Published on March 9th, 2015 | by Greg0
Clearly Unique: The Clearview Clio Speaker
There are quite a few ways to create sound, but the vast majority of audio gear use a simple, time-tested method. It works in spaces large and small, and means that your huge home theater speakers are basically scaled-up versions of your little earbuds. Headphones and giant tweeters alike work on the principle of magnetic drivers, with a voice coil that is attracted and repelled, creating sound through a flexible cone-shaped diaphragm that vibrates. But it’s not the only system- there are electrostatic or planar options too that are less common but quite interesting.
The Clearview Clio, though, is a completely different animal, even for a Bluetooth system. It uses piezo-electric actuators, a patented system they call Edge Motion, to move a completely clear and transparent piece of acrylic glass. The result isn’t just audible, it’s visible- a thin, lightweight transducer that produces rich sound and works in 360-degrees, less directed than your traditional models. You do get true stereo sound from a single unit, and they’ve built in a down-firing subwoofer as well to handle to low notes.
It’s an interesting technology, showcased beautifully, and has won Clearview some awards for the innovative minimalist design. It reminds us of Dyson’s re-imagining of fans and dryers, and that’s a definite compliment. The wireless works well, and for those who want to use a wired connection, an auxiliary 3.5mm minijack input is available. There aren’t any playback controls on the unit itself, it’s not portable, and they recommend avoiding humid environments. Plus, there isn’t a microphone, so no speakerphone capabilities.
But the biggest downside of the Clio is that it just doesn’t quite sound quite worth the price. As a display, it can attract attention, but it’s easy for it to sound a bit harsh on many musical choices, a bit rough/hollow on vocals, and a bit muted on the low end. The Clio can be quite loud, as it puts out plenty of power for the size, but the overall feeling can be slightly brassy and bright. This may suit your musical tastes- and some environments- and there’s no doubt that the Clio can fill a room. Available online and in stores for around $350, the Clearview Clio can be purchased in bronze, silver, or black accent finishes.