Beoplay A9 2

 

 

 

Bang and Olufsen have released the Beoplay A9 speaker, and it’s the opposite of portable and compact, but that’s the point. It’s a showpiece.

Once upon a time, technology was furniture; radios were tall standup cabinets filled with mysterious tubes and parts. Record players required a heavyweight wood base to avoid skipping, and TVs took up nearly as much space as the couch.

Since then we’ve evolved to ever-smaller technology; our music, video and communications are all in the palm of our hands. But at least one technology maker is returning to those furniture-esque roots.

Meet the futuristic, mod Beoplay A9 speaker

Bang and Olufsen have released the Beoplay A9 speaker, and it’s the opposite of portable and compact, but that’s the point. It’s a showpiece.

I recently had one of the Beoplay A9 speakers delivered to my home for a week of testing for this review.

This speaker is out of this world when it comes to looks, almost literally; the disc-shaped speaker sits on tripod legs and looks kind of sculptural.  Indeed B&O says it’s designed to act as an accessory in your room that you won’t feel the need to hide away. Made in either black or white the speaker also has the option of a series of special covers in designer fabrics. The flying saucer shape is convex on both the front and the back and measures about 8″ or 21cm deep at it’s widest point. Beoplay A9 4

Setting Up Beoplay A9 was ultra easy

Before you get the speaker set up you’ll want to decide where you’ll put it and how you want to show it.

You can stand the B&O Beoplay A9 in a corner of a room on its gorgeous solid wood legs, or hang it on the wall with the optional wall bracket. If you’re placing it on its three legs on the floor, you’ll need abut 3-4 square feet of space, and possibly some more if you want to give it some room to… breathe as the designers say.

With the speaker placed and plugged in, you’ll press a small button on the top back of the speaker to put it into pairing mode. Then head to your phone’s Bluetooth settings, and wait for the A9 to pop up.  When it does, connect to it and you’re ready to go. Set up was instant and easy; score one for the A9!

Using the Beoplay A9 you can connect using AirPlay, Google Chromecast, DLNA or Bluetooth 4.0  plus you can access to Spotify Connect, Deezer and TuneIn radio.

How to fit the Beoplay A9 coverBeoplay A9 cover fitting

The last thing to do was to fit the included black cover onto the front of the speaker, but oddly it looked far too small to fit around the A9’s edges. We tried and tried but it just wouldn’t fit. Eventually I noticed a small very narrow grove around the face of the speaker. Still thinking it was too small I hooked the edge of the elastic-y fabric into the groove and pulled it around.  I had to hold one side while my husband tucked the other but it worked. Until I removed it to snap some photos. We were unable to get it back on again.

While this is a small complaint I found the cover cheap and flimsy, and though I only had it for a few days it started to rip the second time we tried to put it on. I think that at this price point, a quality properly fitted cover should be part of the package.

Volume puzzle

When I started playing some music, the volume was really low.  I cranked the volume up on my phone to full, but the A9 was still impossibly low. Puzzled I got up close to the speaker and noticed a line of subtle bumps along the top edge of the speaker. Instinctively I ran my hand along it and eureka! Touch volume control! Now the speaker was really pumping. Great clear volume, solid bass and great sound right out of the gate.

Beoplay A9 sound quality

Beoplay A9 3The sound quality of the A9 outstanding of course. There’s a good balance from the bass to the high end, and no distortion even at very loud volume. The speaker is definitely room-filling.  While you could definitely crank it up insanely loud, it was kind of unbearable in my small home, so we kept it at much more normal levels, though you could use a speaker like this to easily fill an open concept space, or a workplace.

Beoplay A9 Specs

The Beoplay A9 has all the audio power you could want in a large in-room speaker:

  • POWER AMPLIFIERS 1 x 160 watt class D for bass
  • 2 x 80 watt class D for midrange
  • 2 x 80 watt class D for treble
  • DRIVER UNITS1 x 8′ woofer
  • 2 x 3” midrange
  • 2 x ¾” tweeters

Multiroom Audio options

Beoplay a9 no coverThe A9 speaker works solo or you can pair it with other Beoplay speakers for multiroom audio. Multiroom audio is a special category of home audio that has the ability to play music on a set of wireless speakers in different rooms of your house. Depending on your system, you can play different music on every speaker or the same music all over the house.

Multiroom speaker systems feature a variety of sizes and strengths of speaker, from compact bookshelf to large and booming. The systems are expandable, and configurable so you can buy a bunch of speakers all at once, or build the system as your budget allows. Often, these systems are set up and controlled via a smartphone app or tablet, and again depending on the system, will connect via either Bluetooth or Wi-Fi. Read more about how to choose a multiroom audio system in Best Buy’s Buying Guide. As I only has the one Beoplay speaker, I was unable to test the multiroom capabilities for this review.

Overall review of Beoplay A9

Initially I thought I’d be put off by the sheer size of the Beoplay A9, but once I got it assembled and placed in the room, I found that I really liked the way it looked.  Very midcentury modern minimalist chic. While I don’t have room for it permanently in my home, if I did, I’d want one; it’s such a conversation piece.

The sound quality is outstanding of course; there’s a good balance from the highs, through the mid levels and into the bass, so nothing feels like it’s getting drowned out, or like elements of the music are competing with eachother.

The cover was a bit of a miss for me, but since that’s probably the least important thing about this speaker I won’t belabour the point. I did notice a slight lag in communicating speaker-to-phone however.  If I hadn’t used the speaker in a few minutes it could take as long as 4 seconds from the time I pushed the button until music played. Most times, the lag was under a second.

Overall I like the speakers look and sound quality and found the idea of a sculptural speaker unique.  For those that can afford a speaker at this price point, you won’t be disappointed.

The Beoplay A9 speaker by Bang and Olufsen is available at Best Buy.

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