With its affordable, mass-produced products, IKEA has changed the way we think about furniture and decorate our homes. Different materials and colors, classic and new designs are now available to a broad audience. Now, they’ve brought speakers into the fold—so naturally, we had to take them apart.
In 2018, IKEA entered the audio sector with its first Bluetooth speaker products, known as ENEBY. There are two sizes, the 12×12 inch (30×30 cm) and the 8×8 inch (20×20 cm), with the latter also being fully portable with an optional battery pack. Shortly after that, a third and smaller ENEBY speaker was introduced, coming in at 15×7.5 cm and using regular AAA batteries as a power source.
Last year, IKEA announced two new Bluetooth speakers with their SYMFONISK collection resulting from a collaboration with American multiroom audio specialists Sonos. And in 2020, the FREKVENS collection was introduced, designed by Teenage Engineering whom you might know from their synthesizers OP-1 and OP-Z.
Since we are kind of keen to look inside portable consumer electronic products—especially those equipped with batteries and wireless capabilities—we went ahead and got a selection of IKEA’s portable Bluetooth speakers (no Sonos this time, but you can read our current thoughts on Sonos here). Since most IKEA products come with a manual and the need for assembly, we were wondering if this might be the case for those speakers too.
The first one on the table is the ENEBY 8×8 inch (20×20 cm) which comes with a small hex wrench in the package that can be used to attach the handle to the speaker. This is the first encounter with some IKEA-ish “assemble-it-yourself” spirit—but a quick look behind the front cover shows no way inside. To enjoy its mobile capabilities, a separately available IKEA-made battery pack is required, though an AC port on the back supports stationary use through a wall plug. Installing the rechargeable 37.4 Wh Lithium-Ion battery pack is quick and easy—open the bay with a (large) coin, slide in the battery, close and you’re good to go. That‘s what we call user-friendly.
The screws, on the other hand, play hide and seek with us under some rubber plugs on the back cover. And no, those are not the same type as the included hex wrench, but regular Phillips screws. After removing those 10 screws (two of them hidden in mounting sockets), prying at the rear panel through the air vent reveals a peek inside. Before removing the complete rear panel, some connectors with locking mechanisms need to be unplugged. Now we have complete access to all the components: a tweeter and a woofer, the motherboard, a separate breakout board for the rotary knob and a bass reflex tube. Its Bluetooth audio module, featuring the CSRA64110 chip, is responsible for mangling data and wireless (you can see more about the chip in our full teardown).
Continuing chronologically, we take a look at the smaller ENEBY Portable. It is equipped with a power button, a microUSB port, and a line-in jack. While this one is missing a volume knob, it comes with a microphone for hands-free calls via Bluetooth. Additionally, we find a small slot on the side for standard AAA batteries, which allows for easy battery removal that only requires a (regular sized) coin to open the cap. The speaker can also be powered via the microUSB port directly if you don’t have any batteries on hand.
Getting into this device shows to be a bit more difficult, due to no visual screws on first sight. After having checked underneath the rubber feet and the bottom sticker (without success), we focus our attention on the back cover. Some convincing heat and prying reveals the first set of screws which, when removed, give way to all the innards.
Unfortunately, the microUSB port, the power button, the line-in, and also the microphone are soldered onto the mainboard, circumventing individual repairs. But we’re still happy for the user-replaceable battery option, and also spot a small tube for some “bass reflex” action. This time the processing power comes from the Qualcomm CSR8645 bluetooth audio platform to manage the integrated microphone and some noise cancelling.
Our next specimen is the small FREKVENS Portable 2×4 inch (6×10 cm). This one comes with a clip, explicitly designed for portability, and obviously with a built-in battery.
The way inside this device leads through the top part which interlocks with the two bottom halves via plastic clamps. Removing four hex screws separates those two halves, revealing the speaker’s driver, battery pack and mainboard.
This typical Lithium-Ion battery can be charged through the microUSB port on the top and provides 1.58 Wh. It is connected to the mainboard with a JST plug, meaning it can (in theory) be replaced when it has degraded after a few years—no soldering required, yay! This little 4 Ohm, 2.5 Watt driver seems to have a lot of “oomph” for its size compared to the ENEBY Portable. If you want to know more about the audio quality of this little guy, you might want to head over to this review at soundguys.com.
The volume encoder and line-in jack can be removed separately. Unfortunately, the microUSB port and the power button are soldered to the mainboard. This leaves us with a half-happy, half-sad face.
Let’s turn to the new FREKVENS combo. As seen on the Eneby 8”, they each feature a removable front cover to reveal some speakers and a reflex vent on the smaller one.
Both parts of the combo can be run by AC or by a separately available IKEA-made battery pack. The bigger one features a screwed-on cover plate on the bottom revealing a bay that fits the same energy source as the ENEBY 8”. The compartment of the smaller companion can be opened with a (large) coin, and has room for another type of IKEA battery pack named BRAUNIT, which can be charged via its built-in microUSB port next to its connector. Interestingly, the BRAUNIT is also suitable for IKEA’s automatic blind FYRTUR as part of their Smart Home series, and offers a 18.72 Wh capacity. This interchangeability of batteries between devices is what we’d like to see more often in electronic devices.
We tackle the woofer first and again find some rubber plugs hiding the screws on the back. Having a Jimmy at hand makes the prying much easier, since there is no bass reflex vent to get a hold on.
Next to a breakout board for input and controls, we also find connectors for the power routing, and the power converter and mainboard themselves. The subwoofer runs on an STM32F 32-Bit microcontroller supported by an NTP7515 audio amplifier by N CITRON (formerly NEOFIDELITY) and an PCM1808 A/D converter by Texas Instruments.
The slimmer of the two speakers puts up an equal fight as we go ahead and open it up through the back. The connectors with locking mechanisms are no longer a problem since our first encounter in the ENEBY, and we can quickly inspect the components inside. The battery compartment takes up quite a lot of space leaving the bass reflex vent some room on the side right beneath the driver. In between hides the breakout board with the control knob. On the back plate we find the power supply and the mainboard with an ATS2825 Bluetooth Audio Solution from Actions-Semi, accompanied by the already known NTP7515 audio amplifier. If you’re interested in the sound quality of the speaker, soundguys.com tested this one too.
The FREKVENS collection seems to not only blend in with IKEA’s own product range, but also takes advantage of their ecosystem by using available battery packs for the bigger speakers. We had wished for an easier solution of the FREKVENS Portable, but seeing a moderate way in and a plug-in battery, we might turn a blind eye.
For more photos and chip details, check out the full IKEA speaker teardown here. And if you want to see more Bluetooth or wireless speakers torn apart, let us know in the comments, or on Twitter @iFixit!