Christopher Stringer, an ex-Apple designer who worked on everything from the HomePod to the original iPhone during his 22 year-stint at the company, has debuted his new startup’s debut object-based spatial speaker, the Cell Alpha. His Venice-based company Syng is charging $1,799 for the speaker or $1,969 for the model with a floorstanding base.
The Cell Alpha has woofers on its top and bottom arranged into what Stringer calls a “force-balanced” configuration. These are paired with three mid-range drivers that are distributed around its equator. Stringer’s company Syng claims this three-driver configuration (dubbed “The Triphone”) is able to project sound with “pinpoint accuracy” around a room. There are three microphones built into the speaker’s stand to measure the geometry of the space it’s in, similar to the HomePod, which helps it create the impression of surround sound using just a single speaker. In terms of connectivity, Syng says the Cell Alpha supports AirPlay 2 and Spotify Connect over Wi-Fi. Physical connectivity is handled by a pair of USB-C ports, and Syng also says it’s planning on releasing a USB-C to HDMI cable to let the Cell Alpha connect to TVs (it can also output sound from a TV using AirPlay). A companion Syng Space app is available for setup and playback control.
We aim to turn listening into a multisensory experience. When we can hear, touch, and see sound, it taps into an innate human desire to control and manipulate the sounds around us. The simple act of listening goes from passive to active and we form deeper connections to the sounds we love.
According to a report from the Financial Times, Syng hopes to generate revenue from licensing out its audio technology in addition to selling hardware. Syng currently has around 50 employees according to Wired, and is reported to have raised $15 million in funding. The FT’s report last year said these employees include ex-Apple designers and engineers, as well as former Nest, Ring, Nike, and Facebook employees. Others have reportedly joined from the audio companies Harman and Bowers & Wilkins.