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Beolab 4000/6000/8000’s compared to Sonos Play 5 (single unit)

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paddycochrane Posted: Mon, Jan 7 2019 10:29 PM

Hi All,

Min having a heated debate with my brother and would like to get an opinion of some B&O experts hopefully without too much bias :)

Given that the Beolab speakers (4/6/8K) are considerably older than the Sonus Play 5 I would be interested to know how everyone feels they would compare interms of sound quality.

Does the 2 speaker configuration of the beolabs help make up for their age, and do you think the older speaker tech can compete with the Sonos Play 5?

I’m assuming in part due to the age difference between the two, I have been unable to find any decent online comparisons to help me with this ongoing debate.

Many thanks in advance for your thoughts on this matter.



The Beonic Man
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Hi Paddy,

I think this is a really interesting question.

Personally I would prefer to use BL4000s (my first choice) or BL8000s (or above, naturally) rather than any Sonos speaker. I believe the sound quality would not even be comparable with B&O, which would be way ahead in many regards, not just 'authentic' stereo reproduction.

I would not include the BL6000s since I see those more suited to rear speakers in a TV surround setup but that's just my personal opinion and preference.

Providing the BeoLabs sourced are well looked after I really don't see age being a problem. The BL4000s particularly are such an impressive stereo pair given their size and they still amaze me today. They have a warm sound to them, which I like but it depends what kind of sound you are accustomed to and/or your own ears tuned in to. They are one of my favourite speakers of all time from B&O along with the BL3s which are incredibly capable... and that's an understatement!

I do like Sonos and appreciate what they do and the market they have created and penetrated as such, but if you looked at build quality, I very much doubt you will be anywhere near the quality of the BeoLabs from the 80s and 90s that were just beautifully thought about and beautifully manufactured. Bang and Olufsen know what they are doing when it comes to speakers, they really do.

All the best,

BV11-46, BV8-32, V1-32, BS2, P6, A1, H95, E8, BR1, Beo4, Essence

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Original Play:5's sounded awful.  Current version Play:5's sound much, much better!  Then add the auto-equalization supported in Sonos's (very responsive and almost bulletproof) iOS app and you get good sound.  Also bear in mind that you can do a stereo pairing of two Play:5s -- I would.  Add their wireless sub if you wish.  Done: You get an easy-to-use front end for all music services, incl. your home library, for USD500+500+700 total.  The Sonos industrial design is not as sleek, but the app is so superior as to redeem their pedestrian (unobtrusive?) looks.

It has been too long since I heard BeoLab 4000's; they were very pretty but sounded muddy -- possibly from the (typical store) mounting hard into the wall/ceiling corner.  Plus they were unseemly costly at that time, so I didn't buy them.  BeoLab 6000's I never even bothered to listen. The BeoLab 8000's were absolutely beautiful and sounded... OK, but there is a wide variety of opinion.  Mine is: they have a "house sound" (frequency response curve) that you either like or don't.

If you go through just a teeny bit of trouble, you can buy both!  You can easily resell BL4000's for what you paid -- if, as I bet, you think they sound worse. Vs. the Sonos set comes with a 45-day return policy from Sonos or 30-day from  So you can send them back, if your eyes win over your ears and you just can't countenance plastic speakers (quite solid, but nevertheless...) in your beautiful modernist loft.

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My friend has the Sonos at home, and I just hooked up a pair of newly acquired Beolab 4000.

I was impressed how the sonos filled the room. It has a very filling bass. And it is very good for background music at a party.

If I where to throw a party I would prefer the sonos.

But for actually listening to music, Beolab 4000 all day long Big Smile

"You think we can slap some oak on this thing?"

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Have installed both.

As mentioned before, the B&O speakers have greater depth and presence and only noticeable to the discerning few.

One client compared the two (although MK1 P5) against an A2.

He was so convinced by the A2 he bought the Beolit15 without even trying it.

The new P5 is a great speaker and as mentioned before, the price point is as such you can easily add a SUB to give even greater bass for around the same price of a B&O used set up, bearing in mind the B&O requires cables or TX&RX for wireless.

The APP is also very easy to use and they are 99% fit and forget

However, the B&O are not just speakers they are also superb looking pieces of kit that look great in the home.
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Thanks everyone for their thoughts and input.

After finding a good deal on a pair of 4000's I've decided to go this route.

I have already have a pair myself and use them connected to a google chromecast audio dongle. 

The sound quality seems pretty good, and for the most part I have not had issues with wireless connections. Adjusting the volume is a little fiddly as the base volume is very loud.

The only other issues happened last week where for 2 days I was having issues connecting the spotify app with the chromecast audio dongle. Apparently it was a authentication issue with Spotify but it has since been resolved.

As mentioned by others the main of the benefit of the Sonos is srt up and ease of use, however I'm willing to sacrifice this for the superior looks of the B&O's. Also, the reasonable cost savings of 600UK pounds can not be ignored.




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