Ikea Symfonisk Bookshelf Wi-Fi Speaker review: Ikea speaker makes Sonos multiroom magic more affordable

Ikea is known for functional and affordable furniture. Sonos is known for easy-to-use, but not necessarily affordable, wireless multiroom speakers. In the Symfonisk library the two will meet and the result is the lowest price ever achieved on a Sonos compatible Wi-Fi speaker. And it also sounds as good as anyone can expect for a $ 99 (£ 99) speaker.

No it’s not as good as $ 179 (£ 150) Ikea Symfonisk Table Lamp, which combines a loudspeaker with an attractive and functional lamp. The bookcase is simply a versatile multiroom Wi-Fi speaker which offers similar levels of Sonos-based utility, cutting the price in half.

The Bookshelf sounds very similar to the Lamp, albeit with less bass, and its price tag makes it a great option for a kid system or paired as a rear set for the Sonos Beam, play bar or Game base. Take the Sonos ecosystem to a place it has never been before: multiroom music for under $ 100.

(Low) note on the shelf

Ikea Symfonisk bookcase

The Symfonisk table lamp and bookcase.

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The Symfonisk library does not have the shape of the typical powered speaker. He is tall and thin instead of stocky, measuring a foot tall, 4 inches wide and 6 inches deep. Includes a detachable wool grille that hides a single bass-mid driver and a soft dome tweeter. The front houses the physical play and volume buttons, while the back only offers a backup Ethernet port, in case you don’t want to use Wi-Fi.

Ikea Symfonisk bookcase

Sarah Tew / CNET

The Symfonisk is designed to be wall mounted, this is where the “shelf” part comes into play: the speaker itself is capable of holding up to 6.6 lbs. Its rubber pads on the outside help reduce vibrations and prevent objects you put on it from sliding off. The wall mount bracket that allows it to function as a shelf is not included in the box, but is available for an additional $ 20.

The Symfonisk library is fully compatible with the Sonos multiroom system and, like other Sonos products, does not have Bluetooth streaming. It can be controlled with either the Sonos app or a third-party streaming service such as Spotify Connect, or with a voice assistant such as Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant or Apple’s Siri. Apple AirPlay 2 compatibility means that Bookshelf could also become a cost-effective multiroom partner with the Apple HomePod. Like other Sonos speakers, two libraries can be stereo paired or used as rears for the Sonos Beam.

The Bookshelf doesn’t have a built-in microphone, which isn’t surprising for the money, but if you want to make Symfonisk “smarter” you can add a Echo Dot or Google Home Mini.

Setting up

Ikea Symfonisk bookcase

Sarah Tew / CNET

Ikea Symfonisk is compatible with the Sonos Trueplay calibration system, but depending on the room the results may vary. Thankfully, if you don’t like the resulting sound, the Sonos app offers the ability to toggle Trueplay calibration on and off so you can compare them.

I have used the Bookshelf in a number of ways, including as a single unit, in stereo, and as a rear for three different soundbars. While the rear speaker option was the best, the other setups offered their own charm. Each required their own setup, and each time I had to hold the controls on the front loud enough, while stabilizing it with my other hand, to get the speakers to register.

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