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Sound Design in the Fast Lane

A conversation with audio designer and engineer, David Wiener.

Listening to designer/engineer David Wiener’s enthusiasm while describing the new, high-end Art.Engine audio system, I couldn’t help but recall Ralphie in ‘A Christmas Story’ (a film so classic it needs no description). Imagine Raphie’s white-knuckle grip on the plastic ladder as he describes the Red Ryder carbine-action BB Gun to Santa, his eyes-glazed, transfixed
on the mental image of the rifle.

I can only guess that’s how engineers and designers feel a lot of the time seeing something in their minds first, before blueprints are drafted and sketches are made, before anyone touches it or hears it. Product development is an artful science of ideas, the gestation of a concept into something tangible. Whether for utility or enjoyment, your product has the potential to become part of people’s everyday realities.

On Monday, I asked Mr. Wiener, founder of David Wiener Ventures and SoundTube, both based in Utah, to describe the concept behind the Art.Engine and what residential custom installers should know about this unique audio product.

Wiener has an impressive background in engineering, and has also studied and worked in the fields of aerodynamics, acoustic design, and fashion design. With a staggering 12 patents to his name, he is passionate about integrating his diverse interests. He conceived the Art.Engine as true team effort with Ferarria chance to build an audio system that reflects the identity and workmanship of one of the worlds most famous cars.

Inside its raw aluminum enclosure, the Art.Engine offers an unconventional design including carbon-fiber woofers, 18 drivers in a twin line array, and electronics built right in. Digital amps and proprietary digital signal processors work in concert with a platform for wireless transmission and operation, so all the user has to do is literally plug and play. The system will pull digital music from any home or office PC. In an age when most compressed music files leak through plastic laptop speakers, this system stands in direct contrast.

At first blush, it seems like a paradox: a raw aluminum sculpture with the heft of a boulder, and a Ferrari, quick and nimble as a beam of light. But from what I’ve seen in numerous photos, the 100-pound system is sleek and stealthy, even offering the same type of cooling ducts as a Ferrari. Both Wiener and respected audio reviewer Brent Butterworth contend that the solid metal provides a rock-rigid enclosure. Because it makes such a strong statement of high-fidelity, high-design, and extreme manufacturing, it seems to be a good solution for CEOs as their primary office music system. Wiener suggests that the custom dealers offer the Art.Engine to their best home theater clients as something exotic for their office. Finally there is something truly unique in the world of executive office audio, he noted.

The $20,000 system will soon be shipping worldwide to an exclusive network of specialty custom dealers and Ferrari resellers. Wiener stated that he and Ferrari are currently in the process of hand selecting who would be the best fit for the product. “By selling and promoting this product, a dealer reflects everything that Ferrari istimeless elegance and unique style,” Wiener added.

“It’s more than an audio system, it’s a piece of sculpture. It’s solid movement.”