The primary desk lamp speaker from Ikea and Sonos was somewhat… 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 may 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 general fashion is a little more conservative and fewer more likely to stand out for the improper causes. That mentioned, in the event you despised how the unique appeared, 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 had been situated on the older mannequin. It’s noticeably shorter because of this and appears fairly just like Apple’s unique HomePod. Ikea additionally moved away from the looks-like-a-dimmer-but-isn’t knob for turning the lamp on or off. As an alternative, there’s now a small round button on the decrease entrance space of the bottom for powering the sunshine.
One draw back of this modification is that whereas the previous knob may very well be left to “on,” this easier button doesn’t protect the bulb’s state within the occasion it will get unplugged or in the event you lose energy. That may get annoying in the event you’re utilizing good bulbs because you’ll should stroll over to the lamp and toggle the bulb energy again on to manage them remotely once more. Round again are the standard Sonos controls for quantity and play / pause. The amount 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 search out and outputting lackluster brightness for a desk lamp. With the brand new mannequin, Ikea has switched to the rather more frequent E26 / E27 base. The corporate consists of one among its personal LED bulbs within the field, however you’ve bought loads of selections for good bulbs from Philips Hue, LIFX, and others that can screw into the lamp in order for you a touch of colour or extra versatile methods of controlling the sunshine remotely.
Organising the lamp speaker is a brief course of within the Sonos app: plug within the removable, braided energy twine, and it’s routinely detected and added to your whole-home audio system just a few moments later. For the ultimate step, you maintain your telephone close to the gadget to complete linking it to your Sonos account by NFC. After that, the Symfonisk lamp acts like some other Sonos speaker you’ve bought. You may group them collectively to get the identical track 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. When you 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 delicate resolution 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 in the event you already personal a appropriate gadget.
Ikea and Sonos say the second-generation Symfonisk lamp has a very 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 identical waveguide within the image body speaker.) This implies you gained’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 stage of bass, and vocals come by with good readability. However different elements 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 track like “Hookup Scene.” There are EQ changes for treble and bass within the Sonos app, and it’s also possible to run TruePlay (when you’ve got an iOS gadget) 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.
When you’re on the lookout for a good 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 one of the best worth and most sensible gadget within the Symfonisk lineup, particularly whenever you put two of them collectively.
Relating to the wall artwork speaker or the lamp, they’re much less versatile. You’re both on the lookout for this very particular dual-purpose factor, otherwise you’re most likely not in any respect. If you’re , the second-generation Symfonisk lamp fixes plenty of what Ikea bought improper the primary time. It appears (barely) extra typical, helps an easier-to-source bulb, and will get a wider audio unfold out of the drivers inside. The notion of cloaking know-how inside different, extra inviting family home equipment will certainly be an enormous plus for some. However in the event you’re already set on lamps and okay with displaying audio system that don’t disguise their true goal, you are able to do higher for the cash.
Images by Chris Welch / The Verge