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Quality speakers with modern features that fit your interior design and home size can be hard to come by. Braun Audio’s new LE series may be just what you need. Not only do they look and sound great, they also come with support for Google Assistant. We had a chance to check them out at CES.
Braun’s iconic LE speaker originally launched in 1959. Dieter Rams, the lead designer at the time, took the Bauhaus idea of “less is more” and turned it into his own mission of “less but better”. In the 1970s, after creating a series of groundbreaking designs, such as the first mobile music player, he formulated his ten principles for good design, which later inspired Apple’s product designs:
Good design is innovative, makes a product useful, is aesthetic, makes a product understandable, is unobtrusive, is honest, is long-lasting, is thorough down to the last detail, is environmentally friendly, is as little design as possible. –Dieter Rams
Today, Braun isn’t the company it used to be decades earlier and Dieter Rams has long since retired. Nevertheless, the people behind the reincarnation of Braun Audio honor his design principles.
UK-based Pure Audio has licensed the Braun Audio brand from Procter & Gamble. They have worked with Braun’s Frankfurt-based design team to revive Dieter Rams’s original LE speaker design, but the audio engineering was done in the UK.
The new LE speaker series are smart speakers that closely resemble the 1959 design, although more compact and with modern technology inside. They come in three different sizes and in either black or white frames.
The LE01, the biggest of the three speakers, contains three Tectonic BMRs (balanced mode radiators) that offer a 360° dispersion of sound, which makes for a pleasant listening experience, no matter where you stand or sit in a room. The low frequency bass is driven by two custom-designed aluminum cone high-excursion fast-transient woofers with NdFe motors. The 32-bit ARM core digital signal processor ensures that Google Assistant picks up on your commands with high accuracy.
To control the speakers, you can either use Google Assistant or a minimal set of physical buttons. Notably, the speakers do not contain a power switch. Instead, Braun Audio went with a mute button that physically disconnects the microphone. This mic drop function guarantees total privacy.
All speakers support input from Apple Airplay 2, Chromecast, Bluetooth, and they have a 3.5mm Aux-in jack for your record player or stereo system. You can stream audio in 96kHz/24-bit HD in a wide selection of formats, including HE-AAC, LC-AAC, MP3, Vorbis, WAV LPCM), FLAC, and Opus.
So where can you place these speakers in your home? You can either get a stand or you can save space and mount the speakers to the wall. All three speakers can be paired to work in stereo mode. For this purpose, you can have the LE01 and LE02 set up vertically, rather than horizontally.
The LE speakers will be available in Europe at the end of January and at selected retail outlets in the US in Q2 2020. In February, however, they will pre-launch at the Museum of Modern Art in New York. The LE01 will retail for $1199, the LE02 will be $799, and the LE03 will cost $379.