Launched way back in 2001, TDK’s Tremor ‘multimedia loudspeaker system’ (as they used to call these then), was one of the most interesting designs of the decade, in my view. The first-ever speaker systems offered by TDK, a range of three was offered including the Tremor S-150, S-60 and S-40. All featured a powered subwoofer and two satellites sporting the (then) new NXT SurfaceSound technology.
Unlike conventional pistonic speaker designs, this produced complex vibration modes over the surface of a panel – in this case working from 200 Hz to 20 kHz In addition to this, it had a far wider dispersion pattern than normal moving coil speakers. The S-150’s satellites came with both a desktop stand and a swivel bracket for mounting them to a monitor. Inside the sub were two woofers, and an amplifier producing a claimed 75W RMS per channel.
Build quality is predictably plasticky, but then this speaker system did sell for just £200 in the UK back in the day. This doesn’t seem to matter when you switch it on though, because you’re greeted with an amazingly clean and open sound that has great transient speed and low colouration. This is one of the best small powered speaker systems I’ve ever heard, even today. The sadness is that NXT panels never caught on, although several companies have gone on to do good work with their associated technology of Balanced Mode Radiators (BMRs).
TDK Tremors do pop up now and again on the used market, and the price is low – albeit highly variable. They’re certainly worth picking up if you’re serious student of speaker design, or just want a fine sounding second or even third system. Needless to say, this speaker was a bit too ‘far out’ for the market of that time and the TDK brand disappeared without a trace once again. So sad, considering how illustrious it was in the Golden Age of Compact Cassette, but c’est la vie!