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Bang & Olufsen’s RPi add-on brings digital life to old speakers

Feb 20, 2018 — by Eric Brown — 3260 views

B&O and HiFiBerry have launched an open source, DIY “Beocreate 4” add-on for the Raspberry Pi that turns vintage speakers into digitally amplified, wireless-enabled smart speakers with the help of a 180-Watt 4-channel amplifier, a DSP, and a DAC.

Bang & Olufsen has collaborated with HiFiBerry to create the open source, $189 Beocreate 4 channel amplifier kit. The 180 x 140 x 30mm DSP/DAC/amplifier board pairs with your BYO Raspberry Pi 3 with a goal of upcycling vintage passive speakers.



Beocreate 4
(click image to enlarge)

The Beocreate 4 can work independently, in which case it provides speakers with technology that supports digital Internet radio and other digital sources. However, it’s primarily designed to work with the Raspberry Pi, which either provides built-in WiFi and Bluetooth in the case of the RPi 3, or can plug in USB-based WiFi/BT add-ons. The Raspberry Pi is also needed for programming the DSP, and provides the convenience of the ready-made Raspbian software that runs Airplay, Spotify, or Bluetooth connected sources.


Beocreate 4 with Beovox 50 (left) and Beovox 50 and 100
(click images to enlarge)

The Beocreate 4 and its Beocreate software suite are optimized for B&O’s Beovox CX50 or CX100 passive speakers, which ceased production in 2003. However, the kit can work with any generic speaker, says B&O. The open source Beocreate software suite includes a Raspbian Lite based DSP toolkit that allows experienced users to use SigmaStudio on a PC to create DSP programs.

Major features of the Beocreate 4 include:

  • Digital amp with 180W output power (2x30W, 2x60W)
  • Amp supports “up to four of 4-8 Ohm speakers” (2x 60W channels can drive 2 Ohm speakers)
  • Sample rates up to 192kHz
  • 4-channel digital-analog converter (DAC)
  • DSP with Raspbian software that links to SigmaStudio
  • Support for RPi A+/B+/2B/3B/Zero
  • Can run with RPi on 12-24V ext. power supply (no need for ext. USB power supply)
  • No soldering — uses screw terminals to connect to speakers




Beocreate 4 YouTube demo

 
Further information

The Beocreate 4 channel amplifier from Bang & Olufsen and HiFiBerry is available for $189. More information may be found at B&O’s and HiFiBerry’s Beocreate 4 product page.
 

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