B&O Beoplay A9 Speaker Review
Fashion in terms of decor today requires a clean, minimalist style. So, we get compact or discreet devices not to break the harmonious furniture to hide everything inside. We flee the big one, seeing him. And that’s what I feared when introducing Bang & Olufsen’s saucer-on-trestle -like Beoplay A9 wireless speaker.
- The maximum power
- The sound rendering
- The very original design blends better into a decor than I would have thought
- GoogleCast compatibility
- Install the cover
- The difficult wireless configuration (I had to go through the Ethernet cable)
- Slow and unfriendly BeoSetup app
B&O Beoplay A9 is intended to be a wireless speaker allowing you to play your music content from any source, whether it is physically plugged in or the signal passes through your Wi-Fi network or even Bluetooth.
It is made up of:
- 2 ¾” tweeters offering 80 watts of power
- 2 speakers (mid-range) of 3” also offering 80 watts of power
- 1 x 8” bass speaker (woofer) offering 160 watts of power
There are also several ports in the rear compartment:
- Ethernet port for easy connection to the network
- USB port for connection to a phone, tablet, or another compatible device
- Stereo RCA sockets to connect a device that does not have another type of audio output (a good old turntable, for example)
When you open the box, you only have to assemble the legs to make the unit stand upright, or you can also fix the saucer to the wall, thanks to anchor points located at the back. The wooden legs are solid and have a nice finish. Once upright, the device is well balanced.
We must also install the finishing cover; otherwise, the saucer gives a more industrial, even harsh look, which clashes a bit with the natural look of the legs, but which can also work if you like contrasts.
The problem is that the cover is almost too small. You have to stretch it to the maximum, but it is nearly impossible to install it alone in doing so. Even two will have taken several minutes and attempts to install it; without success! I finally managed to install it on my own using a knee and an elbow, in addition to my two hands, to hold everything in place. I was frankly in a ridiculous position and would have expected something less complicated for a high-end device.
Once the cover has been installed and the ideal location has been chosen in the room, all you have to do is adjust the small position switch in the socket compartment at the back. You can see the button in the upper right corner of the photo below.
The presence of Ethernet, USB, and RCA ports is greatly appreciated. These allow a host of devices to be plugged in, providing flexibility in the content source. On the other hand, the door that makes it possible to close the compartment closes by aligning four ends and four tiny holes.
Unfortunately, everything is plastic and difficult to align if you are not behind to see well, and the tips could even catch and break if you force them. I would have expected a better-designed, more solid “mechanism.”
An interesting point, but was impossible for me to test, having only one unit at hand, is the possibility of a multi-room configuration. B&O Beoplay A9 can play solo or be managed in a group(s). Interesting for those who want sound quality everywhere at home or at an event (I would see a few Beoplay A9s at an opening because of its legs which give the impression that it is standing on an easel).
You can directly turn on the unit and pair it via Bluetooth with your phone or tablet. That’s what I did first. Then, press the orange flashing light for seconds until it turns blue and perform the Bluetooth pairing. Then, you can play the music of your choice and even adjust the volume with your phone or by using the touch controls located on the top of the saucer towards the back.
On the other hand, such a connection does not allow everything to be done or other devices to control the loudspeaker. Ideally, you have to go through the real configuration using the BeoSetup application.
Also, it was much easier to complete the setup of B&O Beoplay A9 by plugging in an Ethernet cable, as my phone couldn’t see the network created by the device, as the app suggested. But, on the other hand, with the cable, the detection was instantaneous.
Then, you can modify various parameters such as the maximum duration during which the music can play (4 hours, 12 hours, 24 hours) if no one touches the controls, for example.
I found the reaction time of the application rather slow, and the interface could be better presented more user-friendly. Some buttons are so small (even on a 5.7” screen!) that I sometimes had to press 2 or 3 times to return to the previous screen, for example.
But once the device is configured, play the content you want. Moreover, the Beoplay A9 is GoogleCast compatible and works with Spotify, TuneIn, and Deezer applications.
I appreciated the compatibility with GoogleCast. Open a Compatible app, click the Cast icon, and choose Beoplay A9. It takes a few seconds to establish the connection, and you’re done. You can then adjust the volume with your phone, as long as you are in the music application in question. On the other hand, no volume level indicator via GoogleCast, and it’s a bit of a shame, but GoogleCast is the problem, having tested it with other devices.
The sound of B&O Beoplay A9
Once the configuration is complete, you can finally start the music and enjoy the sound reproduction of Beoplay A9 in all its splendor.
The sound is clear precise; the bass sounds are deep. No wonder since the sound range covered extends from 33.1 Hz to 25000 Hz (or 25 kHz). Having put the sound almost to the maximum, let’s say that the power is there. Make sure the volume is turned down when you start your music content or risk leaping.
I played all types of content, from podcasts to techno music, acoustic music, and vocals (like in my video, with a piece by singer Seal). Everything is done well.
B&O’s Beoplay A9 wireless speaker isn’t for everyone’s budget. Still, if you’re looking for more than just a speaker and want to add a decorative element, a piece of ‘furniture’ to your decor, while obtaining a sound rendering coupled with an ability to deliver the goods, in terms of power, you have found. It remains hoped that B&O will improve its BeoSetup application, which is also used for several other devices.