Glossary

ABL
This stands for Adaptive Bass Linearisation. It is a system used in some Beolab active loudspeakers that varies the crossover characteristics (and therefore the tonal balance of the loudspeaker as a whole) depending on the incoming signal level in order to compensate for the non-linearity of human hearing.
Acoustic Lens
A cone shaped structure suspended above a horizontally mounted tweeter that aims to give wider dispersion of the sound than is possible if the tweeter is mounted horizontally. Such devices occur roughly once a decade somewhere in the hi-fi industry and are usually dismissed shortly afterwards as a gimmick. Many Beolab loudspeakers, such as the BeoLab 3 and BeoLab 5, employ acoustic lenses.
Active Loudspeaker
Strictly speaking an active loudspeaker is a loudspeaker that contains a separate amplifier for each range of drivers it has and an electronic crossover to separate the signals, for example the Beolab 8000. B&O however occasionally describe loudspeakers of a conventional design but with a single built-in amplifier (such as the Beolab Penta) as “active”. A grey area also surrounds the claim that the Beolab 3000, 4500 and 5000 are active, for although these models are really just a simple passive loudspeaker with a single power amplifier attached the response of the amplifier is tailored to that of the loudspeaker and changes with signal level.
AFC
This stands for Automatic Frequency Control. It is a system used in FM radio receivers to eliminate tuning drift by measuring any tuning error and then automatically adjusting the tuning to compensate. The AFC can usually be turned off for manual tuning between stations.
Ambiophonic
A low cost way of achieving a surround-sound effect by placing two extra loudspeakers at the rear of the listening area and arranging them so that they both produce a sound that represents the difference between the normal left and right channels. This effect can be achieved using a simple passive circuit connect to the output of a normal stereo amplifier. B&O offered an ambiophonic output on some of their Beomaster models such as the Beomaster 4000. They also offered a simple adaptor for other systems. A switchable filter was included that excluded high frequencies from the rear loudspeakers. The Beomaster 6000 4channel was able to simulate the ambiophonic effect electronically.
Anti-skating
Correction applied to the arm of a conventional record player that counteracts the tendency of the arm to be drawn rapidly towards the centre of the record. On many non-B&O turntables the amount of correction that is applied must be adjusted manually, on most Beograms the adjustment is pre-set as all B&O pickups are of a very similar specification. Some later examples of the Beogram 5000 (and derived types) have a manual anti-skating adjustment underneath however, calibrated in MMC pickup type numbers. Tangential tracking turntables do not need anti-skating correction.
Automatic Power Handling
A system added to some Beomasters and Beocenters intended for use with Multi-Room systems where large number of loudspeakers may be used. The system restricts the amount of power that the amplifier can produce which protects it if the load impedance is too low.
Azimuth
In terms of hi-fi, the angle of the head gap of a tape recorder to the edge of the tape or some other reference. The angle of the replay head must be exactly the same as that of the head that made the recording if the maximum replay quality is to be achieved. The standard angle for audio recordings is 90°, a screw is usually provided for fine adjustment. The Beocord 9000 came with an accurate azimuth reference tape so that the owner could keep the machine correctly adjusted.
Beocenter
A combination unit comprising a receiver and one or more additional sources. The name comes from “music centre”, a familiar product of the 1970s that combined a record player, amplifier, radio and perhaps a tape recorder in a single tabletop unit. The first Beocenters were Beocenter 3500 (record player and radio) and Beocenter 1400 (tape recorder and radio). The first with three sources was the Beocenter 3600 and the first to include a compact disc player was the Beocenter 9000. Later the term was used to describe a television set with a built-in radio and video disc player, either CDi (BeoCenter AV5) or DVD (BeoCenter 1).
Beocord
A magnetic tape or wire recorder, be it cassette, open reel, audio or video. The name first appeared on the Beocord 48U wire recorder just after the second world war and was last used for the Beocord V 8000 video cassette recorder.
Beogram
A record player or turntable. The first turntable to carry the Beogram name was the Beogram 1000, the last was the Beogram 7000.
Beogram CD
A compact disc player. The title seems cumbersome, however one of the original models was also known as a “laser optical turntable”, which is even worse. The Beogram CD 50 was the first model to be announced, the Beogram 7000 was the last. These models are visually very similar despite being separated by over 10 years...
Beolab
Originally a name for amplifiers (such as the Beolab 5000) and top-line complete systems (Beolab 8000, Beolab 6000) but latterly and far more commonly used for all types of loudspeakers with built-in amplifiers such as the Beolab Penta.
Beolink
The name given to B&O remote control units that use the same codes as the original A, V and AV Terminals, e.g. the Beolink 1000. Also the name given to a multi-room system using Micro Control Link or Master Link.
Beolit
This term is most commonly used to describe portable radios but was originally coined for small radio models in Bakelite (an early form of mouldable plastic thermosetting resin) cabinets, Beolit being a mis-spelling of Bakelite. “Beolit” was the first model designation with the now universal “Beo” prefix and was first used in around 1939, as opposed to 1948 for “Beocord” and 1965 for “Beomaster”, “Beogram”, “Beovision” and “Beovox”.
Beomaster
The main unit in a B&O audio system, typically a receiver (tuner-amplifier). On its own, the name “Master” used to be used to describe the top model in a particular range (e.g. Master 507K, although with the Beo prefix it has been applied to radio tuners (Beomaster 1700, Beomaster 5000). The first Beomaster was the Beomaster 900, the last was Beomaster 7000.
Beopower
A mains adaptor that enables a Beolit portable radio that is usually only battery operated to be used with mains power.
Beosat
A satellite receiver, usually built into a Beovision as an extra module. One external “stand alone” model was made, the Beosat RX.
BeoSound
A term used to describe all B&O audio products after the range had been simplified into combination units only during the 1990s. The first BeoSound model was the BeoSound Century.
Beovision
A television set, either colour or monochrome (no distinction was ever made in the model names of these two ranges). The Beovision name has also been applied to monitors (television displays with no built-in receiver) such as the BeoVision 4.
Beovox
A loudspeaker unit that requires an external amplifier, e.g. a traditional “passive” loudspeaker.
CCC
This stands for Computer Controlled Calibration. It was a system used by the Beocord 9000 to allow the recorder to automatically adapt itself to record correctly on any tape that was used. Parameters such as bias, equalisation, recording current and meter calibration were all optimised by the machine automatically making brief test recordings and analysing the results. A similar system is used by the BeoLab 5 loudspeaker to adapt itself to its room surroundings.
CD4
A quadraphonic recording technique originated by JVC which could produce four discrete channels from an LP record. To do this an inaudible 45 KHz pilot tone was recorded along with the music programme so that the front and rear channels could be separated using a method similar to that employed for FM stereo radio. CD4 records could also be played on conventional stereo equipment but they had a shorter playing time than normal LPs as the 45 KHz signal could not be reliably recovered from grooves placed too close to the centre of the disc. The use of a high frequency also meant that the decoder had to be placed as close to the pickup as possible to avoid long lead lengths, therefore the unit was usually built into the turntable. The Beogram 6000 includes a CD4 decoder.
CDi
A compact disc based format that added moving pictures and interactive functions to the basic CD specification. Originated by Philips in the 1990s, it was not a success and was soon withdrawn. The only B&O CDi model was the BeoCenter AV5.
CDM
This stands for Compact Disc Mechanism. It is a Philips term that describes a unit that comprises the laser, optics, positioning mechanism, turntable and motor, chassis and often the first stages of the decoding electronics that form the heart of a compact disc player. This unit used to be replaced complete when it wore out or failed, however now many of the earlier types are no longer available.
Chrome tape (IEC type II)
A type of tape that gives improved performance over ferric types. In particular, higher energy treble signals can be recorded without overloading. To record correctly on chrome tapes the recorder must be equipped with a tape type selector, either manual or automatic. Chrome tapes can be played back on any cassette player/recorder but will sound too “bright” if the machine does not have a chrome position. True Chrome tapes such as BASF CR-EII use chromium dioxide particles, “pseudo chrome” tapes like TDK SA use cobalt instead. Pseudo chrome tape has similar characteristics to true chrome but they are different enough for the recorder to require recalibration if a change between the two is made. All Beocords and Beocenters are compatible with chrome tape for both recording and playback; early models are set up for true chrome tape where as later ones are made to suit pseudo chromes, the instruction manual will say which type to use. Standard chrome tape cassettes have extra holes next to the erase protection tabs so that recorders with automatic tape type selectors can recognise them.
Compact Cassette
The correct name for the standard audio cassette format that has become the world standard for home tape recording. The format was originated by Philips and uses 1/8 inch tape that runs at 1 7/8 inches per second.
Crossover
The electronic circuit inside a loudspeaker unit that divides the incoming audio signal into the correct ranges of frequencies for the various drivers. In a conventional passive loudspeaker (e.g. the Beovox range) the crossover is formed from passive components such as capacitors, inductors and resistors. In an active loudspeaker (e.g. the Beolab 8000) the crossover is an complex circuit that uses electronic filters to perform the same function but with the possibility of a greater degree of flexibility. In the latest models (e.g. the BeoLab 5) the process is performed digitally.
Datalink
A standard method of passing control instructions between the units of a B&O audio or video system in the same cables that carry the sound or picture signals. The standard connector for Data Link in an audio system is a 7 pin DIN plug, in a video system both 6 pin DIN AV and 21 pin SCART AV connectors are used.
DIN
This stands for “Deutsche Industrie Norm”. It is a German standard which applies to all types of industrial and electronic equipment. The part of the DIN standard that applies to B&O is DIN 45 500 which states the minimum performance required of equipment for it to be considered as “hi fi”. The standard is not particularly strict by modern standards (it only requires 6W RMS or more per channel of output power for example) and most B&O meets it by a wide margin, the Beomaster 900 being the most famous exception. The standard also describes standard connectors and signal levels for interconnecting equipment.
DIN level
The output voltage that a DIN specification audio component provides to a tape recorder. Typically it is 100mV into a load of 100k ohms. Early Beomasters and Beocenters (that is up to the Beomaster 8000) provide a DIN level output which is not enough for some modern recorders. Conversely early Beocords are overloaded by modern sources that provide a line level signal for recordings. A line level output can be made suitable for a DIN level recorder by adding a 470k resistor in series with each channel, B&O issued instructions for modifying some Beomaster and Beocenter models to provide a line level output for recording.
DIN plug
A small round connector used for interconnecting audio equipment. Most DIN type connectors have multiple pins so many circuit connections can be made at once without the need for multiple cables. B&O typically use 5 pin DIN plugs for interconnecting audio equipment, 7 pin DIN plugs for interconnecting audio equipment equipped with Data Link, 6 pin DIN plugs for interconnecting AV equipment and 2 pin DIN plugs (which are of a different design to the others) for loudspeakers. They also use 8 pin DIN plugs for Powerlink loudspeakers and special variants of the 2 pin loudspeaker plug with either one or two extra pins for connecting multi-room equipment and amplified loudspeakers with display panels.
Dolby Level
A standard signal level used to calibrate the Dolby processing circuitry in cassette recorders. B&O typically make Dolby level 0dB on the VU meter (normally where the red section starts), most Japanese machines have it set at +3dB.
Dolby Noise Reduction
A system fitted to cassette recorders that reduces the audibility of the natural background noise of the tape. This is done by boosting the higher frequencies of quiet sounds during recording and then reducing them back to their original level on playback, therefore reducing the tape noise as well. The original Dolby system for cassette recorders was called Dolby “B”, later a new variant called Dolby “C” was introduced which was more effective. B&O cassette decks have been fitted with both of these systems. Pre-recorded tapes are always encoded using Dolby “B”.
Dolby Surround Sound
A method of encoding extra channels of sound onto a signal that can also be replayed by conventional stereo equipment. The original “Dolby Surround” and “Dolby Pro Logic” formats could be used with video tape based systems such as the Beosystem AV 9000, a later format known as “Dolby Digital” was made for DVD systems such as the Beovision Avant DVD.
Driver
The part of a loudspeaker system that converts electricity into sound. The main parts of a typical driver are the cone, the voice coil, the magnet and the basket. A bass driver is sometimes called a “woofer”, a treble driver a “tweeter” and a midrange driver a “squawker”, although B&O sometimes prefer to use the term “Phase Link Unit”.
Dynamic Track Following (DTF)
A technique used by some video recorders to allow the machine to accurately centre the rotating video heads on the recorded information. Video 2000 recorders like the Beocord 8800 V used DTF, guide signals were recorded on the tape alongside the picture information and on replay the servos used these signals as a reference and then steered the heads, which were mounted on piezoelectric actuators, in to correct registration with the recorded signals. A video recorder equipped with DTF has no tracking control.
Ferric tape (IEC type I)
The standard basic tape for home audio recording. Ferric tape is made from iron oxide particles and modern types can give good results. The standard ferric tape is BASF LH-E1, which is similar to TDK “D”.
Ferrichrome tape (IEC type III)
A halfway measure between ferric and chrome tape, popularised by Sony. To record correctly on ferric tape requires that the recorder has the increased bias used for chrome tapes along with the equalisation used for ferric. The only Beocord that is set up to correctly record on ferrichrome tapes from the factory is the Beocord 9000 although all models can replay them. The tape selector should be set to the ferric position for correct reproduction.
HX-Pro
A system that improves the performance of cassette recorders by adjusting the level of bias that is applied during recording dynamically according to the signal content and level. This technique improves the saturation level of the tape, typically giving ferric tapes the performance of chrome and chrome the performance of Metal in this area. “HX” stands for “Headroom eXtension”. The system was developed by B&O in association with Dolby Laboratories.
IEC type I
See Ferric tape.
IEC type II
See Chrome tape.
IEC type III
See Ferrichrome tape.
IEC type IV
See Metal tape.
Impedance
A value similar to resistance but quoted for circuits used with alternating currents and that contain reactive (inductive or capacitive) components. A passive loudspeaker is a typical example, most Beovox loudspeakers have an impedance of between 3.5 and 8 ohms. An amplifier will be rated with a minimum impedance, a load of a lower value must not be connected or damage may result. Where more than one loudspeaker system is connected to each channel the total impedance must be taken into account using the following formula, where Z is the impedance in ohms: 1/Z(total) = 1/Z(loudspeaker 1) + 1/Z(loudspeaker 2) ...
Line Level
A standard voltage for passing low level signals around an audio system. Radio tuners, tape recorders and CD players all produce line level signals. The range is quite wide, but between 500mV to 2V RMS into a load of 47k ohms is typical.
LP
A traditional record. An LP is typically 30cm in diameter, made from black vinyl and has tracks on both sides of a dimension referred to as “microgroove”. The playing speed is normally 33 1/3 RPM. Stereo LP records must be played with a stereo or stereo compatible pickup as the groove geometry is different to the earlier mono types. Mono LP records can be played by any pickup having a microgroove stylus. 45 RPM singles have the same groove geometry as LPs.
Master Control Link
An early type of multi-room system which enabled a suitable music system to be remotely controlled from a distant room where an extension pair of loudspeakers were installed. Two variations were produced, Link 82 and Link 30. This standard was replaced by Micro Control Link.
Master Link
The latest wired multi-room standard. Master Link interfaces are built into many B&O products, this makes constructing a system easier than with the previous versions. The audio signals are sent differentially and at a lower level in a Master Link system than with the previous types so longer cable runs are possible.
Metal tape (IEC type IV)
A type of tape that gives an even higher overload margin at high frequencies than chrome but at the cost of slightly increased background noise. The tape is made from iron (rather than iron oxide) particles and requires more power than the other types to be erased and recorded onto. Metal tapes can be replayed correctly on any machine that has a chrome setting as the equalisation is the same. Most metal tape cassettes have an extra sensing hole at the rear in addition to that next to the erase tab that chrome cassettes have for machines with automatic tape selectors. Some cassettes (e.g. Scotch Metafine and some examples of JVC ME) lack this extra hole and therefore can only be recorded on by decks that have a manual tape type selector. Some B&O models, for example the Beocord 8002, have an automatic tape selector for chrome tapes but a manual switch for metal.
Micro Control Link
The successor to Master Control Link. Micro Control Link was more versatile as it could be used with both audio and video sources. The choice of accessories was also wider and included such things as local source selectors (e.g. MCL 2 AV) and local amplifiers (e.g. MCL 2 P) which could by used to adjust the volume of the sound in the extra rooms independently.
MMC
This stands for Moving Micro Cross. The moving micro cross is the part of a B&O pickup that couples the stylus assembly to the magnetic coils. All B&O pickups from the SP series onwards use the same principle, however the term “MMC” was only coined when the assembly was miniaturised for the MMC 20 series.
Multi-Room
An installation where a main music system can be connected to loudspeakers in extra rooms and be controlled from those rooms using the system’s remote control terminal. The first multi-room product in the B&O range was the Beocenter 7700, although the necessary hardware had also been fitted to earlier models in the series. The system was later expanded to include video sources as well.
Open Reel
A tape recorder where the tape is housed on open spools that are not enclosed in a cassette. B&O have produced many open reel audio recorders (for example the Beocord 2000 De Luxe) and even an open reel video recorder (the Beocord 4000, based on a Sony design). Open reel audio recorders can give better results than cassette recorders as the tape speed is usually higher and the tracks wider. Developments in cassette technology during the 1970s and 1980s narrowed this advantage however.
Permanent Colour Truth
A circuit used in Beovision TV sets that re-optimises the balance of the colours at the end of every frame scan (e.g. 50 times a second!). This automatically compensates for thermal drift and the effects of ageing in the picture tube. The system was widely imitated by other manufacturers.
Power Link
A type of connection used by B&O to link a source (Beomaster, Beocenter, Beovision) to Beolab active loudspeakers. The connector is an 8 pin DIN type and carries left and right audio signals along with control lines for power, muting and data for the display panels fitted to some loudspeakers. Power Link loudspeakers have a switch on them that selects them as either on the left or on the right channel.
RCA plug
A small single coaxial connector, also known as “Phono” or “Cinch” used for interconnecting audio equipment. It is typically used by American and Japanese brands. B&O sometimes include RCA connectors on their equipment so that it can be used with other brands, although a system comprising only of B&O components will seldom use them. The signal levels for RCA connectors are different to the standard DIN level used by some early B&O equipment. Some Beomasters, such as the Beomaster 8000, have some if their connections duplicated in RCA sockets and where necessary the signal levels are adjusted to suit. Later models use RCA connectors to provide digital signal outputs from compact disc players, etc.
RIAA
This stands for “Recording Industry Association of America”. Its common use is to describe the equalisation characteristics required for the correct replay of LP and 45 RPM records. Ceramic pickups (not normally used by B&O) apply the required correction mechanically but magnetic pickups are usually equalised electronically. As magnetic pickups also require additional amplification the equalisation is usually performed at this stage, hence the term “RIAA amplifier” has come into use to describe this complete circuit.
RMS
This stands for Root Mean Square. It is a term that can be used to describe the effective power of alternating current waveforms such as a music signal applied to a loudspeaker. If a 1V RMS AC signal is applied to a resistor it has the same heating power as if 1V DC were applied. Signal voltages are also usually stated in RMS.
Speaker Link
The first connection method devised by B&O for amplified loudspeakers with display panels, for example the Beolab Penta. The system uses DIN loudspeaker plugs with two extra pins connected to a double coaxial cable. Main units that have Speaker Link connectors include the Beomaster 5500 and the Beocenter 9000.
SQ
A standard for recording Quadraphonic sound onto LPs and tapes whilst still leaving them playable of normal stereo equipment. Although this method could be used to reproduce four channels of sound there was a limit to how different the sounds for the rear loudspeakers could be to those for the front. Most Beomaster 6000 4channel receivers contain a SQ decoder.
Tangential Drive
A form of direct drive motor used for turntables. The motor is formed from a steel drum which is driven magnetically at its rim by a pair of coils. The magnetic field exerts a force at a tangent in respect to the edge of the drum, hence the name Tangential Drive.
Tangential Tracking
A method of suspending the arm of a record player so that the stylus moves in a straight line (as opposed to an arc) from the edge to the centre of a record. This method results in superior tracking as the geometry is identical to that of the head of the cutting lathe used to make the masters from which records are pressed. The Beogram 4000 was the first B&O turntable to include tangential tracking, the Beogram 7000 was the last.
Tracking
A control found on VHS and some other video recorders that adjusts the angular phase of the capstan and rotating video heads. This is necessary due to manufacturing tolerances to ensure that one machine can correctly replay a recording made on another. The effects of a misadjusted tracking control are noise bars across the picture and in the case of some recorders, poor sound. Some Beocord VHS machines have manual tracking controls operated either by thumbwheels (e.g. the Beocord VHS 80) or menu options (e.g. the Beocord VX 5000). In the case of others the process is automated (e.g. the Beocord VHS 63).
Uniphase
A range of Beovox loudspeakers that aim to be phase linear, e.g. the process of converting electricity to sound takes the same time regardless of the signal frequency. This was done mainly by redesigning the crossover circuits so that they sacrificed efficiency for phase accuracy (not a big problem as amplifier power was rising dramatically at the time these designs were introduced) and curving the baffle of the loudspeaker cabinet so that the tweeters were slightly closer to the listener. The Beovox S 80.2 is a typical Uniphase loudspeaker. The term could not be used in the USA so it was substituted by “Phase Link” instead.
VHS
This stands for Video Home System and is a domestic videocassette format originated by JVC. It became the world standard for domestic videotape recording and most B&O videocassette recorders use it.
VHS-HiFi
A method of recording hi-fi stereo sound on video tapes. Traditional linear techniques (as used by audio cassettes) cannot be usefully employed in the VHS system as the audio tracks are too narrow and the tape speed too slow. In the VHS-HiFi system the sound is FM modulated and then recorded “behind” the picture using an extra pair of rotating heads on the video head drum. These heads have a different characteristic to those used to record the picture so that the sound information is recorded at a different depth in the magnetic material of the tape, therefore ensuring compatibility with non-hi-fi machines. The use of FM modulation ensures low noise and a very wide audio bandwidth (the same as compact disc) whilst the precision video recorder mechanisms and servos result in negligible wow and flutter. This level of performance suggested that a VHS-HiFi recorder could usefully take the place of a conventional cassette deck in an audio system. The Beocord VHS 90, B&O’s first VHS-HiFi machine, was aimed at this market but the application did not prove popular.
VHS-HQ
An enhancement to the VHS videocassette format that employed extra luminance processing to improve picture noise performance and detail. Many Beocord VHS recorders use the VHS-HQ system (which is fully compatible with non-HQ machines) and in the case of some (e.g. the Beocord VX 5000) the system can be switched on and off.
VHS-LP
A sub-format of the VHS videocassette system that achieves a doubling in recording time by halving the tape speed. “LP” stands for “Long Play”, all VHS-LP machines can also operate at the normal VHS tape speed which is then referred to as “SP” (Standard Play). High quality VHS-LP machines use extra video heads to obtain usable results whereas more basic models use the same heads that are used for the conventional “SP” mode but made to a compromise between the requirements of the two speeds. The Beocord VX 7000 is an example of the former type, the Beocord V 3000 an example of the latter. A basic two-head VHS-LP machine tends to give very poor (and often monochrome) pictures in its still and picture search modes.
Video 2000 (V2000)
A home video recording format introduced by Philips in the early 1980s. The principle feature of the V2000 format was that the cassette was reversible, both sides could be used just like a conventional audio cassette. This was made possible because of the high information density that the V2000 recording and replay process could achieve, primarily as a result of the use of an advanced technique known as Dynamic Track Following.
VisionClear
A combination of TV technologies at optimise the performance of Beovision television sets. The term has been applied to various combinations of features over the years but the key ones are usually Permanent Colour Truth and automatic adjustment of brightness and contrast using a miniature light sensor in the front of the set.
Wow and Flutter (W&F)
Variations in the speed of a playback mechanism (e.g. a turntable or a tape deck) that give an audible effect to the sound. Wow is a low frequency variation that results in slow, cyclic pitch changes, flutter is a faster variation that when mixed with the musical notes results in new and spurious tones being generated. Changes that occur too slowly to be counted as wow are usually referred to as drift. All result from poorly designed or poorly maintained mechanisms. CD players are said to be free from measurable quantities of either effect.

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