Ultra-wideband (UWB) technology is the secret sauce behind the super-precise location system built into Apple’s AirTags, which provide a great way for you to track down lost items like keys. But Bang & Olufsen (B&O) has found a new use for UWB: Its uses it track you, or more accurately, your position in a room, so that it can keep you in its acoustic sweet spot.
The B&O Beolab 8, a stunning, all-aluminum wireless speaker that looks like it’s floating in space, starts at $2,749 and will be available in October from bang-olufsen.com or at authorized retailers. That starting price can quickly climb depending on the finishes and type of stand you choose. It works with your home wireless network using Wi-Fi 6, or you can set up ad-hoc streaming connections using Bluetooth 5.3.
The aluminum shell has three color options, while the front grille can be ordered in plain acoustic fabric or three colors of oak. It’s a design that matches the company’s Beolab 28 wireless tower speakers and Beosound Theatre soundbar. There are four stand options, including an available ceiling mount.
The speaker’s tracking system isn’t quite as creepy as it initially sounds. It only works in conjunction with your smartphone (it doesn’t track actual people), and you have to enable it inside the B&O app. Another choice you can make about how sound is directed is via the speaker’s beam width control feature. It lets you switch between two listening experiences: a narrow mode with precision audio to optimize the sweet spot, or a wide mode that diffuses sound throughout the room. LEDs on the speaker display which sound mode status the speaker is in.
However, the Beolab 8 can also tune its sound for your space without the help of you (or your phone). Its Room Compensation feature can map your environment and adjust itself to match your room’s unique acoustic properties. It’s also smart enough to know what type of grille you’ve installed, and can compensate for that choice too.
Under that sleek enclosure is a three-driver setup consisting of a 16mm tweeter, a 3-inch midrange, and a 5.25-inch woofer. B&O hasn’t released any details on the number of amps (likely three — one for each driver) or the total number of watts, but B&O speakers have never been described as underpowered.
You can use a single Beolab 8 on its own, or you can create a stereo pair with a second Beolab 8. It can also be used as part of a larger sound system thanks to its Powerlink and Beolink features, which can create both wired and wireless connections to other B&O speakers and components.
The Beolab 8 is also a WiSA-compatible speaker, so you can use it to set up fully wireless home theater systems if you have a compatible TV or a WiSA SoundSend adapter, plus the speaker supports several music streaming options including AirPlay 2, Spotify Connect, Tidal Connect, and Deezer.
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