A Classic 1970s Speaker Gets New Life for a Modern Audience

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By Marianne Colahan
Stockholm-based electronics company Teenage Engineering designs and manufactures synthesizers and audio products that, at their core, feature top-class engineering, functional design, and superior audio quality. It’s no surprise that founders Jesper Kouthoofd, Jens Rudberg, and David Ericsson were drawn to the Carlsson Loudspeaker as a potential project.

The Carlsson Loudspeaker was designed in 1974 by Stig Carlsson, and was known for its warm, relaxed sound. To capture the look and feel of the original speaker, Teenage Engineering drew from the original technical drawings, including the precise dimensions, volume, white cabinet, and black grille.

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Here, Teenage Engineering’s masterful take on the Carlsson Loudspeaker shows off its sleek white cabinet and black grille. The optional Ortho Remote is also shown. Unfortunately, the cat is not included.

Teenage Engineering renamed the speaker OD-11, but maintained its primary focus—it is designed for music lovers. The team thoughtfully re-engineered Carlsson’s legendary loudspeaker by adding a built-in computer, 100-watt amplifier, and the latest wifi technology, allowing the speaker to play music from any device in wireless stereo. It was crucial to the team that the speaker maintain what made the Carlsson Loudspeaker stand out in the 70s—the sound it produced. Although it’s often challenging to make digital music sound authentic, Teenage Engineering was able to master this, maintaining the original ortho directional speaker principle.

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On its own, the OD-11 is both simple and visually arresting. A white cube, the speaker almost feels sculptural. The sleek styling helps to make the function of the product nearly withdraw from focus. Of course, exquisite engineering rests beneath the grille.

The OD-11 is compatible with Apple Airplay, Windows, and can stream from music services like Spotify. The speaker can be used with the Ortho Remote, which is a sleek, wireless volume knob with click functions so users can play, skip, and return to the previous song without having to get up. Both the speaker and remote can be used with the Orthoplay App, which communicates with other Teenage Engineering devices to create room-to-room sound.

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A closer look shows the ortho directional speaker principle, consistent with the original Carlsson Loudspeaker from 1974.

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The Ortho Remote further brings the speaker to a modern audience. The remote has a magnetic base, so it can be placed on a refrigerator or other metal surface and will not be easily misplaced.

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