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Penta 3 opinions?

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Playdrv4me
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Playdrv4me posted on Fri, May 24 2013 3:08 AM

 

Hey everyone.

I have an opportunity to obtain a pair of Penta 3s 6633 complete with their original boxes and probably 50-100 hours of total use for 1000.00 US. I had never even considered a pair of Pentas but these just happen to be in town and with them being basically like new, I have to admit I am tempted. The seller is selling them for his Mother and so I don't think they're actually set up for listening, thus my curiosity as to what the opinions are on these still after all these years. As you may remember, the clinical sound of the Lab 1s to me, while very precise and flat, lacked real flare in my opinion and just wasn't to my taste. What I'm hoping based on some what I've seen is that the Pentas are not too far in the OTHER direction and sound like they have socks over them. Even the "bass enhanced" BL8000 is a little clinical unless the Loudness circuit is active on the master device (at which point they are very very nice), but the Pentas are just such a cool speaker with the built in display and all, I could be convinced to get rid of some other piece of gear and get the Pentas instead.

What I basically want to do is have a nice pair of speakers to go with each of my B&O main systems... 8000s of course go with the 9000 (or its eventual replacement which is a BS5E if I could ever find one), the JBLs go with the BM8000 and the Pentas would go with either my 7000 system or the BC9500 whenever I can get it set up. I had originally considered just another pair of BL8000s, but why not mix it up a bit if the Pentas cost the same or less.

Opinions appreciated.

 

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Playdrv4me
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Well. Interesting turn of events with this today.

Long and short of it is I went to look at the Pentas and ended up coming home with the damned Pentas AND a BS9000 Mk. I (I seem to attract those things like bees to honey, I don't get it. Yet I can't find a nice BS5E used to save my life!) for 1600.00, along with all the original packaging, the Mk I floorstand and a Beo4. It's not all a rosy picture though as the carriage on the BS9000 was having trouble moving when I plugged it in at the seller's house. Played a CD just fine, but really struggled to move to any position and it was NOT giving a "cleaning required" error. I really have no idea what I'm going to do with that 9k even if I get it working. I don't know what value they have being completely obsolete and impossible to repair. Still, I figured what the heck for an extra 600 bucks. Especially since the stand is probably worth 2 or 300 on its own and I already have a Mk 2 stand I could also sell.

Anyway, I digress. The pentas for all intents and purposes look brand new. He's been shuffling them around back and forth in his basement for the last year and a half or so so some things were not perfect, like the frets on one weren't clipping in very well and were loose (making the task of investigating the mid drivers on that one easy of course) although the frets fabric is fine. As best as I could tell all of the midrange drivers are in-tact. The surrounds on those midranges look grey to me, though there is a tinge of greenish color to that grey. They are not yellow/green by any stretch. They also didn't feel tacky. Now I just need to get them plugged in and see what surprises I find. These things in their boxes are even more of a pain to move around than the BL1s WITHOUT!.

Playdrv4me
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Have them up and running now (sans displays, using PL cables I had connected to the 8000s), very balanced sounding speakers, but haven't had a chance to tweak yet. As of this moment they're on par with the 8000s so far. STRIKE THAT: with the Loudness control turned ON (which was also on with the 8000s but somehow got turned off) there is easily more bass extension here that the 8000s simply don't have. The highs are not as bad as I was worried they would be either (and one could argue that it's more "fair" to use the Loudness control with the Pentas since they have no ABL of their own which the later active 'Labs do). There's no contest with the BL1s here. The BL1 should never have been considered a replacement for this speaker in anything but utter beauty.

With much consternation I got the four outermost clips on the one loose fret to clip in. Nothing looks broken so I'm assuming it just takes patience and care to get ALL the clips to attach.

Nevertheless, I looked the speakers over and they're definitely in "new old stock" type condition. Meaning you can tell they haven't been knocked around over the years, but I suppose due to being in a basement and being removed for people to have a look or who knows what the metal parts on the cases definitely need to be polished up. They're not scratched, just fingerprints and such that over time have dulled the finish. So what is recommended to polish the metal? A couple of photos attached of the speakers in general and one not so good photo of the dulled finish... 


Playdrv4me
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Guess I have to do these picture postings one at a time...

 


Beobuddy
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I think you have made a really nice purchase!

Probably you have the newer mk3 version. As I can see the "ribbed" tweeter and the greyish look of the conus.

If you could make a picture from the display while working, it will probably confirm this. The mk3 version with the green display were released with 2 different types. Not easy to notice, but side by side you can.

But the downside is the used parts  for the filters in the newer mk3 version. Small blue caps are used and these have to be changed at least. B&O made ihmo a mistake to use these low cost parts for the filters.

Michael Sean
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Thank you for the photos!

They look great!

As far polish, I used 3M Stainless Steel Cleaner and Polish on my Penta 1's. (I got them cleaned, I've just never gotten them running lol). It works great in that it cleaned years of grunge (especially on the top plate) and is completely non-abrasive. And it's made by 3M Brand who, in my opinion, makes the best of whatever they produce.

Also, I always use high quality microfiber cloths when cleaning any of my B&O items. Especially good when first received to remove the often years of grime. Those little fibers dig right in but are very soft on the goods.

Michael

Playdrv4me
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Beobuddy:

I think you have made a really nice purchase!

Probably you have the newer mk3 version. As I can see the "ribbed" tweeter and the greyish look of the conus.

If you could make a picture from the display while working, it will probably confirm this. The mk3 version with the green display were released with 2 different types. Not easy to notice, but side by side you can.

But the downside is the used parts  for the filters in the newer mk3 version. Small blue caps are used and these have to be changed at least. B&O made ihmo a mistake to use these low cost parts for the filters.

Thanks BeoBuddy.

I am a display geek so I shined a flashlight inside the display module and I can tell you that these have the Vacuum Fluorescent multi-segment display. I noticed that some Mark III Pentas in photos look like they have LCD displays and these are not LCD. They are VF like the BeoLink 7000 and BS9000 for example, but green instead of red. I'll hook them up and get a picture shortly.

Michael, thanks for the advice on the polish. I will track some down and give it a shot.

I have a feeling I'm going to need to track down a Beolab 200 amp for one of them soon. I noticed that after I shut off the BS9000 and the lights went red on one of the Pentas, that I kept hearing a little "click click" for about 2 or 3 minutes afterward every so often. I guess the relay is getting old? Works fine, just clicks a little after going into standby.

Playdrv4me
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Here's a pic of the display. Seller included a single long PL cable which is the right type for Pentas so at least I can test. On the other hand, I am not entirely sure I want the display on both of them on, I think it's a little overkill and redundant lol. Maybe it's just me.


Christophe
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In reply to BO from Sweden, I paired my Pentas with an AntiMode 2.0 Dual Core from DSPeaker.Smile

 

Playdrv4me
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So Beobuddy, does that look like the newer display or the older one?

valve1
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valve1 replied on Tue, May 28 2013 6:44 AM

Nice pair of Pentas

You are setting the bench mark for lugging big speakers and bs9000's.  ;-)

Interested to hear how you find them against all your previous ones.

Beobuddy
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Playdrv4me:

So Beobuddy, does that look like the newer display or the older one?

I have taken some pictures. Will post them soon.

At the first look it looks like the first mk3 version. But the differences are only visible by comparing them side by side and with a picture taken in front of the display. 

Playdrv4me
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valve1:

Nice pair of Pentas

You are setting the bench mark for lugging big speakers and bs9000's.  ;-)

Interested to hear how you find them against all your previous ones.

And my back is about to reach its limit! ;)

I swear those BS9000s find me at every turn. That was a tremendously successful product for B&O.

Playdrv4me
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Just wanted to add to this thread that I looked around town for the 3M product Michael recommended and couldn't find it, and didn't really want to wait. So I strolled on over to Ace hardware (which is usually like a Swiss army knife of cleaning products) and found these...

They worked like a charm and literally just erased the years of oxidation and fingerprints on all the steel panels. At first I made the mistake of following up the wipes with a microfiber cloth, but apparently you're supposed to wipe in one direction and let it dry on its own. These things just look amazing now. Mind you, they're still rather "homely" by Bang and Olufsen standards, but at least their homeliness shines like new now!

Also, I haven't heard the clicking from one of the Pentas that I mentioned earlier in this thread upon going to standby anymore. It might still be doing it and I just haven't noticed, but I sure don't hear it anymore. After having seen some of the literally exploded capacitors in some of the Beolab 200s I'm sure that the caps have likely done a little expansion already which may be the click I was hearing, or it could also have been a relay. Who knows.

Playdrv4me
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So to update this never ending thread... Tonight I decided to disassemble/take out the midrange speaker panel. I discovered that the midrange drivers are made by Nokia and not the older ITT version. However apparently this isn't of much importance as I found other threads where the Nokia foams had deteriorated. Not only that, I also found a thread from 2009 where someone with 1993 Pentas with consistent use still had brand-new looking foams in 2009 and they weren't even tacky around the foam. So I guess this is better left as one of those "don't think about it or it will drive you nuts" things. I did pinch the foam on all four drivers on that side and they all seemed fine.

Another advantage about these tiny drivers and the way they are attached to the surrounding case is that you can pull the whole thing off and send it out for re-foaming to someone with actual experience (i.e. NOT me nor do I want to try it with paper cones, re-glueing the BC9500 is enough for me) with relative ease.

I also noticed that the Pentas can be used in passive mode, so I guess if the Beolab 200 ever craps out on either one of them, I can basically run them with my Beomaster 8000 or any other high current amplifier, especially since these didn't have any ABL circuitry anyway. It'll be interesting to see how these fair over time. Especially since they're not THAT old to begin with.

*SIGH*... Now to chase down a pair of stands for my Beovox RL6000 pair...

Beobuddy
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Playdrv4me:

So Beobuddy, does that look like the newer display or the older one?

 

As promised.

 

I just finished overhauling a set of MK3's penta's and set them side by side with mine.

the newer version has a bit smaller diaplay and more greenish.

 


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