We’ve written before on Production Expert about the rise in wireless ‘smart’ speakers and also the possible drawbacks of mixing for a generation who use them. You can’t ignore them as they are one of the fastest growing product groups around. As we wrote some months ago;
"Wi-Fi-based wireless speakers grew by 62% in 2016 to 14 million units with Amazon accounting for 77% of the increase in volume demand from the previous year. The company estimates that Amazon shipped over 5 million Echo speakers in 2016 compared to just over 4 million from second-placed Sonos… Sonos has long been synonymous with connected home audio, and as recently as 2014 it accounted for 50% of the small but growing Wi-Fi speaker market…"
According to 9to5Mac "Strategy Analytics adds that it expects “Intelligent Home Speakers” to make up around 90% of all Wi-Fi speakers by 2022."
We also ran some tests to check mono compatibility, you can read how SONOS speakers behave here.
Now IKEA, the Swedish flatpack company, has teamed up with SONOS to offer a range of SONOS and Airplay 2 compatible speakers at bargain prices. Not surprisingly the new low cost SONOS speakers are selling out fast and there are now long waits for those wanting to buy them.
You may want to be snooty about this new speaker range from IKEA but early reviews from many respected publications are, on the whole, very positive. Even better you don’t have to build them before you use them!
There are two products in the new IKEA SONOS SYMFONISK range of speakers;
A Table lamp with WiFi speaker built in, yes you read that correctly. IKEA say “Speaker and lamp in one, so that your technology blends into your home. Also helps you save space, for example on a bedside table or side table, while providing a rich sound that fills the entire room” UK price is £150
The second speaker in the range is more conventional;
A WiFi bookshelf speaker. IKEA say “Place the speaker horizontally or vertically, or mount it on the wall to use as a practical shelf. Also helps you to use your space optimally, while providing a rich sound that fills the entire room.” UK price is £99.
You might be asking, what’s this got to do with recording and mixing? Well with the huge adoption of these kind of speakers and the issues we raised in our earlier article, just as with AM radio, iTunes and other changes in technology it’s smart to know how your mixes will sound on speakers that may be commonplace in the next few years. Who knows mono may be the new stereo!