Go Back   Team-BHP > Under the Hood > In-Car Entertainment


Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Old 21st April 2015, 17:39   #1
Senior - BHPian
 
dark.knight's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2013
Location: India
Posts: 1,115
Thanked: 2,963 Times
Default Bang & Olufsen Car Audio - Acquired by Harman

For those who need a little backstory, Bang & Olufsen is a premium entertainment manufacturing company with a strict emphasis on design & aesthetic luxury as also high quality output. Their divisions are as below :

- Bang & Olufsen BeoVision TV's
- Bang & Olufsen BeoLab Home Theatre
- Bang & Olufsen B&O Play portable sound
- Bang & Olufsen Car Audio


Featured above the B&O retractable tweeter that rises up once the music system is in use.

There is confirmation now though that Harman U.S is taking control of the car audio division & possibly B&O Play as well which still remains to be confirmed. This means that Harman has almost near-monopoly of the luxury car sound-system segment with other brands such as Lexicon, JBL, Infinity & Mark Levinson already under their ownership. B&O was clearly a big competitor to them & according to most reviews much better in clarity thanks to their Acoustic Lens Technology and used in brands like Mercedes AMG, BMW 6/7 Series, Aston Martin & Audi. Now the only competitors remaining are few and scattered like Bose, Burmester, Meridian etc who have limited brand tie-ups.

The deal is apparently worth €145 Million so maybe B&O found this more profitable than to generate sales in a limited market. Their luxury home theatre products like BeoVision & BeoLab however should continue (personally experienced a demo, its as good as their claims).

Official statement : http://investor.harman.com/releasede...leaseID=904134
dark.knight is offline   (13) Thanks Reply With Quote
Old 22nd April 2015, 12:19   #2
Senior - BHPian
 
Join Date: Dec 2011
Location: Bangalore
Posts: 1,356
Thanked: 815 Times
Default re: Bang & Olufsen Car Audio - Acquired by Harman

Another Danish product gone off the market. Owned a B&O home theatre till a few years back which was actually purchased by my dad in the 80's. By far the best in home entertainment. Sad to see it go. Hope the branding continues to exist.
Fullrevs is offline   (1) Thanks Reply With Quote
Old 22nd April 2015, 16:45   #3
Team-BHP Support
 
navin's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2004
Location: mumbai
Posts: 22,509
Thanked: 3,885 Times
Default Re: Bang & Olufsen Car Audio - Acquired by Harman

Quote:
Originally Posted by Fullrevs View Post
Another Danish product gone off the market..
It may be even more correct to say "Another brand acquired by Harman International".

Here is the official press release
http://investor.harman.com/releasede...leaseID=904134

Quote:
Originally Posted by dark.knight View Post
There is confirmation now though that Harman U.S is taking control of the car audio division & possibly B&O Play as well which still remains to be confirmed.

This means that Harman has almost near-monopoly of the luxury car sound-system segment with other brands such as Lexicon, JBL, Infinity & Mark Levinson already under their ownership. B&O was clearly a big competitor to them & according to most reviews much better in clarity thanks to their Acoustic Lens Technology

Now the only competitors remaining are few and scattered like Bose, Burmester, Meridian etc who have limited brand tie-ups.
Yes Harman in it's second avatar has grown primarily from acquisition. The only 2 organic brands they own are Harman-Kardon (the original co started 1953) and Revel (actually more a Kevin Voecks venture with funding from Harman).

Like you suspected, Harman will also get to use B&O Play system (for an additional $36m + royalties) for 20 years.

B&O's wave guide (termed Acoustic Lens) is sold in the better models from BMW, Audi, Aston Martin and Mercedes-Benz. The technology per se is not new nor even complicated but what Harman gets it access to these car brands as well B&O's implementation of the wave guide (aka Acoustic Lens).

The wave guide finds great use in car environments where there are so many surfaces that and reflect, deflect, and distort the sound waves coming from a speaker to the listener. Wave guides work best for specific seating locations which again suits a car as the seat locations are more or less fixed. There are home audio systems that also use wave guides (Horns in effect are wave guides too) but with limited success.

Interestingly it was Bose that first tied up with GM and Delco to introduce high end OEM systems for automobiles. see post 23 here
http://www.team-bhp.com/forum/sound-...tml#post121077
navin is offline   (5) Thanks Reply With Quote
Old 22nd April 2015, 17:48   #4
Senior - BHPian
 
dark.knight's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2013
Location: India
Posts: 1,115
Thanked: 2,963 Times
Default Re: Bang & Olufsen Car Audio - Acquired by Harman

Quote:
Originally Posted by navin View Post
Like you suspected, Harman will also get to use B&O Play system (for an additional $36m + royalties) for 20 years.
Not a small price at all, I'd say this would indeed work out more profitable for B&O than if they retained the sub-brands and sold the products to the limited market. Thanks for confirming

Quote:
Originally Posted by navin View Post
B&O's wave guide (termed Acoustic Lens) is sold in the better models from BMW, Audi, Aston Martin and Mercedes-Benz. The technology per se is not new nor even complicated but what Harman gets it access to these car brands as well B&O's implementation of the wave guide (aka Acoustic Lens).
Yes while B&O found a place in the niche offerings of BMW/Audi, Harman Kardon was relegated to the entry models, of course Lexicon from their group is used in Rolls Royce but with this purchase I'm sure Harman has a huge bargaining chip & they are going to extract every financial advantage out of it. I only hope they don't share the Acoustic Lens tech with their other sub-brands otherwise segmenting will be a big confusion.

Quote:
Originally Posted by navin View Post
The wave guide finds great use in car environments where there are so many surfaces that and reflect, deflect, and distort the sound waves coming from a speaker to the listener. Wave guides work best for specific seating locations which again suits a car as the seat locations are more or less fixed.
Absolutely agree, Acoustic Lens is a simple description of what wave guides actually are, the speaker acts as a lens for sound to amplify it precisely to the ears. While I'm not an audio guy even remotely, I do appreciate how sound is engineered, in my view clarity & reproduction of various ranges with maximum accuracy is more important than bone jarring bass/treble, am I right?. B&O had little to none marketing, niche positioning & their designs are pure sophistication, almost like modern art. I hope a mainstream company like Harman doesn't water it down to increase sales given their spend.

Thanks for the professional perspective.

Last edited by dark.knight : 22nd April 2015 at 17:57.
dark.knight is offline   (1) Thanks Reply With Quote
Old 23rd April 2015, 10:34   #5
BHPian
 
blahman's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2014
Location: Bangalore
Posts: 80
Thanked: 238 Times
Default Re: Bang & Olufsen Car Audio - Acquired by Harman

This might slightly be off topic but I purchased the BeoPlay A2 3 months ago as a replacement for my aging Bose Soundlink 1 bluetooth speaker. I was actually amazed at how bad the B&O was in comparison to a 3 year old product. The bass is almost non-existent. It just doesn't stop there, the battery life is pathetic. Hardly lasts for 2 hours on full volume. The Soundlink was doing at least 5 hours and the bass was ecstatic when pitted against the A2.

The BeoPlay looks brilliant though. Like a premium brand's clutch :/ The only reason I jumped ship from Bose was because B&Os are installed in many premium cars from the factory and I was stupid enough to pick it up without even testing it (it never launched in Bangalore so I had it picked up by a friend in the US).

Bottomline, it still is miles away from JBL and other brands but I think B&O is overrated and they have a long way to go to match up to Bose. Atleast in the portable bluetooth speaker segment.
blahman is offline   (3) Thanks Reply With Quote
Old 23rd April 2015, 12:34   #6
Team-BHP Support
 
navin's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2004
Location: mumbai
Posts: 22,509
Thanked: 3,885 Times
Default Re: Bang & Olufsen Car Audio - Acquired by Harman

Quote:
Originally Posted by dark.knight View Post
Yes while B&O found a place in the niche offerings ...I'm sure Harman has a huge bargaining chip & they are going to extract every financial advantage out of it. I only hope they don't share the Acoustic Lens tech with their other sub-brands otherwise segmenting will be a big confusion.

Absolutely agree, Acoustic Lens is a simple description of what wave guides actually are, the speaker acts as a lens for sound to amplify it precisely to the ears.

I hope a mainstream company like Harman doesn't water it down to increase sales given their spend.
Harman Intl. is a business not an audio company. Dinesh (ex ABB) could not care less if he was selling shoes or Tupperware. In my view it is not the same Harman that existed from 1953 to 1975. Were are products like the Citation amplifiers? Then that's just the passion in me speaking.

However I do respect his focus and commitment to vision. This is his story with Harman (A PR agency sent it to me some time back).


Hence I fully expect Harman's managers to exploit this brand as they have done other brands. In many ways they are giving the consumer what they want with small portable systems, improved OEM car infotainment, etc.

If you will notice Dinesh repeats the same buzzwords in each interview (just a selection below). The focus is clearly on mass market and brands like Revel and ML are not even mentioned.
http://video.foxbusiness.com/v/37196...#sp=show-clips

http://sports.yahoo.com/video/were-s...213820533.html



The Acoustic lens is a technology B&O bought from Moulton Labs.
http://www.moultonlabs.com/more/new_...ker_design/P1/

It works rather well but the lens is only part of the solution. The real secret is the baffle. The lens gets all the attention, but the lens is only working over a narrow 1 octave wide bandwidth. The baffle above and below the drive play a much larger role in the radiation. Now in a car we already are "gifted" a baffle below the driver. The "engine vengine" guys call it the dash board. This baffle along with the top baffle constraint the response of the speaker a narrow vertical beam.

Given the need to controlled directivity, the presence of the "bottom baffle", etc. the acoustic lens finds an almost ideal application for the front HF speakers in a car. The bass is rather conventional (just in Harman's case they dress it up with DSP).

A simpler explanation (than I could ever manage) of waveguides is given here. http://gedlee.azurewebsites.net/Pape...0Waveguide.pdf

Horns react very differently if they are driven by a compression driver vs being driven by a conventional driver. However that is the topic for another thread if not another forum altogether.

Last edited by navin : 24th April 2015 at 17:10.
navin is offline   (5) Thanks Reply With Quote
Old 23rd April 2015, 14:14   #7
NPV
Distinguished - BHPian
 
NPV's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2009
Location: Namma Bengaluru
Posts: 4,826
Thanked: 4,774 Times
Default Re: Bang & Olufsen Car Audio - Acquired by Harman

Quote:
Originally Posted by navin View Post
It may be even more correct to say "Another brand acquired by Harman International".
Quote:
Originally Posted by navin View Post
Harman Intl. is a business not an audio company.
Yes, very true. Sorry to go from the Car audio topic.

Harman has also acquired Software Services company Symphony Teleca, continuing the chain of acquisitions that company has undergone recently with Symphony acquiring Aditi Technologies and then Teleca acquiring Symphony

Link

Last edited by NPV : 23rd April 2015 at 14:15.
NPV is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 23rd April 2015, 16:28   #8
Team-BHP Support
 
navin's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2004
Location: mumbai
Posts: 22,509
Thanked: 3,885 Times
Default Re: Bang & Olufsen Car Audio - Acquired by Harman

Quote:
Originally Posted by NPV View Post
Harman has also acquired Software Services company Symphony Teleca
...and Red Bend.

Make no mistake Harman is now a marketing company as anyone who has done any critical analysis of their Clari-fi technology can attest.

See their own promotional video


See at 11:40 there about when the artists play? What they are doing is called dynamic range compression when what MP3 does is data compression.

Still more here.
http://www.foxbusiness.com/markets/2...on-htc-one-m8/

Like another audio marketing giant, Bose, Harman will make products that cater to the larger mass market and I am ok with that. What upsets me is when they, like Bose, interpret the truth 'differently'.

Last edited by navin : 23rd April 2015 at 16:30.
navin is offline   (3) Thanks Reply With Quote
Old 23rd April 2015, 19:37   #9
BHPian
 
Join Date: Oct 2008
Location: Bangalore
Posts: 138
Thanked: 55 Times
Default Re: Bang & Olufsen Car Audio - Acquired by Harman

Couple of month's back they had acquired Aditi-SymphanyTeleca. Back to back big ticket acquisitions in a row.

Aditi-SymphanyTeleca have lot of interest in embedded stuff, mobility, Android etc. Hope we would be seeing new products in in car entertainment soon
RSimonS is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 23rd April 2015, 19:46   #10
BHPian
 
Join Date: Jun 2013
Location: Hyderabad
Posts: 43
Thanked: 48 Times
Default Re: Bang & Olufsen Car Audio - Acquired by Harman

So, for a not very informed guy, does this reflect into a better sounding system for ~10lac cars?
SRKHYD is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 24th April 2015, 14:26   #11
Team-BHP Support
 
navin's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2004
Location: mumbai
Posts: 22,509
Thanked: 3,885 Times
Default Re: Bang & Olufsen Car Audio - Acquired by Harman

Quote:
Originally Posted by SRKHYD View Post
So, for a not very informed guy, does this reflect into a better sounding system for ~10lac cars?
Yes, I believe this will help sub 10 lac market more than the high end. Yes for the short term it will be the BMWs and Jaguars that will showcase some of this technology but in the end the numbers are in the sub 10 lac segment. Like I said Harman is a business, it cannot ignore where the numbers are.
navin is offline   (1) Thanks Reply With Quote
Old 24th April 2015, 15:22   #12
Senior - BHPian
 
dark.knight's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2013
Location: India
Posts: 1,115
Thanked: 2,963 Times
Default Re: Bang & Olufsen Car Audio - Acquired by Harman

Quote:
Originally Posted by navin View Post
Harman Intl. is a business not an audio company. Dinesh (ex ABB) could not care less if he was selling shoes or Tupperware. In my view it is not the same Harman that existed from 1953 to 1975. Were are products like the Citation amplifiers? Then that's just the passion in me speaking.
Well well, who'd have figured it, an Indian CEO of a Jewish company. I saw the video & I didn't take away much from that interview, its all basically about future forecast & tapping the potential of India and trying to diversify and grow both in terms of scale and revenue, it was all finance.. of course the channel itself is of a financial nature but I simply didn't see passion for product as much as I did passion for numbers.

I love watching videos of passionate people obsessed with marketing & quality. If I'm not wrong Harman started out with music systems, so audio should be at its core instead of becoming a recipe mixing company. I'm sure him being a finance specialist that the company might have done well with profits but I'm not so happy that the product focus isn't quite there, maybe because they have already smooth functioning tie-ups with major car companies that they don't bother to speak about it.

On a separate note its also about time that some mass automobile manufacturer jumps into the luxury audio factory customization option. People nowadays spend so much money kitting out and changing their factory entertainment console for better ones, according to me its not only confusing its also a lot of work requiring big modifications to car like keeping speakers in boot, wiring change, enormous wastage etc etc. If a B&O option is provided across 10L+hatches/15L+ sedans at say Rs.100k-150k extra (it needn't be the 16 speaker setup of high end cars, just a 4 speaker 2 tweeter system for small cars which I think there would be good demand for.

Since very high quality audio doesn't matter to me I may not look at this or customising audio for any car as warranted but at that price a factory fitted high end audio would save tons of effort & be a conversation starter as well for the music lovers.

Last edited by dark.knight : 24th April 2015 at 15:38. Reason: Refining
dark.knight is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 24th April 2015, 16:06   #13
Team-BHP Support
 
navin's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2004
Location: mumbai
Posts: 22,509
Thanked: 3,885 Times
Default Re: Bang & Olufsen Car Audio - Acquired by Harman

Quote:
Originally Posted by dark.knight View Post
I simply didn't see passion for product as much as I did passion for numbers.
.
You noticed it too? LOL

Quote:
Originally Posted by dark.knight View Post
If a B&O option is provided across 10L+hatches/15L+ sedans at say Rs.100k-150k extra.
Yes this will happen and at much lower prices than you state. Much less maybe in the 30-50k range.

Guys, if there are areas you need a more detailed explanation I am most happy to oblige. However, remember I would be working with two constraints.

a. My chief translator, the Yeti, Mr. Sam Kapasi, is now, no more with us so the tech stuff might be jargon laden.
b. Due to some friends I have in the audio industry I cannot discuss some sensitive areas. I have no commercial interests (never had and probably never will) in audio (Pro, Car, or Home).

Last edited by navin : 24th April 2015 at 17:15.
navin is offline   (2) Thanks Reply With Quote
Old 5th May 2015, 10:32   #14
Senior - BHPian
 
StarScream's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2007
Location: Noida/Delhi
Posts: 1,247
Thanked: 633 Times
Default Re: Bang & Olufsen Car Audio - Acquired by Harman

Quote:
Originally Posted by navin View Post
...and Red Bend.

Make no mistake Harman is now a marketing company as anyone who has done any critical analysis of their Clari-fi technology can attest.

See at 11:40 there about when the artists play? What they are doing is called dynamic range compression when what MP3 does is data compression.

Like another audio marketing giant, Bose, Harman will make products that cater to the larger mass market and I am ok with that. What upsets me is when they, like Bose, interpret the truth 'differently'.
Navin, so tell me, what does a DAC do? it fills in the missing bits to compressed audio?
StarScream is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 5th May 2015, 11:44   #15
Team-BHP Support
 
navin's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2004
Location: mumbai
Posts: 22,509
Thanked: 3,885 Times
Default Re: Bang & Olufsen Car Audio - Acquired by Harman

Quote:
Originally Posted by StarScream View Post
Navin, so tell me, what does a DAC do? it fills in the missing bits to compressed audio?
DAC do exactly what their acronym stands for - Digital to Analog Conversion.

There are also ADCs that convert Analog to Digital.
navin is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply


Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Road conditions of SH in TN (Bang-Ooty-Kodai-Kanyakumari-Rameshwaram-Bang) sachin131 Route / Travel Queries 4 28th August 2015 11:40
City City Bang Bang! 1000 kms Report of my Honda City SMT roadie_swift Test-Drives & Initial Ownership Reports 39 4th June 2015 15:52
BugBlog®- A 6692.8 kms of drive bliss (Bang- Faridabad - Saharanpur-Dehradun-Bang) Travelbug Travelogues 43 2nd October 2009 22:57


All times are GMT +5.5. The time now is 18:17.

Copyright ©2000 - 2017, Team-BHP.com
Proudly powered by E2E Networks