Luxury brand Bang & Olufsen has quite an extensive catalog of audio products under its belt but, until now, it’s been conspicuously absent in one product category: soundbars. For lounge room setups, the company has previously relied on its range of free-standing speakers that can be hooked up to your TV.That makes the new Beosound Stage B&O’s first ever soundbar, and in keeping with B&O’s premium branding the company’s debuted the new product at the Venice Biennale – an annual arts exhibition in the famous Italian city. If you thought an arts exhibition is a strange place to launch an electronic device, there is some extra justification here – the Beosound Stage was designed in collaboration with Danish firm NORM Architects and (to this author’s eye at least) seems to be both geometrically pleasing and beautifully crafted.
The new soundbar does however enter an already crowded market, so to stand apart from the crowd, B&O has stuffed the Beosound Stage with just about every feature you could ask for in a soundbar in 2019.Internally, it’s equipped with 11 front-firing speakers, each of which is powered by a 50W Class D amplifier. B&O has used four custom-made 4-inch woofers in the center channel to reduce distortion and deliver what it’s calling “superbly deep bass”, with the midtones handled by a pair of 1.5-inch drivers and a 3/4-inch dome tweeter.The main left and right channels are made up of 1.5-inch drivers and the 3/4-inch tweeters placed close to each other at 45-degree angles. Support for Dolby Atmos, Dolby TrueHD and AirPlay 2 are also on board, along with built-in Chromecast.
Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connectivity is also available, along with an Ethernet socket and HDMI to hook up a TV. There’s also HDMI eARC (enhanced Audio Return Channel) support to speed up data transfer and ensure there’s little to no lag between the soundbar and the TV. Ports for more traditional RCA connectors and 3.5mm audio have also not been forgotten.There are four dedicated listening modes available on the Beosound Stage – TV, Music, Move and Night Listening – with each of them further adjustable via an equalizer.The Beosound Stage comes in either an aluminum- or bronze-finish frame, and will set you back $1,750 / £1250/ AU$2,500. If metal isn’t your thing, there’s also a ‘smoked oak’ frame option that comes with an even more premium price tag of $2,600 / £1,900 / AU$3,500. All three designs will be available on shelves from November 2019.
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