When we walked the sound-filled halls of Klipsch's Indianapolis headquarters last month, the company insisted that it was always looking at possible expansions into new markets. Today at CES, it's proving that those words aren't being uttered carelessly. The all-new LightSpeaker is a unique and potentially game-changing device in the whole home audio market, as unlike similar contraptions, this one requires no external wiring or power. The device is designed to fit into normal 5- to 6-inch light recesses, which enables existing homeowners to easily retrofit these into their ceilings and walls. We were granted some hands-on time with the light, and put simply, you just screw it into a conventional fixture, dial up the desired zone on the bundled remote, and listen. A full-range driver sits just beneath the LED light, and it receives signals via a 2.4GHz base station that can be plugged into just about any source.

Klipsch plans to ship these soon in two main packages: a kit that includes a base station and two LightSpeakers for around $600 and a single LightSpeaker by its lonesome for around $250. The bundled controller allows users to control two zones and two sources, and you can also adjust lighting brightness and volume via the main station or the smaller remote. Each zone can easily support four LightSpeakers, and when we asked if these could withstand the elements, we were told that they'd do fine in a covered patio but probably not within an unshielded pool deck. In other words, some humidity shouldn't be an issue, but you probably wouldn't want 'em to get rained on all night. We also wouldn't be surprised to see a bundle in the future that includes a wireless subwoofer to really round out the audio, but don't say you heard it from us. Peek the gallery for a closer look!

Gallery | 14 Photos

Klipsch LightSpeaker makes whole home audio as simple as screwing in a light bulb (hands-on)

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Klipsch to Illuminate Audio Industry with New LightSpeaker
Energy-saving product uniquely combines brilliant LED lighting and wireless ambient sound

INDIANAPOLIS, IN (January 5, 2010) - Klipsch, a leading global speaker manufacturer, is introducing what is possibly the most innovative design to hit the audio industry in recent years. Winner of a 2010 CES Innovations Award, the patented Klipsch® LightSpeaker® is the first product to combine efficient LED lighting and wireless ambient sound into a single unit that installs like a light bulb.

"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 multi-room ambient music system in mere minutes. There's no wiring, no retrofitting and no software to deal with."

The LightSpeaker, which comes complete with a dimmable LED bulb and full-range speaker, fits 5- and 6-inch recessed light fixtures with a standard Edison socket. Upcoming accessories will allow the LightSpeaker to accommodate hanging light fixtures as well as floor and table lamps.

The speaker uses a 20 watt high-performance, low-distortion digital amplifier to deliver energy efficient sound. Furthermore, 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 deliver music wirelessly, the LightSpeaker relies on a standalone transmitter. A music source, such as a laptop, iPod or CD player, connects to the transmitter and it wirelessly sends the sound to the LightSpeaker. The transmitter's 2.4GHz wireless technology accommodates up to eight LightSpeakers, equaling stereo sound in multiple rooms. 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.

The LED bulb is rated for 40,000 hours of use and can last over 15 years. It also reduces daily lighting expenses by 80 percent, using 10 watts to produce light that's bright enough to replace up to a 65 watt bulb. Unlike incandescent bulbs, the LightSpeaker LED bulb contains no mercury or halogen gases and produces almost no heat.

A bundled package, consisting of two LightSpeakers, a transmitter, radio frequency remote, mini jack to RCA plug cable, lenses and trim, retails for $599. Single LightSpeakers are also available for $249 each. Klipsch will begin selling the LightSpeaker on klipsch.com later this month, with broader distribution slated for March.

"A LightSpeaker package eventually pays for itself, through savings on professional installation, separate audio components and energy consumption," concluded Jacobs. "Plus you can take it with you if you move."

LightSpeakers are for background music and not intended to replace home theater speakers.


LED Light


• 10W super bright LED provides a sharp crisp light that is easy on the eyes.

• LED outputs the light suitable to replace up to a 60W incandescent bulb

• Long Lasting LED is rated for over 25,000 to 40,000 hours of use (15 to 20 years average use)

• LED Light is fully dimmable and is controlled from either the remote or the light button on the transmitter

Wireless Receiver

Receives a 2.4 GHz wireless stereo signal broadcast from the Transmitter and depending on the zone assigned to the speaker and the left or right audio channel selected, the receiver sends the correct signal to each LightSpeakers® on-board digital amplifier

Digital Amplifier & Switch Mode Power Supply


• The E26 standard Edison Screw allows the unit to attach to any standard light fixture socket.

• The high efficiency switch mode power supply delivers power to the LED and the digital amplifier without generating a lot of heat.

• 20W high performance low distortion digital amplifier provides energy efficient sound

• The on-board Digital Signal Processing delivers customized audio to each LightSpeaker® giving big speaker sound in a small speaker.

Loud Speaker

• 2.5" high performance custom engineered woofer with Micro Cellulose Polymer treated cone material provides even coverage and smooth natural sounding audio reproduction

• Integrated high frequency disperser.

Accessories

• Optional flange allows LightSpeaker® to fit into either 5" (R30) or 6" (R40) recessed lighting fixtures.

• Frosted Lens is acoustically transparent

Transmitter


• 2 sets of RCA or 3.5mm stereo jack line level audio inputs allows 2 separate sources to be used

• Wireless simultaneous transmission to two separate zones of loudspeakers

• Controls LED light in each zone independently

• Controls Audio level and source in each zone independently

• Simple front panel controls allow easy adjustment of the speakers' sound

• Wireless transmitter can send audio to loudspeakers 50 to 100 feet in any direction depending on the environment

Accessories


• RF remote allows control of sound 50 to100 feet away from transmitter depending on the environment.

• RF Remote allows selection of zone and source which allows you to adjust audio in each zone

• DC power supply for transmitter

5" LightSpeaker® Specifications

Woofer 2.5" Micro Cellulose

Light Brightness 10W LED

Wireless Reception 2.4 GHz proprietary signal

Frequency Response (+/- 3 dB) 90 Hz - 20 kHz

Amplifier Power 20W

Max SPL 93 dB SPL

Dimensions


LightSpeaker® depth (w/out Edison Screw) 5.3" (135.3 mm)

LightSpeaker® diameter (without Flange) 5.1" (130.0 mm)

LightSpeaker® diameter (with Flange) 7.2" (182.8 mm)

Depth without socket - no lens 5.5" (140.0 mm)

Depth with Socket - no lens 6.6" (167.2 mm)

Depth without socket with lens 6.1" (153.8 mm)

Depth with Socket with lens 7.1" (181.0 mm)

OD of 6" Flange 7.6" (192.0 mm)

OD of 5" Flange 6.7" (171.2 mm)

Weight 2.51 lbs (1.14 kg)

Transmitter & Remote Specifications

Transmitter Sources 2

Discrete Transmitter Zones 2

Audio Transmission Frequency 2.4 GHz proprietary

RF Remote Transmission Freqeuency 908 Mhz

Audio Transmitter range (omni-directional) 50 to 100 feet depending on environment

RF Remote range (omni-directional) 50 to 100 feet depending on environment

AC Power 90 VAC to 240 VAC

Dimensions

Transmitter 5.9" (151.0 mm) W x 7.0" (177.0 mm) L x 2.4" (60.0 mm) H

Remote: 2" (52.0 mm) W x 5.1" (130.0 mm) L x 1.2" (30.0mm)

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Klipsch LightSpeaker makes whole home audio as simple as screwing in a light bulb (hands-on)