These are not your average speakers. They’re the brainchild of Rob Kalin who happens to also be the founder of Etsy, the online marketplace for handmade, vintage and one-off goods. Kalin says his aim was to restore the hi-fi as the centrepiece of the home. And, because he was unable to find speakers on the market that looked as extraordinary as they sound, he went ahead and established a manufacturer of his own (A for Ara) last year, in collaboration with a former NASA engineer, William Cowan. It currently produces three different speaker sets, all of which are made by hand in the US. Our favourite is this 55,000 USD twin FS-1 model, whose speakers stand almost 1.4 metres tall and resemble giant Takashi Murakami flowers. Apparently nearly every visual aspect can be customised and that’s neat and all but what makes the speakers so special is the sound they’re able to produce due to the fact that, instead of being staggered, the drivers for the high and mid frequencies are both positioned in the throat of the FS-1 horns, allowing them to radiate sound from a single point in space. Additionally, the low-pitched frequencies are produced in the base of the “plant,” within an optimally damped, sealed enclosure via a front-firing, long-throw 33cm woofer.
A for Ara may be a newcomer but that doesn’t mean Oswalds Mill Audio (OMA) and Bang & Olufsen aren’t taking notice.