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ARCHIVED FORUM -- April 2007 to March 2012

This is the first Archived Forum which was active between 17th April 2007 and 1st March February 2012


Latest post 05-31-2009 5:57 PM by ejjc66. 4 replies.
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  • 05-27-2009 9:34 PM

    Beolab 5 connection options (SPDIF) from other sources

    Good day all

    I am considering the purchase of Beolab 5 speakers but I have concerns on how other equipment can be connected.

    If a CD player has a SPDIF digital coax out I can simply connect it to the speakers and voila a perfect solution... but!

    How then do you connect multiple digital sources with SPDIF digital coax outputs?

    What is the best way to deal with Blu-Ray players since the digital coax ouputs since that would be a DTS or similar output that the speakers can not handle? Is there a surround sound processor which can take the DTS digital signal, decode it and output at standard stereo SPDI digital coax ouputs?

    Alternatively do you need to use the analogue outputs of a surround sound processor and connect that to the speaker - but will this work in addition to a digital connection? How does the speaker switch?

    B&Os solution appears to be something like the Beo3 with PowerLink but this means we're in the analogue domain!

    Interestingly, something like this might do it?

    Any advice would be greatly appreciated.


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  • 05-28-2009 2:42 AM In reply to

    Re: Beolab 5 connection options (SPDIF) from other sources

    It is a good day - I'm going fishing!

    The BL5s are clever in that they detect signals, whether from Line-In or the coax s/pdif. They give priority to the s/pdif, if detected. Which means that you can have two different sources connected to the speakers.

    If you have more digital sources than one, then you have a challenge, but it's easily solved.

    A simple solution would be to get a CD-player that has digital inputs. Cambridge Audio has an excellent one in the 840C Azur. This gives you optical and coax s/pdif IN, in addition to your being able to play CDs. In other words, three digital sources, all connected through one cable to the BL5s.

    If the Cambridge Azur 840C is too inexpensive (Whistle), you can get the same functionality and sound from the substantially more expensive dCS Puccini.

    But if you're also playing surround sources, or very high resolution sources, then this solution won't do.

    You quite correctly identify the sampling issue with the BeoLab 5s. They work at 24-bit/96kHz; they do not understand a surround digital signal, it has to be processed before it reaches them. But they will accept any analog signal, and process it as a pass-through signal.
    So to solve that potential problem - with sound sources in resolutions in excess of 24/96 or non-native (digital surround), you just need to get it properly processed before it reaches the speaker.

    This you can do with an A/V receiver or preferably A/V pre-amp, with analog 7.1 pre outs. (You don't need an amplifier, since you have that in the speakers).
    There are a variety to choose from, and you'd probably want to consider one that matches your other components when it comes to remote control.
    You'd want one that processes HDMI, various digital signals and other sources - and which outputs a pre-amp signal to analog 7.1, correctly decoded. Some allow for volume-control through the unit.

    You would connect the BL5s to the pre-amp using LINE IN on the speakers. Make sure the pre-amp allows you to define "No center speaker" - the BL5s create a brilliant phantom centre, and it must also allow you to send the low frequency (sub woofer signal) to the front speakers. Some pre-amps also have digital OUT, and for the signals that are appropriate, you might want to have that connected to the speakers, if you don't go for a separate as described above (the CD-player with digital IN and OUT).

    As to which specific A/V pre-amp that is suitable, that depends on your other components and requirements. But there are a number of very nice units on the market now.

  • 05-28-2009 7:26 PM In reply to

    Re: Beolab 5 connection options (SPDIF) from other sources

    Thank you for your helpful reply Soundproof.

    Since the existing CD player, TV and some other sources use HDMI I think the best way is a HDMI switch with SPDIF out which can then connect to the speakers.

    All I need to do now is get a better feel for the speakers because at present the "soundstage" and "detail" doesn't seem to be there despite the incredible accuracy of reproduction (low distortion, bass control etc.).

    I'm really not all that keen on the B&O lifestyle rooms with the faux-wood backwall... very bright sounding.

  • 05-29-2009 12:16 AM In reply to

    Re: Beolab 5 connection options (SPDIF) from other sources

    The BL5s are only rarely (1 in 10?) set up right at dealers. Get a home demo.

    You'd want something that properly processes a variety of signals, and then sends something to the BL5s that they understand. I'd want to have both the analog LINE-IN and S/PDIF connected.

  • 05-31-2009 5:57 PM In reply to

    • ejjc66
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    • Joined on 05-19-2009
    • Posts 3
    • Bronze Member

    Re: Beolab 5 connection options (SPDIF) from other sources

    Hi all,

    I have exactly the same question re. multiple digital sources (and analog as well) to feed BL-5. 

    Soundproof, I believe  I remember another post from you where you were recommending to use a Cambridge Magic DAC to feed BL-5. It boasts several digital inputs (optical, spdif, or even usb), and both analog AND digital output. SO, i have understood it offers the possibility to have several sources of digital music (a BS 9000 and iTunes from a Mac for example) and get it out decently clean and standardized (190 kbps ?).  Is that a set up that would be convenient, in addition to connecting the BL-5 analog powerlinks  to a Beovision (BV 8-40) ?


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