Robb Review: Bang & Olufsen’s Wireless Beolab 28 Loudspeakers

Stylish, well-connected and essentially future-proof, these speakers sound stellar.

By Robert Ross 05/05/2021

If there has been a bit of digital ink spilled on Bang & Olufsen lately, it’s because the Danish consumer-electronics manufacturer has been particularly busy creating new products for the design-conscious music lover. That a lot of hi-fi gear has a decidedly generic appearance—with form following function and looks be damned—is apparent from a stroll through the pages of any audio journal or a visit to one of the few (bless them) brick-and-mortar audio stores still standing. But companies like Bang & Olufsen recognise that great sound, refined aesthetics and responsible manufacturing can all go hand-in-hand.

Bang & Olufsen’s latest loudspeaker is the Beolab 28, whose appearance is anything but speaker-like. With nary a square edge to be found, much less a box, think instead of a column, about nine inches in diameter and 137cm, optically floating above a truncated cone that sits on the floor or mounts to a wall. The speaker is supported by an external backbone that conceals cables and makes the column appear as if it’s levitating in air.

Bang & Olufsen's Beolab 28 loudspeakers mounted to a living-room wall.

Bang & Olufsen’s Beolab 28 loudspeakers mounted to a living-room wall. Photo: Courtesy of Bang & Olufsen.

For listeners accustomed to seeing traditional loudspeakers—usually large, veneered boxes the size of a steamer trunk—the Bang & Olufsen Beolab 28 is a liberation from the stylistic and technical constraints that accompany most audio and home-theatre systems. Employing luxury materials like anodized aluminium, fine wood and fabric has been a hallmark of Bang & Olufsen designs for decades. Authenticity is a benchmark of the company’s design process too, not just in the attention paid to details, but in its aim for sustainable manufacturing practices and product support for loudspeakers, electronics and turntables that are often decades old.

The industrial design of the Beolab 28 was carried out in collaboration with NOTO, an independent firm in Cologne, Germany, working under the direction of Kresten Bjørn Krab-Bjerre, creative director of design at Bang & Olufsen. For Krab-Bjerre, inspired design begins with a functional, fast and unlabored prototyping process, and then becomes fleshed out as engineers and creatives collaborate to refine the concept.

So, while some companies begin by developing elaborate full-scale models, that process can limit freedom, almost obliging teams to accept costly, labour-intensive models as a fait accompli, according to Krab-Bjerre, simply because so many resources went into producing them. On the other hand, using utilitarian materials like cardboard and construction paper allows much more freedom to explore a greater variety of designs and fast-track development, arriving at a solution that can then be advanced to prototype stage. Conveniently, the Bang & Olufsen design studios are located roughly 164 feet from the company’s Factory 5 in Steuer, Denmark, a welcome proximity given the extensive manufacturing capabilities that put the firm at the forefront of aluminium forming and anodizing.

We spoke via Zoom to Heidi Hausted Fredberg, senior product manager at Bang & Olufsen, who explained that while the design of the Beolab 28 appears simple, the process of making it is anything but, the tall cylinder of the speaker enclosure being spun while the conical foot is expanded, reduced and finally pressed into shape. The aluminium components of the speaker—anodized in house—are available in natural silver, black anthracite or bronze tone, while speaker covers (grills) can be specified in natural fabric (grey or grey mélange) or, alternately, in wood.

The wood, available in light oak, oak, smoked oak and walnut finishes, is provided by Bjerrum Nielsen, a local, family owned supplier from whom Bang & Olufsen has sourced wood since 1949. Authentic, indeed. And as with so many of Bang & Olufsen’s components, the Beolab 28 loudspeakers—priced per pair at $14,750 and $16,500 with fabric or wood grilles, respectively—offer a bit of entertainment beyond their sonic attributes. The speaker covers, which conceal the drivers when the speaker is not in use, automatically open like curtains when playing, their width dependent on the listening mode selected for either narrow or broad sound dispersion—about which, more later.

A detail of the Bang & Olufsen Beolab 28 loudspeaker with a fabric grille.

The Beolab 28 with fabric speaker covers. Photo by Jeppe Sørensen, courtesy of Bang & Olufsen.

Wireless and adaptive, the Beolab 28 requires no interconnects or source cables, only an AC cord to power the internal electronics. The adaptive part of the sonic equation means that Bang & Olufsen’s latest generation of Adaptive Room Compensation (ARC) circuitry tailors bass response to the room, based on speaker position. Because ARC can compensate for the attenuation of low frequencies that occurs when loudspeakers are placed in free space without adjacent wall boundaries to reinforce them, users have almost unlimited freedom to situate the Beolab 28 where they look best within a space and still enjoy full-range reproduction.

When the recording calls for it, those low frequencies are substantial and go from 27 Hz up to 200 Hz, when the single 6.5-inch woofer, employing a ferrite magnet and a coated paper cone, bows out and lets the three full-range drivers take over the heavy lifting. These 3-inch transducers, which use neodymium magnets and paper cones, cover the lion’s share of the audio spectrum. In the spirit of an omnidirectional design, one driver is frontally placed circa ear level, with an additional driver on the left and right side, above and below the centre driver. A single 1-inch tweeter, using a neodymium magnet and a textile dome, is situated above the full-range centre driver and carries on business from 4,000 Hz up to 23,000 Hz.

The strength of the Beolab 28 is its ability to be enjoyed over a wide listening area; not truly omnidirectional like an MBL or Ohm loudspeaker, but capable of presenting a coherent and realistic soundstage without screwing one’s head into a vise and sitting still. After all, these speakers are meant to be lived with.

A detail of the Bang & Olufsen Beolab 28 loudspeaker with a wood grille.

Wood speaker covers are available in light oak, oak, smoked oak and walnut finishes. Photo by Jeppe Sørensen, courtesy of Bang & Olufsen.

That versatility is a result of the speaker’s Beam Width Control, which optimises the listener experience depending on setting. In the Narrow directivity mode, the three full-ranges are used from 200 Hz to 4,000 Hz, so driver output favours a listener sitting in front of the speakers, without the interference of side and rear wall reflections. This is where “serious” listening will be done, and the Beolab 28 rewards just that. In Wide mode, the sonic stage diffuses to maintain a natural tonal balance to the side or when moving about the room, as one might experience in a social setting with more than a listener or two. Here, the front-mounted full-range is still used from 200 Hz to 4,000 Hz and the side-mounted full-ranges are used all the way up to 15,000 Hz, albeit at a lower level at the higher frequencies. They can also play loud—110 dB—in part because of the driver’s high sensitivity and the dedicated Class D amplification within each speaker enclosure. The woofer is powered by a 225 w amp, and each full-range driver by its own dedicated 100 w amp, with another 100 w amp for the tweeter. At about 41 pounds apiece, each Beolab 28 is easy to move around, allowing experimentation with room placement and letting the piano movers take the day off.

We visited the new Bang & Olufsen store to spend a day listening to the Beolab 28. Impeccably designed and furnished, the store features the full range of Bang & Olufsen products in addition to offering mid-century lighting masterpieces from Scandinavian designers like Arne Jacobsen and Louis Poulsen. Additionally, the space incorporates Mikodam architectural acoustic wall panels that complement contemporary interiors, unlike most of the effective but aesthetically compromised alternative treatments in foam, fabric and wood.

The bottom of the Bang & Olufsen Beolab 28 loudspeaker mounted to a wall.

An example of how the Beolab 28’s column and cone can be attached to vertical surfaces. Photo by Jeppe Sørensen, courtesy of Bang & Olufsen.

The Beolab 28s were presented in a dedicated listening room that was fairly “live,” with wood floors and good rear-wall acoustic damping. Spaced about eight feet apart and within 24 inches of the rear wall, the loudspeakers had a Beovision Harmony TV situated in between (the TV’s own speakers were disabled). While nothing but an empty wall between speakers is generally preferred for dedicated two-channel listening, it’s reasonably expected that most users will incorporate video into the environment.

The first impression is that the sonic weight and corporeality of the Beolab 28 system is far greater than their delicate appearance would suggest. Partly due to its relatively small size, and operating in a ported enclosure, the down-firing woofer delivers articulate, fast and impactful bass without overhang, and is optimally integrated with the rest of the drivers. In the spirit of many Bang & Olufsen speakers since the first Beolab Penta of 1986, the Beolab 28s are narrow, with no baffle to greatly affect horizontal dispersion. With the cluster of full-range drivers and adjacent tweeter, imaging and placements of instruments and voices is fairly specific, and their height is not exaggerated.

The ability to project a broad and immersive soundstage is impressive, especially with soundtracks and in Wide mode. Most auditioning was done in Narrow mode, where acoustic and even electronic jazz had appropriate scale, and high-energy instruments like Miles Davis’ trumpet and John Coltrane’s sax achieved realistic levels and scale. Choral work, like Ockeghem’s Missa Pro Defunctis, recorded with simple microphone placement in great acoustic spaces, rendered individual voices with detail and precision. Playing Bach’s Cello Suite No. 1, Rostropovich and his solo instrument were life-sized and rendered with corporeal substance.

While not the very last word in transparency and speed, as is an electrostatic or Magnepan-style planar/ribbon, the Beolab 28 loudspeakers present well-rounded capability and ingratiating design that makes them ideal for a “real-world” listening environment, and doubly so for home-theatre application. Audiophiles with a wide range of musical tastes will find these very satisfying loudspeakers, indeed.

Bang & Olufsen's Beolab 28 loudspeakers.

The versatile Beolab 28 allows for numerous arrangement combinations. Photo: Courtesy of Bang & Olufsen.

The company’s most advanced connected speaker, the Beolab 28 will likely be used for streaming music. Listeners can use their mobile device and stream directly, using AirPlay 2, Chromecast, Spotify Connect, Bluetooth and the B&O app. Automatic software updates will make them compatible with Beolink Multiroom, and any of the Bang & Olufsen TVs—with their jewellike screens—is a recommended paring.

Auxiliary sources like CD and LP can be used via traditional inputs at the rear of the speaker, a turntable requiring phono preamplification ahead of the analog input. The speaker does have a mind of its own: proximity sensors bring it to life and initiate access to the built-in Bang & Olufsen Radio or Spotify playlists. Any of the company’s remote controls will operate the system, as will smart devices via the B&O app. A Bang & Olufsen remote control is a luxury, and reminds one of the difference between holding and using a beautifully designed, precision device compared to the plastic throw-away remotes that have littered landfills for decades.

Apropos of which, planned obsolescence is not a part of the Bang & Olufsen design brief. These products are built to last, and if needed, repair or upgrade. I continue to enjoy a few now-collectible products from the company that I purchased new—in some cases decades ago. So, with the new Beolab 28, its internal connectivity module has more than sufficient processing power to download performance updates and features as they become available. If future advances demand greater capacity—or unlikely repairs—the module can be replaced to keep step with technology, rendering the speaker essentially future-proof.

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The Tod’s SS25 Men’s Collection in Milan Was a Showcase of “Artisanal Intelligence”

It was also the debut men’s collection by creative director Matteo Tamburini.

By Josh Bozin 20/06/2024

Earlier this week, Tod’s presented its SS25 men’s collection at the Padiglione d’Arte Contemporanea (PAC) for Milan Fashion Week, where all eyes were fixed on Matteo Tamburini and his debut menswear collection as Tod’s newest creative director.

Striking “a balance between tradition and modernity”, was the former Bottega Veneta designer’s intention, and indeed his showcase offerered a spotlight on the quality, materials, and detailing that are central to the Tod’s wardrobe.

“The collection is more about subtraction rather than addition, highlighting the very elevated, timeless and relaxed materials,” says Tamburini via a statement.

Tod’s

In line with Tod’s restrained design codes, the garments presented were characterised by timelessness, unmistakable Italian flair, yet a casualness appropriate for everyday wear. Only the best leathers were used in the collection—thanks to the Pashmy project, which Tod’s unveiled in January to champion high-end Italian materials—used in creating garments like the Tod’s Bomber, the Gio Jacket, the Shirt Jacket, the Di Bag sack, as well as footwear staples, like the Tod’s T-Riviera.

Of course, the iconic Gommino driving shoe wasn’t without an update, too: you’ll find a new sabot interpretation, as well as the Bubble Gommino introduced in a new boat model with the T-bar accessory.

“Craftsmanship” was at the forefront of messaging, with chairman and chief executive officer of the Tod’s Group, Diego Della Valle, reiterating the message of honouring artisanal arts in an increasingly digital-first world.”[It’s] important to uphold artisanal intelligence, keeping under control artificial intelligence as it is now developing rapidly and powerfully,” he said via a statement.

“Individuals and artisanal intelligence at the centre, with its traditions and values, will contribute to keep artificial intelligence in check. Our Italian craftsmanship and supply chain can be an example of the combination of tradition and the new speed of artificial intelligence.”

tods.com

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Pitti Uomo’s Best-Dressed Men Cut Through the Noise With Personal Style

From vintage gems to tasteful tailoring, attendees of Florence’s biannual tradeshow brought their best sartorial selves.

By Naomi Rougeau, Lorenzo Sodi 20/06/2024

Whether or not you’re well versed in the ins and outs of Pitti Uomo, the biannual menswear tradeshow in Florence that brings together buyers, press—and, naturally, a vast ostentation of peacocks—the chances are that photos from the gathering are still making their way into your newsfeed. You might even smirk at the mention of it. To be sure, you’ll encounter plenty of “overdressing” strolling through the main venues but by and large, great personal style manages to cut through the noise.

Part of what makes the Pitti scene so exciting is that menswear moves relatively slowly. It’s less about seeing something earth shatteringly new but rather gradual shifts and discovering fresh ways to put things together. Menswear regulars such as Alessandro Squarzi, owner of a considerable vintage archive that influences his Milanese boutique Fortela, can be relied upon to provide inspiration on how to make tried and true staples and silhouettes feel modern.

Speaking of new old things, vintage fashions made their way into the chat in a big way this June, whether in terms of rare finds or sustainable efforts via upcycling, fabric development and natural dyes (Paris-based De Bonne Facture achieved an ideal medium brown using coffee, for instance). At the heart of the conversation was another bona fide vintage guru Maurizio Donadi who made a case for the timelessness and democratic nature of indigo with his centuries-spanning exhibit of antique garments from around the globe.

Below you’ll find a dozen of our favorite looks from Pitti Uomo 106, lensed by our eagle-eyed street-style photographer Lorenzo Sodi. We hope they inspire.

Lorenzo Sodi

A lesson in simplicity and the power of a classic palette—good quality vintage accents such as a turquoise embellished belt buckle add interest to timeless workwear. Ray-Ban’s universally-flattering Wayfarer sunglasses are the perfect finishing touch.

Lorenzo Sodi

Sans suit and shirt, the neckerchief (of which there were many at Pitti), adds a welcome dose of colour to a white tee and relaxed jacket and proves that sometimes one choice detail is all it takes. A well-loved, slightly-too-long belt and canvas Vans contribute to the casual harmony.

Lorenzo Sodi

Whatever the weather, you’ll find Douglas Cordeaux, from Fox Brothers, looking immaculate in shirt and tie… and a suit made of one of Fox’s many fabrics. British elegance, embodied.

Lorenzo Sodi

Relaxed elegance is the foundation of the Brunello Cuccinelli brand. Here, the maestro himself shows us how it’s done in a double-breasted linen ensemble featuring a few personal flourishes.

Lorenzo Sodi

Designer Alessandro Pirounis of Pirounis offers a masterclass on the rule of three with a contemporary twist, subbing the usual jacket with an overshirt of his own design.

Lorenzo Sodi

A renaissance man takes Florence. True to his roots, US Marine veteran, Savile Row-trained tailor and photographer Robert Spangle blazes a sartorial trail that’s all his own.

Lorenzo Sodi

Cream trousers are an essential element of elegant Italian summer style. Designer Nicola Radano of Spacca Neapolis channels one of the greats (Marcello Mastroianni) in a dark polo of his own design, collar spread wide across his jacket’s lapel for a welcome retro lean.

Lorenzo Sodi

Proof of the power of tonal dressing, that can create an impactful outfit just by sticking to the same colour family. A chic ensemble and in some ways an elevated version of the double-denim look, every element is working hard in service to the whole.

Lorenzo Sodi

UK-based stylist Tom Stubbs has long been a proponent of blousy pleats, lengthy db jackets, and statement-making neck scarves and here, in vintage Armani, he embodies the louche, oversize look that many designers are just now catching up on.

Lorenzo Sodi

A tailor splitting his time between Berlin and Cologne, Maximilian Mogg is known for his strong-shouldered, architectural suiting. Yet in Mogg’s hands, particularly with this non-traditional colour scheme, the effect is always modern and youthful.

Lorenzo Sodi

If Max Poglia’s relaxed Hawaiian shirt and suit combo is any indication, summer has truly arrived. But it’s an excellent example of how to wearing tailoring in more casual fashion. This cream db would look perfect with shirt and tie at a wedding in August and just as chic here with slippers and a laid-back shirt.

Lorenzo Sodi

Another example of how tailoring can be laid-back and breezy for summer, from a dude who looks no stranger to enjoying the best of the warmer months. Jaunty pocket square, sandals, untucked linen shirt…go forth and emulate.

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The 13 Best Watches From Pitti Uomo, From Rolex to Patek Philippe and Piaget

Each year in Florence, Italy, men walk the streets in the finest fashions, and they pair their watches perfectly.

By Allen Farmelo, Lorenzo Sodi 20/06/2024

Pitti Uomo is a major fashion gathering in Florence, Italy where brands bring their best to buyers and fashion editor alike. But, perhaps more interestingly, Pitti Uomo transforms the streets of Florence into an urban runway on which guys from around the world with more than a passing interest in style go about their business—even if in some cases that business seems just to be hanging around waiting to be photographed—in their best threads and, of course, some excellent watches.

We pondered the relationship between men’s fashion and watches in more detail earlier this year, and what’s fascinating about the intersection of fashion and watches is how to situate the timepiece within an ensemble. To give you a sense of how that plays out, this year we saw a tonal pairing of a tasty vintage Rolex GMT Master Pepsi (red and blue) with rose and mid-blue summer plaid, and we saw high-waisted military green Bermuda shorts paired intelligently with a beat up old Elgin field watch with a matching green strap. Both looks were killer, the watches working as perfect accents, and there are many more great pairings to consider below.

As is often the case at fashion shows (including Pitti Uomo in previous years), Rolex dominated. Horological snobs might look down on this choice because the Crown is so often the default choice for so many, be they collectors signalling their access to rare references or those just getting into this obsession. But a more nuanced read on this tendency is that Rollies are fabulously versatile watches that one can rock with each new outfit—which some men will swap throughout the day. Breakfast might call for a casual look, lunch something more daring, and dinner that perfect summer suit. What better than a Rolex for all occasions?

But it wasn’t just Rolex at Pitti Uomo this week. The urban catwalk brought out Paiget, Patek Philippe, Audemars Piguet, and Cartier, as well. But our favourite watch was a vintage Tudor Sub on a turquoise bracelet.

Below are the 13 best watches from Pitit Uomo 2024.

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The 10 Best Omakase in Sydney

Sydney’s best Japanese chef’s-table dining experiences.

By Belinda Aucott-christie 06/06/2024

In Japan, where food is a cultural art form, omakase stands for traditional Japanese foods made with seasonal ingredients. A good omakase meal, prepared with purity and mindfulness, can make an unforgettable imprint on the culinary memory. Yet in a land defined by seasonal traditions, omakase is a relatively new concept.

Omakase originated in Japan in the 1970s as affluent Japanese began to dine more regularly at first-rate sushi counters. Bowing to the expertise of the sushi master, omakase loosely translates to “I’ll leave it to you.” In a setting where money is no object, letting the chef decide was designed as a chic way to take the awkwardness out of ordering.

In Australia where there’s an abundance of fresh seafood, omakase menus have experienced a recent rise in popularity. Today omakase is any series of small dishes served directly by the chef to the diner. Each part of the meal is presented on beautiful ceramics and lacquer wear, with a great —and somewhat— intimidating reverence for elegant details. It’s a chance to see a chef’s knife skills up close and get a feel for their cooking style.

Omakase menus are based on whatever is freshest at the market and can be influenced by the chef’s mood, expertise, and response to the guest. They can be slowly paced like a ceremony—hushed and reverential—but they can also be rowdy, humorous, and personal.
Here we give you 10 of the best to try in Sydney.

Yoshi’s Omakase at Nobu Crown Sydney

Crown Sydney, Level 2/1 Barangaroo Ave, Barangaroo. Open: 12–3 pm, 5:30–9:30 pm Phone: 02 8871 7188 Reservations: F&B-SYD-Nobu@crownresorts.com.au; $380 per head (including matched wine and sake). Crownsydney.com.au

Sushi Oe

16/450 Miller St, Cammeray; Tue – Sat. SMS only 0451 9709 84 E: jizakana16@gmail.com Phone: 0426 233 984 $230 per head. jizakana.com.au

Kisuke with Yusuke Morita

50 Llankelly Place, Potts Point; Tuesday – Saturday: 17:30 – 10.45 (closed Sunday/ Monday) $185-200 per head Kisukepottspoint.com

Haco 

102/21 Alberta St, Sydney. Lunch, Friday to Saturday 12 -2:00 pm Dinner, Tuesday to Saturday 5:45 pm – 8:1 5pm (closed Sunday & Mondays) P: 0408 866 285                                     E: haco@hacosydney.com.au; $150 – $210 Hacosydney.com.au

Kuon

Shop 04 2/58 Little Hay St, Sydney, Lunch: Fri-Sun 12:30 pm. Dinner  Tue-Sun 5:15 pm or 7:45 pm sittings.  Reservation via SMS at 0488 688 252; $220 per head @kuon.omakase

Sokyo 

The Darling, Level G, 80 Pyrmont St, Pyrmont. Open dinner Monday to Thursday from 5:45 pm P: 1800 700 700 $300 per head Sokyo.com.au

Kuro

368 Kent St, Sydney; Open Tue – Wed – Thur: 6 pm Fri & Sat: 5:30 pm P: 02 9262 1580, reservations@kurosydney.com $220 per head. Kurosydney.com;

Choji Omakase

Level 2, 228 Victoria Ave, Chatswood —upstairs from Choji Yakiniku. Every Monday to Wednesday at 6.30 pm. One seating per day only. $295 per head. Chojiomakase.com.au

Gold Class Daruma

The Grace Hotel, Level 1/77 York St, Sydney; 12–2:30 pm, 5:30–9.00 pm Phone: (02) 9262 1190 M: 0424 553 611 booking@goldclassdaruma.com.au·$120 – $150 per head Goldclassdaruma.com.au

Besuto

Besuto Omakase, Sydney Place precinct, 3 Underwood Street, Circular Quay. Omakase is available to book for dinner – Tuesday to Saturday. 5:30 pm & 8pm sittings. From $250. Besuto.com.au

Frequently Asked Questions

Why is no soy and wasabi offered during my omakase meal?
Even though sushi and sashimi are being served, the chef is serving each piece of sushi so quickly and directly that the chef is applying the wasabi and soy to the sushi themselves. Watch as they brush the top of the fish with soy and dab a tiny amount of wasabi on the rice, under the fish. You should not need to add extra, and in fact, it can be insulting to the chef to add more. Bathing the bottom of the rice of your sushi in soy sauce is considered bad manners, as it is seen as detracting from the flavour of the fish.

Nobu, Sydney

Can an omakase experience accommodate my dietary needs?
Although there is often little variation once the chef has set the daily menu, some customisation is possible. Advise the restaurant when you book and remind them of allergies or aversions again as you sit down. They will let you know when you book if your allergy is possible for the chef. Japanese menus feature a lot of seafood and dashi so accommodating a no seafood request can be genuinely tricky.

What are the golden rules for chopstick etiquette?
Use your chopstick holder in between eating, rather than putting chopsticks on your plate. Don’t use your chopsticks to gesticulate or point; if offering food to someone to try, never pass food directly from your chopsticks to theirs. Rather place the food onto a small plate and let them pick it up.
Never touch communal or shared food with your chopsticks. The longer, slightly larger chopsticks are like sharing cutlery, never put these in your mouth.

Without a menu, how can I know what I am eating during omakase?
Omakase is often a no-menu situation, and you are expected to try new things. Attending an omakase experience with an open, trusting mind yields the best results.
There are Wagyu and tempura omakase that reflect the chef’s personal predilections and training, but in a standard luxury omakase, the format will include a lot of freshly caught seafood and will usually kick off with a delicate appetiser. This will be followed by a sashimi and sushi course, a savoury egg custard (chawanmushi) with meat and seafood, a cooked or blow-torched market fish, a soup course, and dessert.

Can I talk to the chef during omakase? What is the protocol?
Guests at an omakase experience are welcome to ask questions of the chef; in fact, interacting with the chef is part of the experience. It is considered polite to ask questions or inquire about the food so they can explain.

What is best to pair with omakase  in terms of drinks?
In general, wine and sake are a perfect match for omakase. Aged fish and vinegar have strong umami flavours so depending on which course you enjoy, different wine and sake will pair well. Dry chilled sake is a great choice. Amazing sakes are imported into Australia, so trust the restaurant to advise you and take you on a sake journey at the same time.  If you don’t like sake, drinking chardonnay, a crisp young riesling, or even a dry complex Riesling is also totally acceptable. All three styles help bring out the flavour of the fish. Champagne can also be good. Try a blanc de blancs— 100% chardonnay —for a great way to start the meal. As you progress, remember that sake is good for dishes with a strong taste, such as uni and eel.

Nobu, Sydney

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The Sonos Ace Headphones Are Music to the Ears

The audio giant has (finally) revealed its foray in the personal listening category.

By Josh Bozin 20/06/2024

In the ever competitive market for premium headphones, few brands have captured the hearts (and ears) of audiophiles, professionals and enthusiasts alike. Bowers & Wilkins, Bose, Sony, and even Apple come to mind when debating great audio brands in 2024. Then there’s Sonos.

For over 20 years, the American audio manufacturer has been lauded for its high-end capabilities, particularly in a home setting; Sonos changed the game for the integration of home entertainment. But it had yet to venture into the realm of headphones.

Until now. Earlier this month, the company marked its long-awaited entry into the personal-listening category, with the launch of its highly anticipated Sonos Ace over-ear headphones.

“Fans have asked us for years to bring the Sonos experience to headphones,”says Patrick Spence, CEO of Sonos, “and we knew our first foray into the category needed to champion the type of innovation and sound experience Sonos has become synonymous with.”

Sonos

On paper, the Sonos Ace is an enticing proposition: a premium over-ear headphone featuring lossless and spatial audio, intuitive Active Noise Cancellation (ANC), and Aware Mode. Most appealing, however, might be its new immersive home theatre offering; the Sonos Ace can pair to compatible Sonos soundbars with just a tap of a button. The new TrueCinema technology, which arrives later this year, will precisely map your entertainment space and then render a complete surround sound system for an unparalleled listening experience.

Sonos

Retailing at $699, they aren’t exactly cheap, and there more affordable headphones that compete with Sonos in terms of audio output and high-fidelity sound. But where Sonos thrives is in the details. Available in  stealthy black and pure white, the Sonos Ace are sleek and stylish right out of the box. Sure, there is some resemblance to the Apple Air Max Pro—arguably its greatest rival in the over-ear headphone segment—but Sonos has also added its own design touches, and it’s clear the Ace was made to look and feel as good as it sounds.

Its distinctive, slim profile elegantly blends metal accents with a sleek matte finish, and thanks to the use of lightweight, premium materials like memory foam and vegan leather, you get an airy fit that isn’t overbearing, even after extensive use. The design of the Sonos Ace is also intuitive; tactile buttons make controlling the headset a cinch, and pairing with Apple or Android devices is also straightforward. The dedicated Sonos App is also helpful for customising (somewhat) your listening experience, from altering EQ to turning on certain capabilities, like Head Tracking.

Sonos

It does fall short on a couple of key fronts.  I was expecting more from the Active Noise Cancellation (ANC) for over-ear headphones of this price point; there’s no way the ANC as it stands will filter out the sounds of a plane engine, for example. I also found the Sonos Ace has an issue, albeit subtle, with the mid-bass, which can sound muddy and lack punch at times.

But these are small nits. The Sonos Ace only adds to the company’s impressive standing as an unimpeachable innovator in the audio industry.

For more information, visit Sonos.

 

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