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Beosound 5 encore disappointment

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g8who
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g8who posted on Thu, Apr 26 2012 10:56 PM

Sorry for my rant but I was all ready to purchase myself a BS5 encore the other day.  I've read a couple things about it and thought I was ready for it.  When I went to my local dealer to see and purchase it I was very surprised that it didn't have a touch screen!  I know it says nowhere about a touch screen but I took for granted there was(Yes, my bad). Looking at the current design and the current trends I assumed it was touch screen and the wheel was just for volume.  

I think B&O really missed out making this a great must have system.  For almost $4k I really don't think it's very innovative or easy to use.  I appreciate the design and the quality but B&O missed the mark here.  Needless to say I didn't buy one.  

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mbee
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Answered (Verified) mbee replied on Fri, Apr 27 2012 12:44 PM
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beocool:
Exactly. Where can I order?

As it's an "invisible" device that you can hide anywhere, it doesn't have to have a B&O logo on it : that's called a Sonos ZP90, and it works flawlessly with any pair of Beolabs. It is superior to the BS5E for some functionnalities like it can be used as a wake-up clock (something that I really would like to have on the Encore), or you can play 2 devices synchornised in multiroom (I'm sure it's scheduled). everything is controlled by an iPad/iPhone interface which is quite cool.

I decided to try the Encore after using a Sonos because MOTS is something I really wanted to simplify my music consumption, because 99,999% of the time, I don't know what I want to listen to! So I give a big push on the wheel, see somethign that I like, play it, and MOTS do the rest. Really cool for background music for a whole day. I like the fact that I optimise my music library (more than 6000 tracks). With Sonos, I finally always listen to the same tracks (my favorite albums, or the more recent), but don't benefit of my library. With Genius (Apple), it's better than Sonos, but a lot of my tracks are not recognised.

I don't think that actually there is ANY perfect system for digital music. All have advantages and drawbacks, and I would really like to have a system that combines all advantages! Apple TV is good, but you have to have a computer running, and other things that I don't like. Sonos is a really good multiroom system for the digital age, but it's perfect only if you always know what you want. BS5 is good as a toy that can display the cover of the album currently being played in your home, and MOTS is really a nice feature, but it lacks of a lot of functionnalities. Linn DS is nice for its compatibility with all type of (HD) tracks, but lacks of a good user interface... And I've not tried Sooloos, which seems way overpriced for what it is (people here always complain about B&O price, but how to justify meridian's prices??)

Having said that, I can't understand people complaining about the BS5 user interface not being a touchscreen : you CAN have a digital music player with a touchscreen totally integrated to a B&O system, so why not buying something that exist and works, instead of critisizing B&O for not following the same product trends as other makes? You have the choice. If B&O is not good, don't buy it, connect an other thing to your system (like I did with Sonos+Beolabs) 

Now about the trends : People didn't complain when B&O released a stupid CD player with only 6CDs in line, which takes a huge space in one's living room (called BS9000), instead of selling a 100CD automatic jukebox like did Sony, Marantz and others... Cool I thought that people were interested in B&O mainly because there products always have something different. Now we are in a world where everybody want an Apple device, but with an high end brand on it... LG just gave me the latest Prada phone : an Android phone with a black&white user interface, and a Prada logo on it. Is that what you want B&O to become?

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CJM1
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CJM1 replied on Thu, Apr 26 2012 11:48 PM

Totally agree! i have been to the B&O dealer a few times and i have played on them a fair bit. i think there the most unintuitive thing B&O have made. the laser pointer to choose an option is just a joke and also a gimmick. They go through all that effort. but what people want it a touch screen!

Alex
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Alex replied on Fri, Apr 27 2012 2:03 AM

When you add a touchscreen there's equally as many people willing to start a thread about it being a $4,000 iPad.  Use the $4,000 to buy a set of BeoLab 3's!

jk1002
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jk1002 replied on Fri, Apr 27 2012 5:39 AM

I think doing something with a touchscreen was actually explored but nixed due to the fingerprints issue.

 

While I have issues with the BS5 or BS5 encore that prevents me from buying it, i.e. gapless playing with formats that work on a mac, the missing touchscreen is not one if them.

Aussie Michael
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I like that it doesn't have a touchscreen.  I'm sick of touch.  Too much to clean all the time.  I love the side wheel.  

PhilLondon
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The whole issue with the Beosound 5 concept is not that it's got a touch screen or not, it is that it HAS a screen.

It has been for the last 30 years that you only stand up from you couch and access you music player only to load a media (Tape, CD, Disc), and then you go back to your couch and control it with your remote.

As there is no media to load, there shouldn't be anything, only a black box you hide somewhere... and a 2 way remote control you carry with you.

Beoworld app with direct photo upload and emoticons.

kokomo
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kokomo replied on Fri, Apr 27 2012 9:15 AM

Michael:

I like that it doesn't have a touchscreen.  I'm sick of touch.  Too much to clean all the time.  I love the side wheel.  

 

For you Michael that might be the case, but the 'problem' is, most consumers, rightly or wrongly,  expect (demand?) such displays to be touch. For example, imagine any company launching a tablet with a wheel on the side and no touch screen, they'd be ridiculed.

The Encore is a beautiful piece of engineering, but I think the OP's point was that he did not expect what he found and this may be the case with many other potential customers. 

Raeuber
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Hi,

search for a special song on BS 5 and and then on an IPad and you will never go for a BS 5!

/Räuber

PhilLondon
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The concept that drove the development of the Beosound 5 was that B&O products where know for their design, but also included some "magic". The "magic" is often implemented as a moving mechanical part... sliding glass doors, rotating TV stands...

But with the dematerialisation of media, B&O came up with this idea of merging a mechanical controller with the screen and sync the movements of the wheels with what appears on screen.

It does give this "magical" effect, but doesn't correspond at all to what people expect nowadays.

Beoworld app with direct photo upload and emoticons.

mbee
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mbee replied on Fri, Apr 27 2012 10:53 AM

If you want to go for touch screen, just buy an iPad and a Sonos, connected to your NAS. It will do everything, you just have lower quality DAC, no 24-bit playback, and no MOTS.

You either love it or hate it, but yes, giving a bit of "real mechanical touch" to my digital music is something I like. And that's great that my Encore is always free of finger grease ;-)

The screen in a Porsche is not a touch screen : do you want to buy a VW with a touch screen instead? I don't see why touch screen is more innovative than everything else : everything has a touch screen now in electronic devices : does that make them more cool? I agree that the Encore lacks of a second interface (ie an iPad app) in order to search for a specific song with a keyboard, and give a totally different control method, so that one can use the best interface possible for each situation.

beocool
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beocool replied on Fri, Apr 27 2012 11:15 AM

PhilLondon:

The whole issue with the Beosound 5 concept is not that it's got a touch screen or not, it is that it HAS a screen.

It has been for the last 30 years that you only stand up from you couch and access you music player only to load a media (Tape, CD, Disc), and then you go back to your couch and control it with your remote.

As there is no media to load, there shouldn't be anything, only a black box you hide somewhere... and a 2 way remote control you carry with you.

Exactly. Where can I order?

 

Vähintään yhdeksänkymmentä prosenttia suomalainen! 

Raeuber
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Raeuber replied on Fri, Apr 27 2012 11:22 AM

mbee:

If you want to go for touch screen, just buy an iPad and a Sonos, connected to your NAS. It will do everything, you just have lower quality DAC, no 24-bit playback, and no MOTS.

You either love it or hate it, but yes, giving a bit of "real mechanical touch" to my digital music is something I like. And that's great that my Encore is always free of finger grease ;-)

The screen in a Porsche is not a touch screen : do you want to buy a VW with a touch screen instead? I don't see why touch screen is more innovative than everything else : everything has a touch screen now in electronic devices : does that make them more cool? I agree that the Encore lacks of a second interface (ie an iPad app) in order to search for a specific song with a keyboard, and give a totally different control method, so that one can use the best interface possible for each situation.

In an actual Porsche you can choose between using touch screen and the "old way".

/Räuber 

PhilLondon
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mbee:
I don't see why touch screen is more innovative than everything else

Well, it is about usability...

In a user interface, the more indirections between the content and the action you do, the more complex it is to use...

In early MS-DOS PCs, when you wanted to save your document in MS word, you'd look on the screen to find that Save = F2, then you'd press F2 on a different device; the keyboard.

In Macs and Windows, the save button will be on the screen, although you're using a mouse, there is a feeling that there is less indirection because the brain links the movement of the arm to the movement of the cursor that is on the screen.

With a touch screen, there is no more indirections. You touch the objects that are on the screen, in the same way you touch objects in real life... and your brain knows how to do that as soon as you're born.

There is another notion... in most user interface, there is the notion of Subject and Verb... you select the subject of your action (click on an icon or select text), and then you select the verb (action) in a menu or toolbar, for example "Cut".

In a touch interface, very often there is no verb for the most common actions, you just touch a track and it starts playing. Or verb are replaced by familiar gestures, like pinch to zoom. Swipe to scroll. These are actions that the brain is very familiar with from a very early age because they mimic real life actions.

In the Beosound 5 interface, you have an indirection - the input is done on a device that is not the screen, and you also have to select something with the wheel (subject) and use a button to start playing it (verb).

This is why touch screen are superior (as in more intuitive) to most other interfaces... 

There are other problems with the BS5 interface. When you scroll through album cover art, or text, they move in circle on the screen. This movement being not very natural, it is very difficult for the eyes and brain to follow. If covers had moved along a straight line, they would be a lot easier to look at.

 

Beoworld app with direct photo upload and emoticons.

tournedos
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PhilLondon:

In early MS-DOS PCs, when you wanted to save your document in MS word, you'd look on the screen to find that Save = F2, then you'd press F2 on a different device; the keyboard.

In Macs and Windows, the save button will be on the screen, although you're using a mouse, there is a feeling that there is less indirection because the brain links the movement of the arm to the movement of the cursor that is on the screen.

With a touch screen, there is no more indirections. You touch the objects that are on the screen, in the same way you touch objects in real life... and your brain knows how to do that as soon as you're born.

But once you get to know the interface and know that hitting F2 saves the document, you hit F2 without having to look at anything or taking your hand(s) off the keyboard. There are still people who produce all the text that the "post PC" people so keenly swipe over, and they don't want to keep poking at a monitor.

A touch screen interface can be more intuitive for a beginner and lower the initial learning curve, but after that it is just another obstacle and will never be as productive as a tactile interface, be it a button, a keyboard or a knob. You can't use a touch screen without looking at it, which is why it IMHO is a failing idea for a remote control with no other means of interaction. Granted modern interfaces can have too many functions to work this way with a simple tactile interface, but the basic usage can be done.

(to add some B&O content, that is why I've never been a fan on the trademark slider controls. They may look nice but they'll never be as easy to use as a simple knob)

--mika

moxxey
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moxxey replied on Fri, Apr 27 2012 12:05 PM

I bought a Beosound 5 / Master 5 combination a few years ago, soon after launch. Was one of the worst purchases I've made, ever. There are so many issues I can't start to go in to them - as a "techy" I was perplexed how much they were charging for the Master 5, the size of the unit, the cabling and so much more. Just reminded me of something they should have launched circa 1999.

I like the idea of the Encore, but the execution is wrong. To me, the Encore has been bought by users who *want* to love it and their influence of the B&O brand has blinded them in to thinking it's far better than it actually is. It isn't. It's controller with a wheel and a fairly adequate UI. Everytime I use a Beosound 5, I'm reminded how cumbersome it is.

With my iPad, if I want to find a specific track, I type in three or four letters and, as Steve Jobs would say, boom, you get the results. Finding a specific track takes seconds. I can move between tracks swiftly. After using a device such as the iPad connected to the Beosound 8, nothing comes close in terms of UI and usability.

I'm not scared to annoy people by repeating that I think the Beosound 5 is a classic expensive device bought by B&O users with too much money, blinded by the concept rather than spending time considering the alternatives. It appeals to the old-school lazy B&O customer who simply wants it to be installed and work. Then goes around convincing others it's really superb...."look at the engineering" is something I hear, often :)

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