We do get a variety of wireless speakers here. Today’s offering may well be one of the most expensive (if you ignore the £18k Goldmund Metis Mk 2). B&O are renowned for their design-lead audio offerings.
Whenever I mention Bang and Olufsen, my friends split themselves in to two quite definite camps. There’s the ones that find B&O an aspirational brand who have loved the look of their kit since the days of wall-mounted vertical CD players. However, there’s the other lot. These tend to be more ‘serious’ about their two-channel Hi-Fi. This band of beings will cock a snook and mutter something about “lifestyle”, and possibly “architects”.
The strange thing is, I can see both arguments. Yes, they tend to be great to look at. They are also generally designed to be fuss free to set up and use. I don’t see anything wrong with this. Furthermore, a lot of the naysayers also happen to be iPhone owners. Now, isn’t ‘great looking’ and ‘it just works’ straight out of the Steve Jobs’ cook book? As for sound quality, we’ll cover that later.
BeoSound 1 design
I do love its brushed finish that would suit any room you placed it in. It’s such a lean and minimalist piece of audio furniture.
It manages to look hyper-modern yet, if you placed it in a wood-paneled study (I am assuming B&O owners will probably have a library or similar too), it would still look perfectly at home.
It measures 16.2 x 32.7 cm (W x H) and weighs in at a reassuringly substantial 3.5kg.
However, just because it appears to be minimalist in design that doesn’t mean that it is short on features.
Firstly, on that pseudo-floating top is a circular touchpad. This is used to pause, skip and play your music. Then, surrounding that pad and forming part of the outer metal casing, is a heavily damped volume-control ring. Finally, inside the “futuristic vase”, as one friend dismissed it, there is support for myriad streaming services and standards.
Music is produced by way of a 1.5-inch full-range driver in the top part of the speaker firing down at a 360-degree acoustic lens, and a 4-inch bass driver in the… errr… base. This also hits a curved plate for dispersion.
Lastly, there is an integrated rechargeable battery that B&O says will see it through 16 hours of untethered playback at moderate volume (four hours at maximum).
BeoSound 1 performance
I was pleasantly surprised to discover that the 360-degree cleverness works well and fills a room. Furthermore, it manages to do this without any real sense that the sound is coming from one particular point.
You are spoiled for ways to send music to the BeoSound 1, too. Firstly, there’s Apple AirPlay, Spotify Connect and Google Cast support. Additionally, you can just squirt tunes via Bluetooth.
The speaker can be added to Bang & Olufsen’s multiroom speaker system, and you can control it via the firm’s app as well. Within that app there’s integrated control over Spotify, Deezer QPlay and TuneIn, and the ability to stream from DLNA-networked music sources.
First, switch on Bluetooth and ensure you’re hooked up to your WiFi.
The BeoSound 1 really is a joy to listen to. I can feel numerous ‘audiophiles’ pulling that face, but I don’t care.
To say that this is just a single unit with a couple small drivers, the output is tremendous. There is plenty of detail, but there is also expression, atmosphere, separation and an impressive soundstage. I can honestly say that I have not heard anything this good from a single wireless speaker yet. The Dali Katch is still my favourite go anywhere portable, but the BeoSound 1 is the one for home.
Bauhaus’s haunting acoustic offering ‘All We Ever Wanted Was Everything’, practically has Pete Murphy and the gang sat with you around the table. ‘Frankenstein’ by Clutch is as dirty as you want it. The crunchy distorted guitar lays over the sludgy overdriven bass without muddying things.
Depeche Mode’s ‘Dream On’ also proved that the BeoSound can handle electronica too. Bass has good weight and authority, but also control and a rich warmth.
Bang & Olufsen BeoSound 1 review conclusion
Is the BeoSound 1 cheap and cheerful? Well, if you are familiar with Bang and Olufsen you would not ask. True, it is not what you’d call a budget speaker. But, the build quality, style, and finish is also what you would expect from this price bracket.
Furthermore, there is the sound quality. Additionally, the fact that it can go wireless so, once it has woken you up using the alarm you set, you can then take it with you to the breakfast room – I am assuming that is a thing that the monied will have.
It is an exquisite piece of audio jewelry and I would definitely buy one for each of the guest suites in the west wing of my imaginary mansion.
BeoSound 1 price and availability
You can purchase the BeoSound 1 right now. The official website states a price of £1085 but I have seen them new online for under £900.
It is available in Brass Tone, Natural (steel) and Infantry Green.