Tag Archives: Bang & Olufsen

Sound Investments: Devialet Phantom vs. Bang & Olufsen A9

With over 100 Patents and up to 4,500 Watts of Power, it’s almost criminal that our luxury audio segment is dominated by only the best marketed brands like Bang & Olufsen and Bowers & Wilkins – that is not to say that these brands are terrible (not by any stretch) but that a French audio maker like Devialet might just be producing designer HiFi systems which are sound investments both aurally and financially.

Recently launched in Singapore, 2 Devialet boutiques have an uphill battle of converting audiophiles and technophiles to an otherwise little known boutique audio system maker in this part of the region. Created in 2007, Devialet was the brainchild of three audio specialists –  pioneering engineer Pierre­ Emmanuel Calmel, entrepreneur Quentin Sannie and product designer Emmanuel Nardin. Together, the trio have founded Devialet to not just be your traditional luxury designer HiFi system provider but also to deliver sound quality which will redefine what the mass consumer market defines as an excellent sound and also preach a new testament for true audiophiles.

Sound Investments: “Class” warfare – Devialet Phantom vs. Bang & Olufsen A9

Before we begin, Luxuo has to qualify that this article is not meant to be a definitive, comparative piece on high quality HiFi systems, instead, it is meant to give a broad overview of what the Devialet Phantom has to offer, in comparison to its best matched competitor while touching on some of a few key points in the audio genre.

The audio challenger: Devialet Phantom

In writing this review, Luxuo travelled to the Devialet boutique at ION Orchard where we learnt that the foundation of the Devialet Phantom’s excellent sound quality can be credited to co-founder Pierre-Emmanuel Calmel in the form of a small, 1cm by 1 cm micro-chip dubbed ADH® (Analog Digital Hybrid) technology – a revolutionary tech which has transformed the process of sound amplification through a combination of analog and digital amplification techniques – the result is a audio amplifier which is comparatively smaller than other speakers on the market today yet delivers  unprecedented clarity and power.

The Devialet Phantom is the result of 12 years of R&D and a combined investment of US$35 million. Sim Weiying, the Marketing Manager for Devialet Singapore was on hand to take Luxuo through the paces for everything from the entry level Devialet White Phantom, delivering 750W of power and 99 dB, to the luxurious high fidelity Gold Phantom which packs a whopping 4500W with 108 dB while finished in an opulent, luxurious 22 carat Rose Gold plated finish.

Reigning audio brand awareness champion: Bang & Olufsen A9

If you’re familiar with the name Bang & Olufsen or even their products like the B&O A9, it’s likely because the brand has developed a reputation for fashionable, designer HiFi systems which often serve not just as great sound delivery systems in the homes of high net worth individuals but often, B&O sound systems can be standalone artworks by their own right by virtue of their amazing design.

Yet, over the years, B&O has done some fantastic ICEpower research and while audiophiles would likely not consider their products to be superlative representations of the best sound systems on the market, there’s no doubt that most consumers have the perception that the dynamic bass-laden depth of the Bang & Olufsen sound is representative of high quality sound. But, the truth is, it is Luxuo’s contention that B&O considerations for aesthetics and design trump Devialet’s consideration for sound first and then attractiveness.

The Phantom vs. A9: Sound off – By the numbers

First, a Devialet Phantom comes as a single speaker – you’re not going to get the sound-scape of left-right separation but the spherical architecture of the front speaker with air pushed through the sides handles sound delivery really well (it’s able to fill a living room and then some). Prices start from SG$2,990 for the basic Devialet Phantom, SG$3,490 for the Silver Phantom and SG$4,490 for the Gold Phantom.

The B&O A9 is interesting in that for SG$3600, you get dual tweeters and mids, a ported 8″ woofer, built-in amplification, and wireless connectivity. Specs-wise, the Bang & Olufsen A9 lists a frequency response of 33Hz to 25kHz and while is pretty large – surface-wise, larger than a Devialet Phantom, the A9 uses ICEpower class-D amps as opposed to the Phantom’s class-A amps. Which leads us to our second point.

Class A vs. Class D amplifiers- Does it matter?

As a general rule of thumb, Class A amplifiers tend to sound natural and detailed – in the words of Ms. Sim, “it sounds exactly as the artiste intended”. Though power hungry and power inefficient (almost 50% of all that power is transformed into heat), Class A amps excel even in instances of high distortion due to superior distribution of harmonics.

B&O A9’s Class D amplifiers are very efficient (only 10% of power lost to heat), while producing a perfectly competent sound and range which is sufficient for the general public.

Overall conclusions of the Devialet Phantom

Despite its “vacuum cleaner” fairly diminutive aesthetic, the Devialet Phantom produces sonics better than larger speakers in its class. Everything has been designed by the trio to maximise sound but the real miracle is that the all classes of Phantom from basic to Gold are single point devices with excellent treble, midrange and bass drivers. Speakers of the Phantom’s size tend to use the common class-D amplifiers but this just isn’t the case for Devialet – the French designer hifi maker uses a proprietary and patented design from AHD microchip to the high pressure manufacture of the pressurised spherical architecture designed to maximise acoustic resonance.

Though built of mere plastic and metal, the Devialet Phantom is built under exacting specifications and conditions to hold 1.2 tons of pressure for the sole purpose of generating air displacement on the level of larger speakers; what results is sub bass at 16hz to ultra sharp sound at 25kHz with no background noise, no saturation, no distortion, all that up to 3000 Watts and 105 Decibels of power, and that’s just the Silver Phantom.

As Weiying took me through the paces of the sound tested, I came to a singular realisation – As a single speaker, Devialet Phantoms are good, but once you start to pair two together they become exceptional thus, if you had money to spare on a single Gold Phantom (over-kill in my opinion), you might be better off with two basic Phantoms. The Phantom is the most exhilarating, widest reproduction of the audio spectrum from the deepest bass ever emitted (14 Hz) all the way up to the crystal­ clear high frequencies (27kHz), reaching higher and lower than the human ear.

Furthermore, “ease of use” ranked high on things I noticed as music can be played from any source with its Bluetooth and WiFi capabilities, with simple connectivity through its own native Devialet app which currently works natively with Tidal though one can stream Spotify and even YouTube with little difficulty.

While the Bang & Olufsen A9 and entry-level Phantom are pretty much targeting the same consumer, it’s pretty clear that audiophiles would lean towards the Phantom as the better audio device.

Clips that were used during the sound test at Devialet Boutique at ION Orchard

Reminiscent of Russian-born composer Igor Fyodorovich Stravinsky’s work, Bear McCreary’s seminal scoring and arrangement on Prelude to War for the contemporary remake of Battlestar Galactica is nothing short of amazing. If you are not familiar with this orchestral wet dream, prepare to be amazed when time-stamp 2:54. This is where Devialet Phantom truly excels.

According to Ben Burtt, Sound Designer of Star Wars, the power of the lightsaber had to be conveyed in decisively through the acoustics, else it would simply look like a mere light torch with non of the potency behind it. What we get from is that signature buzz of a lightsaber’s ignition but when backed by the powerful reverb of a Phantom, the effect is panty-dropping.

If you’re a child of the 80s, you’re bloody going to remember watching the introduction to Top Gun at most all audio visual stores throughout Singapore ad infinitum. Why? Nothing tests the dynamic range of speakers and amplifiers than the mindblowing afterburner thrust of an F14 Tomcat or the high pitch whine of jet propulsion engines firing up. Backed by the emotive music of Harold Faltermeyer and you have a recipe for an orgasm-worthy sound test the minute it leads into Kenny Login’s Danger Zone.

Modular wireless speakers: Bang and Olufsen’s new BeoSound Shape provides amazing sound and spruce up plain walls

Danish manufacturer Bang & Olufsen has unveiled the BeoSound Shape, a new wireless speaker system with a sleek minimalist design and a modular setup. Launched at the Salone de Mobile Milan, the new audio system is made up of a series of hexagonal tiles, arranged on a wall in a unique, customisable and modular design. The system can even help improve interior acoustics when not in use.

Each tile has a specific function, as a speaker, an amplifier, an acoustic damper or a connectivity hub. They can be pieced together in endless combinations of varying sizes and are available in several colors. What’s more, the arrangement of the tiles has a direct impact on the acoustics of the room. At the heart of the speakers is the BeoSound core, a connectivity hub that has the hardware for AirPlay, Chromecast, Spotify Connect, and Bluetooth 4. Although the speakers are largely focused on wireless connectivity, it also has wired inputs for Ethernet.

The system uses an algorithm, developed by Bang & Olufsen, to ensure an immersive, centered soundstage no matter where you are in the room. In other words, the lead singer stays in the center of the soundscape and the instruments join in from the sides, seemingly staying in their place even when you move around. This creates what Bang & Olufsen calls a “band on the wall,” giving listeners the impression of a band playing live in the room. B&O has also developed an online design tool to help audio fans pick a layout for their tiles, suggesting optimal placements for the best results.

The BeoSound Shape will be available from Bang & Olufsen stores from August 2017. Prices depend on configurations (size, fabrics, etc.), but the basic kit, including eight tiles (four speakers, two sound-absorbing acoustic dampeners, one amplifier and one housing for the BeoSound Core connectivity hub) will start at €4,000 (approx. $4,265).

For more information, do visit Bang & Olufsen. Check out the B&O BeoSound Shape in this video:

Did Zagato Just Create the Best Aston Martin?

The world could use more cars like the Aston Martin Vanquish Zagato Concept. Something that would make looking out of a bus window a lot more enjoyable; something that could almost stop traffic. Well this collaboration between the Gaydon-based automaker Aston Martin and Italian coachbuilder Zagato can literally stop traffic, if traffic could ever catch up to it… (The Verge and Bloomberg are already calling it the most beautiful car of 2016 and it might just have our vote too – Ed)

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Not since the Aston Martin V12 Vantage Zagato in 2013 have the two fabled marques – Aston Martin and Zagato – embarked on a collaboration. Launched in Italy’s prestigious Concorso d’Eleganza Villa d’Este, the new grand tourer, in a breath-taking shade of red, shone in all its muscular beauty. The brainchild of Aston Martin’s Marek Reichman and Andrea Zagato, the car is based on – as its name suggests – the Vanquish, only upgraded with several of the Italian coachbuilding company’s design trademarks. And yes, “concept” is part of the name but the car is not just a glint in a designer’s eye.

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Coachbuilders specialize in bodywork and that is what you get here. The entirely carbon fiber body is given a seamless overhaul with massive panels that serve to reduce the number of split lines, complete with a glasshouse that’s shaped like a visor (because, sport). The roof also rocks the ‘double bubble’, a subtle indentation synonymous with Zagato since it was first introduced to its models in the fifties. Its quad exhausts sit nestled amongst the carbon fiber sills that wrap around the body.

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Paying tribute to its equally sexy cousins at Aston Martin, the wing mirrors invoke the One-77, while its side strakes, the DB11. Tail lights that hark to the “bladed” look of the Vulcan’s are also part of the deal.

At the heart of the special edition is a 6.0-liter, naturally-aspirated V12-engine that produces 592bhp, capable of going from 0 – 62kmh in staggering 3.8 seconds. This is an upgrade from the 568hp by the production Vanquish and generates supercar-like acceleration.

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And because everyone knows the Aston Martin Vanquish Zagato Concept will set you back by an eye-watering figure, the good guys at Aston Martin have included herringbone carbon fiber and luxurious anodized bronze leather to the facia, vents and rotary dials to remind you of it. The interior also sees embossed and embroidered ‘Z’ quilt patterns on seat, doors and headrests so you ride in absolute luxury. Just be sure to have your seatbelt on, for obvious reasons.

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The car is fitted with the Vanquish’s usual features— a spectacular center console controlling all aspects of the interior environment, a Bang & Olufsen sound system, and the AMi III infortainment system; but when your V12 sounds that good, you don’t really need any music.

 

Bang & Olufsen: New Major Shareholder from China

Chinese billionaire Qi Jianhong, is now the biggest shareholder in Danish company Bang & Olufsen. His stock in the brand that produces luxury stereo systems and TVs is now held through two companies that he owns. Sparkle Roll Group Ltd. BVI and Sparkle Roll Holdings Ltd.BVI now own a total stake of 18.7% in the company.

Negotiations of the purchase by China’s 422nd richest man who has a net worth of 8 billion Yuan, came after a drawn out sales process by other shareholders. With bleak results that resulted in no strategic buyers and one suitor — who eventually bought the stakes, the successful sale was unconfirmed up until Wednesday. His purchase of 5.67 million shares at a price that is 14% higher than the closing price, now allows management to shift its focus on turning the fate of the company around and in turn increasing sales.

While revenue at the upmarket consumer electronics firm is far from shabby, the company reported a net loss for December to February. The net loss is attributed to the high-cost of the electronics where a television can set you back nearly $8,000 at a time when prices of flat screen sets continue to take a dive. The healthy sales is thought to be due to the strong performance of B&O PLAY — a line of standalone, portable products targeting a generation that listens to music on smartphones instead of home hi-fi systems.

This article was written in-house based on an article in Bloomberg Technology.

Thinnest Laptop: HP Aims Upmarket with Spectre

HP seems to be aiming for some serious one-upmanship here. The first thing to take note about the Spectre (other than the naming sense that seems to be making nods to Rolls-Royce style branding) is, obviously, the thinness. At 10.4mm and 2.45 pounds, this is set up to be one of the sleekest and most lightweight laptops out there. The company claims this is the thinnest laptop ever brought to market.

On the craftsmanship side, there’s also that shiny copper finish that it happens to be all wrapped up in. The shine is all backed up with an edge-to-edge Corning Gorilla Glass display, a backlit keyboard, and a glass trackpad. The laptop even opens on a piston hinge inspired by high-end furniture details (the company is comparing it to an Eames chair!).

Then again, we still have to look to performance. The laptop uses a hybrid battery that ensures up to 9 hours of battery life. It works on an Intel i5 or i7 processor, 8GB of RAM, and SSD storage up to 512GB. The audio system is designed by Bang & Olufsen.

As an extra touch, HP seems to have a special Spectre leather sleeve and slim topload to go with the laptop. The price starts at $1,169. The Spectre was unveiled at the 2016 New York Times International Luxury Conference, in Versailles. You know, this place.

You can see the Spectre in its full glory through the video below, and check out HP’s site here.

BeoLab 18

Bang & Olufsen go rose gold for anniversary collection

 is celebrating its 90th anniversary by releasing six of its products in a trendy rose gold finish.

BeoLab 18

The rose gold finish of the new Love Affair collection, says the company, was achieved through a dyeing process and accompanies touches of wood, a signature material for the brand.

BeoPlay H6

Peter Bang and Svend Olufsen began creating their audio technology in the 1920s and have maintained an Art Deco aesthetic that is front and center in the new collection, which also ties in colored fabrics recently developed with fashion designer Stine Goya.

BeoPlay A9 Gold

The Love Affair Collection comprises the recently launched BeoVision Avant 85 (starting at $25,695), the all-in one entertainment system BeoVision 11-46 ($7,655) and BeoRemote One, the BeoPlay A9 music system ($2,699) and H6 headphones ($419), and the classic BeoLab 18 ($6,920), with a new walnut lamella front and a rose gold cabinet.

Beats Pill Red

Five wireless speakers you can carry with one hand

In the age of smartphones and MP3 players, many audiophiles never leave home without their music.

But headphones aren’t the only way to listen on the go. Here is a selection of 5 portable Bluetooth speakers you can truly take anywhere.

Bose SoundLink Color

Bose SoundLink Color

With a range of around 30 feet or 9 meters, this Bluetooth speaker can play close to 8 hours of music on one charge. The device can connect to two devices simultaneously and makes it easy to switch between them.

Compact, lightweight (1.25 pounds) and highly portable, the SoundLink Color is available in five colors (blue, mint, red, black and white).

It can easily fit into a purse or can simply be carried by hand. The Bose SoundLink Color is available for $129.95.

BeoPlay A2 by B&O Play

BeoPlay A2

The first Bluetooth speaker from , launched through its B&O Play brand, the BeoPlay A2 promises 360° sound.

Thanks to the True360 solution, audio is projected with equal intensity in all directions, so everyone at the party enjoys the same sound quality.

The manufacturer promises a battery life of nearly 24 hours, a record for a speaker of this size. The BeoPlay A2 is priced at $399.

Grundig GSB 200

Grundig GSB 200

In Grundig’s range of portable Bluetooth speakers, the GSB 200 stands out for being shock-resistant, dustproof and waterproof (up to 30 minutes under 1 meter).

With a battery life of 16 hours, the 10W speaker also has a USB port that can be used to recharge other devices. The GSB 200 costs €99.

Emïly by Ora-ïto

The Emïly by Ora-ito

A portable Bluetooth stereo speaker, Emïly is part of French designer Ora-ïto’s first ever line of tech products.

Designed to blend in with any interior design, the device is easy to carry thanks to its handle, which also doubles as a stand.

The Emïly has two drivers of 6W each. The device is NFC compatible and has a battery life of 7 hours. The Emïly is priced at €150.

Beats Pill 2.0

Beats Pill Blue

The latest-generation Beats Pill speaker, with the same capsule shape as the original, is a real featherweight at just 310g, making it easy to take everywhere.

There are only two control buttons for the sound, as the rest of the settings are controlled directly through a Bluetooth-enabled device located within a range of up to 30 feet (9 meters).

The Beats Pill 2.0 is available for $199.95.

BMW Individual 6 Series Gran Coupe Bang & Olufsen Edition

BMW Individual 6 Series Gran Coupe Bang & Olufsen Edition

BMW Individual 6 Series Gran Coupe Bang & Olufsen Edition

Promising to combine the design and engineering prowess of both companies in a single object of desire, only 10 Bang and Olufsen Edition BMW Individual 6 Series Gran Coupés are set to roll off the production line.

As well as being rare, they will also be incredibly fast, thanks to a special competition package of features including a twin-turbo V8 with 575hp on tap and a choice of rear-wheel or all-wheel drive.

Available in two understated exterior colors, Brilliant White Metallic or Dark Graphite II Metallic, the car’s interior is also equally subtle in terms of finish.

The seats are covered in handcrafted Merino Leathers and the door panel and dashboard inserts are black piano wood.

BMW Individual 6 Series Gran Coupe Bang & Olufsen

Then there’s the  sound system. It features 16 separate active loudspeakers, each dressed in a brushed black aluminum cover for a combined 1200 watts. The finishing touch is a set of matching black BeoPlay H6 high-end headphones.

The car comes with pretty much every creature comfort, including active driver aids and infotainment options that the company offers, as standard.

 hopes to start delivering the first cars this summer and warns potential customers that orders are being taken on a first come, first served basis.

Bang & Olufsen Beolit 12

Bang & Olufsen Beolit 12 portable audio system

Bang & Olufsen Beolit 12

Bang & Olufsen have unveiled the Beolit 12 Airplay portable speaker, the first in a new range of products B&O are calling Beo Play.

It follows in the success of the BeoSound 8 system that offered docking for iPads, iPods, and iPhones along with premium sound, craftsmanship, and portability.

The Beolit 12 features a very compact form, designed by designer Cecilie Manz. It comes in three different colors with an eight hour battery life.
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Shooting Star superyacht

Bang & Olufsen equipped high speed superyacht

Shooting Star superyacht

Bang & Olufsen, world leader in high end audiovisual components, has teamed with another world class Danish brand on a new superyacht.

B&O has outfitted Skagen’s Danish Yachts’ new 121-ft. AeroCruiser 38 II, dubbed Shooting Star, with a range of custom-made audio and video products.

The yacht features a luxurious and typically Scandinavian influenced interior to complement her amazing entertainment systems, including a private cinema.
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Bang Olufsen BeoSound 5 Encore

BeoSound 5 Encore by Bang & Olufsen

Bang Olufsen BeoSound 5 Encore

luxury entertainment brand, Bang & Olufsen has unveiled the latest tech in its BeoSound range, the Beosound 5 Encore Music Interface.

Designed by Anders Hermansen, The BeoSound 5 Encore is a plug and play digital music system, that lets you instantly index and access your digital music collection from any USB, wireless handheld device, hard disc or computer.

It also connects you to over 13,000 internet radio stations from all over the world, constantly updated automatically by Bang & Olufsen.
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Audi R8 V8 Limited Edition

Le Mans special edition Audi planned

Audi R8 V8 Limited Edition

Audi has announced a special edition of its R8 V8 vehicle, created in honor of the brand’s tenth victory in the 24 Hours of Le Mans race which took place June 11-12.

Drivers André Lotterer, Marcel Fassler and Benoît Treluyer took Audi to victory with an R8 at the gruelling endurance race, edging in ahead of a Peugeot 908.

It’s the second year that Audi has beaten Peugeot to first place in the race, although the French automaker managed to take third, fourth and fifth places.
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bang and olufsen earset 3i

Bang & Olufsen EarSet 3i Headset For iPhone

bang and olufsen earset 3i

Bang & Olufsen has introduced EarSet 3i stereo headset designed for use with iPhone, iPad and iPod.

Bang & Olufsen says EarSet 3i is developed specifically with the newest generation of Apple devices in mind.

Its functionality is based solely on Apple products and if compared to EarSet 3, it offers additional functionality.
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Bang & Olufsen BeoSound 8 iPod Dock

The danish audio-video manufacturer Bang & Olufsen is entering the iPod/iPhone accessory market with the BeoSound 8.

The brilliant-looking, great-sounding iPod dock – that also docks with iPads- is the first from B&O who claim that it is “the best of its kind in the market”.

It packs two 70w active speakers and the device has also been given an aluminium centrepiece that houses the touch controls.
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Bang & Olufsen BeoVision 10 32-inch HDTV

Bang & Olufsen just announced it has added a new, smaller model to its BeoVision 10 lineup with a 32-inch version.

The third in the series introduced this year sports the same edge LED-backlight, DVB-HD over-the-air TV tuning and two built-in speakers that are said to offer superior sound quality.

Said to be the slimmest TV the company has ever made, the edge-lit LCD design is less than 7cm deep complete with its wall-bracket.
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SLS AMG Gets Bang & Olufsen BeoSound System

Mercedes-Benz AMG in cooperation with hi-fi specialist Bang & Olufsen have developed a custom-designed sound system for the Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG.

The BeoSound AMG high-end sound system has a total output of 1,000 watts, eleven loudspeakers and customizable sound distribution.

The music signals can be distributed to the driver’s seating position, the passenger’s seating position or to a central point, as selected.
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Bang & Olufsen offers new BeoLab 11 subwoofer‎

If you need a better subwoofer for your home theater, then check out the upcoming BeoLab 11 from Bang & Olufsen.

Where it differs from the traditional square box in the corner is that it consists of two separate speaker cabinets that face each other, containing 6.5-inch drivers.

That introduces an acoustic balance, which means that it generates bass with minimal vibrations and can be placed wherever you like – even hung on a wall.
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