Frequently Asked Questions
I'm sure you have some questions about Pingree. Here are a few, along with some answers. Pingree is simple, though explaining it can be complicated. This page will grow as questions come in. Specific questions about hardware & electronics will take some time to answer as Pingree is still in development.
Above is one of many prototypes created during development.
What Is a Pingree?
Pingree is a cross between an acoustic guitar and a boom box. You use it just like you would any other portable wireless speaker. Only it doesn't have speakers. Instead, Pingree has two thin wooden panels that vibrate in order to produce the sound that reaches your ears.
How does it work?
Transducers are fixed to the back of both the front and rear wooden panel housed in the aluminum frame you see. The frame holds the wood taught while the transducers vibrate in a similar fashion to a conical speaker. The result of this construction is evenly distributed sound throughout the room.
HOW DO YOU USE IT?
You can either pair with Pingree wireless using your phone or other Bluetooth- enabled devices. You can also use the 1/8" audio jack to plug in almost anything else. Then all you have left to do is pick something to listen to. You can also adjust the way Pingree sounds by rotating its foot to reveal additional porting.
On a full charge, you will have at least 6 hours of playback. This is a conservative estimate at the moment. Final component selection is still in the works, so an exact calculation is not currently possible. Much of this will be determined during the crowdfunding campaign.
What does it sound like?
After launch, we will be looking for musicians to collaborate with to best demonstrate its unique audio qualities. The experience of listening through a Pingree is distinct and immersive.
What that means is the user can directly alter the sound properties through an adjustable port. This option developed as the need for stabilization was realized. Pingree kept falling over. A rotating foot was added, then somewhere down the line the need for adjustable porting was realized. Some things sound better with the foot closed, some things sound better with the foot open. If I had to describe the effect of opening the foot I would say its similar too a "Mid Scoop."
Is it heavy?
Pingree's final weight will be about two pounds.
Can I listen While i shower?
It depends on your environment. As long as your bathroom has proper ventilation, you can absolutely listen to Pingree while you shower/bathe. Be conscious of condensation buildup. Any object that is cold entering a room full of steam will result in some level of condensation. Keep it outside of the curtains. And no, Pingree cannot swim.
Can you lay it on its side while it's playing?
Yes. It may make buzzing sounds if it's placed face down on a hard surface. Pingree will work in any orientation; however, it performs best on its feet (foot). That way, everyone in the room can hear the music.
Can this replace my home audio system?
No. Do not sell your home stereo system to make room for Pingree. After all, it is relatively small. There are plans for larger versions that could replace bulky home stereo systems in the semi-distant future. This version is not indented to replace your home theater or stereo.
Can I pair multiple Pingrees together?
Options like multi-device pairing may be added depending on success of the first round of fundraising.
Can I take it to the beach?
Yes, you can. If you do, treat it like you would a guitar. Keep it out of direct sunlight if you aren't using it. Try and keep sand out of it. Common sense will keep your Pingree singing.
Is this only for acoustic music?
Nope! You can play anything.
How loud is it?
Comparable to other battery-powered Bluetooth speakers boasting a similar size.
What happens if i drop it?
The aluminum frame that surrounds and protects the wooden panels surely can take some bumps and bruises.
When will I RECEIVE my Pingree?
If you back the project on Kickstarter, you'll receive your Pingree in December of 2017.
Do i need a case to carry it in my backpack?
No. As long as you don't have a backpack full of rocks, steel shot, glass bottles, or razor blades. If you do, you should consider a case of some sort. We may offer case options as a stretch goal once the crowdfunding campaign is up.
What about the wood?
Pingree's voice comes from its distinct wooden panels. Intentions in the beginning were to use reclaimed maple flooring from deconstructed homes in Detroit for the soundboards. The first batch of Pingrees will be made from this resource; however, due to concerns of availability, processing costs, and quality control, it is unclear if this method will be scalable for production. FSC-certified maple from the Great Lakes region will be used as a secondary source of lumber for the production of Pingree’s soundboards.
Material inspiration for Pingree came from acoustic guitars. Maple is a semi-common choice for guitar building. Although sitka-spruce and mahogany take the lead in the Tonewood popularity contest, maple is sought after for its bright tonal characteristics.
Do other woods sound different?
No, but also yes. But mostly no. Let me preface this with some context. When designing a product that uses a natural material, one must consider a multitude of use case scenarios. This is a consumer audio product and will be used in many different environments and decors, and will likely take a beating from daily use. Options for what woods "work best" narrow quickly.
Desired attributes of wood when building a Pingree:
- Must be a "hardwood" for good tonal properties (inspired by Luthiers).
- Straight grain for a consistent appearance.
- Availability for mass production.
- Straight grain for consistent sound characteristics.
- Ease of finishing.
- Color that will make sense in most environments.
- Ecologically friendly harvesting.
- Local availability for logistic ease.
- Familiarity to the user.
After taking all that into consideration, testing of a few different species in prototypes began. Long story short, maple proved to be the best choice for this product. So, to answer the original question of "do different woods sound different?", they do, slightly, but the difference is negligible and nearly indiscernible once you compare woods that pass through all of the requirements above.
Close contenders to maple are:
- Hickory: Aesthetically loud grain and texture. Difficult to finish.
- Cherry: Less likely than maple to have straight grain, color could be polarizing.
- Sitka spruce: On the expensive end, may be used eventually.
- Black walnut: Wavy grain, expensive, too dark.
- Cedar: Too soft (would smell great though).
So is pingree an instrument?
Sure. Except you don't have to practice it. The fairies inside will take care of that part.
WHY DID YOU CALL IT PINGREE?
Too many reasons to list in this FAQ! Click here for answers to that question.
WHERE WILL IT BE made?
As close to Detroit as possible. Some parts will be made in house, others will be made or processed in the metro Detroit area. Our goal is to move towards a full in house production facility. How fast that happens ultimately rides on the the level of funding achieved on Kickstarter.