Lithe Audio 6.5” Bluetooth Bathroom Ceiling Speaker Review

Posted on 6th December, 2022

Lithe Audio 6.5” Bluetooth Bathroom Ceiling Speaker Review

Marc Rushton auditions an affordable but effective method of wiring your bathroom for sound…

Lithe Audio

6.5-inch Bluetooth Ceiling Speaker

£249 (Single)

Lithe Audio was established in the UK in 2008 by Wesley Siu and Amit Ravat, a technical guru and a design guru, respectively, who wanted to see how they could improve upon ergonomic disasters and inefficiencies around the home. They strived to find what the home improvement market was crying out for, and according to the founders, “it was no less than a shiny, screwless light switch”. Retroswitch was born, and the new company was now trading. It then turned to sound with sister company Lithe Audio, which combined the pair's proven success in developing smart tech home solutions with their love of music.

Only several years later, Lithe Audio is now an established and desired brand around the globe, and it's not hard to see why when you spend time with its highly acclaimed Bluetooth Ceiling Speaker. In the case of this review, we're looking at the IP44-rated 6.5-inch version that sells for £249. It features a 6.5-inch polypropylene cone and a 0.75-inch titanium cone tweeter, coaxially mounted and powered by a Class D amplifier that is mounted directly to the speaker chassis. 

Rated power handling is a solid 50W RMS; it's claimed to have a nominal impedance of 8 ohms and weighs in at 3.7 kgs. You can also add a second, passive version for stereo sound for just a few hundred extra. This ceiling speaker combines an amplifier, receiver and audio in a single, compact and easy-to-install unit. Just power up, link to your device, and enjoy your next shower with high-quality audio from above – or at least, that's the idea!

MUSIC FOR ALL

Like many people during the lockdowns, my family caught the bug – but it wasn't the spicy cough that got us worked up, but rather the home-improvement craze. With no travel or holidays on the horizon and more time spent at home than ever, we soon grew tired of looking at our bathroom's dated tiles and fixtures. Our home was already renovated for the most part, but surprisingly the request for “music in the bathroom” came not from me but from my wife. That seed was all I needed to seek out the best solution to keeping the better half happy!

It had to be simple for all family members to use with their smart devices, and with enough oomph to overcome shower noise and sound great in the horridly unfriendly acoustic space that is a bathroom. On paper, the Lithe Audio solution ticked all the boxes and even had the added benefit of an RCA input for hardwiring other sources, but that wouldn't be required in our case. 

For our ensuite application, we have an Amazon Fire HD 8 wall mounted in a VidaBox enclosure hardwired to a constant power source within the wall. The Fire HD has a constant Bluetooth connection to the Lithe Audio, which also gives us full Alexa voice control for everything from volume control, speaking which radio stations we'd like to listen to, or even watching (and hearing) the World Cup while showering. 

Installation was dead simple. Our electrician tapped a nearby power supply in the ceiling, installing a GPO next to the speaker cut-out. The installation took around 45 minutes, and should prove fairly inexpensive, depending on the nearest power source. The magnetically attached grill is super-slimline and can also be painted if your ceiling is not the standard white. 

After nearly a week of being connected constantly, we've experienced no dropouts and complete reliability. Enjoying some streamed Counting Crows this morning while going through the morning routine, I was unpleasantly surprised by being 'Rick Rolled' as my 11-year-old daughter decided it would be funny to hijack our shared Spotify account… I must look into how to prevent that!

Our second installation in the main bathroom was just as simple as the first. The only difference here is that the Lithe Audio speaker is standalone and not connected to an in-wall tablet. Each person connects directly to the Lithe Audio speaker via the smartphone's Bluetooth settings. A downloadable app allows you to connect directly to the speaker to change settings, including the device's Bluetooth name. To avoid confusion later, we utilised this to set the speakers to 'Ensuite' and 'Kid's Bathroom' – simple.

THE LISTENING

This little Lithe Audio speaker certainly has grunt. While there's a separately available acoustic (and fire) hood, we found it has a great response across the frequency response without it. Any satellite-type speaker will benefit from adding a subwoofer, but that's neither necessary nor practical in a bathroom. A switch on the rear of the speaker limits the volume to half of its maximum output, which in most bathrooms or small room installations, would be preferred. Another switch determines if the output should be stereo or bridged mono. In our case, it was mono, but if you were to add the second passive speaker, you'd opt for stereo. Finally, there's also a -/+ 3dB 'Environment Equaliser' switch on the front of the speaker to tune to your preference; in our case, the middle selection (0dB) was perfect.

Our home has an array of brands and types of ceiling speakers, from the Atmos designs in the dedicated media room to ceiling speakers in the office and the alfresco area. Unlike the all-in-one Lithe Audio with its built-in amplifiers, they're powered by external amplifiers. It's possible that some could be underpowered or have losses due to long cable runs, but none sound as full-range and balanced as this. 

While you're not going to critically appraise a violin or the grunge of Eddie Vedder's vocal in a bathroom environment with the music projecting from above, you will get impressive music delivery. It stands proudly alongside many ceiling speakers costing far more, lacking an amplifier and Bluetooth connectivity built in. This is undoubtedly the result of good design and benefits from a purpose-built amplifier grafted within centimetres of the tinsel wires. 

THE VERDICT

This Lithe Audio speaker does what it was designed for brilliantly. The range also includes options for non-IP44 applications, so it's worth considering by anyone looking for an effective and capable multi-room audio solution. Simple to install throughout the whole home and hugely handy, it comes highly recommended.

For more information visit Lithe Audio

      Marc Rushton's avatar

      Marc Rushton

      StereoNET’s Founder and Publisher, born in UK and raised on British Hi-Fi before moving to Australia where he worked as an Engineer in both the audio and mechanical fields.

      Posted in:Lifestyle Integration Technology Smart Homes & IoT Loudspeakers Smart / Bluetooth Applause Awards 2022
      Tags: lithe audio 

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