Back In 1997, future founder of Amina, Richard Newlove, was leading one of the original teams within the NXT group to develop the first commercial products to use this new-fangled thing called Distributed Mode Loudspeaker technology.
The basic principle of DML being the use of a sound board mechanism from the musical instrument, driven by an electro-magnetic device to set up its vibrations, rather than the strings for a violin for example.
Richard recalls, “Those early products were incredibly crude. There were very few available composite materials that were suitable and cost effective enough for the price points required within the group brands. The first drivers had very limited power handling capabilities and generally the technology was unproven.”
“Internally though, with all the research and practical applications we got involved with, we knew the technology really did work, and we knew that acoustically, a distributed, diffuse sound source (today we tend to call this spread source) had really positive benefits over the conventional point source, especially in large reverberant spaces.”
Everyone who witnessed NXT tech when it launched was impressed and could see the potential, but it took a lot of effort and some clever thinking from the Amina founder to create really practical solutions around the system.
No mean feat, and the company is to be congratulated, because many others tired and ultimately could not make a go of it. However, here we are 20 years after launch and ready to talk about another new advancement from Amina in the Mobius i series.
The i’s have it
As part of its 20th anniversary, the Mobius i series builds on the company’s achievements so far and underlines the argument that hidden speakers are no longer a compromise in sound quality and for some applications and clients, they are actually better than stand-alone.
Certainly, the technology has a strong reputation amongst classical music fans as the way the sound is produced is closer to the way sound is created by classical musical instruments than a tradition ‘moving’ speaker.
Also, for applications where a room filling, less ‘directional’ or a more subtle effect is desirable, the speakers perform strongly.
Commercial spaces like restaurants can certainly benefit from this and Amina would argue quite a few residential clients also prefer the way the audio is delivered.
What is not in-doubt is the company’s ability to hide the equipment and this is underlined also with its new London demo space situated in the very excellent offices and demonstration suite of install company Tateside.
A number of Amina solution are hidden within the fabric of the space, for two channel and cinema demos, giving the company something it has never had before, a London base from which to reach out to the interior design and architect communities.
The new line builds on the popular Mobius series launched three years ago, with the i variant representing a further leap in acoustic efficiency and improved overall acoustic performance.
Continued research into driver technology, with significant advances made possible by simulation in the virtual domain, a strong feature of the company’s approach, have allowed precious Neodymium used in the speakers manufacture to be saved by creating novel geometries, whilst improving performance.
That research has resulted in the company’s second-generation Excelsior class high frequency driver which the new Mobius i Series is based around.
The upshot is a big 6dB boost in mid-range sensitivity, an extended lower frequency boost and increased smoothness and extension in the high frequencies.
Both the mid-price Mobius5i and flagship Mobius7i boost high frequency reproduction above 30KHz. Everything combined, Amina says the result is a more open sound with increased presence.
With the development of new proprietary high frequency transducers and in combination with Amina’s patented Optidrive, Opti-damping and Reduced ResonanceExciter technology, Amina says Mobius speakers continue to perform well into the ultrasonic region and now provide significantly higher sensitivity and increased low frequency extension, giving a more open and prominent sound in the vocal range and providing more linear performance throughout the frequency range.
Amina says the Mobius5i is suitable for residential audio solutions, mid power multi-channel surround sound and high-end commercial installations.
The speaker can be placed n-wall/ceiling with 2mm covering of plaster, or into cabinetry / millwork and covered with wood, leather, slate or even marble. This model can also be supplied with a high-impedance 100/70V transformer.
This speaker is also available in a S200 variant delivering a slimline alternative to the Mobius5i for use when there is limited stud/joist spacing or for use in curved walls/ceilings with a radius greater than 5m. Using the same OptiDrive and OptiDamping technology as the full-size Mobius5i and benefitting from the same upgrade, the Mobius5i-S200 is easy to install using the same method as its cousin.
Sitting on top of the range is the Mobius7i which ups the ante performance wise and is suitable for residential audio solutions, high power multi-channel surround sound and high-end commercial installations. This is also available with the same high-impedance 100/70V as the transformer as the Mobius5i.
The Mobius i series is available now for shipment worldwide with RRP starting at around £800. Amina has also revealed that i variants of the Edge series will be released in the next few weeks to join the updated Mobius line. Also look out for an exclusive interview with Richard Newlove in the September issue of EI.