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Ikea and Sonos picture frame speaker review: wall of sound

Ikea and Sonos are again with the newest product of their collaborative Symfonisk collection. The lineup’s goal is to make know-how — on this case, wi-fi audio system — slot in higher with house decor and furnishings. After releasing a table lamp and bookshelf speaker two years in the past, the businesses have provide you with a 3rd act that doesn’t require any desk, shelf, or flooring area in any respect — as a result of it hangs in your wall. The brand new $200 Symfonisk “picture frame with Wi-Fi speaker” can be accessible at Ikea’s shops on July fifteenth.

The identify is a bit of a misnomer since you’ll be able to’t truly put any of your personal footage or posters inside this frame. “Wall artwork speaker” could be extra correct, however the finish result’s one other try and camouflage devices with a extra nice design that blends in with the remaining of your house.

The picture frame is designed for mounting and comes with all of the {hardware} (bracket, screws, and many others.) required for that. However you too can simply prop it up towards a wall and use it that means; Ikea contains silicone ft for this goal, and there are preinstalled felt pads to maintain the frame from inflicting any wall harm. Whether or not you cling it up or simply stand it up on a shelf, it may be oriented horizontally or vertically. The bulk of the product is constituted of plastic, however the entrance panel with the art work is a polyester cloth. Three bodily buttons for play / pause and observe controls are positioned behind the left edge of the frame; the Ikea and Sonos branding is a visible cue for the place to achieve, and they’re simple to really feel for after some time.

Ikea’s default artwork design on the mesh cloth isn’t going to be for everybody. Artist Jennifer Idrizi has mentioned that it’s impressed by the “construction” of music — the fade in and fade out. However on Twitter, the look has been mocked as one thing that’d be at house in a series lodge, dentist’s workplace, or kitschy Airbnb. I don’t envy the problem of making artwork that appeals to a large viewers.

Ikea plans to promote a variety of completely different artwork prints for $20 every; swapping between them is as simple as pushing out the panel by means of the eight cutouts on the frame’s again corners. Some folks aren’t going to like any of the picks, and I actually want you may order customized designs of your personal images. Sadly, that’s not one thing Ikea is providing, however the firm says it’s going to launch new designs usually. If the Symfonisk frame proves well-liked, possibly an aftermarket of prints will emerge on Etsy.

One other side of the picture frame speaker that folks have quibbled about is the ability wire. A chunk of art work with a cable operating down the wall?! I can solely communicate for myself, nevertheless it actually hasn’t bothered me within the slightest. The material-covered white wire — even the black frame comes with a white cable — is 11.5 ft lengthy, so that you’ve bought loads of slack for reaching the closest outlet. In case you don’t want all that size, there’s a bit storage nook on the again of the frame the place you’ll be able to wrap up and retailer unneeded cable (with a Velcro strap to maintain every part tidy). In case you’re that turned off by the wire, possibly attempt to work some magic with a recessed outlet or simply buy something to conceal it with.

Ikea and Sonos have put quite a bit of consideration into the frame’s design, and one of my favourite little touches is that there are a number of completely different wire routing paths that lead out of the frame, so you’ll be able to have the ability cable come down from the left or proper aspect if useless heart doesn’t give you the results you want. It’s additionally potential to daisy-chain two of the wall audio system along with a cable (bought individually) if you wish to preserve issues trying cleaner and spare a second outlet.

Since they price the identical, you is likely to be questioning how the picture frame speaker compares to the Sonos One speaker in phrases of sound high quality. They’re truly remarkably shut in efficiency. It seems like that’s the measuring stick Sonos makes use of for the Symfonisk line. The bookshelf speaker was 80 % of the best way there (for a lot much less cash), however the frame speaker is mainly on par with the One — regardless of the latter having extra depth to work with. There’s sufficient bass to present music the oomph it wants, however your partitions aren’t going to be rattling at regular quantity ranges.

Very similar to the One, the picture frame speaker is a rung or two above your common sensible speaker (just like the Amazon Echo or Apple’s HomePod Mini) in phrases of audio high quality. Sonos put a waveguide in entrance of the tweeter to assist evenly distribute high-frequency sounds round a room, and on the whole, the {hardware} right here is enough for filling most average-sized areas. You too can use Sonos’ Trueplay characteristic within the iOS app to tune the speaker’s output for a specific room’s acoustics. There aren’t any built-in microphones on the picture frame speaker, which is in line with earlier Symfonisk merchandise.

In case you purchase two of the Symfonisk wall audio system, they can be utilized as surrounds for a Sonos Arc or Beam soundbar. Ikea despatched me a pair so I may take a look at out how they carry out at house theater responsibility, and I got here away impressed. When you arrange the second speaker, the Sonos app mechanically asks whether or not you need to use them for encompass functions with no matter Arc or Beam is already half of your system. Faucet a button, and the three gadgets are grouped collectively for each TV audio and music. (For music on this setup, you’ll be able to select whether or not the picture frames output a refined combine — letting the soundbar take the lead — or one thing extra full and substantial.)

Having a picture frame speaker deal with encompass sound is sort of completely different from a Sonos One; the latter may be positioned mainly wherever in your TV room on a shelf or stand for best immersion. In case you’ve bought the fitting wall state of affairs for 2 Symfonisk frames behind your sofa, you’re in all probability positive; different layouts would possibly want some experimentation with placement and quantity. They sounded nice in my bed room paired with an Arc and my LG CX OLED. There are settings within the Sonos app the place you’ll be able to enter how removed from you the encompass audio system are, and you too can crank up their audio (separate from the soundbar’s quantity) in the event that they’re farther again in a room than surrounds ordinarily could be. The sound high quality doesn’t disappoint, however you might need to tinker round with settings for probably the most satisfying outcomes.

The Symfonisk picture frame is basically a Sonos speaker; you’ll be able to play just about any music streaming service on it by means of the Sonos app. It additionally helps AirPlay 2 and Spotify Join — although there’s no Bluetooth current, nor any 3.5 auxiliary enter. You may group it with different Sonos audio system and play completely different music in every room, or have your entire system play the identical factor in tandem.

In phrases of performance and what it does, nothing concerning the newest joint effort from Ikea and Sonos is new or distinctive. And in contrast to the earlier two Symfonisk merchandise, this one isn’t a very low-cost means into the Sonos ecosystem. It’s purely concerning the kind issue and aesthetic. If there’s a piece of your home the place a standard speaker simply received’t work — or for those who reside with somebody who’s not fond of having very apparent devices in each room, possibly it will do the trick. In case you instantly jumped on the thought of wall audio system for house theater encompass, the picture frame speaker received’t disappoint. You’d simply higher hope you and Ikea have related style in artwork.

Images by Chris Welch / The Verge

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