Danish brand has become an icon of performance and design excellence through its long-standing craftsmanship tradition and the strongest possible commitment to high-tech research and development
While it is often said that great minds think alike, the phrase is especially pertinent when applied to two pioneering engineers from Denmark whose life-long working relationship developed into one of the most innovative partnerships in the consumer electronics industry. In 1925 Peter Bang and Svend Olufsen begin a modest production of radios in the attic of the Olufsen family manor near the town of Struer in the north-west of Denmark. Their first product as well as the first mains powered radio in Denmark and probably also in Europe was the so-called Mains Receiver.
Only ten of these were ever produced, but inside the radio was the first commercially viable product from Bang & Olufsen, the Eliminator. Once this innovative component was marketed and sold separately, the Eliminator could be connected to all battery-powered radios, supplying them with power directly from the mains, and so eliminating the inconvenience of accumulators and burnt-out batteries. In 1927 Bang & Olufsen moves production to a newly built factory in Struer. The factory was designed so that it could later be converted into a school in case the concept of radio should prove to be no more than a passing fad.
Today, the Bang & Olufsen headquarters and main production facilities are still situated at the very same site. 1934 was the year of the Hyperbo, a combination radio and record player with an integrated loudspeaker. Like other products from the 1930s, this product was significantly influenced by Bauhaus functionalism, an influence that would later become highly characteristic of Bang & Olufsen’s approach to design and ease-of-use. The first Beolit radio, the streamlined Beolit 39, is introduced in 1939.
The first production TV came in 1952 and it was the black and white 508 S. The first slim, elegant radios based on the new transistor technology are developed in ‘60s under the slogan ‘for those who consider design and quality before price’. The Beomaster 900 achieves immediate popularity, and becomes the model for most radio receiver manufacturers in Europe and Japan. First colour TV was launched in 1967. This technological revelation the BeoVision 3000 Colour SJ weighed in at 52 kg, the screen measured 24 inches, and the unit cost roughly EUR 1,000. In ‘90s Bang & Olufsen launches BeoSound 9000, a modern design icon as well as a deeply functional music system.
This model immediately catches the eye with its strong lines and unique 6-CD changer, which happens to be the fastest in the world. If allowed to continue its momentum, it would travel 100km/h in just 5.5 seconds, and in fact BeoSound 9000 works so fast and so quietly that the change over between two CDs seems no longer than the normal interval between tracks. Getting ready for the next millennium the company introduced the BeoCenter AV5 – the first in a series of AV products that integrates all audiovisual functions into one product.
The first flat screen television utilizing the new plasma display technology came in 2002, and next year came BeoLab 5 which is considered an acoustic breakthrough. Bang & Olufsen gets the attention of the audiophile world with the introduction of a range of proprietary technologies, including Acoustic Lens Technology, Moving Microphone System and Adaptive Bass Control. These technologies all go beyond the restraints of traditional loudspeaker design by adapting the sound of the loudspeakers not only to the acoustics of the room in which the speakers are placed, but to their specific locations in the room. The result is natural sounding loudspeakers for all listening conditions.
The fully integrated BeoVision 7 LCD home entertainment concept followed in 2005 completing the transition from picture tube TVs to both plasma and LCD flat screens TVs. B&O PLAY from 2012 delivers stand-alone products with clear and simple operations – portable products that are intuitive to use, easy to integrate into the daily life, and deliver excellent high-quality experiences. In 2013 Bang & Olufsen announces the launch of a new range of high-end wireless speakers. The all-digital active speakers leverage the new WiSA standard for multi-channel wireless sound to provide acoustic performance beyond anything you have heard without cables.
This winter Bang & Olufsen is introducing a new limited collection of wireless speaker systems, in a lush shade of green. The new Harmonies Collection fuses the cool Nordic minimalism design with a breath of natural green colour tones. By providing excellent sound performance and optimum connectivity with absolute freedom of placement – in combination with new colour options – a selection of five carefully selected wireless are easily adapted to the rhythm of everyday life and different domestic settings. It is obvious that Bang & Olufsen continuously absorbs trends, processes them and makes its own distinct interpretations – always striving to create something both new and timeless.