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Beolab 20 + Beolab Core: Optical +/- Powerlink

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Norse Code
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Norse Code posted on Mon, May 24 2021 5:11 PM

I'm a very happy user of some BL 8000s and as an upgrade I have a pair of Beolab 20s, a Core and an Essence Remote on their way to me, so am after advice on the best way to connect them.

Ideally I would like to connect them up using the optical link. From lurking searching on here I see that several models (BL5, BL50) the optical cable carries the unmodified signal and it also needs to be connected by Powerlink to send the volume signal to the speakers. 

https://forum.beoworld.org/cfs-file.ashx/__key/CommunityServer.Components.PostAttachments/00.00.26.97.65/85d7c82d_2D00_1a68_2D00_49a4_2D00_888f_2D00_0614addcc8e6.jpg

 

In the Beolab 50 technical guide in section 5.2.8 it also says the volume is controlled over Powerlink and both should be connected.

https://support.bang-olufsen.com/hc/en-us/articles/360042434432-Beolab-50-technical-sound-guide

 

Is this also true of the Beolab 20s? I've seen various threads on here complaining about volume issues and noise so just wondering whether that's the solution. 

I have optical cables and some shielded Cat6a cables so can connect it all up in various different ways. The Core will get its signal by optical from a TV (which also has a Beosound Stage connected but that's another story) or from the built-in Chromecast.

Separately, I wish there was a more detailed set of instructions for the BL20s, the online manual is pretty basic. 

Thanks for your help!

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Norse Code
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I think I may have answered my own question as with a slightly better reading I see the manual says 

Note that all connected sources must be volume regulated.

 

So the best thing to do is connect by optical and use the Core's volume regulation? Or just go old school and stick with Powerlink?

Geoff Martin
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Norse Code:

I'm aIn the Beolab 50 technical guide in section 5.2.8 it also says the volume is controlled over Powerlink and both should be connected.

https://support.bang-olufsen.com/hc/en-us/articles/360042434432-Beolab-50-technical-sound-guide

Hi,

The BL50 TGS that you link to here is a very old version. (Note that some of the text in there is in gray, which indicated that it was a feature or behaviour that was not implemented.)

The current version of the TGS can be downloaded from here:

https://bangolufsenassistentgohe.blob.core.windows.net/manuals/SPEAKERS/BEOLAB%2050/beolab_50_technical_sound_guide_version_6.pdf

Regarding your question about the Core and the 20s, I would suggest that you try both and decide which you prefer, however, the optical signal path will give you the "cleaner" result, since it eliminates the noise floor associated with the digital-to-analogue-to-digital conversion. Whether you use the Power Link or the optical connection, the volume control is happening in the Core, and since the optical output is using a 24-bit word length, then you have a little over 140 dB dynamic range to play with, which is much more than can be available in the analogue signal path.

Cheers
-geoff

Millemissen
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Norse Code:

The Core will get its signal by optical from a TV (which also has a Beosound Stage connected but that's another story) or from the built-in Chromecast.

Apart from the basics of connecting the BL20’s to a BS Core, you should be aware that you can not connect ‘something’ to a tv using both the optical out and the HDMI out there at the same time.

Which tv are you using and what is ‘the another story’?

MM

There is a tv - and there is a BV.

Norse Code
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Yeah the other story is whether my TV will output sound over optical out and the HDMI ARC at the same time. I take it you think it won't, which is also my assumption, though I've read that some models do send the optical signal regardless of HDMI status.

It would be nice to have the Stage as a centre speaker for watching movies. Alternatively I could connect a HDMI audio extractor at the source (which is a PC) 

Norse Code
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Thanks for the info Geoff. I hadn't realised the BL20s didn't have an internal volume control, I'll aim for optical as you say. 

Millemissen
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Norse Code:

Yeah the other story is whether my TV will output sound over optical out and the HDMI ARC at the same time. I take it you think it won't, which is also my assumption, though I've read that some models do send the optical signal regardless of HDMI status.

It would be nice to have the Stage as a centre speaker for watching movies. Alternatively I could connect a HDMI audio extractor at the source (which is a PC) 

Interesting thoughts - however the BS Stage expects a bitstream sound signal via the HDMI/ARC from the tv....since it is able to decode the multichannel signal (including the Atmos metadata) itself. The BS Core/BL 20’s needs a 2 channel signal as an LPCM stream (means already decoded/downmixed).

Even if you somehow - with the audio extractor at the source - would manage to get sound to both devices, you most likely would have some serious delay problems doing so.

What you could do, might be to feed both the Stage and the BS Core/the 20’s with an analog 2 channel signal (using the line-in connections there)......splitting it up behind an extractor (set to 2 channel output). 
But even that would probably introduce some sound delay between the Stage and the 20’s.

And.....it would not make the Stage a center speaker when watching movies, as you wish for. 

Last not least, you’d have to deal with volume control of multiple devices.

MM

There is a tv - and there is a BV.

Norse Code
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Millemissen:

Interesting thoughts - however the BS Stage expects a bitstream sound signal via the HDMI/ARC from the tv....since it is able to decode the multichannel signal (including the Atmos metadata) itself. The BS Core/BL 20’s needs a 2 channel signal as an LPCM stream (means already decoded/downmixed).

Even if you somehow - with the audio extractor at the source - would manage to get sound to both devices, you most likely would have some serious delay problems doing so.

What you could do, might be to feed both the Stage and the BS Core/the 20’s with an analog 2 channel signal (using the line-in connections there)......splitting it up behind an extractor (set to 2 channel output). 
But even that would probably introduce some sound delay between the Stage and the 20’s.

And.....it would not make the Stage a center speaker when watching movies, as you wish for. 

Last not least, you’d have to deal with volume control of multiple devices.

MM

I agree. It is a bit of a long shot that the Stage would "just work" simultaneously with the BL20s, and probably no hope of correcting any sync differences. The BL20s are going to be either side of the TV but maybe a bit too far apart to be used for movies. It would be amazing if they were synced well and I could have a low volume coming through the Stage to centre the sound a little on the TV.

The sources for the setup (the TV is a Sony AG8) are the PC I mentioned and an Apple TV, as well as Chromecast directly into the Core. The Apple TV has a Tidal app which is pretty nice for playing music, and I also have music on the PC and sometimes play tracks off Soundcloud, so the priority is that whatever is playing on the TV can be picked up by the Core. I think I would prefer to mess with 2 volume controls than go into the TV menus and select a different sound output, if that's even possible. 

Thanks for your thoughts!

Curly
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Curly replied on Tue, May 25 2021 1:17 PM

As if Geoff’s suggestions ever need any support from us plebeians… FWIW, I have used optical Toslink connections between my Core and 17s and my Core and 18s and prefer the Toslink cables to Powerlink cables as I was getting some electromagnetic interference in the analog CAT7 cables. Going to fiber Toslink cured all that immediately with no negative side effects elsewhere. +1 on Toslink. :)

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

Previously: BeoSound 1 non-GVA

Norse Code
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Apart from the basics of connecting the BL20’s to a BS Core, you should be aware that you can not connect ‘something’ to a tv using both the optical out and the HDMI out there at the same time.

This turns out to be wrong, the TV is outputting sound to the optical connection at the same time as the HDMI ARC. 

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