Audiophiles might cringe at the thought of shoving a JBL Bluetooth speaker inside an LED light bulb but for ‘normal’ folks this solution may be a slice of genius. Well, that’s what Sengled is hoping.
Sengled Pulse design
The first thing that will strike you is the sheer size of these bulbs. As a gigging musician these look more like a par can light usually seen hung above stages than something for a domestic application.
These things measure 8.8 x 6.6 x 4.3-inches.
You have to bear in mind that their oversized form factor is needed to accommodate the presence of the speaker, which includes an amp and the Bluetooth gubbins. This could also limit where you can install the Pulse.
The Sengled Pulse kit comes with a pair of bulbs, one marked as the master and the other a satellite.
These are straight Bluetooth products, so your audio source will need to be fairly close to the master bulb to operate. The master bulb also relays music to the satellite via Bluetooth, so they will also need to be in range of each other.
They are quite good looking once you’ve got over their size and the white pearlescent finish will fit in most decors and the cut outs at the lamp end not only distributes the audio but makes a pretty pattern on the floor/wall depending where you’ve fitted them in to.
The bulbs come in bayonet or threaded connection – I asked for the bayonet as I had a feeling that I’d be shoving these in the ceiling fittings.
Each Pulse bulb provides 600 lumens of brightness and contains a 1.75-inch JBL loudspeaker driven by a 13-watt amplifier.
Sengled Pulse performance
Installation is ultra-simple as long as you have lamps large enough to take a Pulse.
That said, I had no issue in hooking them up in to the ceiling fittings. I have one in the bedroom and one in the hallway so, with the door open, there is a hint of stereo imaging if I’m stood in the right place.
You can add additional satellites to the mix as needed, but given the range limitations, I can’t see a typical home supporting more than three or four bulbs total.
The quality of the sound is surprisingly good, with good clarity and a modest bass response.
If you fancy a little more control, including the brightness of the lights then downloading the free Sengled Pulse app is the way forward.
The app is simple and lets you turn the speakers on and off as well as control their volume. You are also able to control the brightness of the bulbs. You’ll find no colour changing skills here, as we had with the PlayBulb Rainbow, but then the Rainbow isn’t equipped with a JBL speaker.
The app also gives you more fine-grained control over audio than you’ll get from simply using your phone’s media player. If you have have two speaker-lights, for example, you can set one as the left and one as the right channel, or you can have both speakers play both left and right channels. A rudimentary equaliser is also included if you want to fine-tune your music. These pre-set tonal scoops does change the character of the audio but I’m not overly convinced if it’s for the best.
I found that having the bulb speakers on the ‘Normal’ flat EQ provided decent audio for both video playback and slinging some tunes through.
The range of the Bluetooth seemed as much as required. I tended to use the Sengled Pulse speakers when I was in the bedroom and, as the other speaker bulb was hanging in the hallway, if I had to nip to the loo I could still hear my tunes.
I could see this set up working at our next house party, with the main party tunes happening downstairs but, when people came upstairs, we could have something more chilled out on.
Audio quality is OK. As I said at the start of the review, the Sengled Pulse isn’t going to worry a serious Hi-Fi installation but it may well be an option for those contemplating ceiling speakers but don’t want to go hacking in to their plaster work just yet.
The fact that I could fit these in to a couple of lamps is an interesting idea too. Throw in the bonus that these are LED lights and therefore a heck more efficient than regular bulbs and I think you may have a winner.
Sengled Pulse review conclusion
This is a great way of sneaking speakers in to a room where some driver-equipped boxes would spoil the look – the Kitchen, for example.
Granted, you’re not going to taunt the output of a Hi-Fi or even a Bluetooth set-up such as the Damson Vulcan but the Sengled Pulse is also illuminating a room a two, something that neither a Hi-Fi or the Vulcan can achieve.
The Sengled Pulse is a neat way to add in-wall/in-ceiling audio to your home by letting your light fixtures do double duty as speakers.