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B&O alternative for Sonos 5.1. Surround Set?

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Munchen
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Munchen posted on Sun, Apr 5 2020 9:57 AM

I am thinking about to set up a TV room (32m2) with a LG HU80KS beamer and I am searching for a 5.1. Surround speaker set.

Are there Bang& Olufsen alternatives to this set up:
Sonos 5.1 Surround Set: 1 x Playbar, 1 x Sub and as rear speaker: 2 x One (1.926,00 Euro)

I think about the following:
1) A new Bang & Olufsen set: 1 x Stage (1.350,00 Euro) but what rear speaker to use?
2 x  Beoplay M3 (2 x 235,00 Euro) as rear speakers, is this possible?
Do I need an additional subwoofer or is the Stage so much powerful compared to a Sonos Playbar, that I do not need an additional subwoofer?
2) Used Bang & Olufsen set: Used Beosystem 3 and 5 x Beolab 4, but how about a subwoofer, do I need one and what to buy?

Any additional ideas?

I would prefer to purchase new equipment, then I would make a dealer happy and I would have product guarantee for two years. But I am not sure if the Stage is working together with the Beoplay M3 in a surround set up. All speakers are offering B&O multiroom so it should work (similar to Sonos) ?!?

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steve1977
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Option 1 would be my dream setup, but unfortunately this doesn’t work. B&O multi-room speakers cannot be integrated into a 5.1 system. And the stage cannot work as a center or not even as front speaker.

Sonos has quite a unique offering.

Auf you’d like to stay within B&O, you’ll need to look into beosystem together with beolabs.
Sandyb
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Sandyb replied on Sun, Apr 5 2020 10:08 AM
Correct, the Stage cannot be used in a surround setup

Fansastic
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You can go on different routes but be aware that B&O will give you the best sound but also the highest price tag, whatever route you take.

Simple way to go (and most coat efficient):

Both a Beolab 14.5 and a dolby surround amp to distribute 5.1 sound to the Beolabs. You will have very impressive sound from the 14’s with the sub and satellites. The BL14.5 are rather scares second hand but are available for around €1000-€1300 + descend amp. The 14’s are your best choice for a 5.1 setup, had the 14’s for many years.

You can also combine the BL14’s with a Beosystem 3 or 4. The upside is you can more beolabs up to 7.1 and give you full acces to beoremote control. Any beolab will do in this setup, the beolab 4’s are only decent as rear speakers.

Third option is to buy a beovision, almost every has surround decoding and very good sound processing. You have same choice of speakers as with beosystem 3/4

With the more modern beovisions (from V1/11 onwards) you have also multiroom / NL capabilities, so you can extent with all modern speakers (till the recently introduced Balance) throughout your house.

The sonos option is good, with sub you will have very good surround system for movies. If you are a music lover then go for B&O !

BV Eclipse 55 Brass - BL 18 Brass - BL 19 Brass - BL17 Black - BL 3 White - BS Moment - BS 2 Brass - BV Horizon 48 - BS3000 - BS 3200 - BS Essence MK2 - BL 4000 - V1 40 Black - V1 40 White - BLC NL/ML - H6 -  H4 - E8 Motion - A8 Earphone - Beolit 12 - Beolit 15 - Beoplay A1 Green - Beoplay A3 White

Jaffrey2230
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At one point, I had packed up my entire B&O set up and replaced them with Sonos. I had Sonos for around 2 years all over my home. I was planning on selling my boxed up Beolab 8002 and Beolab 2 and hooked them back up to make sure they worked. At the time I didn’t even know you could connect B&O gear with anything other than PowerLink to a proprietary B&O system. This was around a year  ago and lo and behold, even in stereo the old B&Os blew away the Sonos. Since then, I brought back all my B&O gear and retired the Sonos completely. I also ended up adding a few HomePods since even the HomePods outperformed the Sonos múlti-room. So options for you I would suggest:

1. You’ll need to get a 5.1 Receiver to distribute the sound to the 5+1 B&O speakers from what I know (Steve from Sounds Heavenly can probably help you)

2. I have a Beosound Stage, it is better than the Sonos Soundbar and sub (I used to have that) in every way from an audio perspective. But it won’t work for you or will be an overkill. The way you can make it work as a center channel is that you can connect the center channel output from your receiver to the stage line in (easy to find a RCA to 3.5mm adapter). 

3. For a sub, both the current BL 19 and BL 2 are amazing subs. I have owned a bunch of subs (including the Sonos, B&W and Klipsch). I don’t have the BL 19, but the BL 2 in a proper room set up is super. 

4. If you want to buy new, the BL 17s are excellent. If not, I think the BL  3s would also work well for you. If I were you, I’d go with 5 X BL 3 (or BL 17 if you want new) and BL 2 subwoofer (or BL 19 if you want new) and get a decent AV receiver - there are many choices. There are even ones that will support AirPlay 2 (or just add an Apple TV),  Chromecast etc. 

For what it is worth, my bedroom set up is a 2.1 (Beolab 6000s +Beolab 11) connected to a LG ultra short throw projector and Apple TV. Even that low end B&O set up outperforms a Sonos Soundbar + sub for both music and movies. Ideally I’d replace the Beolab 11 with a proper sub but it looks nice and space there is tight. I used to have a Focal and then Cambridge Audio subs (I tried a lot of subs ). UT without the internal bass management of the Beolab 11 and since I didn’t want to add a receiver to the mix the sound overall wasn’t as clean as with the  Beolab 11.

For my main TV room, I chose the Sony A1E OLED TV since it allows it’s internal speaker to be used as the center speaker. It works amazingly well since Sony uses an acoustic surface technology where the entire screen is a surface and dialogs come straight from the mouth of the actor. Makes for a very immersive experience 🙂

my 2 cents worth...

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)

 

 

 

Munchen
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Thank you for all your feedback and advice. After several weeks of thinking and evaluating my demands I concluded that I am more technic than design affine guy. 

So I decided to go to buy the new Sonos ARC, adding a Sonos Sub and two Sonos rear speakers. Additionally I hope that Sonos with the new operation system S2 will support more than three additional surround loudspeakers, in future. After B&O gave up on NetLink (NL), B&O has to wait for Apple (perhaps Airplay 3 ?) to place a technical competitive solution combining different streaming loudspeaker in a surround set-up. In the meanwhile I will test Sonos.

To be more specific on my demands in case a product developer of Bang&Olufsen is reading it. If only ONE of the following technical features (in my eyes unique selling points), would have been available, I would have gone for a Beosound Stage:
(1) possibility to add additional speakers like sub and rear-speaker or
(2) B&O webOS app available for my LG Beamer HU80KS (like for the LG C9) to control the beamer with my BeoRemote One via Stage or
(3) Roon ready or
(4) a convincing B&O app for iPhone/iPad with an „easy to use“ user experience.

Luckily (?) there are no integration benefits / features into my existing Bang & Olufsen environment available to support the purchase of a Beosound Stage compared to other brands.

Jaffrey2230
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Having owned both Sonos sub and sound bar and also the BS Stage, you will definitely get more bass with the Sonos set-up. However, the best way I can describe the difference is that the Stage is more wide sounding and also more punchy bass, but not as deep. I agree, that B&O should allow for the Stage to be combined with other speakers like the Balance to get to what could be a mind-blowing wireless set up! 

I still have my Sonos speakers, but once you start listening to B&O it's hard to go back to Sonos. Sonos integration is really good.

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)

 

 

 

Munchen
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Thank you very much for the Feedback. Unfortunately I found no direct comparison between Sonos Arc + Sub + 2x One SL and Beosound Stage. But the reviews I read, the Beosound Stage should be better than Sonos Arc stand-alone. By adding a Sonos Sub and two Sonos rear-speakers I believe I get a much better surround experience (and that is my goal) because I am adding three physical sound sources in my room compared to the Stage stand-alone solution.

Unfortunately you can not add additional speaker to the Beosound Stage. And looking at it from a sales strategy I do not understand why?
It should be much easier to sell to a happy Bang&Olufsen Stage customer another three loudspeakers than acquire new / additional customers.

steve1977
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Munchen:
Unfortunately you can not add additional speaker to the Beosound Stage. And looking at it from a sales strategy I do not understand why? It should be much easier to sell to a happy Bang&Olufsen Stage customer another three loudspeakers than acquire new / additional customers.

Fully agree that this would be a dream scenarios. Stage as center with 4 satellites! or even 7.2 or whatever more.

I don’t think it’s as easy though. It would require a fundamentally new audio engine that allows to funnel individual channels to other speakers. Requires a full surround engine and a wireless engine to support it. Only Sonos mastered it. Nobody else...

I doubt we’ll ever see this as this would require some very serious software development.

Could be done via wisa though, but this would require wisa speakers, which is a totally different animal compared to our well beloved BS1 / BS2 / M3...

Best hope is that apple or google will eventually develop something in this direction. Apple with atmos would be a hope, but i think it may require years. They haven’t even opened up stereo pairing to non-apple speakers yet.

Sandyb
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Sandyb replied on Fri, Jun 26 2020 11:20 AM
steve1977:

Fully agree that this would be a dream scenarios. Stage as center with 4 satellites! or even 7.2 or whatever more.

I don’t think it’s as easy though. It would require a fundamentally new audio engine that allows to funnel individual channels to other speakers. Requires a full surround engine and a wireless engine to support it. Only Sonos mastered it. Nobody else...

I doubt we’ll ever see this as this would require some very serious software development.

Could be done via wisa though, but this would require wisa speakers, which is a totally different animal compared to our well beloved BS1 / BS2 / M3...

Best hope is that apple or google will eventually develop something in this direction. Apple with atmos would be a hope, but i think it may require years. They haven’t even opened up stereo pairing to non-apple speakers yet.

Apple have already filed a patent for a surround decoding engine / format, presumably for Apple only speakers to start with, though i imagine it will be extended to AP speakers more generally after a while
Audio
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Audio replied on Fri, Jun 26 2020 8:29 PM

steve1977:
It would require a fundamentally new audio engine that allows to funnel individual channels to other speakers.

Roon RAAT (Roon Advanced Audio Transport) is able to handle multichannel streaming. In case B&O would decide to go on Roon RAAT at least they had a streaming protocol that is able to handle it. No need to wait for airplay / Apple.

But I doubt that B&O is interested to move from the red to the blue ocean (see W. Chan Kim and Renée Mauborgne)

kawo
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kawo replied on Sat, Jun 27 2020 1:50 AM

to add some surround capabilities to a Stage can not be that hard, this option comes even with the LG panel! An I guess they are really fighting for budget before they put a feature in their TV. 

Just put in a Wisa USB stick or this much more advanced box from Axiim and here you go...so why not have this possibility in the Stage?

Mikipidia
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Because the stage is not a center channel speaker and it also has to do with latency

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kawo
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kawo replied on Sat, Jun 27 2020 12:08 PM

My suggestion to B&O to have the same tech in the Stage as it is in the LG. USB port and you add an external WISA box. This can not be that complex or expensive! 

Audio
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Audio replied on Sat, Jun 27 2020 4:21 PM

Mikipidia:
Because the stage is not a center channel speaker and it also has to do with latency

Sonos is managing it perfectly with the ARC and additional sub and rear-speakers without latency.

From my viewpoint it is a technology and price topic. The B&O WISA loudspeakers are too expense (different price category) for the target customers / market to accompany the Beosound Stage. So it makes no sense to integrate WISA into the Stage  - WISA is for customers who can afford a B&O Beovision. And Bang & Olufsen Netlink NL multiroom protocol is not able to handle multichannel streaming and B&O stopped the development. I assume because NL is too old / expense to develop further or the rights on NL does not belong to B&O. 

Unfortunately Bang&Olufsen has no technology available to follow competitors like Sonos. The only two possibilities left are waiting for Apple or Google and leave the market to Sonos or settle with a different protocol like Roon RAAT. I personally would not base a company technology strategy on the good will of Apple / Google.

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