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Beolab 9 electrical burning smell after playing at high volume

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Dave
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Dave posted on Fri, Jul 25 2014 9:23 AM

Hi all,

I just played some Diana Krall at high volume while i was outside watering the gardens and when i came back to the room the speakers are in i noticed a slight electrical burning smell, when i sniffed the midrange and tweeter area of the speakers it was clear that the smell was from the speakers.

I thought the labs had a built in protection... Is it possible ive done damage, or more importantly, is it actually possible to damage the drivers despite the inbuilt protection they apparently have? Mine have never shut off and glowed yellow in the number of years ive had them since new.

 

Appreciate your thoughts!

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tournedos
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I wouldn't worry too much. Possibly they got properly warm for the first time in their life, and that can often evaporate smelly substances (laqcuer from the circuit boards, flame retardants etc) from electrical devices even if they aren't brand new.

You're right that the speakers should limit the power or shut down before any actual damage happens - at least if you drive them with normal music instead of deliberately trying to kill them.

--mika

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tournedos
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I wouldn't worry too much. Possibly they got properly warm for the first time in their life, and that can often evaporate smelly substances (laqcuer from the circuit boards, flame retardants etc) from electrical devices even if they aren't brand new.

You're right that the speakers should limit the power or shut down before any actual damage happens - at least if you drive them with normal music instead of deliberately trying to kill them.

--mika

Dave
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Dave replied on Fri, Jul 25 2014 10:48 AM

Thanks Mika :)

 

Yes they probably have not ever been that loud before, however i felt safer playing a more gentle genre at such a high volume than most other instances :)

BeoBoy68
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Not normal at all for the BeoLab 9. It seems the protection didn't work.

You should check and test them by your dealer.
Dave
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Dave replied on Sat, Jul 26 2014 2:54 AM

BeoBoy68:
Not normal at all for the BeoLab 9. It seems the protection didn't work.

 

You should check and test them by your dealer.

Really? Well they are working in the exact same order as they always do and the smell disappeared once i lowered the volume, my nearest dealer is 1000km away so unless something breaks or fails i won't be making a trip to the dealer...

John
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John replied on Mon, Jul 28 2014 5:19 AM

Dave:

BeoBoy68:
Not normal at all for the BeoLab 9. It seems the protection didn't work.

 

You should check and test them by your dealer.

Really? Well they are working in the exact same order as they always do and the smell disappeared once i lowered the volume, my nearest dealer is 1000km away so unless something breaks or fails i won't be making a trip to the dealer...

Hi Dave

You might find this link helpful re the speakers protection:

http://www.tonmeister.ca/wordpress/2013/11/07/bo-tech-what-is-abl/

Note that the speaker has ABL on the bass, and thermal protection for all drivers.

I only know of one case (via my dealer) where Lab 9's died.

A client had his teenage sons push them at a party at very high volumes for long periods - even when the yellow light came on and they cut out, once cooled, they resumed the onslaught.  Exit a pair of Beolab 9 midrange drivers apparently, and an expensive repair.

Another anecdotal dealer tale, was the client who insisted upon turning his Lab 5's to max volume, and then cuing up on CD, by turning off 'mute', the digital cannon fire from the Telarc 1812 overture disc - which contains specific warnings about the very low frequency, very high volume of same.

Result, exit a pair of Beolab 5  15" bass drivers.

Compared to the audiophile separates world, B&O speakers are very well protected, but not against otherwise well meaning efforts to kill them as told to me by my dealer and as mentioned above.

So I think I'd be comfortable that they're very well protected, but just not completely fail safe if that makes any sense...certainly I don't push mine to any great degree - I think perhaps 65 momentarily is the highest I've ever gone on a music recording - generally 50 - 55 is more than sufficient in the context of my room, unless it's a very quiet (recorded at low level) recording, which requires a higher playback level to give a more realistic sense of the live event.

In store, whilst testing prior to buying, I listened in a large room at around 70 on the volume of a V1/Lab 9's via a Sony bluray player/HDMI on about 2 hours of my own music clips, with no issues.  A lot of this was classical music though, so quite a large dynamic range, and not compressed pop or electronic music which will stress a speaker slightly more in terms of generating heat in the voice coil courtesy a constant loud volume.

Consequently I'd say you were fine, but the best person to ask if you're worried, would be Geoff Martin I would think, given how far you are away from a dealer.

However, from my limited experience with 'broken' speakers (friends overdriving at parties etc) usually they just cook/melt the voice coil and die, OR the glue/adhesive that holds the voice coil onto the former, heats up excessively, which allows the voice coil wires to expand unevenly, at which point it will scrape in the magnet gap - in the case of midrange drivers and tweeters.  Bass drivers, just usually overshoot the magnet gap, and hit the magnet backplate, and mushroom the voice coil former - again, scrape sounds and odd noises, if not complete failure.

So if the drivers all work, and there is no odd noises, I'd say you were fine.

Hope this helps! - but If in doubt recommend you consult with Geoff.

Kind regards

 

John... Smile

Dave
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Dave replied on Mon, Jul 28 2014 1:23 PM

Thanks John, your anecdotes were very interesting!! :)

Geoff Martin
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hi,

my guess is that the "warm for the first time in their life" answer was the right one. However, I'll ask the guys here in Struer what they think. As John said, it's not impossible to burn up the speakers, but you really have to try if you're going to succeed. :-)

Almost everyone in the acoustics department is on holidays at the moment, so it might take a week or two to get back to you.

Cheers

-g

Luke
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Luke replied on Tue, Jul 29 2014 6:02 AM

Also you would less likely notice this burning smell if you were in the room for the entire duration of the playback, I think being outside and then coming into the room would have heightened the smell for you.

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Dave
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Dave replied on Tue, Jul 29 2014 6:59 AM

Oh thanks Geoff, that's really nice of you, much appreciated! Smile

Dave
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Dave replied on Tue, Jul 29 2014 7:32 AM

Absolutely Luke, and thank goodness for that, the first thing i did was turn them right down as soon as i noticed the smell. When i worked as cabin crew we had no idea just how horrendous the cabin smelled on some flights until the door was opened at the destination and the ground crew would pull back in revolt! lol

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