AUDIO EXPERIENCE FROM FRANCE
Paris. A back courtyard not far from the Père Lachaise cemetery, large premises, a workspace shared by several start-up companies. The atmosphere is relaxed yet a sense of diligence is in the air. I have come here to uncover a French UFO. I come face-to-face with one, as varnished as a black piano, which observes me with its two large anterior loudspeakers facing forward. I search for features that will allow me to identify the creature. It is neither a desk nor a workstation, not a docking station nor a piece of furniture with integrated loudspeakers! It is a little bit of everything mixed together! Behind its very designer lines, the object conceals its best features: seven loudspeakers. Four are in front; two are at the back, inclined at a 45° angle; a woofer is underneath; and the integrated set of electronics notably includes a digital converter box (furnished by Atoll Electronics, a French company).
This little work console/desk is foremost a designer piece of furniture, trendy, a little retro, nicely finished with an elegant leather desktop. It is also a fully functional desk, with ample work space and an outlet for plugging in laptops. Depending on the model, the connecter set may or may not be complete. The object can also recognize peripheral devices thanks to its wireless Bluetooth 4.0 aptX technology; its USB port and integrated DAC amplifier also allow the playback of CD-quality files if connected to an online music service like Qobuz.
Its sound playback is respectable, balanced, and the bass’ presence is rather surprising. It is not a piece of high-fidelity equipment, so it is best compared to other products of the same caliber: docking stations. The object is trendy, urban chic, and it should not have trouble finding a home in an apartment. It is clearly primarily designed to play locally stored music. Although the product was really and truly conceived in France (one of the company’s founders is none other than the grandson of Mr. Siare, who founded the brand that produces the loudspeakers of the same name), it is nonetheless disappointing that the machine is manufactured in Asia. In contrast, I appreciate the non-proprietary operating system (it is not uniquely reserved for Macs) and the integrated DAC furnished by Atoll electronics. This product clearly falls in the category of designer audio products whose originality and multifunctionality deserve to be praised. The Concept Box was released on the market two years ago, and its sales have been progressing nicely. This LD series comprises three models of three different sizes at prices ranging from 760 to 1540 €.