We need more bass – Do smart speakers, all-in-ones and soundbars fit the current music?

Ole Witthøft from System Audio A/S makes us sit up and take notice with an interesting thesis. In his opinion, many of the loudspeaker systems currently in use are not suitable for the music most often heard.

You can spin it any way you want, the future of music distribution is streaming. This is clearly proven by the development in recent years, and streaming is already the central way for many users to consume music. It is not foreseeable that this will change in the future; on the contrary, streaming will become even more important.

Spotify, Amazon Music and Apple Music dominate the market

There are clearly some dominant providers in the streaming sector, first and foremost Spotify, as well as Amazon Music and Apple Music. Specialists who want to stand out with particularly high quality play a rather subordinate role globally, such as TIDAL, Qobuz or HIGHRESAUDIO.

If you look at the offerings of these leading providers in particular, you can get a very good idea of which music is consumed most, which trends are predominant, in short, which artists, which genres and which albums are currently in high demand among music enthusiasts.

Ole Witthøft, founder and chief developer of the Danish loudspeaker specialist System Audio A/S, must have done the same, especially since he developed an exciting theory based on this.

Smart Speaker, Bluetooth Speaker, Soundbar – The Technical Shortcomings

Ole Witthøft states that, from a purely technical point of view, the majority of loudspeaker systems or audio systems are not suitable for the music that is mainly consumed today.

The fact is, and Ole Witthøft is probably referring to this, that consumers mostly consume music with compact all-in-one solutions, so-called smart speakers, Bluetooth speakers, soundbar systems and the like. This can be proven quite simply on the basis of the sales statistics alone, which have listed soundbar systems in the top positions for years.

Of course, one cannot condemn these product groups across the board; after all, there are many a fine solution from proven specialists in these areas, but the vast majority of such solutions clearly do not really meet high quality standards, and overall, systems in these product groups are not suitable for delivering truly room-filling, rich, detailed sound.

Music with more and more bass

And it is precisely this that Ole Witthøft relates to the music that is mainly consumed and states that, on closer examination, the top 50 songs from Spotify alone simply cannot be reproduced correctly by many audio systems from a technical point of view.

Using spectral analysis, he found that music has changed so much in the last five years alone that more and more bass is being used and the frequency spectrum has been drastically extended downwards. Of course, this is primarily due to the fact that more and more electronic music is being consumed, but also that productions with the latest technology cover a wider frequency spectrum.

“Music today has deeper bass than it did five years ago. Music simply encompasses a wider range of tones than it used to. There are more tones in music. This is an artistic trend. Music sounds “bigger” than it did in the 80s. It captures our attention in a stronger way than it used to.”

Ole Witthøft, founder and chief developer System Audio A/S

Technically, 63 per cent of the music’s energy is now below 70 Hz. This simply means that the well-known streaming speakers on the market are too small to reproduce modern music. They cannot reproduce the low tones!

And that’s not even talking about accurate stereo imaging, which is what music lovers should really want, and which such compact all-in-one solutions, Bluetooth speakers and smart speakers, soundbars, whatever you want to call these solutions, are mostly unable to deliver.

From Ole Witthøft’s point of view, it is advisable to consider the technical aspect when choosing an audio system in order to be able to enjoy music in all its details. This is also the case if you deliberately choose simple, straightforward systems, such as Bluetooth speakers. Finally, it should also be mentioned that he himself, with his company System Audio A/S, offers appropriate solutions that know how to combine living-room-friendly integration with quality.

Getting to the point

Of course, as an avid music enthusiast and hi-fi lover, it’s obvious that you’re going to choose a fine audio system, but the broad mass of customers clearly see things differently, or in many cases don’t care to take a closer look at the technical aspects that are crucial to achieving the best possible quality. Of course, the financial aspect also plays a significant role, and this should not be ignored. Nevertheless, it is exciting to note that there are ultimately very simple things that are in contradiction here, namely the trend towards ever deeper frequency reproduction in music on the one hand – more bass – and on the other hand the trend towards audio systems that are as compact as possible, as slim as possible, which cannot reproduce this at all.

ManufacturerSystem Audio A/S
DistributionRobert Ross Audiophile Produkte GmbH
More about this manufacturer at HIFI BLOG
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Michael Holzinger

Michael Holzinger, founder and editor-in-chief of HiFi BLOG and, has been working for years as a journalist in the fields of IT, photography, telecommunications and consumer electronics.

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