I just tried Nanoleaf's new music-syncing software, and my house parties will never be the same

Nanoleaf orchestra
(Image credit: Future)

While CES 2024 is pretty heavy on exciting new hardware, we've been blessed this year with some excellent new software, too - and none more exciting for me personally than Nanoleaf's new Orchestrator software.

Nanoleaf announced the Spring 2024 release along with news of its new outdoor lights (which I also saw at CES, and they are gorgeous), describing the software as offering a “real-time audio-visual experience”.

I'll admit, I was skeptical at first; it's not the easiest software to do well, and it's very ambitious, but having had some hands-on time with the software at CES, I can safely say it's one of the most exciting smart light developments this year.

Bring the beat in

In fairness, there are a few smart light manufacturers offering software that intelligently interprets music, but many of these simply create motions or pulsations to your selected light profile or maybe create a fairly latent color-reactive scene; but it's very rare they'll offer both. 

Plus, with the exception of Philips Hue's Spotify integration, most music interpretation on smart lights leverages small on-device microphones that are easily confused by ambient sound. 

That's all set to change with the introduction of Orchestrator, Nanoleaf's new desktop-based music interpretation engine, which actually analyzes the music itself to create a comprehensive light show with your devices. Not only can Orchestrator create a palette of colors based on the mood of the song, but it also allows you to customize which lights respond to which parts of a song. 

So, for example, you could set up your bulbs to react to the bassline while your smart light panels respond to the mids or highs of a track. You can also select your own preferred palette, too.

Dance! Boogie wonderlaaaand...

My partner is a music producer, so when I visited Nanoleaf's demonstration suite, I quickly booted up one of his chillscape techno tracks on Spotify to test. Through Orchestrator, the lights translated its mood into a light blue and white, rapidly pulsating light show that was truly breathtaking; and not just because I'm my partner's number one fangirl. 

To see just how much variety the software offered, we also played a relaxing ambient track, which Orchestrator translated into warm yellow lighting with a soft, relaxing flickering motion. 

As of writing, Orchestrator is a desktop-exclusive experience compatible with the Nanoleaf Desktop App, tapping into the audio spectrum of your device's output to auto-generate gorgeous light shows.

It marks a major upgrade to Nanoleaf's existing Rhythm software, and hands-down it's the best audio-interpreting software I've ever seen that's available to consumers. 

We’re covering all of the latest CES news from the show as it happens. Stick with us for the big stories on everything from 8K TVs and foldable displays to new phones, laptops, smart home gadgets, and the latest in AI.

And don’t forget to follow us on TikTok for the latest from the CES show floor!

You might also like

Josephine Watson
Managing Editor, Lifestyle

Josephine Watson (@JosieWatson) is TechRadar's Managing Editor - Lifestyle. Josephine has previously written on a variety of topics, from pop culture to gaming and even the energy industry, joining TechRadar to support general site management. She is a smart home nerd, as well as an advocate for internet safety and education, and has also made a point of using her position to fight for progression in the treatment of diversity and inclusion, mental health, and neurodiversity in corporate settings. Generally, you'll find her watching Disney movies, playing on her Switch, or showing people pictures of her cats, Mr. Smith and Heady.