Following in the footsteps of BeoLab 90, one of Bang & Olufsen’s most celebrated and state-of-the-art speakers, comes BeoLab 50, a more compact offering with great acoustic creds.
14 March 2018
Text by Janice Seow
It was around two years ago that Bang & Olufsen debuted the BeoLab 90, and its distinctive architectural design and impressive tech features – such as directivity controls where users can make the sound “move in the room” – certainly got many technophiles talking.
The new BeoLab50
BeoLab 90, on which the latest BeoLab 50 is based upon
Bang & Olufsen recently launched BeoLab 50, which is based on the uncompromising acoustic research and technological development of the 90, but at a more modest size. We get the man behind both masterpeices, German designer André Poulheim, to spill the beans on what we can expect with number 50.
Designer André Poulheim
How are BeoLab 90 and 50 similar and different technology-wise?
BeoLab 90 is the only speaker with directivity control, where you can make sound move in the room. That requires an acoustic transparency all around, which is the reason why BeoLab 90 has no front and no back. A 360° design for 360° sound.
What both have in common is that you can control the beam width. You can either enjoy your music in the sweet-spot or invite your friends to share this moment. BeoLab 90 does that with multiple drivers and BeoLab 50 with a motorised lens.
They look very different. BeoLab 90 is very architectural, and 50 more clean and streamlined. What were the main driving factors behind their designs?
With BeoLab 90 we had to express Bang & Olufsen’s statement for the “Vision of Sound”. For us this meant that we needed to strive for something extraordinary. Something that can provide an equal unprecedented visual experience as it does sound-wise. At first sight you should understand that there is something special going on. And when you approach the BeoLab 90 you will feel the effort put into it.
The “function” of BeoLab 50 is somehow different. It is the successor of BeoLab 5 and technology-wise the little brother of the 90. For the 50, the target was to create a speaker which is more easy to integrate in your home. Technology as a part of interior.
What sort of research did you have to do for BeoLab 50? What sort of discoveries or findings did you make?
An important finding is, that even a powerful speaker shouldn’t take too much space in your home. And we found that most people don’t want interiors that are dominated by technology. By applying wooden lamellas to cover the rear facing drivers we pay attention to that. We call it Domesticated Technology.
On the other hand the customer expects a certain level of craftmanship on a Bang & Olufsen product. The company’s capabilities in working with aluminium are amazing and it was up to us to define a structure that would express that in a beautiful way.
How is BeoLab 50 designed with today’s modern environments and lifestyles in mind?
The concept of beam-width-control (which BeoLab 50 has) is not only related to the living environment, but also to how people want to listen to music. While the sweet-spot listening is made to create an immersive moment for a single person, the wider setup makes the whole experience more social and shareable.
Beside that the acoustic lens on BeoLab 50 delivers something extremely important for a Band & Olufsen product. Not only do the chins move to change the mode from narrow to wide, but the entire lens moves up from its enclosure and disappears when the speaker is turned off. Thus, the technological complexity is reduced to a minimum when the speaker should blend into the interior.
In addition, these kinds of delightful movements evoke emotions and a part of a holistic (and magical) experience we want to deliver with this speaker.
Like what you just read? Similar articles below
Hong Kong lifestyle retailer Goods of Desire opened its first store outside of its home city, right here in Singapore.
The launch of the Lookbox Living online portal was an amazing success.
White Horse Ceramic proudly opens its new showroom at Balestier Point