Klipsch LightSpeakers, a bright idea

Klipsch's LightSpeaker is the first product to combine efficient LED lighting and wireless ambient sound into a single unit that installs like a light bulb.

David Carnoy Executive Editor / Reviews
Executive Editor David Carnoy has been a leading member of CNET's Reviews team since 2000. He covers the gamut of gadgets and is a notable reviewer of mobile accessories and portable audio products, including headphones and speakers. He's also an e-reader and e-publishing expert as well as the author of the novels Knife Music, The Big Exit and Lucidity. All the titles are available as Kindle, iBooks, Kobo e-books and audiobooks.
Expertise Headphones, Bluetooth speakers, mobile accessories, Apple, Sony, Bose, e-readers, Amazon, glasses, ski gear, iPhone cases, gaming accessories, sports tech, portable audio, interviews, audiophile gear, PC speakers Credentials
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David Carnoy
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The LightSpeaker bundle above will will carry a retail price of $599. Klipsch

Klipsch has come up with an intriguing concept: Marry a wireless speaker with a LED light bulb. The product's called the LightSpeaker and a bundle of two, complete with a transmitter, radio frequency remote, mini jack to RCA plug cable, lenses and trim, is set to go on sale in late January for $599. Single units will cost $250.

"Today's consumers are overloaded with complex technologies, and the LightSpeaker is designed to enrich their lives without complication," said Klipsch president Paul Jacobs. "It offers brilliant light, reduces energy costs and creates a multiroom ambient music system in mere minutes. There's no wiring, no retrofitting and no software to deal with."

The LightSpeaker comes with a dimmable LED bulb and fits 5- and 6-inch recessed light fixtures with a standard Edison socket. Klipsch says upcoming accessories will allow the LightSpeaker to accommodate hanging light fixtures as well as floor and table lamps.

In terms of specs, the speaker uses a 20-watt high-performance, low-distortion digital amplifier to deliver energy efficient sound. Klipsch adds that the LightSpeaker's 2.5-inch wide dispersion driver uses "digital signal processing to optimize high- and low-frequency output for a full spectrum of sound."

In order to get music to the speakers, you have to connect a special transmitter to a music source, such as a laptop, iPod or CD player. That transmitter, which uses 2.4Ghz wireless technology, then wirelessly sends the sound to up to eight LightSpeakers, "equaling stereo sound in multiple rooms." Klipsch says you can connect two music sources to the transmitter, as well as establish two separate listening zones. The transmitter or remote will control the sources, zones, lighting levels and volume.

Meanwhile, the LED bulb is rated for 40,000 hours of use and can last over 15 years. Jacons claims the system "eventually pays for itself" as you save money on bulb changes, energy, and installation costs.

That all sounds good, but the press release does have a disclaimer at the end that gives us some pause as far as sound quality goes. "LightSpeakers are for background music and not intended to replace home theater speakers," the release says.

We'll let you know how good they sound as soon as we hear them.