BeoLab 2

(2001-2012) Active subwoofer, Powerlink, 1x850W

Type numbers: 6861, 6862, 6863, 6864, 6865, 6867

Picture by Peter McEvedy


The BeoLab 2 subwoofer appeared years after the deletion of B&O’s previous, and only other, subwoofer, the Beovox Cona. Although in the very simplest of terms the function remained the same, the two designs were very different in concept and construction, and for very good reasons. Text copyright © Beocentral. Unauthorised reproduction prohibited.

The BeoLab 2 was an active device; it contained its own power amplifier and low-pass crossover system. The flexibility of this arrangement allowed the point at which the BeoLab 2 ceased to reproduce sound and “hand over” the task to the main loudspeakers in the system to be made variable. This in turn made for easy adaptation to the other loudspeakers in the system, whichever models they may be. Text copyright © Beocentral. Unauthorised reproduction prohibited.

In the simplest of terms, the ideal subwoofer would be constructed using a very large rigid wooden box housing the biggest possible drive unit. Such devices are seldom domestically acceptable however and did not meet B&O’s other requirements, so the BeoLab 2 used interesting technology to overcome the fundamental drawbacks of its small size. Though only 9” in diameter, the woofer, whose cone was exposed, had a long throw and was capable of large excursions without damage. To protect the delicate cone, a flat panel was fixed across its front, which not only kept the sensitive parts of the driver out of reach but also tidied up the overall appearance of the unit. To make best use of the energy provided by this single driver, two passive radiators were fitted, one on each side of the cabinet. Although generally a bad idea in full range loudspeakers, these devices proved ideal for a subwoofer and effectively expanded the cone area of the main woofer, something that would have been lacking otherwise. The passive radiators were of the same diameter as the woofer and by mounting them on the cabinet sides a very compact assembly was realised. The cabinet itself was of cast aluminium, not a material that usually springs to mind when discussing subwoofers but an ideal choice for producing a small, rigid assembly. The corners were pleasingly rounded, giving a neat, modern appearance. Text copyright © Beocentral. Unauthorised reproduction prohibited.

Connection to the host system was easy, a single Powerlink from the main system sent all the sound to the BeoLab 2, whose internal filters processed the sound and sent whatever the subwoofer couldn’t handle to the remaining two loudspeakers through two output sockets. The internal woofer was driven by its own amplifier, rated at a peak output of 850W. This was a very large figure for a domestic loudspeaker. Text copyright © Beocentral. Unauthorised reproduction prohibited.

The radically different technology employed in the BeoLab 2 when compared to the Beovox Cona was required because the role of a subwoofer had changed. The Beovox Cona was intended to subtly extend the bass of the CX 50 and CX 100 loudspeakers, bringing back the texture and subsonic vibrations to orchestral music, which could sound lifeless when played through these small units. Its presence was scarcely noticeable for most of the time, making it a difficult selling proposition. The BeoLab 2 however arrived into a market where “home cinema” was just as important as Hi-Fi audio (if not more so). The BeoLab 2 had the power and the correct characteristics to reproduce the bangs, booms, rumbles and crashes in the exaggerated manner that the serious viewer required, and allowed smaller, cheaper loudspeakers to be used for the other units in a multi-channel setup. Text copyright © Beocentral. Unauthorised reproduction prohibited.

Finishes/ colours




Type numbers

6861, 6862, 6863, 6864, 6865, 6867

Further Reading