While we are unsure exactly who thought up the design, Harman's JBL subsidiary thinks that many will actually want a pair of stereo speakers that look like oversized snails and that is exactly what their all new Pebbles look like. To be fair, these one kilogram speakers are not all that snail-like and it is simply their unique shape that makes them look like large black with orange accents or white with orange accents snails.
are more just than conversation pieces and the unique design does serve a purpose. Namely, you can either use them in a vertical or horizontal orientation. More importantly, the tall but narrow profile allows for the large 50mm drivers to be located in the front while allowing a fairly large bass reflex zone in the rear. This combination allows for a very large soundstage without losing fidelity but unfortunately, the Pebbles only support up to 16-bit 48kHz audio; so 24-bit lovers will be less than impressed by them - good soundstage or not.
Like many USB-powered speakers, all the electronics - USB DAC cable, as well as the volume knob - are located in the right speaker and the left plugs into it via a simple 3.5mm audio jack. This means you can use either in monaural mode via either USB or analog connections and you will not need any special software to use them in either mode. As an added bonus, JBL includes a winding grove along the flat bottom of the right speaker for easy storage and transportation. If the Pebbles sound quirky enough to peak your interest they will be available online for about $60; though you may have to secure special shipping as they will only be available in Japan as of this writing.