Nowadays, streaming platforms mean that access to endless music is only a simple tap away. Yet, headphones and plastic speakers are a far cry from the immersive experience of live music. In Norway, NNNN is bucking the trend by reviving the quality of the horn speaker, reinterpreting it for modern-day scenarios and designing speakers that enable music experiences very much out of the ordinary.

Audio quality is about more than just music. In the new technological world, most of us have come to rely on high-quality audio. The pandemic meant that millions of people saw their workspaces turn into home offices, with video conferences and phone calls being their main interaction with the outside world.

“Some might think that the video is the most important part of a video conference, but we all know that the conversation wouldn’t happen without audio,” says Torkel Mellingen, CEO and co-founder of NNNN. “Whether it is a music stage, a club, a bar or even your favourite restaurant, or an important corporate presentation, we develop technology that enables experiences.”

The journey

NNNN blossomed from an idea that had no intention of becoming what it presently is. As Mellingen was about to leave his role as VP of Design at Cisco, a company developing video conferencing systems, he asked a colleague from the audio department for sound system recommendations for his living room. Rune Skramstad, CTO and co-founder of NNNN, after seeing a sketch of Mellingen’s living room, suggested a custom sound system. A few months of brainstorming and sketches later, Mellingen and Skramstad debuted their first piece of work together over some pizza and beer.

“Rune has been designing speakers since the young age of ten, which is incredibly impressive,” Mellingen praises his friend and co-worker. “He jumped at the opportunity to drag me down his little audio rabbit hole. Shortly after the first beer, he asked me if we should make something we could sell.”

Soon, two became four. Co-founders Lars Eirik Mobæk and Lars Johan Hereid joined the club, and in 2019, NNNN was officially born. “The N stands for Norway, and there is one of them for each of the four of us,” Mellingen explains, chuckling. “But the best part is that the four Ns next to each other resemble soundwaves.”

NNNN: Innovative audio technology meets Nordic design

Speakers that excel in every space

NNNN seeks to produce sound systems with “crystal clear audio reproduction”. They also focus on versatility and flexibility, and unlike that first custom speaker Mellingen and Skramstad made, all NNNN speakers are designed to sound good in a variety of spaces and scenarios.

“We use horn speakers and focus on applying acoustic principles to our designs,” says Mellingen. “Form follows function, after all.”

Most brands start small. NNNN, however, took on a challenge and began producing sound systems for the largest spaces. “Making speakers that seamlessly cooperate and reach up to thousands of people has been challenging, but a lot of fun,” says Mellingen. “Our equipment can be used for both large and small concerts, which is both financially beneficial and very practical.”

Throughout the pandemic, musicians all over the world were confined to smaller spaces. As a result, NNNN decided to develop their first studio speaker, which can also be used in other similarly smaller spaces, such as video conference rooms, bars and commercial spaces. “We value quality over anything else. We want all our speakers to reflect the art that musicians put their heart and soul into when they create their music.”

Sustainable solutions

The brand focuses on long-lasting quality and timeless designs in order to ensure sustainability. People tend to reach for something better once they grow tired of something, which is why NNNN wants to make the best option out there. Without compromising on quality, the NNNN speakers are more energy-efficient and sustainable.

“When you produce physical products, it’s your responsibility to consider how they affect the planet – that you design for a circular economy,” Mellingen says. “We want our speakers to be the most sustainable solution.”
All of NNNN’s products are produced in Norway. Additionally, their designs ensure good sound quality without taking up as much space as traditional loudspeakers, thus reducing the number of vehicles needed for transportation to live events.

“We are constantly seeking more eco-friendly solutions. We are fortunate to have a network of Nordic suppliers that share our values, which has proven imperative in keeping track of sustainable solutions in production and manufacturing,” Mellingen adds. ”We’ve also noticed that others in the industry are also starting to pick up on what we do and change their own ways. It’s fun to inspire and be part of a change.”

NNNN: Innovative audio technology meets Nordic design

NNNN is Eco-Lighthouse certified – a widely used environmental certification scheme in Norway that is recognised by the EU as equivalent to EMAS and ISO 14001 in public procurement.


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