Bang & Olufsen today took the wraps off its latest wireless home speaker, the Beosound Edge. If ever there was a speaker deserving of proud and prominent placement in a home, this is it.
The speaker’s design is essentially an upscaled (and to scale) version of the old British Pound coin. Clad in a solid aluminum ring, the speaker is a product born of a collaboration between the Danish luxury brand and globally acclaimed designer Michael Anastassiades.
Beneath two acoustically transparent speaker screens hide a robust 10-inch woofer along with two 4-inch midrange drivers and two 3/4-inch tweeters, one on each side of the speaker. Each driver gets its own out of the five available class-D amplifiers.
The Edge has Chromecast built in, and as such can function as part of a whole-home audio system, should one wish to pair it with any of Bang & Olufsen’s many other speakers. The Edge can easily handle a large open space and absolutely fille it with sound. In the demonstration we heard at a noisy and vast convention hall in Berlin, the speaker not only drowned out the noise of power saws and forklifts around us, it resonated the entire space with rock-solid, tuneful, tight bass.
Part of the prodigious bass response comes from a patent-pending “Active Bass Port,” which opens and closes depending on the volume of the speaker. At low volumes, the port remains closed, supporting very tight bass in balance with the rest of the sound spectrum. As the speaker’s volume is turned up, the bass port mechanically and automatically opens, letting low-resonance bass to pour from the speaker.
The Edge sports a few clever tricks to employed to enhance a user’s interaction with it. Roll the speaker forward, and the volume turns up. Roll it back, and the volume comes down. Not only can the speaker pull this trick off when seated on the floor (a location in which it looks very sleek), but it can also be mounted on the wall, which creates quite a visual impact, indeed.
Since the Edge has drivers on both sides, the speaker is capable of creating convincing room-filling sound, but when mounted on the wall, the sound can be controlled such that it comes out of just one side or the other if desired.
Regarding the Edge’s development, designer Anastassiades had this to say: “We constantly pushed ourselves to distill the idea of removing layers upon layers until what remained was a visibly pure and simple object. Because what happens when you experience highly visual complex products is an initial impact, but once the novelty of that impact dies there is nothing left. With visually simple products, there is nothing there to give you that first attraction. No visual disturbance. But when you see it the second time around you suddenly pay attention and by the third encounter you become even more intrigued.”
Along with its impressive design and sound quality, the Edge totes a rather impressive price: $3500. Indeed, one could fashion a rather elaborate two-channel audio system for that price, but it wouldn’t have the sexy allure or the same level of convenient functionality the Edge offers. For those who demand high-end sound and decor-friendly design, the Bang & Olufsen Edge is one of the finest options we’ve seen to date.