Acoustic Art: Bang & Olufsen BeoLab 12 Series Speakers

Denmark’s Bang & Olufsen has always had a knack for style, but the BeoLab 12 Series speakers just might be the most elegant-looking speakers you can put on a stand or—even better—hang on the wall next to a flat-panel TV in a modern room. From large to small, the line comprises three models suitable for stereo or surround sound—the 37-inch-tall 12-3 and the 24.5-inch-tall 12-2 and 12-1—the first two of which use B&O’s acoustic lens technology: A mushroom-like deflector disperses high frequencies in a 180-degree arc while minimizing floor and ceiling reflections that can muddle the sound. The result? A “deeper sense of space and realism,” according to B&O. The speakers can be mounted with the lens on the top or bottom, depending on the installation.

The gently curved exterior, featuring a shimmering aluminum finish on models 12-3 and 12-2 and a fabric cover on the 12-1, was designed by David Lewis Designers, the firm founded by the late David Lewis, creative force behind B&O’s iconic designs for more than four decades. There is also inner beauty to behold in the form of a compact and highly efficient amplifier made by ICEpower, a B&O company specializing in Class D amplifiers. The 12-3 packs 480 watts, while the 12-2 and 12-1 have 320 watts and 160 watts, respectively. Having onboard power not only ensures an ideal match between amplifier and speaker but simplifies installation by reducing the wire count.

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Sound is reproduced by a flat 6.5-inch woofer and a 2-inch midrange/tweeter in the BeoLab 12-1, while models 12-2 and 12-3 add a 0.75-inch tweeter (and acoustic lens) to the mix plus a second woofer in the 12-3. With an effective frequency range of 45 hertz to some- where north of 22 kilohertz, the BeoLab beauties will benefit from a standalone subwoofer, such as the stylish BeoLab 2—especially for those who crave the full visceral impact of today’s action-adventure movies. The speakers are offered in silver or white, and pricing is $4,613/pair for the 12-3, $3,120/pair for the 12-2, and $2,950/pair for the 12-1. Matching floor stands are available.

Bang & Olufsen • (866) 520-1400 • bang-olufsen.com

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COMMENTS
simbohm's picture

Using the 12-2's with a Beolab 11 subwoofer and a BeoVision 10. The setup frankly sounded even better then I had hoped for. Really very, very impressive - in comparison, they sounded worse in the store (and they did not sound bad there).

Not sure what they were thinking with the 12-1 pricing - seems like it should be at least $5-700 less then the 12-2. The 12-3 has more authority by itself, but I much preferred the sound (for music) setup of a 12-2 + a sub - it also dramatically improves movie tracks (though for me its a mute point since I have a HT with slightly better kit).

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