Skip to main content

Philips Nitro speakers and headphones bring synesthesia to your living room

Philips Nitro speakers and headphones bring synesthesia to your living room

Share this story

Synesthesia is an interesting neurological phenomenon where a response in one sense is interpreted as a response in a different one, such as seeing sounds as colors. On a related note, Philips announced its new Nitro line of speakers and headphones, which all share the ability to light up LEDs in sync with your music.

The NTX400, perhaps the most sensible of the three, is a 1000W speaker with options for Bluetooth playback from a smartphone, line-in via USB, or the honest-to-god built-in CD player. Philips envisions that the extra LED lighting (from over 260,000 LEDs) will serve as a light show to that will pulse in time to the music at your at-home rave. The NTX400 also features a dedicated "NX Bass" button that, based on its appearance, will either increase the bass or launch a nuclear missile. But odd as all this is, I can see how it more or less makes sense — it's a flashy, loud speaker designed for a party.

Far more baffling are the headphones in the Nitro series, which also feature the ability to light up in tune to your music, but given that they’re headphones, they crucially only allow other people — who cannot hear the music — to see it. The headphones are available in an on-ear HX50 model and a smaller, in-ear HX10 version. Both will feature the ability to confuse passerby on the streets and subways with the flickering lights on your ears. It's important to note that the LEDs for the headphones are powered by a separate battery built into the headphones (lasting up to six to eight hours); Philips does not indicate if they are user-replaceable.

The Nitro line appears to only be available in Europe for now, with the NTX400 costing £399.99, while the HX50 and HX10 headphones will set you back £49.99 and £29.99, respectively. US pricing and availability — so that I can buy one of the speakers for my living room — have not yet been announced.