Native Union's New PR/01 Speaker
Created in collaboration with French acoustics specialists La Boite Concept, retro design meets elevated sound quality
As tech home speakers become more and more connected to apps and virtual assistants, Native Union is taking a different route with their creations. The new PR/01—made in collaboration with French audio experts La Boite concept—is still state-of-the-art, but it's somewhat pared back. With no virtual assistants or WiFi, it's been built to last through all tech waves and fads. That means those options can be added on, but this speaker won't end up the equivalent of owning a Blu-Ray player in 2018. Rather the PR/01 Speaker will evolve with you and the times, in terms of connectivity and how you access and enjoy your music.
Connectivity is just the beginning, of course. With a nod to the retro-styling of the '50s and '60s, the speaker's design is classic and clean—with woodgrain making up the bulk of the piece. The speaker is a sleek rectangle, and the only disruption to those lines is a brass-colored flourish that—at first glance—appears to be decorative. However, as with all Native Union products, the PR/01 is minimal and functional, and the brass-tone cylinder is a solid aluminum control—for volume and to switch between sources. The concealed drawer (for connecting sources and accessing charging ports) might be one of the most simple but impressive elements of the design. Equipped with traditional audio-in, two USB-A and one USB-C port, the drawer keeps visible cords to a minimum—oftentimes the biggest eyesore when it comes to tech devices. There's a cutout on the underside of the wood case that accommodates a wireless charging pad so simply putting your phone on top of the speaker juices it up.
Of course, the most important element is the sound and after testing it for over a month we can say that the PR/01 doesn't disappoint. Measuring 410mm in length, it's a decent size and the rich sound quality matches. With powerful, luscious sound, the speaker can handle all genres from classical to grime, dream-pop to hip-hop. Thanks to patent-pending Active Pression Reflex technology (consisting of two speakers inside a multi-amplified pneumatic system), sounds on all levels are rich—big beats aren't shrill, synths aren't tinny, even very low-frequency sounds (like a deep voice on a podcast, or a rumbling bass) are clear and crisp.
Images by Cool Hunting