Back to the Future – the Phonophone

Last Updated Jun 2011

Matina Kavallieratos
05 April 2011

For those of you who are Apple acolytes and who enjoy adding to their existing hardware collections of iPod or iPhone gadgets, the Phonophone may be just that something a little special that will complete the accessory set.

The device is, in essence, an unusual docking station for an iPod or an iPhone, with a reverential “retro” reference to one of the first devices used for the reproduction of sound. Despite its old-world feel and elegant design though, it uses the latest technology to deliver on good-quality sound (55 decibels, to be precise), which is equivalent to the best possible performance of laptop speakers.

The device was designed by Canadian Tristan Zimmerman and apart from its obvious aesthetic beauty is very environmentally friendly, as it is both ceramic and uses no power to produce sound.

The Phonophone relies on passive amplification (no powered speakers are involved) to open up the personal music player experience to a wider audience. This is achieved through the conic design of the device, which uses the same principle as a classical horn to fill a room with music. The quality of the sound produced is rich and resonant, making it ideal for listening to classical, blues and folk music, rather than more modern tunes.

Another appealing aspect for the collector, is that the Phonophone was released as a limited-edition item.

Beware though… This is a gadget comes at a price – a cost of between $600 and $850 to be precise!

In short, although it won’t charge your iPod or pump out the latest tunes with high bass and volume, the Phonophone is a work of art worth having not only for its visual appeal, but also for its reminder of the origins of the relationship between man, music and machine and the ability to allow the listener to travel to a different time, all from the comfort of a 2011 home.

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