I hope to share two more wonderful Bang & Olufsen devices with you by the end of the summer: the first in today’s roundup, and the second, the Portal headphones, co-created with Microsoft for the Xbox. Both gadgets are wonderful in their own way. Let’s say the Level column meets me in the bathroom in the morning and pleases me with music. Well, Portal helps you play peacefully at home or work, without disturbing your family or colleagues. And when the devices work and make me happy, I don’t know what more to wish for from technology. Maybe a little magic or miracles? And I am happy that over the years, Bang & Olufsen has not forgotten about it. Beosound Level has plenty of its own magic. Portal has it too, but we’re not talking about them today.
At Bang & Olufsen, they know how to make very ingenious beauty. Here’s just one example: There is a circular hole on the back of the Level. We have a USB Type-C connector for charging and some contacts – you can see this at the first cursory glance. In fact, everything is not easy.
Under the removable rubber plug, there is an Ethernet input for cable connection, an audio cable. You can charge the speaker either with a cable or with a complete magnetic charger. I did not bother and connected the power supply for the MacBook.
But that’s not the whole story about the tricky hole! The fact is that the column can be placed in three ways: it can lie, it can stand, and it can also be hung on the wall – and the additional wall mount fits into the hole.
The mount costs 120 euros and looks like this:
This is where the story about the hole can end – it seems like one design element, but how many spun around it!
There is another interesting thing: original grilles are produced for the Beosound Level. For example, this one is made of wood. Yes, you can mount it yourself without any problems:
The company’s website also sells special long USB Type-C cables that match the style, do not forget to buy.
And for Level, there are at least a couple of beautiful official photos showing the interior decoration:
Two huge woofers, two tweeters, one mid-tweeter, four class D amplifiers, a huge battery replaceable. And this is also a huge plus. I’ll tell you why I think so.
Once I was looking for an apartment to rent and came to look at housing in my favorite district of Ramenki. I will not name the street. One hundred meter apartment, excellent renovation, everything is great, but there is a healthy Bang & Olufsen tube TV in the living room. The thing is beautiful but useless in those realities. I asked if they could take him out promptly. The realtor immediately changed her face and said, they say, the owner insists that the TV stay here – this is a design element, matched to the furniture, shows excellent (!) And all that. We argued for a while, and I left with nothing. The TV remained in its place. I rented another apartment.
The moral is simple: old TVs cannot be improved in any way, so it is not completely clear with what level of income you can buy Beovision for $$$$ (and whether it should be done at all). But the thoughtful design of the Beosound Level made me very happy. Over time, you can change the battery, buy a new grill, stop dragging the system around the rooms and hang it on the wall. Or add a second Level – yes, they can work in pairs. If you want, choose a column of gold color, it is straight Art Deco, straight lines, great color, metal is combined with wood and modern plastic. If you want – buy a gray with a black grill made of fabric, like mine. Suitable for any interior, does not attract attention, sounds gorgeous. Well, and one more thing: after all, this is an expensive system. And it’s great that they didn’t make it disposable – on the contrary, they use it for decades.
And every detail is thought out here. How to transfer Level, for example? This is a pretty tough thing. Therefore, a carrying handle is made on top. It is convenient to pick up the system and drag it to the balcony or the bathtub. Sometimes she lives there for several days, while the sport takes place not at home, but in the gym. Then the wife takes her to the living room or hallway. And this is the first speaker where she herself learned to turn on the music quickly! The whole house has been in “Sonos” and “home pods” all her life, but it is difficult for her to cope with them – with Level, everything is different.
What else made me happy. Well, take at least the time of work. Yes, this system has Bluetooth (profile 5.1), there is support for AirPlay 2, it is possible to play Internet radio – in fact, the widest possibilities. Thanks to the healthy battery (in the photo below on the left), the operating time is already 16 hours, which is very, very long. The charging time is about three hours. How many times a week do I charge the system? Perhaps, a couple of times – as I said, either I connect the MacBook power supply or the original magnetic charger.
About the management. Here, all the touch buttons are on the top, collected in a thin strip. You can figure it out without instructions. Keep in mind that there are some tricks here, too: the strip resembles the Touch Bar on MacBooks. That is, you can move your finger along with the volume control points, or press the plus and minus buttons, or immediately poke at the desired volume level. I think a child will figure it out. It’s just that there is a really normal sensor with a human face and not with a fig in his bosom.
By the way, there are the usual buttons: one turns on Level, the other cuts off the microphones. Yes, yes, there is also an opportunity to use voice assistants.
Summing up the design – everything is very cool! If you have heard from someone that Bang & Olufsen does an interesting technique and Level will be the first, you will definitely be surprised. It’s just that everything here is for people as much as possible.
Main feature and application
The familiar Bang & Olufsen program is being used. At first glance, there is nothing new here: here’s a software update, an equalizer, and here’s playback controls. But there is also a global difference in functionality from other brand products.
There was once upon a time an exotic product category – speakers for playing DAB radio. They usually resembled regular radios but worked with Internet radio stations. The abbreviation stands for very simply: Digital Audio Broadcasting, digital broadcasting. Many large and small companies produced such devices, no products were supplied to Russia – let me remind you that DAB flourished a long time ago. For Europe and the USA, DAB was outdated five years ago, and a transition to DAB + is taking place / has taken place. I personally came across DAB receivers on business trips abroad, in hotels, or somewhere on a visit, and I really like this idea for its simplicity: I pressed the power button, quickly chose the station, that’s it.
Modern “smart” speakers and advanced home systems make it possible to switch to your favorite music quickly. But, for example, my wife loves to listen to radio “Jazz” or “Monte Carlo” while she walks on the road or gets ready in the bathroom. There is an option to launch the Internet radio program on your smartphone and stream the stream to Sonos or HomePod. Okay, no problem, that’s what I did. But Bang & Olufsen thought: what if some gentlemen and ladies do not want to launch programs and want to press one button?
This is what makes Beosound Level captivating. As with ancient DAB radio systems, you can pre-assign four favorite stations and quickly jump between them. The application for Level seems to be the same, but a built-in directory of radio stations has appeared here. I found both Proton Radio and Frisky Radio. Of course, there are Jazz and Monte Carlo. Please note that in the screenshot above, the stations I have selected are in the center, and on the right are the recommended local ones. Well, then everything is simple: using the touch buttons on top, you can quickly navigate between your favorite stations.
I hope that the Bang & Olufsen Radio function used in the program will be included for all other Bang & Olufsen devices – it’s done perfectly, it works stably, the catalog is huge. And it seems to be an old story, and there are already a hundred years of programs with Internet radio catalogs, but Bang & Olufsen has done great.
As for such utilities, I bought a paid version of TuneIn many years ago. And he used it for a long, long time. And now, with each launch, I am offered to buy the TuneIn Premium version, one month for free(!). For internet radio. It’s great to listen to free Proton Radio in a paid subscription program. That is why if B&O makes this function standard for their utility, it will be very cool.
The column came to me at the beginning of the summer. I can honestly say that I have been using Level more often lately than other home audio devices. I really like the sound! The system is powerful, the sound is dense, cool, I don’t know anything about the brand color, but I trust the sensations – there are not very large rooms in the apartment, but Level easily fills even the living room.
But something else is more important: it’s somehow very cool to carry such a big sound with you. My wife and I drove to Zavidovo to wallow on the beach, and the system was nearby – as before, I always carried Beolit in the trunk. We went in the evening to sit on a bench near our house – Level was right there. I took apart the balcony – what do you think was next to it on the shelf? Moreover, I have already spoken about this. The wife learned to use the system and carries her everywhere within the apartment and yard (yoga, workouts on the street, kitchen, etc.).
And the point, I repeat, is not even a comfortable handle – there is a combination of characteristics, a successful combination of sound, ease of control, excellent ergonomics.
It’s one of the most expensive Bang & Olufsen systems – Bang & Olufsen Beosound 1 above it, but it’s a stationary system with more design than versatility:
Almost three times cheaper is the Bang & Olufsen Beolit 20. It does not have a radio, but the sound is gorgeous, the design is great, it is comfortable to wear and carry. I highly recommend it too. I used the very first generation, blissed-out, a great thing. If you need something relatively compact for your home with a wide variety of connectivity options, this is a good option. I will try to review this system too.
But the strength of Beosound Level in the totality of characteristics is clear that the product is a niche one, and the consultant in the store will have to explain for a long time about the functions, the price, and what is generally going on. But that is Bang & Olufsen’s goal – to create incredible products that sell themselves. If you are mentally ready for such expenses and desire to update your home acoustics – go in, listen, try, Level. Levelinitely worth it.
Well, I repeat, the company did everything to make Level a long-liver: the ability to replace the battery, many connection methods, and even a design change.
Very cool system, insanely happy to use.