The popularity of smart home technology is increasing at an exponential rate. STACK takes a look at how you can incorporate the smart home into your music entertainment space.

Not just another media buzz word or gimmick, smart home technology is both convenient and efficient, and Australians are adopting it at a phenomenal rate. The tech is being used for security cameras, lighting, entertainment, even garden irrigation, but it’s the entertainment space we’re going to discuss here. If you’re a music buff, it doesn’t take much to enhance the entertainment experience within your own four walls.

A smart home can also be easily facilitated for music lovers, with a stack (no pun intended) of hardware and lighting options available.

PORTABLE MUSIC

Smart Home

If you don’t have the budget for the neighbour-angering Samsung Q90R soundbar, there are cheaper alternatives like the smart speaker, which can still rock and can be moved to wherever the party is happening. There are a plethora of these on the market but we went with two names that prior experience has taught us to trust: Bose and Sonos.

The Bose 300 delivers 360 degrees of sound and is perfect for positioning in the middle of the room. It comes with six preset buttons, and sound is balanced across the rock and pop genres we tested.

Sonos has developed the portable Move to withstand dust, water and even being dropped, thanks to a silicon shock absorber on the base. Easy to connect, it comes with a battery that delivers 10 hours of life and again, the audio performance is great right across the board. Both smart speakers offer flexibility with multiple voice assistants.

Smart Home

LIFX

What’s a decent party without lighting? Our pick for this is the LIFX systems. We tested out the strip lighting, the Tiles and the Beams from the LIFX range. The Tile pack comes as a set of five that are chained together with connecting power cables and affixed to the wall using removable 3M Command pads. How you configure the Tiles is down to the individual, but these really bring an artistic theme to the room. When powered up, the fun really begins in the LIFX app. Over 16 million different colours are available and each Tile has 64 different – and vibrant – colour zones.

Tiles can be displayed in solid or switched to what LIFX calls ‘Blend’, where different parts of the unit flash independently to create an almost digital lava lamp effect. To get the party started, the Music Visualiser – a feature that uses the microphone on a smartphone to trigger colour changes to the beat of the track that’s playing – is what you’ll need. The Tiles also connect via Alexa, Google Assistant and Siri.

For an accompanying piece, the LIFX Beam is a series of six 300mm long, 35mm thick pieces that connect via magnetic pins. There’s also a handy 90-degree connector that also illuminates, enabling right angles to be built into your desired pattern.

Like the Tiles, the colour combination possibilities are endless and the Beam can also be activated to sync with the beat from your chosen song. There’s also a neat feature called Move that lights each section in a pattern. This product has been designed to be on display, so don’t hide it behind a TV unit.
The LIFX range also includes a light strip. The big bonus here is that you don’t have to connect to a hub to get it up and running, and the strip can be zoned along its length to change colours in segments – a nice point of difference.