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I know the Bose brand is somewhat of a taboo in most hi-fi audio forums, but I still find it quite interesting to discuss. I'm sure many of you have wandered into a Bose store before. You know the usual setup...each product on it's little shelf, perhaps a LCD screen above it.

I took a friend of mine to a Bose store in Washington this past summer and we had an opportunity to sit through one of their "theater shows" featuring the top-of-the line "Acoustimass" system. Clearly, this is designed for people who probably don't know that much about speakers/sound engineering (hence the target market for Bose) and people who care about design. Having just come from a high-end private retailer (where I demoed a few Martin Logans and other much less expensive brands), I was really struck by the difference in sound quality between the Bose and the other brands. The Bose bass response was pathetic. My $300 multimedia speakers sounded deeper and had more authoritative deep bass than this system. The mid/highs sounded...ok, but were a far cry form the sound of the Logans, or even the lower-end B&W and Polk speakers.

My friend, who I had been arguing with for a long time about the quality of his Bose system, finally turned to me and agreed that he had been ripped off. Here's a guy who wanted good sound, yet was too lazy to comparison testing with other brands outside mass-merchant stores. He was even more surprised when he learned that for less money than his Bose system, he could have purchased a much better system ala carte. Long story short, a coworker of his was planning on buying a Bose system for his family room, but after having talked it over, is now looking into getting Definitives.

Either way, you've got to give the Bose people credit. Obviously they're doing something right if they're still pulling in decent sales numbers. Women love Bose. College kids, who think they're impressing their friends, love Bose. I think I'll stick with my multimedia speakers and upgrade when the time is right ;)

Anyone else ever had similar experience at the Bose store?
 

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I walked by a Bose outlet store the other day, but didn't go in. I usually just shy away because I think I might "get into it" with the salesperson. Not that I would be mean or anything, just that I might be a little funny. I wonder if the salespeople really believe that the Bose stuff is good, or are they just selling to make a living.
 

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I bought in 1998:

Mains: Bose 701
Center: Bose VCS10
Rear: Bose 301

I bought then at The Brick up here in Canada. The sales guy swore up and down that these were the best speakers out there. The cool thing that he told me to do was stand in front of one speaker and see if I could hear the other one. I did this test and sure enough I could hear the other speaker. He told me they'd fill the room up with sound and nothing out there could beat them. He also said that Bose Technology was far more superior to any speaker company out there. I didn't know a thing about HT or speakers, so I bought them on the spot.

Not too many of my friends were into HT when I purchased mine, but a lot of them followed suit after that. I'd say in about 6 months time, 10 of my friends went out and bought their own HT systems. We decided to test out all of our systems and would do movie night at each persons house to see. My Bose system ended up at finishing 3rd and this was due to the two below me having small and pathetic bookshelf speakers. My friends spent as much, if not less then me, and the Bose system crumbled hard!

I was happy about my purchase and it filled my needs. I sat back and watched as my friends would compete for the better system. They've spend thousands of dollars on upgrades and this and that. I spent a few weeks on these forums and ended up with this as my system::

Mains: Axiom m60's (m80 upgrade this week)
Center: Bose VCS-10 (VP150 upgrade for Christmas)
Rears: Bose 701 (QS8 upgrade for Christmas)
Sub: PC13-Ultra

Needless-to-say, I will never take advice from a salesman again. They will do anything to sell you speakers!
 
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Discussion Starter #4
I actually bought my first set of Bose speakers in 88 and I was stationed in Okinawa. They were the series. I thought they were great at the time, I was a 19 year old Marine at the time and we would throw party's and i would remember seeing flames coming out of the ports. The insides of those speakers would glow, crazy.

Then I bought the accustimass system which consisted of 2 satellite speakers and a bass module, at the time I loved it and thought it was awesome...what did I know? My friends couldn't believe all that sound, er..uh..noise came from those little speakers. Apparently I didn't learn my lesson for 15 years later I bought the 601's, VCS10, and the 161 surround speakers. I never listened to 2 channel music and if I did I had to bump the treble way up and add bass and when I added my sub the speakers never meshed, the sound was always bloated.

So, I began the long search via the internet and I have been members of many forums, but I mainly never post, I read and learn from using the search functions. About 4-5 years ago I almost ordered speakers from Axiom and an SVS sub when I was in Italy, but due to having to move and a new addition to the family that plan was delayed. Well, low and behold this year I decided to do something than just read forums and wish. I ordered two sets of Onix Rockets 450's, a Bigfoot and when thats all put in a set up I will be adding either a PBU or PCU "cant decide on box or tube".

Well, so far I received a set of 450's about a month or so ago and when they came in I placed them next to my Bose and ran them using the "B" speakers on my Denon. The very first thing I noticed was that I could hear the individual strings on the guitars and the stereo separation was great! Voices where distinct and clear and the bass even though not deep was very tight and quick compared to my Bose. I listened to those 450's for about 6-7 days in 2 channel bliss, then one day I broke out the rat shack and dialed in my sub and "WOW" they actually worked to together!

Not bashing Bose for I have spent a lot of money on them and they have been and parts of them are currently in my house right now, but the saying: no highs and no lows, always bothered me until now. Its true, I'm running my speakers flat...no added bass or treble and to me they sound killer. Not promoting Rockets either for I'm very sure the Axiom 60's that I was originally going to get would have proven themselves as well.

Once the rest of my order gets here my surrounds and center channel will be going out in the garage along with my 601's. I'm thinking about giving them to my brother-in-law for there is no way I could ever sell them to someone and feel honest about it.
 

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The Acoustimass system used to impress me when I was a teenager. But once really put to the test when I decided to built a HT few years ago....:whistling:
 

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I never will forget when I was about 16 years of age... my dream was to have some 901's. All of us guys in the neighborhood use to talk about it.
 

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My son has Bose and he really enjoys them especially because of their size. I even offered him my system for free if and when I upgrade but he wanted no part of it. It has always been a question on my mind as to what percentage of the cost is for name and what percentage is for material/quality of the product. I wonder if other companies who build a name for themselves increase that ratio as they get more popular.

Bob
 

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i would remember seeing flames coming out of the ports. The insides of those speakers would glow, crazy.
I really wonder if thats possible I know that some speaker manufacturers use "Glow fuses" that will glow like a lightbulb when the speaker is being over driven to absorb the extra power to prevent damage. Comminity uses this in most of there speaker gear and works very well.
 

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I think flames + Bose speakers = burnt plastic.

I almost got sucked into the Bose Hype back in 1998. I didn't know much back then obviously. I ended up going with some Cerwin Vegas for about $1500 total and they utterly destroyed my buddies Bose Accoustimass 5 system. Ooooo the cubes were so cool though.
 
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Flames literally coming out, no...that's why I added about them glowing in the ports. Every time a bass note would hit the port would glow. 501's had two tweeters "I guess you could call them big things that" and one woofer.
 

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My brother got one of those cheap 3 speaker surround systems you see on display. He walked by it with his wife and his wife said do you think it works he just smiled politely she pressed the button and he told her it sounded good. They walked away. The next week his wife had a gift for him. Guess what it was... A BOSE 321. OH, S%$# he though to himself as he politely smiled. (so I was told) It was the first time she ever attempted to make a purchase like that for him. He did not have the heart even after hooking it up and being seriously let down by the sound quality, to tell her that he did not want it. Not to mention they were going through a rocky stage in the marriage. It turns out that the Bose display for the 321 is altered. I went to the store where she purchased and asked why my brothers sounded so bad and why the subwoofer is so weak that you can hardly hear it.

I found out that Bose set up the system in their store and the the main components are locked in a box below the display not even the store reps. could get into it and trust me we tried.

Friends don't let friends buy BOSE.
 

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So I went back to the Outlet mall to get a couple things that I hadn't been able to pick up previously. While my wife was at the no-mens-clothes Liz Claiborne store, I had a chance to go to the Bose store.

I walk in and it's totally dead (well, the whole mass is totally dead on Wednesday at 10 am). There's Bose stuff everywhere, of course -- so much as to be confusing. A young salesman greets me and asks if I'm looking for anything in particular. I say, "no, but I'll watch a demo if you don't have anything else going on." We go into a decent-sized theater room that has front projection video and some "speakers" and "components." I pretty much know the routine -- they have the mock "speakers" that are really just a bunch of speaker cloth around a frame, which are obscuring the little Bose cubes. Then, when the moment is right, they push away the "speakers" to reveal what you've really been hearing -- The Bose System!

So anyway, the demo is a DD 5.1 made-for-Bose thing showing a variety music, nature and action clips. It also has a "story line" in which a couple buy a flat panel TV, but only have a boombox below it. Too bad. They want to get "surround sound" but find that the speakers are just sooooooo big, and the components sooooooo overwhelming. What to do?!?!? Well, get the Bose stuff of course!

The sound from the system was "OK," I suppose. I can't recall if it's Bose or someone else, but there's a commercial for some type of HTIB stuff in which some respected industry insider guy states something like "compared to normal TV speakers, this system is going to sound much, much better." That's how I felt about the Bose system. It got a lot louder than TV speakers, and it had better separation. Of course, 5.1 anything that's properly set up will sound better than TV speakers.

So, it's better than nothing.

My other feelings are that the sound was somewhat compressed, especially at high volumes. It was pretty loud, probably louder than most wives would like, and I think they were approaching the limits of the system. I would not be surprised if there was clipping and distortion going on at high levels. Of course, the little speakers can only do so much in dynamics, and while big action sequences sounded OK, they were definitely lacking any real slam. They also seemed to lack sparkling, crystalline highs. To be fair, I wasn't familiar with the program material, so those types of things could be related back to that (but I doubt they would use program material that was that screwed up).

OK, on to the Acoustimass bass module. It's pretty bad. Very boomy and one-notey. I don't think they advertise it as a "sub" (hence the "bass module" moniker). I could tell that there was a lot of boom coming from one corner of the room, but it was as would be expected: disappointing after having used "real" subs.

And then it was over. The salesguy popped in from stage right and said "So what do you think? Pretty impressive, huh?" I said yeah, and kind of told him that I read a lot about audio stuff, and hadn't heard a Bose system in a long time, etc., etc. We didn't really discuss any more than that.

I did ask him the price, and he said it's $3,799. For that, you get four of the cubes, a center, the bass module and the main unit and remotes. The main unit will store CDs in some way or another (not sure if it has a hard drive, stored in a compressed format, etc.).

So that's it. I know you can get a better 5.1 audio system for that price. What you'll lose is convenience, simplicity and size. That's what they are unabashedly marketing. It's for people that don't want big speakers, that don't want a rack of audio equipment, that don't want to tweak their system for the best sound possible. We aren't those people. We want to spend excessive time and money in this hobby, and that's why we think Bose is nowhere.

So, I'm OK with Bose marketing to people that don't want any hassle. If that's what they want, then, hey, great. Even at the expensive-for-what-you-get price. The thing that gets me is that people actually think this stuff is good. I have friend at work that was telling me about his Klipsch system and all this and that. Sounded like a good setup. And then he says that "it's pretty much top of the line, until you get into Bose." So the guy has a nice system, knows what he's talking about, but still buys in to the marketing department's story...
 

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the bose speakers aren't as bad as they get credit for being. That being said I think most people go out of their way to trash them hard, because it is easy and there is very little chance of being flamed in most forums over it. Simple fact is it is easy to take it out on and get carried away doing so those that don't fight back. Price aside they are what I would call good middle of the road speakers, far superior to what you get out of most theater in a box or cheap speakers from the box store. Are they worth the price that is asked for them? Not a chance. I have told people for years for the money you can do a lot better sounding or looking, and when ever possible get them to have me build it...

I am a Bose 901 owner all in need of refoaming and such. I have 3 pairs of them and 2 pairs them came from the goodwill at $10 per speaker with $5 for the equalizers and another $1 for each stand. Depending on how desperate I am for cash once I finish them I may actually keep a pair. They will sound good in the bedroom, and be a test speaker for those who doubt the quality of other speakers I put them against.
 

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Yeah, I don't want to trash them unnecessarily. I'm glad I had a chance to give them a listen. Yeah, they're "OK" mid-fi speakers. The bass is pretty bad, but it's not a "real" sub. They're selling convenience, simplicity and small size. If people want those things, then they can buy Bose. For those of us that want to really play with it, we don't necessarily want something simple; we want something we can endlessly play with (at least I do), and something that offers the most realistic sound.
 

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My name is Darren and I once owned a Bose Acoustamass system. There... it is out in the open.

It was long long ago in a land fairly close by. My first experience into audio was the Acoustamass 7 I think was the model. I thought it was the poop until a few years later I bought some lowly Paradigm Atoms.

I compared the $150 Paradigm Atoms to my $1,200 Bose speakers and only then did I see the light. The low end Paradigms literally slaughtered the Bose speakers. Two days later I had Paradigm Mini-Monitors and a nice matching center. I sold the BOZO speakers to some guy at work for $250.

That was about 10 years ago. I now have home built DIY speakers and subwoofer. I am saved.

There is life after Bozo, you must first admit you have a problem and you have to want to get better.
 

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You know, now that you mention it the speakers you buy for your computer made by Creative or Logitec sound better and use the same concept for far less $$.
 
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Discussion Starter #20
Agreed. Bose is selling a lifestyle product for people who want minimally intrusive speakers and a no-brainer user interface. It just irks me when friends claim that their Bose is the best speaker system for the money, when it's quite obvious that there are other products on the market that retail for considerably less money and produce far better sound.
 
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