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Bang & Olufsen’s latest speaker is as thin as a book

Bang & Olufsen Beosound Emerge
Bang & Olufsen

The $699 Beosound Emerge is Bang & Olufsen’s (B&O) latest wireless home speaker and, true to form, the Danish audio brand has focused heavily on creating a unique design. It goes on sale in Europe this month, but global availability isn’t expected until the fall.

Developed in conjunction with Benjamin Hubert of Layer, a London-based design agency, the Beosound Emerge can produce expansive, room-filling sound from an enclosure that is only slightly bigger than a hardcover book, according to B&O. How big is it? It stands 9.8 inches tall and is only 2.6 inches wide. In keeping with the book-inspired design, B&O’s logo has been printed sideways, mimicking the spine of a book.

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The Emerge comes in black anthracite at the $699 price, but for $899, you can get a gold-tone edition that sports oak wood side panels for a more luxurious vibe.

Bang & Olufsen Beosound Emerge
Bang & Olufsen

Despite having such a slender body, the Emerge possesses three discretely powered drivers for a total of 120 watts: A 37mm midrange driver, mounted at an angle, a 14mm soft-dome tweeter, and a 100mm side-firing woofer, each of which receives its own class D amp.

To help the Emerge sound as good as possible in multiple locations, it’s been equipped with active room compensation technology that customizes the sound design based on the placement of the speaker in your room.

A set of soft-touch controls for playback control sit on the top surface of the speaker, and B&O has incorporated a circular volume control that’s reminiscent of the iPod’s jog wheel.

Connectivity options abound. The Beosound Emerge has both Wi-Fi and Bluetooth, and each speaker has an Ethernet jack and a combo line-in/optical jack for connecting external sound sources. You can control your music-streaming sessions from the B&O app, or you can send music to the speaker directly via AirPlay 2 or Chromecast. It also has onboard microphones that let you use the Emerge as a Google Assistant smart speaker.

Bang & Olufsen Beosound Emerge
Bang & Olufsen

You can add the Beosound Emerge to an existing group of B&O wireless speakers for multiroom audio, and for the first time on a B&O product, you can take two Emerges and create a stereo pair within the B&O app. Previously, stereo pairing required the Google Home app.

B&O has been on a tear in 2021 so far. It has announced two new headphones — one for general listening and another aimed at gamers with deep pockets — and a pricey portable speaker called the Beosound Level.

The Level is interesting not just for its price but also because of its focus on long-term sustainability. You can swap out internal modules if they become obsolete, and the Beosound Emerge adopts a similar strategy, which B&O says should future-proof the speaker.

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