Sign in   |  Join   |  Help

What's with all the mono-only speakers?

rated by 0 users
This post has 24 Replies | 1 Follower

beopaul
Top 500 Contributor
Posts 76
OFFLINE
Bronze Member
beopaul Posted: Mon, Feb 4 2019 10:45 PM

I was thinking of getting an A6 speaker, but it's been discontinued. There's all these mono speakers now instead (M3, M5, Beosound 1&2). I don't see that these can be paired for stereo, (though the portable speakers seem to have that capability). Are people giving up on stereo because sitting in the sweet spot is too limiting? Were the all-in-one units just not giving enough separation to be worth it (I know the A9 and BS35 still exist)? What's the story here? I'm a bit hesitant to buy an all-in-one wireless speaker that's only mono.

-- Paul 

9 LEE
Top 10 Contributor
Eastbourne, UK
Posts 7,074
OFFLINE
Founder
Moderator
9 LEE replied on Mon, Feb 4 2019 11:33 PM

I think that as most people just want a 'compact boom box' these days it's rather pointless trying to separate stereo when the drivers are literally a handful of centimetres apart..

Just have one driver and make it bigger, so more boom.

I've probably completely missed the point, Geoff Martin will interject with something technical, and I'll crawl back under my stone again - but that's my thought on it.  :)

trackbeo
Top 500 Contributor
Posts 235
OFFLINE
Bronze Member
trackbeo replied on Mon, Feb 4 2019 11:35 PM

People are giving up on stereo because they are lazy and cheap, and it takes a lot of,... you know,... like,... space?  "Heck, this other cute one still *Plays* *My* *Music*, right?"  Besides, if you are going to buy a tiny speaker and wedge it onto your kitchen counter, in the corner, shoved back echoing between the countertop and the upper cabinets,... well, who the heck *cares*?  

Seriously though, it's pretty basic: the difference between no-music vs. having-music, is much much greater than the difference between mono music vs. point-source stereo music vs. separated channels.  And in some places, like the kitchen in my example, arranging stereo for multiple areas is tricky.  People just don't get that they could buy 6 speakers and play them all less loudly, then arrange them for sink, stove, and table stereo images, plus a decent L/R vs. R/L "traveling" image.  Even understanding, they still don't want to bother or don't want to spend the money.  It's just too much trouble, if all you really want, is to whistle while you work.  Apply the same only-slightly-exaggerated scenario to other rooms of the house.  Just grab a speaker, toss it wherever you are.  Lather, rinse, repeat.

The same question gets asked of Sonos, where the Play:1 is cute and compact, vs. the Play:3 and the Play:5 try to do stereo from a single box.  At least with Sonos, the answer seems to be "so just buy one Play:1, and if you don't like mono, buy a second one and pair 'em to stereo."  (That's even true of their Play:5; if you turn it vertical it goes mono, then you add a second unit.)  The Bose Wave Radio is another example of point-source stereo.  B&W Zeppelin, Naim MuSo, same idea.  At least the A6 aimed the speakers slightly outward so it would sound 2-channel at a medium distance.  I have heard all four; all are "just fine."  I happened to like the A6 best.  Does stereo matter?  I dunno...  To me, it only sounds "right", i.e. stereo image w/non-exaggerated bass, if you place them away from the wall, and sit 4 feet away.  But that's just me.  I put 6 ceiling speakers in a kitchen once...  They liked it.  But they also added a Play:3 in the corner of their dining room.

Jeff
Top 25 Contributor
USA
Posts 3,515
OFFLINE
Bronze Member
Jeff replied on Mon, Feb 4 2019 11:54 PM

Because modern music is so bad...hearing it out of two speakers would be twice as bad.

Jeff

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

Barry Santini
Top 150 Contributor
New York
Posts 466
OFFLINE
Bronze Member
If you got the space for “good stereo,” then upping to good surround is no biggie. With that done, music becomes background rather than foreground, and imaging less important as the sweet spot is never a place you’ll stay in for long.
trackbeo
Top 500 Contributor
Posts 235
OFFLINE
Bronze Member

Even upgrading to *bad* surround generates a result that (some people think) is perfectly OK:  Have you ever pressed the 5-speaker button on a Bose Lifestyle remote?  It does some processing to generate a Center and pushes some kind of signal into the Left/Right Surrounds.  The rear channels even have their own volume up/down buttons, so it was clearly intended for such "party" use, as it sorta kinda fills a living room with sound(s).

vikinger
Top 25 Contributor
Vestri Kirkjubyr, UK
Posts 5,357
OFFLINE
Silver Member

Surely a 'proper' stereo system gives you the best of all worlds. Stereo in the sweet spot, and 'surround' or background when you are standing or sitting anywhere else. In small rooms BL3500's can achieve this, and if Masterlinked together you get a smooth sound transition moving room to room.

There's mention of the Bose Wave Radio above. I have a Mk 1, still in regular bedroom use. Updated with Chromecast Audio it’s output is remarkable. Bose never made any special claims about the Wave R. being Hi Fi etc but it does have a remarkable stereo output, including bass, from those plastic waveguides!

Graham

Millemissen
Top 10 Contributor
Flensborg, Denmark
Posts 12,432
OFFLINE
Bronze Member

Jeff:

Because modern music is so bad...hearing it out of two speakers would be twice as bad.

You could also argue, that the hearing of the slippers and pipe generation is so bad that they need two speakers.

MM

There is a tv - and there is a BV.

Millemissen
Top 10 Contributor
Flensborg, Denmark
Posts 12,432
OFFLINE
Bronze Member

beopaul:

Are people giving up on stereo because sitting in the sweet spot is too limiting? 

How often do you sit in the sweet spot, when listening to music/music is on???

I do occasionally, but not always - that is the reason why I have both options at home.

MM

There is a tv - and there is a BV.

Guy
Top 50 Contributor
Buckinghamshire
Posts 1,612
OFFLINE
Gold Member
Guy replied on Tue, Feb 5 2019 9:12 AM

I've just purchased a second A2 Active as I am keen to have at least the option of stereo when travelling/outside/in the garage/etc. Often in these environments it's far easier to find the 'sweet spot' for listening rather than in the clutter of home, when I always seem to be moving around and doing other stuff.

Also, I do appreciate good stereo separation in the car -  where let's face it, a significant proportion of many people's listening takes place.

Jeff
Top 25 Contributor
USA
Posts 3,515
OFFLINE
Bronze Member
Jeff replied on Tue, Feb 5 2019 11:01 AM

Millemissen:

beopaul:

Are people giving up on stereo because sitting in the sweet spot is too limiting? 

How often do you sit in the sweet spot, when listening to music/music is on???

I do occasionally, but not always - that is the reason why I have both options at home.

MM

That's why you use B&O speakers with the ALT lenses...the "sweet spot" isn't confined to a spot!

Jeff

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

Michael
Top 50 Contributor
Sweden
Posts 2,127
OFFLINE
Bronze Member
Michael replied on Tue, Feb 5 2019 11:09 AM

I think people are less trying to replicate music as it was performed in a studio and more trying to make their home comfy and inviting. A smaller speaker thats more flexible in placing and size has perks that a stereo system rarely can provide. Sure a small stereo speaker can somewhat do both but how much stereo separation is there then, and is it worth it? Maybe you want fuller sound instead of directional speakers. A portable speaker is even more inconvenient with stereo since it might be placed in different places with different reflections and so on. Then a mono speaker is beneficial because you can focus on making it sound good, loud and clear and make it as small and convenient as possible. And beautiful. 

I listen quite a lot on my small bluetooth speakers that I can walk around with in my home. It works well and the music comes from it. I am not sure that stereo even gives me any benefits at all in most cases. Music played back live is more than stereo too and usually you put a microphone or two, or three on each instrument and mix it down somehow to a mix decided by a technician. Stereo could therefore arguably be pretty faux.  

leosgonewild
Top 50 Contributor
Helsinki, Finland
Posts 1,894
OFFLINE
Bronze Member
Guy:

Also, I do appreciate good stereo separation in the car - where let's face it, a significant proportion of many people's listening takes place.

Brings me back to when I had JBL Decade speakers with a dual 10” sub in my golf MK3. It had so much pressure that my heart literally skipped a beat.

I do enjoy critical listening, but nothing beats the bass pressure you feel on your body in a car. Big SmileBig SmileBig Smile
vikinger
Top 25 Contributor
Vestri Kirkjubyr, UK
Posts 5,357
OFFLINE
Silver Member
vikinger replied on Tue, Feb 5 2019 11:18 AM

Jeff:

Millemissen:

beopaul:

Are people giving up on stereo because sitting in the sweet spot is too limiting? 

How often do you sit in the sweet spot, when listening to music/music is on???

I do occasionally, but not always - that is the reason why I have both options at home.

MM

That's why you use B&O speakers with the ALT lenses...the "sweet spot" isn't confined to a spot!

Well said! The argument goes full circle! B&O solved a problem with the acoustic lens, but the majority of speaker manufacturers are focussed on cheaper production. I've often thought that we are gradually conditioned to prefer what manufacturers offer....... rather than manufacturers responding to customer demand. The current trend is that stereo is not important......... not a trend that I follow. Of course B&O are trying to follow both trends at the same time, but do they really publicise the ALT lens advantages sufficiently?

Graham

Andrew
Top 100 Contributor
Frinton, UK
Posts 818
OFFLINE
Silver Member
Andrew replied on Tue, Feb 5 2019 11:27 AM

In my opinion it is two separate things

Mono for background music or entertaining is fine - people managed with it for years and years, and nowadays it sounds great and is portable. Added to the fact that these days people have so many distractions, a mobile phone is not only used for streaming music, but social media, texting etc. etc. etc. so the attention span and actual listening is not that great.

Personally, if I want to listen, sit down, enjoy and really listen to music, I am lucky enough to have a separate room with the speakers set up properly and the room is dedicated to music and books - no streaming and no TV.

Tassos
Top 500 Contributor
Athens
Posts 159
OFFLINE
Bronze Member
Tassos replied on Tue, Feb 5 2019 12:10 PM

Andrew:

In my opinion it is two separate things

Mono for background music or entertaining is fine - people managed with it for years and years, and nowadays it sounds great and is portable. Added to the fact that these days people have so many distractions, a mobile phone is not only used for streaming music, but social media, texting etc. etc. etc. so the attention span and actual listening is not that great.

Personally, if I want to listen, sit down, enjoy and really listen to music, I am lucky enough to have a separate room with the speakers set up properly and the room is dedicated to music and books - no streaming and no TV.

+1

 

Millemissen
Top 10 Contributor
Flensborg, Denmark
Posts 12,432
OFFLINE
Bronze Member

Jeff:

Millemissen:

beopaul:

Are people giving up on stereo because sitting in the sweet spot is too limiting? 

How often do you sit in the sweet spot, when listening to music/music is on???

I do occasionally, but not always - that is the reason why I have both options at home.

MM

That's why you use B&O speakers with the ALT lenses...the "sweet spot" isn't confined to a spot!

I love my BL3’s....too!

I’d say - the ‘sweet spot’ is wider, when a speaker uses the acoustic lens technology.

But that won’t solve the problem completely (and you loose some of the defined stage, that you could have without the lens).

It gives you more ‘freedom’ on the couch - better listening positions when more people/family members are listening.

If you move around in a room, a one point/360 degree system might still be the better choice.

It’s nice to have more options - some will need them, others won’t....no religion there.

MM

There is a tv - and there is a BV.

trackbeo
Top 500 Contributor
Posts 235
OFFLINE
Bronze Member

Millemissen:
If you move around in a room, a one point/360 degree system might still be the better choice.
Oh cool -- Ohm Walsh -- I feel young again!!!  Just remove the 180-degree "Tufflex transmission block".  (https://ohmspeaker.com/site/assets/files/2440/ohm_walsh_loudspeaker.pdf)  Only problem is then you want to put it in the exact center of your room!  That makes the WAF very low, but your "ancestors" will "go ape" over it... (old movie joke;-)  Amazingly, you can still buy them from Ohm, doing refurbs.  Equally surprising is that Mirage Omni (e.g. https://www.miragespeakers.com/products/om-design/?sku=OMD-5) are still for sale.  At least so their website claims...

TWG
Top 75 Contributor
Posts 1,399
OFFLINE
Gold Member
TWG replied on Wed, Feb 6 2019 7:22 AM

leosgonewild:

Brings me back to when I had JBL Decade speakers with a dual 10” sub in my golf MK3. It had so much pressure that my heart literally skipped a beat.

I do enjoy critical listening, but nothing beats the bass pressure you feel on your body in a car. Big SmileBig SmileBig Smile


If you want that at home go and get a Klipsch corner horn and just use the bass part as a subwoofer.
I don't know any speaker that has so much power and yes, I would enjoy a live comparison of a Klipsch horn speaker system with the Beolab 90. 

Maybe Geoff Martin had that pleasure at work?!

 

Regarding the topic:
Those bluetooth mono speakers are nice convenience items, especially when on holidays. Beoplay A1 in combination with a high res audio player is great for the kids to listen to their music and fairy tales - and I can put both devices somewhere high enough on a shelf that the little toddlers can't reach them (which prolongs the gadgets live!)

A2 is used for our music at the holiday home. 

When traveling I even use a Beoplay A2 or A1 with a loooong cable to get better sound from the Hotel TVs Wink
At home those items are only for the kitchen, bathrooms or the garage when you don't want to install a complete audio system with link speakers in every room. 

So yes, there's a place for them, too, but not as a main audio system at home.

Jeff
Top 25 Contributor
USA
Posts 3,515
OFFLINE
Bronze Member
Jeff replied on Wed, Feb 6 2019 2:21 PM

Oddly enough, Klipschhorns don't really go all that low, I seem to recall a LF cutoff of about 35 hz, not a subwoofer level of bass extension. What they do offer is incredible efficiency and lack of problems with underdamping.

It's also interesting how audio has come full circle. In the beginning, was the single point of sound big old radio. Which evolved into mono "hifi" gear. Which evolved into stereo, and now is coming back to mono again. If you can manage even a small pair of speakers with some separation, not even that much, in my opinion it sounds better. Certainly if you're using a more full range system two speakers makes for better bass as two speakers drive the room modes differently, less chance of suckouts or humps in response.

 

Jeff

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

Mr 10Percent
Top 150 Contributor
So West, Its Now East
Posts 452
OFFLINE
Bronze Member

TWG:

Regarding the topic:
Those bluetooth mono speakers are nice convenience items, especially when on holidays. Beoplay A1 in combination with a high res audio player is great for the kids to listen to their music and fairy tales - and I can put both devices somewhere high enough on a shelf that the little toddlers can't reach them (which prolongs the gadgets live!)

A2 is used for our music at the holiday home. 

When traveling I even use a Beoplay A2 or A1 with a loooong cable to get better sound from the Hotel TVs Wink
At home those items are only for the kitchen, bathrooms or the garage when you don't want to install a complete audio system with link speakers in every room. 

And that is what it really is...convenience. I’m trying to keep warm presently in bed somewhere where it’s sooooo cold but have a P6 and an Astell & Kern AK70 PDP on my 2 book book shelf. Totally acceptable for casual listening and portability and for the space I’m in. I do 50 - 60% of my music listening with this combo. Does a job where comfort and luxury is sparse. 

When on break, I listen to my music on the BL90s. Totally different experience, not only listening to music, but a vastly improved tonal response and importantly, soundstage and imaging adding layers to the experience. 

I can understand both view points; the massive space consuming and gravity bending BL90s for an old-school experience, the P6/P2/A1/A2/H8 etc when serious compromise has to be made. They all deliver pleasure equally for what they are and what they do and there is space in the world for all of them.

OldJack
Top 500 Contributor
Split
Posts 248
OFFLINE
Gold Member
OldJack replied on Wed, Feb 6 2019 3:43 PM

 

Millemissen:
If you move around in a room, a one point/360 degree system might still be the better choice.

 

Ok,thank you Experts ! I am going for a single Beolab 90 Wink

Beogram 6500 MMC2,Beosound Ouverture,2xBeolab 8000,2xBelolab 4000,Beolab 2,Beolab 7.2,Beo4 navi, 2xBeocom2,Serene,Beosystem 3 mk3,H6 2nd gen,Earphones A8,A9 keyring,Bottle opener,Wine Set,4Ktv Samsung 55'',Beolab 7.1 with 42''Panasonic plasma,Beoplay A1,Oppo udp-203, LinTronic.

moxxey
Top 25 Contributor
South West, UK
Posts 4,854
OFFLINE
Bronze Member
moxxey replied on Wed, Feb 6 2019 5:08 PM

beopaul:

I was thinking of getting an A6 speaker, but it's been discontinued. 

I wouldn't. I own an A9, owned an A6, BeoSound 1 and various BeoPlay speakers (A1, A2, P6 etc) and the A6 was probably the most disappointing. No way near the level of an A9, lacking the vibrancy of the BeoSound 1. Just felt very mid-range to me. A bit 'muddy' sounding.

I'm looking at a BeoSound 2. More compact than the A9, more powerful than the BeoSound 1 and more an all-around sound.

Millemissen
Top 10 Contributor
Flensborg, Denmark
Posts 12,432
OFFLINE
Bronze Member

OldJack:

Millemissen:
If you move around in a room, a one point/360 degree system might still be the better choice.

Ok,thank you Experts ! I am going for a single Beolab 90 Wink

Slave or master?

MM

There is a tv - and there is a BV.

OldJack
Top 500 Contributor
Split
Posts 248
OFFLINE
Gold Member
OldJack replied on Wed, Feb 6 2019 11:42 PM

Millemissen:

OldJack:

Millemissen:
If you move around in a room, a one point/360 degree system might still be the better choice.

Ok,thank you Experts ! I am going for a single Beolab 90 Wink

Slave or master?

MM

Master.Placed in ''sweet corner'',covering 247 degrees of listening area Stick out tongue

 

Beogram 6500 MMC2,Beosound Ouverture,2xBeolab 8000,2xBelolab 4000,Beolab 2,Beolab 7.2,Beo4 navi, 2xBeocom2,Serene,Beosystem 3 mk3,H6 2nd gen,Earphones A8,A9 keyring,Bottle opener,Wine Set,4Ktv Samsung 55'',Beolab 7.1 with 42''Panasonic plasma,Beoplay A1,Oppo udp-203, LinTronic.

Page 1 of 1 (25 items) | RSS
Beoworld Security Certificate

SSL