The Alarm Clock Re-Imagined

We created Sound Rise for music lovers like you who want to start the day with their favorite tunes, rock out while getting ready to go and relax with music as they fall asleep.

By Soundfreaq on Wednesday September 2 2015 in design notes

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We created Sound Rise for music lovers like you who want to start the day with their favorite tunes, rock out while getting ready to go and relax with music as they fall asleep. We packed our award-winning sound quality into this compact alarm clock that will look at home in your bedroom filling your life with more music.

In a package that’s the same size or smaller than the alarm clocks you’re used to, we deliver to your nightstand a Bluetooth streaming speaker, phone-charger, and alarm clock that has familiar, but improved functionality. Sound Rise allows you to wake up to a chime, FM radio, or even music streaming from your phone, and to fall asleep listening to music. Sound Rise will even turn the music off for you after you fall asleep.

We knew that most people charge their phones at night, but the cord doesn’t always bridge the distance between the bed and a wall charger. Our handy USB charging port brings power even closer, allowing you to use your phone while charging so you don’t have to become a contortionist to return a text. Not to mention you can wake up with your phone displaying that comforting “100% Battery” every morning.

 

Forest Freaq

 

Why Do You Need This Alarm Clock?

Whether you use a phone as your alarm, have an iPod docking clock, or rely on an old-school alarm clock, we think that there are many Sound Rise features that will fill the needs your current device does, and also provide some new features that it doesn’t.

If you’re using your phone’s alarm, that’s understandable in some instances. It’s an alarm clock that always travels with you. With Sound Rise, we found a way to bring you a Bluetooth speaker that allows you and yours to get better sound on your alarm clock in bed, using apps like Netflix, Rdio, Spotify or sites like YouTube. Headphones, even for just one person, can be inconvenient when laying in bed, and two people splitting a pair of earbuds in their own house struck us as a little silly as well.

If you have an old-school alarm clock, Sound Rise improves upon the basic features that your clock has. It also charges your phone, serves as a bedroom speaker for any apps and music, and let’s you wake up to your own music, rather than being at the mercy of the FM airwaves. We understand that you may have had your current clock since well before cell phones became ubiquitous, but the versatility of USB charging and Bluetooth mean that Sound Rise can be your alarm clock for the next 20 years, and won’t be rendered obsolete every time you get a new phone.

No matter what you’re currently using to wake you up, Sound Rise can pick up those duties, improve on them, and offer something more.

If you happen to own a docking alarm clock already, chances are that it’s already got outdated hardware that may prevent you from hearing your music or charging your phone. So rather than hanging on to a device that’s taking up unnecessary space with a dock that you’re not even using, you could opt for a Sound Rise with a smaller footprint, versatile USB charging, and Bluetooth streaming that allows you to use your phone while listening to its music. We feel those are some pretty big improvements, and you can buy Sound Rise knowing that the features won’t get outdated the next time a company decides to upgrade or change their hardware.

No matter what you’re currently using to wake up, Sound Rise can pick up those duties, improve on them, and offer something more. We know there is a reason you’re using your phone (or your dock, or your alarm clock), and it’s our goal with Sound Rise to improve on that experience, rather than change it.

 

How Small Could It Get?

The first thing we realized is that if your nightstand is anything like ours, it’s really crowded already. Our design needed to be nice and compact to leave room for all the other stuff you have on your nightstand: your phone, a glass of water, books, your glasses and everything else that you like to keep in arm’s reach while you’re in bed. 

We kept the footprint small and instead made Sound Rise, well, “rise up” so that we had enough space inside to pack in our award-winning sound quality.

In order to keep the footprint small, we eliminated the phone dock, opting instead for a USB outlet to charge your phone. This way you can charge any phone you want... iPhone, Android so you won’t need to buy a new clock every time you get a new phone. You can even charge other USB devices like a tablet or Kindle. And since your phone’s not stuck in a dock, you can easily pick it up and use it while it’s charging without needing to sit up in bed to finesse it back onto a dock connector.

While small is good for your nightstand, small can be a challenge to making a speaker sound good. So we kept the footprint small and instead made Sound Rise, well, “rise up” so that we had enough space inside to pack in our award-winning sound quality. When it came to sound quality, we found that using one driver (rather than the more common two), would allow for better sound and deeper bass in a smaller package. Sure, we don’t get to say our product is “stereo,” but two speakers separated by millimeters isn’t much of a stereo experience anyway, so we decided to just give the best sound we could, and dispense with the buzzwords.

 

Font/Brightness

During the evolution of Sound Rise’s designs, we got lots of feedback regarding alarm clock displays and light pollution while sleeping. We found some people want to be able to roll over and see what time it is, and some don’t want any light emitting from the device at all. To accommodate different preferences, we equipped Sound Rise with six adjustable display settings, ranging from bright to dim to really, really dim, and then a blackout setting for those who don’t want any light coming from their Sound Rise. Just hit any button at any time, and the Sound Rise display comes to life. It’s easier than reaching for your phone, and won’t light up with texts and new software update messages in the middle of the night.

To keep the light pollution at a minimum for all users, we worked hard to create the most legible display while keeping brightness to a minimum.

To keep the light pollution at a minimum for all users, we worked hard to create the most legible display while keeping brightness to a minimum. However, legibility is largely a function of the height of the display characters, while the brightness comes from the width of the font’s stroke. We found that if we kept the height of the characters the same, but made the actual lit components thinner, we could reduce brightness (lower lumen output) while maintaining legibility. So we designed our own Sound Rise font to do it, which was a little extra work, but works well in reducing light pollution.

 

If It Ain’t Broke...

We’re eager to create the best product we can, and sometimes this means innovating with new design features, and sometimes it means building on the strengths of what’s already been designed by others. The basic alarm clock functionality hasn’t changed much over the past 25 years or so, and there are some pretty good reasons for that. Besides the fact that people want their clock interface on the top of the device, and a big, slappable SNOOZE button, people are familiar with a certain type of clock design. And rather than looking for ways to change that up for the sake of innovation, we looked for ways to keep it the same so that people wouldn’t go cross-eyed setting their alarm and using Sound Rise as their bedroom Bluetooth speaker.

So on the top of Sound Rise you’ll see that we kept the alarm clock and music buttons in their own sections (but still close to each other). We think you’ll like having your alarm wake you up with your own Pandora station, but not at the expense of wondering whether or not your alarm is going to go off when you need it to.