Bang & Olufsen Beosound Stage soundbar review

hcchighreccomendBang & Olufsen's first soundbar is an extravagant performer, insists Steve May

The category has been around for more than a decade, but the Beosound Stage is the first dedicated soundbar to come from the Bang & Olufsen stable – and it arrives with a sonic maturity that makes you think B&O has been making these things for years.

A one-piece design, it doesn't feel the need for a wireless subwoofer, and there's no option to add one either. Adopting a curved design with a forward-facing grille, it also doesn't appear to offer a multiplicity of drivers.

Yet this casual confidence belies its sophistication, and the glorious noise it makes when powered up...

Build quality, as we've come to expect from the high-end brand, is about as upmarket as consumer electronics get. Designed by Danish studio NORM Architects, this new addition to the Beosound family of speakers smacks of Scandinavian elegance.

Fishy Business
For this review, we auditioned the most expensive variant available, the Smoked Oak version. This is the prettiest option, but comes with a significant price premium, at £1,900.

If you're not desperate for the Scandi wood style, or simply want to save cash for discs, there's a choice of either Natural aluminium trim, or Bronze Tone editions, both of which sell for a more competitive £1,250.

That said, the attention to detail on the Smoked Oak iteration is admirable. The cabinet edges sport lovely dovetail joints, a shout-out to traditional Scandinavian cabinetry. And despite the fact the surround is made of wood, you still get touch-sensitive controls (which is quite a production trick) for source, volume, power and Bluetooth pairing.

Both the Natural and Bronze Tone enclosures are cast from a single piece of aluminium. There's also a rather fetching Anthracite limited edition, priced at £1,350.


The Stage can be used in either a horizontal or vertical orientation. To achieve the latter, and not have to wall- mount just for this review, I sat it on two small L-shaped brackets. At 110cm wide, it suits flatscreen TVs 55in and upwards.

Connectivity is a touch meagre. Pop off the centred cover on the rear, and you'll find a single HDMI 2.0 input and eARC-enabled HDMI output; Ethernet for wired networking; and a 3.5mm mini-jack for use with a local media player, or if your TV predates ARC, a line input from the set. So there's no digital optical audio socket, and only one HDMI input on a premium soundbar is a bit stingy. A USB port would also have been welcome, not only for media playback, but to power a streaming stick which might have occupied that solitary HDMI input.

Wirelessly, in addition to Wi-Fi and Bluetooth, the soundbar supports Apple AirPlay 2, and has Chromecast built-in. If you already have a BeoLink Multiroom system, it'll also dovetail with that.

There's no remote control in the box. Instead it's intended to work with either the dedicated Bang & Olufsen app, or your regular TV zapper.

Alternatively, if the Stage is partnered with an LG C9 OLED TV, this opens up control via the brand's Beoremote One. There's a good reason for such specificity. The C9 is the OLED used by B&O for its Harmony and Eclipse TV models. The two can be linked by Cat cable, via the RJ45 port in the well on the back of the 'bar.

Turned Up To 11
The Stage has an acoustically transparent Kvadrat cloth grille. There's a subtle 2mm gap between it and the frame, which creates the illusion that it's almost floating. If you fancy a change in style, it can be pinged off. Doing this also affords a closer look at the driver arrangement.