Get Your Jam on Thanks to this Sacramento-Based DesignerAuthor:Dara Kerr
Don’t write that elegy for the boombox quite yet. There’s a new crop of portable stereo systems and not only do they sound good, they’re pretty.
Designed by Sacramento native Dominic Odbert, the “BoomCase” is a new take on an old idea—portable music. He uses high quality sound systems and installs them into vintage suitcases. Although people have been sticking record players in suitcases for decades, these BoomCases come equipped with mp3 plug-ins and long-lasting battery life.
“The boomboxes they make these days are made with technology from the 80s,” says Odbert. “I take suitcases from the 20s, 30s and 40s and stick various speakers in there to create this modern speaker with retro cases.”
Odbert, who went to school for sculpture and furniture design, works with his brother, J.P. Both have always loved music and spent their whole lives fiddling with audio equipment. In late 2009, when they built their first BoomCase just for fun and posted it on their website, the business took off.
“The main thing is all these old suitcases are made out of wood,” Odbert says. “Comparing wood to plastic—you get much better sound and acoustic qualities just from the wood itself.”
Each BoomCase is built differently depending on the suitcase. Odbert scours antique shops and markets for the funky cases and says that he has more than 300 suitcases in the shop right now, some have cloth exterior in flowered patterns, some are leather and some look like small trunks.
“We really like the old Samsonites from the late 50s and early 60s,” Odbert says. “Those cases use a really thick wood and they’re super study. You can sit on them and they won’t bend.”
Odbert’s end-goal is to merge first-rate audio equipment with a unique and fun aesthetic. “We like how it is a specialized item,” he says. “The people who buy them have an eye for design and enjoy good sound quality.”
BoomCases run from $300 to $4,000, and the most popular models cost around $500. Check out all that’s happening in BoomCase news on Odbert’s blog and all BoomCases available for sale at his web store.
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