Interview with the Product Planner

Find out more about the LSPX-S1

Sony's Glass Sound Speaker creates the most sophisticated space—it delivers a sense of presence so realistic that it feels like the room is filled with the sound of someone singing right there with you, while the soft lantern-like light illuminates the room.

 

TS Business Division, Senior Consumer Experience Producer
Yasushi Matsumoto

─ How was the concept of the Glass Sound Speaker created?

  

'Sountina' NSA-PF1

Matsumoto: The Glass Sound Speaker has its roots in the 'Sountina' NSA-PF1, which originated in 2008. Its concept began with the desire to create something along the lines of a 'fountain of sound' that would make it seem like sound was flowing upwards from the center of a given space. It was developed with the objective of successfully fusing a feeling of space, filled to the brim with translucent sound, together with excellent design that blends seamlessly with any interior. Although the Sountina retailed for over JPY 1 million at that time, it was received with great enthusiasm. The Glass Sound Speaker has evolved dramatically since then: it is equipped with an updated version of the Sountina's technology, is now substantially more compact, has lower sound distortion and has enhanced responsiveness. Furthermore, it can play music wirelessly and can be battery operated.

The 'NSA-PF1' produced sound by causing an organic glass tube to vibrate. It had a groundbreaking structure and sophisticated design, and generated a huge amount of interest. The 'NSA-PF1' was approximately 5 feet 9 inches tall, and its entire organic glass tube oscillated, producing an acoustic space with three-dimensional sound distributed evenly around a 360-degree span. It was characterized by having minimal attenuation while delivering sound that reached every nook of the room, even in large spaces such as halls.

Diagram image of LSPX-S1.
Diagram image of LSPX-S1.

─ The mechanism that enables sound to emanate from the organic glass itself is unique. What special characteristics does it have in comparison to regular speakers? 

Matsumoto: Most ordinary speakers generate sound by causing the cone to vibrate, but the Glass Sound Speaker makes the entire cylinder surface oscillate by vertically hitting the bottom edges of the organic glass tube with three actuators, generating sound in a 360-degree span. This mechanism of physically striking a surface to generate sound is similar to the principle of playing percussion or string instruments, and the vibrations extend throughout the entire surface of the organic glass. This delivers a cylindrical sound source that brings the acoustic image to the forefront of the organic glass tube, enabling vocals, percussion and string instruments to be reproduced with vivid clarity. Our customers often tell us that it sounds just like a real person is singing directly from the organic glass tube itself, that the sensation is so realistic that they believe they can hear the vocalist's breathing and imagine their lips moving. We would love for as many people as possible to experience this same realism.

─ So the sound expands from the organic glass tube in a 360-degree span. That's a unique feature. Can you describe some of the other features and how the Glass Sound Speaker is used?

Matsumoto: Most ordinary speakers have directionality, which means that the best position for listening to the sound is limited to being directly in front of a speaker (in the case of monaural speakers) or in between two speakers (in the case of stereo speakers). A special feature of the Glass Sound Speaker is that sound is generated from the organic glass tube in a 360-degree span, ensuring that the same sound field can be experienced from anywhere within the space. For example, regardless of whether the Glass Sound Speaker is placed in the corner or the center of a room, the same even sound field will permeate throughout the space. This even sound distribution demonstrates the non-directional nature of the speaker, and the listener will find it difficult to pinpoint exactly where the sound is coming from simply listening. We believe that the Glass Sound Speaker delivers a comfortable sound space experience without making the customer aware that they are listening to a consumer electronic device.

We have further leveraged this feature by encouraging customers to place the Glass Sound Speaker in the middle of their dining table or balcony table like a bottle of fine wine, so that friends and family can enjoy their leisure time by bonding together around the sound source.

* Not waterproof or dustproof

Close-up image of LSPX-S1.

The machined aluminum casing has excellent acoustic properties and blends seamlessly with various other materials in the living space.

Bottom angle image of LSPX-S1.

Operational buttons such as the volume control are hidden on the bottom of the speaker, concealing its true identity as an audio-visual device.

─ What elements did you focus on in terms of design?

Matsumoto: We wanted to apply our exacting standards to the design, just as we had with the sound quality. However, we also felt strongly that we did not want to design something eccentric simply for the sake of it, which might stand out awkwardly from the lifestyle space. Instead, we based our design on the Life Space UX concept (of excellent design that blends seamlessly with the space) to create a sophisticated finish that gently lends itself to human sensitivities rather than being overly demanding. The speaker body uses machined aluminum to achieve both a high-end finish and excellent audio quality. Its pale gold color tastefully matches both Japanese and Western-inspired room interiors. Furthermore, operational buttons such as the volume control are hidden out of sight on the unit's bottom surface, disguising its true identity as a speaker. 

Lifestyle image of LSPX-S1.

The acoustics of the sound with its sense of translucence, distinctive to organic glass, combines with the warm glow of the illuminating LED to create a truly whimsical feeling.

─ And there's a filament-style LED lamp in the center of the organic glass tube?

Matsumoto: Yes. I feel that the role played by the lamp cannot be underestimated. It's like when a group of people is gathered around a campfire—you find yourself gazing intently at the flames, and that is enough to relax you and make your soul feel at one with nature. The flames seem to have a magical power that enables the people gathered around it to talk about things that they might not ordinarily discuss. We have had a lot of favorable feedback from customers who have purchased the Glass Sound Speaker. We have heard that the warm light and sound have completely transformed the ambience of their space, and that the ability to gaze at the lamp while listening to music makes them feel truly relaxed. It really makes you realize the importance of the interaction between light and sound.

─ So the built-in battery enables the glass sound speaker to be used even in locations without power?

Matsumoto: Yes, that's correct. The Glass Sound Speaker distributes the sound evenly in a 360-degree span, so it can be placed anywhere. We wanted to take advantage of this feature in order to freely place the speaker in any location, regardless of whether there was a power socket nearby or if bulky cables would become an obstacle, so we decided that it was critical that the speaker could be battery operated. In addition, Bluetooth functionality facilitates wireless playback, enabling a completely cable-free experience that allows the user to enjoy music in any location. We really hope that as many customers as possible will be able to try out the ultimate spatial experience in light and sound produced by Sony's Glass Sound Speaker.

LSPX-S1

Glass Sound Speaker

LSPX-S1

Enjoy crystal-clear sound and soft light that blends into your environment.