Audeze Filter Conference Speaker Looks Cool And Sounds Clear
Audeze is an audio brand that’s probably best known for making a well-regarded range of planar-magnetic headphones. The hi-tech headphones use a completely different driver to produce sound. Instead of a paper cone and voice coil, planar-magnetic technology uses a thin sheet of charged material to wobble and vibrate to create sound. It’s a technology much closer to electrostatic loudspeakers than the dynamic speaker technology that most of us are used to.
Now Audeze has departed from its usual product line to produce a hi-tech speakerphone that uses planar-magnetic technology in this wafer-thin, rather gorgeous-looking little speakerphone that’s wonderfully portable. With a built-in rechargeable battery, the speaker can work for up to 15 hours. However, if you put the speaker into maximum volume “Ludicrous Mode” (surely a translation error), you get just two hours of use.
The Filter Portable Conference Speaker is the first ever non-headphone product from Audeze and it’s been developed with home and remote workers in mind who need to be able to take calls and still have their hands free to make notes or type while they are on the phone or taking part in a video call.
The Audeze Filter uses Deep Neural Network (DNN) noise-cancellation technology that eliminates most office or household sounds and isolates the user’s voice. The DNN has been “trained” using more than half a million noise samples so that it can accurately and effectively identify what background noise is and what isn’t. It then uses its neural network to eliminate unwanted sounds.
Although it looks as if it is made for solo use, the Audeze Filter has dual beam-forming microphones that can cover an area from 360˚ (when there are more people in the room) to a very narrow 45˚, which zooms in on a solo speaker’s voice, eliminating all other sounds and background noises.
The technology underpinning the Audeze Filter was first developed for military use. The proprietary planar magnetic speaker has a high SPL (sound pressure level), low distortion, and exceptional clarity. The downside is that very few bass frequencies kick in at a relatively high 300Hz. This makes for much clearer calls but isn’t ideal for listening to music.
The planar magnetic speaker measures 70 x 105mm and uses Audeze’s patented Fluxor magnets which are highly efficient. A Uniforce diaphragm or voice coil produces distortion-free sound. The result is incredibly clear voice reproduction and picks up so well for such a thin, light conference speaker.
The design of Audeze Filter has an unusual folding design that turns the speaker into an A-frame, enabling the speaker to be set upright and facing the user. It’s about the same size as the average smartphone. It features a touch-sensitive control panel for adjusting settings like volume, the microphone’s polar pattern, a variable noise suppression control, a mute button and a multi-function Audeze button that works like a play/pause button.
The speaker can also be controlled using the Audeze Hub smartphone app, which is available for iOS and Android. The app is a neat piece of software and enables the user to change the beamforming settings, distance from the microphone, noise suppression and all the other settings. The app can also be used to update the Filter’s firmware.
As well as being able to connect over Bluetooth, the Audeze Filter can also connect to a computer via a USB-C cable and this enables the microphone to have a frequency response as height as 16kHz. In USB Mode the Audeze Filter can work as the input and output device for a Mac, PC, Chrome or Linux computer. That’s a nice bit of versatility.
Verdict: The Audeze Filter is a beautifully designed conference speaker with an elegant design and excellent built quality. The sound quality this slim speaker produces is superbly clear, but the unit’s size means it can’t create a particularly large or satisfying bass. However, as a conference speaker, Audeze Filter is very competent at what it does and does a great job of picking up voices clearly while suppressing unwanted background noise. It’s a clever piece of kit and it just looks superb. Audeze’s Filter ships with a faux leather wallet that keeps it looking nice, although without the case, the speaker is thin enough to slip into the inside pocket of a jacket. At $249, the price is a little on the high side, but if money is no object, this is a delightful piece of tech and perfect for the digital nomad.
Pricing & Availability: The Audeze Filter conference speaker is available now and costs $249.
More info: www.audeze.com
- Speaker: Ultra-thin planar magnetic with Fluxor magnet array and Uniforce voice coil.
- Microphone: Dual microphone with beam-forming technology.
- Noise reduction: Intelligent Zero-Noise.
- Microphone range: 10ft/3m.
- Microphone frequency response: 50Hz to 8kHz (Bluetooth) / 16kHz (USB).
- Speaker max SPL: Normal 85dB @ 3ft; Ludicrous 118dB @ 2ft, 75dB @ 45ft.
- Speaker frequency response: 300Hz to 20kHz.
- Speaker THD: <0.1% (1kHz, 1mW).
- Dimensions: 11 x 76 x 152mm.
- Weight: 280g.
- Battery: 1100mAH Lithium-polymer.
- Battery life: 15 hours.
- Bluetooth version: 5.0.
- Bluetooth profile: A2DP, AVRCP, HFP, HSP, BLE.
- Audio codecs: SBC, AAC, apt-X.
- Companion apps: Android, iOS, macOS, Windows.