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BeoN00b trying to figure out an inherited multiroom system

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gehnaphore
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gehnaphore posted on Mon, Aug 16 2021 6:27 PM

Hello, all.  I have no experience with B&O (aside from the general lore that they are great), but recently have purchased a home with a B&O multiroom system installed in 2001, that has fallen into disuse.  The B&O world seems (to a n00b) a bit insular, and full of special terminology for which it is difficult to find technical specifications.  I'd like some help figuring out what my options are in getting this system working again and upgrading it for use by my family.

FYI, I'm very technical and DIY handy, but as stated I know next to nothing about B&O.

What I appear to have, based on my own sniffing around, is a bunch of "Beolink Passive" amps and wall controls distributed throughout the house (at least 7 of these amps, probably a few more).  These were connected back to a wall unit that used to hang in the family room, which seems to be a Beosound 9000 MK2.  It's very pretty, I am told by the previous owner that it still works and it looks to be in very good condition, but I haven't played a CD for many years, so I can't see putting it back into service.

I am looking for some way to get these amps and speakers (which I assume must sound good, given the B&O reputation) working together with some kind of modern streaming setup (playing from Spotify Connect, Airplay, etc.) These things seem to be connected over proprietary "MasterLink" and/or "PowerLink" cabling (I see both kinds of connectors) and use proprietary wall panels for control, so if I cannot get some kind of B&O upgrade that makes use of them, I guess my only other option is to tear out the amps and replace with some Wifi-connected amps, but it would be a shame to lose the wall controls and the likely superior sound of the B&O amps.

It is hard to find any information on what the upgrade paths might be for this system.  I see some talk about a "Beosound Core", but that seems like it does not talk over MasterLink and may be intended for more recent B&O gear.  Some people seem to suggest that I could hook up SONOS systems (e.g., the "Connect" or "Port") to each amp, though that sounds like a lot of money to pay, especially since I can't see ever using more than 2 sources at a time.  Anyone have a pointer to some reading I could do to educate myself on my options?  Has anyone dealt with a similar upgrade?

Thanks,

--geh

 

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Noah
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Noah replied on Mon, Aug 16 2021 6:47 PM

Hello there. I have had questions on the same topic, but I know some stuff.

If you want whole home wifi/bt streaming, plug a streaming device into the aux port in the back of the 9000. Then you can control the 9000 thru the wall pucks or Beolink 1000/beolink 4 remotes. 

If you can't figure how to work the whole home system like that (or you want individual room control), You can use air port expresses (see link 1) and hook them into the passive amplifiers. Sounds Heavenly (link 3) makes great cables to help you connect everything.  Each airport will run you out 45$

The control pucks on the wall will control the amps volume and power/mute state. 

You will also need a really good and stable wifi system. I heavily recommend Eero wifi gear. I own like 10 of there access points and they never fail. (link 2)

 

Heres some links that will help you 

(1) https://www.geardistro.com/apple-airport-express-a1264

(2) https://eero.com

(3) https://soundsheavenly.com

-Noah M. 

RL 60.2, Beogram 5500, Beomaster 5500, Master Control Pannel 5500, Audio Terminal Remote, H9i, Beovox s45.2, Beosystem 2500 , Beogram 1602, Beolink 1000 remote, Beosound 2000, Beoremote 4. 

Looking for: Beocenter 8000

Noah
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Noah replied on Mon, Aug 16 2021 6:47 PM

Hello there. I have had questions on the same topic, but I know some stuff.

If you want whole home wifi/bt streaming, plug a streaming device into the aux port in the back of the 9000. Then you can control the 9000 thru the wall pucks or Beolink 1000/beolink 4 remotes. 

If you can't figure how to work the whole home system like that (or you want individual room control), You can use air port expresses (see link 1) and hook them into the passive amplifiers. Sounds Heavenly (link 3) makes great cables to help you connect everything.  Each airport will run you out 45$

The control pucks on the wall will control the amps volume and power/mute state. 

You will also need a really good and stable wifi system. I heavily recommend Eero wifi gear. I own like 10 of there access points and they never fail. (link 2)

 

Heres some links that will help you 

(1) https://www.geardistro.com/apple-airport-express-a1264

(2) https://eero.com

(3) https://soundsheavenly.com

-Noah M. 

RL 60.2, Beogram 5500, Beomaster 5500, Master Control Pannel 5500, Audio Terminal Remote, H9i, Beovox s45.2, Beosystem 2500 , Beogram 1602, Beolink 1000 remote, Beosound 2000, Beoremote 4. 

Looking for: Beocenter 8000

Noah
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Noah replied on Mon, Aug 16 2021 6:48 PM

also sorry I replied twice. It was a glitch 

-Noah M. 

RL 60.2, Beogram 5500, Beomaster 5500, Master Control Pannel 5500, Audio Terminal Remote, H9i, Beovox s45.2, Beosystem 2500 , Beogram 1602, Beolink 1000 remote, Beosound 2000, Beoremote 4. 

Looking for: Beocenter 8000

gehnaphore
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Thanks for the reply!

So it sounds like my options are:

  1. Reconnect the BS9000 and attach a single source to the aux port, and basically use it as a very large, heavy, pretty line-in distribution block.
  2. Disconnect the ML cables and attach special PL adapters that pull the PL 5v trigger line either on audio input or (in the case of something like the Sonos Port) converted from an external 12v trigger.  Attach one of these sources per amp (or maybe chain some of them if the cabling works out).

If I go with #2 but using a cheaper option like an Airport Express, can it sync multi-room audio?  Or would I be unable to group rooms, etc.?  Also, it looks like Sounds Heavenly only has cables with their own external power supply which pull the 5v trigger on audio input, whereas something like the Sonos Port has a 12v trigger built-in, and could use something like this: https://www.av-connection.com/?PGr=1760. Is there a reason I would want one over the other (aside from avoiding having to find 3 AC plugs per amp, and cost...)

Your warning about stable wifi is well-taken, though I would probably hard-wire where possible and use a Unifi system, so I am not worried about that aspect.

Thanks again!,

--geh

 

gehnaphore
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I guess I'll also add: am I justified in trying to keep the existing amps (for sound quality reasons), or should I be considering just replacing these things with something like the Sonos Amp?  It would be more expensive, but if we are talking about adding two more plugged-in components per amp just to retrofit these things, maybe it doesn't make sense to throw good money after bad...?

--geh

 

Noah
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Noah replied on Mon, Aug 16 2021 9:02 PM

Hello. With the airport expresses you can group them. At my house, I have about 8 airport expresses and a Mac mini as a media server. I heavily recommend getting a Mac mini as a "base of operations." All you need is 8gb ram, 256gb ssd and a 4 core processor. You can find them pretty cheap. Just make sure they can run recent Mac OS releases.

If you have the money, Sonos connects would be better because of the all in one package, but B&O will sound better. I don't know about the 12/5v trigger, maybe they have auto on? I think you can control the power with the control pucks. Sounds heavenly might make a switch to trigger the power. https://soundsheavenly.com/link-input/69-465-singletwin-rca-to-beolink-passive-mcl2p-powered-trigger-kit.html#/2-length-1mThough the cable is expensive all in its about 120$ per room, and Sonos connects are about 200-350$, so its certainly cheaper. 

-Noah M. 

RL 60.2, Beogram 5500, Beomaster 5500, Master Control Pannel 5500, Audio Terminal Remote, H9i, Beovox s45.2, Beosystem 2500 , Beogram 1602, Beolink 1000 remote, Beosound 2000, Beoremote 4. 

Looking for: Beocenter 8000

Stan
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Stan replied on Mon, Aug 16 2021 9:30 PM

Some random thoughts if I were in your shoes:

If you don't see yourself playing CDs, the BS9000 also has an AM/FM radio (but, in my experience, you need external antennas to pick up anything).

If you have no desire to use the BS9000, I might go the "rip-and-replace" route.  The BeoLink Passive amps are very good, but can anyone really hear the difference between a very good and good amp?  I guess this depends on the speakers and the room dynamics, but if the speakers are in-ceiling or in-wall, chances are, you'll not notice the difference, especially for casual listening of streaming audio.  I'm assuming the Sonos is at least a "good" amp (I have no experience with Sonos)?  The Passive's regularly sell for ~$100 on eBay so there's that.  You can probably sell the control panels as well.

I have no experience with connecting an airport express to a passive, but I can agree with it being a hassle if it actually requires an external triggering device.  3 powered devices per room X 7, ugh!.  Also, how long are the used airports going to last given that they're already a few years old?  Also, do the airports support Airplay 2 which I believe is required for synchronized multi-room?

You might look for some 2nd hand Beosound Essence Mk2s or new/2nd hand Beosound Cores.  With the right cable (from sounds heavenly), these can be connected directly to the passive without the need for an external triggering device.  They can play individually or synchronized.  The Essence Mk2 is a previous version of the Core. You wouldn't necessarily need one device per room if you are OK with playing the same source in multiple rooms (and can easily route a PL cable from the Essence/Core to multiple Passives).  That is, one Core or Essence can be connected to multiple Passives (again, with the correct cables and/or PL splitters).  You would use a phone app to control these devices and their volume.

However, a 2nd hand Essence Mk2 runs ~+$500 and the Core is even more expensive.  However, this would probably give you the best sound, but, again, maybe it doesn't matter that much.  The Essence mk2 might also be orphaned by B&O in the next few years since it's been out of production for quite a while (I hope not since I own 2 which drive Passives).  Then again, "orphaned" should not mean "stops working" (at least until Spotify, TuneIn, Deezer, Apple or Google change their protocols).  I'm also not sure if the Essence Mk2 supports Airplay2, but that is less important since it supports B&O multi-room.

Millemissen
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gehnaphore:

Hello, all.  I have no experience with B&O (aside from the general lore that they are great), but recently have purchased a home with a B&O multiroom system installed in 2001, that has fallen into disuse.  The B&O world seems (to a n00b) a bit insular, and full of special terminology for which it is difficult to find technical specifications.  I'd like some help figuring out what my options are in getting this system working again and upgrading it for use by my family.

FYI, I'm very technical and DIY handy, but as stated I know next to nothing about B&O.

What I appear to have, based on my own sniffing around, is a bunch of "Beolink Passive" amps and wall controls distributed throughout the house (at least 7 of these amps, probably a few more).  These were connected back to a wall unit that used to hang in the family room, which seems to be a Beosound 9000 MK2.  It's very pretty, I am told by the previous owner that it still works and it looks to be in very good condition, but I haven't played a CD for many years, so I can't see putting it back into service.

Hi and welcome to the Beoworld forum.

First of all - it basicly depends on what you want to achieve.

The MasterLink based setup (with the BS9000 as the master and the passives as slaves (or linked products) is a one point setup…..meaning you play from the master and can join in (or not) from each of the linked products/rooms/passives.

If you are ok with listening to the same source in every room, the ML setup as of now could be repurposed.

However, if you want to be able to play different sources in different rooms at the same time, you will have to make some changes.

These may come expensive - and you will not be able to utilize the link-eyes (the round wall control units) in the respective rooms for volume controlling etc.

This means - before giving any advices, one needs to know something about your expectaions and wishes.



By the way - you write about ‘Masterlink and/or Powerlink cabling). If the setup consists of ‘passives’, you should not see any Powerlink - apart from what could be in the room with the BS9000.

This makes it even more complicated to give proper advice. 

The best thing to do, would be to get in contact with a skilled B&O technician in order to get an overview of what you actually have…..and also to know if the cabling is intact.

If you want to try anything out on your own, you could start with reconnecting the BS9000….if it has been taken down. Then pop in a CD (the User Guide can easily be found on the B&O website) and go around to each of the rooms to push the CD button on a Beo4 (this will be needed!!!)

Furthermore you could connect an external device (an Airport Express or alike…..might even be a mobilephone) to the Aux input on the BS9000 (you’ll of course need the right adapter cable). Then push A.Aux on the Beo4 (for howto do this, please ask if needed). This way you could find out whether you will get sound in each of your rooms or not.

 

MM

There is a tv - and there is a BV.

Millemissen
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@ gehnaphore

And what about the speakers in the rooms (where these passives are) - are they still there….and which ones?

MM

There is a tv - and there is a BV.

trackbeo
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I have a cynical point of view: It's all about decor.  Do you think the BS9000 and the wall controls look cool?  Or would you prefer pure magic, "music out of nowhere"?  And are you willing to patch&paint the holes when you remove the controls?  Do you want a pair of beautiful iconic local speakers (BL18) to sit by the 9000?  Or are all your per-zone speakers hidden in the ceiling and custom painted to match (as @MM sort of asks above)?

If you are in awe of the look, keep the 20-year-old equipment and add Airport Express (1 on the 9000, or multiple 1-per-zone if you really like using iDevices to drive your music).  If not (or if you really like the Sonos user interface), scrap the B&O detritus and install Sonos Amps 1-per-room.  Installing Sonos Ports just to make use of the B&O amps seems silly; they were fine for a compact, B&O-integrat-able zone expander, but nothing special otherwise.  If you're willing to go to the trouble to sell them, you can make up much of the price difference between a Port and an Amp, because the Port is probably the lowest feature/$ of Sonos offerings.

P.S. #1: If you, like me, really want local volume control on the wall, and only want to wrestle with an app to *select* the music or station, then you can still use Sonos but pass on the wall-patching and buy a bunch of Lutron Caséta Audio Pico's to cover the holes and control the local Sonos zone. (requires 1 Lutron Caséta gateway, cheap and simple to integrate, unless you exceed 75 devices)

P.S. #2: I assure you that at some point during your children's lifetimes, you will, indeed, want to have different sources for different zones.Wink

gehnaphore
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Thanks for the tip on the Lutron controllers, definitely would make losing the wall controls more palatable.

Honestly, I think the BS9000 is pretty cool looking, but I can't see ever playing CDs with it.  And anyway, the ML cables happen to terminate on a wall that we are considering replacing with a door, so it really doesn't make sense to hang it as a motionless art piece.

And as to the speakers, they are all in-ceiling and in-wall, so no aesthetic to maintain there at all.

Thanks for the advice; I am leaning in that direction.  But as both the Sonos Port and Amp are backordered and say they will not be available again until November(!), I guess I will have a while to think about it.  :-)

--geh

 

trackbeo
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gehnaphore:
Honestly, I think the BS9000 is pretty cool looking, but I can't see ever playing CDs with it.  And anyway, the ML cables happen to terminate on a wall that we are considering replacing with a door, so it really doesn't make sense to hang it as a motionless art piece.
Well then, permit me a couple more hintopinions: (1) The ML cables might not have to be abandoned, if they "go in the correct direction" away from the proposed door and past a new mounting location for the 9000.  A Greenlee CS-8000 ($850 but you could hire a person with one instead) can actually track the wires behind walls, if you must know *before* starting demolition. (2) Sonos will raise prices before that backorder date.  From their 3Q investors' call: "We always evaluate our prices based not just on cost, but...where we are from a supply perspective and what the demand is.  And when we look at all the risk factors, we will be raising some prices ahead of our next fiscal year." Just like... B&O!  Ugh, rent-seekers.  (3) Lutron Audio Picos look utilitarian vs. *any* of the B&O wallmount controls, from the original MCL rectangles up through the Essence wheelie!  Wish I could afford to wallmount Halos in every room...  But the Picos can also be tossed on the side table etc.  Just test one in advance to ensure their radio signals (431 MHz) reach all rooms; cheap insurance.  (4) The 9000 is so pretty, I would keep 1 passive amp just to drive a local zone, or buy a floor stand and B&O powered speakers -- even if you take it off the wall and migrate the rest of the house into the 21st century, whether by Sonos, Control4, Crestron, or B&O.

P.S. #3: Don't forget to send a postcard!  (I.e., shoot some photos for this thread or Flash your B&O - new thread! if you go that route.)

Stoobietoo
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Could you not replace the Beosound 9000 with a Beosound 5 and at least you will be able to distribute your digital music collection. It would be a simple swap out. Plus it will play whatever else it is capable of playing connected externally (which others may help with).And no CD player. (unless you buy the CD ripper with it)

Stoobie

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