For Bang & Olufsen to introduce its new Beolab 28 as its 'most advanced connected speaker yet' is quite something considering the wealth of technology that has blessed the company's catalogue in recent years.
The Beolab 28 is a wireless speaker designed with versatility in mind; to live in any space due to its slim shape and small footprint, whether stood on the floor or hung on the wall. Its curvaceous column form was inspired by the iconic column shape used on the company's Beolab Penta, Beolab 6000 and Beolab 8000 of old.
It certainly has a few audio processing tricks up its sleeve to make it so adaptable. B&O's latest-generation Active Room Compensation works to adapt the 6.5-inch woofer's bass response to the room, while Beam Width Control aims to customise sound from the specially developed 3-inch full range drivers (on the front and one on each side) and 1-inch tweeter according to room positioning and placement.
Whereas ‘narrow mode’ aims to minimise the interference of side wall reflections and provide a more focused, direct soundstage, ‘wide mode’ opens up the field, diffuses more sound all around the speaker while, B&O claims, maintaining a natural tonal balance. The Danish firm has put its mechanical mastery to good use once again, too: the Beolab 28 incorporates curtains that open when the speaker is switched on, or move when the sound beam is adjusted when switching modes.
What makes them wireless isn't just Bluetooth connectivity but also a full suite of streaming smarts, including AirPlay 2 and Google Chromecast. That essentially makes the Beolab 28 an all-in-one speaker system; plug them in and you're away. Future-proofing has also been considered here, in the fact that the connectivity module is replaceable and front-loaded with enough processing power for it to simply be swapped out down the road to accommodate streaming technologies that will inevitably arrive in the future.
On the nearer horizon, the Beolab 28 will be made compatible with Beolink Multiroom in autumn 2021 through an automatic software update. They can already be paired with a Bang & Olufsen TV using Powerlink or Wireless Powerlink. The two speakers' synchronicity, meanwhile, is over a 24-bit/48kHz wireless connection.
The Beolab 28 wouldn't be a high-end B&O speaker without some impressive design flair, so to that end the 19kg columns features a top-panel touch interface that lights up when approached and includes playback and preset controls; a conically shaped foot (where the woofer is) that gives the column a 'floating' look; and a range of premium finish options.
The towers come in either Natural Silver, Black Anthracite or Bronze Tone aluminium, combined with speaker covers in knitted fabric (grey or grey mélange, priced £9750 [about AU$19,000] per speaker pair) or solid wood (light oak, oak, smoked oak or walnut, priced £10,750 per speaker pair).
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