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S3 speakers arrived today - unpacking and first play!

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Dave Farr
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Dave Farr Posted: Thu, Sep 17 2015 5:30 PM

Well, they arrived today:

Nicely protected and ready to explore:

Not a great deal of information on the box and what there is is small writing and white on a grey background and is quite difficult to read!  No info on what speakers are inside the unit nor power output etc.

Box is nice quality and each speaker is very well packaged and protected:

And everything out of the box:

After criticism of the cheap adapter systems for other products, B&O have chosen to put three power leads in the box - 1 x EU, 1 x US and 1 x UK.  Seems a waste as normally two will get thrown out.

And now unwraped from the covers:

And more interestingly, underneath:

Micro USB port, connectors to link together and presumably for any updates; mains input and what look like a future mounting options fastening/threaded section.  Possibly wall and floor mounts are coming? I can't see any other use for these?  Little rubber feet for non-slip (these will be needed as I'll explain soon!)  And the Made in China sticker.

For those wondering how big or small they actually are:

And yes, they work:

Clear and bright white indicator light (blue when pairing).  And just to show they do work:

So how do they feel, look, sound etc?

They feel very solid and quite weighty.  The polymer casing almost feels a bit like the BL3 finish - not gloss but a nice, slightly matt finish.  The grill is flawless as is the casing.  It does not feel cheap.  It feels very stable on a table and when the volume is up, those rubber feet are certainly needed!

Press the B&O logo for a couple of seconds to switch on and pair to your device.  It came up instantly on my iPad Air 2 as did the second speaker.  Then press the B&O logo for about 5 seconds on one speaker (which will be the Left, Master speaker) to start to pair the speakers.  Once the white light flashes - with a sound prompt, do the same with the second speaker and wait a few seconds.  After a sound prompt, that's it - they are paired left and right.  It all took less than 30 seconds from switching them on.

Started to play music via Deezer to them and started at a moderate volume.  First impression - WOW, that's loud and clear but a bit treble heavy.  At half volume you can hear them all around the house. When a good bass bit of music is on you can feel the casing boom - lovely.  Hence the need for the rubber feet otherwise they'd be off the table.

Stereo seperation is very, very good.  I played a bit of Deep Purple Live and the clarity of stereo and width was excellent.  As previously, I also tried Afterglow from Seconds Out Live by Genesis and again, the two drum sets are completely seperate.  It's very impressive.

I'm now playing some classical music (Mozart) which actually sound better I think than the more prog/rock type of music.  The instruments are exceptionally clear and fill the room but don't flood it.

You can of course adjust volume from your device or via the + and - buttons on either of the S3 speakers and it of course adjusts both equally.

At first I found the sound a bit harsh in that the treble or top end seemed to dominate (cymbals seem to sound forever).  After playing around with the equalizer on Deezer it was interesting to hear how much difference it actually made.  I'd suggest to not just put them on and think - 'oh, is that it?', mould the sound to your taste via the settings available.  I prefer a bit more bass than a neutral or treble tone so this worked wonders for me.  As I say, I'm now with classical and it's lovely.

Turn the volume up and they are loud!  No distortion whatsoever at higher volumes - they are very capable.  They blow the socks of the BL4's - they are not comparable at all.  For such a small speaker, in the right place, it's surprising how much sound comes out of them.  Talking of placement, there is no switch for 'corner, wall, free' etc.  What you hear is what comes out with the only adjustments being done via your source.  Spatially it does change if you angle them in or out.  Again, you'd need to play with this in your setting.

I left them unused for a while but they don't seem to auto turn off.  Maybe I just haven't left them long enough.  EDIT: the white light stays on as they are hardwired to mains.  If you press the B&O logo it switches both speakers off and the white light dims but is still on (standby).  The music you are playing is automatically paused on your device at the same time.  Switch the speakers back on again but you have to start your source music again - that's not automatic.

A new feature I found under Bluetooth for these is a 'Disconnect' option as well as the 'Forget this device'.  I've not seen that before on any of my B&O Bluetooth products.  Presumably you can disconnect one speaker and move it and use it elsewhere without it picking up the pairing of the second speaker and connect it to another source device?

If you get a chance, try them out at a dealer before you buy if you're not sure they are for you.  I'm thrilled with them and think B&O are on a winner with them.  Yes, they are hardwired to power but they aren't meant to be a portable Bluetooth speaker - we already have the A2, Beolit 12 (with a receiver as I use it) and Beolit 15 for that.

If anyone has specific questions about them, just ask and I'll try to answer.

Dave.

 

 

 

 

 

Duels
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Duels replied on Thu, Sep 17 2015 5:51 PM
Dave. Great review thank you Big Smile. I appreciate you bought a pair but wondered how does one compare to an A2?
leosgonewild
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Now THAT is a review! Great job Big Smile
Millemissen
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+1 Thanks!

MM

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Dave Farr
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Dave Farr replied on Thu, Sep 17 2015 6:17 PM
Duels:

Dave. Great review thank you . I appreciate you bought a pair but wondered how does one compare to an A2?

I've just used them side by side and switched between them whilst playing the same track. They aren't comparable! I thought the A2 was good before (which it is for portability etc) but a single S3 blows it out of the water. The S3 is louder at the same volume setting, more bass is evident and it sounds more full and a much rounder and deeper sound in the same room space.

Dave.
Duels
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Duels replied on Thu, Sep 17 2015 6:23 PM
Dave Farr:

I've just used them side by side and switched between them whilst playing the same track. They aren't comparable! I thought the A2 was good before (which it is for portability etc) but a single S3 blows it out of the water. The S3 is louder at the same volume setting, more bass is evident and it sounds more full and a much rounder and deeper sound in the same room space.

Dave.

Wow that sounds extremely impressive for the same price as the A2. I look forward to hearing them in the flesh soon.

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elephant replied on Thu, Sep 17 2015 6:28 PM
Thank you Dave.

I appreciate the time you took to capture the pictures and thoughts.

Also your review and thoughts on their sound.

Like Duels I would be interested in how you compare a single one to your A2.

BeoNut since '75

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elephant replied on Thu, Sep 17 2015 6:30 PM
Dave Farr:

I've just used them side by side and switched between them whilst playing the same track. They aren't comparable! I thought the A2 was good before (which it is for portability etc) but a single S3 blows it out of the water. The S3 is louder at the same volume setting, more bass is evident and it sounds more full and a much rounder and deeper sound in the same room space.

Dave.

Excellent ! Thanks for the quick response

BeoNut since '75

Chris Townsend
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Brilliant, and they look great.

Thanks Dave. Unfortunately I don't need a pair.

But. Whistle

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Paul W replied on Thu, Sep 17 2015 6:41 PM

WOW Great review Dave :) Sound wise with extra treble, they sound perfect for my taste :)

Sounds like a real winner for B&O! Well done to Geoff and his Crowd :)

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Dave Farr replied on Thu, Sep 17 2015 7:02 PM
Yes, I thought they had a bit more treble in a neutral set up but compared next to the A2 they aren't. Geoff and the team have done a great job with these. Give them a try.

I didn't 'need' them either! I'll probably use them in the bathroom of all places.

They do go to standby when not used - the light dims from bright white to a dim white at standby.

Dave.
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Dave Farr replied on Thu, Sep 17 2015 7:03 PM
elephant:

Thank you Dave.

I appreciate the time you took to capture the pictures and thoughts.

Also your review and thoughts on their sound.

Like Duels I would be interested in how you compare a single one to your A2. BeoNut since '75

See two posts down. They are quite different.

Dave.
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How are they compared to BL15?
Duels
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Duels replied on Thu, Sep 17 2015 8:15 PM

You do need a pair Chris.  You know you do.   Perhaps start with just one.............

Must admit I'm looking forward to seeing the various colour options in the flesh. 

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L1NO replied on Thu, Sep 17 2015 9:01 PM

If u use line-in on one of the speakers, can u ise bluetooth to complete a stereo setup?

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Dave Farr replied on Thu, Sep 17 2015 9:13 PM
leosgonewild:

How are they compared to BL15?

Hi Leo,

I have a Beolit 12 but with the Bluetooth receiver I have connected to it should be able to do a side by side comparison tomorrow after I get back from hospital. I'll let you know.

Dave.
leosgonewild
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Could you do a mono comparisation?

Wondering how they compare in stereo.

Hope it is nothing serious with your hospital-visit Surprise
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Steve has the cables needed. Only thing that might be an issue is the volume. (I am assuming you want to use them with a surround setup)
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Duels replied on Thu, Sep 17 2015 10:06 PM

In the pic below from the B&O play web site, is it just me or does the vase on the table by the S3 look just like a BL11?  And for that matter the circular piece of art on the floor like an A9?


Dave Farr
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Dave Farr replied on Thu, Sep 17 2015 10:13 PM
leosgonewild:

Could you do a mono comparisation?

Wondering how they compare in stereo.

Hope it is nothing serious with your hospital-visit

It's not me but I have to take my elderly father to dermatology. Thanks for the concern.

I'll take a look tomorrow.

Dave.
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Dave Farr replied on Thu, Sep 17 2015 10:16 PM
leosgonewild:

Steve has the cables needed. Only thing that might be an issue is the volume. (I am assuming you want to use them with a surround setup)

Actually, I'm possibly going to be using them in the bathroom so I can lie back in the bath, read on my iPad and listen wirelessly.

Dave.
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Dave Farr replied on Thu, Sep 17 2015 10:17 PM
Very much like a BL11. Funny how in pictures there are never any cables like we actually have in real life!

Dave.
Paul W
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Paul W replied on Thu, Sep 17 2015 10:24 PM

Hope your Father is OK Dave.

Hey, be careful of the steam near that electric cable :) Hope you enjoy them. They do look really funky. What a nice change from a Bluetooth speaker isn't it :)

Millemissen
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Still wondering, why they are called S* and not A*?

MM

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riverstyx replied on Thu, Sep 17 2015 10:30 PM

Duels:
is it just me or does the vase on the table by the S3 look just like a BL11?

Yes, I had to do a double take on exactly that when I first saw that image...

Martin.

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If you type BeoPlay S3 in the searchfield in the FAQ's on the B&O costumer service site, you can find some details on the product.

But there is still no userguide online.

MM

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Geoff Martin
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Paul W:
Sounds like a real winner for B&O! Well done to Geoff and his Crowd :)

I can't take any credit at all for this - but I'll pass the kudos on to the persons who can. Thanks!

Cheers

-g

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TWG replied on Fri, Sep 18 2015 8:53 AM

Thanks, Dave!

Hope your Dad's fine.


I would buy a blue one for my little daugter as she loves blue.

Dave Farr
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Dave Farr replied on Fri, Sep 18 2015 11:36 AM
Geoff Martin:

I can't take any credit at all for this - but I'll pass the kudos on to the persons who can. Thanks!

Cheers

-g

@Geoff, you only play with the big boys then?

All the family which covers a 5 year old to an 85 year old think they are amazing.

Dave.
Paul W
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Paul W replied on Fri, Sep 18 2015 11:52 AM

MM, I think they are S not A because they are being marketing as speakers that you can add to with wires (up to 4) AND I have a feeling that wired, we may see a little sub in time for it. Some a simular idea to the S8 but working alone as well. Very clever :)

Paul W
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Paul W replied on Fri, Sep 18 2015 11:52 AM

Thanks Geoff. That's very cool :)

Millemissen
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Paul W:

MM, I think they are S not A because they are being marketing as speakers that you can add to with wires (up to 4) AND I have a feeling that wired, we may see a little sub in time for it. Some a simular idea to the S8 but working alone as well. Very clever :)

Sound possible!

But not if all must be wired - if the sub also does bluetooth, then yes.

Anyway - if anyone could try out a double S3/BL19-combo, I am eager to hear how that works/sounds ๐Ÿ˜ธ

MM

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Then all we need is a fresh new V1, sending its surround sound via Bluetooth to S3's . How neat would that be.

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BeoBoy68 replied on Fri, Sep 18 2015 1:43 PM
It will be logical to launch a subwoofer to complete S3 system.
Millemissen
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BeoBoy68:
It will be logical to launch a subwoofer to complete S3 system.

Finally something we can agree on ๐Ÿ˜‰๐Ÿ˜…

MM

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BeoGreg
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BeoGreg replied on Fri, Sep 18 2015 2:24 PM
Super review super Dave.
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Paul W replied on Fri, Sep 18 2015 3:10 PM

Chris that is an amazing idea. That was why I never bought surround sound a few years back because I didn't want cables all over my room as I have wooden flooring and no way to hide them!

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Daniel replied on Fri, Sep 18 2015 5:30 PM

Thanx for the review! Is it possible to connect separate Bluetooth sources to each of them? If so I can get the kids one each for Christmas.

Dave Farr
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Dave Farr replied on Fri, Sep 18 2015 5:47 PM
Unless you pair the speakers, they are completely stand-alone so they could use one each. The one big problem is similar to the A2 when you pair them for stereo use in that on the list of detected devices, they both just say 'Beoplay S3' and until you play one, or try to connect one, you don't know which is which. You cannot rename them with say 'L' or 'R' or 'Tom's S3' or 'Jerry's S3'. That would be a nice feature to add on an update if one comes.

At the same price as the A2' if you don't mind the limited portability, the S3 wins hands down.

I see some nice fret colors have appeared on the Beoplay site now. Red, blue, green in addition to black and white.

That could help differentiate a pair.

Dave.
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