[rumori] Try these at your next live show.

Date: Thu Oct 11 2001 - 17:37:43 PDT


Inflatable loudspeakers light enough for anyone to shift could mean rock stars' roadies have had their day.

Loudspeakers come in heavy, cumbersome boxes that provide an air enclosure to absorb unwanted vibration and give a fuller sound. But now two companies, SoundTube
Entertainment of Park City, Utah, and Ellula Sounds of Loughborough in Leicestershire, UK, reckon an inflatable box will do the job.

Conventional speakers have a "driver", which converts electrical signals to back-and-forth movement and is connected to a cone-shaped diaphragm that vibrates the air. The
driver sits on the front of a cabinet. To make loud or deep sounds you need big drivers mounted in giant boxes. So rock groups need roadies to hump and heave them onto the

SoundTube is now developing inflatables that bands can carry flat - and blow up when they arrive. The company is cagey about details, but a patent describes one way in which
an inflatable speaker might work.

A speaker driver is mounted in a flat, rigid board bonded to a large bladder. When the bladder is inflated, it expands to form a box shape resembling a speaker cabinet. The
bladder has several chambers so that the whole thing won't collapse if one is punctured. At the end of each gig, a vacuum pump sucks out the air.

British company Ellula Sounds has made its own inflatable speakers, on sale from November. The company is a spin-off from Loughborough University, which licensed the
flat-panel speaker technology developed by NXT of Cambridgeshire. Ellula's speakers resemble brightly coloured audio beach balls and are aimed at the home, for use with
portable stereos and computers.

this link has got a picture of a home version

Peter A Lopez

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