Bang & Olufsen
Bang & Olufsen is a Danish company that designs and manufactures audio
Sound recording and reproduction
Sound recording and reproduction is an electrical or mechanical inscription and re-creation of sound waves, such as spoken voice, singing, instrumental music, or sound effects. The two main classes of sound recording technology are analog recording and digital recording...

 products, television
Television is a telecommunication medium for transmitting and receiving moving images that can be monochrome or colored, with accompanying sound...

 sets and telephone
The telephone , colloquially referred to as a phone, is a telecommunications device that transmits and receives sounds, usually the human voice. Telephones are a point-to-point communication system whose most basic function is to allow two people separated by large distances to talk to each other...

s. It was founded in 1925 by Peter Bang and Svend Olufsen, whose first significant product was a radio
Radio is the transmission of signals through free space by modulation of electromagnetic waves with frequencies below those of visible light. Electromagnetic radiation travels by means of oscillating electromagnetic fields that pass through the air and the vacuum of space...

 that worked with alternating current
Alternating current
In alternating current the movement of electric charge periodically reverses direction. In direct current , the flow of electric charge is only in one direction....

, when most radios were run from batteries
Battery (electricity)
An electrical battery is one or more electrochemical cells that convert stored chemical energy into electrical energy. Since the invention of the first battery in 1800 by Alessandro Volta and especially since the technically improved Daniell cell in 1836, batteries have become a common power...

. In 2004, the company opened a factory in the Czech Republic where it employs approximately 250 staff producing mainly audio products.


Peter Bang (1900–1957), son of Camillo Bang, a successful Danish businessman, showed great interest in radio technology
Radio is the transmission of signals through free space by modulation of electromagnetic waves with frequencies below those of visible light. Electromagnetic radiation travels by means of oscillating electromagnetic fields that pass through the air and the vacuum of space...

 from an early age. After graduating as an engineer in 1924, he spent six months working in a radio factory in the United States where he became familiar with the latest developments in the field. On his return to Denmark, he clubbed together with his student friend Svend Olufsen (1897–1949) whose parents made the attic of their manor house in Struer
Struer, Denmark
Struer is the main town of the kommune of Struer, Region Midtjylland, Denmark with a population of 10,572 .The town of Struer owes its growth to the railroad, which arrived in 1865 with Jutland's first railroad line from Århus/Randers over Viborg to Skive and Struer...

 in Jutland
Jutland , historically also called Cimbria, is the name of the peninsula that juts out in Northern Europe toward the rest of Scandinavia, forming the mainland part of Denmark. It has the North Sea to its west, Kattegat and Skagerrak to its north, the Baltic Sea to its east, and the Danish–German...

 available for experiments. When they officially opened their business in 1925, Bang concentrated on the technology while Olufsen dealt with the business interests. There were a number of successful developments in the 1930s and 1940s, including a sound recording system for the film industry, roof-mounted loud-speakers for circus and army vehicles and the iconic Beolit 39 radio with a Bakelite cabinet.
Their work with radios and loudspeaker
A loudspeaker is an electroacoustic transducer that produces sound in response to an electrical audio signal input. Non-electrical loudspeakers were developed as accessories to telephone systems, but electronic amplification by vacuum tube made loudspeakers more generally useful...

s led them to the principle that their products should be capable of high fidelity musical reproduction: in Danish Ærlig musikgengivelse, meaning "honest music reproduction". They held the ideal that the music you experienced through their sets and speakers should reach your ears uninfluenced by the limitations of technology. To this end, psychoacoustics
Psychoacoustics is the scientific study of sound perception. More specifically, it is the branch of science studying the psychological and physiological responses associated with sound...

 is an important factor in design and testing of B&O products as instrument-based testing.

It was, however, many years before their business became significantly profitable. One huge setback, towards the end of World War II
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

 was that pro-Nazi saboteurs burnt down their factory at Gimsing in Struer in Northwestern Jutland as punishment for the management's refusal to collaborate with the Germans. Undeterred, Bang and Olufsen rebuilt the factory and went on to develop a range of radio, radiogram and television sets in the 1950s which took on new design aspects when Ib Fabiansen joined the company in 1957. David Lewis, who became involved in B&O in 1965 went on to design most of the company's products after 1980.

Products by B&O are often of different and distinctive design when compared to mainstream rivals. B&O hires designer
A designer is a person who designs. More formally, a designer is an agent that "specifies the structural properties of a design object". In practice, anyone who creates tangible or intangible objects, such as consumer products, processes, laws, games and graphics, is referred to as a...

s rather than directly employing them in the company. Many of its products in the 1970s and 80s were designed by Jacob Jensen
Jacob Jensen
Jacob Jensen is a Danish industrial designer, best known for his work with Bang and Olufsen.-Life and career:Jensen was born in the Vesterbro area of Copenhagen in 1926. He left school after the seventh grade and completed training as an upholster...

, whose design firm still operates today. From the 1980s onwards B&O's chief designer has been David Lewis.

In the 1990s B&O opened dedicated B&O stores selling directly to users, instead of selling through retailers. Production of audio separates was discontinued in favor of mini-type audio systems sold, as was usual for B&O, at a price higher than the industry average.

Due to the economic crisis of 2008 the company experienced a sharp decline in sales and announced significant losses. A restructuring plan included 300 layoffs in Denmark on 21 October 2008, and the abandonment of development of new mobile phones, MP3 players and stand-alone systems like DVD2 and HDR2. Instead, the company will focus on its traditional strengths: high quality audio and video products as well as sound systems for the automotive industry.

Operations and products

Despite its decision to suspend the manufacture of separate components, B&O continues to develop and market loudspeakers. Its flagship speaker, the BeoLab 5, uses digital signal processing
Digital signal processing
Digital signal processing is concerned with the representation of discrete time signals by a sequence of numbers or symbols and the processing of these signals. Digital signal processing and analog signal processing are subfields of signal processing...

 to adjust its frequency response to the room and location in which it is placed. Its midrange and treble drivers use the audio lens technology developed by Sausalito Audio's Manny LaCarrubba to spread the sound over a 180-degree range in order to fill the room, overcoming the directional range limitations of normal midrange and treble drivers, and preventing the sound from reflecting off the ceiling and floor before reaching the listener. B&O acquired the audio lens technology in 2007.

Bang & Olufsen produces a sound system for Audi
Audi AG is a German automobile manufacturer, from supermini to crossover SUVs in various body styles and price ranges that are marketed under the Audi brand , positioned as the premium brand within the Volkswagen Group....

's A4, A5, Q5, Q7, A8, and R8 models. It is a US$6,300 option on the A8/Q7 and is unique due to its motorized tweeters that emerge from the dashboard when the sound system is turned on. Bang & Olufsen also supplies sound systems for the Aston Martin DBS and Mercedes-Benz AMG models.

Other company business operations

As well as producing consumer products the company also provides business to business services, particularly in the area of custom audio-visual installations for car manufacturers, and the service industry (hotels etc.) Additionally the companies expertise in aluminium manufacturing is available to other business for the production of non B&O products.


  • ICEpower
    Bang & Olufsen ICEpower a/s is a Danish research and development company specialising in audio applications of Class D amplifiers. ICEpower develops business-to-business solutions for end producers.-History:...

    was formed in 1999 as a joint venture between B&O and Dr. Karsten Nielsen
    Karsten Nielsen
    Karsten Nielsen is a Danish rower.- External links :...

    . The company is a technology research and design organisation working in the field of switching type Class D amplifiers
    Electronic amplifier
    An electronic amplifier is a device for increasing the power of a signal.It does this by taking energy from a power supply and controlling the output to match the input signal shape but with a larger amplitude...

  • Bang & Olufsen Medicom a/s manufacturers and designs medical products – specifically patient self medication devices such as inhaler
    An inhaler or puffer is a medical device used for delivering medication into the body via the lungs. It is mainly used in the treatment of asthma and Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease . Zanamivir , used to treat influenza, must be administered via inhaler...

    s and automatic syringes.
  • Bang & Olufsen Telecom a/s.


B&O products often have a unique appearance and user-interface. Early models are collectible decades later.

B&O uses a Beo prefix for the names of its product lines.
  • Beocord refers to tape recorders, both open reel types and cassette deck
    Cassette deck
    A cassette deck is a type of tape recorder for playing or recording audio compact cassettes. A deck was formerly distinguished from a recorder as being part of a stereo component system, while a recorder had a self-contained power amplifier...

    s. B&O was a pioneer in cassette technology, having had design involvement with Dolby HX Pro
    Dolby noise reduction system
    Dolby NR is the name given to a series of noise reduction systems developed by Dolby Laboratories for use in analog magnetic tape recording. The first was Dolby A, a professional broadband noise reduction for recording studios in 1966, but the best-known is Dolby B , a sliding band system for the...

  • Beomaster refers to receivers
    Receiver (radio)
    A radio receiver converts signals from a radio antenna to a usable form. It uses electronic filters to separate a wanted radio frequency signal from all other signals, the electronic amplifier increases the level suitable for further processing, and finally recovers the desired information through...

    . B&O's more recent receivers feature the ability to receive complex programming. The 5000 series through the 7000 series features two-way communication with the remote controller, called the "Master Control Panel." The most famous Beomaster is the Beomaster 1900 from 1976. It were the first consumer electronics product with touch controls. Similar models were made until the end of the 1980s
  • Beogram refers to turntable
    The phonograph record player, or gramophone is a device introduced in 1877 that has had continued common use for reproducing sound recordings, although when first developed, the phonograph was used to both record and reproduce sounds...

    s and, later, CD players
    Compact disc player
    A Compact Disc player , or CD player, is an electronic device that plays audio Compact Discs. CD players are often a part of home stereo systems, car audio systems, and personal computers. They are also manufactured as portable devices...

    . B&O developed electronically controlled tangential turntables in the 1970s, starting with the Beogram 4000 of 1972. The last tangential tracking turntable was the Beogram 7000, which were taken off the production lines in 1995. B&O has also produced radial tracking turntables.
  • Beolab refers to amplifiers and powered speakers
    Powered speakers
    Powered speakers, also known as self-powered speakers and active speakers, are loudspeakers that have built-in amplifiers. They can be connected directly to a mixing console or other low-level audio signal source without the need for an external amplifier...

    A loudspeaker is an electroacoustic transducer that produces sound in response to an electrical audio signal input. Non-electrical loudspeakers were developed as accessories to telephone systems, but electronic amplification by vacuum tube made loudspeakers more generally useful...

    s with built-in amplifier
    Generally, an amplifier or simply amp, is a device for increasing the power of a signal.In popular use, the term usually describes an electronic amplifier, in which the input "signal" is usually a voltage or a current. In audio applications, amplifiers drive the loudspeakers used in PA systems to...

    s), and as of 2011, all new powered speakers use ICEpower.
  • Beovox refers to passive loudspeaker
    A loudspeaker is an electroacoustic transducer that produces sound in response to an electrical audio signal input. Non-electrical loudspeakers were developed as accessories to telephone systems, but electronic amplification by vacuum tube made loudspeakers more generally useful...

    s (those without internal amplification).
  • Beolit refers to the range of stylish portable radios
  • Beosystem early refers to a line of components—e.g., Beomaster, Beogram, and Beocord—which matched one another in both appearance and operation. The first Beosystem were the Beosystem 1200 of 1969–1973, and the last were the Beosystem 7000 of 1992–1994. And now refer to the Audio/Video central processing unit (BeoSystem 2; Beosystem 3).
  • Beocenter refers to one-piece audio systems. B&O, at one time, made elaborate products that incorporated receivers, turntables, and cassette decks into a single components called "Beocentres."
  • BeoCom
    BeoCom is a line of telephones manufactured by Bang & Olufsen. Between the BeoCom 1 and the BeoCom 2 phones there is much interoperability. The current versions of these telephones use independent wireless base stations known by the name BeoLine. The Mark 1 version of the BeoLine PSTN base can...

     & BeoTalk
    refers to the company's line of telephones and telephone accessories, such as answering machines.
  • Beovision refers to a line of televisions.
  • Beosound refers to the current range of music systems and audio products. Since November 2010 the range has included an iPod
    iPod is a line of portable media players created and marketed by Apple Inc. The product line-up currently consists of the hard drive-based iPod Classic, the touchscreen iPod Touch, the compact iPod Nano, and the ultra-compact iPod Shuffle...

    The iPhone is a line of Internet and multimedia-enabled smartphones marketed by Apple Inc. The first iPhone was unveiled by Steve Jobs, then CEO of Apple, on January 9, 2007, and released on June 29, 2007...

    The iPad is a line of tablet computers designed, developed and marketed by Apple Inc., primarily as a platform for audio-visual media including books, periodicals, movies, music, games, and web content. The iPad was introduced on January 27, 2010 by Apple's then-CEO Steve Jobs. Its size and...

  • Beotime refers to the company's advanced alarm clock.
  • Beoplayer refers to the company's media player for free download.

Many old B&O audio components do not use common RCA connector
RCA connector
An RCA connector, sometimes called a phono connector or cinch connector, is a type of electrical connector commonly used to carry audio and video signals...

s, instead they use non standard 7 pin DIN connector
DIN connector
A DIN connector is a connector that was originally standardized by the , the German national standards organization. There are DIN standards for a large number of different connectors, therefore the term "DIN connector" alone does not unambiguously identify any particular type of connector unless...

s to carry two channels of audio and one channel of data.

External links

  • Bang & Olufsen – company website
  • Thogersen – A collector's website with photos of B&O products throughout the decades
  • Beocentral – A reference site containing descriptions and photos of B&O equipment
  • Beomanuals – Free user and service manuals for Bang & Olufsen
  • STBbrackets – Bang & Olufsen's preferred partner for brackets & stands
  • Lussopertutti – Bang & Olufsen's Used (pre-loved) Italy Reseller
  • BeoWorld – Everything Bang & Olufsen, community and forum for fans around the globe
  • – Speaking the language of Bang & Olufsen: comprehensive Web site for B&O collectors
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