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High Tech

The sound of sake

Satoshi Imamura, an engineer for JVC, had been trying for years to mold speaker cones from wood. When he tried with birch, a superb sound enhancer, it cracked. Then one evening in a restaurant, it hit him. He asked the waiter how the chef got his dried squid so chewy and was told it had been soaked in sake. So Imamura did the same with birch and found he could bend it into a cone, thanks to the amino acids. The resulting line of speakers ($1,300–$1,700 a pair) has remarkable range and clarity—enough to convince even the most serious audiophiles. www.jvc.com