In recent years, IKEA has made rapid progress in smart homes and speakers. First with the smart lighting Wireless in competition with Philips Hue, then with the affordable Eneby speakers. And lastly the affordable multi-room speakers Symphonic, developed in collaboration with Sonos. Now they have collaborated with the Swedish design and technology company Teenage Engineering, with the fantastic OD-11 we have tested before, and developed IKEA Frekvens.
Teenage Engineering is unconventional, innovative and builds small editions. That is, the opposite of IKEA, which makes the collaboration extra exciting. Their mission was to “introduce sound into the home in a new way”. They came back with a modular system consisting of 50 prototypes that were refined into eight sound and light products. But also pallets, serving dishes and a service that is also needed at a home party.
The sound first
The bass in the Frekvens system is a 20 x 10 cm wireless speaker that can be placed on different joints and equipped with fronts to change the look. You also get feet and handles that you can turn on if you want. If you feel like taking the speaker with you, you can buy a battery, or accidentally borrow it from IKEA’s smart blinds, as they smartly use the same thing.
If you want a louder bass sound that better suits the party, complete with the subwoofer speaker. The two can be screwed together so that they are perceived as a unit, and you connect them with an Aux wire. If you want to be completely without cable, you can put in the same battery that makes the Eneby speaker portable. You also get a stronger carrying strap, so you can take the sound system with you on the excursion.
The building blocks
The unique thing about Frekvens is that in addition to the speaker, you can connect lamps that respond to the sound and thus become a disco system. All the blocks in the system are based on 10 centimeter cubes, where the speakers are two or four cubes in size and the lamps one. They can therefore be screwed together in all possible constellations that are only limited by the imagination. Or put on the stand for more controlled lighting. The cubes’ power supply is connected in series so that you only need one wire for the wall socket.
On the one hand, there is a regular lamp where you can choose on the back how it should pulse in time with the music. It can be made more fun by buying grilles and tubes in different colors that focus or scatter the light. On the one hand, there is the more interesting multi-lighting which consists of 16×16 light points that can switch between seven different moving light motifs in time with the music. Both lamps only need one power supply.
Do we have a party, or?
The small speaker sounds a bit thin in itself, but can by all means function as a kitchen speaker. If you combine it with the subwoofer, however, it will be a completely different matter. Then you get a powerful sound that works very well for the home party. At low volume, it actually sounds worse than if you pull on properly. As with IKEA’s previous speakers, we still have to say that there is a lot of sound for the money.
If we combine the sound with the smart disco lamps, it actually becomes even more fun. Especially if you turn on the accessories and direct the lighting in different directions. This is certainly good enough for the home party, and even for a smaller party room.
Just the idea of making speakers and disco lamps that can be combined just the way you want is refreshingly cool and different. Especially to come from IKEA. The creators of Teenage Engineering have been given free rein, and have created something that is both playful and functional. The speakers sound good enough and powerful for the home party and the disco lights further enhance the mood. The only reservation we really have is that this is a random collection. One probably wants to be able to complement such a product with more lamps in the future.