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Beomaster 5 / Beosound 5 on a new future proof platform?

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Jens Rendboell
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Jens Rendboell Posted: Thu, Oct 21 2021 4:40 PM

Hello Beoworld

I am wondering if it would be possible to find a newer motherboard to install the BM5/BS5 on. In the end it is just a modified embedded Windows XP SP2, updated to SP3?

The challenge is with the modified bios and bios serial, but maybe we can find a newer, faster and more reliable Via or another board with a similar bios structure?

Another challenge is to find a board with the same input/output connectors, or to make/find adapters that fit the inputs/outputs on the ML-PL-module.

Isn't i mostly build on standard components and software?

Have a nice day.

Rendboell

Jens Rendboell
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You could even dream about loading the embedded Windows XP into a virtual machine on a small, fast, reliable and energy efficient modern PC.

Then you will have an all in one media centre, nas server and high quality audio system, which could be the engine behind a range of future B&O products.

This would bring B&O back to the vision from the last century with an all compassing multiroom system with a multiple of hardware configurations.

From middle of the road but high quality products to all consumers to very high quality and complex AV systems for the more wanting consumers.

I am certainly not a computer expert, but maybe we have PC/Windows experts in the Beoworld forum, who are willing to take up the challenge?

It could even be interesting for B&O to support such an "open source" project to engage the community in developing a more viable digital B&O system?

Maybe I am just a dreamer, but I would like to see B&O being the frontrunner of the audio industry as it was in the 70's, 80's and 90's.

Actually it should not be difficult to engage a very loyal Beoworld community.

Have a nice day.

Rendboell

Carolpa
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Carolpa replied on Thu, Oct 21 2021 6:18 PM

Jens Rendboell:
I am wondering if it would be possible to find a newer motherboard to install the BM5/BS5 on. In the end it is just a modified embedded Windows XP SP2, updated to SP3?
in 2012 when the official Microsoft support of XP embedded ended, I tried to install a newer Windows Embedded version on a Beomedia 1. I had it running with problems and decided to reinstall Windows 8 Embedded and thereof lost the complete B&o image of the Beomedia (my fault...). So that was the end of that project.....

But wouldn't it be much nicer if a new Core like device (with newest platform) would be developed with connection options to the BS5/BS5e UI unit (and of course the UI unit would be made available again). I think, despite the original BS5 problems, the look and feel and operation of this devices are still some of the best within streaming/digital media.

 

just an idea

 

or just develop a BS5 like new streamer.......

Gaea
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Gaea replied on Mon, Nov 15 2021 2:11 PM

I have thought about this also, something like a Raspberry Pi inside a BS5/BS5E.

The Beocreate project could be reactivated for this. (beocreate.bang-olufsen.com hifiberry.com)

Raspberry's are supported for many years to come

 

Gaea
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Gaea replied on Mon, Nov 15 2021 3:30 PM

I asked Beocreate on twitter and I got the following answer;

Hi Gerard, thanks for your interest in a remastered Beosound 5! We’ve experimented with this and it’s definitely in the realm of possibility, however, there are currently no plans in place. We’ll let let you know if/when that changes! // Tuomas/B&O

 

lechatsurletoit
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I would buy one

tph
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tph replied on Mon, Nov 15 2021 8:41 PM

Gaea:

I asked Beocreate on twitter and I got the following answer;

Hi Gerard, thanks for your interest in a remastered Beosound 5! We’ve experimented with this and it’s definitely in the realm of possibility, however, there are currently no plans in place. We’ll let let you know if/when that changes! // Tuomas/B&O

 

It's me who replied to you. Hello!

I'll just elaborate a bit on what I said there. Last year I purchased a BM5 + BS5 combo with the intention of connecting it to a Raspberry Pi and recreating/reimagining the original user interface on top of the Beocreate platform. It turns out to be totally possible, and I made a fair bit of progress on it – however, it was in the end a personal side project for which I was unable to devote all the time and effort I would've wanted. Some day I will resurrect it one way or another, because Beosound 5 is such a unique piece of hardware that deserves to be carried forward.

— Tuomas | Bang & Olufsen | Bang & Olufsen Create

Gaea
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Gaea replied on Mon, Nov 15 2021 9:19 PM

Hi Tuomas,

Thanks for the answerThumbs Up

It disturbs me a lot an internet connected device that had its last update in 2011, that's 10 years.

Although my BS5 encore works fine, it brings the rest of my network in jepardy lacking security updates.

It would be a great project to make the BS5 modern and sustainable, it deserves it.

beolion
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beolion replied on Tue, Nov 16 2021 8:19 AM
Indeed interesting. Almost makes me want to buy an extra BS5 if the idea is doable. The 2nd hand price is pretty fair imo.

I really like my BS5.

Master link is still important for me though.
TWG
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TWG replied on Tue, Nov 16 2021 9:57 AM

A port of the old interface to a new (and reliable!) hard- and softwareplatform would be great! That way it would be save to have the Beomaster 5 connected to the internet for internet radio streaming.

A highly commercial available like the Raspberry Pi would secure spare part availability. 

Did somebody try to extract the B&O software from the Beomaster and install it to a more modern Windows embedded system? Does it run on Windows 8.1 or 10? Hopefully the embedded version of Windows 10 (if it exists) doesn't force you with automatic updates and restarts all over the time :)

r5gordini
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r5gordini replied on Wed, Nov 17 2021 3:20 PM

As posted on my previous thread:

https://forum.beoworld.org/forums/t/49818.aspx

I've been looking into the feasibility of producing a fully open source hardware/software solution for the Beomaster/Beosound 5... My Beosound 5 is faulty...

For me, I'd be very interested in designing/building custom hardware to replace the original hardware in the Beosound 5, as well as the Beomaster. I've lots of experience with designing and building Arduino-based hardware and firmware. 

Thus far - I've looked at the hardware that reads the positions of the dials on the Beosound. It's just a set of optical sensors. I think it would be relatively easy to design the hardware to work with them. The LCD display just needs an LVDS signal and an inverter. It may even be possible to drive the original inverter. I'd really like to design everything from scratch so it can be supported for the future.

Then the Beomaster could be replaced by a Raspberry Pi or similar. As far as the B&O MOTS functionality, I also have experience with AI and machine learning. The possibilities are endless! Suggest tracks based on my previous listening history, play whole symphonies/albums rather than single tracks (if I seem to prefer that), etc., etc.

How about it? Would anyone be willing to join me on an open source project?

You'd need PCB/electronics design and/or Arduino programming experience...

Thanks!

Andrew

Jens Rendboell
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I would also like to work on a new software and eventually a new hardware setup to feed the BM5 DSP/DAC ML-PL-module to make the BS5/BM5 future proof.

Can we feed the ML-PL-Module and DSP/DAC with a cleaner signal by installing Windows XP SP3/4 with a high quality Windows XP audio driver or maybe even a higher quality soundcard with optical out to feed the BM5 ML-PL-module and DSP/DAC? Windows XP SP4: https://msfn.org/board/topic/171171-introducing-unofficial-windows-xp-sp4/

I believe this is possible, because I think the BS5 and media controller software is independent of the Windows XP audio engine and MOTS is making its calculations on the ML-PL-module.

Today, I actually managed to download the latest Beomaster 5 MK1 Update version 07.04.01.1945 from the B&O download page for the Beomaster 5 software update: http://cdn.portal.beo.com/ftp/BeoMaster5/Mk1/Prod/SWService/BeoMaster5_704011945.exe

Would it be possible to install the BM5 software on a Windows 10 compatible motherboard with LVDS output to the BS5 and DVI/HDMI output to a LCD panel?

Or even a Rasperry Pi setup with Windows 10 like this: https://www.techradar.com/uk/news/windows-10-on-arm-is-running-on-raspberry-pi-4-and-so-much-faster-than-pi-3

Sample / bit rate specifications of the BM5 DSP / DAC:

(1) Micronas MAS3530H DSP: Outputs 32, 44.1, 48 kHz. Can't find bit or sample rate supported, but the specs says S/PDIF PCM output or loop-through for all inputs. Do the BM5 Beolab 5 setup allow/provide 24/192 spdif audio output to the Beolab 5?

(2) Analog Devices AD1852 DAC: Accepts 16, 18, 20 and 24-bit, as well as 32, 44.1, 48, 88.2, 96 and 192 kHz.

So if we could bypass the Windows XP Audio Engine or install a 24/192 audio driver, then maybe the DSP/DAC supports 24/192 loop-/pass-through to the AD1852 24/192 DAC?

One of these days, I will make a try to use my old Hercules 1612FW 24/96 to feed the BM5 DSP/DAC.

Best regards,

Rendboell

Jens Rendboell
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Hi Carolpa & Andrew,

Yes, the Beosound 5 (BS5) is very nice, like having a modern jukebox right at hand and a nice user interface with the wheel and cover flow. In my opinion much better than various pc / mobile phone / ipad implementations. And not to forget, very stylish :-) 

I also like the Beomaster 5 (BM5), which I rate as a high quality audio interface with a pretty good DSP/DAC and pre-amp. In many respects better than my RME Fireface 800 (FF800), but unfortunately with terrible sample rate conversion done by Windows XP for samples rates higher than 44.1.

I can make this comparison, because in my BM5 I have replaced a failed motherboard with a standard Via Epia Ex 1500 MHz board with optical output. In the original implementation the optical out audio line is only feeding the ML-PL-module. In my implementation the optical out audio line is feeding both the optical spdif output and the ML-PL-module (DSP/DAC). 

This is also why I know that Windows XP is doing the conversion and feeding the ML-PL-module and DSP/DAC, as the optical out signal I get to the FF800 is converted to 44.1. 

I clearly hear distortion with sample rates higher than 44.1, when I compare the optical out from the BM5 with the optical out from my computer to the FF800.

Don't let XP do the conversion, but always convert higher sampled (48, 88.2, 96, 176.4, 192) audio to 44.1 kHz with Adobe Audition for best practice audio conversion: https://helpx.adobe.com/in/audition/using/converting-sample-types.html. 

The BM5 DSP/DAC has a tendency to sound metallic / shrill with bad mastered audio, whereas the FF800 sounds softer with identical audio inputs from Windows XP (optical out).

I also believe I hear some distortion with sample rates at 44.1, clearly not as much as with higher sample rates, but still noticeable, especially on (bad) recordings with high pitched audio. Again I think the Windows XP audio driver is the issue.

By the way, remember to ground the BM5 to earth, otherwise you will most likely get distortion / shrill sound. Put a thick wire (AWG 16, 1.5 mm2) from the BM5 chassis to earth and to the chassis of all your equipment (pc, amps, beolabs, etc.). I don't know, but I think you can connect to the shield of the master link / power link. Therefore, always buy cables with a thick shield, so you don't have to run ground wires to all your equipment.

Best regards,

Rendboell

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