This week, we received our latest production samples from our manufacturer. This is our last set of samples before finalizing Dio Node’s design, which means we’ll soon be headed straight into preparation for mass production! It will still take a few months before Dio is fully ready to ship to customers, but we’re at the final stretch! Today, I thought I would do a quick review of the sample design and what the final Dio Node will be like.
Size and Shape
Dio Node is meant to fit into the corners of your home to really enable audio access points everywhere. As such, we wanted to make it as compact as possible without losing sound quality or volume. We landed on the perfect size of speaker: a 4 x 4 x 1.5″ body. In terms of shape, we chose the small square formfactor to be different from the other multi-room speaker companies out there without being ‘gimmicky’. While other multi-room speakers are fashioned to be the centerpiece of your living room, our Dio Node is meant to fit in with your current decor. Hence, the unassuming but beautifully rounded square formfactor.
The main housing of the speaker is a PC-ABS plastic material to give us the flexibility of getting the color just right and the option of future colors down the road. However, we made sure to make the grill directly from steel to give the node a firm feel. Since the grill is the main part of the speaker that will be facing into your room, the Node’s steel grill ensures that it doesn’t carry that ‘cheap’ plastic look that many consumer electronics have. In addition, the steel grill material increases the acoustics for the speaker, making it sound even better.
The book 50 Shades of Gray was right about one thing – there are a lot of shades of gray out there! We are currently deciding between three different shades for the speaker housing. You can see two of them in the picture above, and we’ll be putting it to a final vote soon on social media (so keep a look out if you want to be part of the decision!). We chose gray because we wanted a neutral color that would blend in with the tones of your current home decor. Most electronics are plain black, but that actually tends to stand out on wooden surfaces or by white walls. White can get dirty easily and tends to follow the more high-end, “premium tech” look of Sonos and Apple. So we settled on a neutral gray color to make sure our speaker fits in to your home. Now we just need to decide which shade!
Artwork and Branding
Have you ever bought a speaker on Amazon, just to find out that it has a giant, gaudy logo across one entire side? (I have!). Well, you’ll be happy to hear that Dio actively does NOT do that. We keep all artwork on the back or bottom foot of the speaker. This includes the Dio Logo, product serial number, and all of the regulatory and optional certifications that our product will receive in the coming months. We also list the MAC address of the speaker on the back, since this information is sometimes necessary to register your device on certain Wi-Fi networks. I have learned from personal experience just how annoying it is when devices do not display their MAC addresses on the device itself, so here’s to making life easier for those small, unique situations!
Buttons and Controls
To keep to our theme of a “simple” multi-room speaker, the Dio Node will only have 3 buttons on top. Two are for basic volume control, but the one in the center is what we’re calling the “Dio” button. It allows pause/play functionality as well as some special setup/reset functionality. One day we plan for that Dio button to do much more – you’ll be surprised by what just 3 buttons can help you do!
In addition to the buttons, there is a small LED on the back that lets you see if your Node has booted up, has issues connecting to Wi-Fi, or is actively playing audio. We chose to keep the LED on the back so that, once again, your speakers wouldn’t stand out from the rest of the items in your shelf or table.
Power and Cable
No, Dio Node is not battery operated – which I’ve come to learn is a relief for most customers. Since it is a home speaker that works through home Wi-Fi and is meant to fit unassumingly in the small corners of your room, we removed the battery from the design so that you don’t need to worry about charging it. Instead, Dio is always ready to play by staying plugged in to your wall – you don’t need to turn it on or off. The speaker comes with a 5V, 2A power adapter that connects directly to the wall. The power adapter connects to the speaker via a DC-IN port on the back of the speaker. The cable is 1.5 meters long (5 ft) so that you can place the speaker further from your outlets to get to that perfect little place you carved out for it in your room. (For reference, this is the same length as a Google Home, Echo Dot, or Apple HomePod cable).
Have any more questions about the speaker? Feel free to ask about it in the comments below!