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Is stereo still a thing? aka. Is one BEOPLAY A9 MKII enough?

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BlindZenDriver
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BlindZenDriver posted on Fri, Jan 4 2019 11:22 PM

So in my living room I have a nice classic stereo setup as in Squeezebox, D/A converter, high end amp and two big passive speakers (sorry, not B&O) and I am considering a music solution for the bed room. As I try to keep things as simple as possible for the bed room I am considering a BEOPLAY A9 MKII, however I wonder about stereo with such a setup - is there such a thing as to simple a setup?

The question is really both a BEOPLAY A9 MKII question, but also a general one when looking at all the active one speaker setups that are being bought these days. It sort of has me wondering - all the work I did with how my speakers was placed in my living room with my, now old school, setup is that just not needed anymore? Or is it that the convenience of just the one speaker has won over the loss in audio quality? Or is the truth somewhere in between?

Bottom line. Being used to listening to a good classic stereo setup will the A9 work for me, or am I serviced just as well by just cranking up the volume in the living room when locating my self in the bed room?

Also. A bit off topic for this thread, but I plan to have my Logitech Music Server act as a DLNA server to feed the A9. If there is good or bad things about this do say so.

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Millemissen
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BlindZenDriver:

Comparing the specs of the M2 with the Mk3 does have me scratching my head, there is a massive bump in power going to the latest generation(specs copied from the B&O website).

Beoplay A9 2nd generation
1 x 160 watt class D for bass
2 x 80 watt class D for midrange
2 x 80 watt class D for treble

Beoplay A9 3rd generation
1 x 400 watt class D for bass​
2 x 200 watt class D for midrange​
2 x 200 watt class D for fullrange​
2 x 150 watt class D for treble

I mean the 480 watt of the 2nd gen is almost embarrassing compared to the 1,500 watt of the new one - class D makes for crazy numbers.

Don’t worry too much about these specs - they tell you something about the amp modules used in the new gen.

They don’t necessarily tell you something about how loud it can play.

But....any A9 can play loud - louder than most people want it, especially in a bedroom.

Not having heard the new version yet, I’d suppose that this (with the additional drivers on the back) will have an even more uniform tonal balance in the room - especially in a bigger room.

You can only find out about these things listening to it and to the earlier versions.....if you can make that possible.

MM

There is a tv - and there is a BV.

Millemissen
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If BlindZenDriver would want to stick with integrating the Squeezebox Duet solution, he already is into streaming - or rather he could be.

The Squeezebox has support for Spotify and even Deezer - it was/still is a highly flexible solution.

In this case any of the A9’s would do.

But I agree - the 2nd and 3rd gen does streaming natively.

Personally I’d prefer the 2nd gen....since they have ditched Spotify Connect support on the new one.

But that is just me 😏

MM

There is a tv - and there is a BV.

Millemissen
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Aussie Michael:

if you're going to get an A9, get the Mk3 when it comes out.  You may get in to streaming in the future and you'll be sorry it's not the latest. 

Ooops - that comment above was meant for Aussie Michael....forgot the quote.

MM

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moxxey
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Suggested by Aussie Michael

Millemissen:

But....any A9 can play loud - louder than most people want it, especially in a bedroom.

This is very true and something I was trying to say previously about not being encouraged solely on watts/power.

I'm more than happy with my A9. I'd even go as far as it's possibly one of the best B&O purchases in the last 10 years, in terms of power, design, sound quality and performance. A6 was terrible in comparison and sold.

If I was going to get an A9, I'd take advantage of some of the discounted MKII's dealers are selling off on the market right now.

Earle
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Earle replied on Tue, Jan 8 2019 5:07 PM

Hey All,... I figured I'd contribute to this one since it was incidentally on my mind recently.

Does anyone remember when Apple (the real Apple:EMI) released all the mono versions of Beatles Mono tracks in back in 2014? That really got the debate going, and it honestly awoke questions within me that I never in my life entertained.

I feel like stereo definitely has its place and will always be relevant. However, the second part is how well the source was mixed. If you recall the stereo versions of some Beatles tracks that were originally in mono, they were remixed into stereo in a horrible way (from an audiophile's POV). I will admit, the strong separation led to quite a successful novelty that still give smiles to anyone that listens. 

But if you think about it, listening to a source with strong separation through headphones, doesn't quite give you the best true experience. Just listen to any of the tracks that were remixed in to stereo (Girl 2009 remaster is a good one). The separation isn't quite 100%, but pretty close. It the band was playing right in front of you, John and George weren't exactly playing right up your left year, but even then, your right ear would pick up more than what the stereo release would indicate. This is a problem for stereo-in-headphones. But like I said, it's still an enjoyable gimmick that won't go away anytime soon.

I feel like the best mixes tend to be recordings of orchestras, but even then, the level of separation needs to be careful. For a front row seat, i like the 1st violin to be right at 10 degrees from center, and violins at maybe 15 degrees further, with some further out to even 80 degrees. Trumpets and trombones closer to 5 degrees off center. Of course, the further your virtual seats might be, everything might be closer to center (mono)

5.1 is a totally different ballgame, but it should still follow basic rules about how much separation is given during the final mixing. 

My total unprofessional opinion is to have stereo, but maybe not have the L and R speakers quite so far apart,... so the A9 might be the best solution to achieve this. with headphones, you're quite restricted. Your source might have decided to place drums 100% in your left ear, which would never happen in real life.

An interesting experiment would be to butt up all your L and R speakers right next to each other and maybe just angle the out so slightly.

I'll have to wait for someone else to try this,... I have too many wires to deal with to give this one a go! 

Anyway, hope I've added somewhat... I hate staying quite for this long.

BlindZenDriver
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moxxey:

Millemissen:

But....any A9 can play loud - louder than most people want it, especially in a bedroom.

This is very true and something I was trying to say previously about not being encouraged solely on watts/power.

I'm more than happy with my A9. I'd even go as far as it's possibly one of the best B&O purchases in the last 10 years, in terms of power, design, sound quality and performance. A6 was terrible in comparison and sold.

If I was going to get an A9, I'd take advantage of some of the discounted MKII's dealers are selling off on the market right now.

Just for the record. I am in no doubt that the A9 has more than ample power and that it is the case for all the versions. I should have elaborated a bit more about the specs I posted, basically the numbers are so big I find them absurd and that is for the Mk1 and Mk2 - the numbers for the Mk3 is beyond absurd.

For reference the amp I use in my living room is a Electrocompaniet which is 2x50 watt, another measurement is weight as it gives a rough idea on construction and in there it pretty much matches the A9 (Except of course only A9 uses Class D amps. The bottom line for me is that the numbers doesn't matter, as long as they are big enough that the system is not stressed. With audio amps it is like powerful cars - power is nothing without control.

I haven't made up my mind on exactly what A9 to go for. It is interesting to me that the Mk3 has a changed speaker configuration and apparently also lots of changes to the electronics - I would love to see/hear B&O lets us all in on their thinking. I plan on hitting the local B&O shop, it is just a mile from here, to look, listen and interrogate them on the A9. I also have to decide on the visuals.

As suggested the Mk2 is more friendly to the bank account and I have seen it priced as low as $1.500 for a demo model with full warranty, but I want to hear or at least read some real reviews that compare the two before deciding. Unfortunately finding proper reviews of the A9 seems impossible - so far those I have found has been by gadget magazines, or similar, and they do not know to really review audio gear.

 

BlindZenDriver
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Earle:

Hey All,... I figured I'd contribute to this one since it was incidentally on my mind recently.

<SNIP>

I feel like stereo definitely has its place and will always be relevant. However, the second part is how well the source was mixed. If you recall the stereo versions of some Beatles tracks that were originally in mono, they were remixed into stereo in a horrible way (from an audiophile's POV). I will admit, the strong separation led to quite a successful novelty that still give smiles to anyone that listens. 

<SNIP>

My total unprofessional opinion is to have stereo, but maybe not have the L and R speakers quite so far apart,... so the A9 might be the best solution to achieve this. with headphones, you're quite restricted. Your source might have decided to place drums 100% in your left ear, which would never happen in real life.

An interesting experiment would be to butt up all your L and R speakers right next to each other and maybe just angle the out so slightly.

I'll have to wait for someone else to try this,... I have too many wires to deal with to give this one a go! 

Anyway, hope I've added somewhat... I hate staying quite for this long.

:-) What you express is much as I have come to think also.

For me stereo definitely has a place, but I have also come to the conclusion that while I love sitting down in the sweet spot and listen to music much of the time I listen without being in that sweet spot. This is why I have come to the place of even considering the A9, simply put if it plays all the music and creates a sound stage that is more that what a traditional single speaker does I imagine it will work well for the more unfocused listening. And it should also be a good deal better than my current way of bringing music to my bedroom, as that is simply playing music in the living room and letting it flow through the door - it is still music but...

Another experiment to the one you suggest which should be somewhat easier to do, simply try and aim your speakers more directly towards your listening spot. The precise effect will of course be dependent on how "pointy" you're speakers are, what reflections from your room does and all that but still it may give some sort idea on just how much or how little even small changes make. One can spend hours experimenting like that, fair warning once you get started you may find yourself moving around furniture to rey and change the reflections from the room also!

toptip
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Going back to the original question which started this thread, that of a single speaker used for stereo reproduction...

Some single speakers, like those made by Sonos, can be used in a pair for “true” stereo.

Is there such an option with the A9? Can one use TWO A9s, each connected to one channel of a stereo system? To start with, I do not know at this moment whether the A9 has an “input jack” to allow combining the two channels or whether any of its wireless connections can (Sonos’s do) but I am also curious whether the “stereo” set-up of its drivers would result in some weird effects?

Some “single speaker stereo” devices manipulate phase relationships between the two channels to simulate a broader stereo image. I wondered if the A9 does any such processing.

Aussie Michael
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To me the Beoplay A9 is not a single speaker.

There are speakers on the left and speakers on the right. To me that’s stereo.

As opposed to the A1 that is just one speaker.
beocool
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Aussie Michael:
To me the Beoplay A9 is not a single speaker.

 

 

There are speakers on the left and speakers on the right. To me that’s stereo.

 

 

As opposed to the A1 that is just one speaker.

I'd say so too. One might argue the left and right channel are too close to one another for the full stereo experience, but technically it's stereo. But some might judge otherwise: I remember when the A9 came out reading some comments it was way too expensive for a mono speaker...

 

Vähintään yhdeksänkymmentä prosenttia suomalainen! 

CB
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CB replied on Sat, May 4 2019 1:49 PM
toptip:
Some single speakers, like those made by Sonos, can be used in a pair for “true” stereo.

Is there such an option with the A9? Can one use TWO A9s, each connected to one channel of a stereo system?

I don’t think this build-in option exists for the A9, thought it’s always possible to imagine feeding two A9 with left/right sources...

However, this option exist in the B&O app, but is only available to some speakers, not all !?!

For example, one can pair two A1 or M5, but not two M3.

Weird...
Duels
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Duels replied on Sun, May 5 2019 8:43 AM
CB:

I don’t think this build-in option exists for the A9, thought it’s always possible to imagine feeding two A9 with left/right sources...

I think that if you did this you would only use half the power of each A9. You would isolate the left channel drivers of one and the right channel of the other. Thus you would get “better” separation but not much else.
chartz
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Hi,

For me, hi-fi is stereo, period.

The experience of “being there” is just impossible in mono.

I want to feel the 3-D atmosphere of the venue the recording was made at.

Our hearing is binaural and I see no point listening in mono.

I will never understand why those Bluetooth mono contraptions sell at all, just not real hi-fi to me (I listen to electrostatics mainly).

I’ve just found a nice Beogram 1500 and it does have two speaker sockets Stick out tongue

Jacques

CB
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CB replied on Sun, May 5 2019 10:07 AM

I'm not fully with you on this, Jacques... (or only partially with you if you prefer Wink )

If you're listening to a single singer/speaker or musician, it's mono.

If you're listening to a distant audio source, it's mono (like being in the back of a concert hall for example)

If you want to be "there" (i.e. close to a multiple spreaded audio source, then it's a 2D/3D scene, and stereo a way to achieve this.

The BS Shape should be (is it really ?) a better solution than stereo as I imagine it.

Millemissen
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Happy sweet-spotting 😉

MM

There is a tv - and there is a BV.

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