The SoundBucket is a compact, portable, quality speaker, capable of some serious sounds. Using the latest Bluetooth technology and old school analog design, you can stream quality stereo music, and remote control them from your phone, tablet or PC.
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For the last 23 years, Crookwood, a small British niche manufacturer, has quietly been hand making the world’s best studio gear, for the world’s best recording engineers. Our clients have worked with some of the biggest artists on the planet – from Adele to Mozart, Metallica to The XX (click here for a fuller artist list…) and Crookwood’s provided them with the excellent sound quality they demand.
Now, for the first time, we’ve condensed our decades of professional audio knowledge into a compact portable speaker, that everyone can buy, so you too can enjoy our studio quality sound, wherever you are.
Say Hello to the SoundBucket, the best portable Bluetooth® speaker you will ever own!
Times Have Changed
Today, all our music is stored or streamed from the cloud, onto portable devices - phones, tablets and computers. This digital approach is great for convenience, but the sound quality has suffered. What we really want, is to get a good old Hi-Fi sound, wherever we want to listen to our music.
The SoundBuckets are the answer; they’re a cool, compact portable speaker capable of serious sounds, to suit the way you listen to music today. Easy to use, they’re big on quality, big on sounds, but small in size.
Serious Sound You Can Move Around
As your phone, tablets & PCs got smaller, so unfortunately did the sound - one of the laws of physics is that to get a big sound, you need a big speaker. Sure you can use headphones, but music sounds SO much better when it’s not played in your head.
Why not listen to your music out loud, as it was originally intended and share the experience with your mates? This is where the SoundBucket triumphs; the marriage of analogue excellence and digital convenience means it produces a serious sound you can move around.
Despite it’s compact size, the SoundBucket is a real Hi-Fi speaker, with two quality drivers - a dedicated small tweeter and huge 4” woofer. This classic arrangement means the SoundBuckets sound “right” across the whole musical spectrum, not tinny, not boomy, not lifeless or aggressive, just beautifully accurate. Inside the box are two powerful 30W power amplifiers, and some equally powerful rechargeable batteries. This power is used to provide a stunning bass response and the ability to play music truly loud, with power and importance. It’s like having a big Hi-Fi you can just pick up and move around with you.
One SoundBucket works brilliantly by itself, but you can buy two for stunning stereo and more volume; with Bluetooth and internal batteries, there are no wires or mess to worry about with a SoundBucket, just stream and go!
The SoundBucket plays music with emotion and energy, from delicate acoustic music, to the full frontal sonic assault of metal: it’s a serious sound, but one you can just pick up and move around.
So how good does the SoundBucket sound?
To show you, we went to a Crookwood client’s recording studio and recorded a SoundBucket playing some music.
So you could compare it, we recorded the SoundBucket with a high quality studio nearfield speaker, a £800/pr Genelec 1029A and another highly praised, and widely reviewed portable speaker in the same price bracket as the SoundBucket, which we called "speaker X"
To make sure things were fair, we carefully matched the volumes of all the speakers and then recorded them in stereo, without any signal processing or filtering - the sound was straight off the microphones. The music we used was from a studio master recording by musician Nick Harper, who gave us full permission to reproduce it here.
You’ll hear a difference however you listen to it, but if you listen with small tinny speakers, they will all sound small and tinny! Ideally, listen on a good pair of accurate headphones so you can make a proper judgment and hear how good the SoundBucket is for yourself.
Here are all three speakers, recorded as a single file, one after the other:
And here they are as separate files,
Just for fun, here’s a taste of how loud the buckets can go on batteries:
Forget Multiroom, think Everywhere!
So now you know how good it sounds, let's look at where you can use it.
Sonos® systems and their ilk are great, but why invest in speakers for every room, when you can just pick up the best speaker you’ll own, and move it to where you want to be? And why stop at indoors? It’s splash and rain resistant, so take your SoundBucket gardening, to work, the BBQ, camping, to the beach, festivals, campervan or canal boat to name but a few, but the possibilities are endless!
It’s not just the sound quality that won’t let you down, our powerful batteries let you listen anytime without worrying about running out of charge. The outstanding battery life of up to 50 hours means you won’t have to worry about constantly recharging your SoundBucket – it’s ready to go when you are.
To make life even simpler, you can charge it with a standard micro-USB computer lead, there’s no special power supplies or cables to lose. You can even use your SoundBucket like a regular speaker, and plug it into the mains at home – or 12V in a car, campervan or even a canal boat! Plug it in, play music and know that it’ll be automatically charged, ready for your next outing.
SoundBucket: One speaker for all your needs.
Connects to Everything
We’ve made the SoundBucket really easy to use, and really easy to connect to all your music players.
It’s all controlled by a single button with a multicoloured LED and you can use the normal controls on your phone etc to do the rest. No complicated double volume controls or weird features you’ll never need!
- If you’ve got music on a phone, tablet, or computer you can just connect wirelessly via Bluetooth. Simple, secure and with a great range it’s so easy to do.
- It works with all streaming services – Spotify®, Deezer®, Pandora®, Tidal® and even Apple Music®. Just stream to Bluetooth and the SoundBucket does the rest.
- Got aptX®? This is a superior way to move audio across Bluetooth. We’ve invested in supporting this great standard (we’ve known the aptX guys since the 80’s and know the product well from hi-end pro audio) to get the best out of Bluetooth. If your device has aptX, the SoundBucket will automatically connect to it without you having to do a thing.
- Don’t have Bluetooth? No problems, just use the cable we supply with every SoundBucket to connect it to your device.
- Want stereo? We used the latest Bluetooth system so you can wirelessly link up two SoundBuckets for great stereo with accurate imaging and impact. We also support wired stereo, using our supplied cable.
- Pono Player, or Hi Res? Just use our supplied cable. Our aux input jack connects directly to the analogue speaker amplifiers inside via our precision custom analogue circuits; no digital re-sampling, manipulation or compression, just pure sound, the perfect way to enjoy your Hi-res audio experience.
- Want it even louder? Just use the external DC input with our optional external power supply to boost the volume to impressively loud levels.
The SoundBuckets are really easy to use, and really great to listen to.
Hand Made with Love
Unlike the typical Bluetooth speakers you’ll see in the shops, the SoundBuckets are all designed, and lovingly manufactured by hand, in the UK by our skilled workforce.
We’ve been working on the SoundBuckets for over 18 months now and we’re proud to have made such a quality product that’s still affordable, without compromising on components or morals.
We avoided the use of weak plastic, in favour of strong, natural materials like aluminium, steel and leather. We then bolt all these parts together, making the SoundBuckets strong and sturdy. It also means it’s easy for us to do things like replace the batteries in your SoundBucket when they eventually wear out.
So, long after those high street speakers have all gone into the waste skips, you will still be enjoying your SoundBucket, day, after day, after day!
Under the Hood
Inside the simple looks of the SoundBucket are a host of very complicated analogue amplifiers and digital power management systems, far beyond what you’d expect to see in a product in this, or any price range. In fact every component of the SoundBucket from the shape, materials, electronics, drivers, etc has been chosen to contribute towards the sound.
It’s all enormously technical and fascinating, if you like that sort of thing, but we realise it’s not for everybody. There’s a technical taster below but, if you’re interested, there’s bucket loads more information on our website: http://soundbuckets.com/technical-information/
Time to buy! If you’re new to Kickstarter, then we should explain that "Rewards" is the "how to buy section" and "pledging" is putting your name down for a unit, or set of units, T shirt or donation. So go to the Rewards, to the right of your screen, and just choose the product(s) you’d like to buy. We’ve got a great range of rewards to choose from, and your pledge money will be taken after the campaign closes on 15th July. We'll send you a questionnaire after this time, where you can tell us the colour choices of the units or T shirts purchased.
Delivery dates are detailed in each reward and will start about four weeks after we get the funds from Kickstarter.
Here is a summary of the rewards:
Donation – Any donation small or large towards this project is very welcome, and we are enormously thankful for your support. Thank you so much.
T shirt – Why not get a great SoundBucket T shirt? Front and reverse printed in full colour - you can even choose which of the ten SoundBucket colours appears on the front. Sizes S,M,L,XL & XXL available. Price is £18 (see pictures below)
SoundBuckets - Prices range from £125 each to £150 as follows:
- The first 50 backers receive the best price of £125
- The next 50 backers get the great price of £135
- From then on, the price is £150
- You can buy stereo pairs of SoundBuckets for £270 a pair, with reduced shipping costs
- You can also bulk buy ten Buckets in any regular colour combination for £120 each
- Finally, there’s a special Kickstarter limited edition metallic gold SoundBucket for £145. We’re only making a few of these ever in this colour, so snap them up while you can! (see picture below)
Pro SoundBuckets - Prices range from £145 to £290
These are the same SoundBuckets as you use, but have some add on features for professional studio users.
- They don't have Bluetooth fitted, because they only use the hi-res analogue inputs
- They come supplied with a pro-audio interface cable, and an external 24V DC @ 3A power supply, so they perform at their loudest
They are ideal for talkback & mono compatibility speakers, or mini monitors for small studios, edit or composing rooms. Available in mono or stereo rewards.
We set a modest KickStarter goal to cover the Bluetooth licensing costs. We fully expect to blow this goal out of the water and we want to really focus on spreading the word, and getting the SoundBuckets into your hands.
Finally, we appreciate that you'll be buying a SoundBucket on trust. So, to make you feel more at ease, we are offering a money back guarantee on all our speaker based rewards: If you don't like the SoundBucket for any reason, just send it back to us within two weeks of receiving it and we'll refund your purchase price - all you have to pay is the postage. We're confident however that, like us, you'll love your SoundBucket.
So, now please pledge and bag a Bucket! Tell your friends about the SoundBuckets and let's release these remarkable speakers out into the world.
If you have any questions or comments, please just contact us, even if it’s to let us know your favourite colour...
Thanks so much for reading this. We really love these speakers, and we know you will too!
These specs really demonstrate just how different the SoundBucket is from the rest of the herd. If you’re interested, there’s more information on our website about how these were measured, and how to use them to compare the SoundBucket to other speakers.
- Strong, compact design, 14cm diameter x 12cm high (~ 6"x5")
- Solid, steel & aluminium bolted construction weighing 1.5Kg (3lbs) with leather carry handle
- Outer cylinder is epoxy powder painted in gloss car paint
- Removable top speaker grille to show the bass driver
- Audio board and batteries are built to be replacable/ upgradable
- Aux and power connectors are mounted on the rear of the unit
- IP44 rated (estimated): rain and splash proof, sand resistant
- Power: On/Off
- Bluetooth: automatic connect/ disconnect
- Audio: dim level
- Status: Multicolour LED, displays battery level & Bluetooth status
- Mono or stereo operation
- 3.5mm audio aux jack in, 2V RMS max level
- 3.5mm audio aux jack out, for wired stereo, or daisy chaining multiple Soundbuckets
- Micro USB connector for standard charge
- 12-24V DC jack in for high power operation
What’s in the box:
- SoundBucket (sic)
- Aux Cable
- Micro USB lead
- User Manual
- 16mm (5/8") tweeter and 115mm (4") bass/ mid driver
- Pure analogue path with analogue crossover and bi-amped power amplifiers
- Max short term power output, RMS >2x 30W into 8 ohms
- Max continuous power output RMS > 2x 20W RMS into 8 ohms @ 1KHz, < 0.05% THD+N 20-20K bandwidth
- Analogue S/N: 126dB, pre power amp
- Analogue THD+N: <0.001% 1KHz, 2V RMS pre power amp
- Bluetooth 4.0 specification
- True Stereo allows you to link 2 Soundbuckets together for wireless stereo.
- aptX and SBC streaming decoders
- Range in free air >10M (30ft)
- Auto connect to last device on boot up
- Up to 8 previous pairings stored in memory
- Internal, rechargeable batteries
- Battery Life: > 50Hrs at 60dB SPL, > 6Hrs at 85dB SPL
- Battery rating: >500 full charge/discharge cycles
- Micro USB power/recharge, 5V @ 0.5-1.5A ,sensed
- External power via 2.1mm DC socket: 12-24V @ 4A
- Recharge time from flat varies depending on USB or external DC, but typically 4-16Hrs
- Max RMS level on batteries without clipping: > 84dBC @ 1M (90dbC @ 0.5M)
- Max RMS level on external power without clipping: > 94dBC @1M (100dBC @ 0.5M)
- Max peak level on batteries with music before audible distortion: > 90dBC @1M (96dBC @ 0.5M)
- Max peak level on external power with music before audible distortion: > 100dBC @1M (106dBc @ 0.5M)
- Frequency response on axis, ref 1KHz: +/- 2dB 110Hz-20KHz
- LF Frequency response, ref 1KHz: -3dB @ 95Hz, -10dB @ 55Hz
- System damping is optimal @ Q = 0.707
Risks and challenges
We’ve been involved in manufacturing for over 30 years, including 23 yrs+ in our own company, and know how difficult it can be sometimes to get everything working smoothly. However we’ve also got quite good at problem solving!
We have helped ourselves, and you, by wherever possible using mass produced parts rather than tricky custom parts to reduce risk and procurement problems.
Here’s a summary:
All designed and tested. The pre-production PCBs are all working fine across 10 R&D units. The production PCBs are being laid out now, just waiting for the go.
The cylinders are machined from stock industrial extrusions to avoid tooling. The other metal is CNC laser cut by our favourite metalworkers. The painting is done in the UK by specialist paint shops.
We make the leather handles in house, and the stock is readily available from multiple suppliers. We need some production cutting tools, but again these are readily available.
To reduce R&D time, we chose to use a commercial Bluetooth module. It already has FCC & CE, but we will need to get full CE certification. This is typically a 10 day process as we’ve done it before.
It’s quite common to boast about using custom drivers made to “our specification”, but actually, if you look and design the system from scratch, there are some great stock drivers out there. The drivers we use are US manufactured standard parts, and are normally ex-stock or on a typical 30 day leadtime, so we haven’t got any hassles of long leadtimes or problems with production consistency
Most electronic parts are available from multiple vendors, the worst case are 8 week leadtime for the two vendor specific electronic parts.
Everything is assembled and tested by us here in the UK, so no Far East factory communication issues or worries. We have existing spare capacity, with the ability to bring in more staff as required to ramp this up and fulfil the orders.
The unit will ship in an inner cardboard cylinder and an outer square or cylindrical box – we haven’t decided yet! We’ve identified the inner box manufacturer and are waiting for samples. The user manual needs finishing and printing, but will be ready soon.
We will dispatch directly from our factory in the UK to anywhere in the world. Although this is more expensive than a fulfilment house, it puts us in control. It also gives you full tracking and insurance on all shipments.
So the main risks are in a hold up on the parts. Once we see how the campaign is going, we can start to allocate part stock, but the delivery times we’ve quoted have all been calculated with a worst case parts delivery. They will be fulfilled in reward order.
Ultimately all business is about trust. We hope by being upfront and honest, you can see what we’re trying to do, and trust in us, as we trust in you.
Thanks again for reading about us, please tell your friends, and please pledge! :)Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (30 days)