We are happy to receive positive reactions to Wheel 2's features in reply to our updates. We will send out a survey at the start of June in which you can indicate whether you would like to upgrade to Wheel 2. We are trying to personally answer the questions you sent us in direct messages as good and quick as we can.
In the 80’s I purchased a used Bang & Olufsen Beomaster 1600 receiver. Designed by Jacob Jensen, it was a minimalist but still intimidating slab of glass, wood and metal, innovative in the true B&O tradition of the day. I particularly admired the rubber bands on top. By sliding them up and down, you could control tuning, volume, tone and balance.
The sliding force was way too resistant to be comfortable, but that was a small price to pay for the sheer genius of its design.
I’ve never seen rubber bands used like this in any other device than the Beomaster 1600. After a few years I sold it, and it has become a vintage rarity since.
It was clear we couldn’t use the stick concept of the original Wheel in Wheel 2. Wheel 2 has many more functions, and we would run out of logical ways to implement these into a stick.
We also didn’t want to use standard knobs, sliders or levers to control Wheel 2. These would ruin its coherency, and operation would be too complicated if Wheel 2 was used upright.
While discussing solutions for this, the old Beomaster came to my mind again. Inspired by its rubber bands, we designed a functional combination of line display and slider band, and put three buttons under the band.
The first prototypes were terrible and we almost dropped the idea for something more conventional. Because the band had to slide along the curve of Wheel 2’s plinth, a standard rubber band couldn’t be used. We milled a bespoke band out of a special synthetic, polished to a very smooth inner surface, and a grippy pyramid structure on the outside. As a result, the band slid so lightly we had to add resistance to get the feel right.
We’re very pleased with how it works now. Because it's a different way of operating a device, it needed a logical name, so we called it slide track.
The slide track in parts. Apart from the ball bearings, all parts of the slide track assembly are custom made. The endless belt drives a magnetic gear wheel. The magnet encoder on the display board registers the field changes. Three buttons are hidden below the belt. Combined with the line display, the slide track is an elegant solution to control the advanced menu structure in a tactile and organic way.
Preproduction of Wheel 2 is on schedule for deliveries starting September 1st.
Thank you for your support,
Peter and the Wheel teams