BeoCenter 2 Audio/Video Systems

Bang & Olufsen BeoCenter 2

BeoCenter 2 is an integrated and versatile audio and video system offering easy access to CD audio, AM/FM Radio and DVD video. The philosophy behind BeoCenter 2 is to provide a physically compact system offering total integration of picture and sound.

The high degree of compactness has been achieved by separating the Master Unit, containing the operation and disc transport mechanism, from the Socket Unit. The Socket Unit contains most of the electronics, as well as all external connections. This greatly helps the organising and concealment of the numerous cables needed in a typical A/V set-up. In BeoCenter 2 only a single thin cable, available in 1.8, 3, 5 and 10 metre lengths, connects the Master Unit to the Socket Unit. A 1.8 metre cable is delivered as standard.

The Socket Unit is fitted with MasterLink, RGB, PowerLink, power connections and other connectors so that you may connect a pair of BeoLab active speakers or link it to a home cinema system.

A great advantage of the compactness and relative lightness of the BeoCenter 2 Master Unit is great flexibility in placement. It can be wall mounted, attached to a dedicated floor or table stand, or simply placed on a table or shelf.

Optional DAB Digital Radio Module

BeoCenter 2 DAB digital radio module: this module allows users access to terrestrial free-to-air broadcasting of high quality audio and data. DAB digital radio is a new way of broadcasting radio via a network of terrestrial transmitters. It provides listeners with more choice, better sound quality and more information. DAB digital radio is like analogue radio, only much better. When available - from 3 November 2004 - the module will become a standard feature of BeoCenter 2 in the UK.

In order to make the module compatible it has been necessary to update both the Socket Unit and the Master Unit. This, however, means that DAB will not be available with past and current BeoCenter 2 models. It was originally stated upon the launch of BeoCenter 2, that it would be possible to ‘upgrade’ to DAB. Where customers purchased the model on that understanding, Bang & Olufsen will honour that commitment. The first Master Unit serial number with software suitable for the DAB functionality is 18139286.

Note: To have the DAB module fitted to your BeoCenter 2 is essential that both the Socket Unit and Master unit are the latest versions. Mixing existing stock of Master Units (pre-serial number 18139286) and DAB Socket Units (part number 1280020) is not possible.

Master unit connections: MasterLink x 1, Digital Out, SCART, S-VHS, FM Aerial, AM Aerial, audio in (L&R), audio out (L&R), PowerLink x 1 (See Specifications).

By touching 'load' on the anodised aluminium top panel, BeoCenter 2 opens to receive your chosen media. The product is made up of two units linked together by a special cable: the Master Unit (or Media Unit which is the player itself) and the Socket Unit.

BeoCenter 2 Press Release October 2003

Bang & Olufsen's new music system, the BeoCenter 2, is in many ways a classic Bang & Olufsen product. It has mystique, it is elegant, it is simple and logical.

If you look at the BeoCenter 2 from a distance, the design says nothing about the many functions the system contains. Only when you make physical contact is the content behind the symmetrical polished aluminium doors revealed. If you press "load" lightly, the two wing-shaped aluminium doors slide aside elegantly to reveal a combined CD and DVD player. When the music or film is playing, the doors slide back to conceal the disc, clearly signalling that the experience is more important than the source.

It is by no means unusual for a DVD player to play CDs, but a system that offers radio, CD, DVD and MP3 CD playback is a new way of combining all sources of entertainment in one unit. "At Bang & Olufsen we always focus on integrating technologies and with the BeoCenter 2 we give our customers the chance to combine music and video sources in one unit," says President and CEO Torben Ballegaard Sorensen.

With the oval shape of the master unit, BeoCenter 2 is yet another design step away from the traditional box-shaped units of yesteryear for playing music and images. The size of the display ensures that it can be read at a distance and a light meter behind the glass adjusts the intensity of the display according to the brightness of the room. This avoids the display completely illuminating a dark living room.

In addition to RDS (Radio Data System), the tuner in BeoCenter 2 allows you to program and name up to 60 radio stations. And, of course, the BeoCenter 2 can be integrated into a Beolink network. When connected to a Beolink PC2 it can also play digital music files stored on a computer.

Clean up the Mess

It has always been important for Bang & Olufsen to make it nice and easy for consumers to enjoy music and moving pictures. Most obviously, the concept helps to eliminate the many remote controls that typically pile up on the coffee table, replacing them with one remote control - the Beo4 - which can control all the functions of all the appliances connected, plus the lighting in the room.

Another example is the tradition of concealing cables in stands and behind screens so that the necessary cables do not mar the visual appearance of the products. And where it is not possible to conceal the cables completely, special holders are provided for the cables, making a virtue out of necessity. Finally, there is the design itself. By avoiding visual trivialities and unsightliness, which can mar an audio/video product in themselves, the products look simple and elegant.

BeoCenter 2 is a continuation, a natural development, of this line of thought. The division of the product into two separate parts means that there is great freedom to place the elegant master unit where it is best suited in the room. This may be on a table, mounted on the wall or on an aluminium floor stand specially designed to match the oval shape of the master unit.

From the master unit there is just one cable to the socket unit containing the sockets for all the cables connecting BeoCenter 2 to the mains, speakers, TV, aerials, etc. The socket unit can be concealed under a piece of furniture or behind a curtain. This means that the visible part of the BeoCenter 2 is not spoiled by the jumble of cables required to integrate it into the network of the TV and speakers.

World Class Aluminium Processing

BeoCenter 2's two sliding aluminium doors were a challenge to Bang & Olufsen. Both doors are cut from the same piece of aluminium, but only after the front has been polished in the oval shape that follows the lower edge of the display. This ensures that all details in the polishing are echoed on both doors. Both these sliding doors stay together throughout the complicated process of milling and the two surface treatments. So the doors on the final product match perfectly.

The precision requirements Bang & Olufsen sets for the visual appearance of the product mean that the machine which grinds the edges of the doors works to very small tolerances. For every 1/100 millimetre along the edge, the machine calculates and self-corrects to ensure a perfect oval shape.

When the aluminium is surface-treated in the anodisation plant, tiny pores appear in the surface. These pores are used in the screen printing employed to apply numbers and characters to the front of the doors of the master unit. By pressing the coloured lacquer down into the pores and then surface-treating the doors, very durable printing is achieved. As a result, it is virtually impossible to wear the printing off, even with very frequent use.

Controlling the BeoCenter 2 is a masterpiece of precision. The area beneath the master unit is milled down to 0.5 millimetres. So when the user presses the unit, the thin aluminium sheet bends very easily. This activates the electrical circuits used for the control function. You can neither see nor feel this, but it is enough for it to make contact with the film of conductive material underneath.

The precision processing goes one stage further with the "wheel" on the right-hand door. In a wide circle around the control areas, a further 0.1 millimetre of aluminium has been milled off. The functions of the wheel include adjusting the volume, and it functions according to the same mechanical principle as the rest of the master unit.

BeoCenter 2 Audio/Video Systems Technical Specifications

Beocenter2 Mk1 Type 2801
Dimensions W x H x D/ Weight 372 x 50 x 243 mm/4.5kg (Master Unit) 536 x 150 x 55 mm/2.8kg (Socket Unit)
Cabinet finish Aluminium/soft touch black
Display Vacuum Fluorescent Display with automatic light intensity control
Loading system Motorised doors and loader
Power consumption Typ. 22 watts / st-by 1.5 watts
CD naming 200 discs can be named
Sampling frequencies 44.1, 48, 96 kHz
D/A conversion Sigma-Delta type
Frequency range 20Hz - 20kHz CD/DVD/AUX/DAB, 30Hz - 15kHz Radio, FM
Playback the following: DVD-Video, Video CD, CD-DA, CD-R, CD-RW, CD-MP3
Signal-to-noise-ratio CD > 105dB A weighted
Signal-to-noise-ratio DAB Typical 103dB A weighted
RDS yes
Naming Stations 60
Digital Output Stereo and Encoded surround sound Linear PCM, AC-3, MPEG-2, DTS
Video Formats RGB, S-Video (Y/C), CVBS (Composite video)