BeoLab 9 Speculation

21st May 2005 by Nick Jarman

This article originally appeared my own website, before the BeoLab 9 loudspeaker was launched. At the time of writing, the speaker was expected to be named BeoLab 4 but I have updated all references to that name to avoid confusion.

There’s been plenty of speculation about what the third loudspeaker in B&O’s acoustic lens range will look like. The fact that it is under development is well-known, as is the fact that it will be positioned in the range between BeoLab 3 and BeoLab 5.

Here’s my concept, which mixes features of BeoCom 2 and the Burj Al Arab hotel in Dubai. Forming the aluminium enclosure may be problematic as it is curved and has a variable diameter. However, B&O have managed this on a smaller scale for the BeoCom 2, so it would be a good way for them to demonstrate how far their expertise in aluminium manufacture extends.

B&O’s designs used to be composed almost entirely of straight lines, but recently they have been dominated by curves. The new designs have a radially different appearance to the current ones. A decade or so ago, new designs evolved gradually from existing ones, but now each new product seems to have an entirely individual appearance. Despite this, they are still somehow instantly recognisable as coming from B&O. So it seems clear that any new speaker design would have an entirely different appearance to anything in the current range, making plenty of use of curves.

The inspiration for this design was to attempt to integrate the curves of the acoustic lens into the design as fully as possible. Viewed from the front, the contours of the acoustic lens are picked up by the edge of the black speaker fret. This describes a smooth loop which arcs from the top of the lens, descending almost to the bottom of the speaker, before returning to the opposite side of the lens.

From the side, the back of the lens continues the line of the back of the main enclosure, while the front makes a smooth transition into the side of the speaker fret. How these lines resolve themselves in three dimensions is conveniently left out of these drawings – they are just intended to be a rough concept!