The Ixion Maestro costs £1,099. But that ceased to matter the moment CEO Tom Austad pressed play on the handmade Norwegian speaker. Launched in Harrods, the tiny square someone transformed from an expensive cube into the desirable object in a shop filled with desirable objects.
5 years and £4 million pounds after his idea of making a really, really good speaker, Tom was stood in Harrods launching the Ixion range of speakers to select members of the press.
The company behind Ixion – Tandberg radio – is a Norwegian heritage brand and they were wagering this legacy on their attempt to bring compromise free audio into people’s homes.
Their flagship unit is the Maestro – a sturdy cube that has a TARDIS like ability to produce more sound than it’s dainty form would have you believe. new one. The Maestro has a built in touchscreen that feels like you’re operating a phone. It can be completely operated from the unit or connected to your phone via an app. Their goal was to take the best from the PC, tablet, smartphone and smush then all into a new platform. It was surprisingly smooth, and gave you access to Tidal, Spotify and other streaming platforms, as well as the ability to stream music from a USB key or over a LAN. It was super comprehensive and everything was developed in Norway so there’s a unity to the design and feel.
“We’re particularly proud that every unit is hand made and every unit has been tested by a human being”. Tom Austad CEO
The Maestro is an understated mix of aluminium and glass, housed in a steel frame. The acoustics and electronics are kept separated and the whole thing is designed to last for over 10 years. There are plenty of small, fun design touches – the unit’s legs are shaped like a well-known ladies high-heel for example, and the whole thing looks like you can’t afford it, but desperately want it.
And the sound? “We’re just trying to give you honest audio”, Tom modestly proclaims before pressing play and blowing everyone away. Sure, it was in a fancy listening room, but many with me assumed that he’d got all 5 demo units playing in unison, and were amazed that what we were hearing came from just one box. Tom even had a little dance to German party music to demonstrate the trombone notes all the way down to 40 Hertz. It was truly stunning.
The Ixion Maestro costs £1,099 … and may well be worth every penny.