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Questions/Advice from Beolab 50 Owners

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BeoJosh
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BeoJosh posted on Thu, Jan 28 2021 1:12 AM

Sorry for the long post, but I’d love some advice from Beolab 50 owners. In my living room, I have a Harmony 77 with 2 pairs of 18s and a 19 for surround sound and music. I love the setup and have no complaints, but after recently auditioning the Beolab 90s and 50s, I can’t get them out of my mind. I don’t have the room (or the budget) for the 90s, but I could potentially make the 50s work as the front left and right, and move that pair of 18s (and the 19) elsewhere in our home. 

I’d be sold already if it wasn’t for the layout of our living room. It isn’t typical, in that the sofas are parallel to each other—and perpendicular to the Harmony on one wall and the fireplace on the opposite wall—so there is no real sweet spot. For my music setting, I have the surrounds set to left and right, inverted from the left and right fronts, so no matter which sofa you’re on you have nice stereo imaging.

My dilemma has been that in my limited experience with them, and in everything I’ve read here, the 50s really shine in narrow mode—which doesn’t seem all that useful to me without a sweet spot. Therefore, I think I’d really only have the 50s in wide mode. My dealer says the room calibration alone is worth the upgrade, but given the investment it seems like a lot of money for a pair of speakers that I can’t take full advantage of. It’s like buying a sports car, but only driving under the speed limit. (And I like to drive fast.)

So my questions to owners of the 50s are a) Do you think the 50s in this scenario used exclusively in wide mode is enough of an improvement over my current setup to justify the money—and if so, why? And b) If yes, would you use the 50s on their own for music, or keep them in the same setup with the surround 18s where I have them as inverted L/R.

Thanks for reading—and the advice!

 

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Sandyb
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Sandyb replied on Thu, Jan 28 2021 7:50 AM

I just had my 50s installed last week, and calibrated this week.

I came from a setup with 18s as fronts, and a 19 and pair of 3s for other duties.

I'll let other more seasoned 50s owners chime in on the relative merits of wide mode - my room is not that large so thus far narrow mode pointed / calibrated for various positions works well for me. I may use wide (calibrated for the mid point of the room) for listening when I'm just wandering around, maybe.

In your current setup I'm guessing your 18s are therefore on the short walls, and perpendicular to the sofas facing each other? If so, how far apart are the 18s (left from right)?

In moving from my old 18s front to 50s front setup, I've spread my 50s to 5m apart from each other, and therefore wider than the 18s were.  In the week or so I've had them, I've been mighty impressed - and this is in narrow mode.

In your scenario, you may not need to use them in wide mode exclusively. You can tune a narrow mode calibration for one sofa, repeat for the opposite sofa, and create a listening preset that combines both. The app gives you the option to do that.

I haven't combined room compensation positions in this way myself as yet - maybe some of the more seasoned 50s owners who have can comment.

Remember these speakers are pretty flexible - you can listen in narrow calibrated for one sofa, and then if others install themselves on the opposite sofa, you can switch quickly to the combined preset (both sofas) as described above.

If your lounge room is not that big, like mine, narrow mode is more likely to work across your various listening spots anyway.

MaxH
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MaxH replied on Thu, Jan 28 2021 11:26 AM

Using 90s at the front, a couple of months ago I switched my 50s towards the middle of my room using them as surrounds with 18s at the rear.

Like you I have a couch that runs parallel to my normal listening position and a short while ago I decided to experiment with the 50s for listening to music. Despite one speaker being a little over 3 metres away and the other being nearly 5 metres away I was astounded to discover that I could produce a perfect phantom stereo image from the couch seating position. This was achieved merely by using the speaker settings on the Harmony and without any room calibration whatsoever, and they sounded great!   

It is a mistake to think you cannot have a sweet spot (or sweet spots) in the position you describe.

My advice would be to purchase a microphone and stand (or negotiate with the dealer :-) ) and learn how to calibrate because you can set up as many positions in narrow or wide as you like and combine them to your heart's content. There is an excellent video by Geoff Martin showing the process.

For my use I only ever use two speakers for music and sometimes use wide mode for listening to certain performances (orchestral for example) and others I know use wide mode most of the time.

Only you can decide about value for money, but I also exchanged a pair of 18s for the 50s and the results exceeded my most optimistic expectations by a long way. They bought me back to real music listening that I thought had been long-lost.

Fabulous speakers :-)

politician
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This seems like a classic case of the tail wagging the dog. Instead of allowing your room layout to dictate how you listen to your speakers, why don't you change your room layout to create a proper sweet spot? I have Lab 90s as fronts as rears, and my room is set up around my TV and speakers, not the other way round, with the positioning of the sweet spot measured down to the last centimetre to create a "golden triangle".

BeoJosh
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Thanks. This is most helpful. I'm glad you've been impressed, and that narrow mode is working well for you in your setup. It sounds like it might work well in mine, too, which would alleviate my concerns.

Sandyb
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Sandyb replied on Thu, Jan 28 2021 2:12 PM

How big is your room roughly.Mine (reference my response this morning) is 6m by 4.5m.

So in that size of room, I have narrow mode "pointed / calibrated" for 4 positions (sitting on floor, on sofa, in armchair, at the table), and one wide calibrated for mid point of room, for me wandering around. 

My experience, in the above situation, is that the narrow modes are more than sufficient.

There is in fact not that much difference between the various narrow mode calibrations

So I think narrow modes will be more than sufficient even in a room a bit bigger than mine.

Once you get to a much large space, then a broader range of setup options (both narrow and / or wide) will likely need to come into play. But if your room is in the vicinity of mine, or say up to 8m by 6m, I suspect narrow modes will be fine for you, even with your slightly sideways positioning.

BeoJosh
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Thanks. The room is roughly the same size as yours, about 6m x 5m. I'm glad to know the narrow calibrations are working well there. Your observations are very helpful and appreciated. You and the other posters have alleviated my concerns, so hopefully I'll soon join the Lab 50s owners club!

BeoJosh
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Thanks. The room is roughly the same size as yours, about 6m x 5m. I'm glad to know the narrow calibrations are working well there. Your observations are very helpful and appreciated. You and the other posters have alleviated my concerns, so hopefully I'll soon join the Lab 50s owners club!

Millemissen
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Here are some profound suggestions from someone, who - although not a BL50 owner himself - certainly knows how these work and how to get the most out of them.

Read here:

https://www.tonmeister.ca/wordpress/2017/08/09/bo-tech-beolab-50s-beam-width-control/

And watch the video here:

https://www.tonmeister.ca/wordpress/2017/08/10/bo-tech-introduction-to-features/


MM

 

There is a tv - and there is a BV.

BeoJosh
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Just wanted to thank everyone for taking the time to answer my questions--and for your insights. I've just today ordered a pair of 50s for delivery/installation in April--and am very excited for them!

Michael
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BeoJosh:

Just wanted to thank everyone for taking the time to answer my questions--and for your insights. I've just today ordered a pair of 50s for delivery/installation in April--and am very excited for them!

Congratulations!

Just in my couch, closing my eyes and enjoying this masterpiece on my beolab 50s. It feels like being in another world. Do the same when you get yours!

https://open.spotify.com/album/23xoWiWxu8SmDFXwoBsLLw?si=B9hRp2QGTaiXCCXpp7H-5w

Beolab 50, Beolab 8000 x 2, Beolab 4000 x 2, 
BeoSound Core, BeoSound 9000, BeoSound Century, 
BeoLit 15, BeoPlay A1, BeoPlay P2, BeoPlay H9 3rd Gen, BeoPlay H6, EarSet 3i, 
BeoVision Eclipse Gen 2 55", BeoPlay V1-40, 
BeoCom 6000 and so much else :)  

Sandyb
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Congrats - you'll really really like them, I'm sure.

my 50s arrived only a month ago, and they're fabulous.

I used 18s front with a 19 for both music / movies previously.

They filled the room fine for movies, but were less than I wanted for music.

But with the 50s now, music is just much much more fulfilling.

What trim did you go for?

 

 

BeoJosh:

Just wanted to thank everyone for taking the time to answer my questions--and for your insights. I've just today ordered a pair of 50s for delivery/installation in April--and am very excited for them!

 

Curly
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Curly replied on Mon, Feb 8 2021 8:15 PM

Congrats, Josh.

I'm also curious... did you choose the April date or is that the earliest your dealer could procure the speakers?

There has been some talk of product backlogs on the forum; I wonder if your situation is an example. Again, congratulations. I'm very jealous! :)

Currently: BeoLab 17, BeoLab 18, BeoSound Core, BeoPlay S8 Connection Hub, Essence Remote

Previously: BeoSound 1 non-GVA

BeoJosh
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Thanks! I was very tempted by the Golden edition, which I could've had sooner, but ultimately went with the brass/smoked oak that matches the other B&O products throughout our home. I wish I could have them sooner, but I'm told early April delivery was the first available unsold 50 for this particular finish. 

John
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John replied on Wed, Feb 10 2021 10:03 PM

Happy new speakers Josh, you'll love them. 

Just to chip in the wide / narrow beam width thing. From various training bits and bobs and from demonstrating and listening for pleasure in my store I can tell you how I use it. This applies to BeoLab 50 and 90. 

I tend to use narrow for one sweet spot on my own for music (always 2 channel with surrounds and TV speakers off), it's just the best! Mic calibration done at one chair in the center of the speakers where I sit to listen. Mic position for the calibration is round your head where you sit. Imagine a box on your head, measurement 1 in the middle of the box, between your ears. Measurement 2 move the mic to the bottom front corner of the box and measurement 3 opposite top rear corner of the box. This gives very accurate image for just one person. 

I use wide for music when more than one person listening where nobody is quite center and for movies regardless of solo or group listening. 

I take the mic measurements 1 - from the center of the couch, 2&3 from the other seats at ear level. You could also take measurements from more seats and select all of the filters to create an average although personally I wouldn't use more than 2 or 3 filters at the same time together. 

So narrow, super selfish on your own with a whiskey and Dark Side of the moon.

Wide listening with someone else or watching movies. Wide gives less bias to the left right channels of you are sitting off axis and spreads the experience over a wider area for more people at the slight cost of some imaging. It works well for movies to give a larger spread of effects across the front channels and better replicates a cinema sound system, especially when used with the TV as a center speaker and surround speakers. 

Either way play about and whatever sounds best to you is the right one. Hours of fun ahead, I'm a bit jealous!  :-) 

Hope this helps, 

 

John - Bang & Olufsen Manchester. 

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