Ceramic loudspeaker cabinets

Ask an expert

Neil. Hi. Has anyone successfully used ceramics for a speaker cabinets?

Yes indeed. Zako Audio spring to mind. Here’s the back story as best we can ascertain. “Company that started trading in 1999 as “Zako Speakers Inc” but was incorporated in 2000 as Zako Audio and was based in Santa Fe, New Mexico, USA. Owned and run by Peirce Clayton who had prior to the founding of Zako run a company called “Fresh Baked Studios” that supplied cosmetics companies with ceramic containers but the loss of his biggest client in 1998 had prompted him to look into other markets for his products, but Mr Clayton’s primary experience was in the art of making pottery moulds and he had in fact published the book “The Clay Lover’s Guide to Making Molds” in 1998.

Having built speakers for his own use as a teenager Mr Clayton hit upon the idea of making loudspeakers out of ceramics and started experimenting with making enclosure shapes, after a few false starts with square and novelty shapes he ended up with a spherical shape but that was before the advent of computer modelling believed to be the most efficient shape for a loudspeaker enclosure.

BTW the idea of making speakers out of ceramic materials is not as nuts as it sounds, the material has remarkably similar acoustic properties to concrete, the latter being a long-time favourite of DIY speaker builders in search of something better than wood, the only problem being its tendency to ring. This resulted in the company releasing its only product in 1999, in the form of the Zako Audio ZM99 a bookshelf loudspeaker that uses a single coaxial driver that appears to have been made by SEAS, enclosed in a thick ceramic weighing in at 25 kilos per pair and initially selling for USD 1250, but after an initial flurry of interest sales appear to have been weak, the company did not manage to get any reviews in the hi-fi press and by late 2003 the company appears dead in the waters”