BeoLab 3

(2004->) Two-way active loudspeaker, 2x125W, Powerlink

Type numbers: 6891, 6892, 6893, 6894, 6895, 6896, 6897

 

Picture by Peter McEvedy

Description

This small loudspeaker was intended as the popular choice in B&O’s range of smaller loudspeakers. Its well-finished aluminium cabinet housed two drive units, a 4.5” woofer and a 0.75” tweeter, along with two passive bass radiators ("drone cones”), which functioned in a similar manner to the tuned ports of a bass-reflex system. The BeoLab 3 was an active design, using two class “D” amplifiers rated at 125W each, though what 125W channelled into a 0.75” tweeter in a domestic loudspeaker would sound like was not described in B&O’s catalogues. Dispersion of the sound produced by the tweeter was performed by an acoustic lens, an elaborate alternative to simply pointing the driver towards the listener, similar to an idea tried (and abandoned) in the early 1990s by Canon, a Japanese firm better known for its cameras and photocopiers. Text copyright © Beocentral. Unauthorised reproduction prohibited.

Perhaps in parallel with so many European car designers, B&O were obviously wondering if its best years were behind in when the BeoLab 3 was styled, so heavily had they drawn on styling cues from the Beovox 2500 ‘cube’ of 1967. When mounted on its small table stand, comparisons were so obvious as to be unavoidable, especially in the case of the black version. Text copyright © Beocentral. Unauthorised reproduction prohibited.

The Beovox 2500 was not a complete loudspeaker as such, it was an auxiliary treble radiator made necessary by the poor treble dispersion characteristic of the cone tweeters of the day. The introduction of dome tweeters soon made such things obsolete, so the designers had a problem if they were to replicate the form of the old loudspeaker in a functional way. The answer was to imitate the Beovox 2500’s style by fitting two passive bass radiator cones at the sides of the cabinet, thus replicating the circular grilles of the original model in a functional manner. Text copyright © Beocentral. Unauthorised reproduction prohibited.

Passive radiators, Auxiliary Bass radiators, “drone cones”, all different names for the same thing, occur from time to time in the B&O range. The Beovox 5700 had one in the early 1970s, as did the two original RL loudspeakers (the RL 45 and RL 60) in the mid 80s. The interesting thing about all these designs is that their successors all dispensed with them, the RL’s in particular being offered in ".2” versions (RL 45.2 and RL 60.2) specifically to show that conventional bass ports were now fitted instead. This might lead one to the conclusion that, acoustically, the passive radiators were not an ideal solution. Text copyright © Beocentral. Unauthorised reproduction prohibited.

However, what cannot be denied is that the BeoLab 3’s are attractive, beautifully finished and offer a reasonable sound for most listeners. A wide range of stands and brackets ensured that an acceptable position could be found in most rooms, even allowing for the listener’s preference of prominent or discreet placement. It is almost certainly true that if the same drive units had been fitted in a conventional vented cabinet facing the listener better performance resulted, but this clearly is not what B&O’s target customer required. The Beolab 3 could make a strong case for itself, proving the phrase “form over function” was never uttered whilst discussing it. Text copyright © Beocentral. Unauthorised reproduction prohibited.

Finishes/colours

 2004200520062007200820092010201120122013
Black
Dark grey 
Blue 
Red 
White    
 2014201520162017
Black
Dark grey
Blue
Red
White

Prices

2004£2200 
2005£2000 
2006£2150 
2007£2100 
2008£2300 
2009£2550 
2010£2590 

Further Reading