interview with Philippe Starck
Zikmu is not a personal project. Henri Seydoux (founder and CEO of Parrot) is a very unusual person. As a friend who understands him deeply, luckily I was simply able to express what he had in his head, because he couldn’t draw it himself. It was a kind of osmosis.
WHAT WE DESIGNED IS NOT A LOUDSPEAKER. WHAT WE DESIGNED IS VIBRATING AIR. If Henri had just asked me to design a loudspeaker, with the standard technology that produces the usual effect, I wouldn’t have been interested at all. I would have told him, “listen, it’s very kind of you but there are lots of other people who will do a better job than me”. But this project offers a totally coherent approach, in terms of the result achieved, and the result for the people who will use it, and that’s what counts. This is not that we are designing, making and selling loudspeakers. What is important is what the final benefit will be for the person who will use it. In that respect, Henri and his engineers have done a remarkable job. Parrot is at the very forefront of global technology, in particular for Bluetooth®, and to my mind that says a lot. It means that Parrot works with real subjects, such as communications and immateriality. So Parrot has a genuine aim: to allow wireless communication that is, for example, more flexible and infinitely versatile. That certainly got me interested. The approach of Henri Seydoux and of Parrot is totally right and integrated. And as we all agreed on that, the project created itself, because we got the meaning right, and the aim, doing nothing other than the minimum needed to achieve that maximal aim. The aim wasn’t just to make another loudspeaker. It is clear that our design produces amazing sound,
but what’s more, whether you use Bluetooth or WiFi, whether you put your mobile phone or your MP3 player next to it, it plays music as if by magic, and that’s incredible. But, and this is what got me interested, what we designed is not a loudspeaker. What we designed was vibrating air. These loudspeakers offer an extra dimension created by the vibration, where the air itself comes to life. You have an object, which creates this air that surrounds you on all sides, that has a presence, like a human presence, like a fragrance. Parrot’s engineers have worked miracles. It’s amazing what they have managed to do in terms of the quality of the technology and sound, in such a small space. The aim of my dematerialization strategy was always to keep everything to the strictest minimum. As for me, my job, which I believe I have done well, was to design a minimalist setting for this technology for the benefit of man. How could I have done any less? Zikmu is the simplest design possible at present. Our device is totally modern, not just because of all its technical capabilities, but also because it is as simple as possible. Its only purpose is to produce the maximum effect, with the most advanced and incredible technology, and the least amount of material. Now that is what I call magic.
Zikmu Parrot by Philippe Starck Hi-Fi wireless stereo speakers
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Zikmu is a daring blend of design and acoustics. We wanted to create an elegant high performance object that would integrate harmoniously into any interior. After nearly three years of research, and with the help of leading audio specialists, these loudspeakers of a different kind are now available. The concept is based on a unique combination of various acoustic technologies, made possible by means of sophisticated signal processing (DSP). The result is an impressive sound image emanating from an unobtrusive beautifully-designed object.
Control your zikmu effortlessly Browse through your music libraries You can use any web browser on a Mac, PC or iPhone to browse through the music libraries on your iPhone/iPod and UPnP media servers.
Equaliser The equaliser is now accessible simply via the web interface. It offers predefined settings based on the musical themes selected. The preamplifier is now controlled automatically.
Automatic 1-click update Via the web interface, you will be automatically notified when an update is available. You will be able to update your speakers with a single click. Dynamic Loudness The equaliser control function is adjusted dynamically according to the volume, thereby ensuring perfect sound reproduction in every environment.
Room compensation If you specify the dimensions of the room the speakers are in, they will provide optimum sound quality.
Compatibility At least version Bluetooth 2.0 required with A2DP profile
Docking station speaker for playing tracks instantly and recharging your iPod®/ iPhone®/iPod® Touch, iPod® Nano, iPod® Classic.
Connections Audio streaming via Bluetooth and Wi-Fi from your Mac / PC
RCA line-in RCA line-in input for all analogue audio sources AUDIO / RCA LINE
RCA / RCA LINE
NXT technology uses a quite different principle from a conventional loudspeaker. A honey comb membrane structure is vibrated by a set of exciters located in carefully defined positions. In addition, the panel’s characteristic radiation diagram shows that radiation from the edges is low, making it possible to minimise reflections on the sides of the panel and prevent interference with furniture in the room. Unlike a conventional loudspeaker (fig.1) acting as a point source, a panel’s emitting surface is wider, resulting in uniform energy distribution (fig.2). Reflections from the room’s walls are more diffuse, that enrich the sound image rather than imparing it through destructive interference.
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COMPACT BASS CASING The bottom part of the loudspeaker contains a powerful woofer placed in the downfire position, and a bass-reflex system. Bass reproduction is amplified by placing the housing as close as possible to the floor, although size remains at an unobtrusive level (fig.3). The woofer is equipped with a neodymium magnet for maximum power in minimum space. The box interior is reinforced by a metal structure that eliminates distortion.
FLAWLESS STEREO IMAGE Parrot draws on its wireless technology to deliver a perfect stereo image. Two real left and right speakers provide rich and deep sound. Thanks to the wireless link between the two speakers, you no longer have to settle for second best as with other iPod docking stations. With our PC/Mac software, you can easily assign the left or right stereo channel to either of the speakers.
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THE POWER OF DSP The combination of panel and woofer was made possible by very specific control of all electrodynamic elements via a system of DSP processing and amplifiers. Unlike conventional loudspeakers designed to produce an ideal axial response, Parrot By Starck loudspeakers radiate energy homogeneously throughout the entire room (fig.4). The electronic architecture is ideally suited to this type of use. A powerful DSP synchronised at 200MHz carries out the digital filtering and feeds into a set of amplifiers dedicated to each driver. Therefore Class-D amplifiers were chosen so as to achieve maximum efficiency and minimum heat dispersion.
Space radiation analysis
ELECTRONIC ARCHITECTURE The combination of radiation from the woofer and the flat panel is therefore perfectly controlled. It is this unique use of a DSP with individually controlled exciters that makes it possible to obtain very high quality sound from an elegant minimalist object (fig.5).
IMMERSE YOURSELF IN MUSIC Zikmu represents a unique combination of design, acoustics and the power of digital and wireless technology. The result of this union is an object that is unusual, astonishing and beautiful, delivering exceptional sound quality. This masterpiece of innovation was designed for a single purpose: to let music overcome you.
COMPLETE CONNECTIVITY Zikmu enables you to listen to the music you love using all the modern digital devices. The iPod/iPhone dock uses Appleâ€™s digital encryption chipset. Transfer is entirely digital and supports all digital formats, including Apple Lossless. Wi-Fi enables you to listen to any piece of music from a PC or a Mac. The Parrot virtual sound card provides the interface with all your computerâ€™s audio players. The Bluetooth Stereo wireless technology (A2DP) is available on Mac laptops and desktops as well as A2DP mobile phones and future 3.0 iPhone release. Finally, an analogue Hi-fi input enables you to connect your CD players or TV set.
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WIRELESS HI-FI SPEAKERS Docking station speaker for playing tracks instantly and recharging your iPod®/iPhone®/iPod® Touch, iPod® Nano, iPod® Classic. Streaming your tracks from your Mac/PC and mobile phone via Bluetooth®. Audio streaming via Wi-Fi from PC and Mac. RCA line-in input for all analogue audio sources. 100W RMS speakers with immersive sound transmitted at 360°. Treble and mid-range sound reproduced from an NXT panel on the top part of the speakers. Bass sound reproduced from the bottom part of the speakers. Remote control included.
www.parrot.com Parrot S.A. Publication 174 quai de Jemmapes, 75010 Paris France Parrot S.A. RCS PARIS 394 149 496 Visuals and technical specifications subject to change without notice. The Bluetooth word mark and logos are owned by the Bluetooth SIG, Inc. and any use of such marks by Parrot S.A. is under license.
All Rights reserved. The Parrot Trademarks appearing on this document are the sole and exclusive property of Parrot S.A. All the others Trademarks are the property of their respective owners. 03/2011 NXT is a trademark of New Transducers Limited. Wi-Fi CERTIFIED is a mark of the Wi-Fi Alliance. The Wi-Fi CERTIFIED logo is a certification mark of the Wi-Fi
Alliance. “Made for iPod” and “Made for iPhone” mean that an electronic accessory has been designed to connect specifically to iPod, iPhone, respectively, and has been certified by the developer to meet Apple performance standards. Apple is not responsible for the operation of this device or its compliance with safety and regulatory standards. iPhone and iPod are trademarks of Apple Inc., registered in the U.S. and other countries.