While the last decade has seen pure chaos descend upon the recording industry, the audio gear industry is in full swing. Sure, you might be stealing your music but good luck stealing a pair of high-end speakers or a vintage turntable.
As with all healthy industries, the options are ample if not bewildering, and the range of gear runs the full spectrum from premium to economic. At the high end of things is Denmark’s Bang & Olufsen (B&O), a major player when it comes to innovation and dynamic sound. They just built the world’s second biggest showroom in Melbourne and they are absolutely committed to delivering an unforgettable, sensory experience.
B&O’s latest creation is the BeoSound 35, a standalone wireless music system that made its debut in Las Vegas and promises to be the end-all be-all device for all your listening needs. Each unit is hand-assembled in Czech and flaunts a truly efficient design, making that massive sound-system taking up half your apartment look downright superfluous.
We had the chance to check out the BeoSound 35 and for the most part we were blown away by the sound quality, as well as the product’s ability to streamline a frequently disparate array of audio sources. But is worth the hefty $3800 price tag? Read below to find out.
In the design department, B&O is in a class of its own, always keeping things impeccably sleek and eye-catching. The BeoSound 35 is no exception–this lustrous piece of gear is a masterpiece of modern minimalism. The slim shape with one-metre wingspan is beautifully efficient, thinning at both ends where small treble drivers have been placed. Thanks to an aluminium core, the BeoSound 35 flaunts an effortless mobility and lightness. The face is covered in a black fabric that gives way to a small, intuitive touch interface. The bulk of the music volume emits from the centre of the speaker where the bass drivers are located.
Each unit comes with a wall bracket for high or low placement as well as a table stand, and the octagon shape of the device allows it to be angled when mounted on the wall. Both the distinct curvature and interior composite were designed to enforce an even distribution of sound no matter where the listener is standing. In summary, the structural design and mobility emphasizes accessibility and lightness, allowing you to place the BeoSound 35 virtually anywhere in the room without compromising the overall spatial vibe of the space or the audio quality of the music.
The BeoSound 35 would rather free you up to listen to music than have you spend all your time configuring devices and pressing buttons. The OLED interface offers “one touch go” convenience so you can activate a playlist with the tap of a finger and then walk away. The system also features built-in access to Internet radio and streaming services such as Spotify and Deezer, and supports FLAC, WAV, AIFF, MP3, AAC, ALAC and WAV non-lossless formats. It connects wirelessly to Bluetooth 4.0, Airplay, and other DNLA-based devices, and can be remote-controlled via the BeoRemote One or the BeoMusic App on tablets and smart-phones.
As far as sound capability, the BeoSound 35 is equipped to handle 24-bit/192 kHz high resolution audio. Naturally, it also integrates with the BeoLink Multiroom system to enrich your entire home with an endless supply of killer beats. Lastly, the unit constantly updates its own software via Wi-Fi to ensure it’s keeping pace with rapid industry changes.
Behind the BeoSound 35’s lustrous slab of black fabric are two 4-inch bass drivers and two angled .75 inch tweeters, each one powered by a Class-D amplifier. Expect a frequency range between 45 Hz and 22 kHz and again a balanced, 180-degree stereo sound. The BeoSound 35 also utilizes Adaptive Bass Linearisation technology to extend the low-frequency range by monitoring the output signal levels and preventing distortion, which enhances the bass without compromising the drivers. The system additionally features thermal sensors to report temperature levels of the various loudspeaker components to a DSP “brain”. Yeah, this thing is pretty smart.
Ahh, so now for the most important question of all: how is the actual sound? In our opinion, the sound is exceptionally clean and balanced so that it doesn’t waver even slightly no matter where the listener might be standing or how high the volume goes. That said, we personally felt the audio could use a little more bass. But overall the sound is crisp, smooth and wide reaching. In summary, we were happy with the performance of the BeoSound 35, though again for such a high cost we felt there was room for a little improvement in the bass department.
The BeoSound 35 is an exercise is perfect structural restraint, intended to blend in with its surroundings and not make an ostentatious display of itself. The sound is smooth, durable and even-keeled. The features are completely adaptive to the modern day climate of streaming services and mobile devices. In our opinion, there’s no doubt that the BeoSound 35 is a luxurious system that delivers the goods, though we do wish it cost a little less and boosted the bass just a little more.