HE2006: Joseph Audio and Soundsmith

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by Josh Ray on June 20 '06

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Joseph audio put on a much loved room with Soundsmith, makers of wildly bizarre components crafted out of wood. It's one thing to slap on wooden face plates or cheeks, but Soundsmith gets out the whittling kit and carves grooves, pits and lettering into solid blocks of wood and then packs the contraptions full of LEDs that blink and pulse with the music. Price for the Soundsmith 350 watt stereo amp will be around $22,000 and the preamp around $15,000 when they are officially released. Speakers playing were the Joseph audio $2299 RM7XL bookshelves.

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I think the "cool" looking LED's are at least partially part of their "strain gage" cartridge design, allowing you to setup VTA and VTF via the LED display, instead of using typical setup equipment... this is nothing "new" in the strictest sense, others have attempted strain gage designs years ago... the problem has been getting good sound out of them.
I like Sound Smith's cosmetic idea, but don't you folks think they overdid it a bit? I'd still use the wood-carving thing, but cut down on the number of visual elements -- it's too busy for my eye.