Bang & Olufsen unveils BeoLab 14 surround speaker system

A couple of weeks ago we paid a visit to Bang & Olufsen's HQ in Struer, Denmark and were given a secret glimpse of the company's latest product – the BeoLab 14 surround speakers.

Now the embargo has been lifted, we can reveal all the details. BeoLab 14 is available in two versions: one with subwoofer and four satellite speakers, for use with B&O's own TVs – such as the BeoVision 11 – whose built-in speakers function as the centre channel; and a full 5.1 version with five satellites and a sub for use with all other brands.

This is quite a departure for B&O, which has traditionally designed products to work only with other models in its range. The company says it is now making a concerted effort to reach out to owners of other, non-B&O TVs, Blu-ray players and AV amps.

"Providing simple integration for people who do not own one of our televisions but still want to enjoy a true Bang & Olufsen sound experience has been a particular focus for our development team," says B&O CEO Tue Mantoni.

At the heart of the BeoLab 14 system is the stylish subwoofer with 280W of power, a 20cm downward-firing driver which handles bass frequencies down to 26Hz. The sub also contains connections for five active satellite speakers, plus five individual 140W amps to drive each of the speakers.

Additional features on the subwoofer include Digital Signal Processing (DSP), Adaptive Bass Linearisation, a room adaptation switch (to fine tune the sound depending on where it's placed), Power Link connections for hooking up other B&O components and and AV multi-connector for linking to non-B&O kit.

By separating the satellite speakers from their amplification, B&O says it has been able to keep them small with a diameter of just 16cm. Within the milled aluminium cabinet is a 6.4cm midrange/treble driver.

"BeoLab 14 is the result of a lot of work in our listening rooms," says Jens Rahbek, senior sound engineer, R&D. "We tune our speakers in a process that includes hours of listening in order to achieve a sound that is as close as possible to what the original artist intended."

BeoLab 14 comes with wall brackets as standard, but ceiling brackets, table stands and floor stands are optional.

Due for release today, May 16th, the B&O Beolab 14 price comes in at £2495.

By Andy Clough

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Andy Clough

Andy is Global Brand Director of What Hi-Fi? and has been a technology journalist for 30 years. During that time he has covered everything from VHS and Betamax, MiniDisc and DCC to CDi, Laserdisc and 3D TV, and any number of other formats that have come and gone. He loves nothing better than a good old format war. Andy edited several hi-fi and home cinema magazines before relaunching in 2008 and helping turn it into the global success it is today. When not listening to music or watching TV, he spends far too much of his time reading about cars he can't afford to buy.