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Active Speaker Recommendations for USA (by @sweetchaos)

tktran303

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@sweetchaos

I like most of your recommendations, but as has been pointed out, being far far away in lands down under, the value proposition is, well, upside down, when shipping costs can cost as much as the product.

As you may know, I design my own
So yes, I’ve measured a few for internal benchmarking and R&D , but not for reviewing.

Now sometimes people ask me what to buy, and they only want to spend a small sum; they don’t really care what they buy: they just want something for non-critical or BGM listening.

I usually have one or two a recommendations theat won’t make people eyes roll. You know; things that cost 2 or 3 figures, not 4 or 5 figures and need two grown men to lift them.

Or worse, a speaker that listens to you, collects your data to sell to others, or uses it to train its AI.

Another recommendation that’s good enough for most consumers in Europe is:

 
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ssiard

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Anyone know if the Neumi BS5P-ARC will measure the same as the NEUMI BS5P's? Google search isn't showing the BS5P's for sale anymore.
 

Confused

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I have my eye on a pair of used Beolab 17 speakers on stands. Are they worth the asking price of € 1.600 ?

Somewhere on this forum I've read that they have their own built-in DAC, and that it's not a good DAC. Are the Beolabs always using their own DAC when receiving wireless?
 
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steve59

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I want to believe companies that go all in with active DSP speakers would use competent dac boards in the system. There's the science base that this forum is here to speak for and these would have us believe the 'perfect sound forever' was and remains true from the first dac to the latest 32 bit sabre chips and the differences are in the recording studio. That said, streaming wireless has improved.
 

Confused

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That seems a reasonable presumption. But this owner of Beolab 17's experienced a very noticeable difference:
 

radix

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That seems a reasonable presumption. But this owner of Beolab 17's experienced a very noticeable difference:

The Beolab 17 would always use its own DAC for TOSLINK and wireless. There's not really enough info in that post about the 17s to determine level matching, toslink parameters, source material, etc.

The 17s are a digital speaker. Here's a block diagram of it. All the analog inputs go through an ADC and then the same DSP as the digital in and then the same DAC as the digital in. Nothing is connected directly to the amp. So I don't know what the poster in that other thread is measuring, but it's not the performance of the Beolab's DAC. This figure is from the 17's service manual.

Screenshot 2024-02-16 at 12.19.39 AM.png


The 17s do have an acoustic lens for the tweeter, so they are pretty focused on a main listening position. If you stand in different places, they will sound different. I'm not sure if the poster on the 17 listened to them in the same spot.

B&O gear is, IMO, primarily for the looks and style and secondarily for the sound. I had B&O for maybe 20 years. It's good sound, but it's excellent style. I had Penta 5 and Beloab 4500 and Beolab 6000, none of the newer stuff.

I'd say go to a B&O store and listen to them over wireless on songs you know well. Of course, that will likely be in a treated room, so YMMV at home.

B&O put a lot of effort into their wireless system (and thus DAC), so my presumption would be that it's not crap. But of course, I'd want to hear/measure them in a controlled experiment. I would want to see more quantitative results than one person's anecdote.

Maybe this is of some help

 
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sweetchaos

sweetchaos

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It has a preference score of 2.9, so normally it wouldnt make my list. But Amir gave it a panther rating, so it would.

But I just don’t know where to put it, since the price is per unit and my recommendations are per pair.

Maybe I can create a separate “spoiler tag”, just for these single unit recommendations.
 

thewas

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It has a preference score of 2.9, so normally it wouldnt make my list.
It would be interesting to see its score also for the vertical orientation which is recommended for a stereo pair where it switches off the the side drivers to radiate more directionally and becomes a mono source.
 

Confused

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The Beolab 17 would always use its own DAC for TOSLINK and wireless. There's not really enough info in that post about the 17s to determine level matching, toslink parameters, source material, etc.

The 17s are a digital speaker. Here's a block diagram of it. All the analog inputs go through an ADC and then the same DSP as the digital in and then the same DAC as the digital in. Nothing is connected directly to the amp. So I don't know what the poster in that other thread is measuring, but it's not the performance of the Beolab's DAC. This figure is from the 17's service manual.

View attachment 349908

The 17s do have an acoustic lens for the tweeter, so they are pretty focused on a main listening position. If you stand in different places, they will sound different. I'm not sure if the poster on the 17 listened to them in the same spot.

B&O gear is, IMO, primarily for the looks and style and secondarily for the sound. I had B&O for maybe 20 years. It's good sound, but it's excellent style. I had Penta 5 and Beloab 4500 and Beolab 6000, none of the newer stuff.

I'd say go to a B&O store and listen to them over wireless on songs you know well. Of course, that will likely be in a treated room, so YMMV at home.

B&O put a lot of effort into their wireless system (and thus DAC), so my presumption would be that it's not crap. But of course, I'd want to hear/measure them in a controlled experiment. I would want to see more quantitative results than one person's anecdote.

Maybe this is of some help

Thanks, very helpful indeed. So when streaming wireless to the Beolabs 17, the DAC of the streaming device (for instance WiiM Pro Plus) is not in play. Does that mean that the cheapest streaming device will give the same result? After all, digital is digital.

I've bought a pair of Beolab 4000 (gen 1). They can be used with my Denon AVR-1912, but I don't have the right cables yet. I suspect that they're not a match for the Beolab 17. I'll visit a B&O store soon to listen.

Since they're for the living room, I'm looking for a pair of speakers that will receive the approval stamp of my spouse.

Advise for other B&O or non B&O speakers for under € 1.000 would be appreciated.
 
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radix

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Thanks, very helpful indeed. So when streaming wireless to the Beolabs 17, the DAC of the streaming device (for instance WiiM Pro Plus) is not in play. Does that mean that the cheapest streaming device will give the same result? After all, digital is digital.

I'll visit a B&O store soon to listen myself

Yes. The Wiim Pro Plus and Wiim Pro and Wiim mini likely all sound the same with digital out. I think that's what Amir said in one of the reviews. The DAC on the Wiim only comes into play if you hook up via analog RCA.

I have not used the B&O wireless. I believe it supports airplay 2 and chromecast, and I believe the wiim pro/mini can play to airplay 2 or chromcast speakers, so in principal you should be able to wireless stream to them. But you should verify this at a B&O store and make sure the Wiim will play to them.
 
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