This Death Star-inspired speaker will thrill Star Wars fans, audiophiles, and everyone in between

Soundbars are a dime a dozen and wall-mounted speakers that look like an art piece are becoming increasingly popular too, but we bet you would’ve never seen something quite like the Syng Cell Alpha speaker.

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Just take a good look at it, does the Cell Alpha not look like it could be E.T.’s new bowling ball… or perhaps, a mini Death Star?

Developed by a California-based startup helmed by ex-Apple designer Christopher Stringer, the Death Star-shaped loudspeaker is made with one goal in mind: to transform listening into a multi-sensory experience in your living space with one-of-a-kind architecture.

But if you think the Syng Cell Alpha is all show and no substance, think again.

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The distinctive device not only has the futuristic space-age styling of the Empire’s galactic superweapon but also the advanced tech to match – the startup claims Cell Alpha is the world’s first “triphonic” speaker, courtesy of its ability to move beyond traditional stereo sound and enter the world of spatial audio.

What does triphonic – a word made up by Stringer – mean? Well, it’s got something to do with mixed reality where everything we hear – not just music – matches or exceeds the ambient sources of sound in the physical world, much like the intimate experience you’ll get when you watch a live concert or theatre performance.

How does the Cell Alpha achieve that level of sound quality? First, it features force-balanced subwoofers connected to three mid-range drivers around the centre to produce clean, deep sound at any volume.

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Then there’s “the Triphone”, a three-horn system that Syng says is capable of projecting sound with pinpoint accuracy to fill an entire room with rich, detailed audio. When playing music, the speaker’s slightly flattened top has a pulsing membrane that provides a bit of visual drama with bass and treble.

Another impressive feature of the Cell Alpha’s design? The speaker also has three microphones built into its stand that has the ability to measure the geometry of the space it’s situated in.

This is meant to help create the illusion of surround sound despite being a single speaker. In other words, the immersive audio you get from Cell Alpha is the type that leads you to believe a guitar’s playing from one corner from the room and strings are coming from the other.

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Left: Syng Cell Alpha with floor stand | Right: Syng Cell Alpha with table stand

A multi-cellular configuration is said to be the best set-up for the Cell Alpha. One speaker can create a crisp, room-filling sound field, but for audiophiles seeking the most impressive sound experience, Syng recommends pairing three speakers together in the house in order to get the fullest expression of triphonic audio.

Like any modern-day sound machine, the Cell Alpha is built for streaming and its WiFi connectivity allows you to play music through AirPlay 2 and Spotify Connect.

Before you ask, there is of course an accompanying app that lets you have all the controls right at your fingertips. The speaker is also fitted with a pair of USB-C ports, in case you prefer to connect your smart devices via wire instead.

The Syng Cell Alpha retails at approx. S$2,382.50 (US$1,799). It comes with a table stand, but add-ons like floor stand and Syng Link (a media cable to connect the Cell Alpha with compatible TVs) are available from approx. S$64.89 to S$329.76 (US$49 to US$249). Syng does not offer international shipping at the moment, but you can get the Cell Alpha shipped to you here via vPost.

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