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Issues with Beosound Level GVA

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Unlevelled
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Unlevelled posted on Tue, Jul 20 2021 9:07 PM

Hi all,

after weeks of utter frustration I figured I might give it a shot here. I will try to be as concise as possible. Any help is greatly appreciated and I already apologize should I have omitted any crucial facts.

Beosound Level GVA in oak, bought end of of March 2021 at B&O dealer in Switzerland. I already had a B&O account for my Beoplay E6.

Connected speaker to 5 GHz WiFi via app, but did not set up the GVA. After flawless operation for a month I noticed that B&O radio playback started to stop after a few hours and contacted customer support (in UK via B&O website). First they thought it was a faulty aux cable that was connected to an old iPod, but then more issues occurred:

  • The speaker LED buttons became intermittently unreactive
  • Speaker intermittently disappeared from the network (according to the app)
  • When browsing for radio stations the app crashed (even after delete and reinstall)
  • Switching between Airplay and B&O radio was hit or miss, often device not found on network, or not showing up on Airplay list
  • The speaker finally went into complete freeze when trying to switch favourites and then pressing play. In this state all LEDs are brightly lit and unresponsive, except for the volume LEDs (of course, without sound). No factory reset is possible (pressing back and forward arrows together). The app shows the speaker as connected, but with an empty battery icon and no favourites.

I then called the Swiss customer service and they were not able to connect to the speaker remotely. I was referred to the dealer here in Basel, who did a hard reset via battery removal. They tested it for a day and everything seemed fine.

When I picked up the speaker, setup was difficult, I tried the process with the app maybe 20 times until finally the speaker appeared in the app. The next day upon hitting play, the speaker froze again. Removed the battery myself, but next day same thing again - freeze. Back to the dealer, here again no problems with playback or pressing buttons in the shop. I received an exchange speaker, which to my big surprise also froze - so now the blame was on the WiFi. In my WiFi admin console, I could see the Level nicely connected to the 5 GHz band.

I called my ISP (I have a dual band WiFi with a MESH extender) and they suggested to switch the Level to 2.4 GHz and to disable something called "airtime fairness" for both bands. Apparently, with many devices (we have a total of 12, including Apple TVs, phones, iPads, and some household appliances), 5GHz should be reserved only for high volume streaming.

So I set the two Apple TVs to 5 GHz and everything else to 2.4 GHz. After doing this, the speaker worked fine and no crashes occurred. I went back to the shop and picked up the speaker I originally bought. 

Until three weeks later today, when I noticed again a sudden stop in B&O radio play, and upon hitting one of the favourites and then play, the thing froze again.

I am really at a loss here and very close to giving up on B&O and the Level. I do have understanding for connectivity issues with two-band WiFi and MESH - which may be the cause, but the speaker should then not go into freeze mode. What also bugs me is the erratic nature of these issues, with normal operation for weeks and then problems reappearing.

The dealer offered to sent the Level in to Denmark, but said most likely they will send it back should they find normal operation. I would be interested to find out what other option I have at this point.

Thanks to everybody who takes the time to read and respond. I see a lot of expertise here, so hoping to come to closure with the Level - which otherwise looks like an amazing piece of technology.

Andreas

 

 

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Stan
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Stan replied on Tue, Jul 20 2021 10:09 PM

From your description, it sounds like the interaction between the Level and your WiFi is the root cause of the problems.  I say this because it seems the device works fine outside of your home, and that's the main difference.

I have a number of B&O devices on a NetGear Orbi Mesh network, and periodically I need to reset a device, or restart my app, or reboot my phone, or reboot the router (or all of the above multiple times before the issue resolves).  Usually, each device works fine... until they don't, and it makes no sense... except it is usually when my wife is trying to use it or I have guests over Angry.  I've been thinking about may instituting a weekly reboot of devices and router, or possibly finding a new WiFi solution.  To add, it isn't just B&O devices that have issues.  My Chromecast and Airport Express wonder off from time to time, but the Apple does seem to have the most robust Wifi capabilities - too bad Apple doesn't sell them anymore!

I agree the software *should* be more robust, but it isn't so do you throw away the beauty that works 99% of the time or find work arounds for the 1% of the time it doesn't work.  I'm still looking at workarounds.

I wish I had better advice.

trackbeo
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trackbeo replied on Wed, Jul 21 2021 12:32 AM

Respectfully, I categorically disagree:  Bugs in the Level's firmware which crash hard *mustn't* be tolerated, regardless of whether "illegal" states are promulgated over your Wi-Fi network or not.  The PHY should not be able to crash the controller. Period.  (Sure, Netgear in the past decade has not the best programmers either, so no surprise if the Orbi turns out to be responsible for exciting B&O's bug.  I installed a 2019-vintage (RBK53) Orbi trio for a client, but nevertheless hardwired the base Orbi to one Sonos zone and let that build SonosNet for its other zones separately from the Wi-Fi.  Their Orbis have worked well with computers as clients; they never reboot them.)

Return it.  Buy a new one next year.  If you're feeling helpful, next time it freezes, attach it to the charger until you have the spare time to transport it, still powered up on battery, in that state.  Your dealer can ask B&O HQ whether to continue to plug it in and then courier it back while still running.  It's a serious bug but maybe they don't care enough to bother with individual cases.

In the meantime, get a Sonos 5 if you're using it indoors (ugly, yes, but it can sound better depending on location/orientation, definitely better on a kitchen counter); or a Move if outdoors (also hideous and sounding generally worse) -- and just enjoy the music this summer!  Or get a Beosound 1 2nd-gen which will also sound worse but still look beautiful & travel on battery.

**OR** -- I would at least *try* this if the client insisted and paid -- get a used Apple AirPort Express (2nd gen), hardwire it into the Orbi base station (& static IP), and let *it* create its own network (the wireless signal, but in bridge mode) on a different channel, and hook the Level up to it.  No, you cannot roam the entire house anymore with the Level, but you can usually get kitchen&dining&patio from the single Wi-Fi zone.  Thus you are letting whatever brain-damage inside the Orbi be "filtered" by the Ethernet routing and old-tech rock-solid Wi-Fi appliance.  (This is conceptually analogous to the install running SonosNet!)

Unlevelled
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Thanks for these insights. If it would be that easy - when the device is frozen, the only way to resolve is to unscrew the battery compartment (12 screws).

A simpler mode for hard reset would make this more tolerable.

All other devices work fine without issues on this WiFi setup.

Stan
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Stan replied on Wed, Jul 21 2021 4:04 PM

trackbeo,

Not to high-jack the thread, but since you seem to have expertise on the topic, what WiFi equipment would you recommend?  I have a large area to cover (indoors and outdoors, 2 level home with basement, US construction so sticks and cardboard, not the heavy duty European walls) which the RBK53s handle quite well.  My computers, iPhones and one Smart TV rarely have issues.  However, my B&O, Chromecast, Android phone and Apple Express sometimes do.  One of the main reasons why I bought the Orbi was so my son could hardwire his computer into one of the repeaters, but he no longer lives with me so that is less of a concern.

I should add that most of my problems occur when doing "touch to join" or NL linking 2 (or more, but usually just 2) devices.

Thanks,

Stan

trackbeo
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Stan:
most of my problems occur when doing "touch to join" or NL linking
Started a fresh thread, they don't NL but maybe we can try a few tests...

Level Headed
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Oak GVA purchased in March. System restarts randomly. It’s happened on radio stations and on airplay. Attempted typical troubleshooting steps…restarts, resets, etc. Orbi mesh 6.0 system. USA. No other issues. Sure, the speaker doesn’t always show up in the app, but it resolves itself quickly.  Going through email support, hoping we can figure it out.  Fairly low inconvenience, but for the money…let’s fix it. Good luck. 

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