Bang & Olufsen’s reputation for uniquely designed speakers shouldn’t shock by now. The high-end Danish brand is built on fascinating, design-forward audio, ranging everything from premium gaming headphones to solid gold collections. But the new Beosound Emerge is definitely a first for the company, presenting as an impressively slim, sculptural speaker designed to look like a book.
Working in collaboration with Benjamin Hubert of London-based design agency Layer, B&O has made smart use of warm, premium materials like oak wood for the gold version’s cover, woven Kvadrat textile for the spine, and pearl-blasted aluminium in either gold or black anthracite to build a lightweight device resembling. The result is what they describe as “the compact form factor of a book”. Albeit, a book that’s slightly opened, giving it a sleek angular look that should wedge seamlessly into any book collection.
Side panels wrap around the speaker in the same way a cover would blanket a book. On the front, the Beosound Emerge is stamped with the typical Bang & Olufsen logo in the same way the spine of a book would feature the author’s name.
Playing around with such a small footprint while still offering wide, immersive 180-degree sound would have presented a problem for designers. They navigated this by being a bit strategic with how they positioned the internals.
A 37mm mid-range driver has been inserted at an angle, working with the speaker’s form to beam sound out of a front grille with a 14mm tweeter. A 100m side-firing woofer muscles out a low-end tone, sending it to the back of the speaker. The specific layout was chosen so that the Beosound Emerge can still produce a wide soundstage despite the slim silhouette.
The Beosound Emerge also comes equipped with room calibration software to consider location and setting before adjusting performance accordingly. Many high-end speakers use similar tech, like the recently announced Sonos Roam.
AirPlay 2 and Chromcast can be used for wireless connectivity, while built-in microphones also handle voice control via Google Assistant. While these methods can also be used to add the Beosound Emerge into any existing Bang & Olufsen ecosystem, the company is still working on adding their proprietary Beolink technology for multiroom setups. There’s also the standard physical connectivity, including an Ethernet port and a line-in/optical combo jack, and the top of the device has all the physical buttons you’d expect to control playback.
The higher-end Beosound Emerge Gold Tone will retail from AU$1,300 while the Black Anthracite version will retail from AU$1,050. Both colourways will launch in Australia Bang & Olufsen stores and some retailers in October 2021.
Check out more photos of the two colourways below. As you see, the Gold Tone is a much more elegant, premium looking device, while the black anthracite version looks closer to a high-end Wi-Fi router.