Bang & Olufsen Beosound Stage

“If it had higher Dolby Atmos, this attractive soundbar can be well worth the value.”

Attractive design

Deliciously deep and resonant bass

Tons of EQ customization choices

Airplay 2, Bluetooth, and Chromecast

Easy and versatile wall-mount

Costly

Unimpressive Dolby Atmos

Just one HDMI enter

B&O App wants enchancment

There may be now an unbelievable array of wonderful soundbars to choose from for many who need the last word in house theater sound simplicity.

With costs that begin as little as $150, anybody can get significantly better TV sound for a comparatively tiny funding.

However what in case your tastes run to the extra unique aspect of issues? What in case you don’t simply need your soundbar to sound good, however to additionally make a visible assertion? That’s the reason Bang and Olufsen (B&O), the legendary Danish audio marque, has developed the Beosound Stage, a Dolby Atmos-capable soundbar that begins at $1,750 however can rapidly ascend to $2,600 in case you select one of many non-compulsory wooden finishes.

B&O has by no means been the model you purchase strictly for the way it sounds, however let’s agree that in case you’re paying this a lot cash for a soundbar, it had higher sound and look incredible. Does it succeed?

What’s within the field?

The Beosound Stage comes with an influence cable, a six-foot HDMI cable, and a remarkably small plastic bag with wall-mounting hardware and a wall-mount template.  The field itself is well recycled cardboard, however the in depth foam padding inside may show to be a problem to eliminate with out tossing them in a landfill.

Design

Simon Cohen / Digital Tendencies

B&O’s design signatures are all around the Beosound Stage, which is a testomony to how distinctive these signatures are as a result of B&O didn’t truly design the outside of the speaker in any respect. That job fell to a 3rd occasion — Norm Architects — which took its inspiration from the classic B&O Beogram 4000 turntable.

The Beosound Stage is gorgeous to behold, with completely rounded corners and seamlessly built-in controls.

Particularly when the soundbar is clad within the non-compulsory smoked oak and gray wooden supplies ($2,600), the similarity is apparent.

However even within the extra reasonably priced (a relative time period with B&O’s merchandise) pure aluminum and black wardrobe of our assessment unit, the Beosound Stage is gorgeous to behold, with completely rounded corners and seamlessly built-in controls.

Your different choices are Bronze Tone/Heat Taupe, or a restricted version Anthracite, each of which can run you $2,025.

I’m of the opinion that soundbars ought to, if in any respect doable, disguise from view, or at the least, be inconspicuous. However B&O takes the other strategy, by making the Beosound Stage an object that calls for consideration.

To a level, this is smart. In spite of everything, whether or not you’re utilizing it to play audio or not, will probably be a part of your room’s decor, so why not make it a dialog piece? Alternatively, I discovered that when watching TV even in a darkened room, the broad band of brushed aluminum introduced an undesirable supply of mirrored mild, which I needed to studiously ignore.

Simon Cohen / Digital Tendencies

Granted, I used to be utilizing the Beosound Stage in its tabletop mode. When you wall mount it, that aluminum border shrinks to a barely-there, razor-thin line across the in any other case completely black cloth that hides the drivers beneath.

When sitting on a flat floor, the Beosound Stage stands only a hair over three inches tall. That’s shorter than the Sonos Arc and will preserve the Stage from interfering with even the bottom TV image. At 43 inches broad, it’s narrower than many top-tier soundbars, nevertheless it’s additionally a lot deeper at a hair over 6.5 inches, so that you’ll must be sure you have room in entrance of your TV.

To wall-mount it, you elevate the soundbar right into a vertical place and rotate it 180 levels counterclockwise, which locations the controls on the highest edge, and cleverly, nearly completely preserves the angle of the tweeters. There are two downsides to this place — it hides the 2 small LED indicator lights from view and also you’ll want some additional area: It’s simply over 6.5 inches tall.

Props should be given to the engineers who designed the underbelly of the Beosound Stage. It has three equivalent sq. panels with rubberized surfaces. When sitting on a desk, they act as ft, however when wall-mounted, they double as easy keyhole mounting slots.

In contrast to some soundbars that require costly, non-compulsory wall-mount brackets, all you’ll want to get the Stage up on a wall are two small plastic collars, that are included.

One other intelligent element: All the cable connections can exit the underside of the soundbar in nearly any route, providing you with the power to run the cables by way of your wall, or by way of a conduit.

Arrange and connections

Simon Cohen / Digital Tendencies

Simon Cohen / Digital Tendencies

Simon Cohen / Digital Tendencies

Bodily, the Beosound Stage is a examine in elegant simplicity. The process for getting it arrange is considerably much less easy.

As soon as the soundbar is related to energy and (optionally) your TV through HDMI ARC (or eARC), the setup course of is guided by the B&O app on a telephone or pill (each iOS and Android variations can be found). Sadly, the B&O app can’t full the method by itself, and partway into the setup, it passes you over to the Google Dwelling app.

When you’ve used the Google Dwelling app beforehand, you’ll be spared the additional step of signing into Google and configuring your house, however in case you’ve by no means used Google Dwelling, I like to recommend putting in it first earlier than making an attempt to arrange the Beosound Stage.

Not a Google fan? You’ll need to recover from it. There’s no approach to skip the Google Dwelling step and use the soundbar with out it.

Ultimately, you’ll be returned to the B&O app to complete up. The entire thing solely takes about 10 minutes, nevertheless it’s awkward and never what I count on from a B&O as a model.

It’s not completely B&O’s fault. As a result of Google now makes the Google Dwelling step a requirement for any audio product that desires to incorporate Chromecast performance, B&O’s arms had been tied. Different soundbar corporations, like Bose and Sonos, which supply Apple’s AirPlay 2 expertise, have to this point declined so as to add Chromecast to their merchandise. If the price of doing so is making their setups extra cumbersome, it’s simple to see why they haven’t.

The Beosound Stage doesn’t include a distant management, though you should buy a B&O distant if you wish to use one. As an alternative, identical to the Sonos Arc, you modify the soundbar’s settings through the B&O app on a telephone or pill. When streaming music, the quantity management is dealt with through the app. When listening to your TV, you utilize your current TV distant to regulate the quantity through HDMI CEC.

Simon Cohen / Digital Tendencies

The one drawback with this association is that it requires you to attach the Stage through HDMI ARC (or eARC) to your TV. In case your TV solely has an optical output, you’ll want to purchase an optical-to-HDMI adapter (B&O doesn’t promote them), you gained’t have the ability to management the quantity out of your TV’s distant, and also you’ll be restricted to simply 5.1 Dolby Digital Encompass Sound.

There are additionally two Ethernet ports. Usually after we see this on a tool (like a Sonos Port), one port acts because the ethernet enter whereas the opposite allows you to share the community connection to a different gadget.

On the Beosound Stage, the second port is definitely used to speak with a 2019 or newer LG OLED TV, to allow management of each the TV and the soundbar through the lavishly designed (and priced) $375 Beoremote One.

Puzzlingly, though the Stage doesn’t provide an optical enter, it does have a three.5mm stereo analog jack. Nowadays, I’m not completely positive what you’d use it for, nevertheless it’s there in case you want it.

B&O sees the Beosound Stage as a totally self-contained sound system. There isn’t a method so as to add further parts.

The Stage provides you only a single HDMI enter, which we presume is supposed to compensate for the one enter in your TV that the soundbar requires. That enter allows you to passthrough alerts as much as 4K at 60Hz, in full Dolby Imaginative and prescient HDR, nevertheless it’s nonetheless only one port. I might have appreciated it if B&O had included just a few extra, however in equity, the again connection panel is fairly tight on area as it’s.

A way more troubling omission is the shortcoming to develop the Beosound Stage’s capabilities with further audio system. Many of the soundbars we’ve reviewed both include their very own wi-fi subwoofers and satellite tv for pc encompass audio system, or you possibly can add them later if you want.

That’s not the case with the Stage. B&O sees it as a totally self-contained sound system and there’s no method so as to add further parts for an much more immersive expertise.

We’ll focus on whether or not or not this is a matter for total sound high quality in a second.

Along with its wired connections, the Beosound Stage provides you all three main wi-fi audio requirements too. Bluetooth, AirPlay 2, and Chromecast are all obtainable.

Throughout my testing, I encountered an odd bug the place the Stage refused to offer me TV audio after turning on my TV. It solely occurred twice, and each occasions I used to be in a position to resolve it by unplugging and re-plugging the facility wire. B&O took the speaker again and tried to duplicate the issue nevertheless it didn’t reoccur.

App, streaming, and controls

The B&O app works nicely but additionally appears like a piece in progress at occasions. There are 4 tabs: Dwelling, Multiroom, Music, and Radio.

House is the place you management the entire Beosound Stage’s settings from EQ to speaker orientation. Multiroom allows you to group a number of B&O audio system, however given I solely had one speaker, that’s not a operate I used to be in a position to take a look at.

The Music tab provides you an interface to choose music from the sources that B&O has been in a position to combine, nevertheless it’s a restricted record: Songs in your telephone, songs on your house community in case you have a DLNA server or Deezer. It lists Spotify too, however that is merely a shortcut to the Spotify app.

A search device is proven, nevertheless it solely works with Deezer, not your private music sources.

Because of the Beosound Stage’s Four-inch woofers you get copious quantities of thunderous bass — no sub wanted.

The Radio tab is the place you’ll discover streaming terrestrial stations from TuneIn.

Frankly, when in comparison with the facility and management of a system like Sonos, the B&O app simply doesn’t reduce it as a approach to discover and hearken to music. You’re much better off selecting your favourite music app after which utilizing AirPlay 2, Bluetooth, or Chromecast to stream to the Beosound Stage.

Sound high quality

Simon Cohen / Digital Tendencies

The Beosound Stage doesn’t disappoint on sound high quality. Whether or not listening to the soundtrack of a Marvel motion film or streaming your favourite tunes, you’re handled to a silky-smooth efficiency that simply captures and reproduces the complete vary of frequencies.

Soundbars typically have hassle with deep, low-end bass, which is why so lots of them ship with a wi-fi subwoofer. However because of the Beosound Stage’s 4 independently powered Four-inch woofers, which have been grouped collectively in pairs, you get copious quantities of thunderous bass — no sub wanted.

The speaker’s remaining seven drivers and amps (4 midrange and three tweeters) maintain the remainder, with wonderful separation and definition. Hearth up some Norah Jones tracks and you’ll hear her voice soar effortlessly above the devices, whereas by no means lacking a single piano observe or resonant thrum from a bass.

The app’s equalizer and listening modes offer you an enormous quantity of management over the sound. Not solely are you able to independently modify bass and treble, however you may also choose from 4 preset modes like TV (which boosts dialog), Film (guess you possibly can guess that one), Music, and Night time Listening which reduces massive jumps in quantity.

However my favourite space is B&O’s mood-based EQ interface, which helps you to transfer a selector disc between 4 quadrants: Vibrant, Energetic, Relaxed, and Heat. It’s value spending a while right here to see if you could find a mixture you want.

However there’s one space the place the Beosound Stage falls a bit brief: Dolby Atmos and 5.1 encompass sound.

Make no mistake, the Stage is a Dolby Atmos-capable soundbar and actually, it could actually reproduce that sound through Dolby’s lossless, 24-bit TrueHD format in case you join it to a Blu-ray participant.

Nevertheless, it’s not a discrete 5.1.2 channel soundbar. There are not any upward-firing peak channel drivers that bounce sounds off the ceiling for a dramatic over-your-head impact and no devoted encompass drivers.

As a three-channel speaker, it depends completely on virtualization for each Atmos and 5.1 encompass sound. Virtualization signifies that B&O has employed some very refined psychoacoustic strategies to attempt to trick your mind into pondering that there are additional audio system in your room.

Sadly, it doesn’t completely succeed.

When you think about your TV display because the supply of the sound, the Beosound Stage convincingly expands that display right into a a lot bigger rectangle, making it appear to be there are audio system within the higher and decrease corners of your area (and within the center too). However that sound doesn’t actually prolong outward very far, and it barely registered for me within the peak or encompass positions.

This isn’t the soundbar for many who try to interchange a 5.1 encompass sound or Dolby Atmos house theater setup.

Right here’s the place we get into the issue with B&O’s resolution to make the Beosound Stage non-expandable. Ordinarily, if you wish to improve a soundbar’s degree of immersion, you’d add additional audio system. LG, Samsung, Bose, and Sonos all provide this as an possibility. However the Beosound Stage is a resolute soloist — you both admire what this speaker has to supply, otherwise you select one thing else.

What are we to make of this example? Let’s put it this fashion: As a room-filling music speaker, the Beosound Stage is actually a pleasure to hearken to. And in case you’re seeking to give your film and TV soundtracks an exhilarating increase that you could really feel, with out cluttering your area with subwoofers and surrounds, it’s an unqualified success.

However this isn’t the soundbar for many who try to interchange a full 5.1 encompass sound or 5.1.2 Dolby Atmos house theater setup. If that is your objective, it can save you some cash and get a way more immersive sound elsewhere.

Our take

The attractive however very costly B&O Beosound Stage is a superb one-speaker answer for room-filling music or TV audio. Nevertheless it falls brief as a method of including the immersive qualities of Dolby Atmos.

Is there a greater various?

On condition that the Beosound Stage doesn’t actually ship on Dolby Atmos, you will get the wonderful $800 Bose Soundbar 700 for lower than half the worth. I feel it appears terrific, and it has the good thing about being expandable through wi-fi subwoofers and encompass modules and it will nonetheless price lower than the mid-price Beosound Stage.

If Atmos is a must have, you possibly can’t go unsuitable with the Sonos Arc. It’s the identical value because the Bose Soundbar 700, and it’s additionally simply expanded with non-compulsory wi-fi audio system.

Each the Bose and the Sonos soundbars additionally offer you a alternative of voice assistant: Alexa or Google Assistant, one thing the Beosound Stage lacks.

How lengthy will it final?

Superbly crafted and solidly constructed, I count on the Beosound Stage ought to final for years if not many years. It’s backed by a 36-month guarantee from B&O, which is without doubt one of the longest warranties within the trade.

Do you have to purchase it?

When you place an equal emphasis on how your audio and video tools appears and the way it sounds — and your pockets are deep sufficient to assist that strategy — sure, by all means purchase the B&O Beosound Stage. So long as you’re conscious of its limitations, you’ll be very proud of it. Everybody else ought to think about the various different nice (and cheaper) choices.

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