Bang & Olufsen
January 11, 2011 11:46 AM   Subscribe

Bang & Olufsen product archive, articles, pictures, and museum.
posted by Joe Beese (25 comments total) 14 users marked this as a favorite
I love that first link to the Bang & Olufsen archive. I wish more visually interesting products were catalogued and showcased in that way.
posted by amicamentis at 12:09 PM on January 11, 2011

I inherited the Beogram TX turntable from my father and you can take pry it from my cold, dead hands. Awesome to look at and listen to!
posted by Asbestos McPinto at 12:27 PM on January 11, 2011

I was so hot for one of these back in the pre-iPhone era.
posted by sourwookie at 12:32 PM on January 11, 2011

I miss my Bang & Olufsen. I sold it for almost nothing because I thought it should have a better home and someone who could fix it up. It was for it's own good. SIGH.
posted by Liquidwolf at 12:38 PM on January 11, 2011

A guy I knew back in the day had this turntable. Looked awesome and if the record was in perfect condition it worked fine, but the tiniest scratch or warp on a record (something that would have made no difference on my Technics turntable) rendered the Beogram useless. That was my first taste of thinking about concepts relating to design & utility.
posted by squalor at 1:14 PM on January 11, 2011 [1 favorite]

I inherited a Beosystem 2500. It looks great and sounds decent, and the hand-wavy sensor always makes me feel like I'm living in the future.

There's no way in hell I'd ever pay money for their stuff though. The price / performance ratio is just silly.
posted by CaseyB at 1:21 PM on January 11, 2011 [2 favorites]

Oh, and screw them and their arbitrarily incompatible remote controls. They do something wacky with the signalling that makes them impossible to control with a universal remote.
posted by CaseyB at 1:24 PM on January 11, 2011

I have that turntable too, squalor, and my bet is your friend was trying to use much too low a stylus force.
posted by jet_silver at 1:31 PM on January 11, 2011

Talk about form over function. Raised the bar for hosing your customer for sure.
posted by PareidoliaticBoy at 1:32 PM on January 11, 2011

I'm listening to my Beomaster 3000-2 right now.
posted by Flashman at 2:28 PM on January 11, 2011

Still got my Beolit 707
posted by marvin at 3:25 PM on January 11, 2011

Why can't they do a better job with the sound quality? Do Danes have perversely different hearing sensitivity? Do they just not care how the stuff sounds? Because it almost always looks gorgeous.
posted by cogneuro at 4:04 PM on January 11, 2011

I have a Beogram RX2 turntable. Looks really cool, but it's not that great of a turntable. Special, hard to find proprietary cartridge and no way to perform an alignment. I've been meaning to replace it for years, but have never gotten around to it.
posted by TrialByMedia at 4:08 PM on January 11, 2011

I had a Beocord 2000 some years ago. It was awesome. I found it in a dumpster, it was dead, but it just needed an internal fuse replaced. No idea where it is now :(
posted by carter at 4:27 PM on January 11, 2011

Why can't they do a better job with the sound quality?

Because they don't need to. As Burhanistan pointed out, their target demographic is absolutely unconcerned with sound quality. Therefore, why waste profits on idiots with way more money than sense? See Bose as an example. The world's worst specialized speaker manufacturer, yet the only brand that 90% of consumers can name.
posted by PareidoliaticBoy at 5:21 PM on January 11, 2011

Pboy: who WOULD you recommend for good quality sound?
posted by leotrotsky at 6:18 PM on January 11, 2011

Sourwookie: the comparison of the serene to the iPhone is apt. Serene was out of date when it came out, and has yet to be updated. iPhone gets increasingly awesome, and is loads better from a design geek standpoint than any of the B&O equipment.
posted by leotrotsky at 6:22 PM on January 11, 2011

For some reason, I really want a table radio from the 50s or 60s. Not sure if this is a passing phase or the first rumblings of an obsession. It's be cool to hack in a tiny PC for streaming audio, a plug for my iPod, and a better speaker. Some of the audio equipment here is beautiful, but maybe just too dang collectable for that application... right? Somebody stop me!
posted by Lorem Ipsum Wilder at 6:23 PM on January 11, 2011

EDIT: also, some of it is too new...
posted by Lorem Ipsum Wilder at 6:24 PM on January 11, 2011

Pboy: who WOULD you recommend for good quality sound?

I can't tell you what P-boy would recommend, but if you want some beautiful-looking vintage sound equipment that also sounds great, there's lots to choose from. McIntosh, The Fisher, Sansui, Yamaha. All of these look and sound great with a proper restoration. I still have never heard another receiver sound as good as a 1973 Sansui that I paid $80 for.
posted by TrialByMedia at 7:01 PM on January 11, 2011 [2 favorites]

Pboy: who WOULD you recommend for good quality sound?
posted by leotrotsky

Any decent, true high-current power-supply, capable of driving a 4 ohm load into properly-made speakers. There are literally hundreds of good speakers manufacturers out there. TrialByMedia, has it bang-on for the vintage stuff linked. All those receivers are pretty skookum. I`d kill for that McIntosh.
posted by PareidoliaticBoy at 8:00 PM on January 11, 2011

As an aside: In my time I've noticed that many "audiophiles" spend $$$ on top quality sound only to end up listening to banal crap (Enya for example...) For those of us who want to absorb an new idea, play it to death over a couple of months, and move on, we're quite happy with mediocre sound.

And the idea of spending thousands on over-designed B&O kit which has become a vulgar design parody of its former self is un-thinkable.
posted by marvin at 9:48 PM on January 11, 2011

The hobby is the reproduction of sound, not the discovery of new and innovative music. The two areas overlap in the realm of jazz and classical, but for every Vivaldi fanatic looking to reproduce the concert hall feeling in his basement, there's a guy who dropped fifty grand on electronics to listen to Bruce Springstein breathing into his harmonica mike on a live cut of "Born to Run."

I'll blow some money on decent headphones and pre-amp, but my ear is so far from "golden" I can't really tell the difference once the price heads north of a couple hundred bucks.
posted by Slap*Happy at 6:09 AM on January 12, 2011

I used to dream about Beosystems back in the day; it was going to be part of my chrome-and-black-leather-furnished bachelor pad, lit in subtle shades of deep blue but not too brightly so as to distract from the wall-to-wall nightscape view of the City that Never Slept, as my girlfriend (who would look like she had just stepped out of a Patrick Nagel painting, natch) came up behind me with two glasses of something phosphorescent. What would this system actually be playing? I dunno. Human League, maybe.
posted by Halloween Jack at 12:32 PM on January 12, 2011 [3 favorites]

My first, and possibly last, CD player is a Beogram CD 4500 that I bought in 1991 when I was making $15080 a year, before taxes. It was a store demonstrator model, sold out of an obnoxious high-end audio place for the amazingly low price of about six hundred and fifty dollars, which I had to finance over two years. It was so expensive that I couldn't even afford CDs for it, except for a paltry few here and there, but I'd really bought it to play one CD—Eno's Thursday Afternoon, which was one of the first pieces of music ever composed specifically for CD.

I didn't have much furniture, but I'd turn my little woodgrain GE 9 inch TV on its side, put on the accompanying video, put the CD into the glorious glass and chrome machine that hung on my wall like an ambience thermostat, and listen, over and over. For a year, the sound of my apartment was the sound of that music. On reflection, it was all a pretty pompous thing, but I was twenty-three, I didn't smoke, drink, or travel, and it seemed like a pretty decent vice to have, if you had to have a vice. A dose of absurdist pretense is just fine in moderation, I think.

As the salesman at the audio store was looking for the original box to pack up my ridiculous purchase, a beloved local news anchorman wandered in, took interest in the marked-down player, and made a loud request to overrule my purchase. The salesman, knowing that everything was all finalized and signed-for, made a few attempts to redirect the anchorman's interest, but it just made him madder. He waved a checkbook at me.

"I'll give you an extra fifty bucks right now to sell it to me," he said. "It's not like you can afford something like that, anyway."

That was true, but you have to have a little luxury in a life, even a pretty meager one.

"No thanks," I said. "I really love this one."

"You little chickenshit," grumbled the anchorman. "I oughta cut your fuckin' balls off, you dumb asshole. Fine—keep your little prize, tough guy."

He made a big show of purchasing a CD 5500 in the time it took the guy to find my box while I stood and squirmed in the glare of unwanted attention. He clapped down his gold card, turned to me with a smirk, and turned away again, just as quickly. My box appeared, my prize was packed, and I slipped out of there, almost levitating from excitement.

The 4500 is still prettier than the 5500, anyway.

Eno still lives in there, though it's more often Neroli these days.
posted by sonascope at 4:15 PM on January 12, 2011 [1 favorite]

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