HP, Bang & Olufsen partnership plays to audiophiles


HP announced a new partnership with Danish audio company Bang & Olufsen to bring premium sound to its computing products. Like the Beats deal that it replaces, the partnership will see Bang & Olufsen branding and sound tuning on HP's laptops, desktops, and tablets.

The first devices out of the B&O partnership will arrive this spring. Premium HP devices will have the Bang & Olufsen brand while the B&O Play brand will show up on more affordable and mobile-centric products.

"The Bang & Olufsen brand will appear on HP's Spectre, OMEN, ENVY and select commercial PCs," the companies said in a statement. "The B&O Play brand will appear on HP Pavilion PCs, tablets and PC audio accessories."

The technology

Both companies say they will be enhancing HP's computing products with both hardware and software to deliver better sound.

On the hardware front, custom tuning will be done for each product.

"In all HP devices that carry the Bang & Olufsen or B&O PLAY brand, a dedicated audio island isolates the sensitive audio circuits from other signals on the motherboard," HP said. "The headphone jack limits the amount of metal parts to reduce ground noise to help further perfect the audio experience on HP devices."

There will also be an audio control panel so users can customize their sound further.

"This allows customers to customize and enhance their audio experience based on preset configurations tuned by HP and Bang & Olufsen. Customers can choose from optimized presets or manually tune the sound to their liking."

A new beat

The new partnership with B&O replaces the HP and Beats partnership. It's unclear if Apple's acquisition of Beats played a role in HP's search for a new audio partner, or if HP wants to appeal to audiophiles who may not appreciate the bass-heavy tunes that Beats produces.

Better audio has been a focus on laptops and mobile devices in recent years. Aside from HP's audio partnerships, rival Lenovo uses Dolby on its system while MSI uses Dynaudio on some of its products. Bang & Olufsen's sound tech is also found on products from Asus, like the ZenBook.