Danish audio brand Bang & Olufsen has taken the covers off its latest invention – the Beolab 28 wireless speaker, which can be adapted to be positioned anywhere in the home.
It’s not often a product is revealed to us through the wonders of AR (Alternate Reality), but that’s the ‘venue’ that Bang & Olufsen chose to show off its latest creation in the Beolab 28 wireless speaker (£9750 / €10,750 / $14, 750 / CAD$18,500). B&O refers to it as an ‘adaptive’ wireless speaker, which refers to how it can be positioned in a room. It can be left to stand freely, or if you want to keep that floor space clear it can be wall-mounted.
The speaker looks a bit like the kind of rocket ships that launched astronauts into space in the Sixties, with its tall, conical silhouette. For interior design fanatics it’s available in Natural Silver, Black Anthracite or Bronze Tone aluminium, with speaker covers in “high quality knitted fabric or solid wood”. There’s the choice of grey or grey mélange for the fabric covers, or light oak, oak, smoked and walnut finishes for the wood option.
At the bottom of the speaker is a bulbous – sorry, curved – conical shape that contains a downward-firing 6.5-inch custom woofer, which B&O claims removes the need for an external sub, such is the bass performance. Elsewhere, there are three 3-inch full-range drivers (one on the front and one on each side), with a 1-inch tweeter also positioned on the front for “optimal treble”. The full-range drivers and tweeter are said to have ‘exceptionally’ high sensitivity, and were developed specifically for the Beolab 28 to produce clear mid-range performance at loud levels, and dynamic treble reproduction.
The Beolab 28 also features curtains that open up when the speaker is switched on, or move when the sound beam is adjusted to indicate whether it’s in narrow or wide mode. ‘Narrow’ mode is best thought of as the speaker’s most direct presentation, minimising side wall reflections and pinging the sound straight to the listener. ‘Wide’ mode diffuses the sound around the room, widening the sweet spot, while aiming to maintain a natural tonal balance irrespective of how close you are. Active Room Compensation adapts the wireless speaker’s bass response to its surroundings.
Wireless connectivity amounts to a choice of Airplay 2, Chromecast and Bluetooth 5.0. If you’re fortunate enough to purchase more than one Beolab 28, the speakers can synchronise at 24-bit/48kHz for Hi-res audio capability. Multi-room with other B&O products will be made possible when the Beolink Multiroom update is fired out autumn 2021. If you’re Mr or Mrs ‘Big Bucks’, the Beolab 28 can be paired with a B&O TV using the Powerlink or Wireless Powerlink connection.
The physical interface amounts to playback, track skipping and volume controls on top of the speaker that light up when someone is close thanks to proximity sensors. With four ‘favourite’ buttons, users are encouraged to add their preferred radio stations via the built-in B&O Radio, or Spotify playlist. Given it’s a B&O product, there’s the choice of interacting through the aforementioned physical controls, or by using either the Beoremote or the app.
The Beolab 28 is built to last, too, with its replaceable connectivity module. It’s been packed with enough processing power and connectivity to last for years, but should it become outdated the module can be replaced, future-proofing the speaker.
You’ll need big bucks to afford the Bang & Olufsen Beolab 28, whichever version is picked. The fabric version will set back any potential owner £9750 / €10,750 / $14, 750 / CAD$18,500 / DKK80,000, while the wood version costs £10,750 / €12,000 / $16,500 /CAD$20,500 / DKK90,000.