Bose 301 speakers - Opinions

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Henrik Schmiediche

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Aug 13, 1996, 3:00:00 AM8/13/96
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Is there a FAQ on why so many people can't stand BOSE speakers?

I have searched the net and all I can find is the negative opinions,
but no reasons... so please tell me why Bose is lousy (if there is no
FAQ). By the way, consider me ignorant, but if you tell me "Bose is
lousy because it has paper cones with red ballbearings that spin left
instead of liguid hydrogen cooled titanimum cones with green ball
bearings that spin right", that really does not tell me much...

Specifically in the $250 price range of Bose 301's - what other
speakers would people recommend?

- Henrik

--
Henrik Schmiediche, Dept. of Statistics, Texas A&M, College Station, TX 77843
E-mail: hen...@stat.tamu.edu | Tel: (409) 862-1764 | Fax: (409) 845-3144
Finger for pgp 2.6 key, fingerprint: E867 D9DB 9616 5DAC 0F67 FE98 77FE 8583

Armand DiEleonora

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Aug 13, 1996, 3:00:00 AM8/13/96
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In article <4uqatu$s...@news.tamu.edu>, hen...@stat.tamu.edu (Henrik Schmiediche) says:
>
>Is there a FAQ on why so many people can't stand BOSE speakers?
>
>I have searched the net and all I can find is the negative opinions,
>but no reasons... so please tell me why Bose is lousy (if there is no
>FAQ). By the way, consider me ignorant, but if you tell me "Bose is
>lousy because it has paper cones with red ballbearings that spin left
>instead of liguid hydrogen cooled titanimum cones with green ball
>bearings that spin right", that really does not tell me much...
- Henrik

No. Bose blows because of MANY reasons. It's easier to say that if you take every
advancement in speaker technology since 1970 and realize that Bose has not conformed
to any of these principles, then you will understand why they can't be taken seriously
by the high end community. Besides, let your ears be the judge. If you think them
superior to the comp., then buy them! BTW, I still think that "doped" paper cones
which, BTW Bose DOES NOT use-they're content with riding on their "laurels" because of
the popularity of the "Bose" name -are transient superior to other designs.
Just ask Dave Wilson.

Armand
{As usual, best listened to with phase coherent,
minimal phase x-over speakers.}

Rabin Paul

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Aug 14, 1996, 3:00:00 AM8/14/96
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In Article <news:4uqatu$s...@news.tamu.edu>,

Henrik Schmiediche wrote:
>Is there a FAQ on why so many people can't stand BOSE

I own a Bose Am5 and at its price level there are no peers, just prejudiced
opinions. I have compared it with TDLs, Missions, Monitor Audios all of
whom cost 2 to 3 times more, they all sounded good. The obvious difference
was the pronounced mid-range and shiny highs. I even listened to a Apogee
Ribbon Monitor driven by Krell front ends. Shiny top, better bass that all
of the speakers mentioned earlier. Some people like this I don't. As for
the Bose AM5s there was what I call a balance it had enough of everything
and not too much of anything.

In the Bose range an acceptable starting point are the AM5s, listen to them
and you won't want to buy the 301s. If you have the money and have a
perfect room, 4 brick walls, no glass, no windows, one door, the 901s are
unmatched. If you don't the 901s will sound horrible. Just based on this
"people say they cant' stand Bose". The other thing is the AM5s
"Sub-woofer". It is NOT a sub-woofer by Hi-Fi definations. I would prefer
to call it the bass unit. It extends to about 45 Hz based on my test CD.
The other crap was the highs. Unless you are less than 5 years old, you
can't hear anything above 15Khz if you live in the city. Go see a doctor
and do an audiogram to prove it to yourself. Women have better hearing than
men of the same age. Don't listen to the AM5s using the made in China
cables that Bose provide, they kill off all the highs and muddle everything
in between.

Finally listen to the song " I can love you like that " from All 4 One or
"Hotel California" from the Eagles' Hell Freezes Over CDs and then tell me
Bose is not up to mark at that price range.

I said enough. Let your ears, taste, budget and common sence decide.

Rabin

Brad Shoemaker

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Aug 14, 1996, 3:00:00 AM8/14/96
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NHTs, PSBs, Direct Mail from Stereophile or absolute sound with 30 money
back policy. the bose just dont have much musical detail. They dont
sound much like music or a studio session. Just move lots of air but
really dont stand up to well to a speaker, like mentioned above.

Steve Zipser (Sunshine Stereo Inc.)

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Aug 14, 1996, 3:00:00 AM8/14/96
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Rabin Paul wrote:
>
> In Article <news:4uqatu$s...@news.tamu.edu>,
> Henrik Schmiediche wrote:
> >Is there a FAQ on why so many people can't stand BOSE
>
> I own a Bose Am5 and at its price level there are no peers, just prejudiced
> opinions.

You are absolutely correct when you state that the Bose AM-5's have no
peers at their price point. Threr is not a speaker on this earth that
performas as poorly at the price. Its frequency response looks like an
outline of the Himalyas, it has NO accuracy at all in the time domain so
it cant image worth a dammn, and it has absolutely no deep bass or upper
treble. There is no speaker at this price point that has so few
positives.

> As for the Bose AM5s there was what I call a balance it had not too much of anything.

Here again we are in complete agreement!

> In the Bose range an acceptable starting point are the AM5s, listen to them
> and you won't want to buy the 301s.

Again true! But if you listen to the AM-5's you won't want to buy the
AM-5s - thats for sure.

> If you have the money and have a
> perfect room, 4 brick walls, no glass, no windows, one door, the 901s are
> unmatched.

Yep! True! Even the AM5s image better than the 901s! Ever heard a 20
foot wide piano? Well how about a 20 foot wide violin? OK, how about a
20 foot wide singer? Zero ability to image. ZERO.

> If you don't the 901s will sound horrible.

Again - True! If you do, they will sound horrible, if you might they
sound horrible, if you cant they sound horrible, if you dance upside
sown in the trees of Remulac they sound horrible!

< Just based on this fact that they sound horrible in all situations


> "people say they cant' stand Bose". The other thing is the AM5s
> "Sub-woofer". It is NOT a sub-woofer by Hi-Fi definations.

It isn't even a good 'woofer'. It sounds like a bear slapping a dead
fish in a march under the best of conditions.

> I would prefer
> to call it the bass unit. It extends to about 45 Hz based on my test CD.

Of course the response is down about 20db at that point but......

> The other crap was the highs.

You got it again! You are always right! The highs ARE crap! At least
what highs there are - because this turkey ain't got no tweeter!

> Unless you are less than 5 years old, you
> can't hear anything above 15Khz if you live in the city.

Want to bet, sport?

> Go see a doctor

Good advice - you either need to see an E.N.T. specialist, a shrink, or
a proctologist - I'm not sure which.

> Don't listen to the AM5s using the made in China
> cables that Bose provide, they kill off all the highs and muddle everything
> in between.

Oh? You think you can hear cable differences with those revealing
speakers? I'll side with Gene this one time. No way!

> Finally listen to the song " I can love you like that " from All 4 One or
> "Hotel California" from the Eagles' Hell Freezes Over CDs and then tell me
> Bose is not up to mark at that price range.

OK. They aren't up to the mark.

> I said enough.

Tell me this post isn't from Brian!
Cheers & happy listening!
Zip
>
> Rabin

Matthew Alt

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Aug 14, 1996, 3:00:00 AM8/14/96
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In <1996081404...@pc.jaring.my> rp...@pc.jaring.my (Rabin Paul)
writes:

>"people say they cant' stand Bose". The other thing is the AM5s

>"Sub-woofer". It is NOT a sub-woofer by Hi-Fi definations. I would


>prefer to call it the bass unit.

I would prefer to call it a midrange unit. There's NO bass coming out
of it. My parents, unfortunately, own an AM-5 system and use it at
their home. The box is so directional that you hear NOTHING of the
lower-midrange-to-below sound unless you're perched directly in front
of the box.

Great design.

-Matt


David Kwan

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Aug 14, 1996, 3:00:00 AM8/14/96
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Rabin Paul (rp...@pc.jaring.my) wrote:
: In Article <news:4uqatu$s...@news.tamu.edu>,
: Henrik Schmiediche wrote:
: >Is there a FAQ on why so many people can't stand BOSE

: I own a Bose Am5 and at its price level there are no peers, just prejudiced

: opinions. I have compared it with TDLs, Missions, Monitor Audios all of


: whom cost 2 to 3 times more, they all sounded good. The obvious difference
: was the pronounced mid-range and shiny highs. I even listened to a Apogee
: Ribbon Monitor driven by Krell front ends. Shiny top, better bass that all

: of the speakers mentioned earlier. Some people like this I don't. As for
: the Bose AM5s there was what I call a balance it had enough of everything
: and not too much of anything.

: In the Bose range an acceptable starting point are the AM5s, listen to them
: and you won't want to buy the 301s. If you have the money and have a


: perfect room, 4 brick walls, no glass, no windows, one door, the 901s are

: unmatched. If you don't the 901s will sound horrible. Just based on this
: "people say they cant' stand Bose". The other thing is the AM5s


: "Sub-woofer". It is NOT a sub-woofer by Hi-Fi definations. I would prefer

: to call it the bass unit. It extends to about 45 Hz based on my test CD.
: The other crap was the highs. Unless you are less than 5 years old, you
: can't hear anything above 15Khz if you live in the city. Go see a doctor


: and do an audiogram to prove it to yourself. Women have better hearing than

: men of the same age. Don't listen to the AM5s using the made in China


: cables that Bose provide, they kill off all the highs and muddle everything
: in between.

: Finally listen to the song " I can love you like that " from All 4 One or


: "Hotel California" from the Eagles' Hell Freezes Over CDs and then tell me
: Bose is not up to mark at that price range.

: I said enough. Let your ears, taste, budget and common sence decide.

I believe you HAVE said enough. Pop songs may sound fine on Bose
equipment but more refined listening such as classical where imaging,
soundstage and accuracy of the reproduction of instruments in an
orchestra, let's say, are quite important and cannot be reproduced
effectively enough by anything Bose puts out.

I guess in North America, in our BIG cities where the noise factor can
affect the listening pleasure of people, we need speakers that sound as
muddied and boomy as Bose does to jar our hearing senses.

I would prefer to close the windows and the doors, put the volume to a
respectable level, and listen to accurate reproduction on B&W's or
Thiel's rather than Bose crap.

Dave
--
----------------------------------------------------------
David Kwan | http://aix2.uottawa.ca/~s811580
dk...@emr1.emr.ca | Audio/Movies/Music/Links & more!
s81...@aix2.uottawa.ca | Netscape 2.0 Gold Beta enhanced!

Armand DiEleonora

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Aug 14, 1996, 3:00:00 AM8/14/96
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>I would prefer to call it a midrange unit. There's NO bass coming out
>of it. My parents, unfortunately, own an AM-5 system and use it at
>their home. The box is so directional that you hear NOTHING of the
>lower-midrange-to-below sound unless you're perched directly in front
>of the box.
>Great design.
>-Matt

Amar Bose. Now THERE'S a guy makin' a bundle on the true gullability of people. These
are the consumers that need to be educated as to what H-E is all about.

Culbert B. Laney

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Aug 15, 1996, 3:00:00 AM8/15/96
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In article <4uqatu$s...@news.tamu.edu>, hen...@stat.tamu.edu (Henrik Schmiediche) writes:

|> Is there a FAQ on why so many people can't stand BOSE speakers?

I'm glad you asked. Here is the latest and greatest version of
the Bose FAQ.

Bert

================================================================

BOSE FAQ
version 1.2
July 1996

compiled by Bert Laney
(la...@coltrane.colorado.edu)
from information and opinions
provided by participants
on the rec.audio.* newsgroups

Version 1.0 now on the World Wide Web!
http://cernan.ecn.purdue.edu/~busenitz/bs.html

Index
^^^^^
1.) Purpose of FAQ
2.) Other Speaker Brands
3.) Bose Marketing
4.) Bose Research
5.) Bose Innovations
6.) Bose Engineering and Design
7.) Bose Popularity
8.) Bose Repairs
9.) Overall Newsgroup Impressions of Bose
10.) Magazines and Bose
11.) Bose and Litigation
12.) An Aside
13.) How to Listen to Bose
14.) How to Choose a Bose Dealer

1.) Purpose of FAQ
^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^
New-comers to the audio newsgroups often ask about Bose. Their
interest is often inspired by a sale, in which Bose speakers
are offered at a seemingly irresistible price, and the poster
feels a strong urgency to buy before the sale ends. If this
FAQ does nothing else, at least rest assured that Bose products
go on sale frequently and, when this sale ends, there will be
another soon. In fact, you can often receive the sale price after
the sale ends just by asking. So take your time, listen carefully,
and compare!

The usual naive request for information about Bose is often
followed by a flame war, to the original poster's great
surprise. While Bose may be "The Most Respected Name in
Audio" --- according to the Bose marketing department ---
Bose gets little respect from most of the participants in the
audio newsgroups. In fact, moderate to strong anti-Bose
sentiments outnumber pro-Bose sentiments by perhaps 20 to one on
the audio newsgroups! However, there are always at least a
couple of staunch defenders of Bose. Perhaps because they face
such overwhelming odds, the Bose defenders tend to phrase their
arguments in sniping repetitive ways, which almost everyone
else finds extremely irritating, especially after several
months of exposure. The flavor of this debate has to be
personally experienced to be truly appreciated. But, as a
feeble attempt to duplicate it, here is the structure of a
typical exchange:

NEWBIE: Does anyone have any opinions about Bose speakers?
FIVE RESPONSES: There are better speakers for the money including
brands X, Y, and Z
BOSE DEFENDER: But Bose speakers offer superior design. They're
the most popular speaker in the world, and for good reason.
TEN RESPONSES: Popularity does not equal quality. (Many long detailed
rebuttals to the Bose defender. Tone tends to be
slightly hostile since they've done this several times
before. Some are very hostile --- "Bose sucks!!!")
BOSE DEFENDER: No. You're all wrong.
FIFTEEN RESPONSES: What?! (Many more long posts explaining
again why they are right)
BOSE DEFENDER: (not in response to anything in particular)
But Bose is a large corporation with excellent customer
service. Other smaller companies may fail, leaving you
without service.
TWENTY RESPONSES: Good service for a poor quality product?
So what? (Many more detailed responses about the problems
they perceive with Bose, plus more "Bose sucks!!!" posts)
BOSE DEFENDER: Bose is a very popular speaker. More people buy Bose
speakers than any other speaker, and Bose has very high customer
satisfaction rates.
TWENTY FIVE RESPONSES: Agggh!! We just explained that quality does
not equal popularity. Can't you read? Are you an IDIOT?
BOSE DEFENDER: No. I'm not the idiot, you're all idiots. This newsgroup
is populated by a small clique of crazy "audiophile" types who spend
hundreds of dollars for cable that doesn't even make a difference.
NEWBIE: (forgot about the newbie didn't you!) (in a weak voice) I want my mommy.

This goes on ad infinitum until everyone is heartily sick of
it, and the debate fades. A few weeks later, someone asks about Bose
again, and it starts all over again. It should be noted that not every
Bose supporter always debates as described above, any more than every Bose
detractor always debates by saying "Bose sucks!"

This FAQ is a summary of information and opinions posted on the net
in the continuing Bose debate. It is intended to inform the beginner
about Bose speakers in particular and, to some extent, speakers in
general. Furthermore, it is intended to reduce the unproductive Bose
flame-wars in the future; in this regard, at least, the FAQ appears
to be successful. Since the first version appeared, the Bose flamewars
have diminished to a trickle, with the few contributions usually
rehashing yet again one of the points made earlier in the debate
and summarized in the FAQ.

This FAQ is a living document, which will be changed as more
information and opinions appear. In fact, I encourage and
actively seek further contributions from both Bose lovers and
Bose haters, and even the Bose corporation. In fact, in
constructing the Bose FAQ, I approached a number of the debate
participants and asked them personally for their input. In one
case, I have even quoted a debate participant directly.
Unfortunately, the staunchest Bose defenders (and there are a few)
have declined to contribute. Along these lines, it should
be pointed out that responses along the lines of "you are wrong,
wrong, and wrong" variety, i.e., statements that express
disagreement but do not contain any useful or constructive
information or logic are unlikely to be incorporated into the
Bose FAQ, although I will be happy to point out how useless these
sort of comments are to you if you care to make them.

While this FAQ contains some pretty pointed criticisms of Bose
speakers, the reader should certainly not automatically dismiss
Bose speakers on the basis of this FAQ alone. If it serves its
purpose, the FAQ should raise enough doubts about Bose speakers
that readers will want to compare for themselves. For this purpose,
the FAQ provides the reader with detailed tips on how to perform
a valid listening comparison between speakers, so that the reader
can come to their own informed opinions. However, if you are
starting this FAQ with a positive impression of Bose, do not by
any means change your mind until you have had the chance to
compare carefully, and have heard for yourself that other
speakers often offer better sound quality. If you compare
Bose with some of the better speaker brands (see section 2)
and still prefer Bose then, truly, you have my blessing
and the blessings of even the harshest Bose critic.

By the way, since this FAQ first appeared, I have received
many technical Bose-related repair and modification inquiries,
especially regarding parts. Unfortunately, I do have not any
special "inside" information about Bose, and thus I suggest that
any such questions be directed to Bose Corporation. Here is
some information to help you contact Bose if you need to:

Bose Corporation
The Mountain
Framingham, Massachusetts
01701-9168

Corporate Headquarters: 508-879-7330 (Laurie Whitely or Carolyn Cinotti)
Public Relations: 908-233-8800 (Borman Associates)
Consumer Response (Canada): 800-465-2673 (BOSE)
Consumer Response (USA): 800-444-2673 (BOSE)
Professional Sales: 800-996-2673 (BOSE)
Professional Technical Information: 800-994-2673 (BOSE)
Wave Radio: 800-919-BOSE
Acoustic Wave Music System: 800-282-BOSE
Home speakers and systems: 800-444-BOSE
Aviation headsets: 800-242-9008
Auditioner audio demonstration system: 800-469-7413

I also often receive questions regarding other Bose
products, especially the Waveradio. This FAQ concerns *only*
Bose home speakers, and does not concern other Bose products such
as the Waveradio or their car stereo products. I do not have any
special information to provide on anything other than Bose home
speakers, since these other products have not been discussed
exhaustively on the internet in the way that the home speakers
have. However, having said this, from the few reports I have
read, generally, the people who have tried the Bose Waveradio
feel that it is definitely the best of its type, but that its
type is boombox/clock radio/table radio. While it does offer
excellent performance in this category, you will pay dearly for
the performance it offers, and the Waveradio still cannot
compete with an equally-priced well-selected component
stereo system, at least as far as sound quality goes, though it
certainly is convenient and compact.

Finally, I occasionally receive questions about specific Bose
speakers along the lines of "Are Bose speakers really that
bad? Why do you think so? I just bought the AM5 speakers.
What do you think of those?" First off, the FAQ is not
intended as a blanket condemnation of Bose speakers; it
merely raises questions, and then shows the reader how they
can answer those questions for themselves. After all,
speakers are largely a matter of personal taste --- there
are literally thousands of different speakers available, and
this would not be true if it were clear which ones were the
"best." Furthermore, as far as my personal opinions about
specific Boise speakers, as mentioned earlier, I do not have
a personal opinion on any Bose speakers. This hopefully
helps make the FAQ more neutral, but it also makes me a
lousy source of specific opinions. I can say that I owned
a pair of Bose 301 speakers for a number of years. At the
time, I was quite happy with them; of course, I think my
current speakers are much better, but if I had never shopped
around, I would probably still happily own the Bose 301's.
While I do not have any personal opinions on the sound of
Bose speakers, I do feel that many of the arguments that
have been made in favor of Bose speakers are weak, and this
document reflects that judgement.

2.) Other Speaker Brands
^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^
Suppose that, for some reason, you either decide not to purchase
Bose speakers, or you wish to compare Bose with other speakers.
What other speakers should you consider? A complete answer to this
question is outside the scope of this FAQ --- consult the "Good
Sound for Cheap FAQ." But as a short answer, some brands names
worth considering include PSB, Paradigm, Thiel, Mirage, Definitive
Technology, B&W, Radio Shack LX5 (designed by Linaeum), Magnepan, RDL,
KEF, NHT, Signet, Infinity, Spica, Energy, Quad, Martin-Logan, Celestion,
Vandersteen, Apogee, Acarian Alon, and dozens of others. This
is not to say that everyone loves all of these brands --- some
people love them, some people hate them, and you should listen
for yourself --- but most people on the audio newsgroups would
rate most of these brands above Bose. Some brands names generally
considered worse than, equal to, or at least not consistently
superior to Bose include Polk, Technics, Klipsch, Sony, JBL,
Kenwood, KLH, Pioneer, Cerwin-Vega, Advent, DCM, and dozens of
others. Of course, again, opinions vary (Klipsch, in particular,
has some strong proponents). Given the long list of worse
speakers on the market, its actually rather surprising that
only Bose receives such criticism on the audio newsgroups.
Boston Acoustics and AR have and apparently still produce some
excellent budget speakers but, unfortunately, many mediocre
speakers as well.


3.) Bose Marketing
^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^
One of the issues used both for and against Bose is their marketing.
In the loudspeaker arena, Bose has perhaps the largest and most
effective marketing campaign of any manufacturer. What other
speaker manufacturer runs television ads? The marketing budget
is spent in several ways:

*Advertising. Part of the marketing budget is spent on advertising
and obtaining positive reviews, so that consumers will know and feel
favorable towards Bose products before they ever even enter a store.
A recent survey in the Denver area showed that most people who
purchased stereo equipment had already make up their minds about
which brands to purchase well before they actually auditioned any
equipment! Many personal anecdotes on the audio newsgroups
support this conclusion. The fact that Bose speakers have such an
excellent reputation among the public at large is partly a
testament to their excellent marketing.

*Sales Incentives. In many cases, the store and the salesperson earn
higher commissions from selling Bose speakers than from selling other
equally priced speaker. Of course, in other cases, the store may
have greater incentives to sell other speakers, but it seems that
Bose is well above average among mass-market speakers.

*Store Support. The marketing budget also pays for large numbers of
marketers who work with the individual stores, encouraging stores to
stock and sell Bose products, and arranging in-store promotions and sales.
If the experience of some on the audio newsgroups is to be believed,
Bose even sends marketers to the stores to pose as salespeople,
who steer customers towards Bose under this guise.

These sorts of modern marketing techniques are, for the most part,
only to be expected from a large and savvy corporation. Of course,
the company with the best marketing does not always offer the best
products, although truly unappealing products will fail regardless of
marketing.

4.) Bose Research
^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^
One point often made in favor of Bose is their research. Indeed,
Bose has a large and highly-trained scientific research staff. However,
it seems that relatively little of this research filters down to their
everyday speakers --- their basic speaker designs have remained largely
unchanged for many years. This rather surprising conclusion is supported by
comparisons with other industries. For example, Budweiser and MacDonalds
also have large and highly-trained scientific research staffs, and yet
continue to produce the same products year after year. In essence, most
of the research is for purposes of hedging their bets and flexibility ---
if the marketplace demands change, the corporation will have the research
results in hand to react quickly. In the case of Bose, the research
budget is still small compared to the marketing budget. Furthermore,
the research makes good PR, and in fact justifies one of their well known
marketing slogans --- "Better Sound Through Research."

5.) Bose Innovations
^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^
Bose has the reputation among the general public as a leader in innovative
speaker design. This is partly the result of their marketing campaign, but
also simply because they are unusual --- it is all too easy to confuse
unusual with new or innovative. However, according to the historically
knowledgeable on the newsgroups, most of the Bose "innovations" were
actually devised years ago by others and incorporated into textbooks and
commercial speaker designs pre-dating Bose by years and even decades. In
some cases, Bose's patents are small refinements of long-established
techniques. Thus, according to many on the newsgroups, Bose's main
contribution is popularizing their speaker designs through aggressive
marketing.

6.) Bose Engineering and Design
^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^
There has been much discussion among the technically minded about
the engineering/design aspects of Bose. This discussion can get
highly technical, and those without the appropriate background
may often be left not knowing who to believe. Without getting
too heavily into the technical details, this section attempts
to summarize these debates.

One of the most popular Bose product lines is the AM series of
satellite/woofers. About this product line, John Busenitz says:

"The problems with the Bose AM systems are many. The woofers are too
small to reproduce low frequencies at decent levels. In fact, a
review in a recent Stereo Review noted this, saying that the response
rolled of at around 36 dB below mid-50 Hz. The small enclosure and
high order response are indicative of bad transient response/excessive
group delay, which is evidenced by a simple listening test. There is
a big upper bass peak, and the bass is boomy and muddy, IMHO.
Also the LP filter is too high, and thus the bass module is directional."

"The crossover must be high, since the 2.5" drivers in the cubes
are much too small to reproduce upper bass to almost any degree
of satisfaction, while they are too large for high frequencies,
where they "beam" and become directional. And, incidentally, don't
have close to a 20 kHz bandwidth."

To be fair, many of the same criticisms can be leveled at
many or even most satellite-woofer systems. Such systems are
popular right now because of their modest space requirements.
Their theoretical basis is that low bass frequencies are not
directional, so that you can put the bass module anywhere in
the room, even hide it, and it will still sound as if the
bass is coming from the tiny satellite speakers. Unfortunately,
as John says, in practice, most bass modules usually go too
high in frequency, so that the resulting bass *is* directional.
Then the bass will appear to come from a different location
unless very carefully positioned relative to the satellites.
Furthermore, as John says, the quality of the bass produced
by the bass modules is often of questionable quality. As
always, listen for yourself.

Now we turn to Bose's 301/501/701/901 line. In this line, everyone
agrees that Bose speakers employ a highly unusual design.
Depending on your point of view, you may say that this design
is unusual because it is innovative and patented, or you may say
that it is unusual because few others care to duplicate it.
Regardless, there are few other speakers with similar designs,
and certainly none with anything like the high profile of Bose
speakers.

One aspect to this series is the "direct/reflecting" design. In
other words, these speakers have numerous speaker elements,
some angled forwards, and some angled backwards, and some angled
to the side. In most speakers, there are only two or three speaker
elements, all pointed straight forward. The Bose philosophy is
to create a great deal of indirect sound --- sound that reflects
off walls and furniture before it reaches the listener. Of course,
all speakers inevitably create some degree of indirect sound, unless
listened to in a specially treated non-reflective room, but Bose
purposely creates a great deal more indirect sound. Some people
feel that this strategy results in an unfocused diffuse sound,
with unnaturally large stereo images, while others very much like
this sound. You should listen for yourself.

To justify the direct/reflecting technique, Bose has claimed that,
in real life, about 8/9 of sound reflects before reaching the
listener, and only 1/9 reaches the listener directly. However,
these numbers apparently come from one set of measurements made
in a concert hall, certainly an unusually reverberant environment.
Furthermore, the recording picks up both the direct and reflected
sounds, and adding more reflection at playback just adds synthetic
reflections on top of real reflections. In fact, according to
the scientists on the audio newsgroups, there are some
well-established theories about the proper ratio of direct to
reflected sound in playback --- based on many years of research
rather than one perhaps misleading measurement --- which theories Bose
speakers intentionally violate. If you really want to bring
out the ambient reflected qualities of recorded sound, a better
technique might be surround sound, where it possible to control the
ratio of direct to indirect sound. The proper use of surround
sound could fill another entire FAQ.

Before purchasing a Bose "direct/reflecting" speaker, especially
one of their more expensive models, you may wish to compare them with
other speakers which produce relatively large amounts of indirect
sound -- this includes any planar speaker such as Magnepan, Quad,
or Martin-Logan. Also, Shahanian produces speakers somewhat like
Bose speakers.

Another aspect to the Bose 301/501/701/901 series is their use of
multiple small speaker elements for reproducing bass. While most
speakers use just one large high-quality expensive element for
the bass frequencies in each channel, Bose speakers such as the 901s
use many smaller lower-quality less-expensive speaker elements, wired
together with complex equalization circuitry. While this certainly
produces bass, many people feel that the deep bass is attenuated,
and that whatever bass there is contains large amounts of
distortion. Others apparently believe the bass is deep and of
high-quality. Whichever way your opinions run, it should be
noted that there are well-established theories about the size
of the driver versus its lower frequency limit --- the bigger
the driver the lower the frequencies it can naturally reproduce
--- which Bose violates, or at least tries to circumvent in a
highly debatable fashion. More specifically, John Busenitz says:

"When judging low frequency response, it is not only the
total surface area that is important, but the excursion
capability of the drivers and their resonant frequency,
which determines the low frequency cutoff. Smaller drivers
almost always have far less excursion capability and
higher resonances than larger drivers. That is why
Bose is pretty much alone in using multiple small drivers."

Of course, bass response is not just a matter of personal
opinion --- frequency response in the bass region is
easily measurable, although it depends a great deal more
on room acoustics and speaker placement within the room
than the midrange and treble. Bose does not provide
frequency response plots, feeling that they are potentially
misleading. Reports on the internet have run both ways,
with probably a slight bias towards reports of an inadequate
bass response.

7.) Bose Popularity
^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^
Perhaps the most often repeated argument in favor of Bose is their
popularity and commercial success. Bose is indeed one of the most
popular speaker companies by any measure. Part of this is related
to their effective marketing department. More importantly, Bose is
indeed better sounding than many of its natural competitors. Despite
their dominance in electronics, the Japanese mass-market companies
have never managed to capture the full essence of speaker design and
manufacture, despite many attempts. Even in Japan, US and other
foreign speaker brands are surprisingly popular. Many first time
buyers choose electronics by Sony, Pioneer, Technics, Kenwood, etc.,
and simply assume that their speakers are of similar quality. Even
worse, many people buy all-in-one rack systems, in which the speaker is
invariably the weakest link, however large their size and however high
the number of drivers and however impressive the frequency response
curve printed on the plate on the front. In comparison to most
Japanese mass-market speakers, Bose speakers are indeed a substantial
improvement. In fact, since most appliance/T.V./stereo retailers
(Circuit City, Best Buy, Sears, Wards, ...) mainly carry Japanese
brands, Bose may be the best speaker available if one restricts oneself
to such stores. Furthermore, even in the cases where a store carries
better brands, their set-up is often not conducive to fine judgement
calls. The speakers are placed cheek-to-jowl, and are all connected
through a central switcher of marginal quality, and on and on, as
described below in section 14.

In other words, Bose's popularity can be ascribed to many other
factors besides sound quality. In general, the short answer to
the popularity argument is that popularity does NOT necessarily
equate to quality --- just think of popular music such as
"New Kids on the Block," popular fast-food restaurants, popular
fashions from years gone by such as polyester leisure suits, and
popular television programs such as "Full House." There are so
many other factors which influence popularity besides quality
that it is hardly a reliable indicator.

8.) Bose Repairs
^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^
One point made in Bose's favor is the quality of their customer
service. Indeed, Bose generally offers excellent customer service
and repairs. Of course, so do any number of other large
manufacturers, such as Radio Shack, Infinity, and so forth.
Small manufacturers can offer a personal touch often lacking from
large manufacturers. However, their service is not necessarily
as consistent, and they may not always survive in the competitive
marketplace, in which case, of course, their customer service
is no longer available. These are all part of the well-known
trade-offs between large established companies and smaller companies.

When a speaker company fails, large or small, it may be difficult
to obtain exact replacement parts. Paradoxically, lower
quality speakers tend to use standard off-the-shelf parts,
which are easily replaced years later, even if the company folds.
However, most larger companies with any pretense of quality will
use custom drivers, which are no more expensive in large quantities
than standard drivers, and can be designed to meet specific
needs, and give their speakers a distinct identity. While smaller
companies may not be able to afford to order fully custom drivers,
they often use some of the more exotic drivers which may not be
available indefinitely, and they often make special in-house
modifications which are not easily duplicated if the company fails.

It should also be pointed out that, unless abused, speakers are fairly
reliable. The most common source of damage to speakers is an
under-powered amp, which can clip at high-volume levels, ruining
the tweeters. Less commonly, a speaker may be damaged by too much
sustained power, or a malfunctioning amp creating large amounts of
low or midrange frequencies. However, aside from clipping, probably
the most common source of speaker failure is the rotting of the foam
surround, which occurs over 5-15 years. The surround is the flexible
membrane encircling the speaker cones. Rotting can be avoided by using
other materials, such as butyl rubber, instead of foam. However, many
mass-market speakers, including Bose, employ foam surrounds, albeit
with chemicals intended to inhibit rot. In the past, Bose has
offered discounts on new speakers to owners of older Bose speakers
suffering from foam rot. It is also possible to have the
speaker elements "reconed", i.e., replace the surround, or to
replace the speaker elements, although Bose has rarely offered to do
this. Bose feels that their current speakers are not subject
to foam rot.

9.) Overall Newsgroup Impressions of Bose
^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^
The audio newsgroups have a wide variety of participants with a wide
variety of conflicting opinions and styles. For example, one of the
most hostile debates aside from the Bose debates are those concerned
with blind testing, as anyone who follows these newsgroups will
quickly discover.

Despite their vigorous disagreement on many other topics, Bose is
a topic about which all factions agree --- all factions tend
to be strongly skeptical of Bose. Depending on their methods for
evaluating audio equipment, some believe they have the measurements,
the blind listening test results, and the theoretical and technical
arguments to prove that Bose products have serious flaws; while
others, drawing on their personal if non-scientific experience,
think that Bose speakers simply sound much worse than a large
number of other less costly speakers.

A gauntlet sometimes thrown down by Bose supporters is that all
participants in the audio newsgroups are "audiophiles." While it
can be used in a positive sense, the term "audiophile" is sometimes
used to mean "anyone who disagrees with me" -- which obviously covers
quite a lot of territory.

In the sense used in this FAQ, "audiophile" refers to anyone who cares
about audio quality, and feels that quality can be reasonably well
evaluated (well enough to make practical buying decisions) by
informed individual listening, as described below, even if the
listening conditions are not blind. By this definition,
"audiophiles" are not confined to some small elite clique, as is
often implied, but includes a wide variety of people. Of course,
informed individual listening is only one approach --- controlled
scientifically-rigorous blind listening tests and measurements
obviously also provide very useful and convincing information, although,
as a practical matter, this is often only an option for professional
scientists and engineers, and it may be difficult to base practical
buying decisions solely on such information in any event.

In all fairness, I should point out that, from time to time,
"audiophiles" and others who have compared with a wide variety
of well-regarded speakers will post a testimonial in favor of
Bose. Usually, these are along the lines of "well, I once
heard a demo of the Bose 901s, and they actually sounded
pretty good to me although, I mean, I didn't buy them or anything,
so please, please, please don't flame me."

10.) Magazines and Bose
^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^
New comers to the audio newsgroups may wonder why the opinions
expressed here are so different from what they've heard
before. In particular, they may wonder how Bose could receive
such positive reviews if their products are as poor as many people
claim. The first point is that Bose has certainly received its
fair share of negative reviews. Furthermore, many of the more
ambitious magazines simply ignore Bose products. Finally, the
US publications which regularly feature Bose may not always have
the most proper or stringent standards. The purpose of this
section is to describe the various major publications, to explain why
their judgements may or may not be reliable, and to point the
reader to major magazines other than those they currently rely on.

The six major US publications which review stereo equipment
are Consumers Reports, Stereo Review, Audio, Stereophile,
FI, and The Absolute Sound. The first two concern mainly
mass-market equipment, the last three concern mainly "audiophile"
equipment, while Audio attempts to cover both markets.
In many ways, none of these publications is entirely satisfactory.
A brief critique of each follows:

*Consumers Reports. They assess speakers using measurements
and, to a lesser extent, blind listening tests. Their standards
and testing procedures were designed many years ago, and are widely
considered out-of-date and inadequate. In fact, after they negatively
reviewed a Bose speaker, Bose sued Consumers Reports on the grounds
that their testing procedures were faulty. While Bose lost the suit,
it was on other legalistic grounds, and not because they failed to
prove their points about CR's testing procedures. (Interestingly, Bose
speakers have tended to rate quite well in Consumers Reports ever
since.) A common opinion on the audio newsgroups is that Consumers
Reports speaker ratings are actually *inverse* to quality. In other
words, the better speakers rate lowest, and the worst speakers rate
highest. You should listen for yourself and decide. It certainly
seems to be true that Consumer Reports opinions are not widely
accepted by informed enthusiasts in most areas, including beers,
cameras, and so forth.

*Stereo Review. Stereo Review is widely considered an advertising
format by those on the audio newsgroups. Annual subscriptions are
available for very low prices, presumably subsidized by advertising
revenues. As a matter of editorial policy, you will *never* see
a bad review in Stereo Review. They claim that if they can't say
anything good, its better to simply say nothing at all. However,
they do give many people the impression that they will positively
review almost any product from any advertiser. Assuming that they
review products that they would not personally endorse, some
people feel that they can intuit the reviewer's true feelings
by reading between the lines, magnifying the gentlest criticisms
to mean that the reviewer actually despises the piece in question.
The joke is that a typical Stereo Review article concludes with
"it has a handsome polished oak finish and, of all the speakers
I have ever reviewed, this is certainly one of them." While
non-judgemental people have their place, non-judgemental reviewers
have a more limited usefulness.

*Audio. At one time, Audio was not that much different
than Stereo Review. However, in recent years they have
made an effort to beef up their content, and to improve
their staff quality. While they may not feature many
negative reviews, their style gives many the impression
that their reviewers still have certain standards.

*Stereophile. Their reviews are usually based on unscientific
listening tests done by one reviewer, although they occasionally
conduct blind listening tests, and they always provide fairly good
measurements for those technically minded enough to interpret them.
Many on the audio newsgroups are put off by the paucity of scientific
blind listening tests, and their espousal of sometimes outrageously
expensive equipment ($2000 is sometimes cheap in this world)
including various oddball "tweaks." At the very least, their
reviews should be taken with a grain of salt, and the reader
must take a good deal of effort to ensure that their tastes
match those of the reviewers. Stereophile publishes a useful
list of recommended components in the April and October issues.
It is unlikely that a Bose product would ever be reviewed by
Stereophile.

*The Absolute Sound. Provides an alternative to Stereophile,
while taking the same general philosophy, except even more purist
and (depending on your point of view) extreme. No measurements
or blind testing. It is unlikely that a Bose product would ever
be reviewed by TAS. TAS has recently been through an upheaval,
and has suffered a long period with no publications. Even in
its best days, TAS's publishing schedule tended to be a bit
erratic.

*FI. A new magazine, heavily populated by writers that
previously wrote for the Absolute Sound and Stereophile and,
thus, not surprisingly, it has a similar style to those
two magazines. Again, it is unlikely that a Bose product
would ever be reviewed by FI.

There are, of course, many smaller US publications as well as
numerous foreign publications, especially British, which are
beyond the scope of this FAQ. The fact that Bose does not
even attempt to have its products reviewed in some of the
more quality-conscious magazines is yet another sign that
Bose does not really target its speakers at the informed
enthusiasts, but is more interested in weaning the much
larger general public away from the truly bad Japanese
mass-market and rack system speakers.

11.) Bose and Litigation
^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^
Like many large corporations, Bose has sometimes taken legal
action to protect its reputation and patents. In some cases,
this can be seen as the dark side to their marketing efforts
--- not only do they disseminate positive information about
Bose, but they also attack sources of negative information,
as well as other speaker manufacturers. Besides suing Consumers
Reports for their negative review, as mentioned in the last
section, some other instances cited on the newsgroups include:

*Bose sued Theil to prevent them from naming their speakers
with a .2, since Bose also named one of their speakers with
a .2, and Bose felt that this might lead consumers to confuse
Bose with Theil. Anyone familiar with the Bose and Theil
brand names, and the vast differences in their target
audience, considers this extremely unlikely.

*Bose sued Speaker Builder magazine for publishing the
specifications of a bandpass enclosure that Bose claimed
infringed on their patents. Most of those who read
Speaker Builder consider this suit unjustified, and
many still hold a grudge against Bose accordingly.

*Bose sued Cambridge Sound Works for their claim that they
offered "Better Sound Than Bose For Half the Price." Bose
also claimed that some of Cambridge's speakers resembled Bose
speakers. For the record, the newsgroup participants generally
rate Cambridge ahead of Bose.

*In the example that hits closest to home, after a student
posted a negative opinion about Bose on the internet,
Bose wrote a letter of complaint and, as a result, the
student was called before the Dean, fortunately with no
adverse consequences. (Unfortunately, after the first posting
of this FAQ, one regular nuisance pro-Bose poster decided
to emulate this behavior.)

Some people hold a special hatred of Bose simply because
of their unusually litigious behavior. You may wish to
factor this in when people tell you that "Bose sucks!"
--- the Bose legal department as well as their rather
over-reaching marketing claims may be having an influence
on such opinions, separate from the true quality of the
speakers.

12.) An Aside
^^^^^^^^^^^^^
At this point, the FAQ has summarized most of the points
raised endlessly for and against Bose. While you can
read about Bose till doomsday, one listen is worth a thousand
words. The remainder of this FAQ will explain how to go about
listening and deciding on the merits of Bose for yourself.
This is generic advice which applies equally well to any
speaker brand.

While the next two sections are generic, and do not
address Bose specifically, they are included in this
FAQ for the following reasons:

*They rebut certain claims made in support of Bose. In
particular, these two sections rebut the claim that most Bose
purchasers make carefully informed decisions --- it seems
highly unlikely that most Bose purchasers, or most purchasers
of any speaker brand for that matter, have followed the demo
procedures and principles outlined below.

*Without these two sections, readers may run off to the
local appliance/T.V./stereo shop, compare Bose to obviously
inferior speakers, in conditions which do not allow for
meaningful comparisons in any event, and conclude that Bose is
indeed the best speaker on the market for the money. While Bose
may make superior products, its important to base such conclusions
on a sound foundation.

*These two sections are aimed especially at readers who have
already listened to Bose, and feel that their personal
experiences have already definitively proven Bose's superiority.
Hopefully, these sections will indicate some ways that your
experiences may have mislead you. In other words, even if
you think you *know* that Bose speakers --- or any other
speaker brand for that matter --- are the best, these two
sections may give you pause. Hopefully, it will inspire
a few of you to reconsider your opinions, even if you
ultimately decide that you were right in the first place.

13.) How to Listen to Bose
^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^
Listening is key, and this section will provide a few
pointers on how to listen correctly and effectively.

To begin with, it helps to be aware of human psychology and
how this can bias your perceptions. Some of these include:

*Expectations. If you expect Bose to sound good, it is likely
to sound good. Vice versa, if you expect Bose to sound bad,
it is likely to sound bad. Try to keep an open mind. Better yet,
try to compare speakers without knowing which brands you are
listening to. In this sense, the less you know about the
speaker you're listening to, the better.

*Second Speaker Sounds Best. In a comparison of two items,
people tend to prefer the second item. This is one of the
bases of the Pepsi challenge --- present the Pepsi second.
This effect is sometimes used by dealers to favor a specific
speaker.

*The Louder Speaker Sounds Best. In a comparison of two speakers,
people tend to to prefer the louder one. Of course, this is not
true if the loudness difference is large. However, small
differences in loudness are not perceived as differences in
loudness --- rather the louder speaker is perceived as "better."
This effect is sometimes used by dealers to favor a specific speaker.
This effect can be minimized by demoing speakers at a variety
of different volume levels --- fiddle with the volume control
as you listen!

*The Speaker with more Bass and Treble Sounds Better. In a
comparison of two speakers, people tend to prefer the one with more
bass and treble. Again, like loudness, slight differences are not
perceived as due to frequency response differences --- the increase
in bass and treble is perceived as better. While increased
bass and treble sounds better in the short run, it can become
fatiguing in the long ran. Some speaker manufacturers build a
slight contour into their speakers to help them sound more impressive
in short casual demos, but the purchaser drawn in by this technique
often lives to regret their decision. This effect is also
sometimes used by dealers to favor a specific speaker. Playing
with the bass and treble controls, and varying the volume (perceived
frequency balance changes with volume), can help overcome this effect.
If you find that, for some reason, you actually prefer increased
bass and treble, most receivers have a loudness switch, and bass
and treble controls, which can accommodate your tastes. However,
if the bass and treble boosts are built into the speakers, it is
nearly impossible to cancel them exactly using bass and treble
controls if you later find this contouring tiresome.

*Room placement. The sound of a speaker is greatly influenced
by its location in the room, and its interactions with a room's
acoustics. The sound is also influenced by listener position
and listener height. For example, most speakers sound best
if the tweeter is at the same height as the listener's ears,
or slightly lower. While most speakers are designed to sit
some distance from walls and other other obstacles, a few
are designed for placement near or against walls --- these
are usually smaller speakers using the wall for bass
reinforcement. When placing speakers for demo, the dealer
should know and follow the manufacturer's recommended
placement guidelines.

*Mood. In particular, it is more difficult to judge when nervous or
under pressure.

*Other factors. Color, size, styling, lighting, etc. can affect
your judgements. I have even heard of dealers using small
surround sound speakers --- used properly, listeners will not
perceive the additional separate speakers, but will instead
perceive the main speakers as better.

The only way to ensure a completely neutral assessment is a
double-blind test, where neither the listener nor the
conductor of the test knows which speaker is being heard, and
where the speakers are heard in exactly the same location
driven by exactly the same equipment. Unfortunately, a proper
double-blind test is out the realm of practical possibility
in most cases.

To summarize, while most dealers are honest, a few use human
psychology to push specific speakers, the ones which earn
them the most money, or perhaps the speakers that the salesperson
honestly prefers, although their tastes may differ from yours.
Even when a dealer is not purposely trying to bias the customer
towards a particular speaker, it is possible and likely for
non-sonic aspects to greatly influence judgements of sound
quality. Being aware of possible bias factors, as listed
above, can help save you from making some common mistakes.

When auditioning speakers, its vital that you be familiar with
the music. In other words, BRING YOUR OWN MUSIC. If you allow
the dealer to choose the audition music, they may choose music
which flatters the speakers in question. At the very least,
if the dealer uses unfamiliar discs, you will have no idea what
the music should sound like, and thus you will have no way to
distinguish the sound quality of the disc from the sound quality
of the speakers.

For myself, I try to bring one or two really good sounding CDs
to test for the ultimate capabilities of the speakers --- but
don't be surprised if CDs that sound good on your current speakers
turn out to be mediocre on better speakers, and that CDs which
sound mediocre on low quality speakers turn out to sound excellent
on high quality speakers. In other words, if you've never heard
your CDs on first-rate speakers, don't be surprised if your sonic
judgements change as you hear them on more and more speakers.
I also try to bring several CDs with known sonic flaws ---
harsh treble, slight distortion on loud passages, tape hiss,
maybe even some 78 transfers with surface noise ---- to see whether
the speaker exposes those flaws, while still bringing out the
better features of the music, so that the overall sound is still
enjoyable.

You might also want to bring a CD containing lots of low
frequencies, such as pipe organ music, to test the low frequency
behavior of the speaker. The biggest flaw with most speakers,
especially smaller and less expensive speakers, is either a lack
of low bass or a poor quality low bass, in that the bass has
a one-note thumping quality, instead of a continuous range of
well-defined bass frequencies. If you can't afford the
cost or room (true high-quality low bass requires large speakers
and large rooms in which to play them) for a speaker with true
high-quality deep bass, you need to determine whether the bass
response is satisfactory on the types of music you listen to most
often. Of course, when it comes to bass, some people prefer
enormous quantities to quality, and I wish those people would
stop driving by my house.

Having established some common pitfalls, now let us describe
the proper set-up for listening.

*Placement. In most cases, the speakers should be placed well
away from walls and other speakers. Any nearby object or surface
can affect the sound quality of a speaker. This is especially
critical in terms of bass response --- speakers near walls or,
especially, in corners will have more bass, although the quality
of the bass can be worse, since the bass is reinforced at some
frequencies and canceled at others, resulting in a uneven bass
response. Some speakers, especially small speakers, are
specifically designed to be placed near walls, and use the
bass reinforcement as part of their design.

*The best demos are relaxed, preferably in familiar surroundings,
such as your own home.

*Leave plenty of time. First impression are often wrong. Any
change in sound is often perceived as an improvement at first,
and only extended listening will tell for sure whether the change is
for the better, the worse, or just different.

*The speakers should be hooked up separately --- they should
*not* be wired through a main switcher box. With more than
two or three switches, most commercial switcher boxes are
notoriously poor in sound quality, and will tend to make all
speakers sound much worse than they should, and may obscure
important differences between speakers. The store can use a
*high-quality* switch between two or three speakers for the
purposes of blind testing, but this is quite rare. If a store
complains that it is too much trouble to wire the speakers
individually, there are other stores which do. I've seen
stores tediously and methodically disconnect and remove one set
of speakers, and connect a second set of speakers, so that the
two speakers are compared using the exact same system and in
the exact same location.

14.) How to Choose a Bose Dealer
^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^
Besides offering demo conditions such as those listed above,
here are some other things to look for in a store and its
salespeople.

* The staff should NOT employ high-pressure sales tactics.
Some examples of high-pressure tactics include: sales which
end tomorrow; special manager approved discounts which are
only good if you purchase right away; excessive badmouthing
of certain products; excessive praise of certain products;
completely controlling the volume, music, and other conditions
in the listening demo; staff is too solicitous, so that
the salesman never stops talking or never leaves you alone;
the list goes on and on.

* The staff person should be able to explain a speaker's design
philosophy briefly and in easy-to-understand terms, but they
should not use design or features as the main selling point ---
after size and price constraints have been established, a
speaker's sound quality should be its main selling point.
There are many ways to successfully design a good loudspeaker,
each with its advantages and disadvantages, and there is no
one correct or superior design. Many people will buy
a speaker based solely on which one has the best "story"
about its design and features.

* The store should carry a wide price range. Listening
to more expensive speakers helps you to understand what
high-quality speakers should sound like, so that you know
what to look for even among less expensive speakers.

* The store should use better quality electronics in their demos.
This includes brand names such as Adcom, B&K, Rotel, and harman-kardon.
Even if you choose to use a budget receiver in your own system,
better electronics will reveal the ultimate capabilities of the
speakers, in case you decide to upgrade someday. In any event,
you do not wish to penalize a speaker for simply accurately
reporting the poor quality of the receiver or CD player used in
the demo. Of course, on the other hand, you do not want to choose a
speaker which accentuates or exaggerates problems with other
components. Different speakers may sound better with different
receivers, and the store should be competent enough to choose
a good match, and especially should choose a receiver with
sufficient power to drive the speakers. If you're seriously
considering purchasing a speaker, you should try to audition it
with the rest of your system, and in your room, to make sure
they're compatible.

In most cases, these conditions are to be found only at dedicated
stereo stores. While one might expect to pay extra for the extra
service, these stores generally carry speakers starting for around
$150-200, or only slightly higher than cheapest speakers in
mass-market stores. Of course, they may also carry speakers well
into the $1000s. For best service, visit the store at off-peak
hours, when the sales staff is relaxed and can afford to spend
some time explaining and demoing. The mass-market applicance/T.V./
stereo stores usually do not have adequate demo facilities and,
perhaps as a direct result, tend not to carry the better speaker
brands, since differences in sound are rarely audible under the
circumstances. Rather than using sound quality, appliance/T.V./
stereo stores tend to sell speakers in the same way as appliances
--- they stress brand name, price, sales and promotions, advertising,
salesperson recommendations (their salespeople often lack a deep
knowledge of stereo, or are not candid about their opinions), and
features (including meaningless features, e.g., "Digital Ready" is
an essentially meaningless term for speakers). While they may
not offer adequate in-house listening facilities, most mass-market
stores do offer liberal return policies, and I have often been
encouraged to "try it and bring it back if you do not like it."
However, unless you are willing to purchase a large number of speakers
and return all but the one pair you like, this does not really
allow for a wide variety of comparisons.

Unfortunately, lacking adequate local dealers, many people will
be unable to demo speakers under the proper conditions. In
this case, you may have to rely largely on recommendations.
At the very least, hopefully these last two sections have given
you some basis for assessing the credibility of any recommendations.
If you must buy your speakers without a proper demo, make sure to
get a money back guarantee. Good Luck!

Doug Bora

unread,
Aug 15, 1996, 3:00:00 AM8/15/96
to

: > If you don't the 901s will sound horrible.
: Again - True! If you do, they will sound horrible, if you might they

: sound horrible, if you cant they sound horrible, if you dance upside
: sown in the trees of Remulac they sound horrible!

Now here, you're just plain wrong! They sound pretty ok if you dance
upside down in the trees of Remulac. But you're forgetting to put a
bucket over your head. Do this, and you'll enter the realm of sonic
bliss.

--
Doug Bora
stig...@wwa.com

Information Services

unread,
Aug 15, 1996, 3:00:00 AM8/15/96
to Steve Zipser (Sunshine Stereo Inc.)

Steve Zipser (Sunshine Stereo Inc.) wrote:
>
>
> You are absolutely correct when you state that the Bose AM-5's have no
> peers at their price point. Threr is not a speaker on this earth that
> performas as poorly at the price. Its frequency response looks like an
> outline of the Himalyas, it has NO accuracy at all in the time domain so
> it cant image worth a dammn, and it has absolutely no deep bass or upper
> treble. There is no speaker at this price point that has so few
> positives.
>

Hmm... consider this. The Bose AM-5 at lower playback levels sounds
suspiciously like what a normal(?) loudspeaker would sound like with the
"loudness" button enabled on the amplifier or receiver. A peak in the
bass and another in the treble range. Hmm...

Based on the amount of mid-fi units out there on the market, the average
joe who walks into a stereo shop is not interested in "imaging". He
just wants something that sounds (to him) pretty good and doesn't take
up too much space (unless he's got a big box fetish). The Bose AM-5s
work here, and their particular frequency response is appealing to those
in love with the "loudness" button on their stereos. In contrast,
competing speakers are bigger and sound flatter. Guess what he goes
with?

BTW - I don't own Bose stuff (Mission 751s live at home), but my aunt
has a set. She's quite happy with it, because it fulfills her needs -
good for background music. She doesn't give a hoot about "imaging".

Me? I'll choose my Missions any day over Bose.

Regards,
Brian Steele

WWW: http://www.spiceisle.com/homepages/brian/
Audio: http://www.spiceisle.com/homepages/brian/audiodiy.htm

Michael Wong

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Aug 17, 1996, 3:00:00 AM8/17/96
to

In article <4uqatu$s...@news.tamu.edu>, hen...@stat.tamu.edu says...

>Is there a FAQ on why so many people can't stand BOSE speakers?

There actually is a BOSE FAQ. If you want a copy, I can e-mail you one.

>I have searched the net and all I can find is the negative opinions,
>but no reasons... so please tell me why Bose is lousy (if there is no
>FAQ). By the way, consider me ignorant, but if you tell me "Bose is
>lousy because it has paper cones with red ballbearings that spin left
>instead of liguid hydrogen cooled titanimum cones with green ball
>bearings that spin right", that really does not tell me much...

The technical arguments with Bose are numerous and legendary; perhaps it would
be informative for you to know that Bose is one of the only speaker companies
that has ever sued Consumer Reports for - guess what - a bad review. They've
gotten good reviews ever since (coincidence?).

>Specifically in the $250 price range of Bose 301's - what other
>speakers would people recommend?

What do you listen to? If you like rock and pop music, you should check out
Paradigms. They have always paid lots of attention to making good value
for money, and they make good punchy speakers with far better midrange (voice)
clarity than Bose. Bose tries to make speakers that impress kiddies with
over-emphasized mid-bass (sort of like turning up the bass knob on a receiver),
but they can't do the really tough trick, which is reproducing a human voice
clearly.

On good speakers, a well recorded human voice sounds crystal clear and floats
in space between the speakers. On Bose speakers, a well recorded human voice
kind of thumps, and its position is not very distinct. If you're into
classical music, there are lots of brand names out there in that price range
(like NHT or PSB or Mission), but Paradigms offer the most bang for the buck if
you're a rock/pop enthusiast. I personally use Missions, so my opinion on them
may be biased, but I think you should listen to them as well (mine are well
above your price range though). But the Paradigms are very popular, fairly
easy to find at the retail level, and have a nicely dynamic sound.

Remember; don't ask anyone for opinions on what they personally own. No one
will ever admit to making a bad decision.


Brian L. McCarty

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Aug 18, 1996, 3:00:00 AM8/18/96
to

In article <4uqatu$s...@news.tamu.edu>, hen...@stat.tamu.edu (Henrik
Schmiediche) writes:
> I have searched the net and all I can find is the negative opinions,
> but no reasons... so please tell me why Bose is lousy (if there is no
> FAQ). By the way, consider me ignorant, but if you tell me "Bose is
> lousy because it has paper cones with red ballbearings that spin
> left instead of liguid hydrogen cooled titanimum cones with green
> ball bearings that spin right", that really does not tell me much...
>


This is pretty much the reason that Bose gets such negative comments. .
.there are no "factual" reasons, but just opinions.


Brian

Brian L. McCarty

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Aug 18, 1996, 3:00:00 AM8/18/96
to

In article <3213B3...@caribsurf.com>, Information Services <

omi...@caribsurf.com> writes:
> Hmm... consider this. The Bose AM-5 at lower playback levels
> sounds suspiciously like what a normal(?) loudspeaker would sound
> like with the "loudness" button enabled on the amplifier or receiver.
> A peak in the bass and another in the treble range. Hmm...
>
> Based on the amount of mid-fi units out there on the market, the
> average joe who walks into a stereo shop is not interested in
> "imaging". He just wants something that sounds (to him) pretty good
> and doesn't take up too much space (unless he's got a big box
> fetish). The Bose AM-5s work here, and their particular
> frequency response is appealing to those in love with the
> "loudness" button on their stereos.


Well this shows how little you know about psychoacoustics. There is a
perfect, reasonable, and scientifically sound reason for "loudness"
compensation at low levels. Our hearing doesn't perform the same at different
levels! Called the Fletcher-Munson effect, and a speaker that does this low
level compensation is much more technically advanced that one that doesn't.


Brian

Gene

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Aug 19, 1996, 3:00:00 AM8/19/96
to

> The technical arguments with Bose are numerous and legendary; perhaps it
> would be informative for you to know that Bose is one of the only
> speaker companies that has ever sued Consumer Reports for - guess what
> - a bad review. They've gotten good reviews ever since (coincidence?).

If you're charging that Consumer Reports, a non-profit organization,
buckled under to Bose, the answer is there is no real evidence for that.
Bose won the original lawsuit, but lost out on appeal. Whether or not they
subsequently got a favorable review has more to do with CR's technique of
evaluating speakers (based on a specific set of measure specs) rather than
doing comprehensive listening trials to verify the audible result of those
tests. And that's the aspect of their reviews that many folks in the audio
world dispute (even those in the "objective" camp).

As to liking or not liking Bose products: I've never seen any brand get
such a divergence of viewpoints. Some love it; some hate it, and a few
(like myself) take the middle of the road on the issue.

Oh well...

----
Peace,
Gene

idk...@smart.net

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Aug 19, 1996, 3:00:00 AM8/19/96
to

> chai...@worldjazz.com (Brian L. McCarty) writes:

>
>
> Well this shows how little you know about psychoacoustics. There is a
> perfect, reasonable, and scientifically sound reason for "loudness"
> compensation at low levels. Our hearing doesn't perform the same at different
> levels! Called the Fletcher-Munson effect, and a speaker that does this low
> level compensation is much more technically advanced that one that doesn't.
>
>
> Brian
>

It would seem that you would not want two components, an amp and
a speaker system, to do this simultaneously. At least you would want
the option to be able to defeat this feature on each component.

Additionally, you would want this effect to incrementally decrease
at louder volumes.

Let's stop pretending that a serious sonic flaw in the BOSE product is
actually a technical advance.

Todd Jenkins

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Aug 19, 1996, 3:00:00 AM8/19/96
to

chai...@worldjazz.com (Brian L. McCarty) writes:
>In article <3213B3...@caribsurf.com>, Information Services <
>omi...@caribsurf.com> writes:
>> The Bose AM-5s work here, and their particular
>> frequency response is appealing to those in love with the
>> "loudness" button on their stereos.

>Well this shows how little you know about psychoacoustics. There is a

>perfect, reasonable, and scientifically sound reason for "loudness"
>compensation at low levels. Our hearing doesn't perform the same at different

>levels! Called the Fletcher-Munson effect...

I suspect that he knows very well how the loudness button is intended to be
used. The point is that a loudspeaker system should not sound like it has the
"loudness" function of the receiver turned on at all times. At low levels,
this is fine, but that's exactly why there is a *defeatable* loudness button
on most mid-to-low fi receivers.

>and a speaker that does this low
>level compensation is much more technically advanced that one that doesn't.

Now Brian, you, as a professional in the audio industry yourself, should know
that this is complete and utter garbage. Yes, a speaker that performs low
level compensation and does not continue the compensation at high levels would
be a technically advanced system. BUT THE AM-5s DO NOT DO THIS. Nor does any
other system that is not specifically electronically controlled. And don't
bother saying "I never said the AM-5s did this," because it was clearly
implied.

Please, Brian, if you wish to make technical arguments, instead of simply
jumping in whenever anyone says a bad word against B*se, I suggest you think
before you type.

Cheers!

Todd Jenkins
Project Engineer - EV/Altec Lansing
The opinions expressed herein do not represent those of EV/Altec Lansing

J. Sanders

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Aug 19, 1996, 3:00:00 AM8/19/96
to

Gene wrote:
> (clip)
> If you're charging that Consumer Reports, a non-profit organization,
> buckled under to Bose, the answer is there is no real evidence for that.
> Bose won the original lawsuit, but lost out on appeal....

Wow! I can't believe it! Here I am agreeing with you again,
Gene, for a second time, in a 24 hour period!

To add just a tad: actually, Bose lost most of its claims against
Consumer Reports at the trial court level pursuant to CU's motion for
summary judgment/ summary adjudication of issues, and one major claim
went to trial and Bose won that claim at trial. It was the judgment
entered on that claim which went up on appeal (as well as the damage
award in favor of Bose) and as the trial court's judgment on the one
remaining claim was reversed on appeal, a separate decision not only
reversed the damage award against CU, but also entered a new order
awarding costs and attorney's fees to CU at Bose's expense. Overall, a
very futile and very expensive exercise for Bose, and the appellate
decisions should be required reading for any other manufacturers out
there inclined to sue equipment reviewers when they don't like the
reviews. Doing so could save them a lot of otherwise wasted money.

Cheers, Gene!

Jim S.


Steve Zipser (Sunshine Stereo)

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Aug 19, 1996, 3:00:00 AM8/19/96
to

Jim:
Why don't sharks eat lawyers?

Professional courtesy :)

Zip

E.S. Otto

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Aug 19, 1996, 3:00:00 AM8/19/96
to

Brian L. McCarty wrote:

>
> This is pretty much the reason that Bose gets such negative comments. .
> .there are no "factual" reasons, but just opinions.
>
> Brian

I'd say that if we had some frequency response plots we'd have
some factual reasons. Then, of course, it would just be opinions
that the frequency response plots suck.

Tell me, Brian, why are you so pro (or at least hyper-defensive) Bose?

--
Peace - Eric

Eric S. Otto
NMSU Telemetry Department
eo...@nmsu.edu
http://web.nmsu.edu/~eotto/

ino...@osu.edu

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Aug 20, 1996, 3:00:00 AM8/20/96
to

In <960818150...@pacbell.net>, chai...@worldjazz.com (Brian L. McCarty) writes:
>
>This is pretty much the reason that Bose gets such negative comments. .
>..there are no "factual" reasons, but just opinions.
>
>Brian
>

I thought the whole purpose of this group was to share our opinions on audio
equipment. Anyway, so here are mine. I don't know about what facts there
are to support Bose, but I recently was looking at speakers and was deciding
between the PSB Alphas and Paradigm Titans. They almost look identical
and also havenearly identical stats, but they still sound different to me.
Some people like the paradigms better, but that's their opinoion, and I'm
not in any position to tell them their opinion on music is wrong.

As for the Bose speakers, I used to have a pair of 201's, I think series 2,
so they were made about 7 years ago. Anyway, my observations with
those speakers and compared to what I switched over to, are as follows.

I felt the Bose generally had decent sound for my purposes, listening in
a small room, with less than ideal location of the speakers. In this sense,
the strikes everyone has aginst Bose actually worked in their favor. Bose
tends to disperse the sound so it is very non-directional. In Bose adds,
they always show an orchestra performing and how the sound bounces off
the walls, etc. The thing with Bose though, is it bounces the sound so
much, you wouldn't know where the orchestra is located anymore. Again,
for my dorm room, this worked out perfectly. Also, if you tend to move
around in your listening area a lot, they would also be pretty good since
you would have consistent sound quality everywhere.

If you are planning on having a listening room, or listen from a certain place,
you would be best off getting one of the speakers promoted by most of the
people in this group such as the Alphas which I got. It also depends on what
you are listening to. I think Bose is fine for most rock/pop music, but awful
for classical, the main reason I decided to change speakers.

Finally, one other note about Bose, I also auditioned some Bose speakers
when speaker shopping last year and just did not feel the quality of the series
3 were as good as my series 2's, plus they costed a lot more.

Don't totally rule out Bose speakers, try them and if you like them, buy them.
So what if other people think Bose sucks, I thought they sounded fine when
I had them, my needs and preferenes just changed over the years. Otherwise
I'd still be happily listening to my 201's.

David


Craig Siever

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Aug 20, 1996, 3:00:00 AM8/20/96
to

Armand wrote:

>
> In article <4vaqiv$k...@news.smart.net>, idk...@smart.net says:
> >
> >> chai...@worldjazz.com (Brian L. McCarty) writes:
> >
> >>
> >>
> >> Well this shows how little you know about psychoacoustics. There is a
> >> perfect, reasonable, and scientifically sound reason for "loudness"
> >> compensation at low levels. Our hearing doesn't perform the same at different
> >> levels! Called the Fletcher-Munson effect, and a speaker that does this low

> >> level compensation is much more technically advanced that one that doesn't.
> >> Brian
>
> Do I understand you correctly? A technically advanced speaker would exhibit a
> simultaneous boost in both the bass and treble, thereby reducing the perception of midrange
> frequencies,(due to masking)? Are you serious? What do you think would happen, then, when
> you increase the volume?BOOM-TIZZZZ BOOM-TIZZZZ . I guess it's easier to design a
> speaker as such, then design for flat response.
> Armand


Obviously, Armand, you've forgotten about the whole "Better Sound Through Research"
thing. And what's more, you've totaly ignored the "The Most Respected Name in
Audio" that being Bose. Tsk, tsk, tsk. And you call yourself an audiophile.
Puuuullleeeease!

Craig

Armand

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Aug 20, 1996, 3:00:00 AM8/20/96
to

Dana Bunner

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Aug 20, 1996, 3:00:00 AM8/20/96
to

I just ran across an older review of the Bose 301 Series II in
a 1990 issue of "What Hi-Fi." As mentioned in other posts, one
does not find many published reviews of Bose speakers. I
wasn't actually looking for one, I saw that they had reviewed
a Rogers LS4a and was wondering what they thought of it. The
301 was one of the 10 or so speakers being compared.

They rated speakers on a number of factors, but the one I
remember on the Bose was that they gave it 2 stars out of
a maximum of 5 on sound quality. This ranked it dead last
in the group. I glanced through the review and noted that
they didn't like the 301's imaging and said it was pretty
muddy in the lower bass.

I don't know how the speaker may have changed since then,
but it does give a "point in time" reference to how the
301 stacked up against it's similiarly-priced competition.

Dana

Steve Zipser (Sunshine Stereo)

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Aug 20, 1996, 3:00:00 AM8/20/96
to

Armand wrote:
>
> Brian:

> >>Obviously, Armand, you've forgotten about the whole "Better Sound Through Research"
> >>thing. And what's more, you've totaly ignored the "The Most Respected Name in
> >>Audio" that being Bose. Tsk, tsk, tsk. And you call yourself an audiophile.
> >>Puuuullleeeease!
> Craig:
> >Obviously Brian forgot that a truly technically advanced speaker such as
> >Bose undoubtedly is (after all, they left mere fidelity behind YEARS
> >ago) would surely follow the more advanced Robinson-Dadson curves!
>
> The only curves I'm interested in are the ones I salivate over in center city Philly
> on a hot summer day.

>
> Armand
> {As usual, best listened to with phase coherent,
> minimal phase x-over speakers.}

Armand:
I have scientifically studued the Bose 301's.
They suck rancid swampwater. No ifs, and or butts!
Better sound through advertising and salesman spiffs!
Zip

Stewart Pinkerton

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Aug 20, 1996, 3:00:00 AM8/20/96
to

Craig Siever <cn4...@coastalnet.com> writes:

>Obviously, Armand, you've forgotten about the whole "Better Sound Through Research"
>thing. And what's more, you've totaly ignored the "The Most Respected Name in
>Audio" that being Bose. Tsk, tsk, tsk. And you call yourself an audiophile.
>Puuuullleeeease!

Obviously Brian forgot that a truly technically advanced speaker such as

Armand

unread,
Aug 21, 1996, 3:00:00 AM8/21/96
to

Brian:

>>Obviously, Armand, you've forgotten about the whole "Better Sound Through Research"
>>thing. And what's more, you've totaly ignored the "The Most Respected Name in
>>Audio" that being Bose. Tsk, tsk, tsk. And you call yourself an audiophile.
>>Puuuullleeeease!
Craig:

>Obviously Brian forgot that a truly technically advanced speaker such as
>Bose undoubtedly is (after all, they left mere fidelity behind YEARS
>ago) would surely follow the more advanced Robinson-Dadson curves!

The only curves I'm interested in are the ones I salivate over in center city Philly

Stewart Pinkerton

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Aug 21, 1996, 3:00:00 AM8/21/96
to

Dana Bunner <dbu...@macc.wisc.edu> writes:

A whole two stars, huh? An impressive result for Bose, must have been a
specially selected 'reviewer special' pair! :-)

Craig Siever

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Aug 21, 1996, 3:00:00 AM8/21/96
to

Y'all should come on down to our hawg callin contest in Spivey's Corner
NC if ya wanna see curves. Suuuuuuuuueeeweeeeeeee!

Craig

Armand

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Aug 21, 1996, 3:00:00 AM8/21/96
to

In article <321A28...@macc.wisc.edu>, Dana Bunner <dbu...@macc.wisc.edu> says:
>
>I just ran across an older review of the Bose 301 Series II in
>a 1990 issue of "What Hi-Fi."
>They rated speakers on a number of factors, but the one I
>remember on the Bose was that they gave it 2 stars out of
>a maximum of 5 on sound quality. This ranked it dead last
>in the group. I glanced through the review and noted that
>they didn't like the 301's imaging and said it was pretty
>muddy in the lower bass.
>Dana

Just figured it out- Amar Bose is Joly!

Armand

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Aug 21, 1996, 3:00:00 AM8/21/96