In a previous post "Discovering Philips Hue Movie Sync", I explored how you can use your smartphone to sync your Philips Hue Smart Lighting with your TV. Well, you can do the same thing with music! Read on and watch the video to find out what I've learned about this so far.
UPDATE (12-July-2018) Philips have now released their new 'Hue Sync' software for syncing music with your lights. See my post 'Philips Hue Sync' to read more!
As with the movie sync function, music sync is an advertised feature of Hue on the Philips website. Just as with movie sync however, there's no information on how to do this. That includes the product website, the support site, or inside the native Hue app. There's nothing there.
So just as before, it was off to Google to figure out how to make this work, and a similar answer became clear. Basically ,you have to use a third party app to make this happen.
Just as you use your Smartphone camera to do movie sync, music sync uses your smartphone microphone to figure out the sounds being played, and the app then controls the lights and changes their colour accordingly.
There are lots of apps in the app stores for iOS and Android, but I chose to download 'Hue Disco' on my iPhone. It's a simple enough app, but has plenty of different functions available. After an initial setup to pair the app with my Hue bridge, I was able to select which lights to include in my music-sync party.
You have to position your phone fairly close to the music source (unless of course you have the volume turned up quite loud). Then hit a 'play' button in the app to start music syncing. You can choose whether colour changes are instant or more gentle 'fades'. You can choose the sensitivity of music detection. You even get to choose which colours will be included in the 'colour palette' being used for light changes.
It works rather well for the most part. Once again though, there's very little information out there about how one might achieve this natively in -say- the speakers themselves. Certainly this isn't supported in our Sonos setup. So, you have to do this via your phone, which seems a bit clunky, and hopefully something that will change in future.
The app also has a few other tricks up its sleeve like being able to flash and strobe your lights in a random setting, without a music source being required. This might be handy if you want to keep your phone with you but leave the light-show going.
All in all, I would say that it's a little disappointing that speaker and music system manufacturers haven't yet embraced the idea of building in music sync integration directly. It's my hope that as smart lighting and music become more popular that this sort of functionality will come.
As for it's usefulness? I guess that depends on whether 'light' is going to be an important part of your listening experience. If you're planning to throw a party then this might be a great way to help create the right atmosphere!
Of course, you can do this with other lighting systems too, so regardless of what system you have - give it a try and let me know how you get on!