Ikea/Sonos Symfonisk Image Body Speaker

MSRP $199.00

“A intelligent idea that’s held again by a protracted energy wire and uneven sound high quality.”

Execs

  • Swappable “artwork”
  • Wall or floor mounting
  • AirPlay 2
  • Works with the Sonos ecosystem

Cons

  • Energy cable is ugly and awkward
  • Can’t show your individual artwork or photographs
  • Sound high quality is common

When Ikea debuted the $199 Symfonisk Image Body speaker (its newest wi-fi audio collaboration with Sonos), two issues have been instantly obvious: The age of inexpensive, customizable, and ornamental residence audio is upon us, and, we nonetheless haven’t discovered a option to eradicate our dependence on energy cords.

It’s a daring concept: Attempt to fulfill the wants of music lovers who concurrently hate the look of wi-fi audio system. Does it succeed? We put it to the check.

Design

Ikea Symfonisk Picture Frame Speaker hung vertically on a wall.Simon Cohen / Digital Traits

The Image Body enjoys many benefits. It doesn’t appear like any speaker you’ve ever seen. Its “artwork” might be swapped out for a number of different designs for simply $20, and also you get numerous placement choices: It may be held on a wall vertically or horizontally, or propped towards virtually any flat, vertical floor the best way you’d with an precise image body.

It comes with every thing you want: Within the totally recyclable cardboard field you’ll discover the speaker, a wall-mount hook, two rubber ft, a security tether, and a very lengthy energy wire.

If you happen to’re going to make use of the Image Body angled towards a wall, setting it up is a snap. Pop the included rubber ft into the suitable spots within the body relying on whether or not you need it to be horizontal or vertical, connect the ability wire and route it via one of many many grooves and openings within the again panel, and plug the ability wire right into a wall socket.

Ikea Symfonisk Picture Frame Speaker leaning against a wall.Simon Cohen / Digital Traits

Surprisingly, Ikea limits you to 2 of the potential 4 orientations. As a substitute of two horizontal choices and two vertical ones, you simply get certainly one of every. This generally is a tad complicated, particularly since there are oval openings on all sides — making it appear like the rubber ft can go wherever, however they’ll’t. Two units of those openings are only a tad too small to accommodate the ft. Why? I do not know.

Ikea thinks it’s best to use the included wall tether when utilizing the Image Body on this configuration, which can really feel pointless, however after three deadly incidents of its dressers tipping over, the Swedish firm now contains tethers on nearly each product it sells that poses even the slightest danger of falling over.

There are alternatives for concealing the wire, however none are superb.

If you happen to place the Image Body on the ground, you most likely don’t want to fret about it, however should you place it on a mantle, or another elevated floor, I like to recommend utilizing it — the speaker isn’t tremendous heavy, however it might nonetheless trigger every kind of injury if it fell.

Hanging the Image Body on a wall takes a bit extra endurance. The included wall hook isn’t like a standard image hook. It’s rectangular and is formed to match up with the 2 corresponding cavities on the again of the speaker. However this implies you may’t nudge the Image Body if it’s not stage, so mounting that wall hook accurately is absolutely vital.

Back of Ikea Symfonisk Picture Frame Speaker showing control buttons.Simon Cohen / Digital Traits

You’ll discover a set of bodily buttons behind the entrance face of the speaker for play/pause and quantity (in addition they allow you to track-skip and be part of a taking part in group of audio system). They’re simple to make use of regardless of being hidden, however it’s worthwhile to preserve their placement in thoughts when choosing a top for wall-mounting. In panorama mode, the controls find yourself on the top-left nook. If you happen to place the speaker too excessive, they’ll be actually awkward to entry.

Can’t kill the wire

View of power cord on the Ikea Symfonisk Picture Frame Speaker.Simon Cohen / Digital Traits

As anticipated, when hanging on a wall, the ability wire appears to be like fairly dangerous. Ikea and Sonos deserve some kudos for wrapping the wire in braided materials. This diminishes the shiny plastic really feel of energy cords that accompany most Sonos audio system, and it additionally lets the wire lie fairly flat and kink-free towards the wall. In brief, it appears to be like nearly as good as a dangling white energy wire can look. But it surely’s nonetheless a dangling white energy wire.

There are alternatives for concealing the wire, however none are superb. You would encase the wire in a paintable plastic conduit. You’ll discover loads of these on Amazon. However even the bottom profile conduit will nonetheless depart a visual vertical line dropping down from the speaker.

You would pay an electrician to put in an influence outlet proper behind the speaker. Thanks to an enormous cavity constructed into the again panel that has its personal retention strap, you may cover your entire wire there. However that can most likely value you as a lot or greater than the speaker, and you can be going through some drywall repairs too.

You might need to strive working the wire behind a bit of furnishings, however as a result of image frames are seldom mounted with out some area between them and different objects, you’ll possible nonetheless find yourself with a minimum of a bit of wire displaying.

Your wire concealment technique will matter much more should you avail your self of the Image Body’s means to daisy-chain two audio system collectively. Every speaker has a power-in and a power-out port, so you may run each audio system off of a single energy outlet. The umbilical energy wire wanted to do that, which Ikea calls “FÖRNIMMA” is bought individually, however up to now, there’s no signal of it on Ikea’s web site.

And, since we’re discussing cords, if you wish to use the Image Body’s built-in Ethernet port, you’ve now acquired one other wire to cover.

Straightforward setup

As a result of it’s totally suitable with the Sonos ecosystem and Apple AirPlay 2, it’s acquired unimaginable flexibility as a sound system. You’ll be able to stream music from each conceivable music service, you may group the Image Body with different Sonos or Symfonisk audio system in your house, and it may be arrange as a stereo pair with a second Image Body speaker.

Contemplating how skinny the speaker cupboard is, Sonos has been in a position to extract a shocking quantity of low-end bass.

If you happen to’ve by no means used the Sonos app earlier than, it guides you thru the setup course of in a matter of minutes. However for present Sonos customers, it’s even simpler. After you plug the Image Body into energy and hearth up the Sonos S2 app, the speaker is robotically acknowledged and also you’re prompted so as to add it to your system. You don’t even should press any buttons. Simply maintain your telephone subsequent to the speaker when the app asks you to, and it does the remaining. Sonos merchandise have at all times been extremely simple to arrange, however it’s now completely easy.

Surprisingly good bass

Ikea Symfonisk Picture Frame Speaker with art removed, showing drivers.Simon Cohen / Digital Traits

Out of the field, with out adjusting EQ or performing Sonos’ Trueplay tuning, the sound is OK, however nothing particular. Excessive frequencies really feel a bit subdued and the bass lacks punch. However boosting each bass and treble sliders within the Sonos app makes a world of distinction and the Image Body actually comes alive.

For many who are tight on area, or just hate the best way most audio system look, it’s an inexpensive and simple option to get good sound.

Contemplating how skinny the speaker cupboard is, Sonos has been in a position to extract a shocking quantity of low-end bass. However only a phrase of warning that can assist you set your expectations: Excessive frequency seems like snares, cymbals, and a few voices can sound a bit harsh. Sonos designed the tweeter to supply a extra expansive sound, however I didn’t discover the soundstage particularly extensive or deep.

The midranges — at all times a problem to get excellent even on pricier audio system, can lack element.

I additionally observed that as you push the amount north of 75%, the cupboard had a bent to vibrate a bit of. This was extra noticeable when the speaker was wall-mounted.

If you happen to’re questioning how the Image Body sounds in comparison with the opposite Symfonisk merchandise, that’s a tricky comparability. It packs extra punch than the Bookshelf Speaker, however general, the Desk Lamp delivers a extra pleasing sound signature, with extra heat and element.

Our take

With the ability to place a speaker on a wall, disguised as artwork, is a superb idea, however the Ikea Symfonisk Image Body speaker doesn’t fairly nail the execution. The ability wire is an eyesore and it doesn’t sound nearly as good as a similarly-priced common wi-fi speaker. Nonetheless, for individuals who are tight on area, or just hate the best way most audio system look, it’s an inexpensive and simple option to get good sound in your chosen room.

Is there a greater various?

Higher options for sound embrace the Sonos One, Sonos One SL, and the Symfonisk Desk Lamp speaker. But when your aim is to disguise a speaker as an objet d’artwork, I’m hard-pressed to consider a greater option to go.

How lengthy will it final?

So long as you don’t injury it via a careless set up, (or journey over that energy cable), the Image Body Speaker ought to final for a few years. Sonos has a (principally) good observe file of conserving its merchandise up to date with new software program and I anticipate the Image Body will stay a helpful a part of the Sonos ecosystem for years to return.

Must you purchase it?

Sure, however provided that you discover the Image Body’s distinctive qualities important to creating your superb residence sound system. In any other case, I feel most individuals will likely be happier with one of many different Symfonisk or Sonos merchandise.

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