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Beolab 90

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politician
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Whatever it's called, has anybody yet heard the BeoLab 90 and compared it to the BeoLab 5?

Playdrv4me
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John:

Playdrv4me:

I don't see enough substance here, at least until some professional reviewers can get their hands on them or we get to hear them (and how many dealers will carry them?). 

The problem once again just like BL5 is that B&O seems to have thrown a bunch of drivers in a cabinet in an effort to create a wider "sweet spot" within an entire room to enjoy the music without losing details. Ok, that's fine. But there's no mention of any driver improvements to increase the *resolution and imaging* starting with the driver itself. Sure, the B&W 800 Series Diamond speakers don't have this incredible ability to bounce off every surface in a room and still keep a convincing stereo soundstage but... so what? If you ARE sitting in the sweet spot and even further, if you have a good Room EQ, the dividends are incredible with the diamond tweeter and the FST midrange. 

I certainly hope that for 70,000.00 or whatever silly price these things will cost, there's more substance here than novel placement of cooling fins and beam width control. Yes, I read about both of these innovations on Geoff's site, but even with all the supposed innovation in the BL5 that stood since 2003, it still doesn't sound better than even an 804 Diamond D2 which is the smallest floor stander. In some ways, the BL5 doesn't really sound much better than my Penta IIIs. Sure, it throws sound out wider, but that doesn't matter when I sit down for serious listening anyway as I'm not going to sit off in a corner of the room. Transducer technology has advanced SO far in the last 20 years that you can not just ignore that part of the equation. 

One of the performance aspects and advantages of the Beolab 5 design with the acoustic lenses, over contemporary designs such as the B&W 800 series, is that by reducing midrange and treble beaming and consequently giving a very even polar, or 'power' response, deleterious room reflections propagated by an uneven polar response, are largely negated.  This in turn helps with the sense of correct spatial perspectives as heard in real life - i.e. a concert hall with classical music for example, as well as a very well balanced frequency response at the listening position - regardless whether one is listening tightly on axis to the speaker drivers.

As to the drivers in the new Beolab 90, Scanspeaks Illuminators and Revelators are widely regarded to be amongst the very best 'audiophile' speaker transducers available.

The big advantage of the B&O design as always, will be a fully active speaker with prodigious DSP; something no passive design can hope to emulate in performance and control  terms.  

Certainly in terms of earlier B&W designs with the 800 series, excellent speakers though they are, the decision was made to NOT follow with active designs, not for technical, but purely commercial reasons.  Audiophiles prefer to mix and match and tweak as the 'hobby', and as such, despite the proven advantages of fully active speakers, it would've been commercial folly for B&W to go down that path - most unfortunately I must say.

I accept that it's quite subjective and personal, but I respectfully disagree re the B&W 804 D re a Beolab 5 comparision.  If the sense of not so much very high quality HiFi reproduction, but rather that one could suspend disbelief that one is listening to a real life performance and not a recording, then it is the Beolab 5 everytime when listening to 'natural' acoustic instruments.

In terms of bass extension and volume a B&W 804 D would simply be unable to compete - the Lab 5 is capable of clean output to around 16z on measured figures.

I'm not bagging B&W - I owned a pair of B&W speakers for the best part of 20 odd years - but I'd put my Beolab 9's somewhere between 803d's and 802d's in many ways, IF the closest approach to the original sound is the criteria.  And the Beolab 5 sits well above a Beolab 9 in outright performance terms.

Personally, I think the speakers are aimed at different markets - B&W's 800 speakers are utterly superb - and aimed at the 'serious' audiophile; B&O's designs on the other hand, are equally superb, but aimed more or less at the music and film connoisseur; someone who has the resources to pay for very high quality speakers, and is mostly interested in the result, not in the method of getting there with wrist thick speaker cables sitting on cable risers on the floor, angle iron amplifier racks and microwave oven sized amplifiers making 'audiophile' statements in a room.

Speaking as a classical music lover and trained classical musician, and 'ex' audiophile (well, the neurotic kind at least!) B&O floats my boat better than any other 'brand' or design ethos I've come across in the HiF/AV/Audiophile world.  But that's just me... :-)

 

Kind regards

 

John... Cool

 

 

 

 

 

 

As I mentioned in a previous post, the post above went into moderation for some reason and got posted AFTER I discovered B&O were using scanspeak drivers in the BL90. Which is a good thing, as the Sony SS-AR1 and many other audiophile designs also use those. Of course, I find them hideous and likely hideously overpriced so the proof will be in the listening. 

As for the 804 Diamond (D2) versus BeoLab 5 comparison. All I can say is that in my listening room (albeit a small one), with the speakers placed in the same position, it is no contest between the BeoLab 5 and the 804 Diamond. Somehow B&W have managed to extract an amazing amount of bass out of those small enclosures, but it's tight, well articulated and not boomy or tubby in the least. For some reason, perhaps because of just how large the bass driver in the BL5 is, it just didn't seem to have much presence in this room unless there was very specific types of music going to it. I had them out in the larger living room where my Pentas are now, and oddly enough I still wasn't terribly impressed with them. Of course, listening is subjective, but one place where the BL5 can not compete is in the mid range and high frequencies which B&W have mastered with the diamond tweeter and the FST mid range. 

And even if you want to argue that the D2 generation of 804 isn't better than the BL5, the D3 generation with the continuum mid range, and the new Aerofoil bass drivers that dip even further in the frequency spectrum is out. 

So yes, it is purely subjective, but after having owned numerous pairs of BL5s over the years and knowing them very well, I can absolutely endorse their ability to "disappear" within a room if you value that ability and being able to listen from (almost) anywhere in a listening space with good results. But I prefer listening to music I know well with the B&Ws. The BL5s have been sold and I now must begin my journey to take them to their new owner halfway across the country. Sadly, this will probably be the last pair I end up having around for resale as they're just not bringing the dollars and interest they used to, possibly because of all the interest in B&O's upcoming speaker anticipation. Of course, the BL90 is another price category altogether, so it SHOULDN'T have any impact, but I think everyone seems relatively convinced that something else might end up slotting beneath, or that the tech from BL90 will trickle down like it did with the BL5/BL9. 

Playdrv4me
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MGBGTV8:

 

Scanspeak illuminators that must confirm them as the very best which is thier reputation and wonder why the 5 never had them

 

This is a good question. With the BeoLab 90 it seems that B&O are changing course on some of their previous approaches to loudspeaker design in a big way. Curiously, someone said above that the Penta also used Scan-Speak drivers (though I don't believe in the mids), and that may partially explain why they sound so amazing after all these years. 

I think B&O finally figured out that in this new era that I've discussed at length in various threads on this forum... Meaning a world that now has no real middle ground where B&O used to play in the past, between "Ultra HiFi" and "lifestyle" type electronics used with iPods and such, you can not rest on average components bolted together in a promise of something different or unique. The BeoLab 5 drivers were never all that special, and much was made in some circles about how that didn't matter. Well, the dramatic turn to exclusively Scan-Speak drivers in the BL90, the use of high end amps even above icepower from what I'm reading in this thread, and EVEN the most remarkable thing people seem to be missing... the admittance that the "sweet spot" DOES exist and is the best place for a single person listening to the speakers, mean B&O are going down the right path in my opinion. 

I may not like the way they look, and I don't like picking up ANY speaker much beyond the weight of the BL5, but everything I am reading in the specs of the BL90 in so far as connection types (XLR is amazing to see, probably not fully balanced, but if it is, even better), supported formats, and moving even power link forward into the digital realm, means that this product will play seriously in the high end speaker market alongside any of the other big names. I can only hope that given their cost (which is less than I expected) that they will be somehow upgradeable when formats change in the future. 

Playdrv4me
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politician:

Whatever it's called, has anybody yet heard the BeoLab 90 and compared it to the BeoLab 5?

I could be grossly mistaken, but based on everything I am seeing and reading the BL90 will likely be in another class entirely to the BL5. That's nearly 15 years of advancement and finally using high end drivers for you. 

Geoff Martin
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Playdrv4me:
XLR is amazing to see, probably not fully balanced, but if it is, even better

It is. (to be explicit: it is both differential and impedance balanced)

Cheers

- geoff

Sal
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Sal replied on Wed, Oct 7 2015 9:51 PM

Does anyone know what drivers are used in the current speaker range, especially the Beolab 20s?

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Evan:
The XLR enables integration with some serious preamplifiers now

The idea behind BeoLab 90's many inputs was that you do not need a preamplifier, since it's built into the loudspeaker itself (depending, of course, on the number of sources you have and their outputs)

Cheers

- geoff

 

BeoBoy68
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BeoBoy68 replied on Wed, Oct 7 2015 10:40 PM
@ Geoff

Thanks again.

You create with your Team The best loudspeaker Yes - thumbs up

Please don't forget beofans which cannot afford this masterpiece !

Waiting for the next little brother Big Smile

butch1
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butch1 replied on Wed, Oct 7 2015 11:01 PM

Linn — Space Optimisation Explained

www.linn.co.uk › technology › space-op...
Ferdinand
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Ferdinand replied on Wed, Oct 7 2015 11:45 PM
@Recordere (Lars), thanks for nice review.
BeoBoy68
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BeoBoy68 replied on Wed, Oct 7 2015 11:48 PM
recordere:

I attended the BeoLab 90 press session at Bang & Olufsen yesterday.

Here's some of my thoughts (in Danish) and several behind-the-scenes videos and photos.

Complete, comprehensive and informative reportage

Thank you very much Lars Yes - thumbs up

Playdrv4me
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I just read on Uncrate that they still do in fact use 14 ice power amps, not sure where the info came from that they were made by someone else. To correct one of my previous statements. 

Playdrv4me
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Geoff Martin:

Playdrv4me:
XLR is amazing to see, probably not fully balanced, but if it is, even better

It is. (to be explicit: it is both differential and impedance balanced)

Cheers

- geoff

Fantastic. Well done. 

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Evan replied on Thu, Oct 8 2015 3:01 AM

Millemissen:

I would not think of connecting a pre-amp like the Lexicon to the BL90.

Why should I need the processing etc of the Lexicon, when I have the BL90?

however, there are lots of media players nowadays, that have balanced analog output (XLR).

Also a good PC-soundcard may have XLR's....or how about the OPPO 105!

MM

 

While the Oppo 105 is impressive, it cannot provide multichannel XLR signals for surround sound directly. Also, its nice to have a hub for multiple sources.

No doubt about it - the BeoLab 90 will have incredible processing power and ability, however it can only process what you give it.. It is only going to process the channel being fed into it. 

The Lexicon MC-12B has fully differential XLR outputs for 10 channels (possibly 12 with specific configuration), each of which has a 32 bit Analog Devices DAC.

Beo4 'til I die!

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Evan replied on Thu, Oct 8 2015 3:33 AM

Geoff Martin:

Evan:
The XLR enables integration with some serious preamplifiers now

The idea behind BeoLab 90's many inputs was that you do not need a preamplifier, since it's built into the loudspeaker itself (depending, of course, on the number of sources you have and their outputs)

Cheers

- geoff

That is excellent news Geoff! 

Unfortunately, I am the type of user with many sources and usually consider a hub as part of my system, however I do only listen in two channel..

I guess the good news here is that the BL 90 is extremely versatile - definitely a 'luxury' problem Wink

The MC-12B has always seemed like an 'end game' piece for me, even though I would only use a small portion of its functionality!

Great job by the way, this speaker is incredible! The DSP work you do is absolutely stunning - please keep up the good work Yes - thumbs up 

Beo4 'til I die!

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The tweeters and mids use ICE power which is the 14. The woofers use Heliox 1000-1. It was in the information I copied here earlier from the press pack.

Dave.
Millemissen
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Evan:

[While the Oppo 105 is impressive, it cannot provide multichannel XLR signals for surround sound directly. Also, its nice to have a hub for multiple sources.

I took the OPPO (105) as an example for a device, that can deliever 2 channel (stereo) through XLR - not considering it's capacity for multichannel audio at all.

Should be fine for someone, who preferably listens to stereo content ;-)

I doubt, that the BL90'ies were ever used for a multichannel setup...yet.

And if (and when) I guess B&O will use their own multichannel pre-pro, the BSys4 working in the Avant.

Who knows - at that time that might (?) have digital PowerLink outputs (DPL).

MM

There is a tv - and there is a BV.

AdamS
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AdamS replied on Thu, Oct 8 2015 8:28 AM

Geoff Martin:

The idea behind BeoLab 90's many inputs was that you do not need a preamplifier, since it's built into the loudspeaker itself

Ah, but does it have a Moving Coil phono stage?! ;-)

bayerische
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Maybe this was posted already?

http://www.tonmeister.ca/wordpress/2015/10/08/beolab-90-the-top-three-features-live/

 

 

 

Too long to list.... 

Playdrv4me
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Dave Farr:
The tweeters and mids use ICE power which is the 14. The woofers use Heliox 1000-1. It was in the information I copied here earlier from the press pack.

 

 

Dave.

Ahh, got it. To be sure there is a LOT of info contained in that press pack, and a lot of information being disseminated around at a rapid rate right now. Thanks for the correction to my correction! ;)

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AdamS:
Ah, but does it have a Moving Coil phono stage?! ;-)

No.

That's why I'm using a BeoGram 4500 (with the built-in RIAA dream) to listen to them as I type this. :-)

cheers

-g

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Geoff Martin:

That's why I'm using a BeoGram 4500 (with the built-in RIAA dream) to listen to them as I type this. :-)

cheers

-g

Before anyone else asks - WHAT are you actually listening to ;-))

MM

There is a tv - and there is a BV.

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Dave Farr replied on Thu, Oct 8 2015 10:52 AM
@Geoff, I just watched the video of the three key points posted earlier. Fantastic, clear explanation. Now I get it! Many thanks.

I need a pair more than ever now!

Dave.
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Wilderwein:

Can you please tell us why B&O decided to use Heliox amps for the bass drivers instead of ICE-power amps?

This explanation is somewhat technical - but only a little bit...

It is easy to specify an amplifier by how many watts it can deliver. However, this one specification is inadequate to describe its capabilities.

When, in the development of a loudspeaker, we consider our requirements for a power amplifier, we almost never consider the power rating, since it doesn't give us enough information. We're more interested in the peak voltage and peak current (which is why those are in the Technical Sound Guide instead of a simple Power rating).

Watt's law states that Power is the product of Voltage and Current (or P = VI). This means that 1000 W can mean different things. It might mean 100 Volts and 10 Amps - or it could mean 10 V and 100 A - or it could mean something else.

Although ICEpower and Heliox both make 1000 W amplifiers, the balance between their output peak voltages and currents are different. The Heliox can deliver a higher peak voltage (and therefore a lower peak current) than the "equivalent" ICEpower. For the purposes of the BeoLab 90, this better met our specific requirements.

As with any other BeoLab loudspeaker, we are not bound to using ICEpower amplifiers. We are free to use the amplifier that best suits the specific requirements for a given driver in a given product. In the case of the BeoLab 90, the end result of this was that we used ICEpower for the midranges and tweeters, but Heliox for the woofers.

cheers

-geoff

 

bayerische
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Has the price been revealed yet?

Too long to list.... 

Daniel
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Daniel replied on Thu, Oct 8 2015 11:31 AM

bayerische:

Has the price been revealed yet?

54k £ for two.

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Millemissen:

Before anyone else asks - WHAT are you actually listening to ;-))

This using a BeoGram 4500 and one of the last MMC1 prototypes before they started production. 

Sounds good - different from the SACD versions of the same tracks, but still good.

And, before anyone asks, if I had to choose, I'd choose the SACD. :-)

Cheers

-geoff

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BeoBoy68 replied on Thu, Oct 8 2015 11:54 AM

@ Geoff

Why not made a limited re-edition of your best turntable ?

Thank you to take the idea into consideration Yes - thumbs up

Millemissen
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Geoff Martin:

This . 

Cheers

-geoff

I wouldn't have guessed ;-))

MM

There is a tv - and there is a BV.

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MGBGTV8 replied on Thu, Oct 8 2015 1:29 PM

Tremendous Value for money when you consider all the active Amplifiers , software R&D Scanspeak Quality

Just think theres loads of Box speakers with Illuminator drivers that cost more  money and have a fancy cabinet with just a passive Crossover

all I can say is I hope they do Brill and wish more enthausiatist could also get an Invite to hear them

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MGBGTV8 replied on Thu, Oct 8 2015 1:32 PM

Agree B&W Diamond do sound amazing although for me only 2 Channel the 7.1 system I heard was a disapointment and B&W and B&O are my favorites never been a Fan of Box Speakers

 

bayerische
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Daniel:

bayerische:

Has the price been revealed yet?

54k £ for two.

OK, well, maybe on the used market then... If they would have been around 30K euro I could have seen myself getting a pair.

Too long to list.... 

vikinger
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From wired.com

LEAVE IT BANG & Olufsen to design a speaker you’d trade a couple of your children to own. The BeoLab 90 is the newest loudspeaker from the venerable Danish consumer electronics company, and it reflects perfectly the audio house’s historical emphasis on visual beauty and arresting design.

But these are no delicate lilies. Each speaker has 18 drivers—seven tweeters, seven mids, and four woofers—powered by 14 ICEpower amps and four additional Class D amps. The combined max output of all those components is 8,200 watts per channel. Somebody hold me.

Each 50-inch-tall cabinet is also capable of shooting sound in any direction—or even all directions at once. Using the “Beam Width Control,” the user can direct the sound to any particular sweet spot in the room, widening and tightening the sound field or opening it all the way up to present audio in all 360 degrees. You do all this on your phone, and you can save presets for different listening situations.

So, how much does each one cost? I’m sorry but if you’re asking that question, you’re totally missing the point. But OK: $38,995 each, available in November.

soundproof
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Going by the spec's for the BeoLab 90s, I'm not even going to bother with doing what I did before getting my own BL5s.

Big Smile

 

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soundproof:

Going by the spec's for the BeoLab 90s, I'm not even going to bother with doing what I did before getting my own BL5s.

Big Smile

 

You mean no A/B testing? Yes - thumbs up

Are you getting a pair?

Too long to list.... 

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John replied on Fri, Oct 9 2015 6:51 AM

I have to say, having thoroughly digested the technical white paper, and watched the youtube videos on the presentation, that I am somewhat over the moon with excitement with these speakers.

 Whilst it is unlikely that I will be lucky enough to ever own a pair (never say never!), there is not just the thought of the trickle down technology to other, later model variations, but the fact that these speakers once again, as did the Lab 5, put B&O up amongst the manufacturers of some of the best loudspeakers available in the world, regardless of cost.  I'm thinking MBL Radialstrahlers, Steinway Lyngdorf and their ilk.

I trust that Geoff doesn't mind; I've linked the technical white paper and videos to some 'audiophile' websites, and the reaction is very interesting.

Those with an open mind seem genuinely interested and would like to hear them - others, tellingly like many audiophiles who like to bash brands that they don't like, usually out of ignorance, - don't appear to bother to read anything, and write them off on lifestyle 'looks' alone.

Their loss and thank goodness I'm not involved in the 'audiophool' world anymore, where generally hype, misinformation and subjective opinion seems to dominate over objective, demonstrable and proven scientific fact

Love my B&O!

My sincerest congratulations to Geoff and all the team at B&O who have created a masterpiece of audio engineering and acoustic design!

Kind regards

 

John... Cool

 

 

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Pinkish ey! - lots of great support for B&O and appreciation for this new tech with the odd sprinkling of good ole fashioned audiophool prejudice mixed in.

I dare you to start a post on Hifiwigwam aka the "Kondo Mafia" - you would have to prize the glowing tube valves, mono record cartridges and silver interconnectants from their cold lifeless bodies...I was too scared to post for fear of an instant lynching...

.

 

 

Present: BL90, Moment, Core, BL6000, CD7000, 7000, Essence Remote.

Past: BL1, BL2, BL8000, BS9000, BL5, BC2, BS5, BV5, BV4-50, Beosystem 3, BL3, DVD1, Beoremote 4.

.

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beolion replied on Fri, Oct 9 2015 12:56 PM

Having just watched the videos on recordere.dk from the presentation, I have to say, that I like the product more and more (also the design). All the thinking that has been put into this product is truly amazing, not only from Geoff Martin, but all the way around, not the least in the design and production (designers were really challenged here). And I am really proud on behalf of B&O that they managed to bring such a fantastic product to the market, and even more that B&O is THAT open minded in the development of this new product, we have never seen that before from them.

I hope all of you could have to time to watch the clips from the presentation.

This is a product that one can just dream of, and we all need to have dreams, right?

That is how I had it when I bought my first Beosystem 3300 in the 80's (that was what I was able to buy), but I dreamt of the other un-reachable (at that time) products. 

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AdamS replied on Fri, Oct 9 2015 1:05 PM

seethroughyou:

I dare you to start a post on Hifiwigwam aka the "Kondo Mafia" - you would have to prize the glowing tube valves, mono record cartridges and silver interconnectants from their cold lifeless bodies...I was too scared to post for fear of an instant lynching...

I think you'll find the thread on Wigwam is already 3 pages long, with plenty of positive comments! ;-)

http://www.hifiwigwam.com/showthread.php?124901-B-amp-O-re-writes-the-loudspeaker-rule-book

 

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AdamS:

I think you'll find the thread on Wigwam is already 3 pages long, with plenty of positive comments! ;-)

http://www.hifiwigwam.com/showthread.php?124901-B-amp-O-re-writes-the-loudspeaker-rule-book

I've just read all of those comments and I'd say that the 90's really do come out on top. Many appreciative comments on what B&O are trying to do and impressed with the technology and application. Only negative comments are on the design which is completely subjective and considering some designs that are lauded over by those same people is actually quite funny.

Dave
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