Bang & Olufsen's BeoLab 50

These mid-size floor speakers are crafted in aluminium and wood.
21 August, 2017
There are people and places where the BeoLab 90 speakers built by Bang & Olufsen will deliver too much of a good thing, when it comes to top-of-the-line sound.
That's one reason for the BeoLab 50 line, which has just been introduced by the industry-leading audio company based in Denmark.

The speakers are floor-standing models at 103.6 centimeters high and 45.5 centimeters at their widest. They weigh 61 kilograms, so they're solid but designed to be as unobtrusive in room décor as possible – without sacrificing the power of sound. The aluminium cabinet is complemented with oak slats, and looks something like an obelisk as it tapers to the top. There, the retractable B&O acoustic lens emerges, which allows for precision control of how the sound waves travel around the room for optimal audio.
There are seven dedicated amplifiers inside each speaker, which makes operation easy – the speaker runs from an app and can be fully integrated with TV and other electrical components – but it also eliminates any need for wires you can see. Looking at them from the front, and from top to bottom, there's a small tweeter atop with the acoustic lens, and then three 4-inch midrange drivers in a triangle that come next. Beneath them is a 10-inch woofer driver, and a cooling grill to keep them handling the heat. There are cooling grills on the back, too, along with two more 10-inch woofer drivers at angles.

That's a lot of sound per speaker, and the USD$40,000 price tag gives consumers an idea of just how premium these speakers are. There's a 60-page technical guide to help understand how they work and how best to set them up; part of that guide focuses on creating digitally programmed "active room compensation" zones so that the speakers know what kind of space they're in for optimal performance.
The systems are so sensitive that B&O recommends that users set up their listening zones so that if there's a patio door that opens and closes frequently, the digital zone "knows" that and can adjust. Essentially, the zone systems – a user can program up to five of them – mean the speakers will make accommodation for whether or not you're sitting at the dining room table, or flopped on the couch.

The "advanced control" settings give users what B&O calls almost surgical control over the timbral qualities of the components, along with the equivalent precision for working with a TV setup. There's even an advanced thermal control algorithm to keep the BeoLab 50 as close to perfection as possible. It constantly is balancing output with heat, and will shut down automatically to protect against damage.
The affable tech writers at B&O describe the feature as a last-ditch "effort of the loudspeaker to protect itself from a very mean customer (or the very mean children of a customer who is away for the weekend). This is the equivalent of the airbags deploying in your car. You can guess that, if the airbag is outside the steering wheel something significant has occurred."

Most people will never experience that kind of accident, but the level of attention goes to show that B&O has thought of everything with these speakers – from the machined aluminium and wood cases to the most microscopic digital detail. They expect BeoLab 50 owners to enjoy their products in the real world too.
Banner image: CePro Europe