Lola Redux – for when off the shelf just won’t do.
Like any good idea, some bad ideas and a few truly great ideas, this one came about over a couple of bottles of beer. True story. Anyhow, this one also stems from my hunt for a decent table top radio that ended up me comparing the Bose wave, Tivoli, Boston Acoustics Receptor HD, Denon and Cambridge audio 730 over several weeks where the Cambridge audio radio trounced the rest handily. This time it wasn’t for a bedside, instead, i wanted one that sounded as good but for use on the patio and it had to be wireless. So, not so much of a radio but a wireless speaker of sorts, just in the form factor of a table top radio. Not that its not available commercially, its just that, after looking around at the DIY world, i found there were so many options that could be as good, better or as creative as i wanted it to be. With the help of some well regarded designs already available on the internet to give me a leg up (Paul Carmody’s Sprite) and a whole lot of elbow grease, this is what i came up with.
Lola Redux. (it being the second version of my first much much less aesthetic one). She started off as one piece of MDF and a handful of parts, after much sawing, dremel-ing, sanding, painting and buffing later turned into a bluetooth connected, T-amp powered portable tabletop speaker. Hi tech retro as the Mrs put it. Ve meters of yore married to bluetooth connectivity.
For what it is, i certainly cannot complain about the sound quality it outputs. Where commercial products have volume dependant digital signal processors shouldering much of the work to make a small box sound large, Lola manages with a reasonable internal volume with 3 inch high excursion drivers in a vented enclosure. Bass and treble adjustments are available to fine tune the output. Sort of like a manual DSP. Its not like DSP’s are not available to be integrated into the design, just that i did not see the point of it. Place it adjacent to a wall and the bass output is very good. Not just lower midrange thumpy but actually properly bassy (positioning, like all speakers require, matter here).
It took two months and one huge revision, Lola Redux does not fail to impress sonically or aesthetically. The satisfaction though…. priceless.