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 …

  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.

        1. Dr. Mouse Silver badge

          Re: inside out

          Only as long as the wall switch is on.

          It would only take for them to include a small adapter box to get around this. Granted, they don't right now, but a small box fitted behind the light switch could supply constant power to the "bulb" and send it the command to turn on/off.

      2. Kubla Cant Silver badge

        Re: inside out

        Everywhere has a light socket, the light socket supplies power. So building devices into lightbulbs is a good idea.

        I don't know about your house, but in mine nearly all the rooms that have light sockets also have power points.

    4. theModge

      Re: inside out

      There's a PA company (mackie?bose? someone odd) who used to use a bulb for speaker protection. If you drove it too hard the bulb lit up, increasing in resistance as it got hotter. The bulb would then finally blow, saving the drivers, with which it was in series.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: inside out

        Yorkville was famous for those...always had fun taking the things apart to see if it was the horn or the light bulb that was suppose to protect the horn (often 50/50 which one it was)

      2. The Indomitable Gall

        Re: inside out

        " There's a PA company (mackie?bose? someone odd) who used to use a bulb for speaker protection. If you drove it too hard the bulb lit up, increasing in resistance as it got hotter. The bulb would then finally blow, saving the drivers, with which it was in series. "

        Not that long ago I was sitting in a public talk, entranced by the flickering blue lights on a pair of Bose PA speakers, and wondering how the professional crew responsible didn't understand that if the overdrive warning light is coming on, words get pretty unclear...

  12. Mark 85 Silver badge

    Simply say no...

    This article right here should help fan the fires againt IoT things... lightbulbs included.

    http://www.theregister.co.uk/2015/08/05/hackers_make_shodan_of_the_skies_to_probe_internetofthings/

  13. Ole Juul Silver badge

    oh I get it

    So do they have a really, really expensive one that sounds really, really, really bad?

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Lack of bass?

    I just can't understand it. After all, each speaker is equipped with 1.75" Full-Range High-Fidelity JBL® Loudspeakers. I'm really surprised they didn't manage to generate bowel-loosening subsonics from pumping a staggering 13 watts through such mighty drivers.

    Try dangling a 5-quid AM radio from the ceiling for even better sound.

    1. Fihart

      Re: Lack of bass?

      Just what I was going to say. Hifi speakers are usually on the floor and often near a wall -- or in a corner. All of which boost bass considerably compared with something just dangling from the ceiling.

  15. Tom Maddox Silver badge
    Joke

    Missing the point

    Clearly, these speakers are intended for sale to practical jokers. Just slip into a friend's house, change a lamp or covered light bulb when he's not looking, and off you go. You can start small, with barely audible music, and then move on to the big stuff, transmitting messages from God. For extra points, install multiple lightbulbs at various points throughout the house, so you can follow your intended victim from room to room, ensuring that his sanity is thoroughly eroded. Sure it's expensive, but can you really put a price on that kind of entertainment?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Missing the point

      Didn't Endemol do that?

      Big Brother series 1

    2. Ledswinger Silver badge

      Re: Missing the point

      You can start small, with barely audible music, and then move on to the big stuff, transmitting messages from God

      Hold on, IOT is all about combining things never meant to go together, so what about speak-bulb, smartphone and fart-app?

      "Hi Google! Start Fartapp for me. Now project a long, wet-to-the-point-of-diseased fluff to Kev's sitting room Sengled, thanks".

  16. A Ghost
    Megaphone

    No reason this concept couldn't work

    It's a decent enough idea and may well have its place for some users. Of course at this price/quality ratio it's strictly for those that want the novelty value and have money to burn.

    Don't forget to take into consideration listening environments. In a kitchen you will have a pretty 'live' room with a high rt-60 (unless you have foam work surfaces and a shag-pile carpet in there), and in a living room you will have a pretty 'dead' room with a low rt-60 (unless you have it herringbone parquet for the floor and a concrete sofa). That being the case, the kitchen will always sound tinnier than the living room.

    Also keep in mind that when you place a boombox (or any speaker really) on top of a work surface type cabinet, that will also disperse sound further. I used to be so poor that my guitar amplifier was my bedroom chest of drawers, first draw - top shelf - I would rest the headstock of my electric guitar against it and voila, instant Jimmy Hendrix [ok, not quite]. You can try this at home, take a frying pan and bang on something (preferably not alive) and place the handle of it - tuning fork style - down on your kitchen work surface (preferably with cupboard doors). Instant transduction.

    Obviously the light bulb concept will never have this quality (transduction of surrounding environment) being free floating. But that in itself is not a bad thing. We could go into decoupling and all that sort of stuff, but you get the picture. A free floating speaker system has nothing to corrupt the frequencies coming out of it. The trick with the cupboard (be it guitar or frying pan) is fine, but it depends at what note the cabinet resonates it. You can actually find this on a guitar by playing different notes. On certain notes the sound will get louder due to sympathetic vibration or resonance.

    I had a square bedroom studio where the fundamental frequency of the room was exactly E. I could play any bass note, but when an E was sounded, the whole house was ready for lift off. (Give me an E)

    So if the music coming out of the speaker that is on the worktop, and hence not decoupled, hits the sympathetic frequency of its supporting structure, you can get some very nasty harmonics being generated, especially if things are slightly 'out' causing rogue frequencies to be generated. And if perfectly tuned, say a song that is in E, would be louder when the the E portions play than the rest.

    So this is why decoupling is a good thing and you get people mounting speakers on spikes and on mopads (space age foam), and even some total nutters with Jamo 365's hoisted on bloody glorified elastic bands hanging precariously from the ceiling ready to wound or kill should they become decoupled from their decoupling, so to speak (perish the thought, but not the rubber). I digress.

    So, as we see, the ideal speaker could indeed be mounted from a light bulb socket - that is pretty decoupled by any one's standards and free from interfering frequencies. If it was mounted on one of those light rails on the ceiling, it would take on the characteristics of the surround material and its fundamental frequency, perhaps even rattling the poorly fixed attachment at certain frequencies (Give me an E). But your common or garden light bulb dangling from your common or garden foot or so of electrical cord, is going to be pretty neutral in that department. And as stated, whilst quieter, would retain a more pure reproduction of the program material, to be enjoyed.

    (Btw, I am the first to laugh at all that audiophile bollocks about sound stages and what not - see my previous multi page rants on the subject if you can be bothered searching my history).

    Some things make sense, and some things make a difference - and this is one of them. This 'decoupling' 'nonsense' is one of the reasons Soffit mounted speakers are so expensive to install in professional studios. It's not just the massive cost of the speaker, but making sure you aren't putting it into an environment where every time someone hits an E on the bass, the whole room rattles.

    The ideal speaker - not considering transducer quality (the magnet thing and leccy that powers it, not 'surrounding interfering transduction') - would have infinite rigidity, zero mass and infinite strength. That is why you have speaker cones made of ceramics, paper and composites. Some display one of those qualities (paper being low mass [ideal] but poor strength [less than ideal]) required to get towards the ideal of a perfect loudspeaker, but will lack in other areas, hence manufacturers searching for the holy grail of the ideal composite.

    Ok, in a speaker as small as the lightbulb thingy we have here, it's never going to be ideal soundwise. It is good that it is decoupled. That will give a truer frequency representation of the music, but it will also means it will never be very loud (the transduction that does distort frequencies on the cupboard or worksurface, never the less amplifies the sound).

    So, and again keeping in mind listening environment, there is no reason in my layman's understanding of speaker design why this has to sound crap. It could be that it was a particularly bad listening environment, in which case try it everywhere else you can. Or it may be that the transducer is of poor quality. But let's face it, it's not exactly lacking a decent power source to get it going, is it? So, if it is that it can be improved. Or it could be that speaker design itself, or rather the materials that go to couple the speaker to the transducer, or the very cone itself, are of poor quality/design, in which case that can be improved as well. Or it could be a combination.

    This is without taking into consideration that a totally different speaker design may be possible other than the standard one it seems like we have here. Look up speaker design - a mass of research on the subject. Not sure what if any of these other ones may be employed here and the bog standard magnet/cone design is probably the safest (and no doubt cheapest) bet. It may be that new designs could be invented to solve this problem.

    This idea has a lot going for it and it's not such a hare brained idea as it might seem on first sight. However, it does seem very poorly executed, and without a doubt overpriced. But as a concept, there's no reason why you couldn't get a decently priced product that actually had quite a decent sound to it, all along with the other benefits of this type of product (portability, compatibility, ubiquitousness, ready power supply).

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: No reason this concept couldn't work

      Step 1 - select a full-range speaker driver that fits inside a light-bulb and has a decent frequency response and power handling

      Step 2 - there's no need to list a second step

  17. gbwelly

    Bluetooth can be a temperamental bugger..

    I purchased a set of bluetooth headphones and had them running with pleasant quality audio on my Chinese windows tablet with bluetooth 4.0. A colleague got the same ones and was moaning about the appalling sound quality. Eventually he got them working, the issue was something along the lines of the headphones being treated like a telephone headset, with the equivalent sound quality. I say do more testing if the reviews are good elsewhere.

    1. AndrueC Silver badge
      Meh

      Re: Bluetooth can be a temperamental bugger..

      I use BT headphones with my Galaxy S3 and they are a bit odd. For one thing they let me walk around most of the downstairs of my house while leaving the phone by my settee. At work they let me walk down a flight of stairs and into the kitchen which has a thick (converted barn) stone wall and part of the floor between.

      But often just turning my head when I'm out walking can block the signal briefly.

      Still - they mostly do a good job. Good enough for open air listening anyway.

      1. cosymart
        Holmes

        Re: Bluetooth can be a temperamental bugger..

        The only conclusion that I can come to having the limited data available is this: You have a solid bone head. That will be £1,000.00 consultation fee.

  18. Chairo
    Devil

    IoT

    Gee - you thought the T would stand for "things"? It's for "trash", obviously.

    You didn't know that?

    1. VeganVegan

      Re: IoT

      Idiots own Trash?

      Items of Trash?

  19. fatbuddha

    Playbulb

    With the proceeds of a premium bond win I bought a Playbulb (Sengled lookalike) back last year just to see what it was like. http://www.playbulb.com/en/playbulb-original.html The results were much as described in the article - the sound is poor quality and can be annoying, and it's a pain having to pair the bloody thing every time someone turns the light switch off! It was "OK" in the setting I had it but then we moved house - it's still in a box somewhere and I have no great desire to go looking for it.

    If they could improve the quality of sound it might have a place in a home but I'd avoid spending money on one if you don't need it.

    1. Ledswinger Silver badge

      Re: Playbulb

      With the proceeds of a premium bond win I bought a Playbulb (Sengled lookalike) back last year just to see what it was like... .poor quality.. .annoying.. ..pain.... it's still in a box somewhere and I have no great desire to go looking for it.

      Karma.

  20. Ian Emery Silver badge

    IoT

    For some reason no one ever bought my bath/CRT TV combo.

    1. Little Mouse

      Re: IoT

      If you added a toaster and a kettle to the package then I'd be interested.

      1. DropBear Silver badge

        Re: IoT

        Yes yes sure, but will it look like an accident...?

  21. AbelSoul

    Re: "..switch between lights and sounds.."

    Does it have to be one or the other?

  22. jzl

    Huh?

    Even if it sounded amazing, the inconvenience of having to turn lights on and off with your phone would keep me away.

  23. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Sounds like it would be better suited to a freestanding uplighter, rather than ceiling mounted lights:

    - Not on the main lightswitch, so doesn't affect normal use of lights.

    - Can provide 'mood lighting' as desired.

    - Bounces sound off the ceiling/wall, so you hear it indirectly which will greatly improve the bass.

    I'm still not interested though.

  24. JimmyPage Silver badge
    Coat

    Almost a dictionary definition of the word

    "Anticipointment"

    1. Paul Smith

      Re: Almost a dictionary definition of the word

      My new favourite word of the week!

      1. JimmyPage Silver badge
        Thumb Up

        Re: Almost a dictionary definition of the word

        I first heard it used by Armando Ianucci, in a "Red Button Extra" for Stewart Lees comedy Vehicle, but it turns out to have a longer history (2004 according to UrbanDictionary).

        But yes, it is a word you have to find an excuse to crowbar into a conversation (see previous post)

  25. Steve 13

    Kitchen Audio

    I had my kitchen refitted recently, rather than spend £150 on light bulbs, I bought some decent KEF ceiling speakers and had the electrician run the speaker cable to the nearby (attached) garage.

    My light switches only turn on/off the light bulbs. If a bulb blows I can replace it.

    I can attach any audio source I like to the speakers, and being 8" across they sound pretty good.

    I can listen to music without needing to turn on the lights in the middle of the day.

    Basically keeping the audio and lighting separate is far more versatile and sensible than trying to combine them... And given the high price of these bulbs even the installation cost isn't a barrier. If the bulbs were £10 then I could understand them being used as a cheap, poor quality solution in preference to spending more and getting better quality. But they aren't. They cost as much as doing it properly, but only add disadvantages to the mix.

  26. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Internet of Tat

    Just because a thing can be made, doesn't mean it should.

    Penny Blossoms with added Bluetooth - because everything's better with Bluetooth.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Just because a thing can be made, doesn't mean it should.

      Anyone ever read "OMNI", from the 80s ?

      There was a cartoon of two engineers looking at a very complicated contraption with the caption:

      "It's a very impressive project, Smith. But does the world really need a solar-powered whoppee cushion ?"

  27. Nifty

    Networked stereo - Hmm interesting

    That's the bit that caught my attention.

    I've looked for, and never found, a pair of quality Bluetooth speakers that can do stereo without a wire connection between a 'master' and 'slave' unit.

    Ideal scenario is one speaker plugs into the wall socket on one side of the fireplace, the other into a wall socket on opposite side, no connecting wire. And/or they have a 10 hour battery pack inside for true portability.

    One of the issues with wireless stereo is wave coherence - they need to be in sync to a very tiny proportion of a second or stereo image will be weird.

    Many moons ago I had a pair that connected L with R via an analogue signal over the mains (like the old phone line extenders). That actually worked well.

    So how did Sengled solve it?

    1. Alan Edwards

      Re: Networked stereo - Hmm interesting

      Maplin have the Alto Stealth Wireless system that could do this. It has a single transmitter and two receivers.

      It's not cheap (£200), intended for PA use so the connectors are all XLR, and you'd need an amplifier downstream of the receiver on each speaker, but it would work.

      You could also frig it with a stereo-to-2-mono splitter and two Bluetooth audio transmitters and receivers. Again you need an amp for each speaker, but the Bluetooth boxes are cheap and most have batteries. You could build a box to use as a speaker stand that contains one of those cheap tiny stereo amps, the Bluetooth box and a USB mains charger to power it with, or even hide it all in the enclosure of a floorstander.

  28. Jim 59

    The wifi extender might be more interesting. But then again, the light will have to be permanently on at the switch, and mains plug unix have ot covered anyway.

    'happen mains plugs are better for IOT anyway ? Better than lighting units I mean. You could probably have a more beefy speaker plugging straight into the wall. More solid/stable too.

  29. Esme

    Most Pointless Device Ever

    Please note, I'm not an audiophile (and couldn't afford the kit even if I were so inclined) but I've come across little battery or USB powered speakers from cheapo shops that deliver decent bass for their size for under a tenner. Not earth moving, to be sure, but play something like 'Rattus Norvegicus' through them and you durned well know Jean-Jaques is growling away in there with his throbbing bass guitar (Ahem. must go and have a lie down now...). Anyway - so that being the case, how on earth can anyone come up with something that costs £200 and doesn't sound utterly fantastic?!

  30. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Infusion of Trinkets delivers dud, film at eleven

  31. Mage Silver badge
    Devil

    not often these days that you are disappointed by a product

    Really?

    Almost everything now that uses batteries or Electricity is a race to the bottom in quality and crap,

    Poor life, or poor ergonomics, or terrible performance or designed in spyware or beta SW etc.

  32. Steve Evans

    100Hz–20kHz

    A label claiming 100Hz–20kHz is meaningless.

    Without any idea of the response curve across that frequency range, all they're saying is they will make some kind of movement across that range.

    In an ideal world that response would be flat (this won't happen), so you expect the response to fall off a little at both ends...

    In reality, what you've got there probably looks like pile of manure, a peak in the middle falling off on each side so steep that even Eddie the Eagle would balk.

  33. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    You know this article got me thinking along with some of the comments. What would be nice would be some speakers in the ceiling in my kitchen to be used when cooking, washing up etc..

    Then I thought how could I do that without spending stupid money on bluetooth light bulbs (which would sound crap) or bluetooth speakers?

    The answer is the Raspberry Pi and someone's already done it. It looks better further in the comments as someone else has got it working on an lcd display (for track information) and passing commands back to the device (next,play,pause)

    https://www.raspberrypi.org/forums/viewtopic.php?t=68779

    I know what my next home project is.

    1. Steve 13

      There's no need for a computer to be connected. Ceiling speakers (the Kef ones I bought are very well designed and sound great), class D amplifier, maybe with auto signal sensing if power use is a big issue for you, and a DLNA renderer (from £20 and up on Amazon).

  34. itzman

    Shades of the Sinclair loudspeaker

    With its 'acoustically contoured sound chamber' that was in fact a fibre moulding from a production car heater IIRC.

    And a cheap elliptical speaker as used in the 60's TVS of the previous decade..

    http://rk.nvg.ntnu.no/sinclair/audio/gallery/q14_ad_2.jpg

  35. theOtherJT

    And yet I still want one... make that two.

    There's something inherently appealing about the idea. Either side of my bed are 2 angle poise lamps. Now I've got the idea in my head that they could also be speakers I just really, really want them to be.

    Maybe I'll have to build something myself, because there's plenty of room in those for some decent sized drivers...

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: And yet I still want one... make that two.

      Try 2 Balanced Mode Radiators at around a tenner each from Radiospares

  36. crayon

    "I've looked for, and never found, a pair of quality Bluetooth speakers that can do stereo without a wire connection between a 'master' and 'slave' unit."

    Not sure whether they still make them anymore but I have a pair of Nokia Play 360, they work pretty well both own their own or as a pair. And a very useful feature that few bluetooth speakers have is removable/replaceable batteries. The only complaint I have about these is that the battery compartment needs a screwdriver/coin to open.

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