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audioXpress Magazine

September 2022


The Better Mousetrap
Improving upon an existing object or concept.
Editorial By J. Martins


audioXpress Magazine September 2022


  A "better mousetrap" describes something that improves upon an existing object or concept. Typically used in the phrase "build a better mousetrap," whatever the intention was in the original expression, in the technology world it is frequently used with a sense of depreciation for a useless effort meant to improve upon something that ultimately awards the same exact result. I've heard it (too) many times in the audio industry as a way to detract people from investing time and money in ideas that could be excellent but that ultimately will not award the exponential noticeable improvements required to justify the investment. Unfortunately that seems to be a sort of rule in the speaker industry, where ultimately it is the end result that matters but sometimes it's just very hard to get there.

I've seen "inventors" being told that no manufacturer would be willing to invest in the "productization" or the new tooling and readjustments in production methods needed. And even if the manufacturing challenges seemed surmountable, many times investors or companies say no to supporting the "considerable marketing effort…".

More common to the majority of incremental advancements that can be realized in speakers is the realization that although a concept sounds promising and even demonstrates noticeable improvements, it would never be seen as "new," it would not result in significantly perceived improvements, nor would it award any cost savings, unless produced on a massive scale. Since new products in the speaker categoryare seldom perceived as "new," we are frequently restricted to satisfying the two other criteria of perceived benefits and cost savings to be "investable" in today's market environment. And that is the ruthless "Iron law" constrain of Innovation in Product Development. And yet, everyday we see examples of success in the speaker market — they just need to be evaluated using a different perspective or scale of success.


audioXpress Magazine September 2022


The revolutionary Dragonfire Acoustics planar magnetic desktop speakers were launched without strategic concerns of who would buy them and why. Translating decades of research, the Dragonfire speakers are absolute perfection — and yet remain largely ignored. But their creator, Dragoslav Colich is the successful co-founder and chief technology officer of Audeze, where his work in planar drivers is widely recognized and extremely successful.

I met Zoltán Bay in 2016, when he demonstrated his unique BRS tweeter and he was firmly convinced that large consumer brands would see it as innovative for desktop multimedia applications and would license the technology, reaching mass scale for mainstream audio applications. That didn't work out, but he did build a thriving high-end business with its exclusive Bayz Audio speakers for a select clientele who value extreme quality and exclusiveness.

That's why when audioXpress writes about speaker innovation, we value and recognize as much the journey and the strategy, as we value the technology, the patents, and the "success." In this issue of audioXpress, we have another one of those innovation stories. One that started like many others, with a bold idea that could easily have suffered the same luck as other "better mousetraps." Holoplot was born from the original research of Helmut Oellers and his "holophony" vision for true spatial audio reproduction.

Its research and approach to Wave Field Synthesis, implemented in his earlier work since 2011, was successfully demonstrated and paved the way to a company that is now determined to disrupt the professional audio industry, by creating "an entirely new category of sound system."

I was privileged to attend an earlier demonstration, at Prolight+Sound 2016, in Frankfurt, and that is why I would like to share that moment with one of several photos I have in the audioXpress archive, where Helmut Oellers shows the first iteration of the Holoplot system.



J. Martins





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