The primary desk lamp speaker from Ikea and Sonos was a bit… unusual. With its bulbous, mushroom-esque lampshade, fabric-covered speaker, and a plate beneath all of it, the unique Symfonisk lamp wasn’t precisely a common match for house decor. However the idea of a lamp that additionally doubles as a succesful speaker was in itself a good suggestion — so the businesses are again with their second strive at it. The brand new Symfonisk has a extra conventional design, fixes the unique’s frustratingly restricted bulb compatibility, and has a revamped speaker structure that does a greater job spreading sound all through a room.
Ikea is now promoting the bottom/speaker and lampshade individually; the previous prices $140, and you’ll choose between a glass ($39) or textile ($29) shade. The glass shade — I reviewed the black one — is now open-ended and has a secondary, opaque glass cylinder working up the center, which encircles the bulb. It’s nonetheless not going to be everybody’s style, however the total fashion is a little more conservative and fewer more likely to stand out for the fallacious causes. That stated, for those who despised how the unique regarded, I doubt you’ll reverse course after seeing the brand new mannequin.
The lamp base has ditched the underside saucer plate, which was the place the controls have been situated on the older mannequin. It’s noticeably shorter because of this and appears fairly much like Apple’s authentic HomePod. Ikea additionally moved away from the looks-like-a-dimmer-but-isn’t knob for turning the lamp on or off. As a substitute, there’s now a small round button on the decrease entrance space of the bottom for powering the sunshine.
One draw back of this alteration is that whereas the previous knob might be left to “on,” this less complicated button doesn’t protect the bulb’s state within the occasion it will get unplugged or for those who lose energy. That may get annoying for those who’re utilizing good bulbs because you’ll must stroll over to the lamp and toggle the bulb energy again on to regulate them remotely once more. Round again are the standard Sonos controls for quantity and play / pause. The quantity buttons are straightforward to function by really feel since one is concave, and the opposite is convex.
The 2019 Symfonisk lamp solely supported lightbulbs with an E12 base, which got here with a double whammy of being more durable to seek out and outputting lackluster brightness for a desk lamp. With the brand new mannequin, Ikea has switched to the far more frequent E26 / E27 base. The corporate contains one among its personal LED bulbs within the field, however you’ve obtained loads of decisions for good bulbs from Philips Hue, LIFX, and others that can screw into the lamp if you need a splash of colour or extra versatile methods of controlling the sunshine remotely.
Establishing the lamp speaker is a brief course of within the Sonos app: plug within the removable, braided energy twine, and it’s robotically detected and added to your whole-home audio system a number of moments later. For the ultimate step, you maintain your cellphone close to the machine to complete linking it to your Sonos account by way of NFC. After that, the Symfonisk lamp acts like some other Sonos speaker you’ve obtained. You may group them collectively to get the identical music taking part in all through your residing house or simply have the lamp do its personal factor. Like different fashionable Sonos audio system, the lamp helps Apple’s AirPlay 2, so it’s straightforward to play audio on it from an iPhone, iPad, or Mac. If you happen to purchase two of the lamp audio system, they can be utilized as a stereo pair or function rear surrounds for one among Sonos’ soundbars. Assuming the design is to your style, it’s a extra refined answer for surrounds than placing audio system on stands or wall-mounting them.
Not one of the Symfonisk merchandise up to now have include built-in microphones, and that is still true with the second-gen lamp. So as to add voice controls to your Sonos system, you’ll both want one of many firm’s voice-enabled audio system or to arrange Amazon Alexa or Google Assistant for those who already personal a appropriate machine.
Ikea and Sonos say the second-generation Symfonisk lamp has a completely redesigned acoustic structure. Probably the most important addition is a waveguide that’s meant to higher disperse and unfold the speaker’s sound round a room. (There’s an analogous waveguide within the picture frame speaker.) This implies you received’t have to fret a couple of slim “candy spot” when discovering a spot for the lamp; it ought to sound constant no matter the place you place it in a room. However the re-engineered guts have modified the general sound sufficient that the Symfonisk doesn’t sound as near a Sonos One as the unique did.
For its measurement, there’s a really satisfying degree of bass, and vocals come by way of with good readability. However different components of the combo can sound much less detailed in comparison with most Sonos audio system, and a few instrumentation falls deeper into the background than I’d like. Listening to Kacey Musgraves’ new album Star-Crossed, this speaker noticeably lacked some brightness and definition on her vocals and acoustic guitars on a music like “Hookup Scene.” There are EQ changes for treble and bass within the Sonos app, and it’s also possible to run TruePlay (you probably have an iOS machine) to additional optimize the sound. However there’s all the time a slight muddiness to the speaker, although it’s not as current or apparent relying on what you’re listening to. That’s the tradeoff you’re making for the broader sound dispersion.
If you happen to’re searching for an honest speaker for a bed room or workplace — and also you actually need it to double as a lamp — the brand new Symfonisk makes good on that hybrid performance. However to me, the $99 bookshelf speaker stays the very best worth and most sensible machine within the Symfonisk lineup, particularly while you put two of them collectively.
In the case of the wall artwork speaker or the lamp, they’re much less versatile. You’re both searching for this very particular dual-purpose factor, otherwise you’re most likely not in any respect. In case you are , the second-generation Symfonisk lamp fixes numerous what Ikea obtained fallacious the primary time. It seems (barely) extra standard, helps an easier-to-source bulb, and will get a wider audio unfold out of the drivers inside. The notion of cloaking expertise inside different, extra inviting family home equipment will certainly be a giant plus for some. However for those who’re already set on lamps and okay with displaying audio system that don’t conceal their true function, you are able to do higher for the cash.
Pictures by Chris Welch / The Verge
https://www.theverge.com/22724889/ikea-sonos-symfonisk-speaker-lamp-2021-review-specs | Ikea’s newest Sonos lamp speaker remains to be an acquired style