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Bang & Olufsen BeoSound 8 - Looking Beyond the Glamour

John Archer

By John Archer



Our Score:


Obviously, the key question with the BeoSound 8 has to be if any iPod dock can ever really be worth £895? But its aesthetics and remarkable build quality do much in themselves to start justifying such an outlay.

Even the actual dock point on the BeoSound 8 is a work of art. A lovely-looking circular white ‘prop’ looms beyond the aluminium crossbar, onto which you rest your iPod as you slide it onto the slightly raised docking slot. This is mighty cool already, but the little prop also has a very handy trick up its sleeve: namely that it doesn’t just support iPods. It can also comfortably hold iPhones and best of all, iPads. While Arcam’s rCube supports the iPad via a wireless connection, the BeoSound 8 is, to our knowledge, the first speaker dock able to handle an iPad slotted straight into it. In fact, not only can it support the iPad’s extra size and weight without any problems, but it even manages to still look drool-inducingly lovely while it’s doing it.

Yet more coolness - as you can see, it’s really got our tech geek adrenaline pumping - comes from the circular 'rocker' control panel hewn into the centre of the metal bar dock mount. As well as looking and feeling rather lovely, this minimal approach to control works a treat (so long as you have the unit mounted on a stable surface).

The circular shape raised hopes that it might support the classic 'circular swipe' control system pioneered by Apple’s portable music products, but even though this doesn’t prove to be the case we seldom found ourselves feeling frustrated by the controls available.

Naturally the BeoSound 8 also ships with a remote - and wouldn’t you just know it, this remote is a lovely little 'cut out' replication of the circular metal-fronted control panel on the main unit. We’re so sad about this sort of stuff that on a couple of occasions we actually found ourselves just fondling this ultra-cute remote even when we weren’t actually using the BeoSound 8. Tragic, we know, but there you go.

And still we’re not done with the BeoSound 8’s aesthetic extravagances. For you can also get the grilles over the speakers in any of six optional colours: Lavender Blue (dilly dilly), purple, green, yellow, black and white. The only colour we could bring ourselves to contemplate was the stylishly neutral white one, but if you’re of a, um, 'funkier' persuasion, then given how much real estate the speaker grilles occupy within the overall design, you really can adjust the look and mood' of your BeoSound 8 quite radically.

The BeoSound 8’s iPad compatibility isn’t its only feature claim to fame. For a start, it also carries a facility that lets it adapt its sound to different rooms. Even better, you can now download a free BeoSound app for your iPhone or iPad that lets it stream Internet radio channels into the BeoSound 8 when docked.

The list of radio stations available with the free app is limited, it must be said; an upcoming update will open the world of Net radio at large, but only if you pay for it. At least the channels B&O have selected for the free app do cover a pretty comprehensive set of musical tastes - though only two are UK-based.


January 28, 2011, 3:30 pm

Is it me, or does this dock with an iPad in it look like a 'frank and beans'...


January 28, 2011, 5:41 pm

The lack of Airplay isn't acceptable at this price point


January 28, 2011, 6:36 pm

Is it just me, or does a lot of B&O stuff look a bit, well, 80s?


January 28, 2011, 9:46 pm

Total miss for me. Think it looks pretty naff (though that obviously a subjective opinion), and sonically I don't think it's up to the Arcam Cube, which is half the price.

James Reckitt

January 28, 2011, 10:12 pm

At least they ship it with a remote, which is more than can be said for their other systems!

Still fabulously drool-worthy though...

Zero 1

January 28, 2011, 10:54 pm

does this thing fly? for this amount of money thats what i expect lol

Hans Gruber

January 29, 2011, 1:28 am

Looks daft to me too. 1980s? Very. "For mash get smash." That's what these cymbal looking things remind me of. Metal headed alien robots laughing inanely.


January 29, 2011, 7:14 am


Not sure I understand your comment.


January 29, 2011, 1:07 pm

Not too long ago you did a review on the Arcam Cube, which you pretty much said was the best iPxxx speaker dock that money can buy. This is around £400 more expensive so does it sound better than the Cube?

Martin Daler

January 30, 2011, 3:10 pm

I'd love to see some sort of blind testing of these devices. Sure, the aesthetics are important, but maybe you could hide the speakers behind a gauze curtain and have some of your colleagues assess the sound quality and, more importantly, say how much they would be prepared to pay.

Tim Sutton

January 30, 2011, 6:40 pm


How about 'twig and giggleberries' instead of 'frank and beans', any clearer? :-)


January 31, 2011, 5:19 am

@Tim Sutton.

Thanks, I wouldn't describe your comment as clearer, but from my point of view, more polite.

Nav Garayal

January 31, 2011, 8:51 pm

How can anyone compare this to the Meridian F80? The F80 is a complete system playing cd/dvd with radio/DAB and ipod dock. There is no comparison. B&O is not true hifi! Always been style over substance. To give it 7 stars for value is extraordinary. Very lazy review


January 31, 2011, 11:55 pm

@Nav. Soooo...you have listened to this dock then?

Nav Garayal

February 1, 2011, 2:06 am

i have owned b&o gear in the past and they are massively over priced and underwhelming from an audiophile's perspective. the review concludes that the dock is good value at £900 compared to the £1500 F80 but the F80 is so much more than just an ipod dock. i own an f80 and it is magnificent.my main system is also a meridian driving b&w 805s speakers and there is no b&o system that can compare - as i said substance over style. i have also owned arcam gear in the past and auditioned the rcube (which is also over rated although the inbuilt battery is genius). i also think the zeppelin is too bass boomy. at the end of the day none of these docks are audiophile and its lazy of the reviewer to suggest otherwise. the f80 can now be bought for £1000 and so as an all in one system which includes an ipod dock the f80 cant be beaten.


February 1, 2011, 6:29 pm

@Nav, I dont agree with your view of B&O being style over substance. They offer a different proposition to a lot of manufacturers, pushing the accepted norms of design, build quality and user interface. In terms of substance, I thing the build quality of their products alone could justify their cost. I have a system 5000 from the mid-80s which functions perfectly with the CD player delivering a very refined and fatigue free sound that was very highly praised at the time of its release. These days, speakers such as their Beolab 5s are as much respected for their sound quality as their design. I cant comment on the Beosound 8's sound quality as I haven't listened to one, but personally I dont like its looks having seen one in a dealers window, I will stick with my Zeppelin thanks (even if the bass is a bit boomy !)


August 14, 2011, 5:18 pm

I can't believe anyone could say that this superb piece of equipment doesn't live up to their expectations. I recently went on a shopping spree to find my perfect ipod docking system and came across this b&o sound system. Well all i can say is don't knock it till you've tried it for yourself. Firstly you won't get a better build quality than this or better style.
Having listened to a number of different systems including the zeplin and the rcube it is quite obvious to me that this comes out on top.
Ok the price is a little steep but look what you get. No other docking station i know of will take the ipad.
The build quality out shines all of it's competitors and it's quite obvious this has longevity, some of the others feel like they will just fall to pieces within about 3yrs or so.
Although i will say some do sound almost as good.
To sum up if you are looking for a docking station that will last for longer than the normal flimsy rubbish then this is for you.
Why would you want a big lump of ugly black plastic?

rev franklin

November 30, 2011, 3:36 am

i am now on my 4th Beo8 -- and continously have a SERIOUS static problem when using my CD player connection. call me an old-timer, but i like listening to my vast colection of CDs -- and for whatever reason the Beo8 just cant deliver. the sales reps admit the problem, and keep replacing but wtf, this shouldnt be happening for the grand i dropped for the system. no complaints about the i-pad pod sound quality. i have changed the cables and cd player same problem on certain cds. any advice ?

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