Ears-on: B&O’s new Beolit 12 AirPlay speaker

You know you’re an audio geek when you’re most interested in the bit of the product demo where you get to hear how it sounds. Well, after about 10 minutes of listening time with the Beolit 12, a new AirPlay-compatible speaker launched under the Danish company’s new B&O Play line, we have to say we were impressed.

Listening to a couple of tracks of our own over the 3.5mm stereo minijack (the Bang & Olufsen store we were in was afraid of us hogging Wi-Fi bandwidth for AirPlay), we have to say that this little speaker sounds promising. Bass was deep and taut, while vocals have a good presence. Treble was also nicely handled without being harsh. One track we tried, American Baby by The Dave Matthews Band, sounded quite detailed, even though it was just a 192kbps constant-bitrate MP3 ripped from a CD.

A look at the rubberized top panel of the speaker and backlit touch-sensitive buttons. (Credit: Timothy Fernandez/CNET Asia)

B&O’s first AirPlay speaker will sell for S$1,195 (US$950) in Singapore, which is a little more than its US$799 price in the US. Like all B&O products, we weren’t expecting an amazing price-to-performance ratio, but felt that this boxy speaker at least made a good first impression–we began drawing some comparisons with much larger speakers such as the B&W Zeppelin Air and Bose SoundDock 10, which says a lot.


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