Ikea's new Sonos-powered speakers double as stylish homeware

You'd never imagine that a lamp or a bookshelf could sound so good...

By David Flynn, July 29 2019

Sound by Sonos, style by Ikea: that’s the formula behind the Swedish brand’s new Symfonisk WiFi speakers. But no, they won't come flat-packed and require assembly.

The Symfonisk Table Lamp ($269) and Symfonisk Bookshelf Speaker ($149), which launch in Australia on 27 September 2019, are the first sweet-sounding fruit of a Sonos-Ikea partnership which reshapes high-tech speakers into unobtrusive pieces of homeware.

It’s a canny collaboration which gives Sonos a leg-up into the mainstream market while adding a hero product to Ikea’s growing smart home range.

Ikea's new Sonos-powered Symfonisk WiFi speakers launch in Australia on September 27, 2019

Most importantly, these Scandi-speakers are 100% Sonos. They seamlessly tap into and expand an existing Sonos network, working side by side with your current Sonos kit, are controlled by the Sonos app, and boast Sonos’ clarity, broad soundscape and dial-it-up punch. All they lack is the Google and Amazon voice control of the latest-generation Sonos gear.

Ikea’s role is in wrapping Sonos’ acoustic and wireless streaming smarts into clever contemporary design with blends into the home rather than standing out.

The Ikea Symfonisk Bookshelf Speaker and Table Lamp easily join an existing Sonos network or can create their own from scratch

However, the Symfonisk pieces also hit a sub-Sonos price point which could make them a ‘gateway drug’ to a multiroom music system. They can even be paired together in the same room for stereo.

Symfonisk Table Lamp

This curious speaker-lamp crossover packs the same audio architecture as the Sonos Play:1 and Sonos One, and has roughly the same compact footprint but in a more organic rounded form.

It certainly doesn’t look like a speaker, and that’s the whole idea: the Symfonisk Table Lamp could easily sit in a living room or bedroom without drawing attention.

The Symfonisk Table Lamp doesn't look like a speaker, and that's the whole idea

The speaker is wrapped in a soft-touch textured sleeve of neutral colours – your choice of light grey or charcoal – and crowned by a frosted diffuser, while the circular base houses play/pause and volume controls.

The Symfonisk Table Lamp combines Sonos' audio know-how with Ikea's design aesthetic

Quirky? Yes. Practical? Without a doubt. Combining a lamp and speaker means you get cosy lighting and relaxing beats, ideal for corner table or bedside.

The Table Lamp speaker was partly inspired by "the idea of the fireplace", says its designer Iina Vuorivirta

Drop in an LED WiFi smart bulb such as Philips Hue, LIFX or Ikea’s own Trådfri and you can really fine-tune the mood.

“The lamp-speaker partly springs from the idea of the fireplace” explains Ikea designer Iina Vuorivirta – “one single piece that spreads warm light as well as sound.”

As lamps tend to be needed in a particular part of a room, usually against a wall or in a corner, Sonos’ sound-tuning software shapes the audio to suit the lamp’s location and makes a noticeable difference to your listening.

Symfonisk Bookshelf Speaker

The rectangular Symfonisk Bookshelf Speaker is a very different play to the Table Lamp, and is built around an all-new Sonos sound enclosure created expressly for this Ikea collaboration.

The Symfonisk Bookshelf Speaker can serve as a minimalist bedside table

The name is a double-banger: this compact speaker can be a wall-mounted bookshelf on its own, capable of holding up to to 3kg (sufficient for a small houseplant), or sit on a bookshelf – as you’d expect, it slides snugly into Ikea’s storage units such as the Kallax.

The $149 Symfonisk Bookshelf Speaker fits into popular Ikea storage units

It can also serve as a bookend and be mounted in or hung from Ikea’s space-saving kitchen racks and railings.

A low-cost way to stream your favourite Spofity playlist while you cook

At $149, the Symfonisk Bookshelf Speaker lands as the most affordable member of the Sonos family.

The Symfonisk Bookshelf Speaker can be positioned vertically or horizontally

The audio isn’t as powerful as the Sonos One-based Table Lamp, although you won’t notice without a side-by-side comparison, and obviously it has only front-facing drivers, but that’s all you will need in many situations.

The Bookshelf Speaker becomes a Bookend Speaker

Another use for the bookshelf speaker, and one which could be especially appealing given its low price, is to group two of them with your TV’s Sonos Playbar or Beam soundbar and Sonos Sub as a fast track to 5.1 ‘home cinema’ surround sound.

Ikea's Symfonisk remote control, shown here with the larger Trådfri smart home gateway

Finally, as an alternative to firing up the  Sonos app to control these speakers, Ikea also offers a small white puck-like $20 remote control to adjust the volume, play or pause the music and skip between tracks. However, this has to be partnered with the $39 Trådfri gateway which acts as a hub for all Ikea Smart Home products.

David

David Flynn is the Editor-in-Chief of Executive Traveller and a bit of a travel tragic with a weakness for good coffee, shopping and lychee martinis.


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