What Hi Fi Sound and Vision Sat, 12 Mar 2011, 5:58pm

B&O BeoSound 8

Tested at £895
80100
4

The price might seems steep, but the performance does well to justify the cost

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For

  • Relishes big volumes
  • bold and unified sound
  • unique looks

Against

  • Sounds less engaged at more restrained levels
  • not cheap

Probably the biggest surprise about Bang & Olufsen’s typically design-led entry into the world of iPod docks is that it’s taken so long.

For all the success of B&W’s all-conquering Zeppelin and its self consciously decorative ilk, there’s been an obvious gap in the market for a properly premium, properly effective iPod dock. Well, that gap has now been filled.

Striking design and build
Most B&O products tend to be obviously and immediately desirable on an aesthetic level. The BeoSound 8 is a little more divisive – is the circumference of the speaker enclosures a little too large, or is it that they’ve been placed a bit too close together?

In any event, the BeoSound 8 will dock most of Apple’s current range of iPhones, iPads and iPods, and has additional connectivity via a mini-USB socket and stereo RCA inputs.

The circular remote control feels good in the hand, although it can’t navigate your player’s menus.

There’s also a three-position switch to help compensate for your Beosound’s room position.With one important qualification, it’s a punchy, balanced and large-scale listen. Daft Punk’s Da Funk, for instance, is delivered with gusto, the kick-drum hitting hard and the rhythm handled with straight-edged assurance.

Turn it up if you want to get down
Timing is acceptable, integration throughout the frequency range is smooth, and there’s good dynamic headroom on tap, too.

That qualification, though, is volume. If the BeoSound 8 is to be heard at its best, it demands volume input of the ‘substantial-going-on-party-level’ variety – it could certainly be heard echoing around our testing rooms while it was running in.

At more modest levels, bass response is altogether softer, and balance and integration suffer as a result.

But if you like the looks, can stomach the price and have a large room to fill with sound, the BeoSound 8 is now the best of a not exactly numerous bunch.

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