The clear winner of the “What the Hell?” award for CEDIA Expo 2012 was S+V blogger Geoff Morrison, who showed up in a suit and tie. Second place went to Opalum, a Danish company that showed up with a line of radical new on-wall speakers that at first glance didn’t look as if they could work at all.
The driver complement of the top-of-the-line model, the $4,000/pair FLOW.4810, incorporates 48 tweeters — and nothing else. “Where’s the bass supposed to come from?” you may ask. For starters, 48 1-inch tweeters is about the same surface area (although probably with less excursion) than a 7-inch woofer. Opalum’s SoundEngine chip (a custom-programmed FPGA chip) optimizes the signal to get full-range performance from the tiny drivers. The speakers incorporate digital amplifiers, which get their power from a special interface box that provides audio signals and power for two speakers. A cool little disc-shaped remote controls volume and source selection. Smaller models start at $1,000/pair.