Thursday, August 11, 2011

Sound Sculpture : Zikmu Parrot by S+arck

Parrot by S+arck: These are one of the nicest looking compact home speakers available.  Technology used are a couple of NXT (now Hi-Wave) panels that handle the high frequencies, and a couple of downward firing subs under each speaker.

The system is wireless and powered.  Each speaker needs to be plugged into a wall outlet to supply the 50watts per channel.  The system does not work individually, since the control panel is on one speaker, and the iPod dock is on the other.

The pair also accepts audio via Bluetooth but reliability drops off beyond 2m every now and then so the iPod dock would really be the way to go.  Wifi audio streaming is much more reliable.

The remote operates over RF so line-of-sight is not critical for operation.

The set comes in a really cool carrying case that looks like a trumpet bag... although I don't really see people lugging this set around after initial setup.  They are light enough to carry around from room to room.

The Parrot is perfect for art/design oriented people that want a simple, all-in-one system for a small room or apartment.  Although loud enough for large rooms, anymore than 15 people and the sound gets drowned out quite quickly.  They make great conversation starters and center pieces for room decor.

On the audio quality, they sound ok.  Not bad.  Do not think that these are speakers that happen to look nice... these are decorative pieces of furniture that happen to make sound.  I was disappointed however with their overall height.  When I first saw the pictures, I was expecting them to be at LEAST 1m tall... but they're only .75m and this doesn't really maximize the potential range and dispersion of the sound.

Forget left-right directionality since the natural dipolar properties of NXT panels creates a nice diffused sound field that has a better ambient mood than traditional speakers.  These will most likely be used in a living/dining room or casual area where conversation will take priority over sonic accuracy.  I wouldn't recommend these for listening rooms, or home theaters.

At Php88,000 (or US$1,600 abroad) they're cheap for an art piece, but not cheap for speakers.  If you consider that you're getting 2-in-1 then it's a pretty good deal.

*Audiophiles should stay away!  If you're an audiophile, want decorative speakers and have deep pockets... check out Avantgarde instead.  Their entry level system starts at Php400,000 (US$8,000)*

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