Am I Blind Or Does This $3,400 Speaker Kinda Look Like A Lamp?

Photo: Bang & Olufsen

Bang & Olufsen is no stranger to crafting stylish and wallet-breaking gadgets. Well, the Danish company is at it again with this...lampy looking speaker, the Beosound Balance. It’s designed in conjunction with Layer, a London-based design agency, and costs $US2,250 ($3,401). Also, it looks like the base for an artsy lamp.

The Beosound Balance is divided into two parts and contains a total of seven drivers, include two opposing woofers that Bang & Olufsen says “generates a powerful bass” with vibration cancelling. According to Engadget, the bottom half has one upward-facing subwoofer that gets filtered through a perforated metal dish. The top half, meanwhile, houses a downward-firing bass driver, three mid-range speakers, and two tweeters. The base is solid oak, while the upper half is wrapped in a knitted textile and also doubles as a hidden, touch-sensitive control.

The speaker also sports two modes—an “omnidirectional mode” for 360-degree listening, and a “sound mode” for what Bang & Olufsen dubs a “precisely-focused ambient sound experience.” Like other premium speakers, the Beosound Balance also says it can analyse your room via internal microphones to optimise sound in a particular space. For extras, the speaker supports Google Chromecast, Apple Airplay 2, Spotify Connect and comes with Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa built-in.

Based on the specs, the Beosound Balance has a lot of the things you’d expect from a connected speaker. It’s hard to judge it without actually listening and testing to the thing, but Bang & Olufsen is known for making some quality speakers. Only the company is also going hard with the Beosound Balance’s design. In its press release, the company describes this thing as a “Powerful and Poetic Home speaker.” It waxes lyrical on how it uses materials to “soften technology” and is so gorgeous that it could “double as a sculpture.” Layer, the design firm behind it, describes it as having a “distinctive, sculptural silhouette and rich material palette” before dubbing it an “objet d’art” for the home.

Bang & Olufsen says the design is meant to help the speaker blend into home interiors—which is a thing Ultimate Ears also said about its recent home speaker, the Hyperboom. The Beosound Balance probably is closer to that mark, in that it kind of doesn’t look like a speaker.

OK, but it also kinda looks like the base of an IKEA lamp, right? Not in a bad way! I like IKEA lamps! It’s just maybe, for that price, I want a poetic speaker to look...less lamp like? No? Just me? Or maybe the fact that it looks like a lamp base means it’s succeeded in blending in. I don’t know.

In any case, the speaker is available starting today from Bang & Olufsen’s website and third-party retailers. The lamp—cough, speaker, cough—comes in two colours: Natural Oak and Black Oak.

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