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What (non-b&o) remotes are usable with the PLAYMAKER?

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tuttivini
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tuttivini posted on Sat, Oct 8 2016 9:37 AM

Beoworlders,

I'm thinking of replacing my AV-receiver (Marantz NR-1602) with a Playmaker.
The reason is I want to simplify things and because I think the dac in the Playmaker should be better than the Marantz dac (I hope to reach better/clearer sound)

(I finally found a mk2 model that I can buy second hand locally)
The Playmaker will connect directly  to my Beolab 8000's mk2 in the living room.
 I will use the analog line in to connect to my (non-b&o) tv, so all sounds from the tv, go to the Playmaker.
If I like the setup/sound, I will buy a second playmaker (if available second hand), and connect it to my beolab 6000's, which are in my kitchen (I now use the zone2 option for them on my marantz).

The only main concern for me is: How can I control the volume easily?
If I use the Playmaker with Airplay on my iPads/iPhones, I always use the hardware volume buttons on those Apple devices to control the Airplay volume, so that's easy.
But what if I want to control the volume when I use the Playmakers line-in (when watching tv)?

I don't want to use the volume scrollwheel on the Playmaker, because I want to place it out of sight and because I don't want to get up/walk everytime I want to change volume offcourse.

I'm looking for a simple remote controller to do this job (In think the only commands are volume + and volume -, because the source switching and powering the beolabs on and off are done automatically?

 I don't want to buy a Beo4 for this simple job (We wouldn't use all buttons, except volume)
(If I want to setup the Playmaker once, for things like loudness, bass, treble, I can borrow my parents Beo4) 

What would be the best/simplest remote control to perform this job?

Where is the infrared eye located on the playmaker?
If placed out of sight, I'm going to use a infrared extender cable, like this:
http://www.irblaster.info/usb_powered_ir_repeater.jpg 

If this isn't possible, how can I control the line-in volume, without touching the scrollwheel on the Playmaker? Using an app? (I thought the beosetup app is only for the setup, not for controlling) 

I would love to find a good looking minimalistic remote for this simple job ->

I've read that the Essence remote will partially work, but this is not a good remote for me, because I want to pick it up/hold it in my hands while sitting on the couch)

Would the Beoplay A8 remote work?
http://approvedusedbang-olufsen.com/beoplay-a8-remote-control-silver-new.html 
(is this infrared and gives the correct ir volume up/down signals? Will play, next track, etc also work?)  

Or any other (ir-programmable / non-b&o) remotes with good design (like the simple Apple TV remote) up to this task?

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tuttivini
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Jeff:

My PM is actually inside a cabinet, set to fixed volume. I control tracks via either the iPad Spotify app or Apple Remote app controlling my iTunes on the PC. I'd forgotten the PM could do tone controls and such, since I've had it set up as fixed for so long (couple of years). One thing I would really miss using a PM for tone control is seeing where the settings are at. That's one thing about my BS9000 that I've loved since the beginning, I can easily read the display from my listening area and can see where all the controls are set. After a while I come to know what works best for this or that album, for example early CDs that were a tad bright need -1 on treble, which is just about a perfect setting to tame the harshness without cutting it so much it gets dull. I also find the loudness contour B&O selected just perfect for later night, less robust listening, it makes the music sound full and balanced at low levels without sounding heavy handed as so many implementations of loudness do.

I have a Marantz 1402 I use for my AV setup, I was constrained to something that would fit in the shallow depth of the cabinet I have. I haven't felt limited by performance, it sounds quite good and 5.1 is all I need. I'm generally quite impressed with the Marantz stuff.

In your case, you don't need tone control on the PM, because you've set it at a fixed level output. Your BS9000 does the tone control for this incoming signal, If you would also set those tone controls on the PM, it would be 'double', so for example if you would set the treble to +1 on the PM, and also on the BS9000, it would be +2 together) .

I think it wouldn't be a big problem for me if I don't see what tone-settings I make. I think I will do this only once (listen, adjust if needed and turn loudness on).  On my Marantz I alsno never change tone settings. I did this once (using Audessey meusurements), listened, played with the settings until I reached my prefered optimal settings and be satisfied with it. Sometimes I play with tonal settings again, but everytime I come back to the same settings...

Your Marantz NR1402 is almost the same as my NR1602 (except airplay, 2 extra channels, network functionality and arc).
Do you have it connected to the same (stereo) speakers as you use with your BS9000 and the Playmaker?

If so, can you tell me how the soundquality from the NR1402 compares to the soundquality coming from the Playmaker or the BS9000?
I ask this because I'm still not 'convinced' it buying a Playmaker, and removing the Marantz, would give me a better sound quality.
I wan't to buy a Playmaker for two reasons:
1> to get a better sound quality (if I'm already not at the 'limits' of my BL8000 mkII's...) 
2> to get a cleaner look (nothing vissible under the floating shelf)
(and 3> I like the looks of the Beoplay A8 remote (which I want to use with the PM) very much. Would look a lot more stylish than the Marantz remote on my table) 

 

Jeff
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Jeff replied on Mon, Oct 10 2016 5:51 PM

Sadly I can't give you a comparison as my video system, while collocated in the same room, is a different system than my audio setup. For video, I have a Panasonic VT series 65 inch plasma, the Marantz receiver, an Infinity LCR speaker that has all three channels in the same aluminum cabinet, an Infinity sub, and a pair of small passive surround speakers on stands on each side of the couch. I have an Oppo BlueRay and an Apple TV hooked to the receiver. My audio setup is a Beogram 3000 run into a phono preamp and then into the aux input of the PM, the PM hooked into the tape in on the BS9000 and the 9000 connected to my pair of Beolab 9s. My old BL8000s are in the dining room masterlinked to the 9000.

I suppose if you daisy chained the PM to the 9000 and used the tone controls you could get them both acting in concert, if you went plus one on each you'd have double the adjustment, but maybe not as simple as you might think as I'm not sure if they both have identical tone control profiles, it's possible they have different turnover points and different db/step setups. I tend to adjust things on the fly depending on the album I'm listening to, whereas on my video setup I set it up and then never really touch it.

Jeff

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

Irvine
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Irvine replied on Mon, Oct 10 2016 9:45 PM

The Playmaker will give you a much richer, clearer sound, particularly in the higher frequencies.  The DAC is superior and interfaces beautifully with the B and O speakers.  I had the Airport Express and, while more stable, had clearly inferior sound quality.  Playmaker needs a wired signal, though.

tuttivini
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Irvine:

The Playmaker will give you a much richer, clearer sound, particularly in the higher frequencies.  The DAC is superior and interfaces beautifully with the B and O speakers.  I had the Airport Express and, while more stable, had clearly inferior sound quality.  Playmaker needs a wired signal, though.

Good to hear the PM gives a much richer / clearer sound, compared to the Airport Express. I hope this will also be the case for my Marantz and the PM will be a good 'successor'.

Due to all the help in this topic I now know that the PM is a good performer and works with a Beoplay A8 remote.
I'm almost convinced to buy one.

I have some final questions"

- @Leduds: You confirmed that the Beoplay A8 remote works with the PM. Can you tell me how powerfull the ir-signal is? Because I want to hang the PM under the floating shelf (out of sight)

- My Philips tv only has an optical spdif audio (fixed volume) and a headphone output. I want to use the optical output, since the headphone output is of low quality.
The PM only has one analog rca input, so I need to convert SPDIF to RCA.
I know there are cheap converter boxes, but what about sound quality?
I mean these models:

Anyone who also uses this?
Or other suggestions? (I don't want to buy/use expensive usb-dacs for this task).

tuttivini
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Decided to buy a Playmaker today. A B&O dealer offered me his demo-model for a verrrrrrry good price.
Also bought a second hand Beo4 (dtv model) remote, because the b&o dealer couldn't deliver a Beoplay a8 remote. He could only order them with a minimum of 5 pieces at one time...

So in a few days my PM and my Beo4 remote will be delivered to my home.
Also ordered a Cavus rj45 to 2xPL converter:


I hope I can connect my BL8000's directly to the PM with this converter and my original B&O PL cables.

So my only remaining question (ask above):

What quality can I expect from a toslink to rca converter and what model to choose? 

Can't wait to test the Playmaker... 

tuttivini
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Unfortunately no answers to my last questions, but couldn't wait anymore Big Smile...
So I ordered all items (including the digital spdif to analog rca converter) and tested them last Sunday.

The Playmaker is excellent!!! It does everything I need. It switches automatically between the sounds coming from the tv, dlna and airplay. I can control it with my iPad and Beo4. I don't have to aim the Beo4 at all.  Sound is great. More crisp, compared to the Marantz. TV Sound with the converter is also good.

The Playmaker is 100% stable. It's a mk2 model connected to wired network. It plays FLAC, even in 24bit 96Khz (I've read that only the mk1 would support flac, but I tested it with different dlna apps on iPad and Android, but it always works directly playing from my Synology NAS to the PM without transcription).
Airplay also works great. I can use the hardware volume buttons on iPad/iPhone and can also use the Beo4.
It remembers the last volume from the analog rca (tv) input and the streaming inputs separately, so it always nicely starts with the last used volumes.

So all in all it's a good replacement for my Marantz (which is a surround receiver and had a lot of functions which I didn't use and where making daily use more complicated).

Next step: Adding a B&O subwoofer Whistle (Playmaker->Subwoofer->Beolab 8000's mk2).
I'm going to look for a second life dealer which has both the BL2 and the BL11, so I can listen and compare them, before deciding... 
Suggestions? 

Millemissen
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Congratulations on your new setup.

I have used the Playmaker from day one - always thought that it is an underestimated and often frowned upon B&O device.

Your experience perhaps might inspire others to try out the Playmaker, if they have similar setup wishes - so thanks for getting back with your post.

MM

There is a tv - and there is a BV.

Jeff
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Jeff replied on Mon, Oct 17 2016 3:45 PM

Congratulations! Sounds like you are very happy with the results, and I agree your setup will look cleaner without the Marantz, even though you did integrate it very stylishly.

About toslink to RCA, it's basically a small DAC, and for TV sound I think most of them would be adequate. Maybe not as good as the Playmakers DAC, but good enough. It's so hard to actually compare what one sounds like compared to another, to do so requires level matching to within 0.1 dB as the human ear tends to interpret small differences in loudness as quality differences. Plus, listening to one, then listening to the other, unless you can switch very rapidly the human ear is also remarkably bad at actually remembering what something sounds like, which is why all controlled testing should allow rapid, as in much less than a second, switching. So I'm sure the device you got will do quite well.

BL2 vs. BL11, quite a decision. I agonized about the same thing when I had my BL8000s in the living room, which is a huge room where they just got lost. In my old house with a much smaller living room they did fine, not in the new house! As I say, I thought and thought and eventually bought a pair of BL9s. Big Smile So I never solved the original question in my mind.

I think the BL11 will add a little bass, and clean up the midrange on the BL8000s because it filters the bass out of them. It will also be easier to place where it's pleasing to the eye, even wall mountable. The BL2 will put out more bass, and has more range of adjustment (three settings for crossover freq as well as three for "position" or output level, whereas the BL11 only has the latter), but its placement may be more problematic. Many love it, some think it's too boomy for music but works well on movies, some think it works fine on music. I suspect a lot depends on room acoustics and placement, when you start to get a lot of deep bass placement of a sub is sometimes harder to find the optimal point. One technique I've heard recommended is to put the sub at your listening position, play some music, and walk around the room and find the spot where the bass sounds right to you, and that's where you put the sub.

I like the new BL19 sub, it looks wonderful, but it only has a low pass filter, so unless you use it with a Transmitter 1, which has a high and low pass crossover, it won't filter the bass out of the main speakers and setup might be a bit more challenging.

Jeff

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

tuttivini
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@Jeff: Thank you for your comprehensive reply! You are so right about the human ear tending to interpret small differences in loudness as quality differences! You explained it perfectly!

The new BL19 sub is still a little to pricey for me and I don't want to use a Transmitter 1.
I will keep you guys informed when I find a second-hand-dealer which has both the BL2 and the BL11 for sale.
I 'hope' the BL2 will perform good enough (fast/punchy/powerfull/well integrated
) with music (i do not doubt it's performance with movies), because I think the BL11 won't be powerfull enough for me ( the livingroom has a direct open connection with the dining and kitchen and the total open space is at least 84 square meters. 

 

Jeff
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Jeff replied on Tue, Oct 18 2016 3:27 PM

One possible advantage of a BL11 is that it's not end of life, so it should hopefully be easier to get serviced in the future. That being said, just from hanging around here I'd say the BL2 is pretty reliable, I seldom see posts about problems with them. Oddly, even though my living room and the dining room where I moved the BL8000s are both big (the dining room is part of an open kitchen, sun room, dining room area that's also open with a large opening to the living room) the 8000s sound much better in here. Decent bass, etc. I guess less overall square footage by perhaps a third or so, but different shape.

Will be interested in your experiences and which you choose, so please let us know how it works out!

Jeff

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

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