Phonofone II by Tristan Zimmermann



Milan 08: American lifestyle brand Charles & Marie presented Phonofone II, a ceramic iPod loudspeaker designed by Tristan Zimmermann, in Milan last month.


The horn-shaped product amplifies sound from the earphones of a personal music player without the use of electricity.


Zimmermann's design has been put into production by Charles & Marie, including a limited edition of 200 in black ceramic (the one shown here is in white ceramic, obviously).


Here's some text from Charles & Marie:

Designed by Canadian designer Tristan Zimmermann, the Phonofone is a ceramic amplification system for your iPod.


The design harkens back to the antique gramophone and phonograph, and works similarly. A beautiful reinterpretation of the past, the Phonofone may be the heirloom keepsake of early 19th century technology. Simply hook up your ear phones and the Phonofone uses passive horn acoustics to amplify sound, boosting the audio output of standard earphones up to 55 decibles* (roughly the maximum volume of a laptop speaker, but without the annoying static tinkling).


All ceramic, the Phonofone takes advantage of the material's "rigid and resonant" qualities in its application of producing sound. It needs no external power source or batteries to operate.

Tristan's idea is simple: it is about music appreciation. The Phonogram was the first device for recording and playing sound, the Phonofone is the first device to bring an elegant form to the marriage of old and new technology.

The Phonofone will transform your listening experience, reinterpreting your music library into a warm, rich, lullaby to the ears.

Made of glazed white ceramic
Dimensions: 11“x9.5“x20“ (28x25x51 cm)

Posted on Sunday May 18th 2008 at 8:09 pm by . Copyright policy | Comments policy

  • amsam


  • robert

    it would have been great if it would have worked, but unfortunately it doesn’t.

  • fabio


  • Zenza

    Well… it’s cliché and a bit kitsch. Also not very practical, but… it makes me want one.


    We all need something a little bit kitsch on your lives!!!

  • Brian


  • Brian

    OK, OK

    I admit the typology of the traditional, Iconic Record player Cone is singular, but , please, the technology begs for stereo! As well, the directionality of speaker cones could add to a good effect!

  • CPCP

    fantastic concept
    stereo? just buy two – one for each earphone …

  • Will

    It doesnt work? damn. It looks cute and ceramic too

  • Frankie

    Frankie says ” Relax don’t do it”

    visual pollution, more useless crap for the garage sales, this world is already full of junk why create more ?

  • Morgan

    A ceramic speaker is a cool idea.

    Why not integrate the horn with a high-tech modeling amp that I can plug right into with my MP3 player?

    Then, I could buy TWO horns; one for each corner of the room.

  • JM

    “visual pollution, more useless crap for the garage sales, this world is already full of junk why create more ?”

    yo if this didnt function as a stereo of sorts and this was looked at as sculpture y’all wouldn’t be hating on it so much.

    i can think of quite a few things that I’d consider “visual pollution” (including negative un productive comments)

    why create anything EVER, we don’t NEED it… why have this site, about new building and new objects that we dont NEED?

    this is beautiful… keep up the great work tristan!

  • Fling

    Hey YO yo yo
    Don’t y’all be hating on dis piece of junk, y’all. Yo!

  • Bonzo

    Just when I thought (foolishly) that we had reached the nadir of pointless design, we have now entered the twilight zone, where all things are possible, regardless of any perceived use or logic. This isn’t design – this takes stupidity to an art form.

  • By the time the sound reaches a listener’s ears from the Phonofone, it will be significantly degraded from the original recording. And the output of those earbuds is poor enough already — because earbuds can only reproduce a limited band of frequencies and because compressed MP3s are of poor audio quality. A visually attractive creation with a nice concept behind it, but aurally poorly thought out.

  • alfa

    Frustrating! I had the same idea, but mine looks better ;-) and I´m sure it works better, too.

    I call it "Hendekagram"

    • parusradious

      yours DOES look better, really lovely design!

  • Will

    I’ve built speakers but I am no expert on horns; Horn speaker design is an art in itself- the drive unit characteristics have to suit horn loading and the flare of the horn has to match the spec of the drive unit. The length of the horn doesnt adversly affect sound quality- some fantastic old school folded horn designs are the size of a small room

  • alfa

    Just as you say. My horn is a exponential horn and calculated in length and sice. The diameter at the hornend supports sound of 300 Hz frequency.
    Of course, if you want a real basshorn going down to 50 Hz you need round about 2 meters of diameter!!! But that wouldn´t make sense if the earphone sound pressure level is ca. 114 dB!!!

    you´re right. These things are more a anachronistic statement than good hi-fi equipment.

  • I just got mine in black for my XMAS present. It is indeed very cool, yes it works, and no you don’t need 2 (but…). I had to hook up my Kangeroo IPOD amp to get enough volume to make it worth listening to and will now figure a way to get some more amp through it but it sounds great. For those of you non geeks, the ceramic material is often used in top quality speakers since the transmission characteristics are so good. Horn design is also a high end product design (check out Klipsh Horns) to get big sound from low power. This product is a winner. Thank you Rachel you are the best wife ever! Travis

  • where is bought this?