Hide your speakers with light

Swiss-speaker maker Xounts has come up with a novel way to hide bulky loudspeakers in fashion-conscious homes - you simply replace the traditional speaker pair with one obelisk-shaped floorstander, drape in its chic coverings and then stick a light inside. Sounds too good to be true, doesn't it?

Xounts reckons its speaker can do this because it uses flat-panel speaker technology developed by UK company NXT. Inside the obelisk are two diametrically-opposed NXT exciters (mini speaker drive units, of you will) which cause vibrate panels on either side of the obelisk to create a 360-degree sound effect.

Adding low-end oomph to traditionally bass-light sounds of NXT panels is a down-firing subwoofer set into the Xounts' base. This is also the location for the volume and bass controls, plus line-in connections and the aforementioned light.

There's even room to hook up to a mobile phone, iPod or other portable audio player on the top of the Xounts floorstanding design.

Wireless for sound

The obelisk's middle houses the NXT panels which can be covered in a variety of sleeves - called Styles - that help to hide the speakers from plain sight.

Xounts has even thought what to do about the potential for speaker cables to give the game away. The floorstanders are also available in a 2.4GHz wireless version which features a separate transmitter / iPod dock to which you can connect your hi-fi and other audio sources. Your tunes are then transmitted wirelessly to the Xounts at an operating distance of 30m indoors, or up to 100m out.

The wired version of the Xounts floorstanders - dubbed Xounts Basic - costs 329 euros (£223). Xounts Wireless costs 469 euros (£318). Five additional Styles sleeves are available for 59 euros (£40) each.

Xounts' speakers will be on display at the IFA consumer electronics show in Berlin next week. We'll be there to tell you more... and let you know how they sound.

Key Features

Xounts Basic

  • 2.1-channel stereo active loudspeaker
  • 2x stereo line-in connections
  • 2x jack cables (2m)
  • Dimensions: 40cm x 102cm x 40cm
  • Weight: 5kg

Xounts Wireless

  • 2.1-channel stereo active loudspeaker
  • 2.4GHz wireless; operating range 30m to 100m
  • 1x wireless transmitter plus wall-mount
  • 4x stereo line-in connections
  • 3x jack cables (2m and 0.2m)
  • Dimensions: 40cm x 102cm x 40cm
  • Weight: 5kg