If your initial impression on seeing the Beolab 5 loudspeaker is that the martians have landed, you could be forgiven it looks as unconventional as a speaker can look. But listen for a moment to the remarkable sound which emanates from these futuristic devices, and your impression will be one of wonder.Bang & Olufsen set out to create the best speaker in the world in the Beolab 5, and the result is spectacular, even to the untrained ear.Though the Beolab 5 breaks with traditional speaker design with its conical shape with three circular discs perched atop, it will almost certainly become the benchmark by which all other speaker systems are judged as it is landmark in appearance AND acoustic design.In building the Beolab 5, B&O has used several different complementary technologies, the most interesting being the use of acoustic lens technology developed in America. The use of acoustic lenses on the treble and mid-range speakers enables the sound to be delivered through a 180 degree angle in the horizontal plane. This ensures optimum sound experience regardless of the loudspeaker's position, and when coupled with B&O's new Adaptive Bass Control system, the picture is complete the speakers can be placed anywhere in a room and will adapt to provide optimum sound reproduction.The Beolab 5 incorporates several other patented innovations - a Moving Microphone System measures and the Adaptive Bass Control which analyse reflections in the room and adapts the bass unit's performance. Normally, bass reproduction is sensitive to loudspeaker position, but the BeoLab 5 sound can be optimised for any space by pressing a button at the top of the loudspeaker which then calibrates and adapts to the surroundings within two minutes. As a result, you can place the BeoLab 5 exactly where you wish.And whilst they look and sound impressive, the specifications will be oft quoted. Each Beolab speaker weighs 61 kg and incorporates four active speaker units each with its own amplifier. At the base of the unit in the large cone, is a long-throw 15 inch bass driver for deep bass and there's also a 6.5 inch unit for the upper bass. Each has its own 1000 watt ICEpower' amplifier, while the treble and mid-range units have 250W amps add that up and you'll find that each speaker is capable of putting out 2500 Watts that's 2.5kW.To put that in perspective, motor scooters of greater than 0.2kW require a motorcycle license a pair of Beolab 5s can produce 5.0kW.But the specs don't tell the tale the speakers are extraordinary and deliver a sound which is pure and totally free of extranaeous noise, with an effective frequency range from the lowest base (20 Hz) through the highest audible freuqncies (20,000 Hz).At an anticipated $30,000, the black Beloab 5s are not the most expensive speakers in town, but they have set a new standard in sound delivery.
New Audio Benchmark: 2500W speakers from Bang & Olufsen
About the Author
Mike grew up thinking he would become a mathematician, accidentally started motorcycle racing, got a job writing road tests for a motorcycle magazine while at university, and became a writer. As a travelling photojournalist during his early career, his work was published in a dozen languages across 20+ countries. He went on to edit or manage over 50 print publications, with target audiences ranging from pensioners to plumbers, many different sports, many car and motorcycle magazines, with many more in the fields of communication - narrow subject magazines on topics such as advertising, marketing, visual communications, design, presentation and direct marketing. Then came the internet and Mike managed internet projects for Australia's largest multimedia company, Telstra.com.au (Australia's largest Telco), Seek.com.au (Australia's largest employment site), top100.com.au, hitwise.com, and a dozen other internet start-ups before founding Gizmag in 2002. Now he writes and thinks.All articles by Mike Hanlon