SRS-XB10/XB20/XB30/XB40, GTK-XB5

Powerful bass and dazzling light in a single package

A music festival brings people together through musical and visual magic, with the pumping bass and dynamic lighting creating a sense of collective euphoria. The EXTRA BASS™ Series, an innovative take on portable wireless speakers, brings that experience closer to home and lets users share the unique joys of music together.

Replicating the full-body dynamics of the festival experience

Listening to music isn't something that people just do by themselves any more; as the growing popularity of electronic dance music (EDM) and music festivals shows, people are getting more interested in sharing their musical experiences in live settings. With the EXTRA BASS Series, we wanted to let people get a taste of that experience without having to go to an actual live performance. To capture that full-body musical experience, one that goes beyond audio, we infused the conventional speaker function of simply reproducing sound with lighting and portable durability for a multisensory wireless speaker.

Image of an EXTRA BASS part.
A solid, bass-centric form meets dazzling light technology

The design team had to figure out answers to two key questions: how to translate the distinctive bass sounds of the EDM genre into a visual form and how to make the products tough enough to deliver unique musical experiences in any setting. As we explored possible solutions, we eventually arrived at a 'solid' configuration that would embody low-range frequencies with a dense, heavy look. In addition to giving bass sounds a thicker, stronger visual identity than what flat, box-type speakers can offer, the EXTRA BASS design also features rounded edges that make the configuration more durable. The solid design encapsulates the entire product experience, bringing powerful bass and durability together.

The illumination running along the periphery of the speaker unit, meanwhile, synchronises with the sound coming from the speakers to give bass another visual dimension. By fusing a solid form with intelligent lighting technology, we created a design that takes the EXTRA BASS experience to an even more exciting level.

Image of SONY EXTRA BASS illumination.
Giving people what they need to enjoy music together

Takuma, chief art director

Our idea was to condense the entire music festival experience—sound, light and togetherness—into an active speaker product. Combining a dense, solid form with lighting technology gave us exactly what we were looking for: a speaker that could bring parties to life.

The functionality of a rounded form

We knew that creating a solid design with powerful bass performance and optimal portability would require the perfect shapes, materials and other elements in between. To consolidate the different parts for the different functions into a dense, packed look, we worked with engineers to test ideas for cabinet structures until a smooth, rounded form emerged as the optimal choice. Once we had the basic form, we decided to give it a double finish: The top surface has a plain rubber coating, giving the exterior a simple, easy feel and a scratch-resistant design, while the bumpy texture on the bottom adds to the toughness of the look and gives the product a stronger grip, making it easier to carry around and set up in different locations. Accentuating the solid form with a touch of contrast, the two-tone finish tops off the design in functional style.

Side view of the SONY SRS-XB20.
Front view of the SONY SRS-XB40.
Visualising bass through an amalgam of aesthetic elements

A big focal point for the design team was the speaker unit, which not only represented the most important piece of the deep bass sound but also needed to have a visual impact. To bring that element into the foreground of the design, we lined the circumference of the unit with tracked tube lighting and gave the grill an open-hole pattern — a feature that not only lets sound pass through clearly but also lets users see the speaker vibrate as acoustic pressure changes, accenting the punch of the bass frequencies in visual cues. The grill also has a convex contour, which expresses the force of the aural power radiating outwards from the speaker. The 'power' concept informs the body colour design as well, as the bright hues of the BOLD COLOUR family give the sound yet another visual identity. From top to bottom, inside and out, the design visualises the bass experience in diverse, eye-catching ways.

Durability enables versatility

Hibino, design manager

The conception of wireless speaker systems as interior fixtures is fading — now, more and more people are looking for compact speakers they can carry around and use in different places. Given the ongoing shift towards portability, we focused on developing a durable, mobile product that would cater to campers, partiers and other consumer segments where versatility is vital.

Designing illumination patterns to capture the festival ambience

In the EDM world, lighting is an essential part of the groove. To replicate the unmistakable buzz of the festival scene, we crafted the colour scheme to reflect the soft-loud dynamics of the music. The tube-light illumination, which ranges between 'cold' and 'warm' colour phases for chromatic contrast, synchronises with the beat to deliver a pulsating palette of light — the perfect complement to the trademark highs and lows of the EDM genre.

Building on our unique beat-detection technology, we developed an algorithm capable of identifying musical changes by the measure — and in real time. The result? An illumination scheme that adapts freely to the tone and flow of every song, and accentuates the music with smart lighting capabilities. The unit emits white flashes on the beat too, but not just in a straight, constant pattern: The pulses speed up and slow down depending on how the song develops, automatically recreating the dynamics of live stage lighting.

Lighting that can give you a major boost

Fujiki, designer

When you go to a music festival, the bass and lighting hit you on a physical level. That full-body sense of excitement was what we were after. Beat detection and colour scheming were obviously key parts of the lighting design, but we also knew how important it would be to help people derive real, instinctual excitement from the overall experience.

Showcasing the festival worldview through intuitive communication

No product can communicate its entire worldview on its own. That's why communication design is so crucial. Fully aware of that need, the design team created an EXTRA BASS Series logo that encapsulates the deep-bass experience and reflects the overall series concept. The text of the EXTRA BASS name uses different thickness levels, employing a bold, heavy style for the 'BASS' word to accent the product's low-frequency muscle and pushing the characters closer together to capture the tightly packed density of the design. The graphic underlays play an important role, as well. Featuring elements that suggest the feel and sound of a live music performance, the graphics foster an intuitive link between the product and the music festival experience.

The packaging designers also applied dynamic product framing to create a high-impact, bass-focused layout. More than just the core of the product concept, the bass experience also shapes the features of the overall communication design.

It's all about that bass experience

Matsuda, designer

Packaging normally puts the priority on highlighting the product form. For the EXTRA BASS Series packaging though, we decided to put the bass experience in the spotlight. The whole communication strategy operates around that idea.

A thrilling fusion of thumping bass and smart, dynamic lighting, the EXTRA BASS Series goes beyond the traditional conception of an audio system to emphasise a new focus: enabling people to share the joys of music in larger groups, regardless of the location.

*Product availability may vary by region and country.