Turn up the volume!

There is this one company from Berlin that really cares about high quality sound. I’m pretty sure you know which one I’m talking about if you are at least a little bit into audio. My story is about my worst experience with their products – and that tells a lot about the otherwise amazing quality.

However, sometimes I wonder if their design team even looks at the back of their devices. Or if they care about the UX that one encounters before listening.
The issue that has been bothering me for quite a while (see what I did there? ) is that my subwoofer would sometimes just turn off. Or don’t even turn on to begin with. I soon figured out, that it would come back to life when increasing the overall volume. Of course that’s no permanent solution but it got me thinking about that automatic activation feature it has. I took a look at the very rudimentary back of the subwoofer and found a dial to set the “AUTO LEVEL” – guessing that this one might have something to do with the activation feature.
But I first needed to find a screwdriver, because they must have thought the setting is too important to hide it from the customer, but unimportant enough to not put a knob on that dial. In my opinion, if you find such a setting is important enough to make it accessible, make it accessible. Not “find–some–tool–to–change–it” – accessible. But that’s another topic.

So, I found a screwdriver and changed the auto level setting from “somewhat low” to “very low”. I was listening to music at that moment and the subwoofer turned on immediately, figuring it must have been right. The audio level where it should turn on was set lower, so it has to turn on at lower input signals, right? Well, yes, at least if the setting did what you would expect it to.

While writing the “About this Blog” post, I noticed that the subwoofer’s behavior got even worse. I checked the dial and it was still at the setting I chose back then. So I turned it even lower and waited. Suddenly that big black box turned off during the current song. That’s how I knew it must have been the wrong direction. I checked and yes, the manual says the settings changes the sensitivity of signal recognition. Or in other words: The exact opposite of what the label on the device says. Thanks for that!
At least it is working now after turning the dial towards “high”. And I learned yet again that manuals are there for a reason in most cases.

In summary: Care about your product’s backsides. Especially when the customer can or must access some settings there. And don’t be so evil to have a setting doing the opposite of what its label says. ?


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About this Blog

There is one thing I want to make clear right from the beginning: I am not a professional designer. I never got any degree that would say something about my knowledge in design. However, I always enjoyed creating stuff that appealed to... Continue →