Bang & Olufsen active BeoLab speakers

Bang & Olufsen active speakers offer both stunning sound and timeless design.  Any B&O speaker with the word "BeoLab" in its name is an active speaker, which means they have amplifiers built-in.  When they were first released in the late 1980s, it was not clear whether they would be a success.  However, the technology has really stood the test of time, and many of these speakers have outlasted the televisions and music systems they were purchased to work with.  Connecting these speakers to Bang & Olufsen music and surround systems is easy, using Bang & Olufsen's PowerLink cable.  It has often been suggested that connecting these speakers to other manufacturers' televisions, music systems and surround sound systems is hard - but at Echo14 we love to integrate brands, and here are some of our favourite solutions.

A Bang & Olufsen surround sound system, using BeoLab 8000 speakers, a BeoLab 2 subwoofer and a BeoLab 7.1 centre speaker 

Click on a link below to find out more on how to use BeoLab active speakers with other brands and new products:

 

Television Surround Sound System

Bang & Olufsen BeoLab speakers can be connected to most models of television, from any brand, and provide full surround sound.  The device shown below is a surround sound processor.  The television connects to it with a simple HDMI cable, and to the BeoLab speakers using their existing PowerLink cables (with small adaptors if the speakers have the round din powerlink connections).  Then whatever is playing through the television, will play through the speakers, and the television's remote control will operate the volume.  

A surround sound processor with PowerLink connections for B&O Speakers

Television with Stereo Speakers

 

Connecting a pair of BeoLab speakers to any television can be very easy.  Often the speakers have an RCA / Phono connection on them, and televisions have a mini-jack headphone socket.  Therefore a single cable will allow the sound to play through the speakers, and will work fairly well at a low cost.  There are two disadvantages of this connection, the speakers do not turn off with the television, and they can be noisy when in standby.  A converter, like the unit below, will allow the television to turn the speakers off when required and will remove this additional noise. This solution can add multiple pairs of BeoLab speakers to a television, and will work with BeoLab subwoofers as well.

A stereo switch with powerLink connections for B&O speakers

Surround Sound with Other Speakers

 

If you have a pair of Bang & Olufsen speakers, and want to connect these to a surround sound system with speakers from another manufacturer, this can be done with a Surround Sound processor, or AVR.  The processor needs to be have connections for both active and passive speakers.  Whatever is playing on the television will automatically play through the speakers, and on most televisions the remote control can operate the volume.  This solution also works for in-ceiling speakers, and active or passive subwoofers.  

BeoLab 6000 speakers, with a Triad colour matched centre speaker and a television from LG

Wireless Connections

 

WiSA is a high quality wireless music system which is fitted as standard in some models of BeoLab speakers and other Bang & Olufsen products.  The great news is that, with the right adaptors, it is both backwardly and forwardly compatible with Bang & Olufsen active speakers.  For example, a pair of BeoLab 18 speakers (with WiSA built-in) could be wirelessly added to a Samsung television.  Or a pair of BeoLab 6000s can be added wirelessly to a new Bang & Olufsen television.  Also, more manufacturers are fitting this technology as standard, such as the new range of LG televisions (requires WiSA dongle).

The BeoLab 2 Subwoofer had WiSA built-in therefore can connect wirelessly to many devices

Bluetooth, Airplay and Chromecast

 

There are many devices that can bring Bluetooth streaming in to a pair of BeoLab speakers. Most will connect using a RCA / Phono cable then selecting line-in. Some of the speakers only have DIN or RJ45 connections, but with simple cable adaptors these will also work.  Airplay/Airplay 2 and Chromecast is also simple to connect using the same connections.

Bang & Olufsen have their own solution, the BeoSound Core.  Its predecessor, the BeoSound Essence worked in a similar way.  This clever device can play via Bluetooth, Airplay/Airplay 2 and Chromecast.  Also, it can be used as part of a Bang & Olufsen multi-room system and will work with Spotify Connect.  You can store credentials for streaming services, such as Deezer and TuneIn radio, within the unit. The BeoSound Core has a timer function, so could be used as an alarm.  It has a line-in connection, so a music system or television can also be connected.  Because it has PowerLink sockets, the connected speakers will turn off as soon as you turn the music off, rather than wait for a couple of minutes.  The unit is more expensive that the other options, but it offers high quality steaming and a huge amount of connection options.

 

The BeoSound Core

Sonos, Alexa and Google Home

 

If you have existing multi-room systems, such as Sonos, Amazon Alexa or Google Home, there are devices available that allow your Bang & Olufsen speakers to connect easily to these systems.  The Sonos Port is the ideal device for connecting BeoLab speakers to a Sonos multi-room system.  The speakers connect using a RCA / Phono connection.  It also has an input connection, so you can connect a computer, record player or music system to the speakers, via the Sonos Port. It also bring Airplay 2 in to the system, allowing easy connection to the speakers from an IOS device such as an iPhone or iPad.

The Sonos Port

Control4 and Control Systems

 

There are a huge selection of smart home devices available, controlling devices such as lights, blinds, heating, CCTV, home cinema and many others.  Each device can come with its own phone App and controller, which can be confusing.  A control system is a way of integrating theses separate devices in to a simple joined-up system.  Therefore with the press on a single button, the lights can dim, the blinds close and the cinema system turn on.  Or maybe the lights and heating can adjust automatically to the changing daylight and temperature outside.  These are just a couple of benefits that a control system can bring.

 

At Echo14, the Control4 system is one of our favourites.  It can integrate with over 13,000 third party products, from televisions, lights, intercoms and many more devices.  And they have several dedicated devices that can connect to BeoLab speakers, one of which being the Triad One, shown below.  This can bring high resolution audio into the Bang & Olufsen speakers, from all the leading streaming services.  The Triad One is also a great alternative to an AVR to connect to a television in a bedroom, kitchen, or other location when surround sound is not a requirement.

The Triad One streaming device from Control4

Bang & Olufsen Solutions

 

Bang & Olufsen have their own range of solutions for connecting older BeoLab speakers to newer products.  They have the excellent BeoSound Core, and its predecessors the BeoSound Essence and Playmaker.  There is a variantion on this device, the Connection Hub, which is used for connecting speakers to any brand of television that has an Infra Red remote control.  There are products that can make wireless connections to later Bang & Olufsen televisions and music systems.  At Echo14, we also sell pre-owned classic Bang & Olufsen music systems, such as the iconic BeoSound 9000 shown below.  The BeoSound 9000 can incorporated with later streaming devices, giving the benefit of classic Hi-Fi design with the latest High-Resolution streaming.   

The iconic BeoSound 9000 can incorporate High-Resolution music streaming

Bang & Olufsen Centre Speakers and Subwoofers

 

Bang & Olufsen subwoofers and centre speakers, such as the BeoLab 7.1 or BeoLab 2, can be more difficult to connect to other brands, but with a little knowledge these speakers can also be connected to other devices.  Unlike most BeoLab speakers, they will not turn on automatically when an audio source is detected from a RCA / Phono connection, but rather need a small voltage, or trigger, to turn on.  If you use products with Powerlink connections, such as the surround sound processor or the BeoSound Core the speakers will work normally.  Or an AVR with the phono pre-outs can be used, and the trigger function used to turn on the speakers.  To use a device that does not have Powerlink connections, and small adaptor that triggers the speakers to come on is required.

The BeoLab 7.1 can be used with surround sound systems with other television brands

BeoLab 2000 and BeoLab 3500

 

The BeoLab 2000 and BeoLab 3500 are the two hardest Bang & Olufsen active speakers to connect to other manufacturers' products, but there are solutions available.  These speakers are dedicated link room speakers from Bang & Olufsen, and use the MasterLink cabling system.  If these speakers are already installed in your home, you can add a music streaming device to the main Hi-Fi or television, and this will play on all the speakers connected in the multi-room system.  If you have these speakers as individual products, converters are available to connect them to other systems.

The BeoLab 2000 and BeoLab 3500 are the most difficult BeoLab speakers to connect to other products

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