If you’ve headed to Bang and Olufsen’s website in recent times and clicked through to its "Speakers for TV" category, you’ll probably have been surprised to be presented with only a handful of its high-end floorstanding speakers. Indeed, while B&O has made countless speakers (including some for its own TVs) its product line-up has been sorely bereft of a soundbar – that is (and you knew this was coming) until now.
The Beosound Stage – “the first soundbar that brings the rich and powerful Bang & Olufsen Signature Sound to any TV” – is just the gorgeous-looking, geometrically unique soundbar you’d expect from the company. And you could say it delivers everything but the kitchen sink – 11 speakers, Dolby Atmos, Google Chromecast, AirPlay 2 and Bluetooth.
The Beosound Stage, designed in collaboration with Danish studio NORM Architects, sees a frame (available in aluminium, bronze tone aluminium and smoked oak), complete with an engraved touch control panel, run right around a clothed speaker. A 2mm gap between the frame and the speaker’s fabric intends to give the illusion of the speaker "floating" within it – which it does. Not just another black box, the Stage is evidently a B&O design through and through.
There are no upward-firing Atmos speakers, then; instead the Atmos processing works its magic to heighten and widen the soundstage through the three-channel Stage’s 11 front-firing speakers, each of which are driven by a dedicated 50-watt Class D amplifier.
The centre channel speaker configuration comprises four 10cm woofers (B&O has chosen large woofers to facilitate bass depth), two 3.8cm midrange drivers and a 2cm tweeter.
Meanwhile, the left and right channels are each made up of a 3.8cm driver and 2cm tweeter, placed close together at a 45-degree angle to aid a wider, and thus more immersive, soundfield.
While built-in wi-fi and an Ethernet socket leverage the bar's networking streaming, connections to a TV are via HDMI: there's an output that supports both eARC and ARC support, as well as a HDMI input, with both supporting the standards that allow the passthrough of 4K HDR content. Alternatively, there are RCA and 3.5mm sockets.
Lastly, there are four listening modes to choose from – TV, Music, Movie and Night Listening – each adjustable to the user’s taste via an EQ.
The B&O Beosound Stage will be available globally from late autumn, priced £1250/€1500 for the aluminium and bronze finishes, and £1900/€2250 for the smoked oak (available exclusively in Bang & Olufsen stores).
We're currently getting a hands-on preview of the Beosound Stage, so we'll be bringing you a first-look review tomorrow. Watch this space.