The Aurora Nanoleaf Rhythm Module is made by Nanoleaf and is an add-on to their flagship product, the Nanoleaf Light Panels. The Rhythm Module includes sound sensors that enable your Nanoleaf lights to dance to the music you are listening to, turning any wall into a 21st century music visualizer. The rhythm module is equally at home with a movie, video game or another form of multimedia entertainment, and adds another level of visual impact and immersion.
Controlling and customizing your Rhythm is done with ease through a tab nestled within the Nanoleaf app. For those that are unfamiliar with the app, it is very simple to master and available for both iOS and Android. The Rhythm tab is equally well designed to enable you to quickly take advantage of the new functionality. To say I am hooked is an understatement. After discovering the capabilities of the Rhythm Module and integration with the app, I use it on a daily basis.
The Aurora Nanoleaf Rhythm Module is often bundled with the Nanoleaf Light Panels; however, the question I’ll seek to answer throughout the course of this review is, does the Rhythm module warrant an upgrade if you already own the Nanoleaf? Or, if you are new to the Nanoleaf family, should you opt for the bundle and include the Nanoleaf Rhythm Upgrade Module?
As alluded to on the previous page, installation is very simple. It consists of plugging the Rhythm module into any side of your existing Light Panels using the included “PCB linkers.” It is no more complex than plugging earbuds into an iPhone (assuming you can find your lighting to auxiliary jack adapter). If you do not have a Nanoleaf yet, each panel is essentially a light bulb that when linked via a flat .5” x 1” connector, creates a network of lights that work together to create the design of your choosing.
The physical installation may less than a minute; however, that is just the beginning. To make the most of the Rhythm Module, you need to turn to the app.
The app is the brains behind the module and is what enables the Rhythm to really shine. The app/module integrates with Apple Home App, Google Assistant, Amazon Alexa, and IFTTT and works with iOS8 or later (HomeKit), Android 5.01 or later. The app can be broken into four area areas which are: Dashboard, Discover, Remote and Schedules. I will get into the details of each below.
Dashboard: This is the page you will visit most often and can be thought of as the homepage. It allows you to quickly choose from any of your readily available Scenes. The “Scene” being the finished product and overall experience you see, “Motion” is the aspect unique to the Rhythm, “Palette” is for the colors, and “Options” consists of other variables such as speed and brightness. The app provides this equation as reference: Scene = Motion + Palette + Options.
My personal favorite motion is Rhythmic Northern Lights, as it has a predictable flow that oscillates to both the pitch and volume. My runners up would be Sound Bar, which simply fills up the lights based on volume, and then Pule Pop Beat, which is one of the liveliest Motions and is best used on music with a high tempo to get the full effect.
The motions and subsequent scenes lend themselves to a variety of moods and purposes. They vary from scenes that you would use while relaxing at dinner with background music, to a fast-paced lightshow that would be at home at Coachella with EDM blasting. The interface reacts to the music in real-time which helped me to determine which scene would be best suited for each type of music and environment.
It takes some experimenting to match the Motion and Scene choice to best fit the song selection, but when everything comes together, the lights truly put on a stunning show. Also, the app allows you to customize, but does not force you to do so. You can, while I don’t recommend it, simply stick with what is readily available if pulling back the curtains to tinker is not your thing.
Discover: In terms of what is available, Discover opens up a whole new avenue. The Discover tab allows you to quickly browse, demo and download new scenes that have been created by both Nanoleaf and the community. This marketplace lets you sort the results by most recent, by Nanoleaf, by motions and my favorite, most popular. I have found this to be a great source of inspiration on how to customize what I already use and more often than not, to save time and utilize scenes that others have clearly spent a lot of time in creating.
Remote: A tab dedicated to their new modular designed, optional, $49.99 remote. The remote is a “dodecahedron inspired” remote that will display the programmed scene when that icon is facing up. Picture a white ten sides dice. Personally, I find it hard not to pick one up right now after describing it, and if sufficient interest exists, this may be the source of a future review.
Schedule: Schedule is rather self-explanatory in that it allows you to program specific scenes to turn on or off based upon certain time. This also allows you to choose how often the scene repeats (once, hourly, daily and weekly). It is quite simple but effective.
The Aurora Nanoleaf Rhythm in Action
In the video above, we see the Aurora Nanoleaf Rhythm synchronizing with Thor: Ragnarok. As you can see, the constant shifting of light and color may be distracting when the Rhythm is positioned near the TV. If it were on a wall facing the screen, positioned behind the viewer, it may very well add to the viewing experience. You’ll notice that the Aurora Nanoleaf Rhythm is particularly awesome once the music sequence begins, which is why I primarily use it for listening to music.
The second video demonstrates the Rhythm’s capabilities when paired with music. In this video, I have “Money” by Pink Floyd playing. The Aurora Nanoleaf Rhythm is nothing short of an interactive art piece when combined with this song – note how the light moves with the cash register sound at the beginning of the video. Simply stunning.