Sign in   |  Join   |  Help

PlayMaker + BeoLab 3: Unboxing, setup and first impressions

rated by 0 users
This post has 46 Replies | 6 Followers

KMA
Top 150 Contributor
Posts 569
OFFLINE
Bronze Member
KMA Posted: Sat, Aug 11 2012 6:58 PM

Unboxing:

The BeoLab 3 / PlayMaker combo comes in a neat all-in-one package, which is a bit atypical of B&O. Upon opening the package, the products are well presented. 

Setup:

After getting all the cables connected, setup using the BeoSetup App was a breeze. I got the whole thing working wirelessly in about 10 minutes.

As I wanted to be able to control the PlayMaker with my Beo5 -- and as there is yet no configuration available from B&O to Beo5 -- I got a little advice for a workaround from my dealer: 

As long as there is an A.MEM (and A.AUX, if you use the line-in) command on the Beo5, the PlayMaker can be operated.

So, I added BeoSound 3200, which I do not have, to my Beo5 in Option 5 and removed all extra sources (A.MEM and A.AUX remain from 3200). I renamed the A.MEM to PlayMaker, and selecting the source works perfectly: volume, previous/next track, on/off work as they should, as well as A.Setup, allowing to set Loudness on/off and adjust Treble and Bass, and store the settings to the PlayMaker.

A.Setup option maybe lacking from the actual PlayMaker configuration for Beo5, since the sound settings are not covered in the PlayMaker manual. Using this workaround it's possible to adjust the sound of PlayMaker. Of course you need to be careful with the sound settings, as there is no read-out of their values.

First impressions:

AirPlay works perfectly. The signal strength remains "Excellent" and I have not experienced any dropouts.

While the PlayMaker is not B&O's better designs, depending on where you place it, it doesn't look that horrible either. That said, it could look a bit more B&O as discussed in another thread. It wouldn't take major changes: perhaps an aluminium volume wheel and a frame similar to BeoVision 10. In any case, the hands-on operation works nicely, and there's nothing flimsy about the product.

Sound processed by the PlayMaker and through the BeoLab 3s is exactly what I expected: a feast for the ears. I've set the BL3 to "Free" position, as they are placed between the recommended minimum distances for "Free" and "Wall" setting (they are not closer than 20 cm to the wall, but not further than 30 cm either). The bass is not overly pronounced, yet there's plenty of it. The lens technology really does justice to the highs, and nothing I've listened so far has sounded "harsh": the treble is easy on the ears at least in this setup. I'll probably experiment with the position setting and/or A.Setup settings over a period of time.

Much of my music is in 320K AAC files, some also in the standard iTunes format. I have not compared these to lossless yet, but the AAC files are extremely enjoyable: full and detailed. Speaking of DACs, I haven't done a direct A/B comparison with Airport Express yet, and honestly probably will not: the PlayMaker has Beo5 operability, provides extremely great sound with BeoLab 3s and is free in the BL3/PlayMaker bundle, so I wouldn't even consider the AE as an alternative to PlayMaker. I do have an AE, and just one of them provides problem-free Airplay to the PlayMaker and BeoPlay A8. The AE is hidden in the same room where the PlayMaker now is.

Summary: 

A handy little product that works well and provides excellent sound from wireless sources.

Here are some pics (note that the BL11 is connected to BV10 -- I'm not using the sub with BeoLab 3s currently due to placement and the fact that BeoVision 10 benefits more from the sub).

 

KMA

B&O product history since 1991: Ridiculously long to list in a signature.

elephant
Top 10 Contributor
AU
Posts 8,215
OFFLINE
Founder
elephant replied on Sat, Aug 11 2012 7:05 PM

Thanks for the review !

Very interesting boxing - glad that B&O are making this simple (yet attractive, consumer friendly) change.

The dealer's tip for the Beo5 set-up has yielded some interesting bonuses !  So like B&O to have some functions hidden away or a mystery.

Does the PlayMaker feel "plasticky" to the touch ?

I agree, Beolab 3s are wonderful speakers Smile

The pictures look great - nice set-up !

On first scroll I though the BL11 was also connected to the Playmaker - that would have been ace !!

Do you think you will find a way to integrate the Playmaker with the BV10 ?

BeoNut since '75

KMA
Top 150 Contributor
Posts 569
OFFLINE
Bronze Member
KMA replied on Sat, Aug 11 2012 7:38 PM

elephant:

Thanks for the review !

Very interesting boxing - glad that B&O are making this simple (yet attractive, consumer friendly) change.

The dealer's tip for the Beo5 set-up has yielded some interesting bonuses !  So like B&O to have some functions hidden away or a mystery.

Does the PlayMaker feel "plasticky" to the touch ?

I agree, Beolab 3s are wonderful speakers Smile

The pictures look great - nice set-up !

On first scroll I though the BL11 was also connected to the Playmaker - that would have been ace !!

Do you think you will find a way to integrate the Playmaker with the BV10 ?

Thanks for your comments, elephant!

The PlayMaker is plastic, but it feels quite robust to the touch. The volume "wheel" has an interesting tactile feel to it.

I'm don't actually want to connect the PlayMaker to BV10: I like having a separate system for audio. I use the BV10 as a screen for Mac Mini and AppleTV, so sometimes it's nice to have the computer on, showing a slideshow etc., or the TV on (muted) while listening to music. For the size of my living-room, the BeoLab 3s perform great. The BeoLab 11 really complements the sound of BV10 for movies and ads to the viewing pleasure.

Interestingly, I find myself controlling the volume of PlayMaker mostly with Beo5, especially with longer playlists on my iPad, which can just stay in its stand close by providing the visuals for the music. The Beo5 is always at hand on the living-room table.

KMA

B&O product history since 1991: Ridiculously long to list in a signature.

Paul W
Top 50 Contributor
London
Posts 1,810
OFFLINE
Bronze Member
Paul W replied on Sat, Aug 11 2012 7:49 PM

KMA I love your furniture! Beautiful looking lounge.  Nice box packaging, very Apple!

Lovely BV10 too! I liked your review of the 320Kbps & Itunes files - in radio, we rip everything to 320 apart from voice overs / links which are WAV.

I would be very interested for you to do an Apple AE vs the Playmaker when you get the chance.

The BL3s look great by the way - very funky lil things :)

elephant
Top 10 Contributor
AU
Posts 8,215
OFFLINE
Founder
elephant replied on Sun, Aug 12 2012 12:22 AM

KMA:
or the TV on (muted) while listening to music

Surprise

KMA:
The BeoLab 11 really complements the sound of BV10 for movies and ads to the viewing pleasure.

Last night I was filing in time waiting for guests to arrive by channel surfing and ended up watching 20 minutes towards the end of some alien invasion over LA .... our BL11 did a sterling job with all the bangs and booms of the special effects

Laughing

KMA:
Interestingly, I find myself controlling the volume of PlayMaker mostly with Beo5, especially with longer playlists on my iPad, which can just stay in its stand close by providing the visuals for the music. The Beo5 is always at hand on the living-room table.

Very much how I operate with our iPad and Beo4.  Large, diverse music collections cry out for a tablet interface.

 

And don't listen to Paul Wink do not do a comparison with the AE Smile just enjoy what you are already happy with Big Smile

 

BeoNut since '75

Yendys
Top 200 Contributor
Sydney
Posts 303
OFFLINE
Bronze Member
Yendys replied on Sun, Aug 12 2012 3:00 AM
Thanks for the review and you have a very nice setup KMA. Good to learn that the sound setup can be adjusted as it isn't mentioned in the manual or on any of B&Os FAQs either. I have one or order (waiting waiting.....) and also great that there's no issues streaming AirPlay to it in your setup.
Aussie Michael
Top 50 Contributor
Melbourne, AU
Posts 3,258
OFFLINE
Bronze Member

Thank you for a really good review of the PM and BS3 combo.  I'm getting this now :-)  Yesterday I purchased a BS5 Encore and thought I might go the distance and get the BL3 and PM combo too.  Now I see it's all one neat boxed unit, makes it all the more special.

Thanks and I'm sure you will enjoy your system.

elephant
Top 10 Contributor
AU
Posts 8,215
OFFLINE
Founder
elephant replied on Sun, Aug 12 2012 7:49 AM

Michael:

Thank you for a really good review of the PM and BS3 combo.  I'm getting this now :-)  Yesterday I purchased a BS5 Encore and thought I might go the distance and get the BL3 and PM combo too.  Now I see it's all one neat boxed unit, makes it all the more special.

Thanks and I'm sure you will enjoy your system.

Michael !!

Congrats on your decision -- wishing you all the best and looking forward to your posts Big Smile

BeoNut since '75

moxxey
Top 25 Contributor
South West, UK
Posts 4,768
OFFLINE
Bronze Member
moxxey replied on Sun, Aug 12 2012 8:54 AM

KMA:
The BeoLab 11 really complements the sound of BV10 for movies and ads to the viewing pleasure.

Last night I was filing in time waiting for guests to arrive by channel surfing and ended up watching 20 minutes towards the end of some alien invasion over LA .... our BL11 did a sterling job with all the bangs and booms of the special effects

Although we've gone completely off-topic here, I'll add that I'm impressed with the difference the BL11 makes to the BV10. It's very notable, even for regular TV. Seems to take some the bass away from the main speakers, freeing them up to provide clearer middle and treble. I'm not going to go as far as saying it's as good as my old BV's BL7.2, but it's close. Without the BL11, the BV10 sounds very flat, lacks depth.

Christophe
Top 500 Contributor
Cape Town
Posts 93
OFFLINE
Bronze Member

Thanks for the review and the extra information that B&O didn't provide online or in the user guide: do they realize they might lose customers (like me) by omitting the sound setting possibility for the PlayMaker?Angry

I need to correct the bass & treble levels in my setup, and I felt surprised that PlayMaker did not offer this (because I consider it as a BeoLink Active alternative), and that kept me from buying one so far. I'm also glad that some people can buy them, because they still are not available on BeoPlay website..so for people without a dealer around, it's a bit frustrating.

I hope B&O eventually come out with text-to-speech controls on the new products without OSD (since 2-way communication seems to be gone forever): why not being able to setup a language for the Playmaker, by pressing MENU on your remote during the first setup, and after you've chosen your language, pressing MENU would give you access to sound settings, connection status (pretty much like the sound icons you have on BeoPort with PC)? Actually BeoLink Active has the same issue, you can adjust sound, but you never know what you're doing and where the 0 point is!

Nice pictures by the wayWink

Paul W
Top 50 Contributor
London
Posts 1,810
OFFLINE
Bronze Member
Paul W replied on Sun, Aug 12 2012 6:09 PM

That damn PlayMaker sure is ugly as hell! Definitely one for the BANG&OLUFSEN enthusiast only!

Chris Townsend
Top 50 Contributor
Badsey, UK
Posts 3,265
OFFLINE
Bronze Member
moxxey:

Although we've gone completely off-topic here, I'll add that I'm impressed with the difference the BL11 makes to the BV10. It's very notable, even for regular TV. Seems to take some the bass away from the main speakers, freeing them up to provide clearer middle and treble. I'm not going to go as far as saying it's as good as my old BV's BL7.2, but it's close. Without the BL11, the BV10 sounds very flat, lacks depth.

The Beovision 10 shouldn't be sold without an 11 in my book. It makes it a complete TV.

Beovision Eclipse, Beolit 15, Beoplay A2, H6/H2, Form 2, Beoplay A3, Beovision 5-42 connected to a DVD1

BeoHut
Top 150 Contributor
Posts 473
OFFLINE
Bronze Member
BeoHut replied on Sun, Aug 12 2012 7:49 PM
Hi KMA,

A good review. Very nice te read and good pictures!

Enjoy your new setup!
rednik
Top 500 Contributor
Posts 182
OFFLINE
Bronze Member
rednik replied on Sun, Aug 12 2012 9:06 PM

Paul W:

That damn PlayMaker sure is ugly as hell! Definitely one for the BANG&OLUFSEN enthusiast only!

Or for people who want good quality sound, from and apple or non apple device, with hands on control and audio adjustments at a reasonable price.  I would guess that if marketed properly there will be plenty of them.

 

What would you have made it look like that would still work, cost the same, and meet the criteria above.

Paul W
Top 50 Contributor
London
Posts 1,810
OFFLINE
Bronze Member
Paul W replied on Sun, Aug 12 2012 9:20 PM

Being honest Redneck, it's hard to improve on the new Apple AE purely on its design for the money. But a company that sells very expensive products, that is known for good design and then churns out a smoke detector looking product is making a bit of a fool of its customers. It's as though they know that BANG&OLUFSEN customers will buy anything with a BANG&OLUFSEN name of it. An example being the MP3 player that looked identical to the £90 Samsung or the mobile with the Samsung badge on it.

Some of their range is really decent but it's also very very clear for the educated amongst us, that a lot are simply geared for the 'new money' customer.

rednik
Top 500 Contributor
Posts 182
OFFLINE
Bronze Member
rednik replied on Sun, Aug 12 2012 9:34 PM

Paul W:

Being honest Redneck, it's hard to improve on the new Apple AE purely on its design for the money. But a company that sells very expensive products, that is known for good design and then churns out a smoke detector looking product is making a bit of a fool of its customers. It's as though they know that BANG&OLUFSEN customers will buy anything with a BANG&OLUFSEN name of it. An example being the MP3 player that looked identical to the £90 Samsung or the mobile with the Samsung badge on it.

Some of their range is really decent but it's also very very clear for the educated amongst us, that a lot are simply geared for the 'new money' customer.

Not really sure what your point is.  The new AE looks like a white apple tv, I wouldn't want one on display in my house, but then I wouldn't need to because it has no hands on controls and no ir.  It also sounds horrible compared to a playmaker, so I wouldn't have one anyway.

Are you suggesting the playmaker doesn't offer the end user anything over an airport express for the small extra outlay? If so I'd suggest you review the specs, and then review your comment suggesting that those of us who do appreciate what the product offers might not be as educated as you, as you risk making yourself look very stupid.

Re Samsung and the Serenata and BeoSound 6, did you ever listen to music through earphones on either of them?  If you did and you couldn't hear the difference between them an a £90 Samsung unit, it would appear no matter how well educated you are you ears need some training.  Likewise for airport and playmaker.

butch1
Top 200 Contributor
Posts 371
OFFLINE
Bronze Member
butch1 replied on Sun, Aug 12 2012 11:32 PM

Well said rednik.

butch1
Top 200 Contributor
Posts 371
OFFLINE
Bronze Member
butch1 replied on Sun, Aug 12 2012 11:38 PM

Hats of to paul w,his posts are hilarious lol

rednik
Top 500 Contributor
Posts 182
OFFLINE
Bronze Member
rednik replied on Sun, Aug 12 2012 11:53 PM

butch1:

Hats of to paul w,his posts are hilarious lol

I look forward to his in depth response comparing the sound quality of the products he has slated compared to the Apple versions.  He must have done some extensive like for like comparisons to make any comment in the first place, so the detailed feedback should be interesting.

Jonathan
Top 50 Contributor
Melbourne, Australia
Posts 1,803
OFFLINE
Bronze Member
Jonathan replied on Sun, Aug 12 2012 11:54 PM

butch1:

Hats of to paul w,his posts are hilarious lol

 

Particularly considering he hasn't bought anything B&O since the early 90s Laughing

x:________________________

butch1
Top 200 Contributor
Posts 371
OFFLINE
Bronze Member
butch1 replied on Sun, Aug 12 2012 11:58 PM

He would rather spend his money in DODGY & BANNANA instead. lol

John
Top 200 Contributor
Australia
Posts 317
OFFLINE
Bronze Member
John replied on Mon, Aug 13 2012 2:04 AM

Paul W:

Being honest Redneck, it's hard to improve on the new Apple AE purely on its design for the money. But a company that sells very expensive products, that is known for good design and then churns out a smoke detector looking product is making a bit of a fool of its customers. It's as though they know that BANG&OLUFSEN customers will buy anything with a BANG&OLUFSEN name of it. An example being the MP3 player that looked identical to the £90 Samsung or the mobile with the Samsung badge on it.

Some of their range is really decent but it's also very very clear for the educated amongst us, that a lot are simply geared for the 'new money' customer.

I have one of the new Apple AE, and use it to extend my Wireless network in the lounge.  But it's thankfully small, so it can be hidden away - generally speaking I don't like utility items out in the spotlight on display.  And apart from sitting there looking small and neat, there's nothing to really do with it once it's set up.

I have another one, the earlier AE design, MK 11 (?) and it streams music from my computer to my Class D digital S Master Pro ES Sony amp via Optical Toslink.  From what I've read re professional review, the output via optical is very good; however that by analogue is actually rather poor.

As the likes of Beolab 3's and 9's have analogue only inputs, then in such a scenario I would think it most likely that the new B&O Playmaker would well outperform the Apple AE when used with it's analogue outputs.

I'm sure that someone, somewhere will do the comparison; hopefully both measured as well as subjective listening, but from professional review/measured results, I don't think the playmaker will have much difficulty in besting an Apple AE using it's analogue outputs in terms of sonic performance.

I agree that the playmaker is not the most elegant design going - but then neither is my V1 either IMHO.

However, for a balance of engineering virtue, performance at the highest level, a relatively pleasing and individualistic design aesthetic - albeit not the last word in elegance - coupled with a high VFM quotient re the asking prices, the likes of the new playmaker and BeoPlay products in general represent an very welcome addition to the market place, and to B&O's portfolio.

PS: KMA - thanks for a most interesting review, and especially for the photos!

Kind regards

John... Cool

Jonathan
Top 50 Contributor
Melbourne, Australia
Posts 1,803
OFFLINE
Bronze Member
Jonathan replied on Mon, Aug 13 2012 2:40 AM

Paul W:

Being honest Redneck,

 

You mean Rednik?????

x:________________________

moxxey
Top 25 Contributor
South West, UK
Posts 4,768
OFFLINE
Bronze Member
moxxey replied on Mon, Aug 13 2012 7:23 AM

rednik:

Or for people who want good quality sound, from and apple or non apple device

Give it a rest. Seriously. The big difference between "good quality" sound on a Playmaker or AE isn't the AE isn't the calibre of the speakers themselves. Most users use £300 Phillips speakers from Argos. We're using BL3s or higher. I can assure you, they provide "good quality".

The difference between the audio quality between the AE and Playmaker, for most audio tracks you can download from iTunes or rip from your CDs, will be negligible at best.

Any superbly recorded track, played via my AEs, through my BL3/BL11 combo, certainly produces a "good quality" sound.

rednik
Top 500 Contributor
Posts 182
OFFLINE
Bronze Member
rednik replied on Mon, Aug 13 2012 8:35 AM

moxxey:

rednik:

Or for people who want good quality sound, from and apple or non apple device

Give it a rest. Seriously. The big difference between "good quality" sound on a Playmaker or AE isn't the AE isn't the calibre of the speakers themselves. Most users use £300 Phillips speakers from Argos. We're using BL3s or higher. I can assure you, they provide "good quality".

The difference between the audio quality between the AE and Playmaker, for most audio tracks you can download from iTunes or rip from your CDs, will be negligible at best.

Any superbly recorded track, played via my AEs, through my BL3/BL11 combo, certainly produces a "good quality" sound.

On a pair of bl3 connected to an airport, high volumes sound horrible compared to a playmaker.  Have you listened to both?  I have with 320k mp3, apple lossless and wma lossless and much prefer the sound of the playmaker in all cases.

 

KMA
Top 150 Contributor
Posts 569
OFFLINE
Bronze Member
KMA replied on Mon, Aug 13 2012 11:49 AM

Hi everyone, and thanks for the kind remarks on the review & photos.

As for the debate of AE vs. PlayMaker, there are a couple of things to consider re: value:

1) The possibility to use Beo5 / Beo4: let's say I have a playlist with 100 songs, and want to skip some of them, I can do it with Beo5 -- which in my case is always at hand, contrary to iPad or iPhone, which may be charging in a stand. Same goes for volume AND there are actually more "fine" steps in adjusting volume via Beo5 or hands-on using the PlayMaker than there are steps in iPad's or iPhone's volume control. Go figure, and I like the finer volume adjustment.

If I put the PlayMaker to standby using Beo5, the playback on my iDevice stops. I find this handy when I want to switch to TV: I can just use Beo5 to put the PlayMaker to standby, and not mind or operate the iDevice at all, and I can easily continue listening to music where I left off.

This little function of PlayMaker's/iDevice's volume and status staying in sync when using Beo5 is a minor thing, but something I appreciate when using Beo5, i.e. one device to control my setup.  

2) The Loudness function, which can be turned on in the PlayMaker via Beo5 / Beo4, is well implemented. I played with it, and it makes the sound of the PlayMaker fuller and "rounder", in the similar fashion as Loudness in B&O's other audio systems does. It's also possible to tweak the sound characteristics by adjusting bass and treble. I would NEVER use the Loudness function or other presets found in my iPad's and iPhone's music player, as they are horribly executed. Any other setting than FLAT in an i-thingy just spoils the sound. Not so when tweaking the settings in PlayMaker. I do hope B&O does not disable the sound settings in future firmware updates.

3) As mentioned in this thread, a comparison in sound quality using BL3&AE and BL3&PM has been made, to the advantage of PlayMaker. I will get the necessary plugs/wires from Sounds Heavenly to conduct this test also myself -- just out of curiosity. I have no doubt that the sound processing (DAC) in PlayMaker is better than in AE, though, but I'm interested to hear the difference. B&O speaks very highly of the audio quality of PlayMaker on their website, and I cannot image this would be without merit.

Hands on operation, impeccable sound, sound settings and the possibility to conveniently use Beo5 for basic operations: those are 4 things the AE does not offer. Given that the PlayMaker is less than 400 euros -- and if you happen to need BL3s, PlayMaker is free at the moment -- I find it great value for money. It's the best way to enjoy sound from mobile devices with B&O's speakers, and a simple way at that.

If B&O made a MK II of PlayMaker with a more B&O'ish design, something along the lines that was presented by the concepts in another thread here, I would not mind paying double for the face-lifted version. But that's just me. Yet in my home, the current version does not look exactly horrible either. I'm happy with the setup :)

KMA

B&O product history since 1991: Ridiculously long to list in a signature.

Michael
Top 50 Contributor
Sweden
Posts 2,084
OFFLINE
Bronze Member
Michael replied on Mon, Aug 13 2012 1:01 PM
KMA:

Hi everyone, and thanks for the kind remarks on the review & photos.

As for the debate of AE vs. PlayMaker, there are a couple of things to consider re: value:

1) The possibility to use Beo5 / Beo4: let's say I have a playlist with 100 songs, and want to skip some of them, I can do it with Beo5 -- which in my case is always at hand, contrary to iPad or iPhone, which may be charging in a stand. Same goes for volume AND there are actually more "fine" steps in adjusting volume via Beo5 or hands-on using the PlayMaker than there are steps in iPad's or iPhone's volume control. Go figure, and I like the finer volume adjustment.

If I put the PlayMaker to standby using Beo5, the playback on my iDevice stops. I find this handy when I want to switch to TV: I can just use Beo5 to put the PlayMaker to standby, and not mind or operate the iDevice at all, and I can easily continue listening to music where I left off.

This little function of PlayMaker's/iDevice's volume and status staying in sync when using Beo5 is a minor thing, but something I appreciate when using Beo5, i.e. one device to control my setup.

2) The Loudness function, which can be turned on in the PlayMaker via Beo5 / Beo4, is well implemented. I played with it, and it makes the sound of the PlayMaker fuller and "rounder", in the similar fashion as Loudness in B&O's other audio systems does. It's also possible to tweak the sound characteristics by adjusting bass and treble. I would NEVER use the Loudness function or other presets found in my iPad's and iPhone's music player, as they are horribly executed. Any other setting than FLAT in an i-thingy just spoils the sound. Not so when tweaking the settings in PlayMaker. I do hope B&O does not disable the sound settings in future firmware updates.

3) As mentioned in this thread, a comparison in sound quality using BL3&AE and BL3&PM has been made, to the advantage of PlayMaker. I will get the necessary plugs/wires from Sounds Heavenly to conduct this test also myself -- just out of curiosity. I have no doubt that the sound processing (DAC) in PlayMaker is better than in AE, though, but I'm interested to hear the difference. B&O speaks very highly of the audio quality of PlayMaker on their website, and I cannot image this would be without merit.

Hands on operation, impeccable sound, sound settings and the possibility to conveniently use Beo5 for basic operations: those are 4 things the AE does not offer. Given that the PlayMaker is less than 400 euros -- and if you happen to need BL3s -- free at the moment, I find it great value for money. It's the best way to enjoy sound from mobile devices with B&O's speakers, and a simple way at that.

If B&O made a MK II of PlayMaker with a more B&O'ish design, something along the lines that was presented by the concepts in another thread here, I would not mind paying double for the face-lifted version. But that's just me. Yet in my home, the current version does not look exactly horrible either. I'm happy with the setup :)

KMA

Current setup : BeoVision 10-46 with Apple TV 2 (FireCore), Sony BDP-S780, Mac Mini, PlayMaker , BeoLab 3 , BeoLab 11 , Beo5 , BeoPlay A8 . B&O product history, in chronological order since 1991: BeoSystem 2500, BeoLink 5000, BeoSystem 7000, BeoLink 7000, RedLine 60.2, BeoVox Penta, BeoVision MX4000, BeoCord VX5000, BeoSystem 4500, BeoCenter 9500, BeoLab 8000, BeoLab 6000, BeoVision Avant (original, 28", VHS), BeoCenter 2300, BeoVision 3-32, DVD1, BeoCord V8000, Beo4, BeoSound Overture, BeoVision Avant RF (32", AR, VHS), BeoSound 9000, BeoSystem AV5, BeoVision 1, Beo1, BeoSound Century, BeoCenter 1, BeoSound 1, BeoVision Avant RF DVD (32", AR), BeoVision 7-32, BeoLab 3, BeoSound 2, BeoVision 10-40, BS5 Encore, BeoSound 8, BeoLab 4

Regarding DAC quality I want to say that it is a big difference between earlier AE and newer. The older ones uses a burrbrown DAC of very high quality. The sound is so much more detailed and warm/punchy. I try to use old AE connected with Ethernet (because of 802.11b wifi) instead of newer with cheaper soundboards.
Magnus
Top 200 Contributor
Norway
Posts 331
OFFLINE
Bronze Member
Magnus replied on Mon, Aug 13 2012 4:22 PM

Michael:

Regarding DAC quality I want to say that it is a big difference between earlier AE and newer. The older ones uses a burrbrown DAC of very high quality. The sound is so much more detailed and warm/punchy. I try to use old AE connected with Ethernet (because of 802.11b wifi) instead of newer with cheaper soundboards.

Never been a 802.11b version, the first was 11g. But the point is still valid! I think I have both the first and second version - would be interessting to compare!

rgbyhkr
Not Ranked
Posts 22
OFFLINE
Bronze Member
rgbyhkr replied on Tue, Aug 14 2012 1:04 AM

Hi KMA,

Thanks for posting those pictures and for your additional thoughts on the setup.  I wasn't even aware of this combination deal until I saw your thread and the pictures of the boxed package really out some substance to it.   It's possible that this may finally be the motivator that gets me into a pair of BL3s.  I will say, while I don't like the design aesthetic of the PlayMaker, seeing it in this combination really makes me think that if they just offered it in black in addition to white, I'd likely find it a lot less ugly.  

I do have a couple of questions though:

1 - I assume that the combo package comes with all cabling necessary to connect the PM to the BL3s, but what is that setup like?  Is it newer cable connections with appropriate adapters or is there an additional accessory box in between (to feed power and audio signal to the BL3s Power Link input)?  If you happen to have pictures of that to make things easier to understand, that would be great.  I'm just trying to get a picture in my head of how it all interconnects and how much I would have to or want to hide away.

2 - AirPlay control gives you volume, but you can also control the PM volume via a Beo4/5/6.  So how do those 2 interact?  Does adjusting volume via the latter change the volume slider on the former?  Or, are they 2 totally separate volume controls?

Thanks for the help!

Jeff

Aussie Michael
Top 50 Contributor
Melbourne, AU
Posts 3,258
OFFLINE
Bronze Member

Good question rugby, i want to also know about the interconnects and what cables were supplied in the box. 

:-)

KMA
Top 150 Contributor
Posts 569
OFFLINE
Bronze Member
KMA replied on Tue, Aug 14 2012 11:30 AM

rgbyhkr:

Hi KMA,

Thanks for posting those pictures and for your additional thoughts on the setup.  I wasn't even aware of this combination deal until I saw your thread and the pictures of the boxed package really out some substance to it.   It's possible that this may finally be the motivator that gets me into a pair of BL3s.  I will say, while I don't like the design aesthetic of the PlayMaker, seeing it in this combination really makes me think that if they just offered it in black in addition to white, I'd likely find it a lot less ugly.  

I do have a couple of questions though:

1 - I assume that the combo package comes with all cabling necessary to connect the PM to the BL3s, but what is that setup like?  Is it newer cable connections with appropriate adapters or is there an additional accessory box in between (to feed power and audio signal to the BL3s Power Link input)?  If you happen to have pictures of that to make things easier to understand, that would be great.  I'm just trying to get a picture in my head of how it all interconnects and how much I would have to or want to hide away.

2 - AirPlay control gives you volume, but you can also control the PM volume via a Beo4/5/6.  So how do those 2 interact?  Does adjusting volume via the latter change the volume slider on the former?  Or, are they 2 totally separate volume controls?

Thanks for the help!

Jeff

Hi Jeff,

It would be indeed cool if the PlayMaker would be available in black also; this is something I initially thought when I learnt about PlayMaker, and that it only comes in white.

About your questions:

1) All cabling is neatly packed in the box below the PlayMaker: you lift the PlayMaker out of the package, and all cables & manuals are beneath. There are 3 power cables (2 x 2,5m for BeoLab 3s and 1 x 1,8m for PlayMaker) and 2 new "RJ45 to PowerLink" speaker cables (5m each). These are much thicker than the old PowerLink Mk III cables. Connecting everything together is as easy as just plugging in the cables. No adapters or such are needed: the combo package has everything you need (also including the rubber stands for BeoLab 3 as standard). I actually took a photo of it all while unpacking (yeah, a little nuts, I know):

2) Using Beo5/Beo4 or PlayMaker's "volume wheel" is 2-way when using AirPlay: adjusting volume with Beo5/Beo4 or from the PlayMaker adjusts the volume on an iDevice: the volume slider moves on the iDevice. Moreover, Beo5/Beo4 allows finer steps of volume adjustments: I'd say that 3 clicks on the remote corresponds to one step in the iDevices volume slider. I quite like this, as the steps in an iDevice are quite big increments in actual volume.

Also, of course changing track via remote (previous / next) relates to the iDevice in realtime.

Hope this helps!

KMA

B&O product history since 1991: Ridiculously long to list in a signature.

Michael
Top 50 Contributor
Sweden
Posts 2,084
OFFLINE
Bronze Member
Michael replied on Tue, Aug 14 2012 12:36 PM

Magnus:

Michael:

Regarding DAC quality I want to say that it is a big difference between earlier AE and newer. The older ones uses a burrbrown DAC of very high quality. The sound is so much more detailed and warm/punchy. I try to use old AE connected with Ethernet (because of 802.11b wifi) instead of newer with cheaper soundboards.

Never been a 802.11b version, the first was 11g. But the point is still valid! I think I have both the first and second version - would be interessting to compare!

Sorry I know, I was a bit tired commuting to work :)

moxxey
Top 25 Contributor
South West, UK
Posts 4,768
OFFLINE
Bronze Member
moxxey replied on Tue, Aug 14 2012 5:54 PM

KMA:

It would be indeed cool if the PlayMaker would be available in black also; this is something I initially thought when I learnt about PlayMaker, and that it only comes in white.

Or charcoal grey, similar to the "black" V1.

Had a look/demo of the PlayMaker at my dealer's this lunch. Still looks like a smoke alarm to me (even the dealer admitted it should have been brushed aluminium or metal of some description, perhaps with a V1 finish?). Dial for adjusting the volume is ok. Was heavier than I expected. I'd be tempted to get a PlayMaker for the office, where I do not need an AE to extend the network, but at home, the AE provides the extended wifi network and that's essential for securing a strong signal through the home.

Keith Saunders
Top 25 Contributor
Little Ann, Hampshire, United Kingdom
Posts 5,152
OFFLINE
Founder
Moderator

A Very good overview of your first impressions KMA..

Today, I had the opportunity to play around with the Playmaker and in particular I spent sometime testing various Android phone server apps and came to the conclusion that the best available currently was Skifta Media server which was very easy to use and more importantly worked well.

After just a few minutes of setup I was able to stream music from my HTC ONE X to the playmaker controlling the volume etc from the mobile phone.

I could also select the Beosound 5 from the Skifta.

As others have noted, the white plastic cover of the Playmaker with the volume is not really to my taste.

Regards Keith....

keanone
Not Ranked
Posts 8
OFFLINE
Bronze Member
keanone replied on Thu, Aug 16 2012 3:25 PM

Hi all, I just bought a Playmaker and simply connected it to my Beolab 9s. Using Airplay for Spotify from iPad with extreme bit rate, I can assure you it beats the combo of Apple TV with my Musical Fidelity V-DAC through Beovision 8 and more recently, the Beoplay V1 - at least through my ears. I am impressed.

So far, after a few hours of listening, I am really happy. Thank you, B&O!

gizze
Not Ranked
Posts 33
OFFLINE
Bronze Member
gizze replied on Thu, Aug 16 2012 7:15 PM

moxxey:
Give it a rest. Seriously. The big difference between "good quality" sound on a Playmaker or AE isn't the AE 'it's' the calibre of the speakers themselves. 

That's a strange thing to say. 

Source quality is everything. 

The Airport Express is pretty dire via analogue, it is not that much better via digital to be honest either, but the analogue is very flat, no space, no real depth and it can sound pretty harsh up top. 

I had one into my Meridian DSP5200s for a couple of weeks and it really did ruin the overall sound of them. (That was digital in, the DSP5200s have superb apodising upsampling DACS built in). I use that AE running into my little Meridian M80...

I decorated our room a couple of weeks back and couldn't find the optical 3.5mm to 3.5mm cable, so grabbed a 3.5mm analogue cable instead and even on that the difference between the analogue and the digital was massive. Back to being harsh sounding and flat, just no separation of instruments and vocals etc. 

I only play lossless btw. I am sure with MP3 the soundstage is just as bad, but the difference between top end would still be noticeable I'm sure. 

I picked up some BL6000's to run off a TV in the bedroom with a Rel Strata sub, and have been really impressed with them, they sound nice, so much so I am going to grab some more for the conservatory and office too. I have the AE into them at the moment, and it doesn't impress at all, so shoved a cheap Beresford DAC on there and that is much nicer, but a PlayMaker might be a better/neater option, just wisded it looked a bit nicer. Other option is the Squezzebox Touch, very nice sounding little unit, especially with an upgraded PSU, plus it plays Hi-Res files too. 

But overall good to hear your impressions of the Playmaker KMA, thanks. 

Aussie Michael
Top 50 Contributor
Melbourne, AU
Posts 3,258
OFFLINE
Bronze Member

Thank you for posting the pictures of the connections and supplied stuff in the box.

I just found out here in Australia we wont be getting the special boxed version :-( however we can still get the same deal (coming up) just all supplied separately.

Michael.

moxxey
Top 25 Contributor
South West, UK
Posts 4,768
OFFLINE
Bronze Member
moxxey replied on Sat, Aug 18 2012 10:51 AM

gizze:

moxxey:
Give it a rest. Seriously. The big difference between "good quality" sound on a Playmaker or AE isn't the AE 'it's' the calibre of the speakers themselves. 

That's a strange thing to say. 

Source quality is everything. 

Not strange. I was making a play on the use of "good quality" as the posted implied you didn't get a good quality audio experienced using a £4000 BL3/BL11 combo. Made me smile. What I was trying to say is that there's a major difference between the quality of the sound you'll get from most £500 speakers - which, to be fair, is more than the usual household will spend on a pair of speakers - and our BL3s. The step up will produce "good quality" sound.

I've been using AEs for years now, as have many users on here. Few have complained of "bad quality" (the original poster implied you'd only get "good" quality with a PlayMaker) and suddenly the move up to PlayMaker is going to take us from "bad" quality to "good"? I mean, really? They are going to revolutionise my audio experience in such a manner, eh?

What drives "good" audio quality is far more than the difference between the CD quality AE and PlayMaker. It's far more to do with the original mastered recording (take Pink Floyd's recordings, for example), the compression used to store the digital version and, of course, the speakers you use to play your audio.

The difference between the AEs and PlayMaker in this scenario will be far more negligible than you think.

And if you want better sound quality, btw, you'd upgrade your 6000s and buy BL5s, surely? If you are that keen, that obsessed and need to drive your audio via lossless recordings, why have you kept 6000s (this comment is tongue-in-cheek btw, but the point remains valid)? There's a bigger difference between 6000s and BL5s than there is between using lossless recordings via a PlayMaker than through AEs, I can assure you.

vlohjr1
Top 150 Contributor
Posts 409
OFFLINE
Bronze Member
vlohjr1 replied on Sun, Aug 19 2012 12:37 AM
Does anybody have issues with pm dropping off from their devices my iPhone keep losing pm when it is on standby?

Thanks

Vince
gizze
Not Ranked
Posts 33
OFFLINE
Bronze Member
gizze replied on Sun, Aug 19 2012 5:13 PM

moxxey:

I've been using AEs for years now, as have many users on here. Few have complained of "bad quality" (the original poster implied you'd only get "good" quality with a PlayMaker) and suddenly the move up to PlayMaker is going to take us from "bad" quality to "good"? I mean, really? They are going to revolutionise my audio experience in such a manner, eh?

What drives "good" audio quality is far more than the difference between the CD quality AE and PlayMaker. It's far more to do with the original mastered recording (take Pink Floyd's recordings, for example), the compression used to store the digital version and, of course, the speakers you use to play your audio.

The difference between the AEs and PlayMaker in this scenario will be far more negligible than you think.

Again, I completely disagree. Crap sounding source is always a crap sounding source, as you improve the speakers this becomes more and more obvious. Of course the recording, compression etc. will make a difference, but even with really well recorded material throttling it with a poor source is never going to let it sound 'good'.

moxxey:

And if you want better sound quality, btw, you'd upgrade your 6000s and buy BL5s, surely? If you are that keen, that obsessed and need to drive your audio via lossless recordings, why have you kept 6000s (this comment is tongue-in-cheek btw, but the point remains valid)? There's a bigger difference between 6000s and BL5s than there is between using lossless recordings via a PlayMaker than through AEs, I can assure you.

I only bought them as some TV speakers, and I think they are very good for what they are. I demoed the BL5's back to back with the Meridian DSP5200s and the Meridians were better for me, they got my money. 

Problem for me is I find the AE too sharp sounding using its internal dac and output stage, there is also just no depth or soundstage. The difference between sources are subtle, but they make all the difference. I guess for many the massive 'differences' in changing speakers is easy to perceive, where as changes in sources are not so easy to detect as it is not a massive smack in the face. 

 

Page 1 of 2 (47 items) 1 2 Next > | RSS
Beoworld Security Certificate

SSL