Bang & Olufsen make some of the finest hi-fi and audiovisual products around, so it goes without saying that the Danish high-end specialist can certainly create one of the best soundbars in the world if he sets his mind to it – and here’s what apparently happened.
Beosound Theater just launched in Berlin, a stone’s throw from the massive tech show known as IFA 2022 – and we’re here to see (and hear) it.
Beosound Theater is billed as “an innovative and carefully crafted high-end soundbar” that holds great promise: the power of a multi-product home theater setup in a single product. In addition, B&O tells us that its brand new “bar was created with the ambition to be the world’s most powerful and immersive soundbar”, as good as be a visually stunning addition to your living room.Read:Full Street Fighter 6 themes for both Juri and Kimberly
How does it deliver a cinematic experience all from one ‘bar? Beosound Theater comes with 12 speaker drivers, including two custom-made 6.5-inch long-throw woofers with 800 watts of amplification power, delivering sound pressure levels of up to 112dB.
Speech intelligibility is managed by a custom center channel, with the tweeter mounted directly in front of the midrange. The alignment of these drivers, B&O says, provides better sound distribution, improving the high-quality audio experience for everyone in the room, while the directivity is designed to optimize speech quality.Read:Xbox says it ‘hasn’t given up’ on Final Fantasy 14, despite a three-year silence
However, this is not B&O’s first foray into sound for TVs. Building on the Beam Width and Beam Direction Control, developed for Bang & Olufsen’s flagship Beolab 90 speakers (and who could forget the stunning, butterfly-like Beovision Harmony TV and sound system in one, or the lavish Beosound Edge?) and launched at IFA, Beosound Theater introduces a new three-dimensional sound direction, thanks to the combination of the patent pending direct, side and upward firing speakers.
This means that all the speaker drivers work together not only to produce sound, but also to control beam width and direction – essentially it’s B&O’s answer to Dolby Atmos in a solo product that sits under your TV.
“We originally developed the Beam Width and Beam Directivity Control for Beolab 90 to reduce the effect of sidewall reflections on the listening position – basically making the walls disappear,” said Jakob Dyreby, senior technology specialist at B&O, adding: “ In Beosound Theatre, we use the technology to direct sound away from the listener, increasing the perception of spaciousness and giving a much more immersive experience.”
At the same time, the Beosound Theater is built to last for decades thanks to its modular design, allowing you to update rather than replace it.Read:Best Apple Airpod deals Apple AirPods Pro on sale on Amazon for 21% off
Analysis: A high-end B&O TV audio experience for almost any screen size – if you can afford it
Bang & Olufsen is known for its unique approach to craftsmanship and design, but this product also has substance under the hood.
While we recommend one of the best OLED TVs as a starting point to partner with this particular ‘bar’, the Beosound Theater is based on B&O’s basic principle of modularity, allowing customers to transform the soundbar into a complete wall or floorstanding Bang & Olufsen TV home cinema experience too – if their budget allows.
This modular design thinking also applies to TV screens and the soundbar cover, both of which are replaceable. The aluminum “wings” are also extendable for customers whose TV screens grow as they upgrade – although it comes in three sizes (all of which look bigger and more impressive than our photos show).
Mads Kogsgaard Hansen, B&O’s Head of Product Circularity, explains: “Beosound Theater is modularly designed to outlast many TVs over its lifetime. We’ve created a solution that lets you update your product, not replace it, and a product that can evolve with you over time”, adding: “The Beosound Theater interface bracket offers the possibility to link almost any screen to the soundbar.”
That interface bracket is motorized and forms a seamless connection between the stand and the TV screen, cleverly hiding all clutter and presenting the TV as one integrated design. The bracket also includes a compartment for smart TV boxes and to hide excess cables from view – no one needs tangled cables spoiling the aesthetic.
In terms of compatibility and connectivity, Beosound Theater has seven outputs and can support up to 16 external speakers to become the heart of a full-fledged Dolby Atmos 7.1.4 surround configuration. In this setup, Beosound Theater would function as a center speaker, combining Dolby Atmos decoding and custom-tuned post-processing with Bang & Olufsen’s proprietary True Image algorithm, to maximize the capabilities of all Bang & Olufsen speakers. So you could buy Beosound Theater as a soundbar and later add a pair of rear speakers like Beolab 28 in a triangular arrangement if you wanted to.
Plus, Beosound Theater comes with a new bass management system that the company says is “unlike anything else” – and since it’s B&O here, we’re inclined to believe it. Where other systems simply send the bass to the most powerful speaker (usually the subwoofer), B&O says Beosound Theater uses all the Bang & Olufsen speakers in the system to work together as one. Not only does this give you the maximum potential of the entire system, but it also helps to manage the resonance in your listening room so that the different speakers work with, not against, each other.
And look at that solid oak and polished aluminum design! The company says it was created “to reflect the effortless grace of sailboats,” with a keel-like aesthetic that makes it “look like it’s resting on an aluminum sheet floating in the air as one fluid shape.”
And it’s not just about the looks – the software is top-notch too. Beosound Theater comes with Bang & Olufsen’s new installation technology called Roomsense. By placing the external microphone at the listening position, Beosound Theater will measure the distance from the viewer to the soundbar with the Bang & Olufsen app. But more than this, it will also assign a “role” to each speaker based on its different placements, perform sound compensation for each speaker (if freestanding, placed against a wall, or placed in a corner) as well as general room compensation to avoid unwanted resonance.
But that is not everything. The soundbar also comes with Bang & Olufsen’s proprietary software platform called Mozart, which B&O tells us allows the Beosound Theater to interface seamlessly with B&O products as early as 1986, creating a cross-generational home audio setup.
And in addition to respecting the past, the Mozart platform also anticipates the future; the platform is packed with processing power and memory so Bang & Olufsen can introduce new features, capabilities and connectivity over time to ensure an equally seamless experience for years to come – it’s almost like the company is reading our tips on how to get the best out of your Dolby Atmos soundbar.
Prices? Naturally. Brace yourself. Beosound Theater is available in a high-quality wood or fabric finish. MSRPs start from €6,490 EUR / £5,590 GBP / 49,400 DKK, which equates to approximately $6,549 or AU$9445. did say premium…
IFA 2022 is Europe’s biggest tech show, and TechRadar is in Berlin to bring you all the latest news and announcements, plus our hands-on first impressions of the new TVs, wearables, audio devices and other gadgets on display.