Lyric Speaker Canvas review: A unique Wi-Fi speaker with lyric display

Audio / Audio Hardware Reviews / Reviews
Cotodama-Lyric-Speaker-Canvas-review

If you’ve got money to spare and are looking for a speaker with decent sound and a unique feature, the Lyric Speaker Canvas definitely offers that — for a price.

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Internet-connected speakers, whether it be by Bluetooth or Wi-Fi, are a dime a dozen. While they vary in shape, size, and sound quality, for the most part they’re all pretty much the same. Our Lyric Speaker Canvas review takes a look at a Wi-Fi enabled speaker which not only has an interesting design but also has a screen which displays lyrics while your music is playing.

Specifications

The Lyric Speaker Canvas has the following features and specifications:

  • Model: LS2
  • Speaker: 32 W total, 1 x 1.5″ full range speaker (12 W), 1 x 3″woofer (20 W)
  • Enclosure: Ported high pass enclosure
  • Frequency: 40 Hz – 20,000 Hz
  • Material: ABS, Acrylic resin, SECC, Magnet, Rubber, PC
  • Power: 36W max(18V/2A:AC adapter)
  • Wi-Fi: 802.11a/ b/ g/ n/ ac (WPA2 – Personal), WMM
  • Function: Power/ Volume/ Reset/ AUX out
  • Devices: iOS (4.3.3+), Android (4.4+)
  • Apps
    • Airplay (iOS): Apple Music, Amazon Music, Petit Lyrics, Recochoku BEST, KK Box
    • Google Cast (iOS/Android): Amazon Music, Google Play Music, Spotify, AWA, Utapass
    • Spotify Connect (iOS/Android): Spotify (Spotify Premium subscription required)
  • Dimensions: 48 x 12 x 40cm
  • Weight: 5.2 kg

What’s in the box

  • Lyric Speaker Canvas
  • Power adapter
  • User manual
  • Info inserts

In case you missed it in our preview post, check out the unboxing and quick overview in the video below.

Design

Unlike it’s early sibling, the Lyric Speaker, which was a monstrous affair, the Lyric Speaker Canvas features a more slim design which resembles an album cover. There are two main panels, a black panel roughly 14 3/4″ square, and a greyish/silver speaker grille panel that is about 15 3/4″ square. Both panels are about 1/4″ thick.

The black panel is where the lyrics display and it is constructed from an acrylic resin. The rear panel grille is made from SECC steel. Due to the thinness of both panels, there is a bit of flex but once you’ve set this speaker up, you’ll unlikely be moving it around. The front black panel leans back about 15° while the rear grille panel leans back about 10° which gives the speaker a leaning record cover look.

Cotodama-Lyric-Speaker-Canvas-review-01
Close up of the rear panel.

Both panels are attached to a rear base which is about 4 1/2″ deep at the bottom and 2″ deep at the top. With a height of 9 1/2″, the base provides a fairly solid and sturdy foundation for the speaker and display. On the right side of the base, when looking at the front of the speaker, you’ll find the power button, volume controls, and reset pinhole near the top. At the bottom back corner is a 3.5mm AUX jack.

The bottom of the speaker has four rubber feet strategically placed to provide a nice grip to whatever desk, counter, or shelf you are placing the speaker on. In the center of the base is an inverted circular dome in which the power connection sits. When the power cord, which is about 6′ in length, is connected, the cord travels out the side or back between the rubber feet nicely. Depending on your setup, this allows you to snake the power cord out the left or right sides or the back and hide it from sight.

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The bottom of the Lyric Speaker Canvas

Speaking of speaker placement, it is quite heavy and weighs 5.2 kg (just under 11 1/2 lbs) so you’ll want to make sure your shelf can handle the weight.

Display

When turned on, only the the middle region of the display shows the lyrics. As mentioned above, the panel itself is just under 15″ square, and the active display portion is about 7″ by 13 1/4″ with 4″ of black space on the top and bottom. It would have been nice to have the lyrics fill the entire display for maximum effect.

On that note, when the lyrics are displayed, they are easily viewable from a regular viewing distance. Upon closer inspection, the text and basic images (circles, squares, and lines) aren’t super crisp but you really aren’t going to be sitting that close to it anyways.

Set Up

Set up is pretty easy, at least with Google Home. Simply launch the app and Google Home detects the speaker and walks you through the process. The first time we set it up, an audible cue from the speaker was heard and then the app spun on speaker connecting to Wi-Fi. After quitting the Google Home app and relaunching it, the speaker was listed properly. The next two times we connected the speaker at different locations, the process was flawless so it was likely a temporary glitch of some sort.

Cotodama-Lyric-Speaker-Canvas-review-02
Angled side view of the Cotodama Lyric Speaker Canvas.

Ease of Use

Once set up, the Cotodama Lyric Speaker Canvas is super easy to use. Simply turn it on, wait for it to start up (which takes about a minute and a half or so), launch your music app (we tested it out with Spotify Connect), and select the speaker under the Devices Available link in your app.

Once streaming, you can either use the volume and playback controls on your smartphone or control the volume directly from the speaker itself.

Performance

Takes about a minute and a half to start up when turned off.

Probably about half a dozen different styles for the lyrics, unfortunately, the company is being tight-lipped on exactly how many. Some of the lyrics styles could stay up a bit longer before moving on to the next screen, it’s all really about timing. Some songs seemed to stick to one style while others rotated through a few different styles each time you restarted it.

Often misses the first line of a song, especially if it’s a song that starts off with lyrics in the first 30 seconds or so. There were a few other times where it seemed to lag a bit before the lyrics sped up to catch up and sync again with the track.

Cotodama-Lyric-Speaker-Canvas-review-05
One of the few styles of lyric display on the speaker.

That being said, I was impressed with some of the songs that were included in the database including newer ones like Eminem’s “Killshot” and “Kamikaze” or Disturbed’s “The Vengeful One.” Even more obscure tracks like “God Break Down the Door” by Nine Inch Nails with its limited lyrics have lyrical displays on the speaker. Unfortunately, some of my favourite tracks like Public Enemy’s “Fight the Power” or Soundgarden’s “Black Hole Sun” haven’t made the cut —  yet.

Cotodama has over 2 million tracks currently in their lyric database and you can also request songs be added through their website. To be honest though, I was impressed with the number of tracks that had lyrics and I honestly didn’t encounter too many during our limited testing time that didn’t have displayable lyrics of one sort or another. One thing to note, if the song has explicit lyrics, the speaker will display those explicit words on the screen — just something to keep in mind.

As far as language support, the Lyric Speaker Canvas officially supports English and Japanese. We tried out some K-Pop and were impressed with the number of songs we tried that had Korean (presumabely, but could have been Japanese) and English lyrics mixed depending on the song.

Sound Quality

Of course, the main focus of any speaker is how well it sounds. Given the price point, you’d expect the Lyric Speaker Canvas to be one of the best sounding speakers out there.

The speaker is indeed fairly balanced between highs, mids, and lows for most tracks with just a hint of leaning towards the bass spectrum of things. The bass is on the punchier as opposed to the warm side. However, depending on the track and volume, the speaker does vibrate with excessive bass and some tracks do sound a bit muddy or hollow in spots as well on occasion. It wasn’t a consistent thing and really depended on the track or the volume.

There is no independent volume control on the speaker and there are a total of 16 volume steps. Personally, I found the third or fourth step plenty loud for most rooms, including in my larger basement area. The aforementioned vibration and occasional muddiness did kick in at about the 50% volume stage. When cranked to full volume —  which quite frankly is likely too loud to every use — the music was still clear and crisp, vibration aside.

Overall, the speaker does sound decent when listened to at normal listening volumes. It just so happens those are well below the halfway volume point on the speaker.

Price/Value

So, just how much is this fancy speaker going to set you back? The MSRP on this unique speaker is $1700 USD. While it’s much cheaper than it’s Lyric Speaker counterpart (that one costs a whopping $4500), it’s still pretty pricey. However, it’s definitely a conversation piece and looks pretty awesome sitting on the shelf both when in and not when in use.

Wrap-up

If you’ve got money to spare and are looking for a speaker with decent sound and a unique feature, the Lyric Speaker Canvas definitely offers that — for a price.

*We were sent a review unit of the Lyric Speaker Canvas for the purposes of this review.

Lyric Speaker Canvas

$1700 USD
9

Design

9.5/10

Display

9.0/10

Setup

9.0/10

Ease of Use

9.5/10

Sound Quality

9.0/10

Performance

9.0/10

Price/Value

8.0/10

Nailed it

  • Slim, cool looking design
  • Decent sound
  • Lyric display is a neat feature
  • Most songs we tried supported
  • Can suggest lyrics for missing songs
  • Newer songs have lyrics as well

Needs work

  • Punchier as opposed to warmer bass
  • Some lyrics don't sync up properly
  • Expensive
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