B&O and HiFiBerry's DIY upgrade turns passive speakers active

B&O wants to put a new lease of life into its vintage portfolio of speakers so they don’t go to waste in our increasingly digital and wireless-centric world.

That’s why the Danish brand has partnered with HiFiBerry to launch the Beocreate 4 Channel Amplifier, a DAC/amplifier/DSP board that, with the right components and tools, can be self-installed (yes, even by you) into a pair of passive speakers.

The board comprises a four-channel 24bit/192kHz DAC feeding digital inputs and outputs, and a four-channel 180-watt amplifier that is capable of driving up to four 4ohm to 8ohm speakers.

It can work purely as a digital amplifier, or be used as a more complete network player when directly connected to a Raspberry Pi (A+, B+, 2,3 or Zero) mini PC. The Pi can program the DSP and take advantage of the Beocreate software suite, allowing users to play music via AirPlay, Bluetooth and Spotify.

Currently, how-to guides for installing the board to B&O’s Beovox CX50 and CX100 speakers (which were introduced in the ‘80s) are available on the HiFiBerry website, with equivalents for the Beovox RL2000 and RL6000 models to follow.

The CX100 installation, for example, has a difficulty level of three (out of five) and should theoretically take 2 hours. The guide provides a list of required tools and a step-by-step method in a layout similar to that of a Jamie Oliver recipe. Just without the nutrition values.

Time to make the purchase, dust off your toolbox and roll up your sleeves? Good luck.


Bang & Olufsen at 90: behind the scenes

Apple HomePods are leaving white stains on wooden tables

Blue Planet II – 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray review

Sony announces more 4K and first Full HD TVs for 2018

Neat Acoustics expands Iota speaker range with Iota Xplorer

Becky Roberts

Becky is the managing editor of What Hi-Fi? and, since her recent move to Melbourne, also the editor of Australian Hi-Fi magazine. During her 10 years in the hi-fi industry, she has been fortunate enough to travel the world to report on the biggest and most exciting brands in hi-fi and consumer tech (and has had the jetlag and hangovers to remember them by). In her spare time, Becky can often be found running, watching Liverpool FC and horror movies, and hunting for gluten-free cake.