B&O Beosound Stage Review – The Best AirPlay 2 Wireless Speaker?

B&O Beosound Stage Review – The Best AirPlay 2 Wireless Speaker?

I remember reading a random magazine as a kid and first seeing a story in there about Bang and Olufsen speakers. It looked totally awesome… and it cost about the price of the apartment we were living in at the time.

While there are plenty of high end manufacturers whose price is very hard to justify, then B&O is actually not one of them, specifically after 2010 when they have started offering much more affordable speaker systems than the outrageous 40 000 USD ones. And this without sacrificing the warm rich sound they are famous for or materials… or craftmanship

My own search for a replacement wireless speaker actually started a while back – I’ve been using on of the first AirPlay speakers – the Pioneer A4. Visually it has aged quite well, but I never really liked it’s sound that was too bass-heavy (I actually took the advice from an Amazon review to put a sock into the subwoofer air scoop – and it has worked beautifully).
My bigger concern however is it’s extremely spotty Airplay connection and long startup time – it shuts down on its own and boots up about a full minute, that’s just insane.

So recently I started to review the list of all AirPlay 2 speakers and turns out there are quite a few – about 50. My wishlist was:

  • Rich, high quality sound that wouldn’t have too much bass
  • Timeless look that would age well
  • Decent size, not some Alexa that you can lose under your couch
  • Connects over AirPlay 2 and Bluetooth

Maybe I should comment a bit on the point about its size – in my head when I think about a great speaker for my phone I always have one image in my mind that I picture.

Those white boxes on the left and right – yes, they are some proper speakers.

As I scanned through the list one thing struck me – most of these speakers were either really ugly or really boring-looking.

There were only two that stuck out and seemed to cover all the points above. The first one being the Naim Mu-So 2nd generation Wireless Speaker or the more affordable Naim Mu-So Qb. The price was pretty out there, at almost 3 000 USD at the time of writing this, but this seemed to be based on really high end (and I mean the level that Neil Young has wet dream about) audio equipment that goes into this box. You could be a proper audiophile and wouldn’t have any complaints.

Naim Mu-So (2nd generation)

The other option was – and I guess it’s not a surprise if you read the title – the first soundbar that Bang & Olufsen have ever made – the Beosound Stage.

It’s pretty much exactly what I had been looking for – both in terms of aesthetics, how simple and clean and timeless it looks, as well as how great it sounds. The classic warm rich sound that B&O is known for is all there.

The Stage isn’t cheap either – starting at around 1 500 USD and up to 2 200 USD based on your finishing options, but this actually seemed reasonable to me. This is how I explained it to myself – if I buy an Alexa for $200, then it will work for a year or two, then it will break or become obsolete and I will actually never use the voice commands. After these 2 years it’s worth 10 bucks.

Wall-mounting is definitely not the only option

On the other hand the Beosound Stage looks great – it’s a piece of the interior decor, I don’t mind putting it to the front and center of my living room. It will look great and work great in 10 years and if I do want to sell it at that point, it has retained most of its original price.

Assembly was also a breeze when I finally got it. We don’t own a TV, so it wasn’t ever meant as a traditional soundbar. I was going to either wall mount it above my living room counter or just place it on the counter on its back. I started with the latter, then changed the setting from the app to let the speaker know about its orientation.
This was just meant as a test but I kept in on the counter was 2 months as it sounded just that great – I would never have guessed that’s even possible. The only reason I did actually end up wall-mounting it was that on its back it started to gather a bit of dust (even though I run my Roomba every other day) and that it took up space that I could have used otherwise.

Whichever way you end up going, it will still look and more importantly sound great!

I don’t know what more there is to say – you can clearly understand by this point that I’m not very unbiased. It’s my first proper B&O and I love it. I think it’s the perfect sweet spot between not paying tens of thousands of dollars, but still getting an exquisite speaker with sound that you cannot believe before you hear it in person.
So should get it too – if you can swallow the price, then absolutely!