IKEA’s Symfonisk WiFi audio system—a latest collaboration between the Swedish residence furnishings retailer and U.S.-based wi-fi multi-room audio producer Sonos—are coming to IKEA’s on-line and brick-and-mortar shops on August 1. The Symfonisk (pronounced sim-fawn-isk) bookshelf speaker is a unbelievable worth. The Symfonisk speaker lamp sounds nice, too, however I’m not a fan of its industrial design—and that’s placing it mildly (solely the bookshelf speaker scored a TechHive Editors’ Alternative award). You, in fact, might need a really totally different opinion about its seems.

Each audio system are co-branded with the Sonos and IKEA labels, two of both could be configured as a left/proper stereo pair or as left/proper rear channels with a Sonos soundbar, and each can function along with different Sonos audio system on the identical community. Pairing can solely be completed with like audio system, however you possibly can hyperlink both speaker to the Sonos Sub (nevertheless unlikely that may ever be given the disparity within the value tags of those audio system and the Sub).

Symfonisk audio system incorporate your complete Sonos function set, together with assist for Apple’s AirPlay 2 protocol, Sonos’ Trueplay speaker-tuning software program (which requires an iOS machine), and the flexibility to stream music from the unparalleled assortment of music-streaming companies that Sonos helps (Spotify, Apple Music, TIDAL, Qobuz, and on and on).

IKEA

The Symfonisk bookshelf audio system can function both vertically or, as proven right here, horizontally.

Neither of those fashions is a brilliant speaker, however they are often managed with voice instructions you probably have an Amazon Alexa- or Google Assistant-compatible machine. IKEA says it would introduce a suitable distant management and incorporate assist for each audio system into its IKEA House good app (at present branded TRÅDFRI and out there for Android and iOS) this fall.

Symfonisk WiFi bookshelf speaker

The bookshelf model of the Symfonisk speaker could be oriented both vertically or horizontally. Within the latter situation, it may be held on a wall (with an non-compulsory rail package) and function an precise bookshelf. It measures 12 x 6 x four inches (LxWxH) and weighs four kilos 12 ounces. The speaker’s front-ported enclosure is fabricated from ABS plastic with silicone rubber ft, and it’s out there in both white with a white cloth grill, or black with a black cloth grill (the grills are usually not detachable). You probably have the community infrastructure to benefit from it, you’ll discover an RJ45 ethernet port on the again of the speaker (the speaker lamp can be outfitted with an ethernet port).

You’ll discover the same old Sonos management buttons close to the bottom of the speaker, from left to proper: Quantity down, play/pause, and quantity up. A double-press on the play/pause button skips to the following monitor, whereas a triple-press strikes to the earlier monitor in your queue. When the speaker is laid down, these controls are stacked, backside to high, on the right-hand facet.

symfonisk stereo pair Michael Brown / IDG

Each the Symfonisk bookshelf audio system the speaker lamp could be paired for stereo replica.

One Class-D amplifier powers the Symfonisk WiFi bookshelf’s tweeter, and a separate Class-D amp drives a mid-woofer (amplifier energy and driver measurement and materials are usually not disclosed). Sonos offered two of the bookshelf audio system, so I used to be in a position to consider its efficiency as a single speaker, as a stereo pair, and as a rear {surround} pair with a Sonos Beam soundbar. I didn’t attempt the audio system with the Sonos Sub, as I don’t think about anybody goes to pair a $99 speaker with a $699 subwoofer (not that you simply couldn’t).

So how do they sound? The Symfonisk WiFi bookshelf speaker is essentially the most spectacular speaker I’ve ever reviewed at this value. Its efficiency comes very near matching that of the $199 Sonos One good speaker; in truth, I needed to hearken to the 2 audio system facet by facet to discern the distinction. It’s not an audiophile product by any stretch—solely the Sonos Play:5 comes near that mark, and nothing within the Sonos canon helps high-resolution audio—however the Symfonisk bookshelf speaker is a really robust performer.

Listening to the late Walter Becker’s guitar solo on Steely Dan’s “Jack of Pace,” from the band’s album Two Towards Nature, the Sonos One delivered a extra energetic rendering, with higher definition within the midrange and crisper highs, but it surely’s not one thing you’ll discover should you’re not doing an A/B listening check. The bookshelf speaker’s bass response, in the meantime, is unbelievable for its measurement and price ticket. By way of quantity (i.e. loudness), the Symfonisk bookshelf was simply in a position to fill my 247-square-foot residence theater with sound, with me sitting on a sofa 11 ft from the sound stage, however a single speaker in all probability wouldn’t be capable of sustain with a raucous celebration.

Binding two audio system as a left/proper pair, nevertheless, was a revelation. You’re doubling the amplifier energy, in fact, however there’s nothing like experiencing true stereo, particularly when listening to well-mastered recordings. The music opens up and turns into extra pure, bringing you a lot nearer to the expertise of a stay efficiency. That was actually the case after I performed Stevie Ray Vaughn and Double Bother’s stay album Dwell Alive. Vaughn’s raging guitar work on his cowl of Jimi Hendrix’s “Voodoo Chile (Slight Reprise)” practically despatched chills down my backbone.

In the event you’ve ever remotely thought-about shopping for into the Sonos ecosystem, however hesitated as a result of the worth was a barrier to entry, the Symfonisk bookshelf speaker will blow that obstacle away. At $99, they’re virtually an impulse purchase. At $198 for a pair, Sonos soundbar house owners can be loopy to not decide them up as {surround} channels.

The audio half of my residence theater system has been in a state of disarray recently, as I’ve been testing new elements. It’s been months since I’ve been in a position to get pleasure from my Onkyo A/V receiver and 5.1 speaker system (early Klipsch Reference sequence audio system, with a Boston Acoustics PV800 subwoofer dealing with low-frequency results).