All-in-One Music Systems and Whole Home Audio
A top-notch home stereo system was once only a high-end modular system of components. For those who didn’t want a traditional stereo you were relegated to stereo mini-systems, average quality table top music systems, and some iteration of a boombox.
So as part of our on-going focus on the best wireless audio speakers, here is a transcription of a full product Demo by B&O of their home Wireless products. This doesn't include the awesome Beloab 90 which we covered in the Beolab 90 Demo & Review article.
B&O is devoted to high fidelity and offers new solutions with their all-in-one music systems. These are systems that don’t take up much space and really can go just about anywhere in your home. For the home decorator they are flexible music solutions, beautiful to look at, and sound good too.
David Zapfe, B&O’s Product Manager for the BeoLab 90, Beosound 1, Beosound 2, and the Beoplay A9 loudspeakers told us more about loudspeakers that can go anywhere in your home and and work seamlessly together everywhere in your home.
Here’s Our Demo with B&O about Multiroom Music Systems
[David] Okay, so we showed you the Beolab 90s and that's our flagship loudspeaker. In the back of the room and somewhat scattered we have some smaller products that’s our multiroom collection.
Life with Beosound 1 and Beosound 2
The two Beosound wireless loudspeakers are part of what we call our 'flexible living product portfolio' and they actually come along with a B&O TV that's part of the flexible living portfolio geared toward a younger consumer who is maybe that millennial or gen X-er who is not committed to putting stationery products in their home.
This younger consumer also wants to have high quality music, and wants to have some flexibility on placement, and even move it around with them. These speaker are Bluetooth and it’s enabled for Airplay. It also has sources baked-in like Spotify Connect, Deezer, and TuneIn Radio.
For the demo at Axpona we put everything on a wireless network and you can Bluetooth directly to any of the speakers. Beosound 1 & 2 are very unique designs with this cylindrical anodized aluminum enclosure comes from maybe the world of horns. The Beosound being like a musical instrument and also having a very beautiful look.
Some people might mistake Beosound for a coffee pot sitting on the table and try to get their next cup of coffee out of it. But at the bottom we have a four inch midrange/woofer and at the top we have what we call an acoustic lens tweeter. It's a 360 degree omnidirectional dispersion device that allows the high frequency that's coming from the driver at the top to go in every direction.
We can start streaming music to it and then at the top of the device we have a little dial here you can just turn to adjust the volume up and down. Beosound 1 also has the benefit of having a built-in battery so it can be plugged in to the AC outlet and if I unplug I can move it around the room, bring it out on my patio, or from room to room in the house.
Personally when I used Beosound 1 at home I kept it in my master bedroom and bath and I would move it around. If I had another one at home and I want to expand the sound as part of the multi room collection I can walk over to another product and I can turn it on and have different music playing here or double tap the top so it shares it to the house.
Beosound 2 is a slightly larger product (with bigger sound) and we have five and a half inch downward firing woofer and we have two mid-range drivers that are actually full range drivers that are acting as the mid-range drivers. Behind the grille we have a tweeter around the top again with the 360-degree omnidirectional dispersion characteristics.
So the idea with both Beosound systems is being fully flexible in placement. Beosound 2 doesn't have a battery but you can pick it up the same way move it from place to place and plug it back in again.
When you really want to up the level of sound performance you go to our Beoplay A9 here in the middle. Again the A9 ha got something else playing and I'll tap it again and now we are joining the experience and the Beosound 1 and 2 are still playing.
So imagine I've started getting ready for work in the morning. Beosound 1 is up in my master bath I start the music playing. I walk down to the kitchen Beosound 2 is on the counter by my coffee machine. The music follows as we go into the living room.
So your music could be anywhere in the house and they're going to be on your wireless network. Or if don’t have an active network as we created here at Axpona just play music off any iOS (or Android) device.
All the speakers also have a touch sensitive pad and it's a proximity sensor so when we walk up to it I can swipe across the top and it's like an e-reader that's going to take me to the next track or track in a playlist.
[David] The same thing goes when I use my TuneIn stations. People often say who
who listens to the radio anymore? I do! I listen to WBCB, WXRT, WFMT. I don't want to just plug those stations but I listen to them a lot. So, they're my radio presets.. Number 1 is WBEZ, number 2 is WXRT, and number 3 is WFMT.
So I tap tap tap and go through the radio stations. I can also pick what I want directly using one of the B&O apps. (One is named Beomusic or we have a newer app called Bang & Olufsen that is aggregating more products into the whole app experience.) So, then I can go directly to a radio stations or playlists that I want to use.
In fact these products also use the app and have a timer function. So if I like to wake up to music I can wake up to that radio station / playlist that I want to wake up to I put in a program that wakes me up at 6 o'clock in the morning five days a week when I go work to the whatever preset I wanted to wake me up to. And then I can have it turn off magically at eight o'clock because I should be out of the house by then and everything goes secretly to standby, or what we call sleep.
If I want to do that from any of these loudspeakers you can. Say, I've started playing music all over the house I can go to any speaker touch the top for three seconds and then the entire system goes on standby. So everything in the house shuts off and this is all happening wirelessly through your Wifi network in the home.
Or you can go hardwired and use the ethernet. If you're in a very congested area you might want to do that but these systems all work very well on both 5 gigahertz or 2.4 gigahertz wireless networks. For multiroom if you have a robust network you are in business.
[Paul] Can you pair any of these speakers in the living room for stereo? [David] No you can't pair them for stereo. What happens here is you're just duplicating the experience everywhere you go. So it's not technically a left and a right, it's full range sound from all them.
The Beoplay A9 is an exception because it has a left and a right tweeter mid-range behind the grille here with a backfiring eight inch woofer and total of 480 watts split between those five speakers so that's why that one plays at a substantially louder level than the other two. Beosound 1&2 are meant to be more for casual use. Put one in your kitchen and then literally take anywhere you want to go in your home. Or you want to use Bluetooth you can take it anywhere off the Wi-Fi network. It's just a matter of the functionality you
Need. You can be on or off your network. If you want to do Chromecast, or want to do Apple Airplay, TuneIn, Deezer, Spotify Connect you can be on the network connect with Bluetooth.
[RYS] Tell us about the rechargeable battery in the Beosound 1? [David] Yes, and I didn't tell you how long it lasts! The battery can play music for 14 hours of continuous use at moderate volume levels and four hours of music at full volume. Plug it in and continue playing your music and a full charge up takes about three hours.
If you're yearning for wireless room filling sound, or a streaming music system for a more intimate setting we like what an all-in-one home systems can deliver. B&O’s offerings are luxury priced music systems that are very decorator friendly and will impress your friends and sound fabulous.
We were fond of the Beoplay A9, having the biggest sound of the group and very capable of filling a large living room. The A9 can be put just about anywhere and we like it can be hung on a wall or used on the floor. The Beosound 1&2 on the other hand are easy to move around and are perfect for anywhere in or outside your home.
Bang & Olufsen has in their 'flexible living product portfolio' music systems that are geared toward to the younger affluent consumer who is not committed to putting stationery products in their home. For an all-in-one multiroom solution these B&O loudspeakers are kick-ass for ease of use and delivering engaging room filling sound.