These outlandish constructions work as well as sculpture as they do as speakers
Wonderfully made and feels luxurious in the extreme
Over-polite sound robs the preamp of transparency
No matter whether your hero from outer space is Dan Dare or Han Solo, you know their space-age bachelor pad contains a pair of B&O's BeoLab 5s.
Of course, B&O has any number of reasons at as to why these speakers have to look this way, but doubts remain even after they are removed (a two-man job) from their packaging.
Room-calibration abilitiesTypical of B&O, the specification is impressive, build quality is first-rate, and the quality of materials used second-to-none. Setting up these active speakers is a sci-fi experience in itself.
Using the Beo4 remote (another £160), each speaker calibrates itself to the your room and its position therein. In broad terms, they sound fabulous. Van Morrison's Into the Mystic revels in a rock-solid soundstage, taut and agile bass, effortless swing and rare insight.
Switching to John Coltrane's Giant Steps reveals the BeoLab 5s have an almost telepathic degree of integration. Dusted by Leftfield demonstrates that the B&Os are fastidious about timing: there's no overhang, even at antisocial volumes.
More after the break
True, ten grand buys an awful lot of amp and speaker, but these curious active designs are well worth a listen.