ARCHT Audio Debuts its New Mini Wireless Speaker

ARCHT Audio (pronounced “ark” as in “architecture”) arrived on the audio scene last year with its ARCHT One wireless speaker, following its Kickstarter campaign in 2014 that raised $242,000 from over 500 backers. Following on that success, ARCHT is debuting the Mini speaker.

The Mini is a premium portable Bluetooth speaker that features a 360-degree soundfield using a patented Sound Array Module. The speaker has a full aluminum body (unusual at lower price points) that is about 6.5-inches tall. It houses a 65-watt (rms) amplifier. Power is distributed as needed to a 2.75-inch upper down-firing speaker (facing a circular diffuser) and a lower bass driver. The latter is a particularly interesting feature. It is not a traditional bass speaker with a cone, but rather a contact driver that vibrates into the surface the Mini is placed on. Called the Bass Impact Architecture, the patent-pending system can obtain response down to 40 Hz.

The speaker’s aluminum body and heft (2.6 pounds) plants it firmly on the surface and unlike many plastic speakers, it won’t shake, rattle, and roll with the music. Instead, its bass driver, via a soft plastic pad, firmly transmits its energy. The surface can act as a sounding board and thus yield augmented bass energy.

In the same way that any speaker’s response varies according to its position in a room, this bass driver’s performance is variable. Specifically, bass response is highly dependent on the nature of the surface and the location of the speaker on the surface. For example, a compliant wood surface would be ideal and placing the speaker in the center of the surface (as opposed to an edge or a corner) would yield maximum bass output. Instead of relying on DSP or other EQ, you can experiment with the Mini’s placement to obtain just the bass response that you prefer. I played with the Mini in the demo booth and easily found a “sweet spot” that provided terrific bass response. Likewise, the sound quality of the tweeter was very good and on par with other premium speakers. Together, sound quality of the Mini was very impressive, provided you have a compatible surface. We’ll arrange a more in-depth critical listening test when production samples are available.

Pairing is accomplished with the latest Bluetooth 4.1 protocol; left/right stereo operation is available. The speaker also features a built-in microphone and noise cancellation. There is also a 3.5mm input. Touch controls on top are capacitive. Playback time is up to 12 hours.

The ARCHT Mini’s MSRP is $299 and the speaker will be available later in Q2. The company anticipates its second crowdfunding campaign in March, 2016. This is a very interesting product; its bass driver sets it apart from other Bluetooth speakers.