The Design

How Muro Box was born

The design of Muro Box has been improved countless times in order to maintain the unique sound and quality of traditional music box. The following article is going to tell you how we designed Muro Box.

How a Traditional Music Box Works

To begin with, we need to understand how music box works first.


As you can see on the picture, the two key components of music box are comb and cylinder, (a.k.a. drum). The rolling cylinder has many pins to pluck the comb of notes and produce the crystal- clear music. The location of the pins inserted in the cylinder controls which song the music box can play. The interaction between these two is the key of how music box works, which is also our main task to design Muro Box.

First, We Decide the Scale of the Comb

In Sep 2016, we officially started the development of Muro Box. Our first step was to visit Kyooh Precision Industry Co. Ltd., the only factory of musical movement in Taiwan, to discuss about the possibility of our idea. After half of a year in discussion, we made our first decision on the design of Muro Box - we decided to use Kyooh’s 20-note comb for Muro Box.


In the photo above, the left one is a 18-note comb, which is the most common version in mass manufactured music boxes, and the right one is Kyooh’s 20-note comb we use. The quality and precisity of comb can directly affect the sound quality of music box. The reason we chose it is because it has been applied on many music box products, which proves its reliability and quality. With this 20-note comb, we believe that Muro Box can maintain the spirit of a traditional music box and its melodious sound.

The Real Challenge: Design a Programmable Cylinder

The real challenge lies in the other component, the cylinder. Each song has its own pattern of pins fixed on the cylinder. That is to say; different melodies require different patterns of pins to plunk the comb. Our goal is to create a music box that can play infinite songs, which means we need to make cylinder have moveable pins on it so that the timing of plucking each note can be programmed to follow the melodies of different songs.


Hence, we spent two years designing a brand new convertible cylinder for Muro Box. This patented convertible cylinder is formed by 20 stainless steel gears; each gear refers to 1 out of 20 notes of the comb. In addition, there is solenoid in every gear. Once the electricity is set up, every gear will become to an independently electronic magnet and starts to rotate according to the command of an embedded microcontroller. With this design, this innovative cylinder can play infinite songs as long as the songs fit the scale.


The Design Outside the Box

The next thing to do after solving the mechanical issue is the appearance of Muro Box. In order to know the potential customers’ preference, we started a series of DIY music box classes to survey and interview the participants. According to the survey results, we realized that most of our competitive products cannot see how the music box movement works. Hence, we design to let music box lovers watch the rolling movement when listening to its music. This became the main principle when we designed the appearance of Muro Box.


We decided to choose Proposal C to continue refining its design because it has the wooden sound box for better resonating effect.

In addition, we decided to keep the knob of a music box instead of replacing it with a touch screen because we once consulted a music box collector for her opinion. She said that the knob of a music box is like a key to open a memory box to her. Once you wind the key, the memory comes out when playing the live music. Due to this conversation, we decided to design a knob on the body as a switchable key to play the next or previous song stored in Muro Box. Now, you can enjoy the control of a knob on the smart music box, but does not need to keep winding it to let music stay playing.


The Final Design

After all these hard works, there is the finalized design of Muro Box. Classic, Natural and Eternity, these are the principles when we designed it. The wooden body shows its craft and long history of music box. What’s more, it reminds us the beauty of analog music.


In addition, the appearance design of Muro Box is not only just about artistic, but also functional. To maintain the sound quality, we use the technology of sound engineering to examine and adjust our design repeatedly. All of the efforts are to achieve one thing only - let Muro Box become the best way to collect your memories and enjoy your favorite music.




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