Bang and Olufsen Beosound Theatre Review
Is this the soundbar to end all soundbars?
The Beosound Theatre is a premium soundbar, with an iconic design and uncompromising performance. It doesn’t deliver the kind of pseudo surround pioneered by Sennheiser’s Ambeo post processing, but it compensates with outstanding vocal clarity, musicality, and thunderous bass. It’s great for movies and playlists, but games not so much…
- Stunning design
- Huge soundstage
- Profound bass performance
- Generous connectivity
- You’ll need to add B&O rears for cinematic immersion
- Unconvincing gaming
- Horrendously expensive
- 12 speaker setupWith an 800W power output
- Dolby Atmos supportFor room filling sound
The Beosound Theatre is a high-end Dolby Atmos soundbar that serves both as a home cinema sound system and premium Bluetooth audio system.
It’s lavishly appointed, with impeccable build quality, but there are caveats…
The Beosound Theatre sets a new benchmark for the soundbar category. It’s related to the Beosound Stage, but when it comes to power and profundity, this is a very different audio beast.
Weighing in at 18kg, this sound system sports a distinctive Scandi design with a slatted wooden grille (if you don’t opt for the fabric frontage), and glass touch panel. There’s a formidable amount of firepower on tap too, with 12 power amplifiers locked and loaded.
So is this the soundbar to end all soundbars? In many ways, yes…
- UKRRP: £5590
- USARRP: $6890
- EuropeRRP: €6490
What you pay for the Beosound Theatre is down to the finish you opt for.
Take the Silver Grey melange fabric version home, and you’ll pay £5,590. Opt for the Silver Oak or the Gold Tone models, and the ticket price rises to £6,390.
There’s also a range of stand options, if you don’t fancy the standard table top. These include a motorised wall mount, or a circular freestanding base.
- Stylish boat-hull design
- Slatted wooden grille
- Four HDMI inputs
The Beosound Theatre can be partnered with any TV of your choice, within reason; although in an ideal world, it would sit with an LG C2, be it 55-, 65- or 77-inches. It comes with a clever mounting plate that sits centrally, so once you’ve attached the TV, half the bar is hidden behind the screen (making the Theatre look a lot slimmer than it actually is).
To keep the ensemble tidy, the width of the bar can be altered by swapping out the aluminium wings that attach left and right; it’s these that maintain visual symmetry. This means that you can upgrade the size of screen and maintain the same integrated look by simply swapping one set of wings for a wider pair.
The top of the bar is clad in acoustic fabric. Helping to disguise its girth, the aluminium section below the driver array curves like the hull of a boat. My review sample came with a slatted oak wood grille, which pops into place with simple lugs.
Back panel connectivity is generous. There are four HDMI inputs, one of which supports eARC and 4K/120Hz pass-through. It can be incorporated into a much larger ecosystem of Beosound speakers, up to 16 in fact – eight Wireless Powerlink, and eight Powerlink.
Inside are 12 speaker drivers on-board. Two purposeful 6.5-inch woofers sandwich a high-performance coaxial centre, its 1-inch tweeter mounted directly in front of a 5.25-inch midrange driver. There are also two 3-inch mid-rangers, four 2.5-inch drivers and two 1-inch tweeters.
The total power output for this crowded array is 800W, with 100 watts going to each bass output, and 10 x 60W amps covering the rest. There’s no separate subwoofer, but then the Beosound Theatre doesn’t need one.
Control is via the glass top panel, which is illuminated by a proximity sensor, your connected TV remote control, or the Beosound App.
- Advanced room calibration
- App control
The Beosound Theatre ships with a high-spec calibration microphone, which is deployed during setup. The tripod mic plugs into the bar’s front fascia and measures your listening space with a series of chirps and whistles. You can opt to measure a single listening spot, or multiple positions.
The accompanying app offers a selection of Sound Modes: TV, Music, Movie, Game and Night; plus a variety of EQ controls and adjustments. There’s also Chromecast, Spotify Connect and AirPlay support.
If you prefer, the system also works with the (optional) Beoremote One BT zapper.
- Profound bass response
- Excellent dialogue clarity
- No 360-degree immersion
Let’s cut to the chase: the Beosound Theatre is probably the most dynamic sound bar I’ve ever heard. The speed of its transient response, the depth of its bass, is something else.
It’s brilliant with high energy movies and has a ball with Army of the Dead (Dolby Atmos, Netflix). When Lily the Coyote (Nora Arnezeder) stares down the odious Burt (Theo Rossi), and growls “Two between the eyes!” the resulting double gun retort impacts like a physical blow.
I wouldn’t expect a one-piece bar to blend mid-range so effortlessly with sub-bass, but the Beosound Theatre is seamless. The soundstage is smooth, from crystal clarity highs down to the LFE.
When Valentine, the zombie tiger from Army of the Dead, growls, his guttural rattle is deep and weirdly believable; the sound stage has depth and dimensionality.
However, while this phalanx of drivers creates a coherent wall of sound, there’s little sense of wraparound audio. B&O classifies the Beosound Theatre as a 7.1.4 system, but to achieve full cinematics, the bar needs to be partnered with some additional Bang & Olufsen speakers placed to the rear. Only then, does it realise a truly cinematic soundfield.
The Theatre’s high-end coaxial centre driver is impressively articulate. Dive into The Sea Beast (Dolby Atmos, Netflix) and the Theatre celebrates every nuance of Karl Urban and Jared Harris’ banter, while effortlessly maintaining the open deck ambiance of the monster hunting ship.
There’s support for Dolby Atmos, TrueHD and Dolby Digital Plus 7.1, and 7.1 PCM, but nothing for DTS:X.
The Beosound Theatre is perfectly at home with music. Two channel tracks are spacious when required, forceful and driving when required to rock out. It’s a fun listen comparable to a pair of premium bookshelf monitors. A proprietary True Image up- and downmixing algorithm is used to make full use of the drivers whatever the source content.
However, its aforementioned lack of immersion comes home to roost when gaming. While the soundstage is artfully rendered, the soundbar doesn’t have the wherewithal to localise movement with any accuracy. If you’re keeping low for a win in Call of Duty Warzone, you won’t be able to identify opponents stalking you from the side-lines.
Should you buy it?
You’re looking for the ultimate in design and single-box audio This is a statement Dolby Atmos soundbar, with a luxury price tag to match its performance. Build quality and aesthetics are high.
You’re a big console games player I couldn’t really identify sonic cues in-game, even using the Game preset, and it certainly didn’t help with our campaigns.
The price tag may be unashamedly premium, but there’s no doubt that the Beosound Theatre is a cut above the soundbar norm. Its fluid musicality and ability to slam hard make it a great option for action movies and Bluetooth streaming.
However, it doesn’t have the psycho acoustic post processing that works so well on the original Sennheiser Ambeo bar.
That said, build quality and design are class leading. The unit employs a modular construction that simplifies servicing, if required, and also allows components to be upgraded should they need to be.
The finish is akin to that of high-end furniture. We particularly like the Scandi-style slated grille treatment.
How we test
We test every soundbar we review thoroughly over an extended period of time. We use industry standard tests to compare features properly. We’ll always tell you what we find. We never, ever, accept money to review a product.
Find out more about how we test in our ethics policy.
Tested for more than a week
Tested with a range of audio content
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The Bang & Olufsen Beosound Theatre supports Dolby Atmos immersive sound, but doesn’t support DTS:X.
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