Characteristics and Properties of Wireless Portable Speakers

the comprehensive guide to everything you need to know about wireless portable speakers

If you’re curious to know about wireless portable speakers, this article goes into great depth on every aspect of these devices from construction, materials, acoustic properties and more.  Boombotix has been building wireless portable speakers for over three years now, so we figured we’d share some of our knowledge for your reference.  If you are looking to build your own wireless portable speakers, you may also want to reference this article on hardware product design.  You may learn a lot from our product design and use it as a starting point for your personal wireless speaker project.  If you have any questions, feel free to comment and we will see if we can be of assistance.  Let’s get right into it.

1. Wireless Portable Speaker Overview
1.1 Primary Parts and Funtions of a Wireless Portable Speaker
1.2 Why most wireless portable speakers use Bluetooth
1.3 Bluetooth Signals and Protocols
1.4 Other wireless audio protocols
2. Parts and Characteristics of Wireless Portable Speakers in Detail
2.1 Speaker Diaphragm
2.2 Speaker Magnets/Audio Transducer
2.3 Impedance Rating
2.4 Weatherproofing/Ingress Protection Rating
3. Portable Wireless Speaker Electronics
3.1 Class-D Amplifier
3.2 Bluetooth Module with Built On MCU
3.2 Lithium Polymer Batteries
4.Mechanics of Wireless Portable Speakers
4.1 Wireless Portable Speaker Acoustics
4.2 Portable Speaker Connectors
5. Firmware Programming on Wireless Portable Speakers
6. Where to buy Wireless Portable Speakers
7. Conclusion

1  Wireless Portable Speaker Overview

This is an exploded view of the Boombot REX2 wireless speaker.  This rendering shows you all of the primary mechanical components typically found in a wireless portable speaker.

This is an exploded view of the Boombot REX wireless speaker. This rendering shows you all of the primary mechanical components typically found in a wireless portable speaker.

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The Lean Hardware Startup Model


Lean Startup

what to do after your crowdfunding success

First off, you need to build the product you promised and deliver it to your backers.  That is first and foremost.  Let go of being a perfectionist and ship out your MVP (minimum viable product).  If you even got within 90% close to what you promised, you will have your backers support.  If you can deliver it even within several months of what you promised, you will still have your backers support.

While you’re building your product, you should spend some time thinking about what your next moves are.  The best entrepreneurs are visionaries that are able to see where their company is going months or years in front of where they are.  They are also able to see where the market is going well before it’s already there.

securing additional financing

Anything you can do to get some additional runway is a good thing.  Here’s the tricky part.  If you want your business to really be bankable, you need to figure out how to get it to a $3-5 million yearly run rate.  More likely $5 million before players and strategic investors will really take notice to your brand.  Do it being either profitable or really close to break even.  In hardware, unlike software, your margins are important.  Your growth will be looked at with as much scrutiny as your gross margin.

Don’t even bother wasting your time with traditional banks.  You really have three options.  You can raise equity based financing (selling part of your company), getting SBA loans, and non-traditional financing through AR (accounts receivable).  If you can spike your sales and create the beautiful problem of demand exceeding supply, then you’re in good shape.  This model with an insanely lean overhead is the way to go until you can get more support from a bank.

Do not bank on getting support from Venture Capital in MOST hardware cases.  Right now, the exception is that if you have some really dumb rudimentary hardware with a monetization off high margin software, you can look at VC funding.  In the case of most consumer products, plan on proving yourself for a long time and building up slow and steady.  If you don’t plan on investing a MINIMUM of three years on your product/idea, you should probably walk away right after you ship off to your crowdfunding backers.   There is no shame in this.  Life is short and you should pick a career path you will be happy doing for a long time.

The financing niche righ tnow

So how do you get from $50k to $5 million without much capital?  It’s HARD.  Leveraging your balance sheet in AR financing (or factoring) is tricky.  We’ve used Bridge Bank for a $500k A/R line and Marble Bridge for factoring.  The factoring was pretty sweet because in the wholesale business, they actually act as your A/R department and they proactively make calls to do collections.  It is pricey, but it helps cash flow and it also saves you from hiring someone to do A/R.

What I see in the market is that there are a lot of companies that can reach the initial success of product inception, but few that have support to scale into a successful operating business.  Lighter Capital is providing some revenue based financing which offers facilities based on the business run rate.  To me, crowdfunding has become the new platform for seed stage, but there is a big gap in the early stage $1M-$5M.  Finding the right partnerships to get your business to be bankable is tricky.  My best recommendation is to pitch till the end of the earth, get struck by lighting in a bottle, while maintaining a healthy viable company.

The Fear and Excitement of Entrepreneurism

Jason Arens Getting PAID

Making it to the top of the podium takes courage and passion. That never changes. (Skier: Boombotix team rider Jason Arens at VT Open)

Most of the press we see around startups thrives around new funding rounds, exits, mergers and acquisitions.  Sometimes we see speckles of bankruptcy, but usually it is only press worthy when a Goliath figure goes down.  When I started Boombotix, I didn’t think about the private equity market.  Actually take that back.  I didn’t give a shit about private equity or banking.  All I wanted to do was make this awesome speaker.  With my friends and family support, I was able to get a business started.  This is the beginning of digging yourself into a hole in hopes of coming out on top.

Naturally, you are rejuvenated with hopes of success and triumph.  Go ahead and pop a bottle of champagne but just know that the bubbles are short lived.  Getting funding is a very challenging thing for a business.  Getting a hardware company funded is even harder.  More than twenty times more money goes into software.  Why?  Well it’s simple.  Hardware requires more cash to scale.  A lot more.  Building a real brand takes even more cash.  Investment funds of $250 million or less might cringe at the thought of pumping $100 million to build a category.  Fail and that fund is hosed.  Hardware exits are also not quite as glamorous as software.  Investors know that they require more cash, so by nature they also get a softer multiple on trailing revenue.  Some investors even refer to hardware as being “dirty.”  This was completely new to me.  I grew up looking at brands like GoPro and Skullcandy with idolatry.

Despite all this, we are here with a mission.  We are building the most technologically sophisticated ultraportable speakers ever.  This is where the brand values have to be engraved into the organization (forward-thinking industrial design, acoustics, mobility, innovation).  This is when you make the tangible become intangible.  Suddenly you transform from being a hardware company to being a brand with purpose and direction.  When you cross this chasm, investors are no longer looked at as sources of growth capital.  You treat investors as partners to help achieve a grand vision.  The goal embodies more than just making money.  It involves driving change in the world.

Products whether they are tangible, web-based, or mobile are all the driving forces behind change.  Without a great product, you cannot have a great business.  Some of the things we want to build take so many resources that we are forced to manage our wish lists, feature sets, and expectations.  As entrepreneurs, we have to swallow the reality of the current always being less ideal than the future.  Just know that no matter how far into the future your propel yourself, that will never change.  Be sure to find just as much pleasure in looking back on the past, or prepare yourself for a world of pain.

What was I getting at here in the first place?  I don’t want to scare anyone off from starting something.  I just wanted to paint a realistic picture at my view on the world of private equity.  Hardware is hard.  But you like a challenge right?

How mobile Software will influence hardware design at CES 2012

This year at CES, mobile apps are expected to be a central focus at a trade show that was previously dominated by hardware.  Certainly the plethora of new tablets and mobile devices will still retain their ranks, but one trend that has picked up amongst hardware manufacturers is the necessity to bring an App based interface thats compatible with other mobile devices.

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