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Bang & Olufsen BeoPlay A9

Gordon Kelly

By Gordon Kelly



Our Score:


Bang & Olufsen BeoPlay A9 - Performance

Those with a beady eye will have noticed the A9 appeared on TrustedReviews pages before. We did a preview when the product was first unveiled in October (you can read it in the preview tab above) and were greatly impressed, but how did it get on under closer scrutiny? In short: extremely well.

Despite the unusual design, B&O has managed to cram the A9 full of goodies. Inside you’ll find a substantial 8in woofer powered by a 160 watt amplifier plus two 3in midrange drivers and two 3/4in tweeters each powered by class D 80 watt amplifiers. This totals a dizzying 480W and while watts rarely tell the whole story, here they proved a very good indicator of what lay in store.


The A9 is an absolute powerhouse. B&O claims it will fill not just large rooms, but sprawling open plan loft apartments and while we didn’t have the latter at hand based on our experience we wouldn’t disagree with that assessment. It isn’t just the window shaking volume of the A9 which impresses though as we were even happier about the quality of its sound reproduction.

B&O has opted for a relatively neutral signature, but bass, mid and high frequencies all shine through with the A9 managing that difficult balancing act of tying accuracy and emotion. The three modes (corner, wall and freestanding) also nicely adjust bass output for each scenario while bass heads simply need to position the A9 in a corner or by a wall and switch to the freestanding mode for vibrations that’ll send nearby objects rattling off nearby tables.

BeoPlay A9 5

Sound separation is excellent too with the wide diameter and curved front doing a fine job of dispersing channels around the room. Yes a HiFi separates system or x.1 surround sound system by definition would spread sound more evenly around large open spaces, but the ability of the A9 to compete with them should not be underestimated.

Quibbles? Very few. AirPlay continues to display a frustrating play/pause/skip lag that is inherent to the technology, but B&O has brought it down to two seconds which is about as good as it gets and adjusting the volume is instant. Elsewhere there is a touch of distortion at full volume, but quite frankly this is so loud that unless you are planning a party designed to replicate the shouting-in-ears experience of night clubs you won’t run into it often.

BeoPlay A9

Bang & Olufsen BeoPlay A9 - Value

We know what you’re thinking: the real concern comes from the price. Yes and no. Certainly the £1699 RRP is going to cause many to wince and run and yes the anti-fashion brigade will point out that you can achieve similar performance for less in a separates system, but this isn’t really the point. The point is the A9 is a radically, but beautifully designed single unit that can genuinely stand toe-to-toe with high end HiFi and home cinema surround sound systems. It is both style and substance and there is nothing quite like it on the market. If you can afford it, surely that is a premium worth paying for.


The B&O BeoPlay A9 is both bonkers and brilliant, radical and subtle, style and substance and these aren’t qualities we see very often. For sure it won’t suit all tastes, budgets and properties but it should be celebrated for daring to be different and succeeding in tremendous style. Now B&O give us an A9 Mini…

Overall Score


Scores In Detail

  • Design 9
  • Features 8
  • Sound Quality 10
  • Usability 8
  • Value 8


February 1, 2013, 12:03 pm

Haven't read the review yet so do you know if it can be paired as a stereo set?


February 1, 2013, 4:52 pm

I'm not 100% sure if you can pair more than one but I'm guessing that as it is a stereo speaker set in its own right (and big enough for the speakers to be widely spaced enough to produce the stereo effect) I think not.


February 2, 2013, 12:17 am

sounds good. Maybe one day when I have my loft apartment!


February 2, 2013, 5:00 am

Nice review! I notice B&O does not provide any photos of the speakers plugged into the mains. Unless one of those legs is hollow...the dangling power cords are going to spoil the A9's clean lines

Gordon Kelly

February 3, 2013, 3:12 pm

You can't link units together, but as Evan mentions the stereo dispersion is already excellent. Quite frankly you wouldn't pair two together unless you lived in a barn and wanted to blow the door out.

Gordon Kelly

February 3, 2013, 3:14 pm

There's only one power cord and no power brick (I mention the transformer is built in). It would be easy to run the bacle down the back of one of the legs with ties


February 3, 2013, 6:04 pm

Does the plastic cabinet "sing" along with the drivers when playing loud? I mean, so many drivers and one 8" subwoofer must really make some vibrations in that slim cabinet.

Andrew Bott

February 4, 2013, 11:13 pm

I've had one for five weeks now and it's been nothing but trouble: several phone calls to the store to set it up, unable to interact with my android phone, unable to play music from my computer via the recommended app (Twonky), unstable when playing via Apple devices (drops out suddenly....generally when I'm with a client). In short, a disaster.
On the positive side: it sounds great - when working - and is almost worth keeping just for the looks alone.
My Sonos system is infinitely better, except in terms of looks and sound quality. Arrangements are being made for a refund.

Andrew Bott

February 4, 2013, 11:15 pm

Techfrenzy. Correct. It looks much better without the power cord and, in my case, isn't that much less useful.

Gordon Kelly

February 5, 2013, 12:56 pm

Shame to hear about your setup problems - certainly (as I comment in the review) I found the B&O app to be nothing but trouble. That said setting it up manually was straightforward and was then fine ever since. Sounds like you may have a lemon, but yes there's no disputing the sound quality and design.

Gordon Kelly

February 5, 2013, 12:58 pm

I experienced no vibration whatsoever. If you set the bass to maximum ('freestanding') and put it in a corner then you'll get an output only bassheads will appreciate but even then the cabinet itself didn't make any undue noises.

Andrew Bott

February 6, 2013, 1:54 am

Thanks Gordon. Actually the set up was only the beginning of my problems:)


February 10, 2013, 6:29 am

Heard it yesterday at my local B&O store. Sounded great and could easily fill their entire showroom with great sound. Stereo separation was quite good too. Love the design also. My only gripe is its interface with AirPlay and DLNA. If it was compatible with Squeezebox (now discontinued), and Sonos it could be in my consideration - in the future that is as my AVI actives still sound much better, are more versatile but they also take up more space and may not be as aesthetically pleasing.


February 11, 2013, 11:07 am

You could run a pair of those in stereo if:
You attached a shielded RCA Y cord to EACH channel of your playback device. (IPod, preamp or whatever plugs in to the input of the B&O). So now each channel of your playback device has two RCA jacks. Take both jacks from the Y cord of the left channel, of your playback device, and plug those in to both channels of the left speaker. THEN take both jacks from the Y cord of the right channel of your playback device, and plug those in to both channel of the right speaker. Each speaker would then be putting out mono, but the two would make true stereo, as wide apart as you want to place the speakers. – like a normal rig.
I hope that makes sense. For any other questions, catch me on FB. I am POSITIVE that would work.


February 11, 2013, 11:10 am

Please see my answer above.


February 11, 2013, 11:12 am

Very interesting design. B&O has always been noted for beautiful products. Please see my answer to the stereo (using two of them) dilemma above.

Barry J

February 12, 2013, 9:06 am

Warning !!! Beware!!!! Bang & Olufsen WILL NOT sell any replacement/repair parts for A9, A8, A3 or Beolit 12!!! Company does not even repair these units under warranty!!!! Once your warranty is done the only option is exchange product trough B&O at horrendous price!
Just ask at your B&O store or your B&O service technician to reveal the truth.
What a rip off! Never mind how difficult it is to set up product on your wireless network!!!

Andrew Bott

February 12, 2013, 11:50 pm

Returned unit somewhat reluctantly as I really wanted it to live up to its potential.

Andrew Bott

February 12, 2013, 11:52 pm

You've hit the nail on the head: looks great, sounds great, interface severly limits usability.


February 15, 2013, 11:13 am

"It is both style and substance and there is nothing quite like it on the market"

This review should have compared its sound quality with the Geneva Lab XL. It has 6 class D amplifiers and is £2000. No Airplay, only a dock and EmbracingSound technology.


February 19, 2013, 4:51 pm

Im finaly ordered one A9 today! Will get it in the beginning of next week, I will get back with my own review then.
Barry J , Do u work for Sony?

Lewis Ben

February 23, 2013, 5:56 am

This product is seriously making me consider moving from Windows/Andriod to Apple devices for good as it seems to provide the solution to all my problems as an audiophile and music lover. The only reason why I haven't bought one already since I first knew of it is the compatibility issues with non Apple Devices/Apps. Some of the horror reviews here have even complicated my uncertainty about my future and the A9.

Ian Grace

March 8, 2013, 7:24 am

good point, I understand stbbrackets are making a leg option which conceals the cables but as you rightly point out, a shocking design flaw/oversight IMHO.

Ian Grace

March 8, 2013, 7:25 am

I will look into this with B&O Service on 01293 611590 - if so this is indeed shocking!!

William Smith

April 2, 2013, 8:50 pm

I use the Beoplay with a Windows computer with AirPlay compatible software (Airfoil) I found online.Works great. It also has dnla technology and plays effortlessly from Android phones with dnla.

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