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Beolab 20 review?

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rxcohen
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rxcohen posted on Sat, Jun 21 2014 6:10 PM

I have seen almost nothing about the beolab 20 in terms of reviews. Has anyone bought one or listened to it? Would like to have your opinion, if any, particularly as is compares to the BL5. 

BV11-55, BS9000, BL1, BL19, Transmitter 1, Beo4, Beocom 6000, BeoTalk1 200, Sennheiser HD600, McIntosh MHA100

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Jeff
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Jeff replied on Mon, Jun 23 2014 3:26 PM

jc:

Looking at the technical spec's I hope that the Lab 20 has more 'midrange' than the 9's, as that midrange has been found lacking by some here.

Perhaps a re-worked Lab 3 would benefit in the same way; they are superb speakers but miss a bit of 'midrange' energy in my opinion.

Hmmm...the midrange on the 9s is about as good as I've ever heard. The only thing I could think of one could find fault with is if one preferred the kind of voicing that companies like B&W seem to favor, which to my ear seems a bit overexaggerated in detail due to a slight lift in that region.

But it depends on what you like to listen to. For me, speakers with a lift in the mids tend to get fatiguing to listen to after a while, whereas the 9s I can listen to for hours without strain.

Jeff

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Playdrv4me
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Jeff:

jc:

Looking at the technical spec's I hope that the Lab 20 has more 'midrange' than the 9's, as that midrange has been found lacking by some here.

Perhaps a re-worked Lab 3 would benefit in the same way; they are superb speakers but miss a bit of 'midrange' energy in my opinion.

Hmmm...the midrange on the 9s is about as good as I've ever heard. The only thing I could think of one could find fault with is if one preferred the kind of voicing that companies like B&W seem to favor, which to my ear seems a bit overexaggerated in detail due to a slight lift in that region.

But it depends on what you like to listen to. For me, speakers with a lift in the mids tend to get fatiguing to listen to after a while, whereas the 9s I can listen to for hours without strain.

I have B&W 802D and a basically new pair of BeoLab 5 that were acquired for resale purposes. I find the midrange on the Lab5's more forward, and in-fact more pleasing than the 802D, which I find a bit laid back and muddled somewhat by the bass/warmth of the 802D. This is in a rather small room, however, which is not ideal for the 802s. 

Where are the BeoLab 20s made? One concern I have is that newer is not always better, though the 20s do seem to improve the 9s in some key areas. However, even in new versus older Lab5s some cost cutting measures are evident, such as the mains power plug being a simple two prong ungrounded affair now versus the older three prong IEC style plug which allowed the adaptation of nice heavy duty power cords. 

Other than IWS and possibly playback higher than 96khz, not sure there is much that could be done to improve the Lab 5. I mean, it's been around for over a decade now for that very reason. I wouldn't expect anything significant.

Jeff
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Jeff replied on Tue, Jun 24 2014 3:48 PM

Interesting, it's been a long time since I've heard the BL5s in anything approaching a decent room so I honestly have a hard time remembering their mids vs. say the 9s. I do know that I haven't listened to all B&Ws or even the newest ones, but the ones I have heard tended to be voiced more towards what I would call the modern audiophile "detail" oriented end of the spectrum, which to me sounds a bit too detailed, as opposed to a more "polite" and laid back sound. No doubt they were good sounding speakers, but their voicing was not my favorite way to voice a speaker.  Reminds me of the old days, you had West Coast sound (JBL), New England sound (Advent), and British sound (Kef, etc.).

Jeff

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Playdrv4me
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Jeff:

Interesting, it's been a long time since I've heard the BL5s in anything approaching a decent room so I honestly have a hard time remembering their mids vs. say the 9s. I do know that I haven't listened to all B&Ws or even the newest ones, but the ones I have heard tended to be voiced more towards what I would call the modern audiophile "detail" oriented end of the spectrum, which to me sounds a bit too detailed, as opposed to a more "polite" and laid back sound. No doubt they were good sounding speakers, but their voicing was not my favorite way to voice a speaker.  Reminds me of the old days, you had West Coast sound (JBL), New England sound (Advent), and British sound (Kef, etc.).

Yep, I've heard that before and about the different "house" sounds, too. Apparently McIntosh gear used to have a rather dark character to it, and then suddenly beginning with the MC601, MC452 and the 2.0Kw they shifted to a more neutral and brighter presentation in the voicing of their amps. 

Now don't get me wrong, the treble end of things on the 802Ds is rather "crispy" because of that Diamond tweeter, but I never find that portion fatiguing or hard to listen to. My main problem with them has ironically been a yearning for MORE neutral, accurate midrange. But because of the room size the bass is just overpowering sometimes. They're a little slow. This is something that was supposedly improved upon on the 802 "Diamond", which came after the D.

And though I consider the Lab5s more forward in the mids, it is never fatiguing in any possible way. It is how I like it. My suspicion with the lab 5, since B&O don't play much with or talk up the material make-up of their drivers, is that the basic "bones" of this speaker will remain unchanged, with the exception of wireless and possibly higher bitrate formats. But they'll add the biggest thing the Lab5s have lacked, and that's diversity... So likely several color choices, or new designs for the grilles or what not. 

I will also be eager to hear the Lab 20s next time I am in a B&O store, but I too am not keen on their design. 

dueno
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dueno replied on Tue, Oct 27 2015 1:16 PM

french review

 

http://www.hautefidelite-hifi.com/images/gratuits/NET-HF2.pdf

 

Sal
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Sal replied on Tue, Oct 27 2015 4:27 PM

Thanks for the link, unfortunately it is a PDF so google translate doesn't work on it. Looking at the ratings on the final page of the review, I dare say it is a good one. Can someone who has read it maybe give a high level rundown of the magazine's thoughts, please? Thanks in advance!

Sal
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Sal replied on Tue, Oct 27 2015 4:45 PM

My previous post got sent to moderation. Can someone give a quick rundown of the review, please?

BeoGreg
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BeoGreg replied on Thu, Oct 29 2015 12:20 PM
They say it's the first ever B&O product tested in a specialized hifi magazine they saw and it's great.

The test was done wirelessly with wisa and a transmitter 1 and wall setting.

The amps are dutch, the speakers danish, it's made in cz with machines but in a good way (plastic body but good plastic).

They liked anything about the speakers musicaly and aestheticaly and say it's good value for the price !
BeoGreg
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BeoGreg replied on Thu, Oct 29 2015 12:27 PM
Cannot find a negative comment on any aspect of the speaker : it's natural, bass and treble are very good, medium are impressive, you are in the concert hall.
Sal
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Sal replied on Thu, Oct 29 2015 1:35 PM

Thank you so much, BeoGreg!

BeoGreg
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Your welcome, there are plenty details in the test impossible (for me) to translate.

One thing is sure, they have done the test very seriously (and the speaker is great - even for "audiophiles").
Michael
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I have Bl9 and I don't like the slight noise from the tweeters when they don't play anything. Or course it is always present but it's less noticeable when you play music through them.

When I'm switching between audio sources I notice a big difference in this annoying noice. Almost inaudible on the internal avant speakers, less noticeable on beolab 8000 and very noticeable on bl9. I have listened to bl20 in store and they had the sound but perhaps less of it. I'm not sure. I get a feeling that the upwards speaking elements are amplified much more than the elements that points forward.

This is a concern for me and I am considering going back to non-ALT speakers due to the noise. Even if it's not very audible to a lot of people my ears are very sensitive to it.

If I was looking at a pair of bl20 I would listen carefully for this, since it might be annoying between movies or music, for example while choosing a movie to watch.

Beolab 50, Beolab 20, Beolab 8000 x 2, Beolab 4000 x 2, 
BeoSound Core, BeoSound 9000, BeoSound Century, 
BeoLit 15, BeoPlay A1, BeoPlay P2, BeoPlay H9i, BeoPlay H6, EarSet 3i, 
BeoVision Avant 55, BeoPlay V1-40, 
BeoCom 6000 and so much else :)  

Jeff
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Jeff replied on Thu, Oct 29 2015 8:35 PM

You must either have the ears of a bat or live somewhere with a particularly vicious RFI environment. I hear nothing out of my BL9s after I got the correct cables for them with the additional ground. And I've never heard anything out of my 8000s, the only exception being when I have the gain turned up way high with no signal, and I mean really high.

Jeff

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Michael
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Jeff:

You must either have the ears of a bat or live somewhere with a particularly vicious RFI environment. I hear nothing out of my BL9s after I got the correct cables for them with the additional ground. And I've never heard anything out of my 8000s, the only exception being when I have the gain turned up way high with no signal, and I mean really high.

I hear the electronics make different sounds on my microwave in the kitchen, when I am in the living room, when the screen blinks. And I can hear the electronics in my H8 headphones as well, the sound the bluetooth radio makes, it sounds like a ringing phone sometimes when it is changing frequencies or doing something strange. 

I hear different noise from my MacBook Pro when it is working or not. But I don't think the noise from BL9 is very high frequency, its just quite loud and reflected straight towards my ears. 

Beolab 50, Beolab 20, Beolab 8000 x 2, Beolab 4000 x 2, 
BeoSound Core, BeoSound 9000, BeoSound Century, 
BeoLit 15, BeoPlay A1, BeoPlay P2, BeoPlay H9i, BeoPlay H6, EarSet 3i, 
BeoVision Avant 55, BeoPlay V1-40, 
BeoCom 6000 and so much else :)  

Michael
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Michael:
ears of a bat


Yes, my name is batman Big Smile. I actually have quite good ears, at least for a few more years I hope.

Beolab 50, Beolab 20, Beolab 8000 x 2, Beolab 4000 x 2, 
BeoSound Core, BeoSound 9000, BeoSound Century, 
BeoLit 15, BeoPlay A1, BeoPlay P2, BeoPlay H9i, BeoPlay H6, EarSet 3i, 
BeoVision Avant 55, BeoPlay V1-40, 
BeoCom 6000 and so much else :)  

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