|Product :||Beogram 1800||
|Produced from :||1983 - Feb 1986|
|Designed by :||Jacob Jensen|
The Beogram 1800 was slimmer and had a faster acting automatic mechanism that that which it replaced: the Beogram 1700. Fitted with an MMC5 pickup, this two-speed radial deck was designed from the onset to be an ‘all-purpose’ record deck and for all uses. For this reason, customers could buy the deck in the knowledge that it would fit in with any Bang & Olufsen system, old or new. It lacked the usual Datalink connections but gained a 5-pin DIN plug so the record deck was effectively a ‘plug and play’ machine.
Losing weight, this svelt machine gained speed in that the internal mechanisms were further changed to focus more on speed of use. These clever, ‘intelligent’ mechanisms led the way forward for many of Bang & Olufsen’s later decks, whose life by now was limited in the light of popularlity of optical-medium technologies.
THIS latest budget turntable from B&O replaces their popular Beogram 1700 and, despite a number of refinements, still sells at less than £100 complete with one of their new MMC series cartridges. As the photograph shows, the traditional B&O styling and slim lines are retained. The deck measures only 85mm high with the lid closed and is elegantly finished in matt silver and grey. The metal deck top is completely uncluttered, for easy cleaning, and the metal platter is set flush with the deck, having only raised concentric rings of non-conducting Nextell to support the disc and minimise static.
Three push-buttons are let into the deck top at the front right-hand corner. These are for 33 or 45rpm speed selection and cue (raise/lower). They are covered by the lid, when closed, but auto-start and stop can still be operated by simply pressing the right-hand end of the decorative strip running along the deck’s front edge. The auto-mechanism identifies the disc as 18cm or 30cm diameter, selects the 45rpm or 33rpm speed accordingly, moves the pickup over to the run-in grooves and lowers it to start playing. Full auto-stop at the end of the record returns the tonearm to its rest and switches off. Of course the auto-stop cycle can be initiated at any time during play, and (with the lid raised) play can be interrupted using the cue button and the tonearm moved manually to any desired part of the record.
The platter is relatively lightweight, at 400g, and is belt-driven from a tachometer-controlled DC motor. The main bearing and tonearm base are on a sub-chassis separately suspended from the main deck for reduced rumble and sensitivity to feedback and external vibrations. The thin tubular tonearm looks fragile but is in fact very rigid and mounted in excellent knife-edge bearings. There is no headshell since the B&O miniaturised plug-in system continues in their new cartridge range. Tracking force is adjusted by the usual calibrated counterweight, and there is internal spring-applied anti-skating.
The cartridge fitted (with the tracking force already adjusted to the recommended 1.5g) is the MMC5, the least expensive of the new range of five MMC models. These are all extremely tiny and weigh a mere 16g. The B&O patented MMC (Moving Micro Cross) armature gives advantages in terms of low crosstalk and has allowed further reduction in size (and effective tip mass) with each generation. The MMC5 has an elliptical titanium-bonded stylus and straight tubular aluminium cantilever. Despite its small size, it has an integrated flip-down stylus guard and a cut-out in the cartridge top allows a clear view of the stylus for accurate cueing on the record.
Captive mains and signal leads of generous length are fitted, having respectively two-pin and five-pin DIN plugs. An individual calibration card shows the factory measurements of sensitivity, channel balance, separation, tracking velocity and relative level at 20kHz.
How it performed
The Beogram 1800 arrives superbly packaged and, since the cartridge is already in situ and balanced, no user should have any difficulty in getting the unit operational. I was listening to my first record within a few minutes of unpacking, and becoming used to the fully automatic functions. Auto-start is very speedy, with the tonearm fairly dashing across to the run-in groove and commencing play in just 35 seconds. The autostop cycle is a shade more leisurely at 55 seconds from an intermediate position and 65 from the run-out groove to switch-off. The raise/tower cueing took only 15 seconds to act, but lowering on to a music cue produced an ugly wow in pitch for the first 4 seconds until the speed stabilised.
Very simple operation and impedance matching was not unduly critical if the recommended load could be provided. These are very satisfactory measurements for a unit in this price bracket and were confirmed in listening tests. I found the stereo spread perfectly acceptable and overall quality warm rather than highly detailed, though with good presence on voices. Tracking was excellent at the recommended 1,5g. Indeed, I could track my test records at 1,2g, though the 1,5g figure is probably best for general purpose use. Factory alignment had also set the overhang close to optimum and I found tracking error down at the geometric minimum for an arm of this length. Pivot friction was low, wow-and-flutter a decent 0,08% and rumble better than - 70dB weighted. The bass resonance was found to be at 135H which shows acceptable matching of arm mass to cartridge compliance.
The Beogram 1800 has all the style we expect of B&O equipment—and of course will be visually best matched to other B&O units. At its moderate price, including a new-generation lightweight cartridge, it must be reckoned very good value for money.
From the ‘Gramophone’ magazine - August 1983 (page 78)
Bang and Olufsen UK Ltd., Eastbrook Road, Gloucester G L4 7ED have replaced their Beogram 1700 pivotted-arm turntable with a new Beogram 1800, while keeping the price at £99. The straight tubular arm is of stainless steel. with new bearings and counterweight, and has fast-moving vertical and horizontal search automatic action. The platter weighs only 400g, giving low start torque and is belt-driven from a tachometer-controlled DC motor. Thin bands of Nextell are set into the metal platter to reduce static effects. An MMC5 cartridge is included, and overall finish is aluminium, with a transparent lid allowing access to the controls when closed.From the ‘Gramophone’ magazine - June 1983 (page 106)
BeoGram 1800 types: