Bang & Olufsen’s recent speaker launches include an upgradeable modular speaker and a slimline model designed to blend in with bookcases, and yet the Beolab 28 it just announced manages to be the most distinct and unusual of the bunch.
A pair of speakers shaped like tall, thin posts, the Beolab 28 is inspired by the old Beolab 6000 and 8000 loudspeakers but with a wealth of wireless connectivity. And if you opt for the wall bracket base instead of the floor stand, you can have each speaker pointing up out of your wall like a giant music-emitting antenna.
Bang & Olufsen says that that the slim dimensions and small footprint are intended to help you place the Beolab 28 anywhere. To this end it also includes both “narrow mode” and “wide mode” playback options, with the latter diffusing the sound output more evenly around the room so that you don’t need to stay in the Beolab 28’s sweet spot.
That sound comes pumping out from a combination of three full-range drivers, one tweeter and a downwards-firing subwoofer, and with a peak power output of 625W, you can probably expect some serious volume.
A voice assistant, like Google Assistant, isn’t listed among the Beolab 28’s features, though these do include built-in AirPlay 2 and Chromecast streaming. That’s on top of Spotify Connect integration and Bluetooth 5.0, so there are plenty of ways to play music through your phone or tablet.
Bang & Olufsen will also apparently add Beolink Multiroom capability in autumn 2021. And the Beolap 28 will immediately be able to connect directly to one of the Bang & Olufsen’s TVs — the Beovision Contour, the Beovision Eclipse and the Beovision Harmony — to upgrade their sound output, similarly to the best soundbars.
There’s just one potential problem: the Beolab 28 is expensive. As in empty-your-bank-account expensive. The fabric grille version is a cool $14,750 for the pair, while the more earthy wooden-clad model will set you back $16,500. It’s so exclusive that you can’t simply buy it through the Bang & Olufsen website; you have to book a private demo first.
At least the Beolab 28 built the last. Each speaker shares the most interesting feature of the aforementioned B&O modular speaker, the Beosound Level: a removeable wireless module that you’ll eventually be able to upgrade. In theory, this will let your Beolab 28 keep up with improvements to Wi-Fi and Bluetooth standards without the need to replace the entire speaker.