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Bang & Olufsen BeoSound Essence controls your music with style

Tom Morgan
8 Jan 2014
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B&O aims to simplify wireless music streaming with the BeoSound Essence, a gorgeously minimal controller that you can place anywhere

Bang & Olufsen has introduced the BeoSound Essence wireless music system at CES, a minimal wall- or table-mounted aluminium control dial and hidden transmitter box designed to let you start enjoying tracks with a single touch.

The circular control dial doesn't have any flashy LEDs or displays, merely a touch-sensitive panel that only has four functions; play, stop, next and previous. It picks up from your last used input and immediately starts playing, with none of the fuss of choosing an artist or track. The outer edge of the controller rotates to control volume, but otherwise there's no way to switch between playlists or change albums - you're just supposed to press play and carry on making breakfast, reading the paper or any other situation where background music is required.

Bang & Olufsen BeoSound Essence

Although B&O is currently demonstrating Spotify playback from a connected tablet at its CES booth, the Essence will launch with a dedicated BeoSound app that will handle internet radio and other sources too, including music stored on your smartphone or tablet.

The separate control box is made from plastic, rather than aluminium, as it is designed to be hidden out of view. It contains the wireless components, which are DLNA compatible to let you stream music from a smartphone, networked PC or NAS device, along with a line in input for wired sources.

Unlike B&O's first wireless streaming speakers, the Beolab 17 which launched late last year, the BeoSound Essence doesn't actually have any speakers - you have to attach your own. The control box has two RJ45 connections, which could limit your choice of speakers somewhat. Each is capable of transmitting two audio channels, but if you want to add additional wireless speakers you can add a BeoLab transmitter to the setup.

Like many B&O creations, the Essence is purely focused on style. Yes, there are plenty of other ways to control your music, that cost significantly less too, but there's no question this is a beautifully minimal way to do it.

The B&O BeoSound Essence will be going on sale in the UK from March, with an RRP of £695.

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