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Is the B&O brand enough to deal with the "big ones"

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Rudi Pedersen
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Rudi Pedersen Posted: Tue, Oct 13 2015 12:41 PM

The "big ones" like Spotify, Deezer, Tidal and more have of course an interest in selling subscription to the mass as they compete heavily in that ball game.

But is Bang & Olufsen or the B&O brand enough to deal with those guys ??

B&O - also with the latest BL90, try to position as design with the ultimate sound and quality - but is B&O loosing this in practical these years.

Today, people are confused about music - in the good old days ;-) we had LP's and CD's and nobody had to think about quality - this was prefix on a CD. But today people buy MP3 music and play this on a high quality and high paid B&O loudspeaker like BL9 or BL5 - and can not understand why the quality was no better than on the Sonos they had before.

Here B&O come into the picture - they have failed in the game. First, there is no consistance in the offering. Some products have only Spotify and other only Deezer and some nearly all
But the most problematic part is the quality. Sones have managed to make a deal with both Spotify and Deezer about their HIFI offering streaming in flac format.
What about B&O - do they spend time in the wrong track...the BL90 is of course a nice speaker, but what about the installed base of product on the market and exciting customers...when do they have payback on investment ? We need the flac streaming now !

Let me try to explain. I have Beolab 5 in "my room" to listen to high quality music. I have converted all my Masterlink products to NL products with Essence in the link room. First I tried to to use the Moment for playing music to the BL5...but the Moment software is not on a level you could expect from a B&O product. My CD music is on a network disk, so I want to play that from the Moment - but the Moment has no menu for selecting your "own music" from the disc. I need to use the Beomusic app - so what good do I have from the Moment.
Then I use the Essence to play music - as I use the Beomusic app anyway...but the Essence have no tone control, no loudness or like that...(remember I an 54 years old now and my ears need to have raised the level of treble ...)
So, what to do ?? Maybe I should by the BL90..to get better quality ...no the problem is to play the music in the right quality.

I have had B&O products since 1987 and still loves it. From 1987 to 1991 I was employed at B&O in Development and was part of the team to develop Beocenter 9000, I did the electronics on the first link system MCL 2AV and did the electronic on the terminal Beolink 5000, so I am not new to all this, but I feel B&O are on a wrong track now - I still love B&O products.

To summarise - I feel we need:

- Hifi quality streaming fra Deezer (Elite) or from Tidal or Spotify

- Better software on the Moment (look at CS5 from B&O in Spain)

- Better Beomusic software (like Spotify or Deezer app, where you can search better and jump from one track to an album or all track from this artist etc)

- Better search possibilities on the Essence using Beomusic, when you search on your own music on a network disc.

- The Beomusic app - 90 degrees turn to connect link rooms - but...what about us having an iPad fixed on the wall (recommended by B&O). This does not work now, as play is in portrait and linking is in landscape !!
Make this a possibility for the user, so all screens could be in landscape or portrait. 

- Finally, on my Beolink Gateway I have now many scenaries, but need to use the Beolink app - and when I play music I need to use the Beomusic - combine those apps into one app

I wonder, am I the only one having this view or is my perfectinism a problem here ;-)

I am looking forward to see all this from B&O in the future

Best regards Rudi

BeoGreg
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BeoGreg replied on Tue, Oct 13 2015 4:07 PM
Wow, you summarized two years of Beoworld threads in one sentence.
Chris
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Chris replied on Tue, Oct 13 2015 5:06 PM

I wonder if this true: http://www.whathifi.com/news/deezer-elite-cd-quality-streaming-now-available-exclusively-sonos 

...initially the Elite service is only available on Sonos until the end of 2015. Deezer is expected to develop the CD-quality service for other platforms in due course...

"Believe nothing you read and only half of what you see, let your ears tell you the truth."

Jeff
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Jeff replied on Tue, Oct 13 2015 5:24 PM

You hit one item that I find particularly vexing about the new audio systems, be it Essence, Moment, or whatever, tone controls and such. They are missing what I found very useful on my BS9000, from my listening position I can select bass, treble, or loudness, and easily see the display while I adjust tone and such. With the newer systems, while there is say a tone control on my Playmaker, you don't get visual feedback so it's easy to lose any idea of what you're set to, and the only option is to reset the whole device to reestablish a baseline.

While the need for a central master unit is not as great as when CDs and radio and such were the prime sources, there is IMO a need for some kind of anchor, or a way to display audio settings on a phone or tablet used to control the music. The Beo Setup or Beomusic apps should have two way communication to let them display such settings. That it doesn't exist is ironic since B&O pioneered two way comms with their remotes in the past.

Jeff

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

Sal
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Sal replied on Tue, Oct 13 2015 7:32 PM

Jeff:

You hit one item that I find particularly vexing about the new audio systems, be it Essence, Moment, or whatever, tone controls and such. They are missing what I found very useful on my BS9000, from my listening position I can select bass, treble, or loudness, and easily see the display while I adjust tone and such. With the newer systems, while there is say a tone control on my Playmaker, you don't get visual feedback so it's easy to lose any idea of what you're set to, and the only option is to reset the whole device to reestablish a baseline.

While the need for a central master unit is not as great as when CDs and radio and such were the prime sources, there is IMO a need for some kind of anchor, or a way to display audio settings on a phone or tablet used to control the music. The Beo Setup or Beomusic apps should have two way communication to let them display such settings. That it doesn't exist is ironic since B&O pioneered two way comms with their remotes in the past.

Jeff, your post, and that of the OP are eloquent and succinct. I too, think that the "idea' of an audio master should be maintained through the B&O product range. The BS9000, BS4000, BS3200, etc. all had different features, but at their core, they all had the same core audio features and capabilities. Folks chose the BS9000 for some reasons, and other chose the BS4000 for other reasons, but both individuals got what they wanted in the product without sacrifice. 

This commonality is missing from the current range of audio products. The Essence has 90% of what I'd like it to have -- and I just wouldn't use the Moment's tablet, I'd use Beomusic app since I have my phone with me at all time -- hence why I continue to have such a difficult time choosing between a Moment and Essence.

I'd love to have an Essence fully netlinked using the Beovision's speakers like I can with the Moment. Why isn't this possible? Heck they've enabled multiroom with gen 2? Why not go all the way? If it is merely a matter of software, B&O should strive for ultimate integration and customer options.

Shemsky
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Shemsky replied on Wed, Oct 14 2015 12:16 AM

I had the same point of view: pass through the modern life of sound with my "old" B&O material. I wanted upgrade it and logically I searched for a B&O solution. However, the 3 B&O sellers I saw told me the same: keep your old B&O hifi system for a nice vintage wall sculpture, and for a real evolution, the best way is to install a Sonos!

I was despited, and as I'm a dinosaur (I don't have any tab, or smartphone and I work on a Mac with system 9...), I refused that solution. And I discovered the ancient Beoport solution from B&O. I found a new one on eBay for 300 US $ (same price than a Sonos - in addition, if you want listen your music in several rooms you have ton install 1 Sonos per room...). As the Beoplayer from B&O was only for the PC, I found two apps for Mac: BM-Link and LinkPlayer, and now I have ALL my personal music (with iTunes) + all the web-radios and everything playable on my Mac directly on my B&O system! Including Deezer, Spotify, etc. I manage it with the Beo4 remote and the buttons N-Music and N-Radio.

I don't know if it's what you are looking for, but for me, I kept a B&O solution, I have access to all my musical database, all the digital music from Internet, and it's directly managed in my old system (Beosounf 3200 + Beolabs 2000 + 3500), linked in all my house. And all that for only 300$... What else?

seethroughyou
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I'm not interested in Deezer or whatever until it can deliver minimum CD quality to high resolution files and probably never if its selection of classical is no better than Spotify.

.

 

 

Present: BL90, Core, BL6000, CD7000, Beogram 7000, Essence Remote.

Past: BL1, BL2, BL8000, BS9000, BL5, BC2, BS5, BV5, BV4-50, Beosystem 3, BL3, DVD1, Beoremote 4, Moment.

.

Andrew
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Andrew replied on Wed, Oct 14 2015 10:02 AM

I think the issue with Tone Controls, or rather lack of them maybe because Deezer has it's own built in equaliser and so it would seem likely that other apps may also include it now or in the future. I for one would miss having the ability to adjust as I find some tracks need more bass and some less. One of my rooms has an MCL X-Tra speaker kit and I can control the bass with a beo 4 - oddly I thought I would miss the visual feedback, instead I found that I don't worry as much about it as I set it to what sounds right to me and then listen to the music. 

I've recently moved and have the opportunity to upgrade my kit, but it does everything I want and is easy to use - I can stream music to any room via the CD input and AE/DAC combo, listen to FM radio, and vinyl anywhere and watch TV/Apple TV/DVDs in any room - all with equipment that is now 15 years old. Ok picture quality in TVs has moved on since my BV8/BV6 sets but I bought a projector for event viewing and speaker are most likely much better than the Penta's but I found the only thing I now want to add is the OneRemote Internet Radio and control that through the A.Tape function on the BM6500. If I need different music or sources in local rooms then the answer is to just get another Apple TV.

I think a lot of people like myself are simply confused with what can and cant be done, having to subscribe to music services etc. It also seems more complicated nowadays and less functionality available in some ways than with the old ML system. 

So as a B&O customer since I started work 30 years ago, I would want:

Ability to play a common music source in any room by pressing one button on a remote

Internet Radio with presets

Streaming of music in any room or locally

Additional inputs for Turntables and anything else that comes along or legacy equipment like cassette decks, reel to reel, computer etc

Ability to adjust bass and treble in any room

Same video source available in any room - i.e. start watching a film in the sitting room and then continue watching the same source in bed - or be able to follow the same source in the kitchen whilst cooking.

One button to turn everything off - and the ability to wake upto the radio in the morning.

I can see the appeal of the newer stuff but to me it doesn't seem to give everything I currently have as easily. I hope I am wrong though!

 

 

Barry Santini
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If I was given and felt the need for elementary tone control modification in the main or local room, it would be nice to be able to have the system 'remember' this adjusted preference, much like my car's memory seats return to my preferred position when my key is used to unlock the car.

B
Jeff
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Jeff replied on Wed, Oct 14 2015 12:59 PM

I think the idea is that you are supposed to use the equalizers built into the various devices, Spotify/iPad/iPhone, etc. but I find them nowhere near as useful as the tone controls on my BS9000. For one thing, they are hard to get to and adjust, you have to go thru a couple of menu options to get there, whereas with the tone controls it's quicker. Also, it's harder to adjust a precise amount with a touch pad slider, no tactile feedback or real visual feedback, not like the numeric indications on the BS9000, you have to eyeball "does that look like it increased when I push up the slider?"

Also, I don't really want or need a 5 or 6 or 7 band eq, I need a basic tone control. There's such a thing as too much choice when a well thought out simple tone control can solve most of your problems. Even in systems that have had equalizers, most people I knew used them for fine adjustments to correct room or speaker issues then used the regular tone controls for adjusting for album deficiencies. At most the old Marantz receiver I had which had bass, mid, and treble was useful, but more than that not so much.

 

Jeff

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

Rudi Pedersen
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Hi Chris

I am sure you are right - Sonos is the only one at the moment with Deezer Elite - and why not ? The number of customers are huge compare to B&O. But Deezer should also think about their brand linked with B&O - looking at competition as Spotify and Tidal not having this.

Lets see what happens in 2016 - I hope B&O management is open this this as this would bring B&O products back on track

Rudi Pedersen
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Hi Jeff

I agree...even these days tone control is in the spot...look at Deezer with the equalizer function.

My Beolab 2.2 in the bathroom sound like an iPhone without tone control and I have the Essence to drive them (with a booster in between)

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