Muro Box-N40 Update #12 -
New Resonance Box Design Proposal
Hello everyone, I am the inventor of Muro Box, Dr. Chen-Hsiang Feng.
This update is to discuss our brand-new resonance box design for the N40. We have touched upon this matter in previous updates (Update #6 and Update #7), but due to numerous factors to consider, a final decision was still pending. Here, we are presenting our proposal for the ultimate design. Since the scheduled timeline for November is to complete the entire music box hardware design, you still have the opportunity to provide us with new suggestions or modify the direction by the end of the month, so please take advantage of this opportunity to tell us your feedback via the form at the end of this update.
What is the Resonance Box in the N40 Campaign’s Main Video?
What you see in the campaign video is our existing product, a resonance box designed for N20 models. They have suitable size and produce excellent sound quality. So, if you already have the N20 resonance box, you can definitely continue to enjoy it for your N40 music box.
But why do we need a brand new design for N40 music boxes? The current N20-Resonance Box design has three limits:
- Wood Source: The zebra wood comes from Africa, and it seems that it isn’t a stable supply source for mass production in Taiwan.
- Insufficient Weight-Bearing Capacity: The N40 Sublime is 3.4 kilograms and the original N20 resonance box might not be able to support its heavy weight and crack after long-time use.
- High Shipping Costs: Since the resonance box is hollow, the shipping costs are higher than the actual production costs, which has been a significant challenge for us. The international shipping cost on our own store is a discounted price because we help customers pay 60% of the original airmail shipping fee. Therefore, reducing the international air shipping cost issue is our top priority in this new design.
What about the New Resonance Box?
We plan to include a resonance box as the “standard” accessory for the N40. All backers of the N40 Sublime and the N40 Standard will receive a new resonance box for free!
So, how did we achieve this? There are three significant design changes:
- The top cover of the resonance box can be opened, and the music box will be placed inside, serving as a shipping container. This solves the shipping cost issue.
- Inside the resonance box, we will install a sound post to distribute the weight to the bottom plate, addressing the weight problem of the N40.
- We will replace the zebra wood with a more commonly available wood to address material sourcing issues.
Here is a detailed explanation:
The Resonance Box As The Packaging Box
Since the resonance box is hollow and takes up a lot of shipping space, why not place the music box inside it? This way, there’s no need to incur additional shipping costs for the resonance box! To accommodate this purpose, we have made the following design changes:
1. The top panel is detachable, secured with six screws and locking with cross dowel nuts, allowing you to assemble and disassemble the top panel repeatedly without damaging the resonance box. We will include a hex key with your order to help you with the unboxing process.
2. The music box itself will be protected using high-density EPE foam. You may find that EPE foam’s particles are relatively large and may not provide the best texture, but due to the considerable weight of the music box, we have tested various materials in the past. Most fine-textured foam materials tend to be soft and unable to bear the heavy weight, and there are limited options for high-hardness foam suitable for this purpose. Therefore, our top priority here is to ensure the protection of the music box, with appearance being a secondary concern. Additionally, when using the music box, we recommend removing the foam from the resonance box for better sound transmission.
3. Because accessories for the music box, such as the power supply, also need to be placed inside the resonance box, the external dimensions of the resonance box will be increased to 38.4 cm x 22.6 cm x 13.7 cm to accommodate all the components.
4. Since the resonance box itself serves as the premium wooden music box packaging, we don’t want to use excessive artificial packaging design. In the current design, after placing the music box inside the resonance box, product information will be printed on the sleeve, and an additional layer of foam will be added to the outside of the sleeve. Finally, we will use a six- layer corrugated carton to ship each product set. On the corrugated carton, it will only show essential information to minimize the risk of being stolen during the shipping process.
Adding a Sound Post to the Resonance Box
The design of the resonance box is actually similar to musical instruments, where you need to pursue two opposing conditions: the thinner the wood, the better, but it must still maintain high strength without deformation. Currently, our top panel, with a thickness of 6mm, tends to deform under a pressure of 3.4KG from the N40 Sublime. That’s why we chose to use sound posts to increase strength.
However, because our design allows for the removal of the top cover, we cannot use glue to fix the sound posts in place. Instead, they are positioned and secured through friction after locking. You can adjust the position of the sound post to find the most suitable location.
Using a More Common Wood
In fact, there are too many preferences when it comes to wood selection. Based on my current understanding, music boxes fall under the categories of percussion instruments and idiophones. Generally, for these types of instruments, people are accustomed to using hardwood, known for its clear and clean sound characteristics. This is why we previously used zebrawood, which is a hardwood. Currently, the music boxes use woods like acacia and maple woods, which are also considered hardwoods. However, maple wood is often considered to have a very clean and featureless sound, so it is rarely used for instrument panels. But in the context of music boxes, having a clean sound is actually a desirable quality, making the use of maple wood in music boxes is perfectly acceptable.
The wood choice commonly preferred is actually softwoods, like spruce, for guitar soundboards. Softwoods are known for producing a loud sound with more sustaining effect. When we tested the sound effect of a resonance box by placing a MuroBox-N20 music box on a guitar in the past, however, many of our customers did not like the idea of using guitars as resonance boxes because they found the sound to be less crisp and not in line with the modern music box sound they were looking for. This is a primary reason we decided not to use a guitar for the new resonance box design.
However, in our current situation, the N40 Sublime with its “Sublime Harmony” design is no longer solely focused on clean sound. N40 Sublime’s sound is deeper and richer, and the design of the resonance box should emphasize and enhance this characteristic, much like the large disc music boxes designed in the 19th century that aimed for more complex and distinctive sound effects.
Hence, choosing a softwood may be a more reasonable choice for the current N40 music boxes, and we will make prototypes to verify our wood choice. Welcome everyone to give us your feedback regarding wood choice.
An unexpected change is the color allocation. Most softwoods’ colors are plain and whiter. Because we prefer to present the natural wood grain without covering it with colored paint, hence, the new resonance box design will look differently from the N20 resonance box’s darker color.
If you really don’t like the light color design for the new resonance box, please shot out to let us know!
Just like Shiao-Chen (the co-founder) told us immediately that she does not like the light color wood choice when we were drawing the 3D rendered images. Although I personally like the light-colored version, I understand that your preferences may differ from mine. So, there are two more options to consider: one is to use the protective paint with colors (similar to the current N20 resonance box), and the other is to use dark-color wood.
I believe that using colored protective paint is a bit counterproductive. If you appreciate wood, you should embrace its natural appearance because the value lies in the wood itself, not the paint. Therefore, unless the majority of you express a desire for this approach, I would prefer to keep the resonance box in its natural wood color.
Using dark-color wood would significantly increase the cost, making it infeasible for us to offer this resonance box as a complimentary for our N40 customers. For example, if we use acacia wood, even when considering only the cost, without considering the additional value in product appeal, the final price would need to increase by approximately $200.
So please tell us, are you satisfied with the current design of the N40 resonance box? Do you prefer a dark-colored paint finish, or would you like us to offer a dark-color wood as an add-on option for you to pledge it?
About the 6.5 mm Pickup Audio Output Moving from the Music Box to the Resonance Box
Originally, we designed the pickup to be placed on the inner side of the music box. However, after actual testing on our product sample, we found that due to its proximity to the mechanical movement, the pickup would pick up unwanted mechanical noise. So, we retested the placement and found that attaching the pickup to the inner side of the top panel of the resonance box yielded good results. The music signal remained strong while the mechanical noise was reduced to an acceptable level. Therefore, we will move the audio output from the rear of the music box to the front of the resonance box. Of course, if you have a preferred pickup, you are welcome to replace it with the model you like.
Thank you for your support for the Muro Box products and team. If you have any ideas to share with us, please submit it via the form below. Thank you for taking time to provide some feedback to help us make better designs!
Muro Box Inventor
Dr. Chen-Hsiang Feng
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Muro Box-N40 Kickstarter Campaign: 10/26-11/25
100% Funded in the first 2 hours!
Our Kickstarter Campaign launched on 10/26 is 100% Funded in the first 2 hours! Thank you very much for all of our backers’ super early support!
We will do our best to refine both hardware and software during and after the campaign ends.
When the products are shipped to you, you will be as excited as we are when hearing and seeing the live performance of Muro Box-N40!