In the good old Bang & Olufsen tradition, the Beosound Balance is a speaker designed to fit a sophisticated décor, while not taking too much valuable floor space in the home. In fact, it plays better when positioned against the wall, but it will fill a whole room when placed anywhere, because it features Active Room Compensation - an evolution of the Beolab 90 system - that analyzes the space and tailors the sound for any placement, while beamforming technology enables directional sound to be delivered from multiple positions.
The Beosound Balance design offers an incredibly "powerful and voluminous sound," as the company describes, using a total of 7 different drivers with signals feed by 7 dedicated amplifiers. Those drivers, which include a larger woofer in the base together with multiple mid and high frequency units covering all 360 degrees, are able to generate different audio experiences in the same device -from a sound that fills the entire room to directional sound. When raised from the floor and positioned close to the wall, the Beosound Balance delivers precisely controlled beams for a clear audio experience in front of the speaker and rich sound behind the device. The Active Room Compensation technology analyzes the room with an internal microphone and creates a set of custom filters that compensate for any reflections or lack thereof. "The result is an impressively great sound experience compared to its size," Bang & Olufsen describes.
Inside the Beosound Balance there is an updated streaming audio platform that supports AirPlay 2, Chromecast, and TuneIn via Google Assistant. The Beosound Balance is a Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connected speaker that Bang & Olufsen says is the first in a generation of products based on a new, advanced platform, to which new features will be added later.
Because of new platform, the Beosound Balance does not have Beolink, so it doesn't offer multiroom features, but it can "seamlessly interact with the entire portfolio of 18 speakers in the Flexible Living category" and deliver audio to TV products via AirPlay 2 and Chromecast, the company informs. In terms of voice control, the Beosound Balance only offers integrated support for Google Assistant, for now, with Amazon Alexa support promised for a future update.
The compact and interior-friendly design - with a shape divided into two components - explores materials such as natural solid oak, woven textiles and aluminum components. Being a "smart" speaker, it features built-in proximity sensors that light up as the user approaches the speaker. The tactile control surface on the top provides dynamic controls that only appear as needed and are operated with touch and sliding gestures. When the user steps away from the Beosound Balance, the controls are subdued again so that only the aluminum surface is visible. Of course, all the more sophisticated controls, including personal sound settings, can be selected directly in the Bang & Olufsen app.
The new Beosound Balance will retail for $2,250 or 2,000 Euros and it is schedule to be available at the end of March 2020.