Finding sound of music in household objects

Casey Lin's Timbre Speaker setup which alters the sound of music.
Casey Lin's Timbre Speaker setup which alters the sound of music.

A New Zealand designer is making a noise overseas with an ingenious speaker system that allows users to adjust the tone of their music using household objects.

Timbre Speaker, created by final-year Victoria University industrial design student Casey Lin, allows people to customise the way their music sounds by placing objects - anything from a fruit bowl to a piece of fruit - on top of a wooden box.

Ms Lin, 21, says speakers mounted to the interior of the box vibrate the surface and turn the objects into equalisers which change the tone, or timbre, of the music.

Users wanting a crisp, clean sound could place glass or metal objects on top of the box, or for a warmer tone use things made of wood. Vessels work best but, conceivably, any household object can be used to create a unique musical experience, she says.

"I discovered the concept of surface speakers, which really interested me, and I just wanted to create something that would look beautiful and have a playful quality to it. It lets you add a personal touch to find your own tone."

She is also experimenting by adding water to the vessels and getting the system to make ripple patterns.

Casey Lin.
Casey Lin.

The invention has grabbed the attention of numerous technology commentators and overseas media, including Britain's Daily Mail, which said it "could change the way we listen to music".

Ms Lin has made only prototypes but is keen to find partners to help get the product to market.


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