This is a more technical description of the SoundBuckets for everyone who likes a bit more detail
What is a SoundBucket?
The SoundBucket is a compact, portable quality speaker, capable of some serious sounds. Using the latest Bluetooth® technology and old school analog design, you can stream quality stereo music, and remote control them from your phone/tablet or PC.
What’s Different about a SoundBucket?
The SoundBuckets have been designed to excel sonically, ergonomically and ethically, so they’re:
- High Fidelity: They were designed as a real Hi-Fi/ studio speaker first, then shrunk down to make them portable.
- Omnidirectional: They broadcast sound in every direction which is ideal for taking them outside, but through clever design, they become more focused inside a room, giving a cleaner sound.
- Loud and Dynamic: The big bi-amped 30W amplifiers mean they can play music really loud, exactly as it was originally composed, but because they can also play quiet, delicate notes, they have marvelous uncompressed dynamics – really feel the drop!
- Bass Deep: The large 4” woofer creates a powerful, tight, and deep rythmic bass that makes your music come alive
- Hi-Tech: They use the latest Bluetooth® technology to offer wireless true stereo, superior aptX® music streaming and great Bluetooth range
- Lo-Tech: They use big, old school speaker drivers, analog design and construction, to sound great and last
- Stylish: They fit right in with your décor and style, with a wide range of gorgeous colours to choose from, and a cool timeless retro shape.
- Ethical: They are niche manufactured in the UK by an established ethical company who care about their reputation, their staff, their environmental impact, and you.
- Long Life: They have a huge rechargeable battery life, so you can spend more time listening to music and less time recharging.
- Childs Play: They are really easy to use, with a single discrete switch and multicoloured LED to control everything.
- Eco Friendly: They are built to last, not go into landfill when the batteries eventually die. They’re easy to service, update and repair, so they keep working and ahead of the game for as long as you want them to.
SoundBuckets: a real speaker, but portable.
Working in the Hi-end music industry we get to hear some great music, first as a studio master, then later on the street. The differences in sound are huge – it’s not to do with MP3’s or anything that subtle, it’s all to do with the quality of the speakers the music is played on.
Sadly, in my view, today’s large companies spend more money on marketing their speakers than they do on engineering them and with a constant churn of “new” models to keep the money flowing, the poor consumers are left confused and unsatisfied.
We, however think differently.
We’ve engineered a new compact, portable British speaker, good enough to be used in a studio, based on the best of old school & new technology. It’s designed to be fun to use, to play music with energy, to be ahead of the game, to last for years and be made in an ethical and sustainable way.
Say hello to the SoundBucket, a portable, real speaker, capable of some serious sounds.
Made by Old Geeks
We’ve got a great audio engineering background (see the about, or go to crookwood.com). We used our engineering experience from our 30+ years in top end Hi-Fi and studio audio, plus our physics background to create a speaker suitable for critical studio work first, then added features to make it ideal for personal use. In this way, we knew that it would outshine the competition and we would be proud to put our names on it.
The primary key for superior sound is simple: you need to put the money into the speaker drivers – the parts that turn electrical signals into sound and make the air move – not spend more money on shiny housings, packaging or try to differentiate yourself with extra non-music features.
In our view, the current trend is to spend lots of money on packaging, and pennies on tiny (tinny?) drivers, then try to correct for their poor performance using lots of cheap digital processing. But when you start to turn up the volume, it all starts to fall apart. Like the old adage, you can’t make a silk purse out of a sow’s ear!
After loads of research, prototypes and testing, we ended up with a traditional set of quality drivers – a big 4½” woofer and a small tweeter – just like a real speaker. The integration, driver quality and damping are all based on the work done on the original BBC LS3/5A design, but with modern tweaks. It’s a real speaker, for the way we listen to music today.
Big Sound, Small Speaker
The big woofer really couples to the air in a way that small drivers can’t, to deliver powerful, deep and solid bass. Being a quality unit, the midrange is also clean, and the integration with the small tweeter gives a really balanced response, making the SoundBucket sound effortless with all genres of music.
The unusual configuration of having the woofer at 90° to the tweeter allows us to shrink the size of the SoundBucket and also broadcasts sound in all directions ( 360° sound).
The net result is a compact speaker that performs like a regular big speaker. Easy to carry around with the smart leather handle, they blow those other baby speakers out of the water!
Loud, Quiet, always Clear
Music is made loud, and the character of the music changes with volume. To hear this, we designed the SoundBuckets to go loud, and with its bi-amped 2 x 30w internal amplifiers it can go really loud!
The internal rechargeable batteries can be boosted with an optional external power supply to pump the SoundBucket to the max, and unlike other portable speakers, we don’t lose bass as you go loud thanks again to the big woofer. It’s got the equivalent power of over sixteen 1” normal drivers and because we use expensive, high quality, low distortion parts, as you turn up the volume, the sound stays smooth and beautiful, not hard and nasty.
Studio Quality, Hi-Fi, High Resolution and Beyond
We’ve designed this little speaker to be very good, with abilities well beyond it’s selling price. It’s good enough that we’re also selling the Soundbuckets with an external pro interface to our studio customers.
Two SoundBuckets work really well in stereo as a small Hi-Fi, and one of the big differences between us and other Bluetooth portable speakers, is that the SoundBuckets have an old school pure analog path to power them properly; no cheap digital tomfoolery, compression or manipulation. Other speakers convert everything to lo-res digital, then filter, manipulate and compress the audio to try and create a decent effect from a set of small cheap speaker drivers. Unsurprisingly, the results vary hugely with level and audio material.
The SoundBuckets in comparison sound like a proper speaker, not a toy or gimmick. They sound right, not forced or shouty. In fact the performance of our analogue circuits is well beyond those of today’s digital formats so, no matter what format becomes popular in the future, the SoundBucket won’t be the weak link in your system. To get the best performance, just use the analogue aux jack input on the back (Pono players, take note!).
Of course the Soundbuckets have Bluetooth, but it was initially a concern of ours. Bluetooth is reliable, everywhere and convenient, but it wasn’t designed to handle high quality audio so it compresses the music (again) to fit into its bandwidth. BT have done a good job, but it’s easily an order of magnitude worse than our analogue path.
Thankfully however, more and more audio devices are now equipped with aptX®, a different and superior way to stream high quality audio over Bluetooth. We’ve known the aptX guys since the 80’s and know the product well from its use in Hi-end Pro-Audio, so it’s great to be able to use the superior aptX technology in the SoundBuckets – Bluetooth has never sounded so good!
As well as aptX you can use Bluetooth to wirelessly link two SoundBuckets to get proper stereo, and the size, design and shape of the SoundBucket gives you accurate 3D stereo imaging. Beyond this you can daisy chain lots of SoundBucket together using our clever analogue Aux out ports to really blast out the sound everywhere. This linking also works for wired stereo.
Don’t worry if your phone or tablet etc doesn’t have aptX, you’ll still be able to enjoy a great experience out of the SoundBuckets, but if it does, it will automatically select aptX for the best possible performance. Enjoy!
Not only will you sound good, with the SoundBucket, you’ll also feel good too!
It feels solid and expensive, but is easy to carry with the thick genuine leather handle. With a choice of 10 colours, you can really express yourself and choose the colour that’s right for you.
The whole product is made from real materials; steel, aluminium and leather. It’s niche manufactured in the UK, by a skilled set of staff working in an ethical small company, not a profit centred, large corporation hunting for lowest labour costs.
You can also feel good for the environment. We use locally made, recycable parts and local staff where possible, minimising travel miles. The product is made to last, and be easily repaired and upgraded, and not binned when the batteries start to fail or the digital technology changes. It’s not a throw away product, but a musical asset designed to give pleasure for years to come.
What doesn’t it do?
For the sake of completeness, here are some things the SoundBucket doesn’t do. It’s a serious speaker, not a gimmick, so it doesn’t:
- Charge your phone: our batteries are too powerful, and would damage your phone.
- Act as a speakerphone: to do this right, you need proper noise cancellation software and we’d rather spend the money on the bits that make music instead.
- Work as a PA. They go loud, but not heavy-metal-in-the-open-air-in-front-of-a-large-crowd loud. However, one or two of them in a typical living room will give you a serious party.
- Produce sub sonic bass. We go low and loud, but you need a minimum of an 8” driver to produce bass you can feel. Talk to us about our upcoming BassBuckets….
- Make toast.
At the end of the day, you can’t buy anything as good in this price bracket, as a SoundBucket for playing music!