Bang & Olufsen Beolab 50 - Impression?

Does anyone have experience with these active speakers please?

Since that launch of the Beolab 90 I have been interested in the concept of their “Active Room Compensation”, the Beolab 50’s bring this technology in at a lower (but still quite high) price tag.

As speakers go they look like they could pack a serious punch, but as yet i have been unable to audition them locally. I intend to extend my search in earnest soon, but I thought i would ask if anyone here has given a pair a fair hearing.

I am interested to know whether they can tame the effect of my room acoustics whilst not loosing to much in the soundstage and quality stakes. To my eye they also look rather nice! I would be looking to maintain a Naim front end of sorts.

There is a What Hifi review on the web, if you have not read it.personally I would expect a lot for this sort of money circa £22k.

Yes big money, but nothing outlandish given the cost of naim kit.

I have heard the smaller Beolab 20, which themselves sound good, but don’t have active room compensation.

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I heard them at the local B&O boutique about 2 months ago. My one serious issue with them was that they do bass like home theater bass, not like musical speakers bass. There obviously is considerable amplification power driving these – NO shortage of THUMP. But as I listened, I realized it was home theater thump. Relatively ill defined – I had no idea what sort of drum was producing the bass, for example, whereas with “better” speakers the ability to discern the drum - or hear the striker of the foot pedal hit the bass drum - is something that’s there.

I did get a brief listen to their I believe top of the line 90s and I agree with a previous post that the bass was not realistic. This was at a BandO dealership and so I imagine optimally set up.Also tried a few different settings.

Thanks for the replies all, I must admit it is a bit of a niche product and B&O are not likely to be at the top of most audio enthusiasts list, but I can see Active room compensation making inroads into our hobby.
I was a bit dismayed to see my local store’s set up (using the smaller Beolab 20) fronted up by a TV as a source controller, but I guess that this will be their usual customers expectation. This may also explain the bass “wump” if it is set up for home cinema.
Credit to the dealer though he did offer to arrange a proper demo using the B&O ‘core’ unit and hard wiring between all components rather than rely on WiFi.

I think if I was looking in this sort of area then the Kii 3 and Dutch&Dutch 8C would be of interest. Whilst they don’t actively compensate for the room, their design minimises the effects of the room. Maybe worth a look ?

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I demoed the Kii 3 and Dutch&Dutch 8c on numerous occasions last year when looking for Active speakers . They were both very impressive but I preferred the Dutch&Dutch , they sounded much more organic compared to the Kii 3. I very nearly bought a pair of D&D , I was only concerned about their connectivity, controllability, having pretty much everything all packed in one box and a newish small company etc . They did sound superb at the dealers which is a home environment in North London . It will be very interesting to see how they evolve though , a very clever acoustic design . Definitely worth a Listen .

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The setup I heard (with all the “whumpy bass” was music only; they had the TV / AV stuff in another room. Whether it was properly set up, I have no idea.

My recommendation is to really LISTEN. Their designs, if you like them, are compelling. The technical “story” can be too. But if they sound like crap, well then. . . . just make sure they don’t before spending all that money!

I totally agree Bart, I do need to set up a proper audition, once I have found someone who as them within a reasonable travel distance. I will also look in to the other solutions mentioned, I have not previously heard of the ‘Dutch & Dutch’ .

I just thought that i would tap into the broader experience of the members of this forum. I am quite pleased that I have received some replies :0)

If you’re really interested in active speakers and room-correcting DSP, you might look at Meridien. A good friend of mine is as deeply devoted to Meridien as I am to Naim; he loves it. (He lives very far away in the north of England and I’ve not heard his active setup yet. I heard his older Meridien when he lived in Cambridge and enjoyed how it sounded.)

Hi Bart, it is certainly an option. I did speak with my local dealer who amongst other brands deals with Meridian and he seems to have given up on them. Perhaps their commercial arrangements didn’t suit them?

I have always thought B&O more furniture than Hi Fi…

To my mind B&O have always cared about the visual design of their products, I think that it is a pity that very few other HiFi companies don’t. Churning out the same plain boxes.

Judging by the thought that has gone into the Beolab 90, B&O aren’t afraid to push the boundaries either.

I am waiting for the Bristol store to re stock the 50’s so that I can hear for myself. :0)

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