Bang and Olufsen’s Beosound Emerge is a bookshelf speaker that’s designed in the form factor of a hardcover book. But don’t be fooled by the size. It is one of those speakers that will surprise you with the kind of sound it delivers in a compact form factor.
Most bookshelf speakers are rectangular boxes with speaker grilles on the front, and that’s about it. But the Beosound Emerge is designed to accompany the premium aesthetics of your living room or bedroom. B&O has put in a lot of attention to detail and it shows. While the company’s products aren’t known for their value-for-money proposition, the Beosound Emerge is different. Here’s what you need to know about the device if you’re in the market for a bookshelf speaker.
Price and availability
The B&O Beosound Emerge is priced at $799 in the U.S. It is also available in the U.K. and India for £539 and Rs 75,000, respectively. It is selling through offline stores and is currently unavailable on online retailers.
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The B&O Beosound Emerge oozes premiumness as soon as you set your sight on it. It’s slim, compact, and elegant. It is designed to look like a hardcover book, and B&O’s claim of delivering 180-degree sound lets you place it anywhere. The speaker is made out of oak wood, knitted fabric, aluminum, and polymer.
The Emerge comes with a gold and silver tone alongside the wooden finish. The brand logo is embedded on the spine. It is designed to be attractive (or you can say, emerge from the background) instead of getting lost in the surroundings, which works in its favor. Like all B&O products, it is made with attention to detail.
On top of the speaker, you get volume, playback, Bluetooth, a mic, and station controls. You can adjust the volume by sliding your finger clockwise on the panel. The controls are responsive, and at times, too sensitive but it is an intuitive interface, and I enjoyed using it. I’m usually an advocate of having physical control buttons on my audio devices but the Beosound Emerge’s control system has me satisfied.
At the back and towards the bottom lie the connectivity options – a 3.5mm analog or digital optical socket, an ethernet port, and a USB-C port to power the device. I used the audio jack to connect it with my JMGO N1 Ultra projector and loved the output I got but it wasn’t without inconvenience. I had to set the volume every time when I powered on both the projector and the speaker. At the rarest of times (on two occasions in my two-month usage), it would connect with my phone via Bluetooth to start playing songs over Spotify instead of playing the sound from the projector.
The Beosound Emerge comes in a modular design. As a result, you can swap or upgrade the parts if and when needed. It is also possible to replace the connectivity module.
The B&O Beosound Emerge features a 101mm bass driver powered by 60W class D, a 30W class D for mid-range frequencies in the 37mm driver, and a 30W class D for 15mm tweeter. The Bang & Olufsen control app offers graphic EQ adjustment to tune the speaker to your liking.
B&O doesn’t reveal the codecs on offer, and my testing was limited to SBC and AAC codecs. You also get Spotify Connect, Chromecast, and Apple AirPlay 2. Plus, you can access Bang & Olufsen Radio streaming service via the app, which wasn’t of much use to me. It also supports Google Assistant and Google Home, so it was easy to add it to my living room in the Home app. You can play songs on the Emerge via WiFi as well as Bluetooth.
While the cabinet is thin, there is nothing thin about the sound. It delivers the kind of sound that you’d expect from a speaker triple its size. The Beosound Emerge delivers good bass with the speaker’s lower limit frequency set to 45 Hz. The bass isn’t thumping like that on my Marshall Stanmore 2 but it’s pleasing to the ears. It can still make your furniture vibrate. Despite the 45Hz to 22kHz range, the Emerge does well at crossover points between frequencies.
Both male and female voices sound natural without leaning towards the high frequency, which could get uncomfortable to listen to at times. The instrument separation is on point as I could hear the guitar tunes in the middle of the drum beats in pop/rock songs from my favorite band, Strings.
The Beosound Emerge gets loud enough to fill a big room. I’ve been using it as my go-to speaker with my projector when I have the option to use the Sonos Ray soundbar with the Sub Mini connected to my OnePlus Q2 Pro TV. I observed that switching between 80% volume and 100% volume, you won’t notice a major difference but going from 60% to 80% is much more noticeable.
There are a number of options for bookshelf speakers that come in pairs and cost less than the Beosound Emerge. These include speakers from Elac, Klipsch and Dali. But none of those are as elegant as the Emerge. In case you need a portable speaker setup, you can buy two $399 Sonos Move speakers, which are one of the best Bluetooth speakers. They would still cost you less than the B&O speaker. But the true power of the Beosound Emerge lies in how powerful yet thin it is to offer the kind of sound it does.
Should you buy the Beosound Emerge?
You should buy this if…
- You want an aesthetic bookshelf speaker
- You need a compact speaker without compromising on sound
- You want to place your speaker in any room
You shouldn’t buy this if…
- You need a portable Bluetooth speaker
- You want expansive sound, no matter the size of the speaker
The B&O Beosound Emerge is the most compact table speaker from the company to date. However, you shouldn’t judge it for its size. The Emerge is loud and offers brilliant sound across low and high frequencies. It’s a surprise that B&O was able to fit this level of sound in such a thin cabinet.
I love the design of Beosound Emerge. It is an elegant piece of hardware that stands out with its book-shaped design. The wood and gold combo is soothing to look at. While you can get a pair of stereo speakers for less than the price of one Beosound Emerge, you should buy it if you want a stylish bookshelf speaker that sounds amazing.