Running into an article about high-tech audio speakers isn’t what you’d expect when browsing ArcticStartup, but as an audiophile I just couldn’t resist the temptation of covering the beautiful piece of equipment every casual music lover would dream to have in their living room. Uploud Audio’s UA1 is a next gen speaker with a double design trump card: softly furry and esthetic looks fused into a passive hifi speaker with obviously euphoria-inducing effects.

I ran into Tuukka Kingelin, product designer at Uploud Audio, last week at the Slush conference while walking among the healthcare startup stands in the Health Track. Before him, on the stand table, stood a queer looking yet strangely attractive box shaped object with a soft fabric surface that looked mildly misplaced in the health section of the conference. My curiosity was growing too strong to walk past the seemingly useless but warmly inviting item without at least a brief introduction into the product. And to be honest, after an vastly intriguing insight on the UA1, I parted from Tuukka with a curiosity that had turned into a urge to get that box in my very own hands.

Uploud Audio was founded in 2011 with the intention to produce a quality solution for those who are looking to upgrade their sound system. With a group of mostly Finnish designers and manufacturers, the Uploud team has brought a design product to the world through clever customized ornamenting, exceptional product quality and direct sales.

When choosing a new sound system for a household it’s an unfortunate fact that price beats quality in far too many cases. And it doesn’t always stem from the lack of money, but more from lack of interest. When thinking about what makes a speaker perfect for you, it’s a mistake to believe it has anything to do with how far the volume goes. Music is a mixture of different sound waves, or  frequencies, that a sound system produces from the packed audio format data received. Low quality speakers only read a certain set of these frequencies, making the music sound unnecessarily sharp and dry.

In order to have a true audio experience one requires a set of speakers which are capable of reading even the tiniest differences in these frequencies. The result is a smooth and liquid like flow that slithers into to your ears and gives your eardrums the vibration massage of the century. For an inexperienced listener the difference might seem barely noticeable, but this tiniest of differences makes the whole into something absolutely different.

The collaboration of Nordic expertise ensures that the above mentioned is guaranteed for those who acquire an UA1. The coaxial speaker’s element is manufactured by SEAS, a highly regarded Norwegian tech manufacturer who specializes in component production. The build-in technology and the shape of the speaker gives it a variety of different advantages. The sound can the optimized towards nearly every direction, and thanks to its capacity to make the most of the bass resonance produced by walls, the UA1 does not require speaker stands. Hanging it up your wall will not affect the quality of the sound, and it certainly won’t make your wall look bad either.

The UA1 concentrates on a minimalistic approach. The traditional problem with speaker design has always been how cold and black they appear. A plastic lump with a huge hole in the middle covered by a metal grid, is slowly becoming an acceptable norm for speaker appearances.

Uploud Audio has, to put it simple, knitted a wool sock around this problem. Literally. Their speaker is covered by a fabric that makes the piece look so cozy and comfortable it almost makes you wonder if you could use it as pillow. The relatively small speaker can be purchased with a variety of different fabrics with very down-to-earth colors, and if you feel like switching between looks from time to time, changing the cloth is fairly simple and cheap.

To top up another design related problem with speakers, the UA1 comes with a customized cord. And yes, as you probably guessed, they knitted a wool sock for the cord as well. Once again, the choice of color is yours, and changing the cord to a new one won’t empty your wallet more than necessary. A true design product.

But just as any true designer product, the price for a UA1 remains the only reason why I still don’t have my very own furry hifi speaker. €500 for a piece makes this a game playable only by those who can afford it. Not to mention a sound system set usually requires two speakers to evenly fill the room with the vibe of whatever tunes you rock when you want to relax after a day of work.

Nevertheless, the price gives you a boombox with customizable looks and a tech quality that will give that speaker an unseen lifespan and performance. The UA1 will blast its way to your heart the moment you plug it in. Definitely worth every penny.

The UA1 can be home tested for free and experts will evaluate the best possible installation in your household. Read more at www.uploudaudio.com

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