Bang & Olufsen's New 'Affordable' Surround Sound System Looks Like an Army of Vengeful Metal Flowers

By Chris Mills on at

Normally, we wouldn't consider £2,500 to be affordable for a set of surround-sound speakers. But when said speakers come from Bang & Olufsen, legendary purveyors of stupidly expensive stuff, and they've got a rather exciting aluminium design, well, then we're cooking on gas.

The BeoLab 14 system consists of four or five satellite speakers, and an integrated amp/subwoofer unit. The satellite speakers are an understated, unibody aluminium design, with a coloured grille the only non-shiny thing in the assembly. The minimalist design is pretty, for a speaker, and fits into a living room pretty well -- not only are the speakers small, but having speakers that aren't boring rectangular boxes makes it far simpler, from a design perspective, to make them blend in.

The subwoofer, for what it's worth, is an unobtrusive unit that looks suspiciously like a flower vase, but with more ports. All the speakers hook up to the subwoofer, which handles the amplification, surround-sound control and 'thermal protection'. If you're running the surround sound system off a Bang & Olufsen TV, the TV itself becomes the centre speaker channel; for those of us suffering with a more pedestrian screen, you can buy an extra speaker to get the 5.1 surround sound experience.

For your suitcase of money, at least the sound is good. Mids and highs are crisp and distortion-free, even when the volume is whacked up to Spinal Tap levels, and the bass (when contained in a tiny demo room) is deep and all-encompassing.

The BeoLab 14 system is on sale today, and will run you £2,500 for the four-speaker setup (and a couple hundred quid more for the complete 5.1 array). Although that's not cheap for a set of speakers, it is significantly less pricey than most Bang & Olufsen equipment, and for the moolah you're getting a genuinely pretty, great-sounding rig. If you've got a spare wodge of twenties and are in the market for some surround sound, they're well worth a look.