Using the Playmaker in 2022…

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  • #4960
    matador
    Moderator
    • Paris France
    • Topics Started 19
    • Total Posts 169

    Hi Alls,

    I was looking for a Playmaker for a long time and read a lot mixed feelings about it on Beoworld II. Now I’ve found one, I thought somebody would be interested in a more recent review.

    I’m an Airplay guy: There is a Mac computer somewhere in the house that acts as Media server, music through iTunes, videos through Kodi. Music is distributed all over the house thanks to Airport Express bases that feed different B&O systems and two standalone Airplay speakers.

    The thing is that when you plug the Airport base into the Aux-in port of the music system, it is not available anymore. And for one system, I wanted to add a Beogram AND keep the Airplay reception. So I needed a Playmaker. As always,  in my area prices ranges from crazy to sometimes decent as long as there is Bang&Olufsen written somewhere on the device, so after a long search, I found one at decent price.

    So far the Playmaker, it’s a MK2, has been hooked to a vintage Beomaster for testing purpose but it certainly will end up behind a more modern Beosound.

    To cut the story short, this thing is wonderful.

    In details and to answer most of the question I asked myself and for whom the answer found here and there are not always very clear:

    • They are some settings to adjust like output mode (Line Level to connect to a system or Speaker Out to connect to Beolabs. Also the way it will respond to IR (Yes/No/Link), important if there is another B&O IR receiver around. I’ve read you can adjust Bass and Treble but didn’t tried yet.
    • Wifi over my house is 2,4 Ghz, The play maker connected easily and so far I haven’t experienced any dropouts, disconnection or problem of any kind. Rock solid connection as it is the case with te Beolit 12 that share the same electronic.
      The only thing is the beosetup app or the internal server that is slow to access the parameters, but it dont affect the musical use of it.
    • I have not the ears to compare the sound quality with an Airport base. Forum says the the difference is obvious. I will try later to compare them.
    • One thing I’ve gained is the ability to remote control the (remote) iTunes server with a Beo Remote: Start/Stop/Skip forward and backward. Pleasant surprise!
    • The most important: priorities! You can’t play Line-in if Airplay is active. As the Beolit 12 loose connection each time it is turned off and is very long to connect again, I feared it would be the same with the Playmaker if I need to take it out from the airplay loop each time I want to use the Beogram. In the end active means playing and this is absolutely transparent: the PM stay connected and linked and Line-in is available as soon as the music stops on Airplay, even if the device is still connected. In the end the Playmaker behaves exactly like an Airport Express with the Line-in as an extra.

    Conclusion: this is exactly what I was looking for, Airplay without loosing the Aux-in in systems plus the ability to remote control the server with a Beo 4/6/5000.

    The only downside is that they are quite rare to find at a fair price. If they would, I would replace all the AE in the mains room and keep 2nd gen AE in secondary rooms (B&O recommend not using more than 4 PM on the same network).

    Hope this helps.

    #4961
    Guy
    Moderator
    • Warwickshire, UK
    • Topics Started 4
    • Total Posts 190

    A great write up thanks!

    I have a PM Mk1 in a box somewhere. I would have got rid of it, but I know that at some stage in the future I will find a use for it. If nothing else, the ability to ‘auto-sense’ a line-in input and use this to automatically turn on Beolabs will be useful. I can imagine using this to connect a non-B&O TV to Beolabs, for example.

    The main downside for me is the lack of Airplay 2, but I suppose this isn’t really a problem if you connect it to a main room masterlinked source.

    #4965
    matador
    Moderator
    • Paris France
    • Topics Started 19
    • Total Posts 169

    To me the only thing preventing the PM to be “future proof” is the lack of support for 5 Ghz wifi. In my case this is not a problem because wifi works well and must stay 2,4 Ghz to allow standalone wifi speaker compatibility and sensitive connections are hardwired.

    The ability of using it as a tiny basic Audiomaster is perfect to use a spare pair of Beolab.

    I too thought of using a playmaker for TV, but the main problem is the lack of audio output in modern TVs. Of course you can use any audio extractor but I hate to have a collection of boxes and PSU behind the TV.

    As for Airplay 2, You’re right, it may be a major downside. But when you’re streaming from a computer, it’s not a problem in since you can add and select many Airplay 1 devices.

    Thanks for your kind words.

    #4989
    Millemissen
    BRONZE Member
    • Topics Started 5
    • Total Posts 136

    I have always been an advocate for the Playmaker!

    I only got rid of it for my main setup because the Essence MK2 took over its role there – I still have it connected to my V1-32 in the study with a Chromecast Audio dongle connected to its line-in.

    It is an absolutely underestimated B&O device, that surely still can be used. However, mostly when I recommend it, I also recommend to use it hardwired – you never know how (un)stable peoples WiFi is!

    Lately I helped someone, who has a Beosound Encore and wanted to stream/via Airplay and also to be able to connect his turntable there – this worked well!

    Of course the Essence MK2 or the Core is a better alternative, but in many cases the Playmaker can do the job….and is cheaper.

    MM

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