The speaker system that uses no power is usually a travesty of audiphonics: the tinny sound of Bach reverberating through the fillings of a cavity-ridden back molar plucked from the inside of a skull and spread out across the room.
But Tristan Zimmerman, the designer of this wonderfully shaped iPod speaker systems, claims that his Phonophone Il iPhone is different: it exploits the science of horn acoustics to maintain rich sound while boosting the audio output of the standard earphone jack to 55 decibels... which is equivalent to the volume coming from a pair of laptop speakers.
That's respectable for a powerless solution, but not the kind of output that can be clearly heard over the screams and ululations of a night out at Club Rectum. But that's okay, because what the Phonophone really is is a wonderful throwback to the horn-and-conch of classical acoustic amplification. Visually, it's beautiful: a perfect shape captured in ebony and onyx. It looks Grecian, while at the same time conjuring a fondness for the living room aesthetics of the early jazz era with its geometry. It would just never fit in with Club Rectum's decor.
I love the look. But $600 is way too much to pay for any powerless speakers when I could be paying that for oscillating LEDs and bowel-evacuating bass.