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Excessive confusion

Sometimes, the truth comes out of the mouths of babes.

B&O make speakers costing more than £100,000. It seems that they chose to use them instead to broadcast their version of the truth.

Doing so, they succinctly summarise why the world is going to hell in a handcart.

Excess consumption by a few, driven by growing inequality, is going to destroy our planet for human habitation unless we change course.

And, it would seem B&O are saying they’d rather that destruction than question their source of profits in the interests of humankind.

If someone pays £100,000 for a single pair of speakers then their consumption of resources is actually pretty low. After all, how much metal etc goes into the one pair of speakers? Certainly, the resource use is less than 1,000 pairs of £100 speakers, yes? Elite consumption of idiocies isn’t the environmental problem in the slightest.

45 thoughts on “Excessive confusion”

  1. Does the same principle apply to a few private jet flights by the Swedish goblin, v. a lot of us plebs going on holiday?

  2. The headline he’s monging about is

    Bang & Olufsen says it will defy luxury slowdown as ‘rich will only become richer’

    That’s either true or it isn’t. It’s definitely true that official government policy – seemingly supported by every rich arsehole in the world – is to make the vast majority of us a lot poorer.

    So when the Net Zero kicks in, head for the sound of wonderfully clear audio and eat them.

  3. Utterly moronic and hypocritical

    Is the fat tw@t still using the Berlingo, which is massive lump of metal for a single man to use for birdwatching trips?

    Not to mention he, now on his own, occupies a 4 bedroom house with 3 public rooms.

  4. A £100000 pair of speakers should last a lifetime, and probably the lifetime of whoever inherits them. With not significantly more material resources in them then a pair of £20 Argos speakers, which will both sound crap, and likely be chucked away within a few years.

    Although these days, they might be full of that Bluetooth gubbins and other likely to become obsolescent gear.

    I thought a big part of the ecoloon message was that we should be buying quality that lasts rather than cheap tat that gets thrown away.

  5. No awareness that the rich getting richer might also mean the poor getting richer. Nope, all the politics of envy – he’s a useless failure, so no one else should do well.

    We were on track to raise almost everyone on Gaia out of poverty until TPTB decided to totally bugger the world economy over a slightly different flu. Doesn’t sound like rising inequality to me. Remind me, did Spud rail against the lockdowns?

  6. The design, bleeding ugly IMHO even if presumably acoustically perfect, is definitely an acquired taste but I guess if you have the cash and space required-

    Having said that I doubt if B&O will sell more than a couple of dozen pairs at most. Total resource cost maybe two trees and a very small quantity of metal components. But it clearly pisses off the right people.

  7. You might need to spend another few grand on accoustic measuring equipment since your ears probably aren’t up to the job of appreciating the sound quality.

  8. I would have though paying lecturers in political economy would be a more succinct summary of why the world is going to hell in a handcart.
    History has treated that wonderful old gentleman Pol Pot far too harshly. The skulls of academia should be piled as high as you can reach. Enthusiasts may benefit from the use of a stepladder.

  9. Dennis, Noting The Bright Light Emanating From Ely

    OK, so now we know Ritchie’s never read Thorsten Veblen.

    It’s interesting to note that Ritchie’s always keen to ban items he’ll never be able to afford.

    I wonder which uses more of Gaia’s scarce resources… A pair of B&O speakers or his model choo-choo trains.

  10. Audiophiles are an unusual breed. I’ve known a few, but unfortunately my hearing is not so sensitive so as to appreciate these very expensive high end systems.

    A lot of skilled work goes into designing such features. Obviously, we should toss them out of work just as we should yacht and private jet makers for making things that only the rich can afford and which might offend some others.

  11. I have a digital piano that can double up as a Bluetooth speaker and I though that was an expensive way to listen to my playlist. Then again, one of the piano samples that it uses is of the Bosendorfer Imperial grand piano. The entry level Imperial costs 400k, I wonder how many precious resources go into producing one of those?

    It also needs to be mentioned that the whole environmental crisis thing is completely made up. No matter how many high end speakers people buy the planet will do just fine.

  12. TMB, you’ll be spending those couple of 1000’s on upgrading your ‘leccie… And probably reinforced windows..

    The monsters are 8 kW apiece… which means they need a 36A/230 single-phase fuse… each… Or more likely a full triple-phase 16A/230 feed, again each…

  13. I own a pair of the said £100,000+ speakers.

    For the level of technology and performance they offer, they are quite reasonably priced by the standards of high-end audio. Some speakers cost £1 million-plus.

    There are many bizarre and ludicrously priced products in high-end audio, including a power cord – a glorified kettle lead – retailing for nearly £22,000. (It’s called the Nordost Odin 2, in case anybody wants one.)

    But if nothing else, this proves Mr Murphy’s unparalleled ability to get it wrong on nearly every topic he addresses.

  14. B&O should take the money while they can: audiophiles are a dying breed. Modern music is heavily compressed: there’s little difference between quiet and loud sounds, so the whole track sounds loud. This makes it easier to appreciate in a noisy car or on a noisy bus, but conversely, it means there’s less point in buying £100,000 speakers, because there are no subtle sounds to hear.

    If you have 70s prog rock on vinyl then it’ll sound great; but fans of 70s music are of retirement age now. B&O ought to diversify into hearing aids, as that’s where the money will be.

  15. What a spite filled post by a sad little man riven with envy. I suppose it makes a change from him wanting to tax so much that no-one could afford speakers.

    And don’t forget this is a man who solicited £1000s begging on his blog that he then blew on top of the range apple tech. Nothing but the best for the fat professor.

  16. The poor fool sees everything through his shit-tinted spectacles, with added envy and spite. What a sad and pathetic life he leads.

  17. lliam Dhone a glorified kettle lead – retailing for nearly £22,000

    Can you let me know where I can get kettle leads glorified, please? I have two kit bags full of kettle leads and extension kettles and this is the kind of uplift that motivates me.

  18. Seems backwards to complain about this.

    Here’s a chance for a rich person to transfer a lot of money to poorer craftsmen and techies – the B@O speakers’ value lies primarily in design and manufacture, not in materials. Rich guy ends up with fewer riches, poorer guys end up with more as pay, everybody’s happy.

    But no. Somewhere, someone is having fun. This must stop.

  19. That’s easy bobby b ….

    There’s obviously people willing to spend $100.000 plus on fat, ugly noisemakers.
    But not on the fat , ugly, noisemaker that is the Spud.
    This, of course, is an affront and should not be allowed to happen.

  20. It won’t get published but it was to tempting to submit a post as it will be read before deletion….

    ““I guess the quote: “fools & their money are easily parted” applies.”

    Something you rely on every time you apply for a grant.”

  21. Ah, the politics of envy and spite. Who needs, reason, logic and facts when you have feelz?

    Every utterance this man makes merely underlines what a thoroughly nasty, spiteful piece of work he is.

  22. The thing about speakers is the bass, or the lack of it. You can’t reproduce the very low notes with a small box no matter how much clever porting there is in the box itself or how costly it is. Smallish speakers can handle a bass guitar fairly convincingly, if not with full accuracy for the fundamental tones – bottom E around 40 hz for a 4 string or down to bottom B of 30 hz for a 5 string, but some organs go down to 8 hz or lower I think? You need to dig up your floors for massive drivers and custom horns

  23. Joe Smith

    He would still have us in lockdown if he were in charge as MMT means we could fund the experiment indefinitely.

    And I can’t really do more than to echo Mark’s (Longrider) description of the man – he is as close to pure evil as anyone I have ever seen extant in the blogosphere – a truly hateful figure who despises anyone he perceives to have ‘more than he thinks they need’

  24. BraveFart,

    The general opinion I get from audiophiles is that B&O is more about the aesthetics than the sound. Like, the stuff is good, but you can get equivalent quality audio cheaper.

  25. @Stonyground – December 17, 2023 at 4:10 pm

    Then again, one of the piano samples that it uses is of the Bosendorfer Imperial grand piano. The entry level Imperial costs 400k, I wonder how many precious resources go into producing one of those?

    I reckon that Bosendorfer, like Steinway and other “premium” pianos are largely made of wood, which is very “renewable”… The harp and strings are iron/steel, the hammers are felt. The only plastic is likely to be the white-keys. All-in-all they’re glorious devices made from relatively mundane materials by astonishing craftsmen… And usually played by incompetent idiots such as myself. 🙂

  26. There are many bizarre and ludicrously priced products in high-end audio, including a power cord – a glorified kettle lead – retailing for nearly £22,000. (It’s called the Nordost Odin 2, in case anybody wants one.)

    Which Muppet is buying that?
    £22K for a 1.25m cable made out of copper with a this electroplating of silver?

    I ran some quick numbers and the difference of resistance between that and a boggo standard 7core 14awg cable (available for $1.74/ft) is so small as to be negligible. The difference would be more than swamped by the tolerance in manufacture of the first resistor in the circuit, by orders of magnitude.
    And it’s a fucking power cable. Who cares? For fine signal work, in extreme applications it can make sense to get better cable, but this is a mains power cable.
    Jeez. Even if I had all the monies I wouldn’t buy that.

  27. It may not make sense to spend £22,000 on a “glorified kettle lead” but you might be surprised at the difference a modest amount can be.

    I have good quality audio equipment and made a similar scoffing comment to an Audiophile work colleague. He lent me a spare power cable he was no longer using which I brought home to try on my Cyrus 6 amplifier. My wife was even more scathing than I was, but suggested a CD to listen to.

    We were shocked. The difference was definitely noticeable. My wife just simply said “Don’t spend more than £100”. I think I gave him £30 for his spare cable. It might not be £22,000, but it’s not just a “kettle lead” either.

  28. As an audiophile, I agree that cables make a difference – I have a £1400 USB cable from my streamer to my BeoLab 90s. It doesn’t make an enormous difference, but it does make the difference between “that sounds very good” and “wow, that sounds great”.

    The issue I have with the Nordost Odin 2 is the level of markup, which must be astronomical.

    The issue I have with Mr Murphy is that, as usual, he’s got it wrong – he’s chosen to criticise a high-end product that’s technologically very innovative and represents good value for money as opposed to something ludicrous. There is no shortage of “ludicrous” in the high-end audio world.

  29. . . . but some organs go down to 8 hz or lower I think? You need to dig up your floors for massive drivers and custom horns

    You don’t need horns to produce low bass with power. In a hi-fi context, the primary advantage of horns is the ability to provide good volume and dynamic range across the frequencies from simple class A amplification (that doesn’t sacrifice tonality and harmonics for power). The law of diminishing returns quickly sets in for the lower frequencies, with large and compromised horns required to deliver sound that doesn’t include much musical information.

    Someone with the skill or “ear” to integrate a domestically compatible (still a large room) three, four or five horn system such that it doesn’t create a jangled mess of phase incoherence should be able to add a “conventionally” driven speaker to handle the low frequencies at a level appropriate to recorded music.

  30. I had a friend (now deceased) who was into high end audio. Even had an octagonal room for listening. Then he’d play absolute crap music in it.

  31. “I have a £1400 USB cable from my streamer to my BeoLab 90s”

    A digital cable either works or it doesn’t; there are no degrees of quality. £1,400 or £1.40 cables alike will transmit the same stream of ones and zeros.

    Even for analogue cables, the weight of evidence is against expensive hardware. This guy tested a range of audio cables against a wire coat-hanger, and found no statistically significant difference.

    I know you’re just trolling, but some people might take your comments seriously.

  32. @Andrew M

    Trolling? Certainly not.

    The cable (especially digital cable) debate is one of the hoariest in hifi and regularly gets rehashed on several high-end forums of which I am a member.

    My advice to anybody would be to listen to different cables and see whether they can hear a difference. If they can’t, they can save themselves some cash.

    Similarly, all digital transports should sound identical – but in practice they certainly don’t, even if the differences aren’t as huge as some subjectivist audiophiles would claim.

  33. The only thing that I didn’t mention on that Nordost Odin 2 which could account for it sounding better is that it has a couple of ferrites around it to reduce interference.
    But you can buy them from RS for a couple of quid.

    Though on the website I checked earlier for Nordost Odin 2, they also sell power conditioners to smooth out power supply noise from the wall.
    That i could see (if you live in a noisy power supply area like a block of flats) and have money you don’t mind wasting.
    But any cable like the NO2 is a joke.
    Get a boggo cable and put a couple of ferrites on it. You won’t be able to tell the difference.

  34. PS. I personally wouldn’t use a power smoothing thing either.

    Another waste of money.
    Your sound equipment will have a rectifier and some sort of output smoothing anyway.
    If the designer has done their job properly, a power smoothing device is unnecessary.

  35. “Similarly, all digital transports should sound identical – but in practice they certainly don’t”

    The DAC makes a difference. The transport itself doesn’t. A digital signal is either perfect or junk. There’s no in-between.

    I used to be into all this mystical voodoo – green marker pen round the edge of CDs, sticking them in the freezer, isolating the transport like a record deck – but what cured me was CD-ROM. If the digital stream from one of those, even in a £5 no-name drive, isn’t perfect – literally perfect, down to the last bit – the code won’t run.

    CPUs are immeasurably more sensitive to that kind of thing than even the most golden of ears. Nobody would notice the least-significant bit of a single sample – i.e., a difference in volume of 1/65,536 for a 41,000th of a second – being out, but it could turn one instruction into a totally different one, throwing a computer program utterly haywire.

    Yet CD-ROM is extraordinarily reliable. Sure, sometimes it fails, but if it were as sensitive as audiophiles would have us believe, it would barely work at all.

  36. @Sam Duncan

    “The DAC makes a difference. The transport itself doesn’t. A digital signal is either perfect or junk. There’s no in-between.”

    In theory, this is correct, even undeniable. In practice, different transports – both streaming and CD – sound slightly different. I’ve experimented with numerous different transports in my system and was extremely surprised when they didn’t sound identical. The differences aren’t enormous, but they’re clearly audible on a sufficiently revealing system – and I mean audible to anyone with a working pair of ears and familiarity with judging hifi systems, not some notion of a “golden-eared” audiophile.

  37. I have a valve amp, BraveFart (not that it’s functional at the moment). Good class A valve amplification with good sensitive louspeakers are the best for acoustic music.

    I used to work in high end audio. It’s nearly all crap (very crap) but when it’s on song it’s worth every penny you can afford and every madness you can accomodate for the joy of exploring music. The best thing I learned in those decades was that the ability to relay a musical performance is the most important thing in any “system”. That capability is available in cheap equipment in mundane arrangements, even when there’s not much scale and no “impress yer mates” oomph.

  38. “In theory, this is correct, even undeniable. In practice, different transports – both streaming and CD – sound slightly different.”

    Aha! Now, then. Streaming can sound different because the decoded stream will be different to the source due to lossy compression. Even the highest bitrates will throw some of the original data away, and both compression and (to a lesser extent) decompression algorithms can vary in how closely they reproduce the source. I mean, we all know that 128k MP3 is pretty awful, but even the better modern codecs (and the various implementations of them) can certainly sound subtly, but appreciably, different.

    But a CD is just a carrier for a bitstream. And barring obvious damage, the corrected stream from a CD will always be identical regardless of how you get it off there. Yes, “corrected”: it’s true that the raw stream passed to CRC might vary depending on the quality of the physical transport or the state of the disc itself but it can’t drop below a certain threshold without total failure – i.e., in the case of audio, loud and obvious clicking or skipping – and the correction, as I suggested in my previous comment, has to be bit-perfect or it’s useless in data applications.

    You might as well argue that JPEGs look different when stored on various manufacturers’ USB sticks, or that text files “read” differently from one hard drive or another. If the DAC – in those cases, the video card or printer – is the same, there simply can’t be any difference that isn’t glaringly and catastrophically obvious. There’s simply no such thing as a minor, subtle, variation in a CD bitstream. The difference is either massive or non-existent. Any subtle variation has to be in the DAC and the analogue path.

  39. Surely, if you’re spending all this dosh on systems, shouldn’t you be thinking about the room you’re using it in? Quality of sound reflected from hard surfaces? Sound lost in soft furnishing, curtains & carpets? Reverberations from the voids in furniture? There must be an opportunity to spend another 50 grand there. Don’t sell your ears short!

  40. Sam Duncan,

    At the risk of being a real bore, data CDs have more error-correction bits than audio CDs. Search “red book” and “yellow book” if you’re interested. So data CDs are inherently more reliable, precisely because (as you say) the data is so important.

  41. @Sam Duncan

    All perfectly true in theory, but I have heard (very) slight differences between CD transports. The differences between streaming transports (playing local files rather than Tidal, Qobuz, etc.) seem somewhat larger as there are more variables involved.

    @bloke in spain
    Yes indeed. The BeoLab 90s’ designer has personally tuned them in my room, using parametric equalisation to counteract the effects of any reflections. One set of reflections – from the corners of a pillar behind my listening position – could not be addressed using room compensation, so I use physical sound diffusers.

  42. @ Andrew M
    also a CD has to apply its error correction in real time, data CDs can re-read a bad block at the cost of a slower data transfer rate.

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