The big players in gadgets and technology didn’t deliver much of excitement in 2016. Virtual Reality is here, but it’s hard to tell what kind of splash it will ultimately make. Smartphones like Apple’s iPhone 7 are impressive, but lacking in innovation (and headphone sockets) and wearable tech seems to be having a torrid time, sadly claiming the startup that arguably sparked the trend for smartwatches, Pebble.
Like music, it seems that the most interesting and experimental stuff now comes out of the indie groups and exploring indiegogo or Kickstarter can still turn up some really interesting stuff.
Take this, for example, the Damson Cisor.
It’s not easy to guess what it is (well, you can, you read the title!), which already makes it a neat talking point for gadget fans.
Yep, It’s another bluetooth speaker review. But not an ordinary one.
This tiny little chap has a BIG sound, because it does things differently. The Damson Cisor is a surface diffusing, or vibration, speaker. For those curious to learn in more detail what that means, Damson have a thorough explanation here, but basically, it does away with the need for a cone and disperses the sound across and through the surface it’s been placed on.
The result is a tiny speaker without the tinny sound. Depending on the surface you place it on, you can achieve a sound normally associated with a much bigger box!
More on that in a moment, let’s take a closer look at the gadget itself.
Finished all in black, this unassuming little cylinder actually feels quite weighty. The casing is anodised aluminium and the top is a rubberised plastic. At the base is a stand with a very grippy plastic that the sound is passed through.
Controls are few. This is a simple device to operate. Twist the top counter-clockwise and the Cisor powers up and is ready for playback via the 3.5mm line-in. Twist the other way and the bluetooth connection is enabled. Pair up your phone or tablet and it’s ready to belt out your tunes. Finally, there is a single button for play or pause (bluetooth only) and a usb-c connection for charging.
It feels solid and well made, although I’d rather it was a micro-USB, rather than USB-C. Yes, USB-C is where it’s all headed, but most of us aren’t there yet and it’s an inconvenience to carry an extra cable when travelling right now.
So what does it sound like? Well, that’s a tricky one. It’s very dependent on where you stick it! That’s a good thing though. The whole joy of owning this thing is trying it out on different surfaces to see what it does for the sound.
In my experiments, the Cisor sounded best on a cardboard box, the coffee table and glass windows. For an extra charge, Damson will sell you an adaptor that will stick the Cisor safely to glass windows. I’d recommend getting this too, especially as the sound travels both into the property and outside. Great for summer parties!
It doesn’t sound fantastic everywhere though. Dense materials don’t really work. That granite kitchen worktop won’t be so great, and nor will anything concrete. My MDF/veneer breakfast bar sounded bassy but muffled in the kitchen, but the solid wood coffee table in the lounge sounded great!
Overall I would say that the volume of sound that you get for the size of the Cisor is very impressive. Bass is just amazing - but it can lack in detail at the top end and as a result music can sound a little ‘compressed’ compared to a good traditional bluetooth speaker. There really is nothing this size that I’ve seen before that can fill a room as well as this, so Damson have really accomplished something.
For the music and gadget fan looking for something a bit different, I recommend checking out the Damson Cisor. Although they’re crowd-funding, at the time of writing they have completed devices for sale from Mid-January, so you’re not putting your money into something that may never appear. It’s not the last word in audio-fidelity, but it’s definitely a great talking point (hit ‘Play’ whilst holding it and then place it down on the table - all onlookers will say ‘Wow’) and it will keep you amused and the neighbours annoyed whilst you try it out on cars, windows, doors, noses . . .