Last fall, the Logitech Audio team launched two products – the Logitech® Pure-Fi Express Plus speakers for iPod/iPhone and the Logitech Z-5 speakers for Mac or PC – that feature a technology called “omnidirectional acoustics.” I’m often asked what omnidirectional acoustics are, so I wanted to take this opportunity to explain.
I think our senior acoustic engineering manager has the best analogy: a traditional speaker has forward-facing drivers that send sound in one direction. Now, imagine that the sound coming out of that traditional speaker is a beam of light from a flashlight. Depending on which direction the speaker is facing, the light from the flashlight is concentrated in one area, leaving the rest of the room darker. Similarly, traditional speakers focus sound in one direction, creating a sweet spot where the sound is optimized.
Omnidirectional speakers have drivers that face in multiple directions (in the case of the two products mentioned above, there are both front- and rear-facing drivers). As opposed to the flashlight scenario, the sound coming out of an omnidirectional speaker is like light from a lantern. No matter where you sit around a lantern, the light is evenly distributed. Similarly, omnidirectional speakers project sound more evenly in all directions, delivering great sound regardless of where you are in the room.
What does this mean for everyday listening? As we all know, more and more people are using laptops and iPods to listen to music wherever they want, regardless of whether a given location is conducive to the traditional speaker’s “sweet-spot” listening experiences. An omnidirectional speaker can be placed anywhere — on top of the kitchen table, in the middle of the room, or on a picnic table — and your music will sound great, regardless of your location. I guess you could say that omnidirectional acoustics make every spot the “sweet spot.”