+ excellent integration into the living space
+ quite balanced and full-bodied sound
+ large sweet spot with even sound
+ very good multi-room streaming with calibration
- No bulb included, please order with it, otherwise it will stay dark
Sound: Tonal Balance / Transparency8
Tone: Bass / Dynamics7
Ease-of-use / Connectivity9.5
Loudspeakers that virtually disappear into the living environment are not just the dream of interior designers. After the integration of a full-fledged multi-room speaker in a picture frame and a table lamp, the cooperation between Sonos and IKEA goes into a new round: Generation 2 of the Ikea Symfonisk table lamp has not only been changed technically and in design. Instead of the familiar matte white rounded mushroom, it can also be fitted with a cylindrical diffuser along with a lounge shade, both in black or white respectively.
It is also possible to purchase a different screen design at a later date, because the housing and screen are now sold separately. In addition to its primary purpose of producing light, the combo also performs the full function of a zone speaker for the popular Sonos system contains, including the vaunted room calibration and integration into wireless surround combinations.
The lamp is equipped with an LED lamp, usually 7 watts, which is quite enough for a bright table lamp. However, the bulb is not included in the scope of delivery. By the way, the easiest way to distinguish between Generation and Generation 2 is by the bottom edge and the positioning of the control buttons: The “old” lamp had a stepped base, on the edge of which the buttons were arranged. The Generation 2 is more harmonious in terms of shape and at the front you can only see the light switch sticking out on the now slightly higher-quality fabric cover.
Since you need a power cable for the lamp anyway, a second problem with the integration of speakers in the living room is also quickly solved. The lamp/speaker combo is usually fed with music signals wirelessly via WLAN, but there is an optional Ethernet jack. However, both connections are now recessed at the very bottom of the lamp’s base with unobtrusive rear cable entry. This is much more elegant than the large opening in the center of the predecessor’s back.
Placement of the speaker in the base of the table lamp has another advantage: here there is enough volume for the operation of speakers, which is otherwise unused in ordinary lamps. Behind the slightly coarse-meshed fabric covering is a sturdy round plastic volume and an active 2-way speaker system with tweeter and surprisingly small woofer. In the new version, the base has turned out a little smaller, which allows the lamp to find its place even on notoriously cramped bedside tables.
Prerequisites for better sound
In the revised version, a new waveguide is to be used so that the sound radiation is no longer the same in all directions, which had given rise to diffuse and washed-out reproduction in correspondingly poorly damped rooms. At least that’s what the manufacturer thinks in theory. In practice, the driver sunk deep at the end of a tube in the round baffle had namely bundled the treble strongly and sounded anything but transparent.
That can the sounding lamp
This should bring the table lamp somewhat closer in terms of sound to the other popular IKEA Symfonisk product, the picture frame that sounds thanks to Sonos. Until now, the two models were completely incompatible with each other in terms of sound. The control buttons for volume and play/pause are also present in the second version of the lamp, but they have now moved from the base to the back.
Otherwise, the system is controlled via the Sonos S2 app as usual. It is free and available for Android, iOS, Windows and FireOS operating systems. The excellently functioning room calibration called Trueplay is integrated here. However, it only works functionally with the microphone of one of the compatible iPhone models. Android users are left out.
Sonos solved this more elegantly with its Move and Roam mobile speakers. They use the built-in microphones of the speakers themselves and not the ones from the iDevices. However, the tiny Sonos Roam, which doesn’t even come with a power supply, already costs more than the large, Ikea lamp with its light including Sonos technology.
But even as an Apple user, you quickly wish for a self-sufficient Trueplay solution. In fact, you have to turn your iPhone to calibrate it, and walk around the room and perform arm movements according to animated instructions in the app. Attempt number 1 was aborted after a while, due to too little up and down movement with the iPhone. Attempt number 2 then also failed, but due to over-performance: The Sonos S2 app admonished to move slower.
Connected to the home WLAN, many streaming services from Spotify to Amazon and Apple Music are available. But there are also quite a few specialty channels through the Sonos Radio feature introduced with the S2 app. You don’t have to make any compromises compared to the other Sonos components when controlling the device via the app. This also applies to a possible stereo pairing, or the use of two lamps as rear speakers of a surround set.
Integration and commissioning of the Ikea Sonos table lamp
The Sonos system in your own WLAN is mature and relatively easy to install. The usual pull-ups for integration into the home wireless network must all be gone through with the IKEA Symfonisk. An Ethernet jack helps if there are ever connection problems with the WLAN.
Sonos insists on registration via a user account and is also demanding about access rights: Although Bluetooth has to be enabled to locate compatible devices, the Sonos S2 app also requests access to the location services. The Swedish magic lamp even has NFC on board, which is used to check the app’s proximity to the user. Why, you do not have to understand. Neither does the fact that you still have to type in the router password despite all the effort when setting up via WLAN. This is stored centrally at Bose, for example, where you also need an account for the multiroom systems, and transferred from the cloud to new speakers.
This is how the WLAN speaker IKEA Sonos Symfonisk (Lamp Gen 2) sounds.
The table lamp now sounds really rich and very natural for its price range – not even counting the lamp function. There is no longer any comparison with its predecessor, which derived its amazing effect primarily from its unusual shape. Such a thing had not been seen or heard before. But now the Ikea Symfonisk passes not only as a singing table lamp. It now sounds balanced and sonorous like a real Sonos speaker, even like a really good Sonos. Trueplay sound correction, which can be turned off for A/B comparison, fine-tunes the WLAN speaker’s voice reproduction and instrument timbres for more naturalness. And he makes the bass even a tad more precise.
Contrary to pure HiFi doctrine, but as with Sonos quite recommendable, we always left the adaptive loudness correction activated after a short comparison. The Ikea Sonos then simply seemed even richer and more emotionally engaging. What the table lamp now delivers in terms of sonority, transparency and balance marks a major step. The new generation simply plays more lively and broadband with better overtone reproduction and resolves finer. Above all, with the new 2-way waveguide concept, the disturbing directionality of the predecessor is a thing of the past.
Conclusion and alternatives to the Ikea Sonos table lamp
The Sonos Ikea table lamp is now a really good and also cheaply priced multi-room speaker. The luminous effect comes free of charge, so to speak, and without any harmful side effects of the unconventional speaker shape on the reproduction quality. And even as a lamp, the Swedish-American teamwork now works even better thanks to a chic double shade and better workmanship, which is particularly evident on the front light switch. Previously, it seemed coarse and not very solid.
- Manufacturer’s suggested retail price: 140 euros (speaker + lamp housing), 20 and 30 respectively (lampshade)
- Dimensions (W x H x D): 16 x 25 x 22 cm
- Features: Stereo pairing, WLAN, Sonos S2 app compatible, TruePlay room calibration, 2-meter power cable with white fabric wrap
- More at www.ikea.com