Some people just want speakers that sound good. Others prefer it when their speakers match the good sound with equally fine aesthetics. That’s exactly what Bang & Olufsen brings with the BeoSound Balance.
Sporting a design rooted in Scandinavian minimalism, the speaker combines two different shapes that create a sculptural look to accompany its long-acclaimed Bang & Olufsen sound. According to the outfit, the design, which seeks to disrupt the monoblock appearance of most speakers, was greatly informed with input from Benjamin Huber of Layer Design, a London-based studio that specializes in both product design and unique user interfaces.
The Bang & Olufsen BeoSound Balance consists of two components: a bucket-shaped upper unit and a cylindrical base. While it looks like a speaker situated atop a mere display stand, that’s actually not the case. The upper unit houses a trio of three-inch full-range drivers in the back, a pair of two-inch drivers and one 0.75-inch tweeter out front, and two downward-facing 5.25-inch bass drivers, while the bottom unit holds an upward-facing subwoofer, so the stacked design isn’t just an aesthetic choice, but a way to shape the sound, too. With its unique acoustic configuration, the speaker boasts a broad sound image that, the outfit claims, really fills the room, all while delivering the strong bass performance that today’s audiophiles seem to really appreciate.
It has active room compensation capabilities, which actively adapts the speaker tuning to compensate for its position in the room. That means, it will tweak the sound experience based on its acoustic surroundings, so the darn thing can deliver the full soundstage, whether it’s on a wall shelf, a side table, or performing a balancing act on top of the TV. Why would you that? We don’t know, but it definitely sounds kind of fun.
The Bang & Olufsen BeoSound Balance is, of course, made from premium materials, with the base cut in FSC-approved timber and the upper unit clad in an aluminum shell that’s covered in a knitted textile. The top of the upper unit houses the capacitive controls, which light up only when approached, making it so that the controls are only visible when someone actually intends to fiddle with them, so the top appears uninterrupted otherwise. Of course, there’s a companion app where you can alternately control the speaker, saving you the need to walk the few feet from the couch to where it’s located.
It comes with both Bluetooth 5.0 and MIMO Wi-Fi, with built-in Chromecast, Apple Airplay 2 compatibility, and Sporty Connect slated for the latter half of the year. Suffice to say, you can stream music to this thing in whatever way you want without facing any troubles. There’s also an onboard mic, as well as the necessary processing chops, to support both Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa, although the latter will only be available with a firmware update much later in the year.
The Bang & Olufsen BeoSound Balance is available in two colors, natural oak and black oak. Price is $2,250.