How did BeoWorld come about ?
An obsession... or more a way of life?
A word from Steve James - the original founder of BeoWorld
Why the BeoWorld Web site?
A lot of people have asked me this question since BeoWorld became live on 7 January 2002. I had actually started to put together a few ideas for a Web site late in 1998, but because of a corrupted hard drive, I lost the few dozen pages that I'd started. I wasn't able to back up the site in the same way that we can nowadays - CD-Rs were still quite expensive!
A little about BeoWorld's founder...
I've been a Bang & Olufsen collector since 1978. In those days, I couldn't really afford very much in the way of expensive hi-fis and a Bang & Olufsen TV was just 'pie in the sky'! However, needing a new hi-fi then made me look around to see what was on offer.
I'd been interested in Bang & Olufsen since I came across the marque while I was at school in 1970. While walking past one of only a couple of B&O dealers' shop windows in my home town of Sheffield, I heard music in the way that I'd never heard it reproduced before. I thought that it was 'live' but on looking in the window I could see that it was just a teak-covered hi-fi. I say 'just' as I really had no idea about who had made this beautiful piece of furniture, but I did know that it both looked and sounded something very special.
Following this first encounter, I used to walk into the store - W H Curtis on The Moor - quite often, with the intention of eyeing up the hi-fis that were on display towards the rear of this town-centre record shop. Feeling that they were out of my reach then, and for the foreseeable future, I could only dream about owning a system. In 1976, upon seeing the beautiful quadraphonic Beosystem 6000, and doing my own version of a Pavlov dog, I thought that it was high time that I started to save my money in order to buy the hi-fi of my dreams!
I'd been using a Bush Arena hi-fi system since 1974. Its sleek, teak-veneered looks were top quality in those days and was the nearest equivalent of a Bang & Olufsen hi-fi that I could at that time afford. But four years later it had already gone past its best and I was ready for spending my savings on a more prestigious piece of equipment. But which was the component to buy and what marque?
I had seen a direct-drive Aiwa in a local department store and had been toying with purchasing that, for it was a new record deck that I had set my heart on. I don't suppose I ever really took the Aiwa seriously, as side-by-side with the Beogram 1902 that I bought, there really was no choice. The Beogram fitted in very well into its new surroundings, but looked a little lonely and forlorn without any Danish siblings with which to communicate.
It hadn't long to wait. Before I knew it, more cash had been parted with and along came Beomaster 1900 and a pair of Beovox S45s to join the record deck. One house move later and in December 1981 I bought a replacement system as the offer in the local paper advertising a Beomaster 2400, Beovox S50 and a Beogram 2402 was just too hard to resist. I had at that time been using a Decca cassette recorder which I'd bought some years earlier. A good quality cassette deck was not at that time on my list of priorities as I tended to play more records than audio cassettes. However, I decided to invest in a Trio cassette recorder, which I bought in the sales at a local department store. No one could understand why Radio Moscow was coming through loud and clear on recorded tapes, so after a frustrating month or two, deciding that there were real compatibility problems, I was offered a full refund and a Beocord 8000 was purchased instead, again from 'my' Bang & Olufsen dealer: W H Curtis. Mr Curtis was in his early eighties and had been trading in the marque since its arrival on these shores in the 1960s. He was one of the 'old school' and knew how to look after his customers - even I who didn't spend a fortune unlike some of his more financially-secure clients! He was always on first name terms with me and was always a pleasure to do business with; he never pushed or coerced me into a sale but guided me gently into what I needed rather than what I wanted. It was always a treat to go into his store and even when he wasn't there at the other side of the counter, his staff were always on hand to answer my queries.
The Beocord 8000, at the side of my Beomaster 2400 was my pride and joy. It had everything that I wanted a high-quality tape recorder to have - good looks, the ability to play back metal tapes, computer calibration - and I was delighted with how my updated system looked. That was until my Beosystem 6000 came along! This was a natural progression and the receiver was bought as an ex-demo in the spring of 1983 in Barnsley. Neal's Hi-Fi was closing down and so offered his Bang & Olufsen items at reduced prices. There was, side-by-side with the 6000, a Beomaster 8000 for £50 more, and I really had to think out exactly what I wanted. I went for the Beomaster 6000 because it was lower powered - 75W against its bigger brother's 150W - and so by buying the smaller receiver, I could get away without having to upgrade my current speakers. In retrospect, over the years, I thought I had made a mistake, but I truly to this day prefer the compactness of the 6000. However, by buying the Beomaster 6000, this made my existing receiver and record deck a little outdated. And so in 1984 a Beogram 8002 came along (which I still have to this day) together with a Beogram CDX2 four years later.
Everything was kept as it was for another four years until I purchased a Beosystem 5000. Again, this is still in my possession. The next few years, with another change of house saw a great increase of B&O acquisitions including: Beocenter 9500, BeoLab 5000 speakers, Beovox Penta, Beosystem 4500, Beovisions 6000, 7000 and 4000, Century, BeoSound 1, three Beocord VX7000s, MCL2, Beovox 4500 and 1000, an array of telephones, LC2 and all the bits and pieces that one collects over the years. All these I still have in my possession - in fact only a handful of items have ever been sold or passed on - I always have considered my Bang & Olufsen products my 'babies' and would miss them dearly if ever they were to wander too far from home!
So what do we want BeoWorld to offer?
Because of the general dearth of information around - especially relating to older Bang & Olufsen products, I wanted BeoWorld to be a place of information where individuals could peruse at their leisure. More than just an online catalogue of products, BeoWorld strives to be a museum of facts, figures and pictures - an up-to-date, comprehensive resource for both the serious collector and those just want to see what the fuss is all about.
The Internet is such a fantastic world where people can submerge themselves totally. However, for the user, this can also mean isolation and insularity. BeoWorld therefore strives to be interactive - a place where like-minded people can get together in their common interest and help each other out. While not professing to be a great technical expert myself (knowing that there are many, many more people out there more expert than I), BeoWorld acts as 'matchmaker' in placing those who are in search of an answer with those who hold the key to such valuable resources.
Away from the seriousness of life, BeoWorld also strives to be entertaining and stylish - a Web site that not only looks as good as the products that it is representing, but also a 'fun place' to be.
I hope I have succeeded!
Created: 12th January 2007
Modified: 6th April 2007
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