aNewDomain — If you’re a true music lover and a true tech geek, too, nothing’s cooler than a light bulb that also produces music.
Yes, you read that right: I’m talking about a music producing light bulb. Think of the possibilities. You could use one to light up your living room, office or kitchen while pumping out some excellent tunes, all at the same time.
The music-enthused techies at Sengled have created such a multimedia bulb. It’s called Pulse. Everything I have read and seen about Pulse fascinates me and impresses me, and I’ve got one coming to me for review. In the meantime, here’s the scoop on what we’re hearing so far.
Each Pulse kit, which sells for approximately $170, comes with a “master” and a “satellite” bulb that allows for immediate stereophonic sound. If you want more light or music for any room, or if you want to spread the sound to multiple rooms, it’ll cost $80 per additional bulb.
All reviews that I have come across tell us that the Pulse is simplicity itself. Installing and ease of use are top notch: Simply screw in the light bulb, then connect to it with your Bluetooth-enabled device. And you’re done.
The free app lets you control bulb brightness and the basics of the music output, such as volume, graphic EQ and stereo configuration. Each Pulse bulb gives you 600 lumens of brightness along with a 1.75-inch JBL loudspeaker driven by a 13-watt amplifier. Each Pulse bulb lasts for 15 years on average, according to Sengled, and if true that ain’t bad!
The speakers aren’t powerful enough to cause a room to flood with music, but reviewers are impressed with the clarity of the treble and the power of the bass for such a small speaker. If you’ve ever listened to music through one of those little Bem wireless mobile speakers (as I have, for I own one), you get the idea.
You can also control the sound output by placing the Pulse bulb in lamps of varying shapes and sizes — acoustics are still acoustics, after all. The sound will bounce around within the lamp or its shade before emerging into the air, and this affects the overall sound output. It could be fun to experiment with different lamps to see what overall sound you can get. You, too, can play “studio recording engineer.”
The Pulse bulbs are nearly perfect, but there are a few hiccups. The first is that the size of the Pulse bulbs is rather large, which means they won’t fit into every lamp. One reviewer suggests that they seem to be designed more for in-ceiling canisters that take PAR30-sized, floodlight-type bulbs, rather than your typical shade lamp.
The other issue, which happens with a host of wireless technology products, is that the Pulse bulb’s Bluetooth signal doesn’t reach that far. It would be difficult to configure multiple rooms for music-in-the-light when your Bluetooth device can’t stray more than roughly 40 yards from the master bulb without losing signal. The designers at Sengled seem aware of this problem — the company offers a Boost bulb to help.
The Boost bulb serves as a Wi-Fi range extender and dimmable LED and, to be clear, it has no speaker. Sengled says that each Boost bulb ($50 per unit) will give you up to 100 feet of extra signal range. With the Boost bulbs, assuming they work as depicted, you can outfit a much-larger space, such as your entire upstairs or downstairs, across multiple rooms, with your multimedia music bulbs.
The Bottom Line
I don’t know about you, my fellow audiophile or music tech geek, but the concept of music-emitting lightbulbs is too good to pass up. You can make your rooms magical places that emit sound without wires or clear-cut speakers. I’m one of those people who gets off on having music pouring down from his ceiling, from behind the couch or from out of a wall. I also love the fact that with this tech you can control said lighting and your music from your cell phone or a tablet, so you don’t even need to have a laptop, PC or Mac sitting around.
I’m excited by these reviews and by what I read about these Sengled products. Look for my follow-up piece in the near future, when I write my first-hand review of my own Pulse and Boost bulbs.