* DESIGN OF
THE YEAR 2014

Sound Blaster Roar SR20


Creative Technology Ltd

Vince Ang, who leads Creative Technology’s product and industrial design team, calls Sound Blaster Roar “the mother of all portable Bluetooth speakers”. He says: “The design allows it to produce fantastic audio. It can actually replace the home theatre system”.

No larger than a portable booklet, the speaker delivers powerful, precision-tuned, high-fidelity sound. While most portable speakers use only one amplifier which compromises high frequencies in favour of low and mid ones, the Sound Blaster Roar boasts a bi-amplified design. With one amplifier for lows and mids, and another for high frequencies, it transmits uncompromisingly clear, high definition, well-balanced sound.

In designing the Sound Blaster Roar, the team had to consider a solid chassis that can withstand a high surge of acoustic output. “This translates to less energy wastage and better audio quality. The outlook of the design suggests a clean, high quality built with careful consideration for details”, Vince explains.

The speaker also delivers audio with space-filling dispersion. Its far-field high frequency drivers project audio further than most other speakers in its class. Thanks to its box-style layout, listeners hear “non-sweet, spot-specific audio and amazing tight bass”.

The product also comes with Roar, a feature that delivers instant additional audio power. A listener wanting sheer audio power can simply press the ROAR button to instantly boost audio loudness, depth and spaciousness.

There were challenges the team had to surmount to produce the Sound Blaster Roar, Vince reveals. For example, the device needed a big battery without increasing the speaker size. It also had to be more “feature-rich” than other speakers, with more components, circuits, buttons – without increasing speaker size. Ultimately, the speaker had to outperform those more than twice its price.

After several dozen design proposals were rejected, the team was left with models ACE1 – ACE4, each of which had one of the following four attributes: small and portable; great aesthetics; powerful with good sound; intelligent. The decision was to focus on ACE3, but incorporate the qualities of the other three models.

In Vince’s opinion, Sound Blaster Roar fulfills the President’s Design Award’s vision of design making a difference to people’s lives. “Singaporeans want the best of everything in life at the best value for money. We strived to create something that reflects this, and the Sound Blaster Roar is the result. It boasts killer audio, killer looks, killer features and a killer price. It is an excellent example of a well-designed, innovative speaker product that allows not just Singaporeans, but everyone, to enjoy premium quality wireless audio in music, videos, movies and games – anywhere, anytime”.

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ABOUT THE DESIGNER

Vince Ang, who leads Creative Technology’s product and industrial design team, calls Sound Blaster Roar “the mother of all portable Bluetooth speakers”. He says: “The design allows it to produce fantastic audio. It can actually replace the home theatre system”.

No larger than a portable booklet, the speaker delivers powerful, precision-tuned, high-fidelity sound. While most portable speakers use only one amplifier which compromises high frequencies in favour of low and mid ones, the Sound Blaster Roar boasts a bi-amplified design. With one amplifier for lows and mids, and another for high frequencies, it transmits uncompromisingly clear, high definition, well-balanced sound.

In designing the Sound Blaster Roar, the team had to consider a solid chassis that can withstand a high surge of acoustic output. “This translates to less energy wastage and better audio quality. The outlook of the design suggests a clean, high quality built with careful consideration for details”, Vince explains.

The speaker also delivers audio with space-filling dispersion. Its far-field high frequency drivers project audio further than most other speakers in its class. Thanks to its box-style layout, listeners hear “non-sweet, spot-specific audio and amazing tight bass”.

The product also comes with Roar, a feature that delivers instant additional audio power. A listener wanting sheer audio power can simply press the ROAR button to instantly boost audio loudness, depth and spaciousness.

There were challenges the team had to surmount to produce the Sound Blaster Roar, Vince reveals. For example, the device needed a big battery without increasing the speaker size. It also had to be more “feature-rich” than other speakers, with more components, circuits, buttons – without increasing speaker size. Ultimately, the speaker had to outperform those more than twice its price.

After several dozen design proposals were rejected, the team was left with models ACE1 – ACE4, each of which had one of the following four attributes: small and portable; great aesthetics; powerful with good sound; intelligent. The decision was to focus on ACE3, but incorporate the qualities of the other three models.

In Vince’s opinion, Sound Blaster Roar fulfills the President’s Design Award’s vision of design making a difference to people’s lives. “Singaporeans want the best of everything in life at the best value for money. We strived to create something that reflects this, and the Sound Blaster Roar is the result. It boasts killer audio, killer looks, killer features and a killer price. It is an excellent example of a well-designed, innovative speaker product that allows not just Singaporeans, but everyone, to enjoy premium quality wireless audio in music, videos, movies and games – anywhere, anytime”.

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DESIGNER
Creative Technology Ltd
Vince Ang
GiGi Cho
Eddy Toh

‘‘Don’t give up just because the challenges are great. With inspiration and tenacity, you can create something amazing, even in the face of incredible odds.’’

Insights from the Recipient

What was your main objective for the design?

Vince Ang: Our main objective was to create a well-designed, innovative speaker product that allows everyone to enjoy premium quality wireless audio in music, videos, movies and games – anywhere, anytime. The Sound Blaster Roar SR20 is the mother of all portable Bluetooth speakers. It boasts killer audio, killer looks, killer features and a killer price.

Citation

‘‘Don’t give up just because the challenges are great. With inspiration and tenacity, you can create something amazing, even in the face of incredible odds.’’

Jury Citation

This is a premium wireless speaker that is extremely well priced in a competitive market. As an example of industrial design, this is as good as it gets. The execution of the design is seamless and should be held as a benchmark for others to follow.

The Sound Blaster Roar’s compact form, design language, simple user interface, material selection, branding, packaging and detailed engineering of the internal components, all show that this is a world-class product.

Its sound quality is phenomenal and will challenge similar products on the market. The unit has an excellent user interface, with a considered approach to the grouping of function buttons. The use of integrated moulded rubber in the design has been meticulously detailed and gives the product a premium quality.

The Jury commended the designers and praised the end-to-end design professionalism demonstrated in the project.

VIEW JURORS

Nominator Citation

SHINTARO KITAZAWA
INDUSTRIAL DESIGNER
CREATIVE TECHNOLOGY LTD

Sound Blaster Roar SR20 delivers powerful, precision-tuned, high-fidelity sound from a compact, portable, booklet size speaker, which features a bi-amplified design with two amps. Most portable speakers utilise one amplifier: the demand for them leads to the production of the low and mid frequencies, compromising the delivery of the highs. Sound Blaster Roar SR20 utilises two amplifiers (one for driving low and mid frequencies, and the other for high frequencies) for uncompromisingly clear, high-definition, well balanced music. The speaker also delivers audio with space-filling dispersion, unlike other portable speakers.

Its far-field high frequency drivers project audio further than most other speakers in its class. And with its box style layout, listeners experience non-sweet spot-specific audio and amazing tight bass. Sound Blaster Roar SR20 also comes with Roar, a feature that delivers instant additional audio power. Most portable speakers focus on audio power thus compromising audio fidelity, or vice versa. Sound Blaster Roar SR20, by default, produces balanced, high-fidelity audio. If sheer audio power is needed, pressing the ROAR button instantly boosts audio loudness, depth and spaciousness.

OTHER RECIPIENTS