Review: Cotodama Lyric Speaker Box Wi-Fi Speaker
It’s getting tougher to find a truly unique feature these days among wireless speakers. Pick just about anything — audiophile-quality audio, premium materials, an unusual form factor, Wi-Fi streaming, portability, and even 3D audio support — and there will be many outstanding choices. However, Cotodama continues to the only audio brand I’ve seen that offers premium quality wireless speakers built around a large display that scrolls song lyrics in real-time, along with artwork. The company makes wireless speakers that sound great, but also offer a mesmerizing visual show as well.
In previous years, I’ve reviewed the Cotodama Lyric and Lyric Speaker Canvas. The latest speaker from the company to come through my office for evaluation was the Lyric Speaker Box. This is perhaps the most compelling option yet — at the very least, it is the most affordable.
Like the Lyric, But Smaller and More Reasonably Priced
Let’s go back to 2018. That feels as though it were decades ago at this point, but it has been a while. That’s when I reviewed the original Cotodama Lyric.
This was wireless speaker that was very different from anything I had reviewed before. It was big and heavy, weighing over 24 pounds with a galvanized steel case. It put out premium quality audio with two coaxial loudspeakers, two drone cones, and dual passive radiators. It connected by Wi-Fi (including 802.11ac), and only by Wi-Fi. And the entire thing was built around a 22-inch, transparent LCD panel. The drivers were embedded in the panel, but most of that expanse was used to display the lyrics to songs, in real-time.
It was extremely cool, but also prohibitively expensive at $4,500.
During the past few years, the price of pretty much everything has gone up. However, Cotodama has managed to dramatically cut the price of the Lyric’s follow-up.
The Lyric Speaker Box is priced starting at $1,200. That’s for a black ABS resin version. Choosing a stainless steel frame takes the price up to $1,450 and there’s a Mastermind special edition stainless steel version with an embossed skull and crossbones that will set you back $2,200. Still, even that is less than half the price of the original.
It remains an expensive speaker, but at least it’s now within reach for many more potential buyers.
What’s Changed and What Hasn’t?
The Lyric Speaker Box core functionality hasn’t changed from the original Lyric. The system plays music over Wi-Fi (no Bluetooth or AUX input) to display song lyrics from a massive SyncPower Corporation database that has well over 2 million tracks. You’ll have to try pretty hard to stump it. The display doesn’t just passively scroll the lyrics, it mixes up the presentation. There are different fonts and font sizes, fading effects, spinning, and some rudimentary (grayscale) graphics effects thrown in the mix. As I explained in 2018, it’s not so much a karaoke machine as a multimedia art installation.
Yes, you can do the same thing on your phone, but the Lyric Speaker Box is meant to be seen by everyone in the room.
However, there have been some changes outside that core feature. The speaker is considerably smaller and lighter. While the original was over 20-inches wide and nearly 19-inches tall, the Lyric Speaker Box is slimmed down to 15-inches wide and 10-inches tall. It weighs a much more reasonable 9.2 pounds.
The audio components have been trimmed down as well. The Lyric Speaker box is equipped with a single 3-inch woofer and 0.75-inch tweeter, in a bass-reflex design. Overall power is 32W (compared to 40W) and frequency response is 60Hz – 20KHz (compared to 40Hz – 40 KHz).
Still High Quality Sound
While the downsizing means the Lyric Speaker Box can’t quite go toe-to-toe with the original Cotodama Lyric, it is still very much a premium-sounding speaker.
The 32W amplifier is sufficient to deliver considerable volume, without distortion. The 3-inch woofer and bass-reflex design offers deeper low end than most wireless speakers and some serious bass thump. The tweeter ensures the high notes are crisp. Anyone listening to the Lyric Speaker Box is not going to mistake it for an everyday wireless speaker.
Cotodama Lyric Speaker Box Recommendation: Once Again, It’s All About the Lyrics (and the Artwork)
If you are looking for a wireless speaker based on factors like portability or being part of a multi-room audio setup, the Lyric Speaker Box is not what you’re after. And with its $1,200 starting price, if audio quality is your primary concern, there are better options. For example, there are many high quality wireless speakers that can be used in pairs for true, two-channel stereo and you’d be able to buy that setup for less.
However, this isn’t just about the audio quality (which is still very good), it’s about the lyrics. They’re on display and that is something other speakers just can’t do.
If you want an impressive-sounding wireless speaker that doesn’t just sound good, but also serves as a very unique, visual point of interest in a room, then you should check out the Cotodama Lyric Speaker Box.