This review page is supported in part by the sponsors whose ad banners are displayed below

Reviewer: Srajan Ebaen
Financial Interests: click here
Source: MacBook Pro with WAV fies; Calyx Kong; HeadAmp Pico [on review]
Speakers: Glow Audio One [on loan]
Review Component Retail: $495 direct

What do a Pyrex tea kettle, stainless tea whisk, Teak computer mouse, carry-on luggage with 17" laptop drawer and hifi have in common? If you're Joey Roth, design. His website sports plenty of links to prior interviews. I'll send you there instead of hitting repeat here. Suffice to say that Joey is 26, lives in San Francisco, loves Umberto Eco and Haruki Murakami and "used 6moons as one of my most valuable resources" when he designed this audio system "which reduced the speaker system to its most simple form using raw materials that show their natural beauty and aren't usually associated with electronics."

Audio veterans will instantly recognize echoes of nOrh as the original djembe drum shaped ceramic speaker; 47lab's Shigaraki pottery; and T amp precedents. But now factor in Joey's complete direct price of $495—which includes a 15wpc Tripath 2024 amp—and previous Thailand, China and Japan offerings begin to feel like overpriced poseurs.

Exhibit A of the prosecution shows just what you're getting for your 500 clams:

• Two ceramic speakers with hand-thrown porcelain enclosures made in a shop usually doing vases; modified TangBand W4-1052SD magnetically shielded 4-inch widebanders with paper diaphragm, aluminum phase plug, Neodymium magnet and die-cast basket (free air resonance 63Hz);

• cork plugs to seal the alignment and provide securely mounted terminals;

• screwless wooden Baltic birch stand braces;

• one stainless steel-encased amp with cast iron base and Paulownia* wooden volume slider;

• terminated speaker cables;

• interconnects for RCA and 1/8"

• and a universal 12V supply for the

[Right, molded egg-carton pulp and cardboard packaging for the Joey Roth Sorapot].


* Paulownia is a fast-growing tree that's best known for its use in surfboards, guitars and traditional Japanese pottery boxes.

Simple. Elegant. Why didn't I think of it? That's stripped-down essential design in all its timeless zen glory. It translates across cultural boundaries and transcends temporary fashion blips. "The harmonious contrast between electronic components and simple materials initially inspired me to design the ceramic speakers. Most small speaker systems in this price range are made from injection-molded plastics or metals that look sleek and futuristic but do not convey the warmth and human feeling of good music. Since speakers must give music a physical form as well as make it sound good, I chose acoustically dead materials that are naturally beautiful but don't draw too much attention. I also wanted to create a system that would emphasize the midrange details in music. This is where most of the interesting information (human voices, many acoustic instruments) resides but 2.1 systems tend to de-emphasize this area. They combine tinny satellites with overly powerful subs and leave a hole in the middle. While 70Hz - 20kHz may read limited, I wanted the sound to be as natural as possible and for each part of this range to be articulated."

Joey [right with his original Sorapot] graduated from Swarthmore in 2006 with a BA in Industrial Design Theory after changing courses from a Creative Writing Major once he concluded that he'd never be equal to his favorite authors. Hifi cred comes not from audiophile-approved dreck but the Dirty Projectors and Ghostface Killah to name a few.

Given the above—on paper it scores real high on originality and nicely low on the sticker to add to one massive bhong—what kind of sound should one expect from it all?

"These speakers just became available. If you would like to receive a sample to hear in person and review, just let me know." I did and I did. Would design meet performance or just be about looks?