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Beginning of the end for you B&o?

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seethroughyou
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seethroughyou posted on Fri, Mar 15 2013 7:56 PM

For nearly 14 years I have been an avid B&o fan starting with a Beosound 9000 and Lab 1 & 2s and then moved to Beolab 5s in 2004. I saved for a whole year and was on the bread and water to save for my Lab5s and was blown away. I bought a Beoeound 5 and that was the beginning of the big disappointment. Since my Bs5 purchase I have grown to despise it with its silly dial and its sluggish pointer and limited functionality. I felt a sense of relief when I eBay'd it a few weeks ago. I contacted B&o about upgrading the DAC in my lab5 and never heard back and given their terrible customer service with this and the never appearing ALAC I am now going to part with my beloved Lab5s. B&o where are the new 24bit/192 kHz DACs do i can listen to Studio Master downloads, the amazing streamer, the next reference speaker....? Why have you neglected your audio? Why are you persisting with the Bs5 when it was already out of date in 2009? Why is your build quality so poor compared to your products from the 80s and 90s? Are you coming up with a slick computer audio solution? Why is your software so terrible when small firms like Naim, Linn, Cambridge Audio are constantly refining their apps to control their streamers? It seems as if B&o are punch drunk, lost at sea, on screen saver mode....I haven't bought anything of inspiration since 2004. Is this the end, please say it isn't. Please don't let 2013 be another damp squib of a year!

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valve1
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valve1 replied on Sat, Mar 16 2013 2:02 PM

Peter:
he Beoport is being removed from the product list as is the Beolink converter

The B&O product list is getting worryingly short. !

Puncher
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Some interesting threads about 24bit/192Khz music -

http://www.soundonsound.com/forum/showflat.php?Cat=&Number=1019661&page=0&view=collapsed&sb=5&o=&fpart=1#1019661&utm_source=supporter_message&utm_medium=email

http://itrax.com/Pages/ArticleDetails.php?aID=32

http://hddaudio.net/viewtopic.php?id=6336&p=7

Some of which openly accuse Linn and others of manipulating the non-studio masters downloads to purposely sound worse, thereby "demonstrating" the clear quality improvement of the studio master downloads.

To truly compare the difference you'd be better off downsampling/dithering the studiomaster file yourself using a good quality audio editor and then doing the comparison. In a blind listening test the smart money is on the "can't hear the difference" result.

Ban boring signatures!

Doonesbury
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Puncher:

In a blind listening test the smart money is on the "can't hear the difference" result.

To me, your last sentence is key, and I don't think it can be emphasized enough!  I think people who believe that replacing cables, using high end amplifiers, and want high resolution recordings have never heard of the placebo effect.

D

Chaka
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Chaka replied on Sat, Mar 16 2013 4:20 PM

I don't nean to be bossy, but I think B&O are losing their razzle dazzle They really do make beautiful stuff.  They should not try and compete so much, but concentrate on what they are brilliant for.  Stunning design  Silly women pay 4K for a stupid handbag, so why aren't boys alowed to have their toys?  .  It would make me have a semi nervous break down if thyt ever went broke.  It really would.  It's a shame every other company is ripping their design philoshopy  My two cents worth.....

Jeff
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Jeff replied on Sat, Mar 16 2013 5:19 PM

Puncher:

Some interesting threads about 24bit/192Khz music -

http://www.soundonsound.com/forum/showflat.php?Cat=&Number=1019661&page=0&view=collapsed&sb=5&o=&fpart=1#1019661&utm_source=supporter_message&utm_medium=email

http://itrax.com/Pages/ArticleDetails.php?aID=32

http://hddaudio.net/viewtopic.php?id=6336&p=7

Some of which openly accuse Linn and others of manipulating the non-studio masters downloads to purposely sound worse, thereby "demonstrating" the clear quality improvement of the studio master downloads.

To truly compare the difference you'd be better off downsampling/dithering the studiomaster file yourself using a good quality audio editor and then doing the comparison. In a blind listening test the smart money is on the "can't hear the difference" result.

It wouldn't surprise me a bit, it sounds a lot like a repeat of the Sony SACD debacle, where a number of people analyzed the SACD high bit rate version and found not so subtle remastering and freq response tailoring. I distrust any and all results from non level matched double blind test. The human ear and mind are just too fallible when it comes to detecting small differences. 

People can and should do and buy whatever they think they need, but the Lab 5s are some of the finest speakers in the world, there's no way I would sacrifice them based on some esoteric hypothetical DAC issue were I fortunate enough to owm a pair. It seems to me to be obsessing over 4th or 5th order effects at best. 

Philosophically speaking it's the opposite of the B&O approach of buying the gear and then just concentrating on the music rather than worrying about the hardware, but as I said whatever makes you happy is what you should do. 

Can I have your Lab 5s though?Big Smile

Jeff

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

Raeuber
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Hi all,

take this awesome machine and compare high resolution audio files with a CD:

http://www.burmester.de/en/Products/Components/Musiccenter/111-Musiccenter.html

Of course you need high quality speakers, at least Beolab 9, I listened to B&W 800 Diamond.

I swear you: If you don't hear the difference, you are deaf!

Regards

Räuber
Millemissen
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Well said, Raueber!

Greetings Millemissen

There is a tv - and there is a BV.

Jeff
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Jeff replied on Sat, Mar 16 2013 7:06 PM

The question is not do you hear a difference, but rather why? And do you hear the difference after levels are matched and you don't know what's playing? I can set up a test where I guarantee you like low bit rate CD quality over high bit rate just by jacking the level a few tenths of a db up on the CD quality file, the ear responds to things like small loudness differences as quality differences not volume differences.

As pointed out in one of the links in the a previous post, going from the noise floor to the max volume you can tolerate in a home environment takes at most about 12 bits of resolution. 24 bits are of great use in recording so you have some wiggle room for mistakes, setting gain too high, so you don't clip the converter, but have no practical use in the home environment other than parting people from their money.

Differences in room acoustics and speaker quality dwarf any possible differences in DACs and bit rates. And as I said, making different files sound different can be as simple as not baselining them to the same reference loudness, either deliberately or due to sloppy mastering.

 

Jeff

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

Puncher
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Jeff:

The question is not do you hear a difference, but rather why?  

Agreed - a question you should always ask! For instance, pick any famous recording, say a Beatles album or DSOTM ................. how many times has it been reissued, remastered or re-released on CD? Many of these have very obvious differences when listened to so what changed when the source material is identical?? - of course it is the remixing or remastering. So how then do you compare a "standard" recording to a "HD" recording?? If accounts are true then sites like Linn may not be selling the same master as HD, CD-Quality or mp3 but rather differently mastered versions in which case the differences aren't just the data size and therefore cannot be a valid comparison.

As I suggested, it's probably better to downsample and dither yourself in a good quality audio editor (whilst ensuring matched rms levels) to get a 16bit 44.1KHz version for comparison unless the source can confirm that the various versions of a track are what they claim/you expected.

Ban boring signatures!

seethroughyou
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I listened to the same 2 albums at home on the Bs5 & BL5 set up in the morning. We then went to the dealer and listened to the same tracks same listening distance away from the speakers on what i consider to be far inferior speakers a pair of B&W 805d. In the second listening, the CD rips sounded superior in resolution and detail than the Bs5 and BL5 setup, The resolution and detail was even better on the 24/192kHz version. The test at dealership was done at a lower volume than what i would use at home on the BL5 - i deliberately wanted this as i knew about the psycho-acoustic effects of volume on the auditory processing. The wife plays clarinet and i piano and we both know what they sound like. The tests were done blind switching in A&B fashion with us making notes with pen and pad. We then compared results and it was unequivocal the streamer with inferior speakers played at lower volumes was far superior to my B&O setup. I was gutted but i had to accept it. Furthermore i could flip through album covers on an ipad like i could with the Bs5 but more effectively. If you can't hear the difference that's good for you but let's not start arguing that it is imagined for others. No, i am no audiphool who will pretend to hear a difference when its not there and spend thousands on interconnects but the audition was as big a jump as moving from an ipod with those horrible white headphones to a B&O system. Let's stop making excuses for B&O; it's not doing them any favours. They need to come up with a fantastic streamer using the best DAC chips, focus on a fabulous interface preferably on tablet and even better speakers than the BL5 sharpish. I would settle for an upgrade of the BL5 DAC to accept 24bit/192Khz but we all know that's not going to happen... They need to focus on build quality like they did in the 80s and 90s and do the basic things well rather than trying to do quirky things badly. I love B&O but that audition whipped it to shreds.

Magnus
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Magnus replied on Sat, Mar 16 2013 10:11 PM

Don't know if this have been posted before here on BeoWorld, but I thought it was an interesting read:

http://mixonline.com/recording/mixing/audio_emperors_new_sampling/

Found it on Geoff Martins blog...

soundproof
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24/192 downloads are very silly indeed. Not my words, but those of one who actually works on developing codecs for digital music and video.

http://people.xiph.org/~xiphmont/demo/neil-young.html

I used to push the same idea: BL5s should be upgraded to be able to process these files natively.

One - if xiphmont is correct, there's no point. And he's correct.

Two - A few years ago I downloaded some alleged high-resolution files from HD-Tracks (which I also used to push.) I ran some comparisons, and then started a thread at Computeraudiophile about the trickery I discovered.
It may look as if you're getting high-resolution, but most of it is just bumped up from Redbook. The really dishonest ones have ghost-artefacts added to make it appear there's high-frequency content.

Three - If you do want to play back 24/192 from your BL5s, then all you have to do is convert the signal before sending it to the BL5s through the LINE-IN.

Read xiphmont's exposé. Chris Montgomery is a giant among programmers in the field of digital audio, and he's not got any reason to denigrate high-res, unless you're not getting what you think you're getting. Which you're not.

That said - B&O has been a clown's show when it comes to exploiting its advantages. Now, audiophiles are discovering the advantages of active speakers, but B&O is not positioned to be the one reaping the benefits. A shame.

 

 

Barry Santini
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seethroughyou:

I listened to the same 2 albums at home on the Bs5 & BL5 set up in the morning. We then went to the dealer and listened to the same tracks same listening distance away from the speakers on what i consider to be far inferior speakers a pair of B&W 805d. In the second listening, the CD rips sounded superior in resolution and detail than the Bs5 and BL5 setup, The resolution and detail was even better on the 24/192kHz version. The test at dealership was done at a lower volume than what i would use at home on the BL5 - i deliberately wanted this as i knew about the psycho-acoustic effects of volume on the auditory processing. The wife plays clarinet and i piano and we both know what they sound like. The tests were done blind switching in A&B fashion with us making notes with pen and pad. We then compared results and it was unequivocal the streamer with inferior speakers played at lower volumes was far superior to my B&O setup. I was gutted but i had to accept it. Furthermore i could flip through album covers on an ipad like i could with the Bs5 but more effectively. If you can't hear the difference that's good for you but let's not start arguing that it is imagined for others. No, i am no audiphool who will pretend to hear a difference when its not there and spend thousands on interconnects but the audition was as big a jump as moving from an ipod with those horrible white headphones to a B&O system. Let's stop making excuses for B&O; it's not doing them any favours. They need to come up with a fantastic streamer using the best DAC chips, focus on a fabulous interface preferably on tablet and even better speakers than the BL5 sharpish. I would settle for an upgrade of the BL5 DAC to accept 24bit/192Khz but we all know that's not going to happen... They need to focus on build quality like they did in the 80s and 90s and do the basic things well rather than trying to do quirky things badly. I love B&O but that audition whipped it to shreds.

However

Never forget the impact of the room upon listening

B
butch1
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butch1 replied on Sat, Mar 16 2013 11:39 PM

brushwoodgreen replied on Sat, Mar 16 2013 10:07 PM

I listened to the same 2 albums at home on the Bs5 & BL5 set up in the morning. We then went to the dealer and listened to the same tracks same listening distance away from the speakers on what i consider to be far inferior speakers a pair of B&W 805d. In the second listening, the CD rips sounded superior in resolution and detail than the Bs5 and BL5 setup, The resolution and detail was even better on the 24/192kHz version. The test at dealership was done at a lower volume than what i would use at home on the BL5 - i deliberately wanted this as i knew about the psycho-acoustic effects of volume on the auditory processing. The wife plays clarinet and i piano and we both know what they sound like. The tests were done blind switching in A&B fashion with us making notes with pen and pad. We then compared results and it was unequivocal the streamer with inferior speakers played at lower volumes was far superior to my B&O setup. I was gutted but i had to accept it. Furthermore i could flip through album covers on an ipad like i could with the Bs5 but more effectively. If you can't hear the difference that's good for you but let's not start arguing that it is imagined for others. No, i am no audiphool who will pretend to hear a difference when its not there and spend thousands on interconnects but the audition was as big a jump as moving from an ipod with those horrible white headphones to a B&O system. Let's stop making excuses for B&O; it's not doing them any favours. They need to come up with a fantastic streamer using the best DAC chips, focus on a fabulous interface preferably on tablet and even better speakers than the BL5 sharpish. I would settle for an upgrade of the BL5 DAC to accept 24bit/192Khz but we all know that's not going to happen... They need to focus on build quality like they did in the 80s and 90s and do the basic things well rather than trying to do quirky things badly. I love B&O but that audition whipped it to shreds.

 

 

I am the same as you,love b&O to bits,but thats why I have a linn klimax ds system for serious music listening,its in a different league,Source first.

There is unfortunately nothing b&o produces that can compete,when they do, I will be the first to buy.

Jeff
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Jeff replied on Sun, Mar 17 2013 12:35 AM

Well, I'm afraid you're going to have to forgive me for not finding your anecdotal listening experience, replete with at least a dozen uncontrolled variables, as convincing evidence that there is a real difference in CD and high resolution audio files that is due to the number of bits and sampling rate and not other more proletarian differences like mastering hijinks. Let alone proof that this is the "beginning of the end" for B&O. Honestly, hyperbole much? If I had a dollar, pound, euro, whatever for every claimed difference that didn't stand up to controlled testing I'd be blessed with a pair of Lab 5's myself.

I get the impression that someone, either a dealer or someone else, has slagged B&O sufficiently that you feel like you've spent a lot of money and been taken advantage of, that's about the only reason I can fathom for your attitude here. I get the feel of a I paid so much for this and it don't even do this kind of thing. So, go ahead and dump them, the worst that'll happen is that someone will get a deal on some used Lab 5's and you will get to play audio files at whatever bit rate makes you happy.

As for not getting into cables making a difference, don't sell yourself short, you may surprise yourself about what you will come to believe!Whistle

Jeff

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

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