The great days of the classic passive loudspeaker seem to be over: In times of AirPlay, DLNA, and streaming, WLAN loudspeakers are virtually ubiquitous. On the other hand, however, true audiophiles and devotees of classic hi-fi technology still prefer sound reproduction at the highest possible level to the convenient, wireless omnipresence of MP3-compressed music. Are these totally incompatible points of view, or is there a way to combine the outstanding acoustic characteristics of venerable passive speakers such as the Beovox CX50 and CX100 with the advantages of sophisticated WLAN technology?
There is indeed, at an amazingly high level. The solution entered the market last year: the Beocreate 4CA. This four-channel amplifier, designed by the Swiss company HiFiBerry together with Bang & Olufsen, updates passive loudspeakers to state-of-the-art active speakers with full wireless functionality in a few simple steps. Even better, this handy DIY solution works with speakers from all manufacturers.
The folks at HiFiBerry refer to the digital upgrade of vintage speakers as “upcycling”, and it doesn’t sound odd: Updating excellent passive hi-fi speakers surely makes much more sense than the »creative« utilisation of (most often new) Euro pallets for trendy but rather uncomfortable garden furniture and the reuse of scrap tire snippets as equally uncomfy shoe soles.
And if you’re already about to upcycle your speakers with the smart Beocreate device, why not attach new cloth to your speakers as well? After all, the speaker fabric used with most B&O speakers is extremely delicate and most probably got a bit long in the dent anyway – just like may be the case with most other vintage speakers. Unfortunately, most manufacturers have been a bit too keen on saving a few quid by using budget speaker fabric. But the HiFiBerry staff have also spent a few thoughts on the visual refurbishment of old speakers: They’ve come up with a blog post in which they describe how to replace the speaker cloth of the popular 80s classics Beovox CX50 and CX100. It’s more or less a matter of course that they also rely on the highest possible quality for the speaker fabric. That’s why they recommend products from Akustikstoff.com: https://www.hifiberry.com/blog/changing-the-spaker-fabric-of-your-beovox -cx-50 cx100
HiFiBerry is no stranger to DIY hi-fi circles around the world: The leading provider of audio add-ons for the Raspberry Pi has a clear focus on high-quality sound. For several years, HiFiBerry has been developing hardware-on-top modules and digital interfaces – some of them with onboard amplifiers that are mounted directly on the Raspberry Pi. HiFiBerry boards can be used to create streaming players and media centres, but also to customise multi-room setups.