Sony's Sountina Speakers Aim to Be Seen and Heard

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We can normally only see through glass, but Sony's latest creation shows that we can hear through it too. Fashioned out of glass, the Sountina speaker system promises a new form of surround sound experience by ensuring that sound is all around in equal form.

The cylindrical speakers emit sound in a "circle" of 360 degrees allowing listeners to hear in equal fidelity regardless of their location. It also makes use of "vertical drive technology," which makes sure that the sound waves travel throughout every part of the glass tweeter. This empowers it to give off an equal level of sound from any part of the speaker.

While releasing sound in a circular manner is not new, Sony is the first to use glass in its design. Apart from the tweeter, the Sountina, also known as the NSA-PF1, includes a 13 cm woofer and a 7 cm mid range speaker.

It may look fragile, but the speakers proved its strength, performance-wise in the launch on Wednesday.

Part of the demonstration showed the speakers in the middle of the Sony Headquarters' lobby in Tokyo, an open space where sound may not travel well. It stood up to the test as music reached the mezzanine approximately 100 meters away.

The speaker also looks as good as it sounds.

Its understated design is in keeping with Sony's target of stylish products. "We intended it to match any kind of interior, which is why we kept it simple," says Takahiro Tsuge, the designer of the Sountina.

In the dark, the Sountina can also contribute to the ambience with its illuminations. Under dim lighting, the glass resonates with colors that alternate between blue, amber and purple making it something like a sleeker and more modern version of a lava lamp.

The Sountina's unique name is an amalgamation of the words "sound" and "fountain, with the final letter "a" added to provide a feminine touch. Tagged at ¥1 million (US$9,600), the system is set to go on sale on June 20 in Japan. While the Japanese get first dibs, Sony has plans to release it internationally but there is no precise schedule.

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