Carved and Polished Columnar Basalt
4’6″ x 1’2″ x 1′ | 137 x 37 x 30 cm (each)
This piece is an example of an experiment going extremely right! It started with the concept of simply wondering if it could be done, and a year later, it was decided that, indeed, it could. The speakers you now see are attempts #4 and #5. Sadly, #1-3 all ended up in pieces on the studio floor.
These stone speakers have been carved from a single, six-sided column of Basalt, a volcanic rock found throughout western North America. Each speaker is actually a quarter of the original column. After cutting a full column in half and then in half again, I spent over 60 hours using a diamond-tipped core-drill to hollow them out. Their walls are approximately 3″ thick, and each completed speaker weighs in at a hefty 300 pounds (163 kgs).
After coring, holes were carved where the drivers would eventually be mounted, I carved and polished two of the four sides, leaving the other two sides and top in their natural form. Once I had finished, I delivered them to an incredible Seattle company who custom designs speakers and sound systems, Adire Audio.
THE STORY “HEIMDALL”:
In Nordic (Germanic) mythology, there is a flaming, three-stranded bridge that separates Asgard (heaven) from Midgard (earth). This is Bifrost Bridge, built by the gods out of red fire, green water, and blue air. Everyday the gods would ride across this bridge to Midgard in order to hold meetings.
Bifrost Bridge was protected by the god Heimdall, the guardian. Heimdall was ever-alert. He slept less than a bird, could see over 100 miles in the day or at night, and could hear the grass growing on the hillside.
Anytime Loki (the god of fire, trickster, and all-around evil guy) would gather the giants to attempt an attack on Asgard, Heimdall would blow his herald’s trumpet and summon the gods of Asgard and heroes of Midgard to fend them off.
THE TECHNOLOGY BEHIND THE PROJECT:
Adire Audio and I worked together throughout the process of creation. While I may be a fine artist, I readily admit that I don’t know all of the electronic details behind how these speakers function.
One of the requirements for the design was that the airspace within the speakers had to be of a specific volume for the woofer to operate properly. To this end, I had to construct integral steel bases to make up for the volume that I couldn’t get from the stone alone. Because I was raising up such a heavy stone, the base had to be heavy as well. To achieve that, the bottom of the base was cut from 2″ (51 mm) thick steel plate and the rest is from 1/4″ (6 mm) plate.
The base serves a dual purpose; it’s where the tuned port for the air movement is mounted as well as the area all of the electronics and crossovers units are secured.
Because of the thickness of the stone (3 – 6″ (76 – 152 mm) in most areas), this sculpture is the perfect location for audio drivers since none of their sonic energy is transferred into the stone itself (felt as vibration in normal speakers).
Adire Audio designed Heimdall’s Trumpet to be a very high efficiency loud speaker, created to be paired with Tube Amplifiers and other high end equipment. If you have any specific technical questions, e-mail me and I’ll find out for you as soon as possible.
AWARD-WINNING 2004 VSAC:
These speakers where judged at the 2004 VSAC (Vacuum State of the Art Conference) and are prize-winning. They received accolades during the entire 3-day world conference from both audiophiles and judges alike in the “Handcrafted” exhibition. While some of the 1/4 watt tube amplifiers were unable to power them properly, the 1 watt amplifiers did a fantastic job. For those of you with 100 watt or even 200 watt or more amplifiers, you can still pair your system with these speakers, but you’ll find that your volume control will never need to go up very much. As a matter of fact, the more you turn up normal amplifiers, the more distortion is brought into the output, so using the lower end of your system is the best way to use it anyway.
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