1. did you also work on the new beoplay A2?

    i have one on order as i am really curious to try it out. my main intention is to compare it to the B&W T7, will be an interesting fight.

    you have so much interesting articles here. please have a look at my own blog and tell me what you think.

    i would need an advice on recording techniques, maybe you have a bit of time for a chat. please feel free to contact me through the contact form.

    thanks, olaf

  2. Hi Olaf,

    I did not work on the A2 – the acoustics and tuning of this was done by a couple of my colleagues here in Struer.

    If you’re looking for information on recording techniques, I would highly recommend getting the AES anthologies on Spatial Sound Techniques and Stereophonic Techniques. These are available here.


  3. hey geoff, thanks a lot for your reply.

    sorry to hear you didn’t do the tuning for the A2, as the other products you did and that I heard are stunning. i am planning to buy the H6 now and i also heard the A8, which i really loved. but the A2 is mostly tempting due to its portability, i am really curious to hear what your colleagues managed out of that form-factor. i know most other alternatives currently available from Bose, Loewe, TDK etc, so I really want to hear how B&O takes on this.

    I am not so much interested in general recording techniques, but rather hoped you might give me a tip, how to manage a simple and cost-effective setup for my speaker recordings. If you had a look at my blog or my youtube-channel, you will see what I mean:

    i am currently using a handheld recorder from zoom. the zoom H1 microphones had the best bass extension from all recorders i had tested. i still also own an old multitrack yamaha HD-recorder, that was my main mixing console when i still did music on my own. i could use this for any future recordings. but i am not sure what kind of microphone to choose and maybe what kind of microphone-setup? AB, or XY? i tend to prefer omnidirectional mics to avoid any proximity effect, as i would like to record the speakers from closer distances to avoid a too strong room influence, but the microphone has to be with a flat response. of course i cannot spend thousands dollars for a DPA 4006 mic or 2 of them.
    i just want to offer representative results.

    thanks a lot for any help and greetings from Vienna,


    ps. did you already post an article about your tuning process, so far I haven’t found anything. but i am really curious to know how such a tuning is done? is this just DSP-tweaking, or do you have influence on the pure acoustics of the speaker too? the placement of the driver etc? do you do your testing in a normal room, in different rooms or in an anechoic chamber, etc? just some basic background what “speaker tuning” is, would be really interesting also for others i guess.

  4. Hi Olaf,

    Thanks for your kind compliments!

    As for advice about making recordings of the outputs of loudspeakers in a room – my only advice is “don’t”. This may sound facetious – but that is actually my serious advice. It is my personal opinion that it is completely unfair to any loudspeaker to do a recording of it in a room, and play back that recording with a claim that it in any way reflects how the loudspeaker sounds in real life. The only possible exception that might convince me is if you are creating a very carefully controlled complete system, where you know exactly the output level of the loudspeaker under “test”, the physical conditions surrounding the loudspeaker, recording space, microphones and microphone configuration, the output level of the playback system, the linearity of the recording and playback system, and you have compensated for the characteristics of the final playback system. If you have not, at the very least, looked after all of those issues, then recording the output of a loudspeaker in a room, and allowing people to play back the result over some unknown pair of loudspeakers or headphones at some unknown listening level through a playback system with unknown characteristics is worse than NOT doing the recording in the first place.

    To answer your P.S. question: I think that the answer might be here.


  5. Hey Geoff, I am aware of all those mentioned problems and as I can not have any influence on the final playback system, I can only provide a relative difference between 2 speakers. I never tried doing recordings of just one speaker as this would really be pretty senseless.
    Apart from that my levels are all fixed. I have one recording room, exact recording positions, distances and loudness levels which I match by ear though, because I noticed that due to the different frequency response of many speakers, they might still be off in SPL although the measurement shows them to be equal. It is just that I am still looking for a linear microphone, to improve the result even more.

    It is interesting that the differences in sound and character of 2 speakers can even be perceived through some crappy speakers at the end, it is really funny, you should try once, but you could probably even recognize a particular speaker when played back through another less capable one.

    Anyway thanks for your help.
    Will have a deeper look at your article, meanwhile I also watched both videos showing off how speakers are made by B&O, these also answered lots of my questions.

    btw. I got the B&W T7 today and I am surprised how average it is. It sounds really strange, actually I was quite a bit shocked to hear it and that B&W are asking 350,- for that kind of sound and that “Mini Matrix”, which i really don’t know what this is all about…
    now the direct comparison with the A2 will become even more interesting I guess!

  6. Geoff,

    You might not be involved with the A2….but by chance do you know if there any firmware updates coming out for the A2? I own quite a few B&O products and this is the first product I am disappointed with. Furthermore, It makes a “plop plop” sound on any modern music selections if you go past 1/3 on the volume. It seems like the amps are overdriving the small drivers? Moreover, It makes it painful to use for casual listening. It seems like the dsp or tuning is off….

    Any thoughts?

    Thanks for your time and greetings from Minnesota!

  7. Hi Steve,

    Sorry, but I was not directly involved with the A2 development. And, even if I were, I would not be permitted to make unofficial statements about things like future firmware releases.

    However, I am sorry to hear that you’re disappointed with the sound quality of the A2 – and I have passed your comments on to the persons from Acoustics and DSP who were involved in its development.


  8. I am also quite disappointed with the performance. I already made a demo showing this problem here, I think it is pretty obvious what’s going on:

    The compression/limiting algorithm seems to compress the peaks fo a bassdrum away, but boost the decay part more, which results in overdrive. The bass is tuned so low, that the driver can’t keep up.

    The distortion is one issue, but the battery life at higher levels is even a bigger issue. It will turn to half volume after less than one hour if played close to max. This is inacceptable.

    Anyway, a pity, because the A2 was one of the most promising speakers, but maybe we will still have to wait for the second generation.

  9. Hi again Olaf,

    As I mentioned before, I didn’t work on the A2 – but I’ve already passed your comments on to the team who did.


  10. hello Geoff, i know you were not involved in the A2 development, but it is great to have at least someone who has contact to the team. So there might be hope for some improvement in future, unlike with JBL where all customer inquiries seem to be ignored. JBL screwed it up completely with the JBL Charge 2. they could have a winner as it is a very good sounding speaker. But they added some nasty DSP-processing issues which makes the speaker close to unusable for serious listening. They didn’t even care to answer…
    I hope B&O cares a bit more about their products.

  11. Hi Geoff,

    did you do the tuning for the new Beolit 15?
    Impressive speaker, although I was surprised by the much lower max. volume compared to the old Beolit 12, at least the Beolit 15 sounds quite restrained now, while the old one became pretty harsh with little bass at higher levels, here is my side-by-side soundcheck of both:

    Btw, do you know if there was some update for the A2 regarding the distortion-issues mentioned above? I returned mine because of this, but many current owners claim that all issues have been fixed. Could you please share some insight on this matter?

    Thanks and best regards, Olaf

  12. Hi Olaf,

    I wasn’t part of the BeoLit 15 development. The “harshness” that you speak of in the BeoLit 12 (which I did work on) is likely the result of the ABL pulling back on the bass to protect the woofer from over-excursion (or the amplifiers and/or power supply from clipping). The amount by which we decide to allow the remaining frequency bands to go louder than the bass then becomes a balancing act between pushing too hard (and the loudspeaker getting “harsh”) and the loudspeaker staying closer to its “normal” tonal balance, but playing at a lower maximum level. From my perspective, this is actually one of the tougher parts of the Sound Design process – how much to allow a loudspeaker to sound different from itself. It’s also one of the more challenging things to explain, since many people think that an active loudspeaker is simply a passive loudspeaker with a built-in amplifier – they don’t consider that some of the behaviour of the system really is active… :-)

    Regarding your second question, I’ll ask my colleagues and find out.


  13. Hi again Olaf,

    I received word from my colleagues regarding your question. There is currently no new firmware update available for the A2.


  14. Samu Tyrväinen says:


    Customer request: make an alternative firmware for Beolit 15 with less boomy, more flat sound profile.


  15. Have you tried the VIFA Helsinki already?
    It sounds a bit thin at low levels, although there should be a “night mode” available soon, which will push bass at low levels, but at maximum it plays louder than the Beolit, without compression without distortion and with a nicely natural bass unlike the boomy Beolit mess. The Helsinki is only 1.4kg and much smaller, more comparable to the Beoplay A2 which suddenly starts sounding really funny.

  16. Hi Oluv,

    I never comment on competitors’s products. I also always try to avoid using personal preference descriptors when talking about the sound of products.

    One speaker may have more or less bass than another – this is an objective perceptual description, which is legal. Whether that’s better or worse or a “mess” is a personal preference and is not transferrable from one person to another. We can agree that one cup of coffee is less bitter than another cup of coffee – but this is completely orthogonal to whether either one of us prefers it – so neither one of us can say which is “better” – only which one we prefer.

    – geoff

  17. Hi Geoff, my response was rather referring to Samu, but now as you kicked in, I think it is indeed valid to regard one speaker as worse than another, simply based on how faithful both are to the original signal they are getting it. The Beolit 15 is indeed hardly faiithful as it has a pretty weird frequency response with deep but also boomy and boosted bass which gives a pretty flabby characer and some harsh treble peak which simply is not present in the original recording. The old Beolit 12 which you did the tuning from what I know sounded much better if high fidelity is regarded, it was just suffering from a strong directivitiy and became pretty dull if not placed exactly at ear height. The Beolit 15 has less of these problems, but it simply doesn’t sound “good” and it compresses the hell out of the music if turned up to high levels without even reaching the maximum loudness of the much smaller VIFA Helsinki which does hardly apply any compression and remains pretty punchy and distortionfree even at maximum volume. Therefore I would definitely see the VIFA as the better speaker here, even if some prefer black coffee over a brown one.

  18. Hi Oluv,

    I guess we will have to agree to disagree on this topic. As I said, I’m not going to argue the specific qualities of specific products. However, I would suggest that you do some research into the difference between objective perceptual and subjective attributes.

    Happy New Year!

  19. Jacob Voigt says:

    I’m here to strengthen Samu’s request, for a more flat response!!! (He’s not the only one)

    Does the app actually change the DSP of the Beolit 15 or is it a mere equaliser?
    Because if it’s similar to adjusting the equaliser in the media player, I dare say it’s a lost cause… I can’t even pull the 60, 150khz frequencies south enough to please my ears ;)

    Maybe this gift will become an actual source for music in my household and not just a pretty interior eye candy!!

    So I’m longing for the app be available for android.
    (It’s strange to me that they developed for iOS first, since iPhones don’t even support the apt-x protocol..)

  20. Hi Jacob,

    I’ve already passed Samu’s comments on to the Beolit 15 development team.

    I’ll forward your comments about the iOS vs. Android and apt-x on to the product manager for the product. As I mentioned earlier, I wasn’t part of that development process, so I’m not even able to answer your questions about the app…


  21. hey Geoff, did you tune the A1 as well? or the S3?
    I am asking because I wonder why some of B&O speakers manage to sound rather natural (I suppose those are the ones you worked on) while others sound completely off like the A2 and Beolit 15.
    I heard the A1 in a store and was pretty impressed, I should get mine today, it reminded me a bit of the Beoplay H6 soundwise, therefore I assumed, you might have tuned it.

  22. Hi Oluv,

    Nope. I didn’t do the A1 or the S3… So I can’t take credit for those – but I’ll pass on your compliments when I get to work tomorrow.

    As to why the tuning of some loudspeakers appeal to you and others don’t – this is something I can’t answer. However, it’s certainly true that the loudspeakers are different – and that they have different tunings…


  23. Hello Geoff, thanks for your answer. I tried analyzing the A1 yesterday and did some measurements and it has indeed a rather even frequency response, which cannot quite be said of the A2 which has some inconsitencies with mids, the Beolit 15 (and I am not alone when looking at the comments above) has simply too much bass and treble-boost, The S3 has it as well, but it has still pretty flat mids, therefore I probably prefer the A1 and S3.
    Anyhow I am extremely impressed by the A1 and will definitely recommend it as best ultra portable speaker.
    I noticed that there is no loudness compensation so far, and although it never quite sounds “thin”, I think the human ear would expect a bit more bass and treble bosst at very low levels. If you really happen to contact the engineers, I would suggest an additional switchable “loudness mode” within the app. Currently I can of course manually slide the dot towards “exciting” which boosts both bass and treble, but of course it would be great if this happened automatcially according to the current loudness level. I think an optional switchable setting like that would really be helpful. For those who don’t want it, well they don’t need to use it, but all the others who prefer a clearer and more bassheavy sound at low levels, this could help I guess.
    What do you think?

    Thanks again!

  24. Hi Oluv,

    Love your reviews.. You made me a B&O Fan. Purchased an A2 and Beloit 15. Sold the A2 due to battery issues.

    Can you post a video for a comparison of the A2 and A1



  25. Hi Geoff ,

    Love the new Beolab 90 ! Amazing work !

    I was wondering if some of the technologies from the Beolab 90 will trickle down into other B&O speakers or possibly even Beoplay products in the future. Do you guys have any plans on incorporating some of features/ technologies from these speakers into the other speakers later on ?

    Regards ,

  26. Hi Akash,

    Our previous CEO stated at the launch event for the BL90 that some of the technologies we developed for the loudspeaker would trickle down into other products.

    However, I am unable to state which features will be extended into other loudspeakers, or when that may or may not happen. Sorry.


  27. hi Geoff, hi all,
    I have just bought the second Beolit 15 to take advantage of the stereo modality. Stereo works well, except for the bass response, exaggerated, “resonant” and boomy, not more “controllable” by the App. Maybe it will be nice for an open ambient, an outdoor afternoon in the countryside. But not for a normal room space or a living room.
    In stereo modality, it is not more possible to control the spectral emission.
    Please, can you ask the software engineer to project a “closed medium size room scenario response, flattening the bass response to a more convenient level?
    Thank you very much.
    To me, it seems a pity: “a large potentiality in the hardware unmatched by an overdriven DSP-Software control”
    thank you again