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Sight & Sound

Not just music, but lyrics.

According to Jin Saito, “Lyrics have huge power, but there are not many inventions for improving the experience of lyrics.” Hence, his company developed the Lyric Speaker, $4,500. The device simultaneously displays lyrics for the songs it plays.

 

“The lyrics are half of the joy of music,” says Jin Saito, CEO of COTODAMA. Seeking “to enrich the listening experience,” his company created the Lyric Speaker, which not only plays music, but displays the lyrics to more than 2 million songs.

The words animate on the 22-inch translucent acrylic panels “like something floating in the air,” he says, with the font based on the music. “If it is a mild song like a ballad, the fonts and movements become soft,” Saito explains. “If it is an energetic song like rock, they become strong and powerful.”

The speaker, controlled by an app, relies on technology developed by the Tokyo-based National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology to analyze a song’s mood and structure. The device features two coaxial loudspeakers, as well as two drone cones, and has a range of 40 Hz to 40k Hz. Only 15 of the handcrafted beauties are made every month in Japan, and with an emphasis on quality, Saito doesn’t anticipate increasing production.

The Lyric Speaker recently became available in the U.S., with b8ta as a local retailer.

 

Originally published in the January/February issue of Silicon Valley

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