B&O Tech: BeoLab 90 Released Features

#57 in a series of articles about the technology behind Bang & Olufsen loudspeakers

 

If you read the Technical Sound Guide for BeoLab 90, you’ll see a long list of features. However, not all of these features are available yet in the current software, since we’re still in the process of testing some of them.

The table below lists all of the features that are described in the Technical Sound Guide, and shows which of these are currently available in the latest software release. I’ve tried to make this list follow the table of contents of the Guide – just to make it a little easier to track.

Please do not bother asking when a feature will be released. I am not permitted to estimate future release dates. All I will do is update this table as features are made available. Newly-available features in the latest software release will be indicated in red.

 

 

This list is not official – which is my way of saying that I may have made some errors… If you have questions about details or you find mistakes, please comment on this posting.

 

Most recent SW release version: 1.2.2.5325

 

Feature Heading Feature Implemented Note
Smartphone Control Yes Limited by feature list
Presets Editable? No Presets are factory-defined
Selectable? Yes via Power Link Data and IR Receiver
Beam Width Control Narrow Front Yes Long latency
Wide Front Yes Short latency
Omni Yes Long latency
Beam Direction Control Front Left No
Front Right No
Back Left No
Back Right No
Speaker Adjustments Distance No
Level No
Role Yes
Active Room Compensation Measurements Partial PC-based measurement only
Multiple ARC Zones No
Basic adjustments Volume Yes
Mute Yes
Tone Controls No
Advanced controls Latency mode Partial Factory-defined by Beam Width
Loudness No
Frequency Tilt No
Sound Enhance No
Sound Design No
Parametric EQ No
Triggers by Speaker Group Yes
By Source No
Inputs  Power Link Yes
Wireless Power Link Yes
XLR line Yes
RCA line Yes
Optical Digital Yes
S/P-DIF Yes
USB-Audio Yes
Input selection Automatic Yes
Manual Yes Selection between active sources
User-defined priority Yes
Input parameters Re-naming No
Gain offset No
Detection Threshold (analogue) Yes
Auto-detection (digital) Yes  BeoLab 90 will now go into standby with a "digital black" on an active digital input after the timeout period. Previously the BeoLab 90 would automatically turn on with an active but silent signal.
Maximum Input Voltage Yes
Time-out Yes
Input Impedance Yes
Power Link Volume for digital inputs No
USB Volume No

 

Additional Information

1. Improvements made on network issues with Beolab 90.

2. The Beolab 90 app is now available at the Apple App Store. Click here for details.

  1. Hello Geoff.

    My Belab 90s must be coming soon. The technical people from B&O are coming tomorrow to make preparations by installing data cables etc. Once the speakers are delivered and installed (some time in July) I will be looking forward to every software update. Lots of red text on your table please.:-)
    I look forward to experimenting with each new implementation as they are distributed.
    Cheers
    Scott

  2. Hi Scott,

    Happy to hear that someone else has bought a pair! Out of curiosity, to what are you connecting them? (Nothing too detailed – I’m just wondering whether it’s a B&O source or a non-B&O source, or both.)

    If you have any questions, feel free to either post something here, or email me directly.

    Cheers
    -geoff

  3. thanks, Geoff! Very much appreciated – looking forward to the coming updates! :-) If you’re interested, mine are connected to the AVM Media Player MP 6/8.2. Please let me know when you happen to be in Switzerland – would be a pleasure to meet you in person. In the meantime: please keep up the good work and thanks again for the exceptional (!) client service! Best regards, Pascal :-)

  4. Hi Pascal,

    Thanks! And thanks for the info on the player. Is that the only source to which they’re connected?

    Cheers
    -geoff

  5. Hi Geoff and Pascal
    My set up is has been collected over many years. I have lots of stuff. I have had excellent support from rhe Adelaide B&O team and have known them for 20 years.
    The plan is for the Beolab 90s to be used to play CDs via my Beosound 9000 and connected to my computer network NAS drive and stream from internet. I was thinking about an Oppo CD player, but I am sentimental about my 9000.
    Regards
    Scott

  6. And the speakers will have a second, direct internet connection to keep up with the software upgrades….. ;-)

  7. Well don’t forget me!!

    I’ve had mine since the end of March. Great speakers straight out of the box!. Had my B&O Dealer, B&O UK Country Manager and a nice knowledgeable guy called Thorben from B&O HQ come to my home and do the PC-based ARC for me.

    The Lab 90s are driven by an Avant 55, BeoSound 5 and an Oppo 105.
    Tidal stream to Oppo, Optical O/I to BL90 – fantastic quality!

    Just waiting for the Beam Direction Control update now as all the other features I don’t really see a need for me to use.

    Would dearly like to see B&O come out with a new Beosound that can drive these Babies though!

  8. Today was installation day. There was quite a lot of connecting and configuring to do because we have also upgraded the TV in another room which had cascading effects on equipment in other rooms etc. The technicians make it work so well. Everything has come together. The Beolab 90s are a pleasure.

    Thanks to all including the Danish team who design and build all this equipment.

    The speakers are set for automatic updates, keep up the good work……please. ;-)

    Cheers Scott

  9. Hi Geoff,
    The speakers are bedded in and I am waiting patiently for the next round of feature implementation.

    A question. Is there any explanation for why I experience the sound stage to be elevated? When I attempt to place the instruments and voices they always seem about 1-2 meters above my level. It is though I am below (and out in front) the performers and they are up on the stage. Perhaps it is deliberate.
    Does this say something about my room or me? Is it potentially correctable?

  10. Hi Scott,

    Oh dear… this is a complicated question. :-)

    Before I try to answer it (and while I do some research…) can I ask one question:
    – do you get the same elevation when in WIDE or OMNI mode?

    The short version of this answer is that it is fairly normal to hear an elevation of the image when listening to stereo phantom sources in an anechoic environment. I suspect that what is happening to you is a similar effect.

    There are some tricks that might drop the image for you… but let me know what happens with the other two beam widths first.

    Cheers
    – geoff

  11. Hello Geoff,
    Thanks for considering this.

    I am at work now (Australian time), but I can confirm that the elevated image is in both narrow and wide mode. I will have to check about omni mode and report to you again after work. ( I am fairly sure it occurs with omni too, but I don’t want to mislead you).

    Regards
    Scott

  12. Sorry Geoff, there is a new problem with the Beo90 app and I can’t get the IOS devices to be recognised / connected to the speakers. The B&O serviceman has tried to correct it, but needs to seek some advice. As soon as it is possible to change presents I will let you know about the effect of omni on my phantom image.

    The Beomusic app still works so we still have great sound. :-)

    Cheers
    Scott

  13. Hi Scott,

    sorry to hear about your connection issues. I have seen this happen in the past with some over-protective routers that randomise IP addresses to keep nasty people out of a home network. The fix in this situation was to force the router to assign a fixed IP address to the BeoLab 90’s. I don\t know if this is cause of the problem you’re experiencing – but it might help…

    Just FYI: you are also able to switch Beam Widths with either a BeoVision television (if you have one) or a BeoRemote 1 (if you have the IR Receiver connected to the BeoLab 90) This is how I normally do it – mostly because I can never find my phone… It’s also possible to manually switch inputs on using the BeoRemote 1.

    Cheers
    -geoff

  14. Ahh… The mysteries of electronics….. We have had a power failure with a storm taking out the electricity supplies for a couple of days. The ultimate in “have you tried turning it off and on again?” And suffice to say the Beolab 90 app now works :-) We had previously assigned IP addresses etc so it was not that causing the problem. Anyhow, it is fixed and I am pleased.

    BTW: I have a BeoRemote 1 ( for my Avant) but no IR connected to the BeoLab 90. My BL90s are connected/wired to an Essence (and to the network/ NAS/streaming internet) and I have an “Eye” so that I can use Beo4 remotes for basic controls. Android and IOS devices with WiFi for more detailed control and multi-room selection (Beosound 9000 etc etc)

    So, I can answer about the phantom image and OMNI. I have noticed the elevated stage effect is “curved”. The stage is higher in the middle and seems to slope down to intersect with the speakers at the sides. The effect exists with all three “presets”, but is least noticeable with OMNI.

    I must add that this raised phantom image is not something that annoys, of bothers me. It is something I had noticed and I suspect it says more about my room than the sound system. Perhaps all I need is a rug on the tiled floor. Please don’t get distracted with my “issue”……keep testing the BeoLab 90 software and releasing the upgrades (ARC) :-)

    Regards

    Scott

  15. Hans Christian says:

    Hello Geoff and fellow enthusiasts,

    I just wanted to introduce myself and to congratulate you with creating the most fantastic set of speakers I have ever heard in my life – thank you!; and I have heard and owned many – among other B&W, Dali and Marten all having been connected through a high end McIntosh tube setup which up to now has been my main critical listening position. However, over the summer this all changed when I had a private listening session at the main B&O store in Copenhagen – I was completely floored as I had never heard anything like it.

    Just took the plunge and ordered a set and can’t wait to get it and have it fully setup.!

    The following items will be connected
    Oppo 105 player
    Avant 55 TV
    Beosound moment which currently controls my FLAC’ed CD collection
    McIntosh turntable MT10 with black ortofon cartridge.

    The speakers will be in the main living room and I now don’t have to go to the basement to listen to high end sound any longer.

    Geoff, I know a technician will come to help setup everything but I was wondering if you can give any additional hints of do’s and don’ts.

    I look forward to share my further experiences.

    Best regards
    HC

  16. Hi HC,

    Thank you for your very kind comments! It’s rewarding to hear that you were so impressed that you purchased a pair. :-)

    Personally, I would set up your equipment as follows:

    Oppo -> Avant via HDMI
    Avant -> BeoLab 90 via Power Link

    Oppo -> BeoLab 90 via S/P-DIF (for PCM files)
    AND
    Oppo -> BeoLab 90 via XLR (for SACD and DSD files)

    Turntable -> RIAA preamp of your choice -> BeoLab 90 via RCA Phono

    In addition, I would ensure that an IR receiver is connected to the BeoLAb 90 and that your BeoRemote 1 is configured to “talk” to the BeoLab 90’s directly. I would also rename the menu items in the BeoRemote 1 to match the sources that you’ve connected to the BeoLab 90’s. Your installer will be able to do this for you.

    Cheers
    -geoff

  17. Hans Christian says:

    Hi Geoff,

    Many thanks for yourquick reply!!

    The installation is scheduled to take place on December 15th and 16th so I guess Christmas will come early for me this year!!

    Best regards
    HC

  18. Hans Christian says:

    Happy New Year Geoff,

    I hope you didn’t eat too much over Christmas (I know I did).

    The speakers were setup very nicely mid December by one of the specialists that works with the main store in Copenhagen and I have really been enjoying my beolab 90 speakers immensely over Christmas (wife and family fully approves :-)).

    A couple questions; hopefully both easy:

    1) My home network needed an upgrade and I changed the main router and some access points around in order to have better general wifi coverage throughout the house. This change required me to change the IP addresses from the common 192.168.1.xxx to 10.0.0.xxx. The only two things on the network that I have not managed to change over is the beolab90; hence question 1: how do I release/renew/reset the old/previously assigned IP address that seem to be “locked” with the speakers.

    2) White noise emitted by the speakers. While sitting doing critical listening one quiet evening I noticed that when not playing any music both speakers are emitting a low amount of white noise (especially noticeable from the mids and highs). First I thought perhaps my phono pre amp was creating some noise over the system but after disconnecting it the noise was still there.
    Lowerering and raising the volume does not change the strength of the noise. I would expect the speakers to be dead quiet when no signal is being processed by them, hence question 2:
    Have you experienced this before; If yes/no; what to do ?

    In advance many thanks for your great insight

    Best regards
    Hans Christian

  19. Hi Hans Christian,

    I ate and slept far too much over Christmas – so coming back to reality was/is a little difficult…

    I’m happy to hear that you all are enjoying your new speakers. :-)

    I don’t know the answer to your first question – but I’ll ask the network people on Monday and get back to you with an answer on this one.

    In order to answer your second question, I need a little more detail about what you’ve tried. What, exactly, is your hardware setup (e.g. what do you mean by “phono pre amp” and how is it connected to the BL90 input?) When you say that you lowered the volume – where, exactly did you do this? Was it on the external preamp or the volume inside the BL90’s via either the app or the IR remote directly to the loudspeakers? It will probably be better if we continue the conversation via email at geoff.martin@tonmeister.ca instead of doing it publicly here on the site.

    That said: Assuming that everything is working properly, there are four possible sources of noise. The first is the noise of the amplifier outputs. This will be independent of signal or source, since it is the last “device” in the signal chain that can create noise. The second is the analogue input, if you’re using it (the analogue-to-digital converter and associated analogue circuitry at the input stage). This noise exists all the time, but will be controlled by the volume inside the BeoLab 90. The third is the noise of the output stage of the device that is connected to the BeoLab 90 (e.g. your preamp) which is possibly “downstream” of that device’s volume control and therefore not controllable by that volume setting (but is controllable by the BeoLab 90’s volume control or the input sensitivity setting of the BeoLab 90). The fourth is the noise of whatever is connected to the preamp (e.g. the output stage of your turntable that is connected to the phono pre-amp) which would be volume-controllable by either the preamp’s volume or the BeoLab 90’s volume or the input sensitivity setting of the BeoLab 90.

    All of these sources have a noise floor (noise is unavoidable – even in a resistor that is not at a temperature of absolute zero) – the questions are: how high is that noise floor and is it controllable somehow (e.g. with a volume knob)?

    The outputs of the 18 amplifiers in the BeoLab 90 are not “gated” – so if the speaker is on, then they are producing a noise floor, albeit very low. If you have the app (or the IR remote controlling the BeoLab 90 directly) then switch the input to S/P-DIF and listen to the tweeters or midranges with your ear close to the loudspeaker. The noise that you hear is from the amplifiers.

    Also note that disconnecting a device (like your phono pre amp) is not a fair test, since an open connection is quite a bad source of noise – possibly resulting in more noise than when your preamp is connected.

    Cheers
    -geoff

  20. Hello Geoff, I appreciate that you are not able to tell us when the features will be implemented, but it has been well over a year since the speakers were released and 6 months since the major release of features was expected yet not delivered.
    Can you perhaps let us know why the delay? I have only my imagination to come up with reasons. Is there a hardware problem requiring a work around? Has B&O bitten off more than it can deliver? Am I entitled to a refund to compensate for the difference between what I ordered and what has been delivered?
    I bought these speakers expecting to implement ARC and choose to set up a variety of listening positions etc. At this stage we don’t even have basic base – treble or a simple balance control. Since I have an Android phone all I can do is vary the volume. I can’t choose between wide, narrow or omni until my iPhone toting wife comes home.

    So much has been promised and what has been delivered is good, but where is the rest? I expect I am not the only frustrated purchaser.

  21. Hi Scott,
    Normally, I only have a standing mandate to release technical information. However, I’ll have a chat with our Product Management to find out how best to answer your questions. I’ll get back to you asap.
    Cheers
    -geoff

  22. I would like to show an expression of interest in this line of enquiry if I may?

    I have had similar conversations with my dealer along the lines Scott is suggesting.

  23. Hi Scott (and Guy),

    We have communicated to our dealers that the next major software version will be released early this year. However, any further details regarding this should be obtained directly from your dealer. Although I’m allowed to provide technical information about our loudspeakers, I cannot short-circuit our dealer-customer communication channel.

    That said, I have spoken with our Product Management and have been allowed to release a little more information than usual:

    Of course, because the coming version will provide a significant jump in features (that are inter-related), we don’t want to release it until it has been thoroughly tested – and this requires time. This is why I, along with many other people, are currently working on this full-time.

    To give you an idea of the scale of the work – once the final Sound Design of the loudspeaker was finished, my job has been to verify that our Active Room Compensation algorithm is behaving correctly for the 14 different modes of each loudspeaker ((3 Beam Widths + 4 extra Beam Directions) * 2 latency modes) and the possible combinations (of which there are 54 possibilites) – and this has to be done in different rooms. Needless to say, I’ve been spending most of my time in the past months listening to sinewave sweeps as the ARC measurements are done.

    I hope that this adequately answers at least part of your question…

    One small additional note: If you have the IR-receiver connected to the BeoLab 90’s, you can switch between different inputs and the three beam widths using the BeoRemote One instead of using your wife’s iPhone. If you need some details on how this is configured, please feel free to ask!

    Cheers
    -geoff

  24. thanks for the initiative, Scott/Guy. Appreciated!

    @ Geoff: I am very happy to have this communication channel and to get a better understanding of what is happening with the BeoLab 90 project. I also appreciate that you and your team are working hard on the open issues and the missing functions. Nevertheless, some additional thoughts from my side below:

    I am also very much interested in this enquiry. We all have been patiently waiting for the promised updates/functions, which are crucial for the proper functioning of the speakers – as promoted and promised by the commercials and the retailers. For my part (and with regards to the dealer-customer communication channel that Geoff mentioned), I don’t receive any updates from my dealer at all (!) It looks like they have booked it as a successful sale and moved on, which is not good for your brand. Whenever I proactively asked questions about functions or updates they either couldn’t answer them (“We haven’t received any information, but I can write an email for youl”) or they refer me back to B&O (i.e. the iPhone App and the update status). I don’t know what communication is happening with the retailers, but the result is definitely not very good, to say the least… I would appreciate if you could give some internal feedback to the people in charge and put some thought into how to keep customers who are willing to pay a high 5-digit sum for B&O speakers happy. Maybe B&O can come back to us with a more formal response and a proposal how to make up for this? I think this is not too much to ask for.

    @ Scott/Guy: happ to share any feedback I receive.

    Thanks a lot,

    Pascal

  25. A quick update from “the inside” to everyone following this thread:

    The past two weeks have been very busy for me (and others!) with respect to this posting… the next software version is now working well enough that I’ve been shooting the training videos that will accompany it. At the same time, I’ve been acting like a “normal” user, helping to find the last bunch of bugs for the software team to fix. Most of the work has been comprised of making sure that the Active Room Compensation algorithm is working properly for all 14 directivity settings (Narrow, 5xWide, and Omni – for both Long and Short latency – resulting in a total of 54 possible combinations for two loudspeakers), verifying that the app is behaving in general, and ensuring that the integration with a BeoVision television still works well. There’s still work left to do, since, as soon as one of us finds a bug, it has to be fixed, and testing starts again – but the goal for this next release is to have a stable, high-quality software coming out for the BeoLab 90 – instead of releasing it too early.

    Cheers
    -geoff

  26. Hello Geoff,

    Thank you for your understanding and for listening to my concerns. I understand the complexity and hope that testing does not reveal any more bugs that result in a return to the drawing board. It is hard to remain patient. We are waiting with keen anticipation for the fulfilment of the promise…..

    Regards

    Scott

  27. Hi Scott,

    I completely empathise with your anticipation…

    The “drawing board” is long past – there is definitely no going back to it. As I said, the software is working well enough that we were using it to film the videos – and it is getting better and more stable every day. The remaining bugs are small – but certainly still need fixing before we release the software publicly.

    As promised, I’ve forwarded your emails and comments directly to a number of people within the organisation.

    And now, back to testing…

    Cheers
    -geoff

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