Life is possible without music and light, but only barely. Klipsch combines both of these reasons for living — and living well — in the inspired LightSpeakers, which but for an extravagant price tag ought to become standard in home architecture.
The concept is so simple it’s difficult to imagine it hasn’t been tried before. Each LightSpeaker is a self-contained module containing an LED lighting unit and, behind it, a compact wireless speaker. The whole thing fits into a standard recessed-lighting socket (aka “can” light) and screws into the light-bulb socket you already have there. A diffuser softens the light coming from the diodes, and it’s perforated with lots of tiny holes to let the sound out.
Add a transmitter (which plugs into your stereo or computer via a 1/8-inch stereo mini-jack) and a wireless remote control, and the system is complete.
The remote lets you control both speaker volume and the brightness of the LEDs. If you’ve installed the LightSpeakers on the same circuit as other lights, the brightness control won’t be much use. But if they’re on a dedicated circuit, the dimmer is especially handy, since it’s the only way to make the room dark without cutting off the music. (You could flip the light switch on the wall, but that will cut the power to the speakers, as well as the lights.)
Sound quality is about what you’d expect from a 2.5-inch cone with a 20-watt amplifier: In other words, decent, but not gut-thumping. The ceiling isn’t the ideal placement for audiophile music enjoyment anyway. But for piping ambient music into the kitchen, dining room or bedroom, the convenience is unmatched, and the quality’s more than sufficient for casual listening, even at fairly loud volumes.
The LightSpeaker system supports two separate sources and can work with two different speaker zones. A Sonos system it’s not, but for convenient, casual music and light, it’s a bright idea.
Our only regret: At $600 a pair, we can’t afford to install these in every room of the house.