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Non B&O Replacements For Beolab center speaker

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alee
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alee posted on Tue, Aug 22 2017 8:09 PM

This may be sacreligious, but since I went to a non B&O receiver/preamp, I've been trying to figure out how to best utilize what I'm keeping (BL5s, 9s and BS9000) while updating hardware that needs too much "support" (BL7-2). 

The world of active speakers isn't super large, especially if you want speakers that are distinctive, like B&O gear. And yes, the 12V trigger cable/powerlink cable doesn't really cost that much, but maybe the headache of getting it, and running an extra power line just for a cable, isn't worth the time and effort. Since apparently B&O isn't interested in releasing a regular line-in horizontal center speaker, I thought to create a quick thread to discuss non B&O active speakers that I discovered which could be used as centers. 

Center (horizontal):

Meridian M33C (a bit long in the tooth). XLR and RCA line in. 

Linn Aktive 350C (a bit expensive). XLR and RCA. 

Martin Logan Feature center (rare. Only seen one online. Electrostatic).  XLR and RCA  

I've replaced my BL7-2 with the meridian and couldn't be happier. Great sound, one power cord, and even though I'm using Unbalanced SE (RCA) to my BL5s up front, I'm using XLR to the M33C. It takes a moment initially to level out the volume, but it meshes well. 

any other recommendations?

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BeoFrederic
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I'm looking at a similar issue right now, so thanks for your post.  I have a 4.1 surround setup, and need to add a center channel so I can hear the dialog at normal listening levels.

I with I wish I could add to your list, but it's apparently slim pickings to find an active mono center channel speaker, from any manufacturer.

Can you tell me a bit about 'the 12V trigger cable/powerlink cable' that you referenced with your BL7-2?  Why is this needed?  I have BL 8000s and 6000s connected to my A/V amp via RCA, and they fire up from stand-by without the need of a separate trigger cable.  Do all of the BL 7 series require a trigger cable?

 TIA


BeoFrederic
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alee
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alee replied on Thu, Aug 24 2017 3:16 AM

All of the BL7s require a powered connection. Normally, the B&O receiver - either built into the TV or as a standalone like a Beosystem - will trigger the speaker to turn it on and off. If you go with a non B&O setup, the speaker may turn off if the receiver is silent or if no signal goes to the center channel. So, sounds heavenly made a powered cable that triggers the speaker - I assume on and off, but I'm not super clear on that. Other trigger cables available use the 12V trigger on your preamp to send a on/off signal to the speaker. Sounds heavenly warns that the speaker needs to send the trigger to ground, and their cable provides a safe ground. If you use the other cables, the grounded signal may travel back to the preamp/receiver. 

of course, several posts have said the alternate cable works fine...but I'd rather be safe than sorry. 

Tifoso48
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I am using a Definitive Technology Center speaker that sounds excellent and also has great dimensions.

alee
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alee replied on Sat, Aug 26 2017 3:50 AM

Can you remember the model name?  I thought DT had active speakers but I couldn't find any mention of them on the internet. 

alee
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alee replied on Sat, Aug 26 2017 3:50 AM

Can you remember the model name?  I thought DT had active speakers but I couldn't find any mention of them on the internet. 

Jeff
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Jeff replied on Sat, Aug 26 2017 2:12 PM

One thing you have to consider when using a different brand of amplifier or active speaker is, is it an inverting or non-inverting amp? Some amplifiers, due to their design, invert the polarity of the signal input to output, inverting amps, some don't. This, if you get it wrong, will result in your center channel being reversed in polarity to your mains, sometimes there's an adjustment for that in the surround processor, some of them will test that automatically and correct it when the processor does its calibration with a mic thing, some won't.

I ran into this when setting up my AV7000 many years ago. I contacted B&O to determine if the internal center channel amp in the AV7000 reversed polarity or not to know how to hook up the center channel to be in phase with my BL8000s. At that time B&O said that they did not in any product use an amp that inverted polarity. Now? I'd not make that same assumption.

Just something to think about.

Jeff

I'm afraid I'm recovering from the BeoVirus. Sad

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