Our speakers sound like instruments


To his utmost surprise, the speakers Huib Kalkman designed had far more applications than he anticipated.


Hearing Impairment

First of all, Kalkman accidentally discovered that, using his speakers, those who are hard of hearing are able to listen to the television or music without having to turn up the volume. The Amsterdam Health Authority is currently researching ways in which they can reduce hearing impairment in youths and is looking for a solution with regard to noise pollution in entertainment centres. But that’s not all: Mr Kalkman’s company, Kalkman Audio, sponsors the The Hague Jazz Festival. “We will equip two of the stages with our speakers, enabling those with hearing impairment to go to a live concert for a change.”


Research Organisation

In addition, the company is doing a lot of research based upon the technology it has developed. “We are currently working on setting up a number of projects and we have applied for a subsidy from Senter Novem. Consequently, we will no longer be a small business that makes speakers but become a proper research organisation.”


Natural and Clear, without Distortion

52-year old Kalkman has been improving speakers since he was twelve years old. When he became unemployed five years ago he decided to start his own business. “I started importing flat-screen displays and noticed that the sound of the speakers could be improved. I tried to find a solution and achieve a sound that was natural, clear and was not distorted. And that is how it all started. I wanted a speaker that sounded like an instrument, without electronic components and a cabinet that eliminates vibrations.”


Acoustic Filter

This could only be achieved with an acoustic filter. “An electronic filter causes phase, speed and cross-over differences. Our acoustic filter reproduces the sound without distortion or speed reduction. In addition, the sound carries far, and the high, middle and low tones arrive separately. The sensation is the same, but with fewer decibels.”


A Concept Worthy of a Patent

Kalkman founded a small company called Inovis to work out his ideas. “We were convinced we had stumbled upon something completely new, something we wanted to protect. We contacted Holger Seitz, EP&C’s patent attorney, who kept asking questions until he was able to turn our ideas into concrete concepts that could be patented.” Kalkman, who has a degree in economics and is not a sound engineer, improved his speakers even further. He developed speakers with thin walls, like the body of a musical instrument, which produce multi-directional sound. “Thanks to the ball container, the music leaves the speaker without vibrations. The container is filled with a granular material that does not settle like sand. Instead, it remains separated and spread across the floor of the speaker, transforming the vibrations into heat.”


Foundation of the Company

Last summer, when the speakers were finally completed and a patent was registered via EP&C, Kalkman founded Kalkman Audio, which is currently employing 6 people. “We have subcontracted the cabinets, since we do not want dust in our workshop in Breda, but we do put the speakers together ourselves.” Kalkman has plenty of plans. “We will definitely apply for more patents, so we can recover our R&D investment costs and protect our know-how. This allows us to put all our energy into bringing our products onto the market and expanding our business.”


For more information look at:


April 2008 - Technology Newspaper

  Holger Seitz, M.Sc. (Dutch & European Patent Attorney (associate partner))

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