Snapshot: how small-batch speakers get made

Featuring Oda

Oda is made up of 14 full-time employees – something founder Nick Dangerfield is aware is a lot for a small business. ‘We have so many engineering needs, it just requires a lot more people.’

The company is split into four key areas: hardware, product, marketing and artists. Hardware builds the speaker; product focuses on software (including the website and app); marketing handles sales and PR; and the artists team curates and produces the live music performances.

The core materials of the speakers are wood, glass, cotton and steel. The speaker panels are made from three pieces of wood: the soundboard, the frame and reinforcement.

The fabric and wood are both sourced from New York-based suppliers. The second element of the speakers, called the lighthouse and which houses the electronics, is made in China.

Oda’s main production space is in Brooklyn, where a small assembly line is set up. Here the speakers are manufactured in batches of a few hundred each. Once all the components are in, the speakers take one hour to build.

The manufacturing techniques used by the production team take inspiration from traditional crafts like bookbinding, light aircraft construction and luthiery (building string instruments).

All the photography and filming takes place in Nick’s flat, which doubles as a workspace – it’s also where the company holds meetings and carries out product demos.

It has taken three years of product development – and hundreds of prototypes. Form has remained relatively consistent – the suspension system for the soundboard and the composition of the soundboard have needed the most tweaking.