Bang & Olufsen Beosound Stage Soundbar Page 2

There are no fewer than eleven drivers in play, each powered by a claimed 50W amplifier. There are four woofers, in a stereo configuration, plus two 1.5in midrange units and a 0.75in dome tweeter in the centre. Additionally, there are midrange and tweeters left and right, angled upwards at 45 degrees (if the bar is in its wall-mounting orientation).

Bang & Olufsen describes this assemblage as a 3.0 system, but it's fully compatible with Dolby Atmos, and does an excellent job creating a sense of height and width, casting audio wider than any flatscreen. It also does visceral attack well.

When the pursuing gang roar into shot at the opening of Mad Max: Fury Road (4K Blu-ray), the soundstage widens perceptively. As Max's motor inevitably catapults into the air, the stunt car rolls with a reassuringly physical impact.

It's rare for an all-in-one soundbar to convey a sense of height and overhead panning, but the Stage offers enough of a simulacrum to bring a smile to the chops of even a die-hard home cinephile.


It's articulate too. The storm sequence in In the Heart of the Sea (Blu-ray) is a complex, layered Atmos mix of crashing waves, whipping sails and barked dialogue, but the Stage manages to keep all these elements untangled.

Bass is surprisingly profound, which probably explains why there's no wireless subwoofer provision, even as an additional upgrade. I measured meaningful rumbles down to 31.5Hz, allowing movies to convince with LFE action. There's also terrific mid-bass energy.

The opening bombing run in Unbroken (Blu-ray) is a great test of dynamics and bass slam, as flak detonates around the aircraft. The delayed rumble as the bombs explode on target, before the bomber peels off for its return, is deep and ominous, just as it should be.

When the Zeros retaliate, there's a real sense that they're flying past your sofa. The deep thudding of the bomber's gun turret is clean and powerful.

The Stage accepts Dolby Atmos from Blu-ray disc in a Dolby TrueHD wrapper, as well as the Dolby Digital Plus variant typically used by premium pay and streaming TV services. It's also compatible with the DTS core codec, but not DTS:X.

It's a rather convincing Bluetooth speaker too. Isolation, by Sepultura, is a raging maelstrom of machine-gun beats and swaggering riffs. It's not an easy track for an all-in-one to delineate, but there's enough width between its stereo array to form a circle pit.

By contrast, the pure pop of No Shame, by 5 Seconds of Summer, showcases the Stage's excellent mid-range delivery. The mix is deliberately constrained, and the Stage presents it with a pointy focus.


Broad Appeal
We've had a long wait for this Beosound debutant, but it's been worth it. Surprisingly, this isn't an idiosyncratic soundbar for the B&O faithful, but something with much broader appeal. The minimalist design is on trend, and its performance is gutsy but refined. Some might even argue the Stage is reasonably priced against higher-end opposition.

It isn't wholly intended for TV duties either. Bang & Olufsen believes it is musical enough to serve as a dedicated hi-fi speaker, even with the TV turned off, and I concur. It's snappy and dynamic, and capable of a decent stereo soundstage.

But it's as an AV soundbar that it ultimately wows. Indeed, the Beosound Stage is possibly the most compelling all-in-one soundbar I've heard since the Sennheiser Ambeo Soundbar [see HCC #302], albeit a different proposition. It's less feature-packed – particularly regards channel count and HDMI options – but more plug-and-play. And it's a stunning fusion of sonic clarity and high-end design.

HCC Verdict

Bang & Olufsen Beosound Stage

Price: £1,250 (£1,900 Smoked Oak)

We say: B&O's debut soundbar is excitingly cinematic and convincingly musical. It's a potent cocktail of performance and design.

Overall: 4.5/5


Drive units: 4 x 4in woofers; 4 x 1.5in midrange drivers; 3 x 0.75in tweeters
Amplification (Claimed): 11 x 50W
Connections: 1 x HDMI input; 1 x HDMI ARC output; 3.5mm stereo minijack input
Dolby Atmos/DTS:X: Yes/No
Separate sub: No
Remote control: No
Dimensions: 1,100(w) x 170(h) x 77(d)mm
Weight: 8kg

Features: Dolby Atmos decoding; wall-mounting option; Chromecast built-in; Dolby Vision HDR passthrough; Apple AirPlay 2; Bluetooth 4.2; Wi-Fi; Ethernet; 44Hz-22kHz claimed frequency response; BeoLink Multiroom; Bang & Olufsen app; touch-sensitive controls; Beoremote One control with LG C9 OLED TVs; Music, Movie, TV and Night modes

Bang & Olufsen