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North America: would you buy B&O again?

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BeoFrederic
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BeoFrederic posted on Mon, Aug 21 2017 2:38 AM

My first post at this great resource. I’m looking for your advice and thoughts.

I’ve owned B&O gear since the ‘70s.  I have a motley collection of classic B&O, right up to BeoPlay H7.  I love the brand, and despite some frustration over the years with compatibilty, build quality, and repair, I am a fan.

I have a 4.1 setup with BL 800s in front, BL 6000 surrounds, and 3rd party sub and A/V receiver.  I’ve been thinking of moving the 8000s to the surrounds, selling the 6000s, and upgrading the fronts, perhaps to a pair of BL20s.  That would represent a significant investment for me, one that requires a lot of careful consideration.  Not an impulse buy.

However....!  The last store in Bay Area (Palo Alto) just closed.  Perhaps worse, the only B&O repair shop in the area  that I know of (L&M in Daly City) just closed.  It’s now an overnight trip to audition speakers, either in LA or Portland.  I have no idea how I’d get repair work done.

Would you recommit to B&O in these circumstances? 

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jk1002
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jk1002 replied on Mon, Aug 21 2017 2:58 AM

I am asking mysef the same question constantly. Realistically if you can mail a product your OK, so small speaker, beoplay range all a go for me. TVS and large speaker for now a no go for me. Am in Bay area as well and bought from Seattle store which is great, you save taxes

MediaBobNY
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BeoFrederic:
The last store in Bay Area (Palo Alto) just closed.  Perhaps worse, the only B&O repair shop in the area  that I know of (L&M in Daly City) just closed.  It’s now an overnight trip to audition speakers, either in LA or Portland.  I have no idea how I’d get repair work done.

I'm somewhat amused by the fact that, in every email I get from Beoplay there is a store locator.   Why do they want to advertise the fact that, with around a dozen stores remaining in the US, that means that there's 1 store per 25 million population, meaning essentially that there's NO store near you?   Just sayin'..

Sal
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Sal replied on Mon, Aug 21 2017 4:04 PM

jk1002:

I am asking mysef the same question constantly. Realistically if you can mail a product your OK, so small speaker, beoplay range all a go for me. TVS and large speaker for now a no go for me. Am in Bay area as well and bought from Seattle store which is great, you save taxes

I have the same concerns as the original poster, but jk1002 hits the nail on the head for me when I think of buying B&O now. I have one substantial item, a BV11-55. Repair for that (knock on wood) would be a nightmare. But Luckily I'm relatively close to a repair center so not so concerned at the moment. That being said, although I'd love to have a pair of BL5's, BL50s, etc... I am steering clear because of the prospect that servicing them would be terribly difficult in the US.

That being said, I've had nothing but stellar service from B&O in the way of warranty work for my BL20s, so if you're patient, willing to communicate via telephone and email, it's not as bad as one might think it would be. For the most part, B&O really does want to do the right thing for its customers, and at least in my experience, it shows. The US is too large a potential market for B&O to effectively ignore - maybe those are my rose colored glasses speaking.

 

Jeff
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Jeff replied on Mon, Aug 21 2017 5:01 PM

MediaBobNY:

BeoFrederic:
The last store in Bay Area (Palo Alto) just closed.  Perhaps worse, the only B&O repair shop in the area  that I know of (L&M in Daly City) just closed.  It’s now an overnight trip to audition speakers, either in LA or Portland.  I have no idea how I’d get repair work done.

I'm somewhat amused by the fact that, in every email I get from Beoplay there is a store locator.   Why do they want to advertise the fact that, with around a dozen stores remaining in the US, that means that there's 1 store per 25 million population, meaning essentially that there's NO store near you?   Just sayin'..

Yeah, that always amuses me too. Let's advertise the fact we're a dying niche brand in the US! That'll get us more business! It's like the Underpants Gnomes in South Park:

1. Advertise the fact we have no dealers.

2. ?????

3. Profit!

If the opportunity existed to buy, new, the equipment I have (BS9000, BL9, BL8000, etc.) I would if I was in the market for a new setup. But, given today's B&O, with the lack of dealers, and the current products (overpriced, under-reliable, problematic performance issues, and not as good looking), the answer is no, I'm no longer a B&O customer apparently. Maybe in the future if they get their kit together, but today, not a chance sadly.

Jeff

Beovirus victim, it's gotten to be too much to list!

MediaBobNY
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Sal:
The US is too large a potential market for B&O to effectively ignore - maybe those are my rose colored glasses speaking.

Well, today it would be your solar eclipse viewing glasses speaking.  But that's not important right now.

Jeff:
Yeah, that always amuses me too. Let's advertise the fact we're a dying niche brand in the US!

I suppose they're damned if they do and damned if they don't.  Not a good situation to be in..

pjk561
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pjk561 replied on Tue, Aug 22 2017 3:00 AM

I live in the Denver, CO metro area. The B&O store that I visited for years closed a couple of years ago. Fortunately a new distributor has opened even closer to my home. I thoroughly enjoy my B&O audio system but for additional products I'm relegated to Ebay due to the price of new products.

Barry Santini
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I am a true B&O fan. I live to believe.

Years ago...decades ago...B&O North America would issue missives about their "core competencies."

One core competency that B&O is late acknowledging is software.

Start hiring the youngest, the best and the brightest.

Or accept the future where the brand is no longer.

Jeff
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Jeff replied on Wed, Aug 23 2017 1:46 AM

I think B&O is in danger of becoming with respect to luxury/expensive AV systems what Jaguar (before Ford bought them and improved their QC) was to luxury cars. Hard to be taken seriously if you have significant QC and other issues, Jag's was reliability, B&O seems to have reliability, and QC issues/software issues, etc. of their own they must address if they are to be successful. Losing Netflix, Spotify, other issues, etc.

When Ford took over Jag they asked them to supply Ford engineers with the best XJ off the assembly line they could identify. Ford was horrified when they found that it was almost a half an inch longer on one side of the body than the other.

Jeff

Beovirus victim, it's gotten to be too much to list!

linder
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I have been buying Bang & Olufsen products for over 30 years.  The Beosound 5 which I purchased on the day it was first available is the purchase that caused me to start doubting B&O.  Needless to say I have not quite trusted B&O after that.  However I did buy a pair of Beolab 9s which I do like.  I am going to keep what I have and wait to see what happens.

To me B&O seems to be fading at least in North America.

Stan
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Stan replied on Tue, Sep 5 2017 5:24 PM

I have a store and a service center both within 30 minutes so I'm lucky.  I honestly don't know what I'd do in your situation.  I'm sure the BL20s will be a nice upgrade from the BL8000s, and speakers still seem to be a strong B&O core competency.  On the other hand, they're heavy and expensive to ship if something goes wrong.  Also, they don't sound great if you are standing up because the ALT limits the vertical dispersion of the sound - so if you're looking for "party speakers", maybe there are better (this is one of the reasons I went with 2nd hand BL1s vs. BL9s).

To hop on this gloom and doom train, even with sales and service resources close by, I'm starting to question my allegiance.  I have a house full of B&O, but everything connected to ML got zapped by lightening.  For a few moments, I was considering not fixing it and moving to sonos.  B&O is pricing itself out of my reach.  For example, I want to add a speaker by my pool - to go the B&O route, I'm looking at an Essence + 2nd hand Passive + special cables + maybe an Apple Airport Express (my other Essence was somewhat flaky until I hardwired it to an Airport - and my wife doesn't deal well with "somewhat flaky") vs. sonos amp (less than 1/2 the cost, one device vs. 2 or 3).  While the sonos may not sound as good, its software probably works better, and do I really need great sound by the pool? No, I don't.  Also, I'd like a bigger TV (currently have a BV8-40), but don't have $10K to spend and the hoops one has to jump through to get a non-B&O TV integrated into B&O multi-room is troubling.  OK, maybe I'll spend $7K on a Horizon... but questions of B&O's long term support for Android and the bugs have scared me away.

Then again, I thoroughly enjoy most of my B&O.  For me, it was the BeoLink Wireless1 that started my doubting.  Whenever I look at the alternatives available on the market ), I end up back with the brand.  I'd probably buy the BL20s if I was in your situation because what is the alternative... ugly black boxes?  Then again, I can understand not going that route as well... If the Bay Area can't support a B&O store, I do worry about the future of the brand.

MediaBobNY
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'Found out the Houston, TX store just closed.   And no, the closure is not related to 'that'.

linder
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Stan,  When I lived in the Bay area in the 90s, my favorite store was the Palo Alto store.  On the weekends they were always had a lot of customers.

I have four complete systems and 5 turntables.  I guess I am set for the time being.  However I am moving into a new condo which is going to have 1 GB internet service and a security system based on HomeKit.  I would like to have a  new system and keep some of the older equipment.  It would be nice to get a Beovision Eclipse and Beolab 50s.  That's over $50,000 plus tax.  Its expensive but would be a major crisis if there are software problems and no real support in both hardware and software.

I am definitely getting 2 Apple Homepods for casual multiroom listening.  Beoplay doesn't work for me.

I guess I can always return to B&O if things get better.  Who knows?

 

 

linder
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MediaBobNY:

'Found out the Houston, TX store just closed.   And no, the closure is not related to 'that'.

Closing the Houston store during that situation is really dumb.  How are people going to replace their equipment due to the water damage?  This is the worst PR a company could have.

Stan
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Stan replied on Tue, Sep 5 2017 8:18 PM

Linder,

Yeah, I thought I was set, too.  Then the lightening happened.  Made me question the entire setup.  Luckily, the older stuff is robust enough that it is repairable (so far, hat tip to B&O for having parts available for "old", out of production products like the BM5), and the newer stuff wasn't damaged because it wasn't wired to ML.

I travel to the Bay area frequently, and I visited the Palo Alto store a few times.  Always friendly people.  I guess the silicon valley silly money has other interests now - like paying a mortgage or rent Surprise

I hope the Eclipse sells well.  B&O really needs a hit.

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