The Quark mini home speaker is an atypical object. Quark offers an Open-Source speaker and we're going to tell you more about what it has in store! Please note there are several definitions of open-source. It’s up to you to tell us if this project lives up to your expectations! Do not hesitate to contact us to improve this article.
See inside Quark's mini speaker
Here are the technical characteristics of our mini speaker:
- Dimensions: 120 x 120 x 120 mm (L x W x H)
- Weight: 890 grams
- Power: 20W RMS
- Amplifier: TAS5711
- Speaker: Faital Pro 3FE25, made in Italy
- Power supply: 12V 1A
- Bluetooth 5
- Microcontroller: ESP32
- 8-band DSP (Digital Sound Processor)
The mini speaker for the home
To begin with, the mini home speaker is entirely made in 3D printing . We will have other opportunities to discuss this additive manufacturing technology in our blog. This solution therefore allows us to manufacture with precision , and only to order . No more wasting resources due to large series.
Brief definition of open-source
Here's a quick definition to get you started. The open source model involves making the source code of software available to the public for review, modification, and sharing by the community. Collaboration and sharing are then the foundations of this development model, aiming to create software of superior and reliable quality. Contributors can suggest improvements, report errors, and work together to improve software performance. This development model is therefore based on sharing and collaboration.
The basis: the speaker is therefore Bluetooth compatible
A Bluetooth-enabled speaker is a speaker that can connect wirelessly to other devices, such as smartphones, tablets or computers, via Bluetooth technology. This means users can stream music and other audio content from their connected devices to the speaker without the need for cables or wired connections . Bluetooth-enabled speakers use a small, built-in Bluetooth chip to communicate with connected devices, allowing them to stream sound seamlessly wirelessly.
Let's take a closer look at the engine
The Quark mini home speaker is based on an ESP32 microcontroller . We can compare this chip to the “brain” of our speaker
The ESP 32 is a microcontroller chip integrating a dual-core processor and WiFi and Bluetooth connectivity . It is developed by the Chinese company Espressif Systems . This chip is popular in Internet of Things (IoT) projects due to its features such as low power consumption, real-time processing capability, and wireless connectivity options. Many developers therefore use it to create connected objects such as home automation systems, sensors, screens and portable electronic devices such as audio speakers. Makers often choose the ESP32 for its features, convenience, and affordability compared to other microcontroller options.
What have we put into the brain of the mini home speaker?
We added the Squeezelite-esp32 to our chip. This is its internal software, also called Firmware. Find the project on Github. The firmware community is simply fantastic! We thank her again here for this work and this passion! The speaker is Bluetooth 5 compatible but it can also act as a Squeezelite Receiver. Warning the eyes.
Small clarification: Squeezelite is an open source project which allows you to run an audio streaming server on a computer or a compatible device. It is designed to be lightweight and fast, with low system resource consumption. Squeezelite is compatible with the Logitech Media Server audio streaming protocol .
This means you can use the speaker to stream music from a computer or network storage. The Squeezelite project is then used to build home networked music systems. You can stream music from a centralized music library to multiple audio playback devices in your home .
So what exactly is a Squeezelite Receiver?
A Squeezelite Receiver is an audio playback device that uses Squeezelite software to receive and decode audio streams from an audio streaming server . It is thus used to listen to music from a computer or network storage . It is compatible with the Logitech Media Server audio streaming protocol. You can build home networked music systems using Squeezelite Receivers, allowing music to be streamed from a centralized music library to multiple audio playback devices throughout your home. Squeezelite Receivers can be used with wireless speakers, audio amplifiers and other audio playback devices to create a complete music streaming solution.
Multiroom with Squeezelite
It is possible to connect multiple speakers with Squeezelite. Using the Logitech Media Server audio streaming protocol , Squeezelite Server can be configured to send music to multiple speakers simultaneously (the Squeezelite receiver). This allows the user to broadcast music in different rooms of their house. However, the exact configuration will depend on the model and configuration of each speaker. It is therefore necessary to have some technical knowledge to correctly set up such a device.
And Apple Air Play in all this?
The Squeezelite-esp32 team , which developed the speaker firmware, added AirPlay to the engine . It is an audio streaming technology developed by Apple for Apple devices such as iPhone, iPad and Apple TV. It allows these devices to stream audio, video and photo content wirelessly to AirPlay-enabled speakers, TVs and receivers. This means users can listen to music or watch videos on streaming devices without having to connect cables or transfer files. Too bad, Android devices are not compatible with AirPlay without the use of a third-party receiver .
What is a DSP?
DSP is the acronym for Digital Signal Processing . It is a computer technology that uses mathematical algorithms to process digital signals , such as audio signals. DSP is often used in speakers to improve sound quality by correcting distortion or adjusting sound frequencies. DSP can also be used to improve the frequency response of speakers , adjust volume, and process other aspects of sound. These filters can be built into the speaker itself, or placed externally and connected to the speaker via cable or wireless connection.
What's hidden in your audio amplifier?
We use the TAS5711 amplifier from Texas Instruments. It is a digital audio integrated circuit. It is used in audio systems to control and process digital audio signal (I2S inputs). The TAS5711 has a class D DSP (Digital Signal Processor). This means that you can modify the response curve of the amplifier in order to improve the sound reproduction of your mini home speaker.
The amplifier then converts the digital audio signal into an analog signal to power the speakers. It is therefore often used in speakers, audio systems and home entertainment systems to improve sound quality by correcting distortion or adjusting audio frequencies. The TAS5711 offers exceptional sound quality, low distortion and very low power consumption.
The TAS5711 is a so-called 2 + 1 amplifier. This means that you can power 2 full-range speakers with this amplifier + a SUB . Good news for the Quarkos: our electronic card has been designed to give you access to all of these 3 exits . We only use one output on the mini speaker. So you can add another speaker and a SUB. You will then need a lot of resources and a taste for DIY to get there. But the pieces are there, available for a crazy adventure!
The TAS5711 has 2 8-band equalizers for the wideband channels and 4 EQs for the SUB part.
What is an equalizer / equalizer?
An equalizer is an audio tool that allows you to adjust the individual sound levels of frequencies in an audio signal . It works by adjusting the volume levels for different frequencies in the signal, which helps compensate for differences in the frequency response of different audio systems or different listening environments. Equalizers can therefore be used to improve sound quality by adjusting the frequencies that are “over” or “under” represented in the audio signal. This also allows you to customize the sound according to personal preferences. Equalizers can finally be implemented physically or software (like our DSPs) and can be included in audio systems (like in the Quark mini speaker), audio software or mobile applications.
Can I modify the response curve of my mini home speaker?
The answer is yes ! It is therefore entirely possible to modify the response curve of your mini home speaker. But you have to put in a little elbow grease to get there. We will return to the subject soon. It will surely give rise to a dedicated Blog article because this part is very technical. Do not hesitate to contact us for a specific project. We can discuss it in order to find solutions to your needs.
Can I have a party with Quark's mini house speaker?
The Quark mini home speaker has a 20 W RMS amplifier with a 20 W Faital Pro brand speaker (this is the Faital Pro 3FE25 of 4 Ohm).
In general, a 20W speaker can be powerful enough to fill a small to medium-sized room with clear, powerful sound . On the other hand, if the room is very large or there are a large number of people present, you will need a more powerful speaker or multiple speakers to fill the room with sufficiently loud sound. It is therefore important to consider the specific needs of your situation before choosing a speaker.
The Quark mini speaker will not have enough low frequencies to provide ambiance for a party of 6 people. So do not place false hopes in this forum. It is perfectly suited for cocoon use, with family, for an aperitif... But we do not recommend it for hosting an evening :)
Now the rest
The open 2.1 speaker by Quark
The Quark team has designed the first prototype of an open, Bluetooth speaker in 2.1 audio format. It was in Quark's workshop in 2021. The speaker was designed to offer superior sound quality thanks to its two full-range channels and its dedicated low-frequency channel.
The Quark team's goal was to create a Bluetooth speaker that could provide an immersive audio experience for users, with exceptional sound quality and enough power to fill every room in the house with music. The two full-range channels deliver higher frequencies with clear sound quality , while the dedicated low-frequency channel ensures powerful, deep bass sound .
Ultimately, the first prototype of the Bluetooth 2.1 speaker was a significant step forward for the Quark team in creating an innovative, high-quality product that meets user needs. The photo of the first prototype shows what the speaker looked like in its early days.
Please note that the electronic card of the Qube speaker still allows you to power this type of speaker 😎
I hope you know more about your Quark mini speaker. I also hope that you have identified some ways to personalize it. For example, you can build a small setup with a dedicated amplifier (our electronic card), 2 cube-shaped speakers and a Sub to powerfully reproduce the bottom of the audio spectrum (also called low frequencies). Do not hesitate to contact us for your audio projects. We hope you enjoy this article. We will of course make it evolve based on your feedback and your projects!