Minimalist Beosound Balance adds stylish sonic power to any home
There are a good many options available if you want to talk to your streaming speaker, as well as listen to audio. And now there's another, for the well-heeled living room courtesy of high-end gear maker Bang & Olufsen. The stylish Beosound Balance boasts seven speaker drivers for a commanding audio presence in the home.
The Beosound Balance is the result of a design collaboration with Benjamin Hubert of the UK's Layer agency, and comes as a stylish mix of solid oak, aluminum and textiles. The 38 cm (15 in) high, 20 cm (7.8 in) diameter smart speaker sports built-in microphones for holding conversations with Google Assistant, which can help you manage appointments, check the weather, set alarms and control compatible smart devices around the home.
The promised "impressively big sound experience compared to its size" is made possible by two 5.25-inch woofers each powered by its own 200-W Class D amp, two 3-inch and two 2-inch full-range drivers each powered by a 100-W Class D amp, and a 0.75-inch tweeter powered by an 80-W Class D amp. Overall frequency range is reported to be 37 Hz to 23 kHz.
The almost table lamp-like device is best placed against a wall, and comes with active room compensation and beam-forming technology to control the direction of sound. Users can stream music over Bluetooth 5.0, 802.11ac Wi-Fi is onboard too for tapping into online services, and physical connectivity shapes up as a line-in/optical combo jack and two Ethernet ports.
Chromecast is cooked in, along with Apple AirPlay 2, with multi-room setups possible if you can afford more than one Beosound streaming speaker.
Proximity sensors register users as they approach, and illuminate the circular touch control panel to the top. Once you're out of range, the controls dim again.
The Beosound smart speaker is priced at a heart-stopping US$2,250 – that's quite a few Google Home or Amazon Echo speakers for just the one B&O audio streamer, even it does offer a "sophisticated sound experience."
Product page: Beosound Balance