There is nothing to think about – go and buy it. Ikea Symfonisk speaker – review

by Kelvin
There is nothing to think about - go and buy it. Ikea Symfonisk speaker - review

Yes – there is absolutely nothing to think about here. But it's definitely worth knowing a few things about the Ikea Symfonisk speaker before we go shopping on the weekend and come back home with Swedish-American playing equipment.

The few things that may distract us from buying a Symfonisk speaker before you even consider it are:

  

Bluetooth? Kabelek? Forget it, forget it for good.

Created by Ikea in cooperation with Sonos Symfonisk is not a typical speaker. It is also not a typical Bluetooth speaker. Not really suitable as a TV sound system (without proper hardware configuration). There is only one connector on the housing, which is … Ethernet. We can freely rotate the casing and look for any other hole in the whole, but unfortunately it is not here. So we won't connect Symfonisk to our favorite player with a cable, we won't connect it to the TV in such a way, we will not share it so simply with friends who came to our party and want to play DJ.

Symfonisk is a network speaker. The only way to use it is to download a dedicated application available on Android or iOS (Sonos – the same that is used to support Sonos speakers), or use AirPlay (of course only on equipment from Apple).

Anyway, even in the instructions Ikea says that when installing Symfonisk you need to put it where it is supposed to stand, connect to the energía supply, download the Sonos application and that's it. Ready. End of instructions.

So if you do not like additional applications or, for example, use the equipment from Windows Phone – this is not a speaker for you.

Compact but stationary

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Symfonisk should also not be taken into account by those who mistakenly associate it with (unfortunately) popular portable Bluetooth speakers. It is completely stationary equipment, with a dedicated energía cord that will not last even a second without a permanent energía connection.

Two colors and goodbye.

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In total, the Symfonisk series includes two products – a shelf speaker, i.e. the one that I had the opportunity to test (in duplicate) and a speaker-lamp. Both can be bought either in gray with a black housing (in the pictures) or in … gray, but much brighter, with a whitish housing.

That's it when it comes to choice.

It's small but not tiny

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The entire housing has dimensions of 31 x 15 x 10 cm. So without a big problem it should fit on any shelf, shelf, and also perform its additional functions, about which in a moment. But just in case, check if it will fit on the shelf in a standing position – for example Symfonisk did not fit in some cabinets.

It doesn't sound like the cheapest Sonos.

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Do not count on the fact that someone in Sonos has made a mistake and created a product for Ikea that would be able to beat, for example, Sonos Play: 1. No, Symfonisk does not play as loudly, nor as cleanly, as universally or as maturely as its competitor from Sonos. On the other hand – Play: 1 is about PLN 250 more expensive than Symfonisk, and PLN 250 is half of the next Symfonisk. And in my experience I can say that I prefer to have a stereo with two Ikea speakers than a single Sonos speaker.

But if money doesn't matter to someone, let him reach for Sonos. It's better, but definitely not 250 zlotys – better.

Voice assistant? Unfortunately not here.

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Short ball – no clever digital assistant has found a place for himself in the Symfonisk housing.

Good news? This is actually the end of defects.

Some of them were a little bit forceful and some even very much. I could also stick a little to the energía cable, which is 1.5 m, which means that it cannot be placed in the storage compartment on the back of the device if we put it close to contact. On the other hand – if we have a long distance to the socket, we may simply lack the cable. But this complaint would probably appear regardless of the length of the cable. There will always be too little for someone and too much for someone.

If you dropped out at any of the above points – good, because you might be disappointed with the purchase. However, if you got to this place, I don't have to write much more.

Just go to Ikea and buy this speaker – in the number that your home needs.

End of review.

Ok, ok. I'm already explaining what's so cool about Ikea loudspeakers.

It looks great. Or otherwise – it fits well.

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It's a matter of taste, but let's consider one thing – the mass of houses in Poland is furnished from floor to ceiling with furniture and accessories from Ikea. And Symfonisk is designed universally enough (including that it can stand vertically and horizontally) to not only fit into this decor, but even imperceptibly blend in with the background. By the way – I prefer Symfonisk with his corduroy over Sonos Play: 1 with his grater.

The finishing materials selected by Ikea obviously have their drawbacks. For example, if someone has a cat, they will have another home equipment for intensive shuffling. The speaker protection material happily catches even the smallest piece of hair and holds it tightly. The black plastic housing – like the three buttons on the front – unfortunately also easily collect fingerprints and dust, and they need to be wiped with a cloth every now and then.

Definitely to survive.

By the way – the label Ikea and Sonos is not only a very pleasant detail, but also has its function. To pull it off, remove the speaker grill.

Ikea from the outside, Sonos inside.

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We bought a speaker from one company, we download the application from another. Usually, such a start heralds huge trouble, but not in this case. In this case it is perfect. And the ideal was the division between what each of the two companies creating Symfoniska did.

So we have the design and price from Ikea, but the Sonos application and guts. And this means that the entire evaporation process is carried out quickly and without any problems. We can also use absolutely all functions characteristic of Sonos products. At least from the Trueplay option, i.e. analyzing the room and placing the speaker in it, thus optimizing the sound that it selects from the inside of this small box. It sounds complicated, but in our case it consists only of walking around the room with the phone and machanium to the right and left. And no – this is not marketing, it really works.

We can also easily attach Symfonisk to our existing Sonos set or, if necessary, attach Sonos speakers later. Nothing stands in the way of using only Symfonisks – e.g. by pairing them. What I did at home in the kitchen and it sounded so good that suddenly I started to spend most of my free time in this room, just enjoying the music. Anyway, take a look at Łukasz's text to find out what the Sonos app can do – there is much, much more.

There is also – although it's a plus only for users Apple – AirPlay 2 support and even support for HomeKit (not yet for Tradfri). Rich, considering the price.

The child would be able to handle it

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Okay, children are more likely to cope with technologies better than adults, but let it be – everyone would be able to handle Symfonisk.

During the first configuration, we are guided by the handle – from adding speakers to our set, through their calibration, to eventual pairing and adding our favorite streaming service (you can skip using AirPlay).

What services can we use? I will not mention them all, but Spotify is Apple Music, there's Audible, there's Deezer, there's Tidal, there's Google Play Music, there's Last.fm, there's a lot more. Ba, there is even an option to connect Symfonisk to WD Home network drives, to Plex, to SoundCloud, to Storytel … and, ok, I promised not to mention everything. But as you can see – it is not here on the list, e.g. only Spotify and Apple Music.

Best of all, we can use many sources at the same time, apart from the official applications of these services. The only thing we need is the Sonos application. And even more beautifully – there are no bluetooth searches, connections and so on – you click, wait a second, the music goes directly to the speakers.

I love this simplicity. I also love that …

… I don't need to know where my phone is. I'm just listening.

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I often forget to take my phone to the kitchen or living room. Is this a problem? No I click the play button on the speaker housing, and after a while I hear the sound of the music being played.

And this is another advantage of network players – the phone plays the role of a remote control, but not a music source. That is how it should be.

Recently, moreover, in a conversation about what else there are radio stations in 2019, somebody told me that you do not need to think, connect, run applications and choose – you just click and go. And it is the same with Symfonisk – I click play and play. The last playlist, the last album, the last song that we piled up with the phone. It just plays, regardless of what happens on the smartphone.

Yes, I know, I read the comments under Sonos Play One review. You can build a similarly functioning network player yourself, connect any speakers and enjoy the convenience. And I commend it very, very much, because by buying ready meals humanity would not go far. On the other hand – I would not enjoy excessive fun myself, so I prefer to spend this PLN 500 on a ready, completed solution.

PS. There are no next / previous song buttons on the cover, but this option is of course available. Just press the play button twice or three times.

How is the game? So I'm not looking anymore.

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Let's face it – this is not a loudspeaker for fans of the purest and greatest sound in the world. It's small, it's not exaggerated – for a network speaker – expensive, and you can buy it in a furniture store by throwing it into the basket with a new table. It will not replace an extensive audio system at home – at least not alone.

On the other hand, for the size and price (again – for your segment), the speaker's energía is surprising. He easily fills a room with an area of ​​20-25 m2 with good quality sound, and copes well enough in larger ones, although at around 40 m2 two Symphonisks are definitely a better idea. Not so much because of the energía (it is difficult for me to imagine situations in which I would use 100% volume), but because the speaker from Ikea is quite directional, which means relying on only one sound source in such a large room may not be the best solution. And even Truetone can't save the situation here – it's hard to win with physics.

In addition, if you really listen to music and not equipment, it will be difficult to stick to the quality of Symfonisk's sound. Maybe it lacks bass a bit, and the treble is not so clear, but … in my life I would not write that listening to music from this speaker is unpleasant. Quite the opposite – since Symfonisk (number two) is in my house, I listen to a lot more music. And both in the background, i.e. when bustling in the kitchen, and just sitting on the sofa and wanting to enjoy your favorite songs.

Another plus – you don't need to turn up the volume to a high level to enjoy the default sound quality – just like Play One, Symfonisk also sounds good even when it plays quietly.

You also can't forget about one, or rather two things. Symfonisk costs PLN 499, so you can think about buying two at the beginning. And it's definitely worth considering such a scenario, because it is only by setting these speakers in stereo mode that their full potential is used. During the tests, I repeatedly moved Symfonisks between different rooms and almost always ended up on a layout where there were two speakers in one room. Yes, we spend PLN 1,000 per room, but we can always complete our system gradually.

Which I plan myself.

the shelf

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Yes, it is a shelf speaker, but it can also be a shelf by itself. Although this requires the purchase of a mounting kit (PLN 50) or a suitable kitchen rail, so far I have not tested this solution, but it is always an interesting option. The more that the equipment should withstand up to 3 kg load, so it can successfully be used as a bedside cabinet.

Worth it or not?

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Yes. And not.

Yes, if:

    you're looking for an inexpensive network speaker that sounds decent and gives you the option of upgrading your system later
    you're looking for an affordable speaker with AirPlay 2
    for some reason you want to replace the cabinet / shelf with a speaker (I plan to do it someday myself)
    you want to check if the network speaker is something that suits you
    you hate Bluetooth speakers
    it's a shame you put the more expensive Sonos in the kitchen
    you want to build an affordable set of stereo network speakers
    you are looking for something really easy to use
    you like the idea of ​​Sonos, but Sonos is too expensive for you

Not if:

    you don't like Sonos and you think you can build your own network audio kit cheaper
    you find the sound quality of the cheapest Sonos models to be the minimum acceptable
    you prefer Bluetooth universality
    you think you are above the style of Ikea
    you have no financial limits (then take Sonos)

What will I do after testing? I have no doubt here – I will buy one Symfonisk first, and then another one. Or rather, I do not throw words to the wind, and if I like something after tests to this level to declare a desire to buy, then I carefully fulfill this promise.