The phone rang. It was an audio manufacturer checking in. After two hours of shooting the breeze -- about the usual, the need for high-end audio to become relevant to a larger audience -- I had proposed a dream component that could accomplish just that. Before I tell you what it is, two disclaimers. One, having an idea is like sex. It's easy, quick and takes no commitment. Turning any idea into reality is more like pregnancy and giving birth. It involves time, effort, risks, complications, pain and definitely commitment. Two, having a  component that's relevant to the masses doesn't mean you're positioned to reach and sell them. Talk is cheap.

And here's my dream component. It's a powered 2-way 5.25" loudspeaker. It's got dual-mono amplification with dedicated amps for each driver based on switch-mode power supplies. It's got active crossovers and inbuilt LF compensation. It's got remote control, a headphone output and a high-quality DAC with USB and other digital inputs, plus all the necessary socketry to interface with TV, DVD and common audio sources. It comes with a desk-top stand and a quick-lock wall mount. That wall mount folds flat when the speaker is detached to still look attractive.

This loaded-for-bear speaker isn't the usual veneer-over-MDF contraption whose drivers hide behind 19
th-century stockings. It's got iPod-Gen smooth looks and uses a combination of metals and plastics. It easily slips off its wall mount to move to the computer desk, balcony, patio or yard where it provides background tunes or becomes the life of an impromptu party. Because the speaker is actively driven and equalized, it does a solid 30Hz at high levels without breakup or distortion. It requires no subwoofer and makes a world-class PC audio system without clutter. It's equally compelling on movies and music and compact enough to be unobtrusive and mobile. The final secret weapon is the SLA battery that powers each speaker and integrates an RWA-style smart charger.

PMC has an active monitor but theirs lacks USB DAC functionality, the battery option and modern looks. Dynaudio just released an active monitor. It also remains too focused on too small a target audience by lacking vital features. uCD/Hypex has shown how good class D can sound, how little space it consumes. USB converters are proliferating. And so forth. The ingredients exist. Someone please put 'em together. It's not about breaking performance records. It's about good sound in a compact attractive package that solves a handful of problems in one fell swoop.

Talk is cheap. If it were easy, it'd be out there already. Still, the
concept has merit. I'd buy one of these in a heartbeat to declutter my desk top and 2-channel video system. Simplify, optimize. Writing this took all of five minutes. The real job awaits others with real talents. The biggest obstacle is distribution and promotion. Nobody in our industry has the reach and penetration nor quite the scale of operations to make this happen. But a guy can still dream...