Bang & Olufsen has announced a new Dolby Atmos soundbar at IFA, the Beosound Theatre, with a modern modular design that can be paired with any TV.
Shaped to evoke "the grace of sailboats", the Beosound Theatre is a Dolby Atmos soundbar system with 12 drivers providing physical left/centre/right and side-firing channels as well as a pair each of surround and height channels that B&O describes as being virtual.
Support for Dolby Atmos in its Dolby Digital TrueHD form is on board. Although it's a shame there's no mention of DTS:X, the Beosound Theatre has a generous connectivity spec with three 40Gb HDMI inputs and one eARC offering 4K/120 and 8K/60 passthrough. There's an analogue USB-C audio input, and wireless music streaming options include Apple AirPlay 2, Bluetooth, built-in Chromecast and Spotify Connect.
Two 6.5-inch woofers provide the Beosound Theatre's low-end, while the centre channel consists of a 5.25-inch midrange driver and a 1-inch tweeter in a coaxial configuration. The rest of the system comprises two 3-inch midrange drivers, four 2.5 full-range drivers and a pair of 1-inch tweeters. B&O claims that the Beosound Theatre delivers 800 watts of amplification power and up to 112dB of SPL.
Intended to produce an immersive home cinema experience from a single standalone product, the Beosound Theatre features B&O's 'Beam Width' and 'Beam Directivity Control', first developed for Beolab 90. Previously the function of this technology was used to try and reduce the effect of sidewall reflections, but now it's being employed to direct sound away from the listener to increase the perception of spaciousness for a 3D soundstage.
Despite its stance as a one-product solution, the Beosound Theatre is a bit of a multi-tasker and can also form part of a multi-channel system. It can process 7.1.4 channels of Dolby Atmos and supports up to 16 external loudspeakers via eight physical Powerlink outputs and eight wireless Powerlink outputs. In this set-up, the soundbar functions as a centre speaker and Dolby Atmos decoder with Bang & Olufsen’s proprietary True Image algorithm onboard to aid integration with other Bang & Olufsen loudspeakers.
Also supported is Bang & Olufsen’s new calibration technology, Roomsense, which uses an external microphone (included) placed in the listening position to measure the distance from the listener to the soundbar. Roomsense will also assign a role for each speaker in the system based on its location, automatically compensating for unsymmetrical placement.
The Beosound Theatre uses the brand's Mozart software platform, which helps its products, dating as far back as 1986, integrate together. B&O says the platform's processing power and capacity mean that as technology evolves, it will be able to continually introduce new features and connectivity.
Explaining the brand's approach to future-proofing and longevity, Jakob Dyreby, Senior Technology Specialist at B&O, said, “You can buy Beosound Theatre as a soundbar and later add a pair of rear loudspeakers such as Beolab 28 in a triangular set-up.
"All you need to do is connect them. That flexibility also means that our customers are not limited by their initial purchase decision, which in turn helps us extend the lifetime of Beosound Theatre and increase the likelihood of multiple ownerships.”
Physically inspired by boats, the Beosound Theatre's keel-like shape is intended to create the illusion of the soundbar floating on the aluminium blade that runs through its centre. The soundbar comes in a choice of two materials for the main body, grey fabric or an oak lamella cover with wooden fins that clip into place.
The oak option is available in dark medium or light finishes and is manufactured in Denmark to match Bang & Olufsen’s existing family of Beolab speakers.
Built for tabletop, floor standing, or wall mounted placement (except in its largest size), the interchangeable aluminium fins that extend from the soundbar come in different dimensions to fit 55, 65 or 75-inch screens for a seamless design that masks cables and clutter. Made from extruded aluminium, they come in gold, black or silver polished and anodised finishes.
Although its dimensions are optimised to match LG OLED C2, G2 and Z2 TV, B&O say that almost any TV will be able to slot almost into the motorised Beosound Theatre bracket, so you won’t need to replace it if you decide to update your screen.
“We know that our customers want to invest in products that last, which is why Beosound Theatre has been modularly designed to outlast many TVs in its lifetime. We have made a solution that enables you to update your product rather than replace it, and a product that can evolve with you over time,” explains Mads Kogsgaard Hansen, Head of Product Circularity at B&O.
“The Beosound Theatre interface bracket provides the possibility to dock almost any screen to the soundbar. This means that people don’t have to invest in a new TV or can simply choose what they believe is the best TV solution.”
Availability for the Beosound Theatre has not yet been announced but, priced at £5590 (around $6498/ AU$9473), it will be quite the investment.
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