Bang & Olufsen’s Beosound Level is the Danish brand’s latest battery-powered speaker. It supports voice control via Google Assistant, Bluetooth and you can also stream to it via the AirPlay 2, Chromecast and Spotify Connect standards. According to B&O, the Beosound Level uses a modular structure that it claims can be used well into the future. Given the speaker’s high starting price of $ 1,499 (£ 1,099), this is a welcome feature.
While many mid-century stereos and amplifiers can still be used today, the average lifespan of modern integrated audio systems is much shorter. If your music system includes a computer, it is inevitable that it will eventually become out of date. B&O hopes the modular design used for the Beosound level will help the company keep it supported longer and make it easier to repair in the event of component failure.
At the heart of this modularity is the Beosound Level streaming module, which houses the speaker’s DSP (Digital Signal Processing) chip, wireless connectivity technology and antenna array. It’s the first B&O speaker to use it, but the company says it won’t be the last. It will be standardized in its future line of home speakers. According to B&O, there is enough processing latitude in the hardware that comes with the Beosound Level to handle updates in the near future. However, when the hardware reaches its limits, the company plans to offer an upgrade service to users who are ready to ship their device to the company to have the streaming module replaced.
The battery of the Beosound Level is also modular and, unlike the streaming module, can be replaced by the user. However, the form factor is not standardized for all B&O speakers. A battery that has been specially developed for the Beosound level is therefore required for replacement. The battery life is up to 16 hours at moderate volume and up to four hours at maximum volume.
Other features include a built-in accelerometer that allows Beosound Level to adjust its sound depending on whether it is vertical, horizontal or hanging on a wall. (A wall mount bracket is sold separately for $ 119 or £ 89.) Internally, the speaker has five drivers: two 4-inch woofers, one 2-inch full-range driver, and two 0.8-inch tweeters.
Charging takes place either via a USB-C port on the speaker itself or by connecting a small magnetic plug (which is powered via USB). The loudspeaker is rated IP54 for dust and water resistance, touch controls and is available with wood or fabric surfaces.
We have tried before for companies to try modular approaches to their devices, but so far it has been difficult to achieve. Have modular smartphones never Really Alienware promises a modular, future-proof laptop fell apart after just a year. Bang & Olufsen tells me that it hopes to support the Beosound Level for years after it eventually ceased production of the speaker. So it may be some time before we see if it is able to achieve its goal.
The Beosound Level is available starting today.