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Sep 17, 1998
Pioneer Corporation

Pioneer Introduces the "Pure Malt Speakers"
using 100-year-old oak wood used in barrels to age whiskey



TOKYO, Japan, September 17, 1998 ----- Pioneer Electronic Corporation announced its introduction of the "S-PM1000-LR" Pure Malt Speaker System, to the Japanese domestic market.
With the cooperation of Suntory Ltd. (Osaka, Japan, President: Shinichiro Torii) and Oak Village Corporation (Gifu-pref., Japan, President: Tadashi Inamoto), a manufacturer of hand- made furniture, this product is constructed using recycled wooden barrels previously used by Suntory to age whiskey. The S.R.P. of the speakers is エ120,000 per pair, to be launched in mid- November 1998. Production of these speakers is limited to 1000 units.

< Product Concept >

These speakers are the result of the combined effort of three artisans - Suntory, the whiskey and barrel artisan, Oak Village, the woodworking artisan, and Pioneer, the sound artisan. The name "Pure Malt Speakers" is a combination of the "pure feeling" of using natural wood, the "pure feeling" related to audio terminology and the "pure malt" of whiskey.
The barrel used for the speaker cabinet is oak of more than 100 years old, which Suntory used as a whiskey barrel for approximately 50 years. Oak Village searched for a way to recycle the used barrels, which were just thrown away in the past. A few years ago, Oak Village and other workshops succeeded in applying the wood in furniture and woodcrafts.

Once oak is used for aging whiskey, it will release ingredients such as tannin and lignin and color the whiskey amber. As these ingredients are released, the barrel absorbs the aged whiskey to achieve a gentler and deeper sound.
Oak wood is an extremely hard wood and is a very good material for speaker cabinets. But, it is expensive and, because oak is such a hardwood, it is very difficult to fashion anything out of it. For these reasons, oak has not been used in speaker cabinets in the past.
The oak used in these speakers is hand picked from the so-called "puncheon" type whiskey barrels, at the size of 96 cm in diameter and 107 cm in length. The oak wood is based on carefully selected straight grain "white oak", produced in the U.S.A. A pair of bookshelf sized speakers can be formed from one barrel.
Each pair of speakers will have its own, genuine texture (wood grain) and color. 'Tiger stripes' will be found in the wood grain to prove the wood is carefully chosen high quality oak. Even though the wood changes its appearance from a whiskey barrel to a speaker cabinet, the wood itself is still 'alive', and will change to a splendid deep color as time goes by. This is one of the enjoyments of natural-wood crafts. Each company's brand logo will be ironed on the baffle board of the speaker. On the rear panel, the serial numbers from 1/1,000 to 1,000/1,000 will be neatly curved on by hand.

Suntory flattens out the curved wood from the barrels and dries it. Oak Village is responsible for putting the wood strips together and carving the cabinets. Pioneer is responsible for audio design and assembly of the speaker units, adjustment of sound quality and overall marketing and production.
These speakers are based on the concepts of "harmony between people and nature" and of "turning 100 year old wood into a product which can be used for another 100 years". Pioneer is planning to promote this product with the "Pioneer Ecology" mark and to donate a portion of the revenue to reforestation projects.

Pioneer plans to discuss expansion the product line of items such as a product that uses oak barrel wood for the amplifier volume dial or speaker stand or audio rack with Suntory and Oak Village.

< Main Specifications >

  • Type: Bass-reflex bookshelf type
  • Speakers: 14 cm cone woofer
    2.5 cm soft-dome type tweeter
  • Impedance: 6 Ω
  • Frequency Range: 40-35,000Hz
  • Sensitivity (1m/W): 88dB
  • Max. Power: 90W(EIAJ)
  • Crossover Frequency: 5,000Hz
  • Banana Plug ready, gold plated input terminals
  • Attached with two 3 meter long OFC Speaker Cables
  • Dimensions: 207(W) x 370(H) x 305(D) mm
  • Weight: 7.5 kg (one piece)

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