Virgil Abloh's Canary Yellow webstore store has become home to a DIY speaker kit selling for $1,950. Ojas, the Brooklyn-based speaker brand from Nom de Guerre founder Devon Turnbull, first announced plans in April for a project geared at audiophiles who are shut in by the pandemic. It's now come to fruition in a pair of Bookshelf speakers to be constructed entirely by customers.
The Bookshelf speaker kit comes with all the hardware, components, and an unfinished Baltic Birch plywood cabinet to house them. A 4mm ball head hex driver and wood glue are included, and the only other tools needed are an electric screw driver (or drill) and a 5/16" wrench. Anyone needing additional help in the process can turn to Ojas' Instagram page, which has a three-part instructional video.
In an interview in April, when Turnbull was still working on the kit, he told Highsnobiety, "It would give people something to do that’s more fun and physical than watching Netflix."
The specs — The passive speaker sits in a 16”x14”x12.5” box with recommended amp power of 3 to 100 watts. Its frequency response is about 50 Hz (or 18 kHZ) and it has a sensitivity of 98 dB. Nominal impedance is 8 ohms, with a minimum of 6 ohms.
Monster Children, a skating and lifestyle magazine, has called Ojas' sound systems the "best we've ever heard." Turnbull had previously studied audio engineering and circuit design, and when Nom de Guerre shuttered in 2010 he began making his own audio gear again. His first commission was for the Ace Hotel in New York City, and subsequent work included making sound systems for Abloh's Figures of Speech exhibition at the The Museum of Contemporary Art and Supreme's Fukuoka store.
Before Ojas there was Nom de Guerre — Nom de Guerre was an early and influential streetwear in boutique in NoHo that evolved from a place to find graphic tees and Nike Dunks into a full-fledged brand that combined the sensibilities of New York City's sneaker culture with Japan's devotion to Americana. The store would eventually stock brands including Comme de Garçons, A.P.C., and Band of Outsiders — laying a blueprint for the "high and low" lineup that defines the leading streetwear boutiques today.
Upon announcing the Ojas speakers release through his store, Abloh said on Instagram, "In another era of New York City there was a wall of graphic tees underneath the Swatch store at Nom de Guerre on Broadway that changed my understanding of a what a graphic tee could be... let alone a shop itself."
Pick up your own kit now — The Bookshelf Speaker Kit V 1.1 is available through Canary Yellow, sitting alongside a range of audio equipment including a $6,000 amplifier. This is stuff for a serious audiophile, but there's also a range of T-shirts that mark Turnbull's first clothing release in 10 years.