Quark's mini home speaker is an unusual item. Quark offers an Open-Source speaker and we'll tell you more about what it has in store! Please note that 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 enclosure
Here are the technical characteristics of our mini-speaker:
- Dimension: 120 x 120 x 120mm (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 start, the mini speaker for the home is entirely made in 3D printing. We will have more opportunities to discuss this technology of additive manufacturing in our blog. This solution therefore allows us to manufacture with precision, and only to order. No more waste of resources due to large series.
Short definition of open-source
Here is a small definition to start with. The open source model involves making software source code available to the public for community review, modification, and sharing. Collaboration and sharing are therefore the foundations of this development model, aimed at creating superior quality and reliable software. Contributors can suggest improvements, report bugs, and work together to improve software performance. This development model is therefore based on sharing and collaboration.
The base: 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, using Bluetooth technology. This means that 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 seamlessly stream sound 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 incorporating 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, displays and portable electronic devices such as audio speakers. Makers often choose the ESP32 for its features, convenience, and affordability over other microcontroller options.
What did we put in 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 community around the firmware is simply fantastic! We thank her again here for this work and this passion! The speaker is compatible Bluetooth 5 but it can also behave like a Squeezelite Receiver. Warning the eyes.
Small detail: Squeezelite is an open source project that allows you to run an audio streaming server on a computer or 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 stream 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 in 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 (Squeezelite receivers). This allows the user to stream music to different rooms in their home. However, the exact configuration will depend on the model and configuration of each loudspeaker. It therefore takes some technical knowledge to set up such a device correctly.
And Apple Air Play in all this?
The Squeezelite-esp32 team, who developed the firmware for the speaker, added AirPlay to the motor. It is an audio streaming technology developed by Apple for Apple devices such as iPhone, iPad and Apple TV. It enables these devices to stream audio, video and photo content wirelessly to AirPlay-enabled speakers, TVs and receivers. This means that 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 stands 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 loudspeakers, adjust volume and process other aspects of sound. These filters can be built into the speaker itself, or placed on the outside and connected to the speaker via cable or wireless connection.
What's hiding inside 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 the digital audio signal (I2S inputs). The TAS5711 has a Class D DSP (Digital Signal Processor). This means that you can modify the amplifier's response curve to improve the sound reproduction of your mini home speaker.
The amplifier then converts the digital audio signal to an analog signal to power the speakers. It is thus 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.
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 Quarkos: our electronic board has been designed to give you access to all of these 3 outputs. We only use an 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 parts are there, available for a crazy adventure!
The TAS5711 has two 8-band equalizers for the wideband channels and four EQs for the SUB part.
What is an equalizer / equalizer?
An equalizer is an audio tool that adjusts the individual sound levels of frequencies in an audio signal. It works by adjusting the volume levels for the different frequencies in the signal, helping to compensate for differences in the frequency response of different audio systems or 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 the sound to be customized to suit personal preferences. Finally, equalizers can be implemented physically or in software (like our DSPs) and can be included in audio systems (like in the Quark mini loudspeaker), audio software or mobile applications.
Can I change the response curve of my mini home speaker?
The answer is yes! It is therefore quite possible to modify the response curve of your mini speaker for the home. But you have to put in some elbow grease to get there. We will come back to this 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 throw a party with Quark's mini home speaker?
Quark's mini home speaker features a 20W RMS amplifier with a 20W Faital Pro 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 loudspeaker or several loudspeakers 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 entertain a party of 6 people. So don't place false hopes in this place. It is perfectly suited for cocoon use, with the family, for an aperitif. But we don't recommend it to host a party :)
The open enclosure 2. 1 per Quark
The Quark team has imagined the first prototype of an open and Bluetooth speaker in audio 2 format. 1 It was in Quark's workshop in 2021. The speaker has been designed to deliver superior sound quality with its two full-range channels and 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 any room in your home. home with music. The two full-range channels achieve higher frequencies with clear sound quality, while the dedicated low-frequency channel guarantees powerful and deep bass sound.
In the end, the first prototype of the Bluetooth speaker 2. 1 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.
Be aware that the electronic board of the Qube speaker can always power this type of speaker 😎
Hope you know more about your Quark mini speaker. I also hope 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 forcefully reproduce the low end 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 according to your feedback and your projects!