Friday, May 05, 2017

Bang & Olufsen's Stylish New Speaker Cluster Impresses

A few years ago at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas, I was invited to a small demonstration of Bang & Olufsen's new speaker. There were about half a dozen of us seated in the small room with twice as many B&O representatives eager to impress us with their Danish company's latest, greatest product. When the music was triggered my ears experienced something they never had before. The sound was truly amazing on a level I'd never experienced previously. At the end of the demonstration I asked how much a pair of these gorgeous speakers cost. When I was told I could have two for $85,000 (US), I thought I misheard the representative through his thick accent. Nope. That was the cost of the BeoLab 90s and I was left trying to think of the type of audiophiles who invested this much money in their speakers.

Fast forward to late March when I found myself on a guided tour of Bang & Olufsen's factory in the outskirts of Denmark. Aha, I thought to myself. I figured out how this company gets away charging as much as it does for its speakers. The craftsmanship, attention to detail and the number of PhDs contributing to the perfect sound quality all combine to make these the most impressive (and, yes, expensive) speakers on the market.

Courtesy: Bang & Olufsen


I was impressed with Bang & Olufsen's new BeoSound Shape speakers, which were unveiled to our group of tech writers (mostly European) the night before the tour of the aluminum factory and sound lab. However, what really impressed me was the commitment of the engineers to build a beautiful speaker (over the course of four years of development) that transcends the listener to another place. Such was the case with the new BeoSound Shape because they were setup in such a way to fill the room with music in a flawless fashion.

The unique quality of the BeoSound Shape speakers is its ability to be customized for ultimate sound quality. They are cool to look at over the sofa or conference table, but the most spectacular aspect is the sound that emanates from these colorful pentagon shaped speakers. The high quality fabric covers come in ten different colors, including exclusive wool fabrics from Kvadrat, Europe's leading manufacturer of design textiles. The Shape is controlled with the BeoSound Core connectivity hub, which lets you stream music directly from your phone or tablet via Chromecast built-in, Apple AirPlay and Bluetooth.

The BeoSound Shape will be available in August and as with most of B&O's speakers it will not be for the faint of heart. Figure standard setup will cost around $4,245 (US) and that's just for a few of these speakers. Had I not seen the factory in Denmark where B&O makes its magical sound products with my own eyes (and ears), I would still be scratching my head at their hefty price tags. Such is the price one pays for precise, crisp audio on a completely different level.

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