Bang & Olufsen Beosound Balance: a striking smart speaker with all the frills

Bang & Olufsen Beosound Balance: a striking smart speaker with all the frills
(Image credit: B&O)

Bang & Olufsen’s artistically ambitious wireless speaker range has gained a new member. The Beosound Balance, designed in collaboration with Benjamin Hubert from British design agency Layer, has been ‘inspired by interior objects’. 

With its 38cm-tall, upright shape, oak wood base and cylindrical, knitted-clothed top (in black or natural finishes), it could easily pass as a lamp.

Of course, what lies beneath is everything you’d expect from a B&O speaker: seven drivers with beam-forming technology, some clever digital processing, and a discreet touch interface.

(Image credit: B&O)

Swipe around the circular, aluminium top plate to control volume, or touch the icons to change tracks, pause playback or select presets. When you approach the speaker, the interface automatically lights up, before dimming again when you walk away.

While the base contains an upward-firing woofer, the upper body houses a downward-firing bass driver, three midrange drivers and a pair of tweeters. And they can be manipulated by digital processing to create two sonic experiences, which have trickled down from the company’s flagship Beolab speakers. 

The first is an omni-directional mode designed to produce a uniform sound around the speaker, while the second produces a more focused, directional presentation.

To further maximise the Beosound Balance’s performance, the set-up also includes active room compensation. This measures low frequencies, using an internal microphone to analyse the sound reflections in your room, and then creates digital filters to compensate.

(Image credit: B&O)

The internal microphone also gives the Balance built-in voice control support for Google Assistant (at launch) and Amazon Alexa (later this year). And with Google Chromecast, Apple Airplay2, and Spotify Connect (by summer 2020), the Balance can easily stream a number of streaming services directly from a smartphone. 

If you have another compatible B&O streaming speaker, you can pair it with the Balance in a multi-room capacity, too.

B&O’s Beosound Balance smart speaker is available now, priced £1750 ($2250). But, if you're after more serious sound and design than the Apple HomePods and Amazon Echos of this world, you're going to have to pay for it.


Hands on: B&O Edge wireless speaker review

Best smart speakers 2020: the best voice assistant speakers

Best wireless speakers 2020

Becky Roberts

Becky is the managing editor of What Hi-Fi? and, since her recent move to Melbourne, also the editor of Australian Hi-Fi magazine. During her 10 years in the hi-fi industry, she has been fortunate enough to travel the world to report on the biggest and most exciting brands in hi-fi and consumer tech (and has had the jetlag and hangovers to remember them by). In her spare time, Becky can often be found running, watching Liverpool FC and horror movies, and hunting for gluten-free cake.