaking the Monolith form factor. The company is considering a deeper cabinet to make the speakers look more like pedestals – customers could throw some vases or art on top.
There has also been talk of a wall-mount version of the speaker and possibly a down-firing sub.
Perhaps I can one day get rid of the ugly speaker covers in my listening room, replacing them with something like a pair of solid piano black-finished pieces of art that tickles both the eyes and the ears.
Stay tuned for more details once the Monolith speakers near completion.
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With over 20 years of experience in home systems installation and design as well as being an award winning product designer, Joe Whitaker currently is principal of the integration firm thethoughtfulhome.com. He is a current member of the CEDIA board of directors first elected in 2013 and is a frequent contributor to CE Pro magazine. Have a suggestion or a topic you want to read more about? Email Joe at firstname.lastname@example.org
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