Are older speakers more pleasant to hear than modern speakers (Beolab)?

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  • #10929
    Stereomensch
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    Of course, it’s a matter of taste, but I heard many times, that for music lovers modern beolab speakers are to clinical, to cold. I know that some very well known members of this forum changed their speakers and sold their beolab speakers and now use their uniphase speakers again.

    What do you think about this topic? I know that Beolab 1 speakers can sound harsh, and many B&O lovers don’t like the tweeter of the Beolab 9 and Beolab 5.

     

    #10932
    matador
    Moderator
    • Paris France
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    I’ve not  golden ears and don’t own high end Beolabs: 4000’s and 8000’s.

    But I remember what I felt after plugging-in S45-2 and even more P50’s… Something… Full.

    Now they are all stored (glued) because I’m more in a 1990’s mood with the 8000’s, but eventually the big boxes will return, yes.

    #10962
    Stereomensch
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    I really would like to know if Geoff Marin uses an old Beovox speaker secretly at home 😉

    And what are the speakers Gert Kudahl Munch uses at home ?? 😀

    #10970
    Mr10Percent
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    In the last 35years keeping B&O solvent, I’ve owned a wide-spread of music machines.

    BL6000, BL4000, BL2, BL3, BL4, BL5, BL90 as well as countless Beoplay and integrated music boxes.

    My view is that the latter-day products are way way more tonally balanced and powerful than earlier non-ICE loudspeakers. The BL5 was clearly the first of these products on a new playing level and I never found the treble a problem. In retrospect, the BL5 had a bass problem which is clearly revealed when compared to the BL50 or 90. However, in isolation – what a speaker!

    The only loudspeaker I ever heard which was a problem for me was the BL1. It was shrill to my ears.

    As matters currently stand, I wait in anticipation for the Beosound Balance to be RJ45’d so they can be paired either to a BV or to my Auralic DAC. I think the Balance would run rings around the BL3. But I guess that is a kind of progress?

    #10974
    matador
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    • Paris France
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    My view is that the latter-day products are way way more tonally balanced and powerful than earlier non-ICE loudspeakers.

    Interesting point of view. Can it be unlinked to the music habits of the moments? I mean can we compare the point of view of a member that listen the same record on is beloved Beogram for 40 years on Beovox and BL8000 and after that  Beolab 5 and then 90’s… With the one of someone listening to Spoteezer HDmium on a Balance and comparing it with Square 5 member around a beer in a crowded bar?

    More seriously doesn’t comparison need to have a common ground?

    #10978
    Mr10Percent
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    matador wrote: Interesting point of view. Can it be unlinked to the music habits of the moments? I mean can we compare the point of view of a member that listen the same record on is beloved Beogram for 40 years on Beovox and BL8000 and after that Beolab 5 and then 90’s… With the one of someone listening to Spoteezer HDmium on a Balance and comparing it with Square 5 member around a beer in a crowded bar? More seriously doesn’t comparison need to have a common ground?
    Not quite following your comment and it’s meaning 100%? For Sure we are all entitled to listen to what we want and like and opinion was offered by me on a point of view.

    A few of extra points from my perspective.
    1. I list3n to an occasion LP on a fully refurbished BG8002/MMC2. The sound to be frank is average to my ears but watching the BG play (or just sit there) is art.
    2. When I purchased either my BL5s and latterly the BL90s,  I found a number of interesting things in my music; a) a whole range of hidden sounds, textures and imagaging were hidden in my FLAC recording we’re suddenly revealed and b) half the recordings are really very poorly mastered (predominately poor imaging I would say i.e unrealistic sound)
    3. B&O have never made a decent digital Beosound to keep up with the BL90s. Especially the players included in the modern OLED Beovisions. The BS5 I had for many years was OK with the BL5s but junk with the 90s. I spent quite a bit on a 3rd party audio system of big boxes. This has made my remaking good recordings in 2a above somewhat better and the bad recordings in 2b a lot worse.
    4. I’m not a big proponent of list3ning to streamed music, preferring listening to my own cd rips. So can’t commen5 on Deezer and Spotify.
    5. I thing the Balance could become an exceptional Beolab as opposed to a Beosound. I miffs me what B&O never put that feature in – just like the phono plugs of old. An insert kills the Beosound function and makes the unit a Beolab slave??
    #10994
    Stan
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    I am no longer young so my hearing is not as good as it once was.  With that out of the way, I prefer my pair of Balances to both my BL8000s and BL1s (being driven by a BS9000).  I hear them pull out sounds and textures that I had never heard with the same music on the 1s or 8000s.  It’s like music through the Balances reaches out and grabs me whereas the 1s give me a very pretty picture.  I can also fairly reliably hear the difference between Spotify and ripped CDs (on well recorded music) with the Balances, but not with my other speakers.  Spotify sounds flat, not as dynamic or punchy… kind of like the BLs relative to the Balances.  It didn’t surprise me that they were better than the 8000s, but I was shocked when I found them better than the 1s.

    It could be the rooms in which they are located.  I have pretty optimal placement for my Balances because they are in my office, and I have full control of their placement.  The 1s are in a common living area so there could are some compromises in their location, but I always like them a lot.  The 1s get shrieky at very high volumes, but I rarely turn up the volume that loud.  I have been tempted to test the Balances in the 1s location, but I’ve been too lazy to set them up (and does it really matter?).

    One other odd opinion:  I thought a single BS2 sounded a bit better than a single Balance.  However, when I added the 2nd Balance and created a stereo pair.  Wow!

    I’ve never heard B&O passive speakers so I cannot comment on the Balances relative to those.  However, I vote for the new speakers.

    • This reply was modified 4 weeks ago by Stan.
    #10997
    kronzilla
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    Actually i own BL8000(from 2007) and BL4000 and i really don’t like their sound compared to my Beovox RL60.2 and RL140. The sound is thin and missing depth. The soundstage is not so wide. So my experiences ence is that the older bigger Beovox speakers sounding warmer and more romantic/more pleasant to my ears. And the moderner ones with Icepower have Listening_fatique on my ears. I have a very good hearing. (Offtopic i listened at a dealer on a pair of expensive b&w speakers with a heavy McIntosh tube amp(6xKT150/ch) and the feedback in the amp was extreme. The sound was cold and harsh and lifeless. (and it is always Eric Clapton. Mein gott. Frying your eardrums).All the listening pleasure was gone. I even got a starting headache from the sound ) So in my opinion i like even The Beovox more than Beolab. Maybe it is because im a hyper sensible person. I don’t know…

    • This reply was modified 2 weeks ago by kronzilla.
    #11002
    matador
    Moderator
    • Paris France
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    Not quite following your comment and it’s meaning 100%? For Sure we are all entitled to listen to what we want and like and opinion was offered by me on a point of view.

    Sorry for being imprecise. What I tried to say is: I wonder if speakers are designed i relation with the music trends from their times? I don’t know maybe in the sixties they will emphasis electric guitar and rock drums, in the 80’s Synthetisizers sound and electronic bass and today extremely deep bass… If so, say somebody that use to listen 70’s Rock on 70’s speaker is likely to never like recent speaker for this music. But say yhe same guy listen to recent music, maybe he wont like it on his beovox but like it on modern Beolabs.

    Then to compare two very different types of speakers (beside the fact you compare a full device – beolab, with a) speaker and an amplifier…) doesn’t it need to have a neutral common ground that will even things out and not help any speaker above the other?

    Hope this is more clear.

     

    #11005
    Mr10Percent
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    Matador & Kronzilla,

    Yes, understand your points. I never got to hear the older “Beovox box” speakers and remember somewhat lusting after a pair of Redlines in my early teens. I think the reality is somewhat in between? The older loudspeakers had a limited amount of acoustic design – as did the tape, tuner and decks of the time. With computerised acoustic and electronic design, this will have been “improved upon”  technically (but not necessarily “sound better” to many ears).

    The BL8000 and 6000 were point in case; Loudspeakers could be made small, compact, powerful and WAF/decor-friendly. They were compromised in many ways too, with reduced bass and possibly weak imaging etc… My point is that the latter-day loudspeakers tend to correct all these design deficiencies – but and a big but(t), they are large machines compared to their 1970-1990 counterparts?

    #11022
    MusicMan
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    I would agree. I currently own BL20s, 17s, 3s, A9 4th Gen, a pair of Balances, BS2 and BS Level.

    17s are incredibly clear and powerful for their size. I actually prefer them over the Balance pair. I find the Balance more powerful and loud, but clinical. The 17s, 20s and 3s can convince me, when I close my eyes, that the artist/music is right in front of me. The Balance always reminds me it’s a speaker. Now if I was new to B&O and had only heard the Balance stereo pair, I would be very impressed. They are still great speakers. Just lacking that amazing tone of previous BL speakers. I’ve heard the same about the 28s vs the 20s. That’s why I haven’t traded my 20s for 28s.

    I agree about the BS2 and Balance single. Balance has more power, but the BS2 is crystal clear and so pleasing to my ears. And wide soundstage.

    To me, the A9 also has the same tone as the previous BLs. So lifelike!

    #11024
    vikinger
    GOLD Member
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    Not quite the comparison asked for here, but if I stream  radio to my BV11 active speakers, the sound seems slightly sharper than streaming via either a Beomaster 2000 or Olive 1 to Beovox S45’s. Of course this may reflect nothing more than the low frequency capability of the S45’s.

    Graham

    #11036
    Sia43
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    Here are two Areas that “might”require consideration in this discussion:

    1.       Exactness of the produced sound (deviation in the sound compared to the sound that was produced by the artist)

    2.       Individual preferences

    There is no need to discuss difference in preferences as it is individual. When it comes to exactness I believe the issue of sound separation becomes an issue, especially with music with many layers of tones (such as orchestral). It then becomes obvious that woofer’s quickness and their numbers play a central role. The more woofers you have (assuming that they are nicely separated using high quality cross-overs), the better different tones can be separated. That is probably why many people love their Pentas. It is also a fact that newer B&O speakers tend to have more woofers. So maybe the newer Beolabs can reproduce the sounds better.

    There is another topic that could be of interest with regards to sound quality of a speaker. As a classic guitar player, I prefer using guitars with cedar tops for Spanish or “romantic” songs while I generally use Spruce top guitars for pieces by Bach or Mozart, etc. The reason for that is that Cedar is a softer material which means that the tones form the six different strings of the guitar are combined in a softer way (less separation), which somehow is preferred in the case of romantic songs while spruce, with better ability t separate tones provide more exact tones, which is preferred for many western classical songs.

    The relevance of this to older or newer speakers “could be” that older woofers, because of their age, loose some of their agility, dynamics or ability to quickly jump form a frequency to another. For that reason the older speakers “may have” a softer/more blurred tone that could be perceived as warmer.

    But, of course, this is just a hypothesis!

    #11049
    Carolpa
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    There is no need to discuss difference in preferences as it is individual. When it comes to exactness I believe the issue of sound separation becomes an issue, especially with music with many layers of tones (such as orchestral). It then becomes obvious that woofer’s quickness and their numbers play a central role. The more woofers you have (assuming that they are nicely separated using high quality cross-overs), the better different tones can be separated. That is probably why many people love their Pentas. It is also a fact that newer B&O speakers tend to have more woofers. So maybe the newer Beolabs can reproduce the sounds better.

    In princple it is ALL individual preferences and individual preferences only.

    Just for the simple reason, you were not present during recording, mixing and mastering of the recording, let alone for the reason that you not know what the artist intended.

    What you hear is your interpretation of the artist intentions, you like it or you don’t.
    That said the speakers are part of this.

    Note that some music you’ll experience sound even better on cheaper speakers or older or newer or expensive speakers.

    #11050
    geoffmartin
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    I really would like to know if Geoff Marin uses an old Beovox speaker secretly at home 😉

    I don’t. Now you know.
    🙂
    -geoff marin

    • This reply was modified 3 weeks, 5 days ago by geoffmartin.
    #11053
    Stan
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    I have always struggled with descriptions of audio systems that “sound like the band is there”.  I see quite a bit of live music of many genres, and rarely does it sound nearly as good as my home system.  The mix isn’t perfect, it’s too loud, the venue has weird acoustics, the audience is noisy, etc.

    I would think the perfect case is a symphony playing in a well-designed symphony hall, but even supposedly perfect auditoriums will have sound differences between sitting in front (where individual instruments near the listener might overpower the rest of the symphony) vs more toward the back where the entire symphony’s sounds are better balanced.

    As someone said above, it’s all personal preference.  The music doesn’t “sound like the band is there”, but rather like your idealized perception of how the band might sound if there.

    #11054
    Stan
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    I really would like to know if Geoff Marin uses an old Beovox speaker secretly at home 😉

    I don’t. Now you know. 🙂 -geoff marin

    Although, if he actually told us the truth, it would no longer be a secret 😀

    #11085
    pepps
    GOLD Member
    • Kent, UK
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    I love my Pentas for their presentation and spatial elegance.
    Coupled with a pair of Beovox 3000 (flat panel) in a 4 speaker pattern, a cd of Hail To The Thief, The Gloaming (track 8), is nothing short of magical.

    I replaced a pair of Celestion Ditton 44’s with BL Penta – but those Dittons are still in my posession because those too are glorious.

    BL 6000 are the biggest disappointment for me. So shallow.

    The best, in my opinion, are Beovox 1702. So beautiful and clear. Obviously they’re small and won’t rumble thunder on a film score, but play Nina Simone and your heart will melt.

    #11178
    AdamS
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    I have always struggled with descriptions of audio systems that “sound like the band is there”. I see quite a bit of live music of many genres, and rarely does it sound nearly as good as my home system. The mix isn’t perfect, it’s too loud, the venue has weird acoustics, the audience is noisy, etc. .

    As the English comedian Jack Dee once said – “I listen to the Pogues; I don’t WANT them in my lounge…”

    • This reply was modified 3 weeks, 1 day ago by AdamS.
    #11180
    geoffmartin
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    I totally agree with Stan.

    I find the opinion that a music reproduction system should sound like the musicians are in your listening room a little weird, since almost no recordings are made with that intention. We don’t watch Star Wars and expect to think that Luke and Leia are in your living room… Movies aren’t made to be like real life – they’re made to be better than (or at least enhanced versions of ) real life. It’s the same for music recordings: a typical classical music recording has the brightness and presence of being close to the instrument(s) AS WELL AS the reverberation and envelopment of sitting far back in the concert hall. In a typical pop recording (these days) the singers are in-tune, and make no mistakes – two attributes that are only possible with computer enhancement. The goal is to make the recording sound like the recording, since the recording doesn’t reflect reality – it IS the reality that your playback system should reproduce.

    Glen Gould spoke and wrote about this decades ago – explaining that the reason he recorded instead of playing live concerts was because (in his opinion) the perfection that can be achieved through mic placement, mixing, and editing can never be experienced in real life.

    So, in my opinion, Jack Dee can be generalised beyond the Pogues to include all musicians. 🙂 (Thanks for the quote AdamS!)

    Of course, if we then take this argument to its logical conclusion, then you might arrive at the opinion that you can’t use modern loudspeakers to reproduce old recordings… I would generalise this though. There are many cases where playing a recording through a “high quality” loudspeaker + system actually makes the end experience worse. Two obvious examples of this are:

    • I don’t need a system that has a frequency range that extends all the way into the stratosphere when I’m playing a 78 RPM shellac disc of Caruso. Better to roll off the top end with extreme prejudice to reduce the noise, since there’s no signal up there worth speaking of.
    • Eric Clapton’s “Unplugged” album, played through a system with a very low low-end cutoff frequency will give you the ability to hear the sound of a foot tapping, coupled through a stage floor, mechanically shaking a vocal mic and resulting in a rhythmic rumble that probably wasn’t supposed to be there… Rolling off the bottom end cleans this up considerably.

    Then again, if you want to hear the shellac crackle and the stage rumble – it’s not my place to tell you it’s bad. As the thread starts, this is preference we’re talking about…

    Cheers
    -geoff

    • This reply was modified 3 weeks, 1 day ago by geoffmartin.
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