Bang & Olufsen BeoSound Moment – CES 2015

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A trip through the Bang & Olufsen room at CES is more than just a quick glance at a few new high definition TVs. The entire black on black space feels like a well oiled machine when compared to many of the other exhibitors. Between the crafty space age speakers and 100+ inch 4K TVs were some pretty creative audio executions. Although this site doesn’t do “Best of Show” awards very often, the new BeoSound Moment pictured above really captured our attention as one of the best innovations in the well-trodden space of high end audio.

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In terms of sheer innovation in design, the reversible, detachable tablet-like unit for the new “intelligent wireless music system” actually starts with a wood-based touch interface. The interface on this “woody” side of the unit is extremely simple, containing a singular classic iPod-ish circle and center touch point for interactions. The flip side features a more traditional touch screen interface like you might see on a typical tablet (with the addition of scroll wheel navigation), but this is actually where things start to get interesting.

The cool style points of the “less is more” design do count for something, but where the rubber really hits the road with the Moment is its ability to help pick a song. The new Beosound includes a new feature that B & O is calling the “Mood Wheel”. The colorful ring interface available on the touch screen side actually allocates all your downloaded songs (as well as your favored tracks from your subscription streaming services) to specific categories based on their feel, tempo, mood etc. and then lets you pick an overall mood based on what you are currently up for. You can choose your mood in areas based around your favorites or if you are feeling more “adventurous” you can even let the device pick out some new songs from your streaming services that you don’t own in a downloaded form to listen to.

From here the Moment takes it to another level via a new feature called “Pattern Play”. Based upon your listening habits, time of day, day of week, Pattern Play learns from your input and attempts to deliver a “smart” playlist for you when you turn it on. What B & O has done here is essentially turned a digital hub into a Nest thermostat for your music collection. The Pattern Play feature is accessed exclusively from the woody side of the unit, making the interaction as simple as possible.  Come home, touch the wood panel, and you are off and running with a song that is the perfectly in tune with the moment. Brilliant.

The new streamer is compatible with both WAV and FLAC file types up to 24/96 kHz and also includes bluetooth for connecting your portable devices. Currently streaming services are limited to Deezer, but more options can be made available through future software upgrades. Expect to see availability around the 1st half of the year and a retail price of $2,795.