‘Scuse me while I kiss this guy: this speaker knows the words even if you don’t

A Google Cast and AirPlay speaker that pumps out lyrics and visualisations as well as sweet sounds

What the heck is this thing?

It’s a wireless stereo speaker, able to stream music from your phone or tablet. But it’s not like any you’ve ever seen before.

How come?

Because this one also has a translucent screen able to display lyrics and nifty, algorithm-derived visualisations to accompany whatever tune it’s blasting out. Hence its name: the Lyric.

OK, I’m listening. Tell me more.

The speaker uses Wi-Fi to connect to your mobile device – you can go with Apple AirPlay or Google Cast for the cable-free connection. But it also uses that Wi-Fi to connect to an online lyric database, and if the current song is in there, it’ll display the lyrics. The makers say there are 120 million tracks in the database already, with more being added all the time. Many of these are synched, so that lyrics will appear in time, but even those that aren’t will scroll across the display.

And if no lyrics at all are available?

It’ll display beat graphics instead. The visualisations are determined by the structure and tempo of the music, much how the old Windows Media Player worked – although we’d say the Lyric manages to pull it off a little more tastefully.

And how about sound quality?

We haven’t heard it with our own ears, so can’t attest to its audiophile credentials – but there’s 40W of power distributed across two drivers, as well as support for high resolution 96kHz/24-bit music (only via Google Cast at present). The speaker weighs a hefty 10.5kg too, so this isn’t some lightweight travel speaker that’s going to chuck out tinny audio.

Where can I see and hear this thing for myself?

Here’s the bad news. Unless you live in Japan, it seems that you might never be able to. The makers have only confirmed plans to launch there, where it’ll be shipping in limited quantities from mid-September, priced at 324,000 yen (around £2,400). It seems those of us in Blighty won't be getting in on the impromptu karaoke action for a while - if ever.

[Source: Lyric speaker]