About a year and half ago I was in the market for a Bluetooth speaker and came across this Kickstarter for the stunning KNOB+ tabletop speaker.
The design was simply nothing short of stunning and Raul, the creator, seemed dedicated to creating a product that really bucked the trend of poor sounding Bluetooth speakers. Plus, it only cost $120, which was about the price of a Jambox. The project wasn’t set to deliver for six to seven months, but I figured that given the attention to detail that was being paid it would be worth the wait.
Now—let me back up a bit.
The KNOB+ was one of the first few tech Kickstarter projects I’d backed. It had more than tripled its funding goal of (a modest) $15,000 a while before technology projects started to miss deadline after deadline (after deadline), so I had no reason to believe that it wouldn’t deliver on time. There’s since been quite a bit of debate about delivery and policy/product changes within Kickstarter itself, but that’s a discussion for another time.
February of last year came…but the KNOB+ did not. May rolled around…nothing. I think you get the point. I checked in on the project from time to time and found that Raul was running into all sorts of problems, not only with production of the units, but with the actual quality of sound that the speaker was producing. After about six months,I was pretty frustrated, but after I was on the site one afternoon I had a revelation.
With all of the press that Kickstarter has gotten the past couple of years, I’d begun to think that all of these products (and campaigns) were created equal. Lots of them were raising millions of dollars, getting crazy publicity, and had teams of several people to help not only scale for demand, but handle the logistics of delivering on time. But this wasn’t a $10,000,000 Pebble campaign, or a $950,000 Hidden Radio—this was one guy. One guy who raised less than $50,000, which is not a lot of money to launch a product as ambitious as his, handle the expense of flying back and forth to China for QA, product testing, etc.When put in that context, I actually felt pretty guilty about how angry I had gotten about a measly $120.*
Fast forward to a few nights ago. I was on my way home when my wife texted me that I had a package. I had put the KNOB+ pretty far out of my mind, but when I arrived there it was—my package from Raul. My (now named) Croon Audio Original! A year late, but it was here.
SIDENOTE: I got my Hidden Radio a few months ago, and while it definitely LOOKS beautiful, it feels like little attention was paid to how the thing should actually sound. That being said, let’s just say my expectations were low.
I took the speaker out of the box—stunning. From the wooden feet to the acrylic enclosure, it screamed attention to detail. But then, I figured I had another beautiful, but ultimately useless object to sit on the shelf of my office.
And then I turned it on.
To say that the thing sounds amazing would be an understatement. My wife and I own a B&O Beolit Play 12 that we use every day, and while it doesn’t sound quite as full as the B&O, the Croon has an incredible fullness and richness to it. The mids are full and the highs are crisp. The fit and finish are fantastic and the materials are gorgeous—and this all from a speaker that cost me $120 (but retails for $199. Still, the B&O cost $799).
So remember that little revelation I had earlier? Well, it’s this: It’s easy to get anxious, and even angry, about Kickstarter projects not delivering on time. But before you freak out, remember that sometimes good things are worth the wait, and quality should always trump getting something quickly.
Anyways, thanks Raul—for following your dream and building such an awesome product.
If you’d like to get one for yourself, you can check it out here.
*Not that $120 is measly, but in the grand scheme of how much we spend on tech and gadgets, it really wasn’t that big a deal.