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Story Telling: 35 Year Audiophile Journey

FrantzM

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@pablolie : beautiful story, very well writen. You've got a talent.

My own story started with my fathers speakers, pied pipers, which were quite famous in the 80s and 90s in The Netherlands. We had a Thorens turntable, a beautiful machine, that produced quite a nice sound, although we quickly moved to cd playback when the more affordable players came available. I believe it was a yamaha and the amp a cyrus one. Nice sounding system, a bit homey and lush, probably not as accurate to today's standards.

My first system comprised of a marantz cd player, the cd 43 iirc, a nad amp and kef speakers. A nice sounding system that to my surprise caused a bit of envy among my friends (although I mostly paid for it myself).

When college arrived I decided to buy myself some good headphones. Mainly because I loved music so much and also because it was the cheapest way to get a good sound. I decided to buy the sennheiser hd650, a musical fidelity headphone amp and used my old marantz cd player.

Jumping to 2010 I had my first good job and decided to treat myself a good hifi system. I listened to hifi speakers, pro speakers but nothing really suited me as I wanted a blend between the two. Then I came across B&O, listened to their Beolab9 and knew within 15 minutes: this is what I'm searching for!
What I also truely liked about B&O is that they had a streamer/preamp that they thought good enough for any of their speakers, while just costing a few hundred euros.

Fast forward to 2022 and I've still got the Beolabs; I listen to them for at least an hour a day on average and still love them. I traded the b&o streamer/dac for a nad dac/pre with multiple inputs. I tried a raspberry pi and loved it. It took some time though, and 2nd hand genelec speakers to truely appreciate it. I also got a topping dx7pro dac pre and thought it cleaner and more dynamic than the nad. That's when I was converted to ASR.
Looking for measurements from Amir of a Beolab 5. I heard a Beolab 5 , first at a dealer and subsequently at an audiophile who had just moved from the vaunted Wilson Audio Watts, IIRC, and a conventional system (Preamplifier, monoblocks, cables, TT, CD Transport, DAC) to a simpler and much better B&O system: A Beosound receiver/cd player and a pair of Beolab 90... nothing else. I was floored. I reported my observations in an audiophile subjective forum of which I was a member. Of course, these were met with polite skepticism and the post/thread was mostly ignored.
I would like to see its serious ASR-like measurements of the 90 or at least those of its smaller siblings, the 50 and 20.
Here is an article about the Beeolab 50

and the (controlled) directivity down to below 50 Hz...

Beamwidth from the article:
Horizontal directivity of the BeoLab 50 in Narrow mode. Contour lines are in steps of 3 dB and are normalized to the on-axis response.
s50_narrow-1024x768.png


Beolab speakers are the real deal. Iconoclastic, true , although I find most of these beautiful, the Beolab 90, not so much; the sound that comes out of these is seriously underrated. They deserve recognition.


a bit OT, I know....

Peace.
 

anmpr1

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Looking for measurements from Amir of a Beolab 5. I heard a Beolab 5... Beolab speakers are the real deal. Iconoclastic, true , although I find most of these beautiful, ... the sound that comes out of these is seriously underrated. They deserve recognition.
I think the two biggest problems with B&O loudspeakers, at least with the 5 and the newer 90 is 1) very limited distribution so no one has any idea what they sound like, and 2) pretty expensive. An additional drawback is their cosmetics, which you are either going to like, or hate. They are hard to ignore, visually. To me the 90 looks grotesque. The others, just weird.

It's hard for me to believe that the 5 was sold almost 20 years ago. I too heard it at a demo, and was duly impressed. Although costly, you did get a lot for you money, since it was self-powered and came with LF room correction.
 

DigiPete

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. . . To me the 90 looks grotesque. The others, just weird.

I may be tainted by my Scandinavian upbringing, but I quite like lot of the B&O styling.
The fact that is weird, is that so many self proclaimed audiofiles buys boxy speakers (often with sharp corners), when we know that the box is the worst possible shape for good sound.

At least shape largely follows function in the "newer" high-end B&O speakers.
Beolab 5 is a nice statement piece, and still plays the socks off many current high-end audiophile boxes.
Wold I trade in my Genelec SAM's?
No, but I'd gladly put up a pair of Beolab 5's if I had space for a a chill-out lounge :)
Peace out.
 
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pablolie

pablolie

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Had them in my room for 2 months and loved them (aurally and visually).

Clearly with the right room they represent awesome engineering... but they are *huge* speakers and clearly don't fit everywhere (and never mind the $$$ :-D). My personal choices are far more lightweight and minimalist going forward.
 

Kal Rubinson

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Clearly with the right room they represent awesome engineering... but they are *huge* speakers and clearly don't fit everywhere (and never mind the $$$ :-D). My personal choices are far more lightweight and minimalist going forward.
Certainly. I didn't keep them "(and never mind the $$$ :-D)." They dominated the room. OTOH, they made a few appearances in the TV series "Billions" and were both spectacular and fitting in a vast glass penthouse apartment. Come to think of it, the Beolab 90's narrow dispersion might make it also the best acoustic choice for such a room.
 
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pablolie

pablolie

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...Come to think of it, the Beolab 90's narrow dispersion might make it also the best acoustic choice for such a room.
You better get the positioning right though. Moving those things requires the help of a Clydsdale horse in your listening room. ;-D
 

Kal Rubinson

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You better get the positioning right though. Moving those things requires the help of a Clydsdale horse in your listening room. ;-D
Not really. For easy positioning, they come with little trolleys that can be removed when the determination is made.
 
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pablolie

pablolie

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Not really. For easy positioning, they come with little trolleys that can be removed when the determination is made.
That sounds... really convenient. :-D I am sure it also helps when taking 300lbs speakers each up or down a flight of stairs :)
 

Kal Rubinson

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That sounds... really convenient. :-D I am sure it also helps when taking 300lbs speakers each up or down a flight of stairs :)
Here's the full story. The B&O team brought the crates up in the elevator and opened them in the hallway outside my apartment. There they assembled the trolleys which lifted the speakers on to casters with the intention of rolling them in and putting them in place. However, while we carefully checked in advance to confirm that the 90 would fit through my doorway, it turns out that the trolley made them just an inch or so wider and just enough not to fit. The team had to lift each one over the door saddle with no clearance on either side for their fingers. They did it and re-assemble the trolleys for the trip to the other end of the room. It almost did not happen.
 

anmpr1

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Here's the full story.
Do you have a link to your review? I spent time with the Beolab 5 and considered it a first rate loudspeaker. Never in my own listening room, though. Which I certainly would have liked. At the time it was expensive, but considering all you got with it, not outrageously expensive. The 90 orbits a different planet in that regard.

...loved them (... visually).
I could have lived with the B&O 5. Easily. One could even (almost) casually integrate it into a listening environment--especially if your feng shui was more modernist. Not thinking that could be done well with the 90. Which looks like it could come alive and possibly eat you in your sleep.
 

Kal Rubinson

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Do you have a link to your review? I spent time with the Beolab 5 and considered it a first rate loudspeaker. Never in my own listening room, though. Which I certainly would have liked. At the time it was expensive, but considering all you got with it, not outrageously expensive. The 90 orbits a different planet in that regard.
 

anmpr1

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Its price of $84,990/pair...

Now, six years on, list is 'from $110,000.00' (according to their official site). I was a little surprised at the B&O offerings. It's not what I expected, nor what I remember. Their 'cheapest' stereo pair (floor standing--not the bluetooth 'lifestyle' product) is about ten large. None of those super slim teak or rosewood 'all in one' units. Definitely no record players.

Sales (at least in my state) is through a 'solutions partner', which appears to be a branch of a nationwide 'home integration' operation. Everything from heating/AC to water filtration to lighting. No storefront to speak of. I don't know how anyone would work out a demo, since I'm sure all products are special order. I guess the 'partner' asks you about the 'problem' you want to 'solve', and then they come up with a 'solution' that fits your checkbook. Show you some brochures of the various brands available, and you pick out whatever looks like it might possibly go with your decor.

So different than it was when I began the hobby, for sure.
 
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