Bang and Olufsen couldn't persuade me a speaker is value $1,000
Bang and Olufsen is understood for 2 issues: distinctive design and excessive costs. Typically, the fee is not a lot of a problem if the design is matched by high quality audio or a strong show panel. The corporate’s new BeoPlay A6 is a $1,000 wi-fi speaker with three modes to vary its sound based mostly on the place it is positioned in a room. With Sonos and others already providing comparable merchandise for a fraction of the worth, I used to be not sure if B&O’s newest product would reside as much as steep asking worth. Sadly, my suspicions have been right.
For those who’re seen a few of Bang and Olufsen’s different audio system, particularly these designed for the front room, you’ve got observed the corporate’s distinctive, and typically odd, aesthetics. The BeoPlay A6 continues that development, with a form that curves in the direction of the middle within the entrance, making it look extra like a pillow than a speaker. On this case, although, that type issue permits the audio to undertaking in two instructions. (Accordingly too, B&O included a setting optimized for nook placement, however extra on that later.)
To finish the excessive-finish look, the entrance is roofed in a wool material developed with the assistance of textile maker Kvadrat. The corporate is understood for its textile designs and can also be based mostly in Denmark, permitting B&O was capable of keep its Danish design, because it have been. When you see the included grey choice right here, there are a couple of extra wool covers in several hues, however they value additional. By masking all the entrance of the gadget in wool material with a zig-zag stitched line throughout the center, B&O created a classy really feel that appears excessive-finish. In fact, there is a silver etched emblem on the left aspect as properly, so your whole associates know simply who made the gadget.
The A6 can also be fairly giant in comparison with different wi-fi audio system, measuring 21.1 inches (536 mm) vast and eleven.seventy three inches (298 mm) tall. It is huge. It is large in comparison with Sonos’ Play:5, and it is considerably bigger than a number of others too, together with the Sony SRS-X77. Whereas that will not be a dealbreaker, it’s going to in all probability issue into your choice, because the A6 requires ample area.
Round again is the place I began to query B&O’s design decisions. The speaker’s bottom is product of relatively plain-wanting white plastic. Positive, there is a molded deal with so you possibly can transfer the unit with ease and a grid of dots punched in for a little bit of design aptitude together with the speaker grille, nevertheless it’s nonetheless normal-wanting plastic. B&O says the grille on the again is designed to not solely be “pleasing to the attention,” however to accommodate the the sound. There’s additionally a fifth speaker that faces backwards, therefore the necessity for the grille-like holes on that aspect. Maybe I am being choosy right here, but when B&O felt that one of the best sound for the A6 required a rear-dealing with speaker, I might’ve most popular for that panel to look a bit higher.
On the highest fringe of the gadget, B&O added some good contact controls that go an extended strategy to redeeming the A6 for me. Along with energy and pairing buttons, there is a contact slider that permits you to swipe a finger or two throughout the highest to regulate quantity. You may as well faucet within the middle to mute the speaker (to take a name, for instance) or close to the facility button to skip to the subsequent track. The contact controls are nice, however that is hardly the primary speaker to supply this function. Apart from, you will have to go away your chair to make use of them. In truth, I discovered myself making changes from my telephone more often than not.
Talking of telephones, B&O’s BeoSetup app is the place you will get the A6 related to your house WiFi. After a pair tries, I used to be capable of pair the speaker and from there, I had music enjoying as shortly as shortly as I might open Spotify. To play audio from the streaming service, the B&O A6 employs Spotify Join like different WiFi-enabled audio devices. It additionally allows you to play music with AirPlay and Bluetooth for those who choose. As soon as I acquired the whole lot up and operating, the system ran simply effective; the one occasions I needed to reconnect have been once I unplugged the gadget to maneuver it. Moreover, the A6 has an Ethernet jack, so you’ll be able to skip the WiFi if you would like. The BeoSetup app can also be the place you can also make changes like setting a most sound degree, a playback time restrict and obtain updates as they turn into out there. Sadly, although, you’ll be able to’t make any changes to the EQ right here. Bummer.
Moderately than choosing the speaker location modes within the companion app, there is a selector change beside the facility jack on the backside of the bottom. It is also beneath a detachable panel, so in the event you transfer the A6 from a bookshelf to a nook, you will have to recollect to manually make the mode change. I suppose should you’re not going to maneuver the speaker round a lot, it is not likely an inconvenience, however I might see myself forgetting it is there if I wanted to make a change. The A6 has modes for situating the speaker in a nook, on the wall or out in open area. Based mostly on the choice you choose, the unit adjusts how the audio system carry out to supply the most effective sound for the place it is positioned within the room.
Does it work? I truthfully wasn’t capable of detect an enormous distinction in sound between the modes. Nevertheless, I’ll say that the audio sounds good regardless of which of the three places I selected. The A6 sounds simply nearly as good standing by itself, in a nook or up towards the wall. And in the event you ever determine to maneuver it, there’s a simple strategy to get the most effective sound wherever you set it.
When it comes to general audio high quality, I discovered the A6 to be in step with the sound I’ve skilled on different B&O merchandise. There is a good readability to all the things, so whenever you’re listening to bluegrass, for instance, you’ll be able to simply select particular person devices and tones. In contrast to a few of the firm’s different gear that I’ve examined, the A6 manages low-finish tones nicely. I did discover a pair hip-hop and digital songs which have much more bass on different audio system, however general, the A6 carried out admirably throughout genres. The readability of sound on the speaker retains the vocals on the forefront, however makes positive that the highs, mids and lows are all appropriately represented. I might favor the vocals to be a bit much less outstanding, however once more, I am in all probability being choosy. I might somewhat have every little thing mix properly slightly than have one half stand aside from the remaining.
Regardless of my points with a number of the materials decisions B&O made right here, the corporate has constructed one other extremely succesful speaker. Sadly, it is priced too excessive to be thought-about by most. When you think about that one among these A6 audio system prices the identical as two of the brand new Sonos Play:5s, the attraction shortly fades. Heck, for $1,000, you would possible put a Sonos Play:1 in every room of your home or condo (that might be 5 complete). The very fact of the matter is, there are just too many engaging choices priced between $200 and $500 for me to advocate the A6. Until, in fact, you simply have cash burning a gap in your pocket or an affinity for Danish luxurious items. Simply know that you would be able to get excess of a single speaker for that sum. The A6 sounds good, and it appears nice (at the least from the entrance), however the worth is method too steep. For the cash, I might anticipate perfection, and whereas this speaker is sweet, it is from flawless.