Designed with a multisensorial experience, the Light Speaker from Transparent appeals to your eyes as much as it does to your ears. Styled to look less like your conventional speaker with front-firing drivers, or like the ubiquitous smart speaker with a cylindrical fabric clad, the Light Speaker champions a lantern-inspired design… and in true lantern fashion, also comes with a light on the inside that flickers as the speaker’s drivers vibrates, creating a hauntingly beautiful audiovisual allure.
In its lamp-shaped avatar, the Light Speaker rubbishes the notion of what a Bluetooth speaker should look like. Taking on an appearance that looks aesthetic even when the lamp isn’t on, the Light Speaker is a compact little number that comes with a handle that can be detached if needed. The speaker’s design is entirely modular, something its maker Transparent believes wholeheartedly in, and comes with two drivers, one on top, and another below, with a glass chamber in between. The chamber acts as the viewing glass for the so-called flame, which glows at the base, reflecting off the vibrating cone of the lower audio driver. As you pump up the volume, the diaphragm vibrates more, and makes it look like the flame is flickering hard. While this looks rather alluring, it does mean you need to play louder music to get the flame to flicker more, which may end up conflicting with the mood you’re trying to set. That being said, at its brightest setting, the speaker actually works as a lantern, doing a fairly good job of illuminating a dark room with a soft wash of light.
The Light Speaker’s design uses borosilicate glass and aluminum grills, and it has an IPX2 weather rating, which makes it fairly usable outdoors, although you may want to stay away from the rains. The borosilicate glass means the Light Speaker isn’t as rugged as the everyday outdoor wireless speaker, but then again, it has the appeal of something that doubles as home decor, and not as a utilitarian product meant for rugged outdoor use.
Each Light Speaker comes with a two-knob interface, which ties in with the speaker’s minimalist design. One knob controls the volume, and the other the intensity of the light within. The speaker features an adjustable light-temperature setting too, allowing you to go from a deep amber light to a yellow and even a white light. Understandably, the light’s flickering effect is best enjoyed in the dark, although even in the day, you’ve at least got a rather pretty postmodern-looking lantern to admire while the Light Speaker pumps out sound.
The Light Speaker comes from the same folks who brought you the Transparent Speaker, and encapsulates the same design principle of being pure, responsible, and infinitely serviceable. The speaker can be pulled apart at any time, and its parts repaired, replaced, or even upgraded, championing a circular economy that’s rare in most consumer electronics today. It’s priced at $350, which is definitely on the higher side considering you could get 3 HomePod Minis for the price and still have change left… but then again, seldom can you ever say that your wireless Bluetooth speaker also looks like and functions as an ambient lantern.