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Beolab 5 reliability?

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Steve at Sounds Heavenly
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Steve at Sounds Heavenly posted on Wed, May 13 2020 2:05 PM

Hi Beoworlders,

I hope that you are all keeping well.  I have had a pair of Beolab 5s on my wishlist for many years now, to replace the much loved Penta 3s in my study.  However, I have always been put off by the rumours of reliability issues, including shortages of spare parts and the risk of needing to replace the speaker chassis after a certain period of use.

Could I please ask for any input from members who use Beolab 5s, or who are involved in repairing them?

Are the earlier models more risky, or can any age of Beolab 5 potentially have issues?  Is it purely dependent on age, bad luck, or a history of misuse?

Thanks in advance!

Kind regards, Steve.

Steve.

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Dennis
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Answered (Verified) Dennis replied on Wed, May 20 2020 9:52 PM
Verified by Jeff

Bang & Olufsen have the huge advantage of having the schematics, so they are able to diagnose the fault much easier and find out which components turned into smoke and what to replace them with. They haven't published any schematics in the 21st century as far as I'm aware - only service manuals on how to diagnose which board to replace and how to dismantle the product in order to do so. 

It's pretty sad that they won't publish the schematics even after the products went out of production. Makes life much harder for the enthusiast wanting to keep the products alive in the future when Bang & Olufsen stop refurbishing the old chassis. 

/Dennis

Mikipidia
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So a but of a longer story, really technically there was never a mk2 either as the the type number didn’t change, but the pincode change got called mk2 to differentiate by the public and it stuck basically.

The following is EU only/mostly.

Post serial nr: 17772145 is mk2 with pincode

Post serial nr: 19375256 got a new powercord connection.

Post serial nr: 21770424 got updated to meat new EU energy requierments when switched off(0.5watt or less)

Software doesn’t matter too much as that can be updated obviously by your favourite local dealer(would highly recommend).

The boards probably have a few different parts on them here and there, not fully sure, but the main point is that post 17772145 can all still be fixed with a new chassis. Sonically they all sound the same and have been tuned to sound the same way, so that doesn’t matter either in what you choose.

I still highly recommend getting a pair if you love them and can afford them. And if you’re that concerned by the very low failure rates, once again, get them from your favourite local dealer with a warrantyBig Smile

Hope this helps?

New: Beovision Harmony, Beolab 50's, Beolab 18's, Beolab 17's, Beolab 3's, Beosound 9000 mk3, Beosound Stage & LG, Beosound 2, Beoplay M3, Beoplay A1, Beoplay H4 gen 2, Beoplay E8 3.0

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https://www.youtube.com/c/Mikipedia

Old: Beovision Eclipse, Beolab 1's, Beolab 2, Beovision 10-46, Overture 2300, beolab 8000's, Beolab 4000's, Beovision avant 32" etc. etc.

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Fansastic
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Beobuddy:

When your BL5 needs to be repaired, a swap of chassis is always done when it comes to the electronics. You can't order separate parts from the chassis.

That has a downside and upside, The costs can be significant, but then you are pretty confident that all the electronics are ready to go for the next years. I think it's relative, when you bought them new for the retail price then the costs for those are easier to handle then when you bought them second life and have to pay for the same amount of costs.

I think there is a connection between reliability and ICE power based amplifiers from the first and early days it was released.

Until now I've fixed at least a dozen BL5's on component level and am familiar with the fact that once a BL5 becomes defective, the damage can be on different parts of the chassis. So, a chassis swap is the safest and quickest way the fix a BL5.

About the microphone failure, the microphone is belt driven and measurements are stored in a memory. These can fail, but fixed.

Hi Beobuddy,

Does it make a difference of which make / software the BL’5 is, regarding the ICE amplifiers?

What is an good estimate for the costs a new chassis if needed?

Thank you for sharing your experience!

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politician
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The Beonic Man:
Do you mean the BeoLab 5s? !!! You've done well if you've had the 90s for 12 years!

I did, yes. Typing error! BeoLab 90s and 50s are what I have now.

CB
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CB replied on Fri, May 15 2020 6:51 PM
Hi Steve

I sold mine one year after the end of the warranty, because I did not trust either the speakers or the dealer.

Do not buy them if you are in this situation. You will not have peace of mind. It will spoil your pleasure...
wogga383
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Definitely glad you posted this Steve, I have just deleted a bargain of BL5's from my basket. Incidentally how does the chassis fail?

 

oli
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oli replied on Sat, May 16 2020 8:04 AM

There is nothing more nothing less issue regarding reliability than any other speaker with a lot of electronic embedded. Don't forget that it is the first B&O speaker to have so much digital stuff built in. Reliability is of course depending of the stability of the electric network, like for all electronic devices, like with a computer for example. I am pretty sure that BL50 and BL90 will have exactly the same "reliability" issue in comparaison to more simple speakers like a BL1 or BL8000, or of course a Penta, even more than the BL5 probably with the amount of embedded software which is not really a B&O strength...

When I bought mine from the dealer, he told me that most of the failure he noticed with these speakers was due to either the electric stability (which can be easily improved), or the intensive use of them at a very high volume like if it was matter to sound a night club 24x7...

Steve at Sounds Heavenly
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Hi everyone,

Many thanks for your responses, I really appreciate this.  I must admit that I was quite shocked at the reported failure rate of these speakers, I had previously assumed that just a small proportion were affected, mainly the earlier models.

If anyone out there has had Beolab 5s for years and used them daily without an issue, please can you let us know?  I am sure there must be more of these speakers out there that have behaved well.......

Thanks again, Steve.

Steve.

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Sounds Heavenly are proud to sponsor BeoWorld!

mr_anders_son
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I have just bought a pair of MK2 for 5000€.

All electronics have there issues.

So I am not worried.

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Haubjes
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Steve at Sounds Heavenly:

Hi everyone,

Many thanks for your responses, I really appreciate this.  I must admit that I was quite shocked at the reported failure rate of these speakers, I had previously assumed that just a small proportion were affected, mainly the earlier models.

If anyone out there has had Beolab 5s for years and used them daily without an issue, please can you let us know?  I am sure there must be more of these speakers out there that have behaved well.......

Thanks again, Steve.

Have had mine for a couple of years now (even ordered some cables from you back then), no problems whatsoever. They didnt skip a beat.

 

In fact, very glad I bought them. The sound is amazing and even though I don't use them all that frequently, they look amazing when turned off as well.

Bought an ex-showroom pair from 2012 or so (cant recall exactly). 

I would buy bl5again today if I had to start over.

mbdj
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mbdj replied on Sat, May 16 2020 9:42 AM
I’ve owned mine for 3 years and they have been faultless . I think long term they will be more desirable to own than the newer models the design will never date . Mine are used daily .

oli
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oli replied on Sat, May 16 2020 10:29 AM

Haubjes:

Steve at Sounds Heavenly:

Hi everyone,

Many thanks for your responses, I really appreciate this.  I must admit that I was quite shocked at the reported failure rate of these speakers, I had previously assumed that just a small proportion were affected, mainly the earlier models.

If anyone out there has had Beolab 5s for years and used them daily without an issue, please can you let us know?  I am sure there must be more of these speakers out there that have behaved well.......

Thanks again, Steve.

Have had mine for a couple of years now (even ordered some cables from you back then), no problems whatsoever. They didnt skip a beat.

 

In fact, very glad I bought them. The sound is amazing and even though I don't use them all that frequently, they look amazing when turned off as well.

Bought an ex-showroom pair from 2012 or so (cant recall exactly). 

I would buy bl5again today if I had to start over.

 

Same here. Bought a Final Edition pair in 2017. But I am working from home (though I have 25% travelling), so they are used almost everyday, all the day long.

I never had any issue with any B&O speaker in fact, however I got quite some with Beovisions after only 1 or 2 years (Beovision 10-46: its AC3module died, Beovision 10-32 panel dead). I also got the doors of the Beocenter 2 faulty after a few years.

Forget about the rumors and the bad experiences over Internet, and go for it ! Life is short ;-)

matador43
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CB:
Hi Steve
I sold mine one year after the end of the warranty, because I did not trust either the speakers or the dealer.
Do not buy them if you are in this situation. You will not have peace of mind. It will spoil your pleasure...

mr_anders_son:
I have just bought a pair of MK2 for 5000€.
All electronics have there issues.
So I am not worried.
Crossing these two post and some more stating they will eventually fail, I wonder if there is any "check list" when buying second hand?
Or after checking they sound good and the calibration works, is it just a matter of luck?
poodleboy
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Probably just me, but I look at this like I would a pre-owned auto purchase.

Why are they selling? History and Records, please. 

What could go wrong, how likely is it (anecdotal evidence is sketchy), and how much will that cost? It is happens to one, should I repair them both? Will your expectations outlive the parts supply chain? Can I accept all that should it happen? 

What can I do to protect them? Hook them up to surge protector so spikes are minimised (known to break down circuits over time). Don't run them at "11". Buy where you have some purchase protection. Buy from a friend. 

There is a reason resale pricing on luxury motors falls off the cliff and fancy jewelry does not, and electronics are more like cars than cars are. 

But you can't beat the ride. 

Beobuddy
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oli:

There is nothing more nothing less issue regarding reliability than any other speaker with a lot of electronic embedded. Don't forget that it is the first B&O speaker to have so much digital stuff built in. Reliability is of course depending of the stability of the electric network, like for all electronic devices, like with a computer for example. I am pretty sure that BL50 and BL90 will have exactly the same "reliability" issue in comparaison to more simple speakers like a BL1 or BL8000, or of course a Penta, even more than the BL5 probably with the amount of embedded software which is not really a B&O strength...

When I bought mine from the dealer, he told me that most of the failure he noticed with these speakers was due to either the electric stability (which can be easily improved), or the intensive use of them at a very high volume like if it was matter to sound a night club 24x7...

I do not agree with this.

 

First the software is rock solid stable and never fails. It's a standalone device (or max with another BL5 for communication).

I do not agree the comparison with BL8000 and Penta, which hardly fail either. (I know BL8000 with foam issues..). If it fails it will be due to common known reasons which occur in lots of other devices.

Thing is that designs of the past has changed, specially the power supply's in a lot of devices. Think of all the small regulators that come with your phone, settopbox, you name it. These converters are relative new when you compare that with the old traditional power regulators that consists of only a transformer, rectifier and voltage regulator. These older regulators weren't so efficient and are by now replaced with smart switching regulators which are more efficient and smaller than the older version.

That principle of switching technology has been more and more used. The things is that these PSU's fail more than traditional regulators due to leaking capacitors (which are more stressed than in traditional power supply's) and combination of higher demands and physically smaller components.

Now has the switching technology also made it's introduction in ICE power amplifiers, where it's design is clever, small and efficient. But with regarding to the amount of power it can produce the change that it can fail lies higher than average, I think. The combination of degration of the components, level of stress they are subjected to. The reliability of these ICE power amplifiers are and will design wise improve.

 

A friend of mine has a set of BL5's and demoed a track of the band "Infected Mushrooms" (not my cup of thee), and I thought I saw the BL5's really moving along the floor. So, they can produce such enormous amount of music, my hearing hardly can beare. 

 

My advise, buy them when you can and enjoy them. But don't sell your Penta's. You might regret that eventually. And when the BL5 ever might fail, even the mk1 chassis can be fixed with the newer mk3 version. No problem.

 

Esax
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Esax replied on Sat, May 16 2020 5:03 PM
poodleboy:

Probably just me, but I look at this like I would a pre-owned auto purchase.

Why are they selling? History and Records, please.

What could go wrong, how likely is it (anecdotal evidence is sketchy), and how much will that cost? It is happens to one, should I repair them both? Will your expectations outlive the parts supply chain? Can I accept all that should it happen?

What can I do to protect them? Hook them up to surge protector so spikes are minimised (known to break down circuits over time). Don't run them at "11". Buy where you have some purchase protection. Buy from a friend.

There is a reason resale pricing on luxury motors falls off the cliff and fancy jewelry does not, and electronics are more like cars than cars are.

But you can't beat the ride.

I’m sure they are more reliable than cars. And cars you service all the time.

Beovision 7-55 MK1 red, Beolab 10 red. Beolab 50, all black. Beolab 17 broken ice. Beolab transmitter. Apple tv4 and apple express 2.

Beosince98
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Hi Steve,

I would strongly recommend getting Beolab 9. I own both, and Beolab 9 sound 97% as great as Beolab 5 do. Beolab 9 are probably the most overlooked and underrated speakers B&O has every produced. They are rock solid and more subtle visually than Beolab 5. They cost 1/3 of Beolab 5, and are way easier to transport. If you still feel that you are unhappy with them after a year or so, you can still sell them and get Beolab 5. I doubt that the price of Beolab 9 will Fall any further, as they are great value, even compared to speakers from other brands. I can’t say that I regret buying Beolab 5 as I got a good deal and they put a smile on my face every time I see and hear them, but it is far more sensible to get Beolab 9. Then again, people buying Bang & Olufsen usually are not really that sensible Wink. To answer your original question, I have never had any problems with my Beolab 5.
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