DiAural Technology Now Online

Last year, Stereophile's Barry Willis took a trip to Ogden, Utah, to report on what was then a secret speaker project being conducted by Kimber Kable's Ray Kimber and designer Eric Alexander. After informal listening, Willis noted that, while not being able to completely nail down what the "under development" DiAural crossover circuitry was doing, something new was certainly in the air.

This is the Internet age, so it's not surprising that one of the first actual DiAural products is being released only online. (Evett and Shaw also have a DiAural speaker for sale, the Pesaro.) Recently founded Edge Audio says it will be the first commercial manufacturer of DiAural products in the "mid-priced" category, beginning with the release of a 5.1-channel system called the 500D, retailing for $1399. The new company's headquarters are located in Lake Oswego, Oregon, near Portland, while the speakers are being manufactured at its production facility in Ensenada, Mexico.

Edge Audio says that the 500D-series home-theater speaker system consists of four 502D-LR satellite speakers, a 502D-C center speaker, and a powered 12" subwoofer. According to the company, the 500D series was designed by DiAural inventor and now Edge Audio VP Eric Alexander with the intent of equaling the performance of high-end systems at a more affordable price. The company adds that the new system uses Vifa drivers with solid hardwood cabinets, and that the "DiAural circuit replaces a conventional crossover with proprietary, patent-pending circuitry to produce a phase-coherent sound, free of the distortion and sonic artifacts created by traditional crossovers."

Along with WordPerfect founder Bruce Bastian, Ray Kimber formed DiAural, LLC in 1999 (see previous report) to license the DiAural technology. Kimber explains that "Edge Audio's quality and pricing make it an ideal company to introduce DiAural technology to the mass market. The DiAural circuit dramatically enhances the excellent sound of the Edge Audio 500D speakers by eliminating what I call Doppler Decoding."

According to Kimber, when sound is recorded by a microphone, high-frequency waves are distorted by the much larger back-and-forth movement of the microphone diaphragm created by the low frequencies. "When a conventional crossover separates the recorded signal, this high-frequency distortion becomes audible," says Kimber. The DiAural circuit is intended to replace a conventional crossover to eliminate this distortion in an effort to re-create the "pure natural sound" of the original source.

Edge Audio says that their speakers are available only at the company's website, backed by a 30-day no-risk "purchase plan under which a customer can return the product if he or she is not completely satisfied." If a customer does not choose to keep the speakers, the company says it will pay the return freight.

Edge Audio's Bob Lightman states that "our decision to forgo retail distribution and sell only on the Web resulted from several factors, but provides two key customer benefits. First, by eliminating the retail markup, we can offer our customers tremendous value. And second, by allowing our customers to evaluate our speakers in their own home, with their own equipment, we believe that they are able to make a better-informed purchase decision."