In a world flooded with multi-room lifestyle audio systems at every price point and in every form factor, there's a clear need for an expensive, high-style, Bang & Olufsen variation on the theme. Therefore, it is with much excitement that I communicate to the unveiling of the Beosound 1 and Beosound 2.
Looking a bit like Lava Lamps but without the lava or the lamp, these aluminum, cone-shaped, wireless speakers feature 360-degree dispersion thanks to the use of an acoustical lens. It's similar to the technology found in the company's full-sized BeoLab 5 and BeoLab 18 speakers, but a smaller version of it.
It's not an opaque, $1500 Lava Lamp. It's a rechargeable wireless speaker.
The Beosound 1 ($1500) is portable, lightweight, and wireless. The company says it has "a battery-driven option crafted for mobility," and it is physically smaller than the Beosound 2. So, what do you get for $1500? A full-range driver coupled to the aforementioned lens, powered by a 20-watt amp, and a down-firing 4-inch woofer with its own 40-watt amp. According to Bang & Olufsen, if you play the Beosound 1 at moderate volume, you'll get 16 hours from a charge, and at higher levels it'll play for four hours. The "effective frequency range" is listed as 35 Hz to 24.3 kHz, but there's no indication of how those numbers were measured.
The larger Beosound 2 ($1900) dispenses with the built-in battery (you must plug it in) and instead offers higher fidelity thanks to a 3-way design incorporating dual midrange drivers, a dedicated tweeter/lens combo, and a larger 5.25-inch woofer. As with the Beosound 1, the down-firing woofer gets dual 20-watt amps for 40 watts of total bass-making power. The tweeter receives an upgrade to a 40-watt amp while the two 2-inch midranges each get a dedicated 11-watt amp.
Both new Beosound models have Wi-Fi as well as Ethernet networking, and can join a multi-room BeoLink system with support for up to eight devices. These speakers also support Google Cast, AirPlay, DNLA, and Bluetooth. There's even a 3.5mm stereo mini-jack if you like connecting your phone or tablet to a portable speaker with a wire.
The marketing materials mention that "BeoSound 1 and 2 introduce a magical experience using proximity sensors that enable control of the basic operations on the speaker intuitively. As the sensor detects a person's presence, it is ready for commands through the interface. The user can then turn the wheel to adjust the volume, and simply swipe and tap on the top for other commands." I'll have to use it while I'm at CEDIA in order to determine if it is magical or not.