Hear no evil

Sunday, 5th July, 2015

‘Beam Width Control and Active Room Compensation’ - two new ground-breaking technologies

With a new 50,000-euro set of loudspeakers from Bang & Olufsen rumoured to be on the horizon - hitting dealers’ stores in the run-up to Christmas - it seems like these two new technologies are the ones to watch out for. Or not, depending on your point of view and bank balance.

Whether this technology will allow us to listen to our music in the best possible way is debatable (and is purely subjective, of course) but one can gain a useful insight as to Bang & Olufsen’s new thinking for the immediate future… and beyond. And no doubt the company will be happy to take the possible flack which may well be coming their way in the months ahead.

Sweet spot sound of success?

For us at BeoPhile, we’d just be happy to see a (simple) nice-looking new CD player in the range of products… our huge compact disc collection is beginning to gather dust with so few CD players now being manufactured. ‘Beam Width Control and Active Room Compensation’ is all well and good if one is sitting in the sound ’sweet spot’ motionless and in a soundproofed room, but we rarely listen to music that way (the way that ‘tonmeisters‘ expect us to behave!)

They call it “progress” but we’re not so really that sure… but as long as it keeps a few people in work, then that’s not such a bad thing… after all, R&D departments have to appear to be at least doing something!

Read more…

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Audi A4 2016

Wednesday, 1st July, 2015

Two new models have just been announced by Audi for their 2016 line-up: the new A4 and A4 Avant. Both cars are an up-to-date synthesis of technology and aesthetics. All the technology in the brand’s best-selling family has been redeveloped so that it yet again defines the benchmark in the segment.

The two new models offer an abundance of intelligent technologies; the use of which is even more intuitive with the new Audi MMI display and control concept. Technological highlights of the 2016 A4 include the Audi virtual cockpit, the Audi Matrix LED headlights, the Audi smartphone interface, the Bang & Olufsen Sound System with 3D sound, the Audi phone box with wireless charging, the head-up display and new driver assistance systems and Audi connect services.

Audi A4 2016

Information and fascination: the Audi virtual cockpit and the MMI

The focus here is on two innovations: the optional Audi virtual cockpit, a fully digital combination instrument, features a 12,3-inch LCD screen which displays the most important information in brilliant high-resolution graphics, with great detail and sophisticated effects.

The MMI control concept in the centre console is also a newly designed feature and acts as the main control element. The top-end infotainment system, MMI Navigation plus with MMI touch and a large 8,3-inch monitor, has a touchpad in the rotary controller to zoom in and out and to enter characters. The entire MMI control logic is similar to that of a smartphone and includes an intelligent free-text search function. The new, more natural, voice-control system also understands input in normal everyday language, such as “I want to call Home”.

Audi has just released the new and improved Audi A4 to an eagerly awaiting luxury sedan market. Supporting the high performance nature of the Audi brand, the new Audi A4 Saloon and Audi A4 Avant include an optional Bang & Olufsen 3D Sound System that offers an unparalleled level of acoustic transparency and sets the benchmark of excellence in the automotive audio systems market.

“The Bang & Olufsen 3D Sound System in the Audi A4 brings fascinating 3D sound to all who hear it, adding an exciting new dimension to the listening experience,” said Jens Peter Zinck, Head of Bang & Olufsen Automotive for HARMAN.

For the ears

The Bang & Olufsen 3D Sound System for the Audi A4 pushes yet further the reference point for audio performance in the automotive market. The system comprehensively includes an array of 19 speakers, each housed within grilles that are seamlessly integrated into the interior design of the Audi A4. The Bang & Olufsen Dynamic Lines Design feature brings together excellent styling with unrivalled acoustic transparency.

The 16 channel Class D amplifier delivers 755 watts of clear, crisp 5.1 surround sound. Regardless of what is happening outside the cabin, the Vehicle Noise Compensation (VNC) technology incorporated into the amplifier ensures audio consistency is maintained, automatically adjusting timbre and volume based on input from a number of internal and external on-board sensors and microphones. Using Fraunhofer’s Symphoria® technology, the sound system provides an acoustic spaciousness in the Audi A4 that sets new standards for automotive 3D sound reproduction.

For the eyes

The elegant shape and design of the exterior of the Audi A4 weaves itself into the vehicle’s interior. The combination of the cabin’s spaciousness, luxury and subtle attention to detail provides a perfect stage for Bang & Olufsen Automotive engineers to display a new visual design that will carry into future partnerships with Audi.

These attributes further integrate the audio system into the overall interior design of the Audi A4, ensuring that Bang & Olufsen maintains a strong and distinct brand identity. Speaker grilles with a specific Dynamic Lines Design follow the design line of the interior and include anodised aluminium details and logos, LED lighting and visibility from the interior and exterior of the vehicle.

For the heart

By design, the Bang & Olufsen 3D Sound System for the Audi A4 aims to please both driver and passenger. It is capable of flawlessly reproducing a multitude of music categories, with a focus on being unblemished and distinctive, effectively and virtually transporting listeners to packed stadiums, recording studios, jazz clubs or concert halls on their drive. The system also ensures that the respect for individual preferences is never forgotten: An array of settings allows passengers to adjust volume levels in their areas.

Concentrated computing power

MMI Navigation Plus is backed by the computing power of the second-generation modular infotainment platform, which allows Audi to bring consumer electronics innovations into the vehicle quickly.

If customers order a car with MMI Navigation Plus, they automatically receive the Audi connect hardware module which connects the A4 and A4 Avant with the Internet via the high-speed LTE network. Passengers can use the Internet and send and receive email with their mobile devices via a Wi-Fi hotspot while the driver can use the tailored services of Audi connect.

The Audi smartphone interface is a new feature. It integrates iOS and Android mobile phones into an environment developed especially for this purpose - Audi MMI. The Audi phone box connects smartphones to the on-board antenna and charges them inductively according to the Qi standard. For discerning hi-fi fans, the Bang & Olufsen Sound System with innovative 3D sound is available, which introduces the additional dimension of height. The new Audi tablet can also be used as flexible rear seat entertainment.

Info-tainment and Audi Connect

  • Optional top-end infotainment system MMI Navigation plus with MMI touch and an 8,3-inch MMI monitor including Audi connect, LTE connectivity and Wi-Fi hotspot  (Audi phone box available with inductive charging)
  • Many new Audi connect services including remote control via smartphone app to check and control the car
  • Audi smartphone interface for connecting Apple and Android phones
  • Bang & Olufsen Sound System with innovative 3D sound and Audi tablet as mobile rear-seat entertainment
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Pi in the making

Sunday, 28th June, 2015

What to do with an old B&O cassette player? Turn it into an Internet radio player, of course!

The Raspberry Pi is a small, barebones computer developed by The Raspberry Pi Foundation - a UK charity - with the intention of providing low-cost computers and free software to students. The Foundation’s ultimate goal is to foster computer science education and they hope that this small, affordable computer will be a tool that enables that.

So, you have an old Bang & Olufsen cassette player, but with formal dying a death over the years, what to do with the casing? A dilemma indeed!

One man’s vision was to turn it into an Internet radio player, and looking at this images, it looks about the classiest Internet radio player that money can buy!

Raspberry Pi

By using a 1979 Bang & Olufsen Beocord 1500 cassette recorder he converted it into a standalone Raspberry Pi Internet radio. He says that “the analogue VU meters are driven by the Pi via a DAC (Digital to Analogue Converter) circuit, with the current time, station and track displayed on an Adafruit negative RGB display, visible through what was originally the cassette window. It’s completely controlled with the original buttons, and the amplification is provided by a re-used TV soundbar, which is built into the front of the case. It also features a colour-changing mood LED that projects through the tape counter window, and the amplifier has a handy remote control built into a cassette tape”.

Read more of this super conversion job. Who knows, with a bit of imagination (and an old B&O carcass), a very small amount of money, you too could be doing the same for a just a little outlay and a little hard work.

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Thursday, 25th June, 2015

Got a Moto smart watch? Bang & Olufsen now provides a new face for your timepiece (the watch shown is the Motorola Moto 360 powered by Android Wear):

“With this original design by Bang & Olufsen, we celebrate every sunrise and sunset, as your watch face seizes the beautiful moments. Every day we celebrate our precious time”


Get the watch face now for free…

And for you bright young things about town interested in doing arm-contortions, there’s more here.

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