(1991-1993) AM/FM stereo/CD/Dolby cassette music centre, Powerlink output only, Beolink
Type numbers: 2601, 2606, 2607, 2608, 2609, 2610
In every respect the Beocenter 2500 was new. This came as a surprise, because for the preceding years there had been no really new products or ideas amongst the main products in the B&O range. Even models that appeared to be new, such as the Beocenter 9000, were in reality just combinations of existing ideas. The Beocenter 2500 was as radical in its way as the Beomaster 1900 had been, and would retain a similar influence over future products. Text copyright © Beocentral. Unauthorised reproduction prohibited.
What made the Beocenter 2500 so radical is that in its design the designers had been able to break free of some of the traditional constraints that had been applied to previous models. Most importantly, as the Beocenter 2500 was the first model to make no concession to the playing of LP records, none of the dimensions needed to be fixed to accommodate them. Contrast this to Beosystem 5000 and its derivatives, the size of which was determined by the size of a 12” disc. The second important difference between the 2500 and all previous models was that no attempt was made to house the power amplifier and its attendant bulky power supply inside the cabinet, a freedom made possible by the various amplified loudspeakers that had been a feature of the range for some years. Connections to the loudspeakers were made by Powerlink, a then new type of connection that integrated the left and right stereo audio signals with data and controls lines in one 8 pin plug. Any Powerlink equipped loudspeaker could be used, the matching Beolab 2500 being the most popular choice. This could be ordered with a bracket and cable management system to form a one piece “portable” unit that only required one connection to the mains supply. An RDS decoder for the radio was also available as an option, but it offered little functionality besides displaying the station names and was expensive, and as a result was seldom specified. Text copyright © Beocentral. Unauthorised reproduction prohibited.
The most striking feature of the cabinet of Beocenter 2500 was the pair of sliding glass doors, which retracted swiftly on sensing the operator’s hand near the front of the machine. Shaped pulleys inside made the doors appear to accelerate and brake smoothly, and the lighting of the control panel, CD player and tape deck were linked into the door control too so as to fade the lights up and down as appropriate. The vertical CD mechanism, now universally copied by almost every other manufacturer, provided an eye-catching centrepiece to the front panel. The cassette deck was also unusual for a front loader in that it had no door. While this looked interesting, it did leave the heads exposed to dust and dirt, resulting in poor reproduction if they were not cleaned regularly. In fact the cassette section was a disappointment generally, with no manual level control an considerably inferior high frequency response to previous models, though HX Pro recording was included. Text copyright © Beocentral. Unauthorised reproduction prohibited.
Another disappointment, perhaps in line with the break with tradition that the system represented, was the choice of materials used for the external surfaces. Medium grade plastics dominated, and the bulk of the aluminium visible was only very thin trim stuck over plastic mouldings. The cabinet also squeaked and creaked if moved, something that did not suggest precision or quality. Only the glass doors, accurately made and well finished, helped to lift the overall appearance. It must be remembered though that although Beocenter 2500 joined the B&O range near the bottom, as time passed and the more elaborate systems were dropped, its derivatives (such as the BeoSound Ouverture) would become the mainstay of the B&O audio range. Text copyright © Beocentral. Unauthorised reproduction prohibited.
- Jarman, T; Jarman, N (2008), Crowood Collectors' Series: Bang & Olufsen: 156, 157, 163, 169