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Beolab 6000, 8000 and/or subwoofers

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lg
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lg posted on Sun, Dec 20 2015 12:48 AM

Hello

I am new to the forum and have some questions about speakers. I have read around 10 threads about BL 6000/8000 as well as the articles about each product but that probably made me more confused than before…

Originally my plan was to buy a pair of BL6000 but after reading up a bit in this forum I have started to consider the BL8000 instead and would appreciate some advice on how to think about this decision. The reason I started to change my mind was that the 6000 seem to have some quality issues. This surprises me: I have had a bunch of non B&O-speakers for 20-25 years and none of them have broken. Why does a premium brand such as B&O have this problem? And how do I avoid buying a second hand BL6000 that is about to break? Apparently, replacing the elements in a pair of 6000 is about 80% of the market price for a pair of second hand BL6000.

Does the BL8000 have similar problems with the rubber (?) in the elements getting dry/failing?

Anyway, as I understand it, if you compare a 6000 with a 8000, the main difference is the bass where the 8000 offers a much stronger experience than the 6000. Is that correct?

Now, the 8000 seems to come in at least three different configurations, "original", Mk2 and 8002, where the Mk2 has an improved bass compared to the original version. Are Mk2 = 8002? Or what is the difference between Mk2 and 8002? What is a reasonable price difference (in percent) between the different variations of BL8000?

8000 cost 50-100% more than 6000 - money that could be spent on a subwoofer, to compensate for the BL6000's shortcomings in that area. What is your opinion about a pair of BL6000 + subwoofer versus a pair of BL8000? What subwoofer would you recommend (it does not have to be a B&O subwoofer - all subwoofers are equally ugly and hard to furnish with)?

A technical question about subwoofers. My understanding is that subwoofers generally are combined with passive satellites, and the satellites are driven by the subwoofers power amp. In the case with active speakers, wouldn't that mean that the input signal is too strong? Active speakers are built to accept a signal from the headphone jack but instead they are now fed with an amplified line level signal (which in itself, before amplification, is in an order of a magnitude stronger than the signal from a headphone jack).

In one thread on this forum the suggestion was to buy Y jack splitter and use between the sound source (an iPod) and the speakers to split the signal to both the speakers and the subwoofer. I was quite surprised by this suggestion. Wouldn't that mean that the frequencies handled and played by the subwoofer also are played by the regular speakers? Is that really desirable? I thought that an active subwoofer filtered the frequencies so that the low frequencies are played by the subwoofer and the high frequencies by the regular speakers and that there were no overlap between them. Is that a misunderstanding on my side?

I am gonna use the speakers with my Apple-TV (For digital music. Ok, some TV too but TV has very low priority.) and my record player. I mostly listen to contemporary classical music (which is a quite useless label since "contemporary classical music" might sound like anything), choral music with very little accompanying instrumentation as well as more modern lo-fi rock with a lot of distortion and other noise. In other words, not much bass in anything.

I am very interested in your opinions about what I should buy.

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riverstyx
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Hi lg, and welcome to beoworld.

lg:
The reason I started to change my mind was that the 6000 seem to have some quality issues. This surprises me: I have had a bunch of non B&O-speakers for 20-25 years and none of them have broken. Why does a premium brand such as B&O have this problem? And how do I avoid buying a second hand BL6000 that is about to break?

Many older speakers (of all brands, not just B&O) used foam surrounds on the drivers and it is common for these to disintegrate completely over time. The BL6000's are a little different in that they use rubber surrounds but the material is thin and as you have read these surrounds can harden and then crack over time. Usage and age are both factors and really all you can do is closely examine the surrounds on any speaker you are considering purchasing.

lg:
Apparently, replacing the elements in a pair of 6000 is about 80% of the market price for a pair of second hand BL6000.

That is probably the case, although you can also consider replacing the surrounds rather than the entire drivers - it's not too difficult to achieve if you are of a practical nature. AudioFriends in the Netherlands supply replacement rubber surround that have been pretty well received. They're not 100% match to the originals but if anything they tend to improve the bass response a little (I would recommend replacing all the surrounds in one go if you proceed down this route as you would want all the speakers to remain matched to each other).

lg:
Does the BL8000 have similar problems with the rubber (?) in the elements getting dry/failing?

Not that I have encountered. The can suffer from an issue with deterioration of the foam tape that is used to seal parts of the speakers internally, which in turn can cause corrosion of the circuit boards, but both models of speaker are pretty reliable with most providing years of reliable service so it is easy to overstate these potential faults, and again any resulting faults are often repairable without resorting to replacement of entire modules.

lg:
Anyway, as I understand it, if you compare a 6000 with a 8000, the main difference is the bass where the 8000 offers a much stronger experience than the 6000. Is that correct?

Broadly speaking, yes. Both are column style speakers (and are therefore limited on the size of drivers that could be incorporated) so you shouldn't expect massive bass levels, but both are good speakers. The best advise as always is to find somewhere you can listen to a pair yourself as we each tend to have our own preferences when it comes to which speakers sound best.

lg:
Now, the 8000 seems to come in at least three different configurations, "original", Mk2 and 8002, where the Mk2 has an improved bass compared to the original version. Are Mk2 = 8002? Or what is the difference between Mk2 and 8002? What is a reasonable price difference (in percent) between the different variations of BL8000?

Yes, as you have discovered there are two main 'versions' of the 8000, plus the later 8002 model which is different again.

The original 'mk1' was launched in 1992, so some of the earlier models will be well over 20 years old now.

The 'mk2' was released in January 2003, from serial number 16992475 and was manufactured with different drivers and is reported as offering improved bass at lower listening levels (although the published specifications remains unchanged).

The Beolab 8002 replaced the Beolab 8000 (mk2) towards the end of 2010 and replaced the class AB amplifiers used in the 8000 with a pair of 125W IcePower amplifiers (as well minor design changes such as moving the power LED, and removing the phono connector).

lg:
8000 cost 50-100% more than 6000 - money that could be spent on a subwoofer, to compensate for the BL6000's shortcomings in that area. What is your opinion about a pair of BL6000 + subwoofer versus a pair of BL8000? What subwoofer would you recommend (it does not have to be a B&O subwoofer - all subwoofers are equally ugly and hard to furnish with)?

I'm not really a fan of subwoofers for music. I have a BL2 subwoofer which is great for movies but I didn't use it with my BL8000s for music and I have even less need for it now I have replaced them with a pair of BL9s. The BL2 is capable of producing massive volumes of room shaking bass but is a bit slow and inaccurate for music. The BL11 would probably be a better option for music if you really want a sub but I haven't heard it myself in conjunction with either the 6000s or the 8000s so I'll leave it to others to comment further on it's suitability.

lg:
My understanding is that subwoofers generally are combined with passive satellites, and the satellites are driven by the subwoofers power amp.

Whilst this is a common setup for other brands, B&O subwoofers are active (they have their own amps for the sub itself), but are generally designed for use with other active (beolab) speakers. So you can feed both left and right full range signals into the sub, it reproduces the low frequency audio whilst filtering this out of the signal then sent to the other Beolab speakers (which are connected to it, in your case the 6000s or 8000s).

lg:
In one thread on this forum the suggestion was to buy Y jack splitter and use between the sound source (an iPod) and the speakers to split the signal to both the speakers and the subwoofer. I was quite surprised by this suggestion. Wouldn't that mean that the frequencies handled and played by the subwoofer also are played by the regular speakers? Is that really desirable? I thought that an active subwoofer filtered the frequencies so that the low frequencies are played by the subwoofer and the high frequencies by the regular speakers and that there were no overlap between them. Is that a misunderstanding on my side?

Yes, IMO that would be a less than optimum setup. But it is difficult one as the post was discussing using a non B&O subwoofer which only had a mono input (and no inbuilt crossover / filtering for other speakers). With a B&O subwoofer you would generally connect your source to the sub, and the sub to both BeoLabs, then you just feed your audio into the sub and everything is taken care of for you.

I hope this helps and doesn't just confuse matters further Unsure

Kind Regards,

Martin.

Chris Townsend
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Hi there

I've had both 8/6000's, plus a 2. I found the 8000's are good front speakers, and the 6000's make excellent rear speakers. They are much more than satellites,but I would never use them as my main speakers. The 2 is awesome, but a little cumbersome for music like the other poster mentioned.

Just as a thought. Cumulatively you will end up spending around £2-2,500 on this setup, which almost gets you a pair of 9's. I ended up going down this route, and they are of an entirely different level of quality compared. Spend a little more by buying from a pre owned dealer. It's worth it.

Beosound Stage, Beovision 8-40, Beolit 20, Beosound Explore.

lg
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lg replied on Sun, Dec 20 2015 5:36 PM

Thanks for your very extensive answer :-)

riverstyx:

I'm not really a fan of subwoofers for music. I have a BL2 subwoofer which is great for movies but I didn't use it with my BL8000s for music and I have even less need for it now I have replaced them with a pair of BL9s. The BL2 is capable of producing massive volumes of room shaking bass but is a bit slow and inaccurate for music. The BL11 would probably be a better option for music if you really want a sub but I haven't heard it myself in conjunction with either the 6000s or the 8000s so I'll leave it to others to comment further on it's suitability.

Basically what you say is that subwoofers are for movies (and possibly bass heavy dance music, but that is not what I am listening to anyway)? But at the same time you seem to have some reservations against using a standalone pair of BL8000 for music? Would you recommend that I either combine a pair of BL8000 with something else or that I look for a completely different model? Of course, one can always spend a little more on audio equipment to improve the sound…

Guess I have to find someone with both 6000 and 8000 so I can do my own listening tests.

BenSA
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BenSA replied on Sun, Dec 20 2015 6:02 PM

I have both the 6000 and the 8000. I bought the 6000 workout even listening to them and was rather worried about the lack of bass issue that everyone mentions. I was pleasantly surprised. Was really great although the surrounds did crack after having them a month so I will have to repair them. I took the 6000 away and put the 8000. They sounded brilliant! They seem to envelope you a bit more with the music. I will leave the 8000 in the livingroom and the 6000 will go in a smaller room. If you need speakers for a big area then go for the 8000. I also feel there is no need for a subwoofer for either of these speakers and I'm a lover of good bass. Either way In doubt you'll be disappointed. 

 

kimhav
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kimhav replied on Sun, Dec 20 2015 6:07 PM

Jumping in here as I'm using two sets of BL8000 where one of the pair has a BL11 which works out really great as it's quick and snappy sub compated with the older BL2 which for me is a more of a movie sub. While the BL8000 do offer a good volume adding the BL11 does a lot, so can only recommend this combo from my side.

Millemissen
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Maybe this can help?

It's from a Q and A after one of Geoff Martin's blog articles called 'What are subwoofer REALLY for'?

You can find the article, which imo is worth reading, when you consider adding a subwoofer to your setup, here:

http://www.tonmeister.ca/wordpress/2013/12/13/bo-tech-what-are-subwoofers-really-for/

Personally I would add a subwoofer to any (newer) BV-based setup - apart from when you are using the BL9/20/5 (or the BL90).

With a tv/receiver (without the audioengine of the BV's) and with a stereo-only setup, I would let my taste/listening habits and the room, where the speakers are, decide - try it out with and without.

MM

----

  1. Hello Geoff, 

    Thank you for your article! In this case, I don’t need Beolab 19 for Beolab 18?

  2. Hi,

    Adding a BeoLab 19 to a pair of BeoLab 18’s will most certainly give you more capability to play low frequency content louder. However, the amount of benefit that a 19 brings to a pair of 18’s is directly dependent on how loudly you play. The louder, the more benefit you get by having the 19 in the system.

    The best way to find out whether you would hear an improvement in your system with the 19 added is to ask your dealer for a home demo. Add the 19 to your 18’s for a week. At the end of the week, when they remove the 19, if you find yourself missing it, then you know you were using it… :-)

    Cheers
    -geoff

     

There is a tv - and there is a BV.

riverstyx
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lg:
Basically what you say is that subwoofers are for movies

Not necessarily, but I think the BL2 is well suited for movies but not so well suited for music. Hence the suggestion you consider the BL11 instead (with the caveat that I haven't heard it personally in conjunction with either of the speakers we're discussing here).

lg:
But at the same time you seem to have some reservations against using a standalone pair of BL8000 for music?

Not at all. I used a pair of BL8000's as my main speakers for a number of years and like them a lot. I've since replaced them with a pair of BL9's but still can''t bring myself to get rid of the 8000s. I'm renovating my home a room at a time so it is my intention at some stage to re-deploy them in another room.

lg:
Would you recommend that I either combine a pair of BL8000 with something else or that I look for a completely different model? Of course, one can always spend a little more on audio equipment to improve the sound…

It's really hard to recommend a particular model of speakers to anyone, as each of us have our own tastes (and expectations). For me, if it came down to a choice between the 6000 and 8000 I would opt for the 8000 as I like the design of both, but prefer the sound of the 8000 (even after factoring in the difference in cost).

Then, if you still felt it was lacking something in the low end, I would consider the BL11 as I think that is likely to be a better option than the BL2 for music, but I would try without first as you may be entirely satisfied without a sub.

Kind regards,

Martin.

smuehli
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smuehli replied on Sun, Dec 20 2015 11:41 PM

I have three of them: The 6000, the 8000 and -  what I prefer -  the Pentas. I started with the 8000.

They sound well -  at mid levels - avoid high volume the sound flattens, avoid low volume - there's no bass, it sounds a bit empty. The Mids and the Highs are great, but not that great as the penta!

The 6000 has - overall - the better sound! The highs and mids sounds more elegant where the 8000 is a bit colder and more analytical! Not much but you'll here it in an A/B shootout!

The 6000 has more bass a lower volume, I think the sound ist rounder. The 6000 can't go as deep as the 8000 and, except of the 8000, it don't want to give these bass - maybe thats the reason for the fuller sound. But avoid volume over mid level - it doesn't sound very well - it flattens and began to scream . . .

The Pentas does all with no worry! The sound is brilliant, elegant and warm - no matter at low, mid or high volumes!

But, I think the Pentas are from another time with another sound! I love this sound, but someone could think it is to warm and prefer the colder variant like the Beolab 1.

I've never heard the 9 or 5 or 20 so I cant say anything about them! 

 

lg
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lg replied on Sun, Dec 27 2015 6:47 PM

I have read up a little more during the holidays and one thing that struck me is that B&O active speakers always play at "maximum volume". How does that actually work? Generally, playing at maximum volume has some negative side effects, such as

  1. Consume a lot of energy -> heat
  2. A lot of noise. Even if there is no signal, if you turn up a conventional amp to max you hear a lot of noise from the electronics, 50 Hz from the power grid etc.
  3. Distortion increases with volume.
How are these (and other problems) handled in B&O's active speakers? More conventional active speakers, such as studio monitors have a volume button, don't they?

Millemissen
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lg:

I have read up a little more during the holidays and one thing that struck me is that B&O active speakers always play at "maximum volume". 

I don't know how you came across that? Maybe you could provide a link to the source of that info?

The BeoLabs are usually connected to the various devices with a PowerLink cable.

The PowerLink signal is a low level line signal for the amps. The control for volume is send along with the sound signal as well as - in most cases - the trigger on/off for the amp in the speakers. 

The controlling of the volumen is done in the BeoVision, the audiosystem, the linksystem etc (i.e. in the preamps) - mostly using the remote. This means, that the amp is active, when turned on and inactive, when off. You won't hear anything, when they aren't in use.

Modern BL amps are using ICEPower with a relatively low power consumption and they generate only a little heat.

MM

There is a tv - and there is a BV.

lg
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lg replied on Sun, Dec 27 2015 8:17 PM

Millemissen:

I don't know how you came across that? Maybe you could provide a link to the source of that info?

The BeoLabs are usually connected to the various devices with a PowerLink cable.

The PowerLink signal is a low level line signal for the amps. The control for volume is send along with the sound signal as well as - in most cases - the trigger on/off for the amp in the speakers. 

The controlling of the volumen is done in the BeoVision, the audiosystem, the linksystem etc (i.e. in the preamps) - mostly using the remote. This means, that the amp is active, when turned on and inactive, when off. You won't hear anything, when they aren't in use.

Modern BL amps are using ICEPower with a relatively low power consumption and they generate only a little heat.

MM

I should have been clearer in my question: I am referring to the phono input used for non BO-sources. As far as I understand it, if you use that connector you regulate the volume on the source device and to achieve "maximum volume" on the speakers they must constantly be amplifying as much as possible, mustn't they?

riverstyx
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Millemissen:

lg:

I have read up a little more during the holidays and one thing that struck me is that B&O active speakers always play at "maximum volume". 

I don't know how you came across that? Maybe you could provide a link to the source of that info?

I think I understand the point / question that lg is making / asking. Both powerlink and line inputs of a beolab are variable level inputs, so if you were to feed full 'fixed' line level signals into either input, the speakers would reproduce that at full volume. In a more conventional hifi separates type setup, this is indeed equivalent to leaving the power amp set to maximum volume and adjusting the levels of the line inputs.

Millemissen:
The control for volume is send along with the sound signal

There is no separate volume control data sent over powerlink as such - it's just two channels of variable level audio plus a signal to switch the amps on and off (and in some cases a data pair in the case of speakers with a display). I don't think it was MMs intention to imply otherwise as he specifically went on to say...

Millemissen:
The controlling of the volumen is done in the BeoVision, the audiosystem, the linksystem etc (i.e. in the preamps)

...which is absolutely correct, but I felt it was worth clarifying as it was otherwise open to misinterpretation.

Anyway, regarding lg's original questions:

lg:
How does that actually work? Generally, playing at maximum volume has some negative side effects, such as

1. Consume a lot of energy -> heat

Without getting too techinical, and ignoring for now the efficiency differences between different amplifier designs / classes, generally speaking, the heat produced by an amplifier will be dependant on the level of the signal being produced by the amplifier (it's output). Given that an amplifier with the volume turned to 100% should (ideally) produce no output signal when there is no input signal, it should produce no more heat in this state than the same amplifier with the volume turned all the way down. The main reason for the move towards class D 'IcePower' amplifiers is the high efficiency meaning less heat generation (which reduces the need for large heatsinks and can lead to more compact speaker designs).

lg:
2. A lot of noise. Even if there is no signal, if you turn up a conventional amp to max you hear a lot of noise from the electronics, 50 Hz from the power grid etc.

The volume control in a 'conventional' amp is still done at the pre-amp stage, with the power amp section (or in our case the power amp in a BeoLab) being fed with a signal which varies in amplitude according to the volume control setting.

The fact that some 'conventional' amplifiers produce mains noise at higher volumes would tend to be down to poor power supply design, or poor shielding at the pre-amp stage. Ground loops can also cause similar issues but are much more of an issue with devices where the chassis is connected to mains earth (whereas BeoLabs are all class 2 / double insulated so require no mains earth connection).

lg:
3. Distortion increases with volume.

This is not strictly true, until the limits of a particular part of the design are reached. As mentioned above, volume control is usually done at the pre-amp stage anyway, so the power amp, even in a 'conventional' amplifier, would have a fixed gain - feed 0.5V in, get 10V out, feed 1V in, get 20V out and so on. The distortion will occur either when a peak in the waveform cannot be produced because it exceeds the maximum level a given component can produce, or because the power supply is unable to meet the current requirements of the amplifier at high output levels, resulting in a voltage drop from the PSU, which will again lead to distortion of the output signal.

I've already gone into more detail that I had intended! To summarise then:

A conventional separates amp will usually consist of:

pre-amp -> volume & tone controls -> power-amp -> speaker output

A modern B&O system is really no different except that the pre-amp and volume / tone control stages are in the BeoSound or BeoVision, and the power-amp and speaker parts are in the BeoLab speakers.

Kind regards,

Martin.

 

 

 

Millemissen
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Thanks Martin, for the more technical explanation - always enjoy your expertice.

MM

There is a tv - and there is a BV.

Jaffrey2230
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Answering specifically the question of using a Y-Splitter to connect audio from a volume controlled source such as a headphone jack. This is not a problem if you can set the crossover of the sub to around 60Hz for the Beolab 6000. Since both the Sub and Beolab will be volume controlled if you match the wattage of the sub and Beolab 6000s - basically any 6 inch to 8 inch sub will work and set the volume of the sub close to max you will get the same experience of not better experience with a 3rd party sub than you will with the Beolab 11 or even Beolab 2 (which completely overwhelms the BL 6000). I used to have a BL 18 sub and switched to dual Cambridge Audio Minx 200 series sub (it’s around 9 inches in all directions with a nice glossy black finish). I simply have the subs placed next to the BL6000s - they look good and are small. I have the splitter RCA left to one sub and right to the other, just like I have with the BL 6000. If you connect an Apple AirPort Express, which can be had on eBay for $50, you have a complete AirPlay 2 system.

I find the BL 11 sub is a completely useless sub and not worth the $1,200 they go on eBay. My 2 cents worth. I sold mine for a BeoSound 2 speaker 🙂

 

B&O in my life 😊: 

 

  • Beolab 8002 + Beolab 2 + Beosound Core with Essence Remote (Office)
  • Beolab 6000 + Beolab 11 + Beosound Core with Essence Remote (Bedroom)
  • Beoplay A9 Mk2 (Living Room)
  • Beosound 1 with wireless dock (Portable)
  • Beosound Balance (Dining)
  • Beoplay H95 (Focused listening, travel)
  • Beoplay H9 (3rd gen) (retired)
  • Beoplay P6 (Portable)
  • Beotime wall clock (hallway entrance)
  • BMW X5 50i with B&O Audio Package (Commute/drive)

 

 

 

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