B&O wants you to touch wood to control your music at home

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James Trew
January 8, 2015 2:08 PM
B&O wants you to touch wood to control your music at home image
B&O wants you to touch wood to control your music at home image

Knocking on wood is said to bring you luck. Those of a less fortunate disposition will be interested to know about Bang & Olufsen's new wireless home music system then. It's called "Moment" and features (among other things) a wooden touch-sensitive interface. It could be the luckiest HiFi you'll ever own. The curious device comes in two parts: the dock/base station, and a wireless controller. It's the latter that gets the wood treatment. As you can probably already tell, the Moment is typical Bang & Olufsen, in that it's not typical at all.

Gallery: B&O BeoSound Moment | 8 Photos


If there is one thing the Danish company excels at, it's selling a lifestyle. If it's good at a second thing, it's creating unusual user experiences. The Moment is an ambassador for both of these qualities. The removable controller is actually double-sided. There's the sparse, wooden panel we already mentioned, but flip it over and it's aluminum surrounding a large touchscreen. Each side represents a different way to interact with your music, and both of them look like something that wouldn't be out of place in an interior design magazine. Especially when nestled between two of the firm's equally manicured speakers (you can connect your own or use B&O's wireless ones).

When using the wooden side (it has capacitive sensor just under the thin layer of laminate), you'll be interacting with Bang & Olufsen's habit-learning "PatternPlay." As you use the Moment, it learns your music-listening patterns and preferences. Listen to Bach at lunch? Hendrix for breakfast? The Moment is taking note, and will start auto-playing the music it thinks you want to hear with just a single touch of the wooden panel. Of course, if you have erratic habits, or there are wildly varying music tastes in your household, your results may vary (there are no user profiles).

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If you want a little more control over your music, you'll want to flip the controller over. On this side, it's effectively a tablet. There's a conventional UI that lets you browse your collection (or the vast library of Deezer) via the usual filters (artist, album, etc.). The Moment also aggregates all your music into one seamless catalog. While this interface is more conventional, there's still a little B&O magic on this side of the controller. A color wheel with concentric circles lets you choose -- and discover -- music based on mood. Colors represent intensity and emotion, while the circles dictate how close the music is to your personal collection -- central is music you know; the farther out you go, the more it starts to choose things it thinks you might like. It's certainly an interesting take on discovery.

The Moment is predictably expensive. It'll run you $2,800 before you've even considered speakers. That's a fair amount of dough for what's essentially a streaming player with a fancy interface. Not even the free 12 months of Deezer can take the edge off that. But, if you're into Bang & Olufsen products, this is all part of the experience. The Moment goes on sale at the end of this month.

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