Open source Symfonisk WiFi speaker

Speaker of the House

© Lead Image © sergeypykhonin,

© Lead Image © sergeypykhonin,

Article from Issue 239/2020

Build open software, open hardware smart WiFi speakers for the home with the Sonos and Ikea Symfonisk.

Smart WiFi speakers are ubiquitous, attractive, and easy to use, but if you don't always want to buy the latest model – or simply love your independence – you can build your own loudspeakers to grace your living room. What you learn in the process also helps if you decide to convert high-quality passive loudspeakers.

With smart speakers from major manufacturers, the smarter the speaker functions the more problematic the speaker longevity. Additionally, you are dependent on the manufacturer in terms of the feature set and potential updates. Only what is deemed to be useful ends up on the loudspeaker feature list. For example, Sonos hasn't upgraded the Samba client that it comes with for years [1], saying the device doesn't have sufficient hardware resources. Surprisingly, they found enough scope for several other new functions.

After Sonos announced it would discontinue support for the first-generation operating system [2] and switch to the next generation, S2, fully functional devices suddenly experienced massive limitations [3]. Other manufacturers are not exactly excelling in this respect either: Competitors to the pioneer of cross-room loudspeaker components often discontinue support for their equipment far too early.


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