If you’ve ever looked at that Bluetooth speaker sitting on your desk and thought, “if only this music box were an enormous disc I could roll around the room.” You, my friend, are in luck — provided you have lots of money, of course. Designed with discerning audiophiles in mind, Bang & Olufsen’s Beosound Edge wireless speaker is the ultimate in luxury tech. But, with a R50,000-plus price tag, this isn’t your little sister’s Bluetooth speaker. While many people could only dream of owning a piece of luxury tech such as this, I got the chance to test out the Beosound Edge for a few weeks and catch a glimpse of how the other half lives.
The massive, circular, wireless speaker not only looks like a piece of modern art, but it also pumps out crystal clear sound and potent bass from both sides, filling the room with pitch-perfect surround sound. Measuring 50.2cm across and 13cm wide, this over-sized speaker is designed to be positioned in two ways — rest it on its edge, like a coin, or hang it from a wall like a clock.
But the unusual design isn’t just for aesthetic purposes, the circular design also plays a part in the speaker’s control system. Rather than relying on your usual hardware volume controls to raise and lower the sound, rocking the speaker controls the output level. The more intense the rock (as measured by an onboard accelerometer), the sharper the increase or decrease in sound. You can also control it using the B&O app, giving you the option to operate it from wherever you are.
But before you think the speaker’s striking design is just a gimmick, think again. This thing really pumps! Loud enough to single-handedly keep a house party raging, but clear and crisp enough to keep any serious audiophile happy, the Beosound Edge is a serious sound machine. I expected the Beosound Edge to be loud, given its size, but when I first turned it on, it blew me away with a wall of sound that filled the whole room… the whole house in fact. With a massive 800W of sound output, the Beosound Edge is easily one of the most powerful wireless speakers B&O have designed.
The speaker’s circular design also allows the device to offer customisable sound features. The Edge can distribute sound equally from either of its faces, giving you true 360-degree audio when you’re using both sides. Place it on a table in the middle of a large gathering, so everyone can enjoy the same audio experience or use the Directional Sound Control to mute one of the acoustic fronts and create an active listening area and a passive listening area in the same room. Using this feature there is surprisingly little sound bleed on the muted side, even with the sound cranked up on the opposite side.
Other great features of this cutting edge speaker include a proximity sensor, that lights up the controls as you approach, an ethernet port, and both Bluetooth and WiFi connectivity. The device also supports AirPlay 2 and Chromecast, letting you beam your tracks from across the room.
There’s no denying the Beosound Edge is a show stopper in terms of looks, and the sound most definitely lives up to its design and seems to deliver sound in line with its price-tag, but whether Bang & Olufsen’s luxury speaker is insanely cool or just insane is up to you. It’s hard to justify splashing out over R50,000 on a speaker, but if you’ve got the money and love the small nuances in music, then why not.
The B&O Beosound Edge is available in both bronze and silver and retails for about R 58,310,00 from selected retailers. For more information visit the Bang & Olufsen South Africa website.