back to article Sengled lightbulb speakers: The best worst stereo on Earth

It's not often these days that you are disappointed by a product. Websites with online ratings and amateur reviews have made it so easy and fast for people to share experiences of new gizmos that you can instantly tell a hit from a dud – and avoid the duds. What makes the Sengled lightbulbs all the more disappointing is that I …

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  1. Tomislav

    "It sounds terrible. I'm going to have to go to another room."

    So it does have potentially good side effects?

    1. Hollerith 1

      Re: "It sounds terrible. I'm going to have to go to another room."

      Sorry to hear you say that. I guess not all is well in the house of Tomislav? The last thing I want is my wife to leave the room: she is very comely and one of my main pleasure is resting my eyes on her. Also, she is the wittiest person I know, so I am always having fun.

      I guess these speakers are for you.

  2. Zog_but_not_the_first Silver badge
    Devil

    Muzak

    Everywhere. All the time.

    NO! Just NO!

  3. JP19

    Loudspeakers in your lightbulbs sound crap

    WTF did you expect?

    Another idea for internet thing with no real use and bloody expensive.

    1. Anonymous Custard Silver badge
      Trollface

      Re: Loudspeakers in your lightbulbs sound crap

      And it has the added bonus of doing two things at once, so not only can you not turn the bulb off if you want any noise out of it, but once the bulb itself blows (and presuming that doesn't take the speaker out as well) then you've got the dilemma of keeping a non-functional bulb in your light socket just to keep the speaker functionality, or chucking away a fair chunk of investment in something which is still actually at least partially functional.

      Someone in IoT marketing definitely had a lightbulb moment, at the expense of any practical sense.

      1. VinceH Silver badge

        Re: Loudspeakers in your lightbulbs sound crap

        "Someone in IoT marketing definitely had a lightbulb moment, hoping to profit at the expense of punters lacking in any practical common sense."

        FTFY!

        And in answer to the three possible explanations at the end of the article, my money's on #3: Punters too embarrassed to admit their mistake.

      2. Robert Carnegie Silver badge

        Re: Loudspeakers in your lightbulbs sound crap

        The light is LED, so, approximately immortal and possibly replaceable, although the manual I'm looking at online indicates that "qualified SENGLED service technician" would have to do it. There also are WEEE instructions for disposal.

        It says don't poke things into it, and if your sample has been sent to other reviewers before then they may have done that to find out why.

        1. Ledswinger Silver badge

          Re: Loudspeakers in your lightbulbs sound crap

          The light is LED, so, approximately immortal

          Well, 20k hours, say ten years in a fairly well used room. Ten years of rubbish sound quality for $120? I suppose it'll seem like forever.

        2. This post has been deleted by its author

    2. Antonymous Coward
      WTF?

      Re: Loudspeakers in your lightbulbs sound crap

      "It's not often these days that you are disappointed by a product."

      TFTFY 0:-)

      WTF has the author been snorting? Methinks an exhaustive group review of "IoT" shit is in order for edification&contrition purposes. Don't forget to include "smart" (the new word for fugly?) watches and every other "wearable" ...and $300 thermometers... and CO2 sensors... and lamps which allow your neighbours to spy on your children... and so on.

      ...and then dump the lot into the nearest landfill...

    3. JDX Gold badge

      Re: WTF did you expect?

      Did you read the article? He clearly stated he wasn't expecting super quality sound, just something on a par with your typical bluetooth speaker you'd plug your phone into in the kitchen. That level of sound is more than adequate for music in the background or while you're cooking, or listening to the cricket.

  4. TeeCee Gold badge
    Facepalm

    Er, *four* possibilities:

    4) Sengled have a load of "brand angels"[1] out there and actively producing reviews.

    This seems quite likely as, with an impressively smarmy manager, PR sounds (hah!) like the one thing they are good at.

    Incidently, when it comes to speaker design, rich base and treble detail are the province of the case design. Oddly enough, the shape of the household lightbulb was never designed for its acoustic properties.

    [1] I believe that's the correct PR term for "shill".

    1. Robert E A Harvey

      Re: Er, *four* possibilities:

      Beat me to it.

      I have become VERY suspicious of anyone who gives anything 5 stars on any review. You only have to visit a premier inn and then read the reviews of it to conclude that either people are too indiscriminating to be allowed the use of their own credit card, doing it for a laugh, or are paid to do it.

  5. Neil Barnes Silver badge
    WTF?

    Dangling from a light fixture is no place for a loudspeaker

    But what do I know? I was only an audio engineer for thirty years, so perhaps things have moved on.

    1. moiety

      Re: Dangling from a light fixture is no place for a loudspeaker

      Must admit, that was my thought...surely dangling from a wire is going to absorb a lot of the energy. Maybe even nuke some frequencies completely if the wire does harmonic stuff. Could be where the tinniness comes from.

      Maybe Mr. McCarthy can try a few other light sockets...the less bouncy the better.

      1. kierenmccarthy

        Re: Dangling from a light fixture is no place for a loudspeaker

        That's a fair point. I will test them out in a variety of different light fittings and see if there's an improvement. I did try two different rooms but the fittings are pretty similar...

        Kieren

        1. Terry Barnes

          Re: Dangling from a light fixture is no place for a loudspeaker

          Kieren - Try them in a desk lamp with a heavy base. It's not possible to reproduce low frequencies or maintain phase if the mount for your speaker moves. I think there'll still be a problem with the shape of the enclosure but it might improve things a little.

          1. This post has been deleted by its author

            1. MJI Silver badge

              Re: Dangling from a light fixture is no place for a loudspeaker - Moiety

              make the lightbulb heavier.

              But it is a lightbulb not a heavybulb!

              (RIP Tommy Cooper)

    2. ZootCadillac

      Re: Dangling from a light fixture is no place for a loudspeaker

      Oh I don't know. My Jamo D 365's are suspended from the ceiling on Hoover bands. That seems to work ok :)

  6. Tom 7 Silver badge

    Lightbulbs are a great "form factor" for smart-home devices

    But not speakers. Scotty was right - 'You canna break the laws of physics"

    1. Little Mouse

      Re: Lightbulbs are a great "form factor" for smart-home devices

      How about a lightbulb microwave? Just shine the light on anything you want to destroy cook...

      1. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge
        Flame

        Re: Lightbulbs are a great "form factor" for smart-home devices

        Little Mouse,

        No. No. No. What a stupid idea! I don't think you've understood this internet of things malarkey at all!

        You need to create lightbulb microwave which you can shine on anything you want to destroy, and then connect it to the internet. Then random teenagers all over the world will be able to burn your house down.

        Right, now to pick some random letters out of a scrabble bag to come up with my company name. Not forgetting to remove most of the vowels first of course.

        BuRnR

        I think the icon to use is obvious...

  7. Milo Tsukroff
    FAIL

    Light FIXTURE will affect the sound!

    A speaker is a sound device. It mechanically couples to anything it's firmly attached to.... in this case, the LIGHT BULB SOCKET. Meaning, that the SOCKET and LIGHT FIXTURE is an integral part of the sound-creating system. There are so many different types of light fixtures that ... who can predict how it's gonna sound?

    1. kierenmccarthy

      Re: Light FIXTURE will affect the sound!

      You make an excellent point. Will test them out in a wider variety of fittings, see if it makes much difference.

      Kieren

      1. Little Mouse

        Re: Light FIXTURE will affect the sound!

        Could you rig one up to work in the fridge so the music comes on when you open the door?

        1. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge
          Happy

          Re: Light FIXTURE will affect the sound!

          Only if it's set up with a timer, so I can have this song played whenever the fridge is opened after bedtime.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Light FIXTURE will affect the sound!

      To get best results, I think you will need deoxygenated ultra high quality degaussed gold-titanium-carbon fibre mounts fitted by our engineers, after a survey to establish whether your ceiling is suitable. Prices start at $15000 per instance. There is a long waiting list. All orders are delivered with a free green sharpie for improving the performance of your CDs

  8. Martin-73 Silver badge

    Yet again....

    A solution in search of a problem. Ceiling mounted muzak speakers are old hat, and not a particularly hi-fi (yes I'm that old) thing. So a lightbulb, which is smaller, is going to sound worse.

    Is a pair of normal speakers in a room THAT much of a problem?

    1. Nigel 11

      Re: Yet again....

      Is a pair of normal speakers in a room THAT much of a problem?

      Depends on your wallet, your room size, your partner, your landlord, and your masonry.

      Speakers: large doesn't always imply good (there are crap big ones for poseurs with defective hearing). However, given the best at any particular price, the smaller it is the more restricted its bass output will be.

      If you're willing to accept studio monitor speakers, you can get them out of your normal living space by wall-mounting them several feet up. Except, the location on the wall has considerable effect on the sound. You may have to try several different locations for your speaker brackets, each requring the drilling of several holes into the masonry, plugs, big screws .... So allow a day for audio experiments, and another one to fill and paint over the holes that were in the wrong places.

      If your walls are single layer plasterboard, they may not be strong enough ....

      ( If you don't understand why simple corner shelves from B&Q aren't the answer, and can't hear the reason after installing them, then there's something wrong with your ears! )

      1. Tom 35 Silver badge

        Re: Yet again....

        Still overkill for what the reviewer was looking for. For the price buy a normal bulb, and a bluetooth speaker that can sit on a shelf. Sounds better, and is easy to move to a different room. It's still not going to match proper speakers connected to a proper amp, it's more of a table radio sound, but if that's all your looking for it's fine.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Yet again....

      Is a pair of normal speakers in a room THAT much of a problem?

      Problems are like a new fiat currency that is redistributed for economic stability, or something. When you have a solution looking for one, it may be exactly enough. Now gimme something that makes the lights flicker when my phone is processing an incoming call so I know ahead of time and people don't have to hear my horrid ringtone for more than a half second.

  9. Gomez Adams

    How about downlighters flush in the ceiling void?

    With a well designed small speaker enclosure built into the ceiling tile?

    1. NotBob
      Pint

      Re: How about downlighters flush in the ceiling void?

      What, like the ceiling tile speakers we've had for quite some time now? Not sure of quality, but you could always spend the extra and spring for something like this stuff

      http://www.proacousticsusa.com/category.php?cId=34

      At least with a sub as an option there should be the ability to push some bass...

  10. Anonymous Coward
    WTF?

    The Internet of Things summarised

    1. Take two items never designed to go together; the more idiotic the combination, the better. The level of naivety displayed must be staggering.

    2. Put them together. Never forget what a genius you are.

    3. Add Bluetooth or, better still, insecure WiFi. There must be stupid restrictions, e.g. Your network SSID must only contain punctuation symbols. These restrictions must never be documented.

    4. Create in at least two colours, both garish. Release publicity 'renders' to fawning press.

    5. Get a code sweat shop to throw together laughably buggy iPhone and Android apps. These must never quite work and must be delivered well after the first actual product release.

    6. Get funding from Hoxton-based trust fund or Kickstarter if you can write a page of BS. Use 95% on marketing and a silly name, e.g. PurpleMoo.

    7. Finally release to indifferent public and a now sceptical press, and BGR (who will love it unseen).

    8. Lack of profit!

    9. Repeat while count(idiots_with_money) > 0.

    1. TheProf

      Re: The Internet of Things summarised

      I don't know what you're selling but with a name like PurpleMoo I want one!

      Point 1: Does the Digital Lawnmower 'invented' by The Goodies count? (An Arthur C Clarke's Mysterious World spoof. Oh go on then. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Kl8SRrlbbN0)

    2. Richard Ball

      Re: The Internet of Things summarised

      We get through quite a lot of nappies in our house at the moment, and I'm thinking that the regular dose of electrolyte to all these could be exploited by means of some electrodes and regarded as a source of free energy. So WiFi repeaters, Bluetooth speakers, hands-frees, weather telemetry, covert listening devices could all be built in and just waiting for an IOT brave new world. And it's really green because you can't see all the batteries you're chucking away.

      (NB I know reactive and expensive metals will be involved. We'll gloss over that detail.)

      1. Anonymous Custard Silver badge

        Re: The Internet of Things summarised

        1. Take two items never designed to go together; the more idiotic the combination, the better. The level of naivety displayed must be staggering.

        Don't forget that at least one of the items must be a time-limited one (in this case the bulb illumination itself), so that when it does go TITSUP it renders the whole device non-useful and destined only for the recycling bin, even if the other abilities are still arguably usable.

    3. TheOtherHobbes

      Re: The Internet of Things summarised

      >1. Take two items never designed to go together; the more idiotic the combination, the better. The level of naivety displayed must be staggering.

      Also works for reality TV shows.

      1. moiety

        Re: The Internet of Things summarised

        SO you're saying my centrifuge/video projector might not get kickstarted?

        1. theModge

          Re: The Internet of Things summarised

          On the contrary moiety: your HD Video Spin - centrifuge/video projector - will definitely get kick started. If you've planned it well all your friends should trouser a fair amount of money from it, before returning the favour. You might not sell any, but I wouldn't worry about that.....

          1. DropBear Silver badge
            Trollface

            Re: The Internet of Things summarised

            Ah-hah! Got it! I'm off to Kickstarter with a lava-lamp integrating an HD camera that can stream that soothing goodness to your PC as a screen saver. They'll definitely fund this one!

            1. Francis Boyle Silver badge

              Re: The Internet of Things summarised

              Provide an interface to /dev/random and I'm in.

          2. This post has been deleted by its author

      2. JDX Gold badge

        Re: Take two items never designed to go together

        Like a telephone and a personal music player?

  11. artificial bitterness

    inside out

    I can't help but feel that it would have been better to add light output to loudspeakers, rather than vice versa.

    1. John H Woods Silver badge

      Re: inside out

      "I can't help but feel that it would have been better to add light output to loudspeakers, rather than vice versa." -- artificial bitterness

      I have a sudden nostalgic vision of Sound-to-Light systems from Tandy

    2. Jim 59

      Re: inside out

      1970's Hi-Fi brochures often had a picture of a lamp on top of a loudspeaker.

    3. Dr. Mouse Silver badge

      Re: inside out

      I can't help but feel that it would have been better to add light output to loudspeakers, rather than vice versa.

      It's not about the combination of light and sound, it's about the universal form factor. Everywhere has a light socket, the light socket supplies power. So building devices into lightbulbs is a good idea.

      Unfortunately, it seems building a speaker into a lightbulb is not such a good idea (which most people with a minimal understanding of audio could probably have guessed)

      1. Warm Braw Silver badge

        Re: inside out

        >the light socket supplies power.

        Only as long as the wall switch is on. And I bet that only the really determined geek is going to get out of the habit of turning the light off at the wall, which is going to mean in practice it's going to be a right faff.

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