Reviews Technology

B&O Audio Sonically Rocks The HP PC Lineup [review]

B&O PLAY HP pavilion laptop
Brant David
Written by Brant David

HP recently put B&O audio speakers into its laptops. The sound has never been sharper. Brant David reviews.

aNewDomainbrant-david-anewdomain — Quite recently, I bought a new HP Pavilion laptop. This wasn’t a premeditated move. My enchanting 20-month-old son destroyed the keyboard on my HP-Compaq laptop, which I scrupulously maintained in fine working order for over five years. As a result, I was off to big box Best Buy in need of a new laptop. (I love big box stores, by the way. I love alliteration, too.)

Only after I had selected the new, thin, sleek HP Pavilion did I realize, Hey, this thing comes with B&O something-or-other. Something or other turned out to be circuitry provided by an advanced, seasoned audio technology company founded in 1925.

B&O (a moniker which leaves the company open to some rude jokes) is short for “Bang and Olufsen.” All rotten japes aside, this is an excellent audio technology company from Denmark. I noticed a sonic difference right away, even before I knew exactly what I’d bought.

Beats Got Beat

B&O 1Because Apple bought the rights to the Beats audio technology that HP had been using in its laptops, HP decided to contract with B&O to meet its customers’ audio needs and desires. After experiencing this new sonic atmosphere, I have to say that HP couldn’t have made a better deal.

Actually, the departure from the over-hyped, all-about-that-bass Beats was a blessing in disguise.

For someone like myself — an audiophile who, for the time being, is letting his laptop double as his stereo system — the addition of B&O’s audio technology in Hewlett Packard computers is a godsend.

As I mentioned already, I’m the father of a 20-month-old (and counting) boy, and for the next few years I don’t see any good reason to invest in expensive audio equipment that may get destroyed by monkey-minded curiosity. For now I use a Frisby speaker system, which was bought for me as a Christmas gift nearly three years ago, and a nice set of headphones (which I bought myself). All the music runs through my laptop, my tablet or my smartphone.

Frisby speakers are decent, but nothing spectacular. As I said, they were bought for me as a present. But I cannot believe the difference the B&O audio tech has made with them! I also installed a free 10-band graphic EQ (Chrome Audio EQ) on my HP. Between that and the B&O audio tech, my speakers and headphones both sound decades beyond what they did previously.

Shortly after the HP and B&O deal was sealed, Ron Coughlin, senior VP of personal systems at HP, said,

Audio plays an important role in the experience customers have on their PCs, tablets, and accessories.”

Another HP statement issued at the time tells us that when it comes to the new audio tech,

A dedicated audio island isolates the sensitive audio circuits from other signals on the motherboard. The headphone jack limits the amount of metal parts to reduce ground noise to help further perfect the audio experience on HP devices.”

All of those statements, it turns out, ring true!

Bang & Olufsen CEO Tue Mantoni added:

Bang & Olufsen and B&O PLAY have a long heritage in delivering great music and audio experiences for people no matter where they decide to enjoy their media. We are excited to collaborate with HP to bring our iconic sound to HP PCs.”

That excitement certainly comes through in what I hear on my new laptop.

B&O 2

With the B&O tech and the graphic EQ in place, my music listening and other audio experiences that run through my HP laptop are significantly crisper, clearer, more dynamic and more true to what musicians intended when they made the original recordings. It almost sounds as if I invested in upgraded speakers and headphones.

I have my six-piece Frisby system set up so as to mimic Surround Sound, and with the B&O audio tech running through them I feel more surrounded by desired sounds than I ever did with those speakers before.

For anyone looking for a new Windows-compatible laptop who is also serious about audio quality, check out HP laptops with B&O PLAY. I doubt you’ll regret it.

My next move: persuade someone to buy me a pair of B&O headphones for Christmas …

For aNewDomain, I’m .

Featured image: Screenshot courtesy HP

Body images: Brant David

About the author

Brant David

Brant David

Brant David McLaughlin — aka Brant David — is a Milford, NJ-based senior writer for us here at aNewDomain. Follow him at his +BrantDavid Google+ page. Email him at Brant@aNewDomain.net.

  • usgrant1863

    Bang & Olufsen (B&O) has a lot more market pull with me than Beats. Love this change for HP.

  • GweiloJake

    Just ordered a Pavilion desktop with B&O Play the other day. Question…is there any proprietary B&O media player? Any unique audio codecs or playback algorithm designed for the HP audio experience? It’s beginning to sound more like some very clever licensing, relying on the Bang & Olufsen halo effect. Any other details?