“The room really dictates how you hear,” explains sound specialist Neo Kaplanis, whose inspired experimentation and ear for precision ensures Bang & Olufsen products perform powerfully in all environments.
Even the most finely tuned speaker will be influenced by the space it is in and the sound you hear is always the total of two parts: the speaker and its surroundings. Neo understands how truly powerful audio is an experience that can be enjoyed in all environments. When working on new products at Bang & Olufsen, Neo strives to replicate the kind of real-life situations and experiences that could detract from that perfect experience. His dedication to research and development helps our engineers create speakers, headphones and soundbars that perform with power and precision in the environments that embody a contemporary lifestyle.
Human experience is at the centre of everything Bang & Olufsen develops and Neo’s work helps make the interaction of product and environment harmonious. Where a speaker is placed and the kind of environment it is placed in, influences the sound more than the speaker itself. “Even if you have the perfect speaker in a very bad environment, what you hear is the sum of two,” he explains. This interplay between product and space makes the testing room at the Bang & Olufsen headquarters in Struer, Denmark, central to the design process.
To create a powerful listening experience, it is also necessary to create ways to interrogate its potential settings. Neo tells us that “the room is a tool we use for sound reproduction, where we can recreate the scenarios of real life.” With just one highly sophisticated space, engineers can replicate cramped environments, huge vistas and distracting background noises, allowing them to test everything from headphones to loudspeakers. For example, if Neo wants to see how well Noise Cancellation is functioning on a prototype pair of headphones, he can “recreate the environment inside the plane. Then we can test our headphones in real conditions, still in a laboratory setting.”
The pursuit of excellence is what drives specialists like Neo and he uses his expertise to blend Bang & Olufsen’s cutting edge technology with knowledge of the world it lives in. “As a sound designer, I need to make sure that wherever you take a product, it sounds as good as possible,” he says. “And that’s where all this knowledge about room interaction and human perception comes into play.”