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Grain Wood Audio Devices

By: on October 26, 2014
$99 - $799
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Grain Audio chose wood as its speaker and headphones medium for 3 reasons: sound; sight; and touch. (To complete the 5 senses quintet, I went ahead and smelled and licked my Grain PWS Bluetooth speaker when it arrived and can report that it definitely wasn't the worst thing I ever held to my nose or ran along my tongue.)

Grain feels that wood captures a resonance that plastics and composites cannot. While the latter are hard and acoustically reflective, natural wood materials retain a softer nature, with more porous surfaces that help attenuate high frequency sound and create a "warmer" output. Visually, Grain's wood speakers and earphones are both classy and discreet. The company also points out that the uniqueness in their source's composition--even within a single tree--guarantees that no 2 pieces will ever be exactly the same. Each customer gets an original. An original, Grain says, that will feel as good in the hand as it does in the ears and eyes. The walnut they use, combined with Grain's hand-applied oil finish, "has a tactile quality that makes you want to touch it, run your fingers over it."

Grain Audio currently offers a Packable Wireless System Bluetooth Speaker (PWS), a Passive Bookshelf Speaker System (PBS), and Wooden In Ear Headphones (IEHP). At printing, their Solid Wood Over Ear Headphones (OEHP) were coming soon. Each model is simple, stripped down to focus on an elegant aesthetic and clear, balanced sound.

Grain Bluetooth speakers ($249) use the Waves MaxxAudio suite and 2" x 2" proprietary loudspeakers to produce studio-quality sound on the move. They have an 8-hour battery life. The larger PBS ($799) trades in the standard "ugly black box" look for its FSC Certified Walnut finish panels that Grain hopes owners will be proud to display on their shelves. Technical features include 25 - 75 watts max RMS power handling, a 5.25" midbass woofer, and a bass reflective enclosure. Dimensions are 14" x 9.5" x 7.5".

Grain's in-ear headphones ($99) won a 2014 Red Dot Design Award. Their walnut casings aim for clear highs and booming lows, plus a comfortable fit during extended use. Each enclosure contains a proprietary Grain Audio driver consisting of a neodymium magnet and a CCAW voice coil. They also include an inline mic and remote. Forthcoming OEHP ($199) will have drivers and features similar to the in-ear versions', but with larger, 2 x 40 mm loudspeakers, and a larger surface area of walnut for those of you out there who need more wood.

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