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Modernizing and integration B&O with other AV products...my experience

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Jaffrey2230
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Jaffrey2230 Posted: Sun, Oct 6 2019 5:44 PM

First of all, I love B&O products in the same way I love Apple products and used to love Sony. It is easy to see the attention to design and detail that goes into each product. However, like Sony and unlike Apple B&O also struggles with software. Here are some of my thoughts as a B&O owner of various products and how I have managed to integrate them into modern AV ecosystems.

Second, I noticed that people are holding onto older B&O gear, particularly Beolab speakers and even on eBay there seems to be a healthy market for them. For instance, people buying Beolab 11 for $1,300. My experience is that you can mix and match B&O gear to get better and more cost effective outcomes that looks just as good!

It would be great to be able to post pictures, but I can’t seem to make it work on this forum 🤷‍♂️

So here is what my system ended up being:

1. I have a Sony 65 inch OLED as my primary TV. The TV has an innovative inbuilt speaker system in that the entire panel is a speaker and if you connect external speakers you can use the panel as the center speaker. The advantage of this is that the sound appears to come directly from the speaker. Plus there are 5 speakers acting as the  center speaker. I wanted to preserve this benefit. The primary source is Apple TV 4K which also works as an AirPlay 2 receiver. I connect the Beolab 2 to the TV’s headphone jack and connected to the Beolab 2 are a pair of Beolab 8000s.

I made one modification to the BL 8000s. I replaced the original frets with BL 18 style wooden frets which I paid $300 on eBay. The benefit (apart of looks) is that the sound is more dispersed and the treble sounds better!

the combination of the TV, Apple TV, BL 2 and BL 8000 is pretty formidable. I tried other subwoofer combinations and none paired better with the BL than the BL 2. You can use any Subwoofer with a BeoLab without too much trouble (explain more in my next use case).

Because B&O speakers are active they are very easy to cut down on clutter and also sound as good as any modern system. A friend of mine has the same set up but with the BL 18 and no BL 2 and I prefer mine! 

2. I was initially using a pair of BL 6000 as rear speakers for my TV, but when I switched to the above set up I was left with an extra pair of BL 6000. I moved them to my bedroom and connected them to an LG Ultrashort throw projector. The problem is that the BL 6000 are not good speakers for movies and is serious lacking in bass. However it is a beautiful speaker  but also fragile. You can typically find a pair for $500 or so on eBay but be prepared to replace the woofer surrounds. In my case it cost around $250 to replace the foam for all 4 woofers after 15 years of ownership. Rather than use them for movies I first tried to convert them to Airplay 2 speakers. That was super easy since all you need is an AirPort Express and connect the AirPort Express to the BL 6000 using Line input. Also, to use an AirPort Express you don’t need to have Apple WiFi in your home. I use Google WiFi Mesh and use the AirPort Express ONLY as an AirPlay speaker.

However, I still wanted to improve the bass. My first thought was to add a BL2 since it works so well with the BL 8000. To me the aesthetics just doesn’t work. The BL 2 is a monster compared to the BL6000 and the bass is a little too strong. Plus you can’t adjust the volume on the BL2 to compensate. My next choice was the BL11. Three go for $1,300 on eBay. Luckily I was able to borrow a pair from a friend to try them. My only advice is that the BL11 is not a real sub. It just can’t go low enough. When people say it is ‘musical’ I have no idea what that means. But at $1,300 you can do a lot better! If fact for $225 on eBay you can absolutely do better. In this case, I ended up buying a 3.5mm headphone splitter from Amazon for $16 (AudioQuest) and a Focal Dôme Subwoofer for $225 on eBay. A little calibration and the BL6000 sound like a different system! The Focal subs are fed the same signal as the BL6000 (stereo). I got a RCA stereo female to single male adapter to make the connection. Also AudioQuest and on Amazon. I set the Sub crossover to slightly below what they recommend for the Dome satellite and volume to half. Place the sub midway between the BL 6000s if you can and you have an awesome AirPlay speaker system! I can now also connect to it for movies from the Apple TV connected to the Projector. For more bass just turn up the volume on the Sub! if you can a smaller sub than the Focal the Cambridge Audio X201 also pair well.

I am sure Steve from Sounds Heavenly can set anyone up with the right cables. But the moral of the story is that even older B&O gear can be easily integrated with current systems and sound great! They always looked great. The one B&O product I would not touch based on my experience is the BL 11!

2. B&O systems have so much flexibility that I even connected the AirPort express with the Headphone splitter to both A9 and Focal Dôme Subwoofer and cranked up the volume! It was quite a party machine!

just thought I’d share my simple tinkering and set ups...I don’t think I’ll ever buy a B&O TV 🙂

 

 

TV Room: Pair of  BL 8000 (MK2) with BL 18 style walnut frets + BL 2, Living Room: Pair of Red  BL 6000 (Mk2)+ BL 11  Dining Room: Beosound Stage, Bedroom: Pair of BL 6000 (Mk2), Office: Beoplay A9 Travel: BeoPlay H4 3rd gen, Beoplay P6,  Added in 2019: Beosound 1 (Contrast Edition Anthracite), Beosound Stage (Oak).

 

Steve at Sounds Heavenly
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The cable workshop, Leics, UK
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Hi Jaffrey,

Thanks for sharing this and for your kind words! Big Smile

Great to hear about your setup, it is good to be able to use Beolab speakers in modern audio and AV systems.  REL also make some great subwoofers that work well with Beolab speakers, I have been very impressed with their T7/i model which I tested recently.

I am always happy to help if you have any questions about connecting B&O speakers!

Kind regards, Steve.

Steve.

www.soundsheavenly.com

Sounds Heavenly are proud to sponsor BeoWorld!

pauliander
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Thanks for the info Jaffrey. I assume that you feed both subwoofers with a stereo signal. Do you consider this sufficient to experience the low frequencies?
Jaffrey2230
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Yes, both subs with stereo. As Steve said, you can even do dual subs with something like REL where you can match the left and right beolab line inputs with left and right on the subs. The same cables that Steve provides for the beolab 8000/6000 from stereo sources work because Steve’s cables can be split in two easily. All you need is the stereo splitter. I am amazed that my 15 year old speakers can sound this good!

TV Room: Pair of  BL 8000 (MK2) with BL 18 style walnut frets + BL 2, Living Room: Pair of Red  BL 6000 (Mk2)+ BL 11  Dining Room: Beosound Stage, Bedroom: Pair of BL 6000 (Mk2), Office: Beoplay A9 Travel: BeoPlay H4 3rd gen, Beoplay P6,  Added in 2019: Beosound 1 (Contrast Edition Anthracite), Beosound Stage (Oak).

 

Jaffrey2230
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Washington DC
Posts 150
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Yes, both subs with stereo. As Steve said, you can even do dual subs with something like REL where you can match the left and right beolab line inputs with left and right on the subs. The same cables that Steve provides for the beolab 8000/6000 from stereo sources work because Steve’s cables can be split in two easily. All you need is the stereo splitter. I am amazed that my 15 year old speakers can sound this good!

TV Room: Pair of  BL 8000 (MK2) with BL 18 style walnut frets + BL 2, Living Room: Pair of Red  BL 6000 (Mk2)+ BL 11  Dining Room: Beosound Stage, Bedroom: Pair of BL 6000 (Mk2), Office: Beoplay A9 Travel: BeoPlay H4 3rd gen, Beoplay P6,  Added in 2019: Beosound 1 (Contrast Edition Anthracite), Beosound Stage (Oak).

 

Jaffrey2230
Top 500 Contributor
Washington DC
Posts 150
OFFLINE
Bronze Member

Yes, both subs with stereo. As Steve said, you can even do dual subs with something like REL where you can match the left and right beolab line inputs with left and right on the subs. The same cables that Steve provides for the beolab 8000/6000 from stereo sources work because Steve’s cables can be split in two easily. All you need is the stereo splitter. I am amazed that my 15 year old speakers can sound this good!

TV Room: Pair of  BL 8000 (MK2) with BL 18 style walnut frets + BL 2, Living Room: Pair of Red  BL 6000 (Mk2)+ BL 11  Dining Room: Beosound Stage, Bedroom: Pair of BL 6000 (Mk2), Office: Beoplay A9 Travel: BeoPlay H4 3rd gen, Beoplay P6,  Added in 2019: Beosound 1 (Contrast Edition Anthracite), Beosound Stage (Oak).

 

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