The BeoPlay A9 – it's a speaker, not a satellite dish
By Ben Coxworth
October 9, 2012
B&O; Play could be described as the hip, contemporary arm of Bang & Olufsen. That ethos is certainly reflected in the company’s soon-to-be-available streaming wireless speaker, the BeoPlay A9. Unlike traditional boxy speakers, it’s flat(ish), it’s round, and it’s designed to be looked at as much as listened to.
Whether you like it or not, there’s no denying that the A9 is certainly ... eye-catching. It can stand on the floor using its three solid wooden legs (available in oak, beech or teak), it can be mounted on the wall using a slot that doubles as its carrying handle, and it has interchangeable cloth covers available in different colors to match your decor. According to B&O;, however, it’s more than just another pretty face.
The A9 can play music from an iPhone, iPad or Android device, immediately after being paired with it – the speaker uses the Apple Airplay and DLNA wireless streaming systems (it also has a mini jack and a phono connector, for wired connectivity). Users can then select tracks and control volume using their mobile device, although there is also some touch sensor functionality on the speaker itself. Volume can be increased or decreased by swiping a hand across that top-mounted sensor, or muted by placing a hand over it.
Inside, the A9 incorporates two three-quarter-inch tweeters and two three-inch midrange units, all four of which are powered by their own separate 80-watt class D amplifiers. It also has an eight-inch bass unit, which is driven by a dedicated 160-watt class D amp and coupled with a bass reflex unit.
Depending on where the speaker is placed, users can select one of three sound modes to “optimize its acoustic performance.” These consist of Wall, Corner and Freestanding, with a manual mode also available.
The BeoPlay A9 will be available for purchase as of the middle of November. The base model, with a white cover and beech legs, is priced at €1,999 (US$2,575).