Ira Friedman’s Perfect Third: Grille-Free Speakers will ‘Change the Industry’

Making its big debut at CEDIA 2016, Perfect Third is Ira Friedman’s new loudspeaker company touting the LiveWall brand of flat, paintable loudspeakers with no grille.

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Ira Friedman ran Boston Acoustics before launching his own company Bay Audio in 1999. When that business closed last year, Friedman set about building his next loudspeaker company. That business, called Perfect Third, will make its big debut at CEDIA 2016 next month.

The fresh start “gave me an opportunity to re-evaluate what the industry was,” Friedman tells CE Pro, explaining his exploration into invisible and outdoor audio.

For the past year, he’s been working on loudspeakers without grilles … and the patents that go with it.

He says speaker grilles in general are “our way as an industry to hide a speaker,” but that grilles provide no sonic benefit to a loudspeaker.

Perfect Third, exhibiting at CEDIA 2016, offers grille-free speakers under the Live-Wall brand. The uber-flat speakers, employing the company’s patented “constrained layer damping system” protrudes only a few millimeters from the wall, just enough to house the speaker’s diaphragm.

Friedman says he made the paintable diaphragm, instead of a superfluous grille, the “aesthetic face of the speaker.”

As he explains the technology: “A typical speaker is a cone. There’s a million slices, and each gets a little smaller until you get to the cone. Each of those surfaces – the “slices” — has its own resonant frequency. If you took the cone and flattened it out, you would end up with one really loud note. Our patent overcomes that. We have three materials sandwiched together. Each has its own acoustic properties, and one of the layers has a laser-cut star whose shape and size 'tunes' the system. That’s the patent: Three layers working together to give the effect of a cone.”

He adds: “I think it’s going to change the industry.”

The product line includes the AR11 square in-wall and the AR12 round speaker ($375 each, retail).

About the Author

Julie Jacobson
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Julie Jacobson is founding editor of CE Pro, the leading media brand for the home-technology channel. She has covered the smart-home industry since 1994, long before there was much of an Internet, let alone an Internet of things. Currently she studies, speaks, writes and rabble-rouses in the areas of home automation, security, networked A/V, wellness-related technology, biophilic design, and the business of home technology. Julie majored in Economics at the University of Michigan, spent a year abroad at Cambridge University, and earned an MBA from the University of Texas at Austin. She is a recipient of the annual CTA TechHome Leadership Award, and a CEDIA Fellows honoree. A washed-up Ultimate Frisbee player, Julie currently resides in San Antonio, Texas and sometimes St. Paul, Minn. Follow on Twitter: @juliejacobson

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