Bang & Olufsen has always been a company to push limits of technology while marrying that with timeless design. Call it the Danish aesthetic perhaps, but Bang & Olufsen products have always exuded a sense of luxury.
The latest Beosound Edge is no different. Presented as a perfectly circular speaker that projects sound in both directions, the Beosound Edge takes inspiration from the British one-pound coin of old, and actually follows the exact same dimensions proportionally.
The body is made of high-grade aluminum that’s worked into shape at B&O’s own labs and undertakes a process of five stages before becoming the perfect circular frame required by the Beosound Edge.
First, 1.62 meters of completely straight aluminum is worked into a perfect circle. Next, the circle is polished so it develops a finish like chrome. Then, the rounded edges are straightened out by milling. This is done first by getting an expert to mill the metal by hand, then have engineers code his process in so robots can mimic it perfectly, ensuring that every piece has the same finish. How's that for perfection?
Following that, lasers perforate the top layer of the aluminum where the touch controls are supposed to be housed, and glue is sucked through these holes through a vacuum process. When dried, the glue fills the gaps so the entire surface remains smooth to touch. The glue bits also act as micro-lenses for light to shine through to the proximity sensors below. These sensors also detect when you’re near to the speaker, illuminating the touch interface for use.
Adjusting the volume takes full advantage of the circular nature of the speaker - roll it forward to increase the volume, and backward to decrease. And no, we're not joking about physically rolling it (check the video embed above). The harder you push, the more dramatic the change in volume. A fairly unique way of tackling volume control, thankfully, the speaker always rolls back to its original position. It takes quite a bit of force to shift it off its equilibrium, so you won’t have to worry about it rolling away if you push too hard.
A matt fabric cover hides the drivers within, with the first thing you see is the 10-inch woofer bass driver. This uses B&O’s Active Bass Port design, which combines closed box design with ported design through the addition of a port with a flap that raises up when you increase the volume past 60%. It’s much like how a car’s spoiler raises up when the driver picks up speed, but the jump in volume happens gradually so your audience won’t get a shock.
Both sides of the speaker get a 4-inch mid-range tweeter and a ¾-inch tweeter, and you can actively control which side the speaker projects sound via the app. That’s handy if you want music in one room, but not in the adjacent room. Of course, playing music out through both sides will give you true 360-degree audio, so you are certainly not lacking in options.
Each driver gets its own amplifier, so a total of six amplifiers power this speaker, giving it up to 800W of sound output. In short, the Beosound Edge is one of the most powerful wireless speakers B&O have designed, and it goes loud easily.
The Beosound Edge comes with industry-standard technologies so you won’t be lacking in streaming options. AirPlay 2, Chromecast, and Bluetooth 4.2 are all supported, and the speaker has dual-band Wireless 802.11 b/g/n/ac Wi-Fi capabilities (2.4 GHz & 5 GHz). Apple AirPlay 2, Chromecast and BeoLink Multiroom technologies are also integrated so you can easily create a wireless Multi-room setup with it.
There was only one working unit on display so we didn’t quite get to audition the speaker, but the one track played during the demonstration (Away from Me by Chinah), demonstrated clear vocals and well-controlled bass. The highs and mids did seem a little overpowering, but that’s probably more to do with the mix of the track than the speaker alone.
Overall, we’d say the Beosound Edge is an impressive speaker that is certainly worth an audition. Other than having it rest on the floor, you can also wall mount it on its side, giving you a literal divider between rooms. It’s retailing now at all Bang & Olufsen outlets for S$5,200. A bronze version for autumn will also be coming by mid-December for the same price.