Bang & Olufsen, also known as B&O, has been making stylish powered loudspeakers for lifestyle-oriented consumers for years. While B&O has been criticized for being a bit overpriced and not true audiophile speakers, I disagree. Once you experience their speakers' simplicity and easy integration, they become more of a value. For instance, the BeoLab 6000, reviewed here, is a slender, aluminum spire that can be connected to a B&O source or other variable output device, think iPod, and retails for $2,500 per pair. In simpler terms, you could essentially have a respectable two-channel system, which is not bulky nor requires costly electronics and/or cables, for less than $3,000. Intrigued? I was.
• Compare Bang & Olufsen's products to those by Bowers & Wilkins.
The BeoLab 6000 is a sleek, aluminum-encased speaker that is almost completely round at the base and stands a little over 40 inches tall. The BeoLab 6000 comes in a wide variety of colors (all aluminum), including silver, black, dark gray, light silver/white, red and blue. In its raw aluminum or silver finish, the BeoLab 6000 virtually disappears, as the speaker itself takes on the color of your room's surrounding elements, making for a very cool optical effect. The BeoLab 6000 has a fully powered design, using two 59-watt Class AB amplifiers that typically draw eight watts at full power and a very low 1.8 watts at standby, making the BeoLab 6000 shockingly efficient and green. The BeoLab 6000 has a bass reflex design, though the port is behind the grille, and has two three-and-a-half inch bass drivers mated to a three-quarter-inch tweeter. The BeoLab 6000 has a reported frequency response of 55-20,000Hz, making it an ideal candidate for a subwoofer; B&O makes several that fit the bill.
• The BeoLab 6000 is among the sexiest-looking speakers you'll likely ever see. No brand, especially the BeoLab 6000, has been more copied by other manufacturers in an attempt to make a lifestyle-oriented loudspeaker.