Not so long ago, you could only get optimal sound from a radio by standing directly in front of it. But that’s about to change, with Teufel’s Radio 3sixty. With access to hundreds of stations, Spotify Connect and powerful surround sound, this is radio reloaded. This article explains exactly how we achieved our 360-degree sound. You can find out more about DAB+ radio in this article.
Radio sound redefined
With its 360-degree sound technology, the Radio 3sixty finally puts radio sound in the spotlight, no matter where you are listening from. But how does it actually work? We asked our Teufel sound designers Massimo (Acoustics) and Ramon (Design) for more information.
The secret of acoustic lenses
At first glance, Radio 3sixty seems to be a normal radio. There is a dimmable display and two knobs next to the usual function keys on the front panel. But it’s here where the similarities with the good old radio end. Because once the radio equipped with a “MacGyver gadget package” is up and running, it can really show off the extent of its acoustic skills.
The secret of the 360-degree sound lies with two so-called acoustic lenses, which are invisible from the outside. Located directly above the two upper diaphragms, they allow the sound to be produced upwards and then emitted evenly in all directions through the lenses using physical sound refraction. And so 360-degree sound is created.
The form makes the music
However, the implementation of the 360-degree sound was by no means easy, Massimo and Ramon tell us. Countless test cones and design adjustments testify to the lengthy development of this important component.
Several cone prototypes were printed out in the 3D printer and used to read the sound image by means of special software. In the last stage, hearing tests were carried out – nothing was left to chance.
The basic form was also reworked several times until the right concept was found. The cones were first placed directly on the speaker and then hung from the top of the cover, comparable in form to pine cones.
Soundcheck interview with Ramon
Editor: Massimo and Ramon, thank you for taking the time to speak to us. Let’s get started. As we have already experienced, the Radio 3sixty offers exceptionally good sound, no matter where the device is located. Even if you move around the room, the sound image does not collapse. What was the idea behind the development of a radio with 360-degree sound and how long was the project worked on?
Massimo: We wanted to develop a radio with truly omni-directional sound (360-degree sound), so that listeners could enjoy a detailed and spatial sound from anywhere in the room. The so-called “sweet spot” should therefore actually be the whole room. A 360-degree sound is very well suited to a compact radio, as the most common application scenario from our point of view is an everyday listening experience without a fixed listening position. The stereo arrangement of the upward-firing drivers also delivers extremely natural sound and further enhances the spatial impression.
Suggested article: read more about the “sweet spot” ideal listening position
As with all Teufel products, we wanted the sound to be strong and powerful. That’s why we installed a subwoofer in the unit. This is a feature rarely found in radio sets. This ensures impressive bass reproduction despite the compact size of the unit.
Ramon: From a design point of view, we wanted to develop a radio that would simply bring out the best in today’s sound without losing its classic form. It was important to us that the customer can place the device in a wide variety of places in the house and that the sound quality does not have to be compromised.
And the idea of combining such a powerful 360-degree sound with a classic radio design has never existed before. We wouldn’t be Teufel if we didn’t expect the very best from our products. The overall development time, from the first sketch to the finished product, took about 1 – 1.5 years.
Ed.: To create this 360-degree sound, you used acoustic lenses and the physical principle of sound refraction. What was the biggest challenge in development and how did you solve it?
Massimo: Creating an omni-directional sound source was indeed no easy task. The biggest challenge was to achieve a very even sound reproduction not only horizontally but also vertically.
Ramon: Sound waves need space to expand. The more that stands in the path of the waves, the worse the acoustic reproduction can become. This applies primarily to the high and mid-range frequencies. It’s not so relevant for the bass. The challenge in design was therefore to create as much free space as possible around the lens area.
In addition, higher tones should be covered and therefore protected. The solution was to cover an open and light plastic mesh with fabric, in which the acoustic lens was additionally integrated. Two birds with one stone.
Ed.: Where would you put a Radio 3sixty in your home and what would you listen to?
Massimo: One of my favourite radio stations is Jazz Radio from Berlin. My 3sixty plays in the kitchen.
Ramon: Right now I would probably put the 3sixty in my bathroom. I would get a clear DAB+ transmission thanks to the crystal clear sound. Best for listening to 80s and 90s classics, or one of my Spotify playlists.
Ed.: Massimo and Ramon – congratulations on this product. Now that the radio will hopefully make many “radionauts” happy, the question is, what are you working on next?
Ramon: Of course, I can’t tell you what exactly we’re working out right now! I can only say so much that we will be bringing many exciting and Teufel-typical products to market in the coming years. The minds within our product development team are full of strong ideas that will inspire our fans.
Massimo: We work with passion and a strong focus on innovation to give all our new sound systems, from the smallest to the largest, the most exciting sound.
Ed.: Sounds exciting. We look forward to seeing what you have lined up!