Bang & Olufsen is taking on Bowers & Wilkins in the high-end dock stakes. Can it down the mighty Zeppelin?
If you already own some Bang & Olufsen kit, chances are that you live in a Le Corbusier-designed house on stilts and swim in a pool filled with £50 notes. And if you don’t, you might think its products are out of reach.
They’re not, though – especially now, thanks to the company’s quirky-looking BeoSound 8 iPod dock.
Take aim at the Zeppelin
Probably the biggest surprise about the company’s typically design-led entry into the world of iPod docks is that it’s taken so long. For all the success of B&W’s all-conquering Zeppelin and its self-consciously decorative ilk, there’s been an obvious gap in the market for a properly premium, properly effective iPod dock. That gap has now been filled.
Most B&O products tend to make people weak at the knees just looking at them, but he BeoSound 8 sparked a few friendly discussions. Is the circumference of the speaker enclosures a little too large, or is it that they’ve been placed a bit too close together?
In any event, the BeoSound 8 will dock most of Apple’s current iThings, and has additional connectivity via a mini-USB socket and stereo RCA inputs. The circular remote control feels good to hold, although it can’t navigate your player’s menus. There’s also a three-position switch to help compensate for your BeoSound’s room position.
Turn it up if you want to get down
With one important qualification, it’s a punchy, balanced and big-sounding listen. The way notes start and stop is acceptable, everything stays smooth throughout the frequency range and there’s good dynamic headroom on tap, too.
Review continues after the break…
That "but", though, is to do with volume. To hear the BeoSound 8 at its best, it demands cranking – it could certainly be heard bellowing around our testing rooms while it was running in. At more modest levels, bass response is softer, and balance and integration can suffer as a result.
But if you like the looks, can stomach the price and have a large room to fill with sound – it’s perfect for a party – the BeoSound 8 is now the best of a not exactly numerous bunch.
B&O BeoSound 8 review
The price might be steep, but the looks and sound justify the coinage