While the Internet is gaga over CES and tiny wearables and the Internet of Things and my favorite idiocy of the day, a smart belt that expands while you eat, designer Daniel Ballou has designed a set of old-fashioned stereo speakers that connect by real cables and brass speaker plugs to your stereo receiver. (Yes, people still do that.)

But good speakers are heavy; designers want a good, low resonance material that minimizes vibrations. It is always a tradeoff of mass vs. portability and cost. 

cinder speakers apart

Daniel Ballou's front, your block. (Photo: Daniel Ballou)

Daniel Ballou of Studio Dashdot takes a different and very clever approach: He separates the electronics from the mass. The company designs the speaker face (with all the electronics and speakers) and the rear around the form of a common concrete block, available everywhere for about a buck, or free from your friendly construction site. Put them together and you get a solid speaker that isn't going to vibrate, even if you pump the bass up to 11. 

The Cinder Speaker ships as a pre-assembled and pre-wired front panel, including a 5” driver, tweeter, crossover, and input jack. The back panel includes mounting hardware that spans the cinderblock and seals the enclosure.
assembled cinder speakers

The assembled speakers have that minimal basic look. (Photo: Daniel Ballou)

Concrete blocks are cheap and simple and omnipresent and heavy. The manufactured components are light and easy to ship. Separating the two is really clever design. Then there's the industrial aesthetic, leaving the concrete and plywood exposed — no pretense here, totally minimal.

They are not yet on the market but you can get more information at Daniel Ballou's website. Found on Designmilk, where Gregory Han describes "this playful design philosophy where humor is always part of the answer, turning to a ubiquitous component as the basis for an unusually “dense” DIY solution to create a wall of sound." Heavy.

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Lloyd Alter ( @lloydalter ) writes about smart (and dumb) tech with a side of design and a dash of boomer angst.