Beolab 3 and 11 – Sterile sound when streaming

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Home Forums Product Discussion & Questions BeoLab Beolab 3 and 11 – Sterile sound when streaming

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  • #47944
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      Hello everyone

      I have had some lovely Beolab 4000 for a long while and was super happy with them until the time came, where one stopped working. I replaced them with a second-hand pair of Beolabs 3 combined with a Beolab 11. I mostly stream Spotify music via a Chromecast Audio. So I really am not that audiophile…

      But here is my trouble, somehow the Beolab 3 sound very sterile to me. For example in most songs I feel the voices are too prominent compared to other devices. It gets slightly better if I feed them a signal from an Apple Airport Express, which makes me feel my streaming solution is just rubbish… I just somehow miss the warm and fuzzy feeling compared to the Beolab 4000, which probably makes no sense to most people… I suspect, that it is a software problem and not the speakers, maybe since one has to keep the volume at 5-10% for it to not get too loud.

      I had this feeling for a while, and now decided it is time to invest some money and change my setup, but I honestly wouldn’t know which route to go:

      – just a new streamer, like Wiim Pro (or a DAC with an Equalizer?)
      – an AV Receiver, that allows me to measure the room and use the pre-outs
      – any other solution
      – or is it my bad taste and the Beolab 3s that are just too “honest” for me

      Maybe I am lucky and someone else here has a similar setup and could tell me how they feed their Beolab 3s, such that I can try out a few things…

      BRONZE Member
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        It may be quite a complicated fix. Your ears/brain “muscle memory” may have a lot to do with it.

        I have found (recollect) the BL4000s sounded great….right up to the point I replaced them with BL3s. It was night and day for me.

        Adding BL5s and assigning the BL3s to surround speakers is another step up….….then once again re-assigning 3s to an office streamer rather than the main lounge setup….as you say, they do sound flat. I also found that the better the streamer/DAC (non-B&O) also made the sound less enjoyable.

        So upgrading (both speaker and source) plays a big part in what you hear/enjoy. I would not throw the BL3s out. Pairing them with a 11 is good, but finding a good streamer may help. However,the non-B&O route is fraught with getting a streaming DAC that can run RCA/XLR to powerlink, Daisy-link the BL11 and trigger on voltage in. There may also be line attenuation issues which may also contribute to the flat sound you are hearing (if not a B&O source?

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          Some people prefer warm and fuzzy.  Nothing wrong with that.  The BL3s are not as warm as the BL4000s.  Sometimes it takes a little while for our ears to adjust.

          Sometimes the additional resolution provided by newer/better speakers expose the weakness of the content or upstream hardware. Again, sometimes, it just sounds different (not necessarily better or worse).

          I never had a problem with Spotify sound quality until I got a pair of Balances.  Chromecast audio connected to BS9000 + BL1s sounded fine to my ears.  Spotify streaming directly to Balances seemed to be missing something so I stream with Deezer mostly, but also listen to my digitized CDs more often.

          All you can do is experiment because you are the only one the hears like you do.  You don’t mention what you are currently using for streaming, but IIRC, the Airport Express is supposed to be provide reasonably good audio quality.

          I don’t think there is a one size fits all solution.  First, I might try a different audio source – maybe give Deezer a try, or better yet, if you can somehow stream digitized CDs via DLNA (for example), you’d be working from a known source quality.  See if it sounds better.  Try a new DAC (make sure you can return it if it doesn’t help).

          If nothing helps, maybe buy a pair of BL4000s.  They are pretty cheap now days.

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            I got 4000 and 3 along with other BeoLab’s.

            They are all connected to ChromeCast audio and serves as our budget multiroom audio solution.

            First, check that you have enabled ‘full dynamic range’ in the Google Home app. This setting is configured for every CCA individually.

            Check the placement switch of the 3’s. I have mine set to ‘free’ even though they are pretty close to a stone wall on low table stands. Maybe you favor ‘corner’ or ‘wall’ ?

            I added an in line volume control to fix the problem with too high volume. Done that for all my speakers connected to ChromeCast Audio.

            Try to move the 3’s. Distance to wall makes a huge difference.

            Try without the 11. Tune the 3’s without 11 first.

            I never had the 11. I combined my 3’s with Cambridge x200 sub instead. Gives much better options for tweeking. And it even looks similar to the 3’s. (Esthetic wise)

            Link, example, in-line volume control


            BRONZE Member
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              X200 / X201


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