Bookshelf speakers have a familiar, well-defined look. They’re boxy, they’re bulky, and they’re sized to fit comfortably somewhere on a bookcase shelf. But they don’t have to be that way forever. Like those traditional speakers, the Bang & Olufsen Beosound Emerge is designed to sit on the bookshelf. Unlike them, it’s designed to blend in with all the printed matter you’ve got stashed in there with its book-like form factor.
Designed in collaboration with London-based agency, Layer, the speaker looks like a small paperback volume that sits on your shelf, along with the rest of your hardbacks and softbacks. Why a book? According to the outfit, they wanted to create the slimmest speaker possible while still delivering an ultra-wide, full-range sound, with the book-like slim and tall form factor making the most sense for that.
The Bang & Olufsen Beosound Emerge is equipped with a 1.45-inch mid-range drive that’s mounted at an unusual angle to accommodate the speaker housing’s slim profile and a 0.6-inch soft dome tweeter, each of which are driven by individual 30-watt Class D amplifiers. There’s also a side-firing 4-inch woofer doling out the low frequencies in all directions, regardless of how it’s positioned, beefed up by a 60-watt Class D amplifier, with an integrated bass port in the rear guiding the low end sound to make it deeper and richer.
According to the outfit, this three-driver setup creates a 180-degree sound dispersion that’s surprisingly wide for its size, making it an ideal speaker for all but the largest living spaces. It integrates the outfit’s Active Room Compensation tech, too, which fine-tunes the sound of the speaker based on the configuration of the room, so it’s going to adapt, regardless of the room’s size and the speaker’s placement in it.
The Bang & Olufsen Beosound Emerge is equipped with both Bluetooth and Wi-Fi, so you can stream music from your phone or hop on directly to your preferred streaming services right from the speaker, along with an Ethernet slot, in case you prefer a wired connection. According to the outfit, the connectivity module is replaceable, too, in case it ever requires updating when new wireless standards are embraced going forward. Capacitive controls sit right at the top of the speakers, making it easy to find tracks, choose playlists, and control playback, whether you’re streaming Spotify, listening to internet radio stations, or playing music files from your home network. It has Google Assistant baked right in, so you can skip the physical controls and just use voice commands to get everything done, along with support for AirPlay 2, Chromecast, and Spotify Connect. And yes, you can put two Emerge speakers together to create a stereo pairing.
The speaker’s book-like enclosure is, naturally, cut in premium materials. The housing is clad in precision-cut, pearl-blasted aluminum, with the spine either covered in aluminum or woven textile, depending on the model. The gold tone model, by the way, has oak panel covers, while the black anthracite model has all-black polymer side panels.
The Bang & Olufsen Beosound Emerge hits global markets in the fall. Price is $899 for the gold tone model and $699 for the black anthracite model.