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Keb
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Dec 13, 2017

Bose 901 Direct Reflecting Powered Speakers

Hi,

I have the powered 901 Lifestyle Music System with Lifestyle 20 console that I bought used from a friend last week. They are working just fine, and the serial number suggests manufacture date of Dec 18, 2000. Have some questions.

1.  How do I know for certain if the mounted 901 speakers are series 5 or series 6? Is there a way to know? Serial number 008472403530041AC.

2. Are there any standard tests I can run to be sure all drivers are working fine? The local service Center says they no longer support the product as it’s very old. Something I can do at home to check if they are in top condition technically? Since it’s been 17 years from manufacture are there any parts you recommend replacement? The speakers work just fine but just double checking.

3. The serial number is only on the right speaker. I can’t find any serial number on the left speaker that houses the amp and an integrated equaliser. They are genuine but wasn’t sure if that’s how they are meant to be.

4. I want to raise the speakers and place them over a 10 inch platform instead on the floor. Will be affect the sound quality or should be ok with marginal height increase?

 

Thats it for now and thanks in advance.

 

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Brian_M
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Re: Bose 901 Direct Reflecting Powered Speakers

Author Accepted Answer selected by Keb

Hi Keb,

 

Thanks for your post! You have an awesome system! 

 

  1. Your powered 901s are based on the 901 series VI. The series V 901s' end of sale was in 1987. 
  2. Unfortunately, there are no standard tests that we can recommend that would test each individual driver. Doing so would likely require disassembly of the speaker, which we do not recommend.
  3. For this particular 901 package, this is normal. 
  4. Although there are some general placement guidelines we recommend (I've shared an image below), raising the speakers up 10" shouldn't hinder the sound quality at all. You likely won't even notice a difference.

 

 

Let us know if you have any additional questions!

 

Best regards,

 

Brian

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Brian_M
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Re: Bose 901 Direct Reflecting Powered Speakers

Author Accepted Answer selected by Keb

Hi Keb,

 

Thanks for your post! You have an awesome system! 

 

  1. Your powered 901s are based on the 901 series VI. The series V 901s' end of sale was in 1987. 
  2. Unfortunately, there are no standard tests that we can recommend that would test each individual driver. Doing so would likely require disassembly of the speaker, which we do not recommend.
  3. For this particular 901 package, this is normal. 
  4. Although there are some general placement guidelines we recommend (I've shared an image below), raising the speakers up 10" shouldn't hinder the sound quality at all. You likely won't even notice a difference.

 

 

Let us know if you have any additional questions!

 

Best regards,

 

Brian

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Keb
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Dec 13, 2017

Re: Bose 901 Direct Reflecting Powered Speakers

Hi Brian, 

 

Thank you for the reply to my previous questions. Have a few more questions as I learn more about the Bose 901 Powered System. 

1. The display of Lifestyle 20 console that came with this system is not working. On the internet I found that changing capacitors solves this problem. So I went ahead and changed all four/five capacitors but still the display is not coming up. I checked, seems the LCD of the display is receiving power from each line. Any idea what else can I do here? Naturally, no parts are readily available here in India. 

2. The local Bose store says I can’t buy a replacement console as its quite old. So, a used 525 or 535 lifestyle console will work with the speakers? I am assuming since they have the same MIDI connector another compatible lifestyle console should work? But I also read these consoles are not cross compatible. So what’s the truth, will a new/used 525/535 Lifestyle console in good condition work with 901 powered system?

3. For some reason, if any later lifestyle consoles cannot work, can I just get the latest pioneer or Yamaha amp, that has all the HDMI connections and MIDI connector to hook up the system? Will buying a compatible amp, acting as a central console for the system work as an effective replacement for Lifestyle 20 console?

4. I am getting slight ‘hum’ which goes ‘on’ and ‘off’. How do I identify which cable is possibly causing this? Anything on the internet that I can refer to resolve this specific issue?

 

Greatly appreciate your help. 

 

Brian_M
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Re: Bose 901 Direct Reflecting Powered Speakers

Hi Keb,

 

Thank you for your inquiries. 

 

1. I'm sorry to hear about the console's display. Unfortunately, we don't have specific repair instructions available for something like this. 

 

2. This system is definitely older, and actually a pretty rare/unique system. Due to the age and unavailability of necessary parts, it is certainly possible that our service centers may not be able to complete a repair or replacement for this system. You can certainly consider purchasing a newer system, but I definitely understand the want to keep the 901s, as these are amazing speakers. The connection between the console and 901s is actually an 8-pin Mini-Din to 5-pin DIN connection. Newer lifestyle consoles were not engineered to accommodate these speakers. We don't recommend attempting to connect these to another Bose Lifestyle console. 

 

3. 3rd-party amplifier/receivers are also not recommended for this particular set of 901s. To continue to use these speakers, my recommendation would be to search the internet for a used Bose CD20 Music Center. This may be your best option due to the circumstances. 

 

4. This is interesting. Does the hum seem to be going on and off in a pattern, or is it random? Does it happen when the speakers are simply powered on, or also when listening to music? Is the hum coming from both speakers? I'd try turning the system off, disconnecting power, and disconnecting/reconnecting the audio input cable (the DIN cable I mentioned earlier). Let us know if this helps. 

 

 

Best regards,

 

Brian

Keb
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Dec 13, 2017

Re: Bose 901 Direct Reflecting Powered Speakers

Thank you Brian on your previous reply. 

 

1. I will certainly try to get another console from ebay as this seems most practical.  

2. Just a check, would Remote Control Model RC18T-140 work with this system? I was also looking for a new spare remote and this model popped up. Since both are RF based, assume this should work with Bose CD20 Music Center? Current remote works fine, but wanted another one as a spare.

3. As for the hum issue, bulk of the hum is coming from the right speaker (auxiliary speaker), I would say 80-90%. As for the main left speaker, the hum is negligible, if present at all. The hum is random and occurs when the speakers are powered on, as well when playing. I tried the unit with only the main speaker and it seemed fine. Looks like the auxiliary cable (6.35mm Jack mono to 6.35mm Jack Mono?) seem to be problematic? Do you suggest I replace it with a new one? If so, any specific high-quality brand you recommend, and balanced or unbalanced cable? 

4. More of a trivia. I have read online that only 1500 or so 'Bose 901 Direct Reflecting Powered Speakers' were manufactured? Really don't know where people get these numbers from, so thought of checking with you directly. Is there any truth to this?

 

I think I am done with most of my questions!

 

Thanks in advance!

Brian_M
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Re: Bose 901 Direct Reflecting Powered Speakers

Hi Keb,

 

Unfortunately, an RC18T remote wouldn't be compatible with your console. You'd want either an RC20 or RC25 remote. In regards to the humming, I agree with you. Since the issue seems to be coming from the right speaker only, it is certainly possible that there could be a bad connection. A new 1/4" (6.35mm) unbalanced cable could resolve the issue. Any brand should be ok. We'd advise that you use your best judgment as to the quality of the cable. 

 

Lastly, I don't have an exact answer as to how many of these systems were produced. I know for sure that they are rare, and we don't hear from too many owners of this system often! I'll certainly ask around, and if I hear a better answer, I'll let you know!

 

Best regards,

 

Brian - Bose Support

Keb
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Dec 13, 2017

Re: Bose 901 Direct Reflecting Powered Speakers

Hi Brian, 

 

I have run into a bit of jam with my old Lifestyle 20 system console. The console has some power problem and repairing it doesn't make sense. So like you suggested I am trying to procure a new one from eBay, but none of the sellers deliver to India. There is at least a six-month gap (maybe more) until which I can travel to the US and buy a new one, and carry it with me back to India. This means I can't use the speakers until then. However, I have found a listing on eBay India for a Bose AV35 console in good working condition (console & remote only, serial number checks out), and I am inclined to see if I can use this console to replace my broken Lifestyle 20 console. So here are a couple of questions. 

1. From online pictures of the AV35 console, I could not figure if there is an 'RCA (Red & White) stereo out' on the console that I can connect to 5-pin DIN connection on the 901 speakers? If yes, I assume this should work?

2. Else I assume the jack labelled Bose Acoustimass (9-pin Mini-Din out) connection on the console is the 'out audio' jack, and if I connect this to 5-pin DIN of the 901 speakers, will it work?

3. I have reached out to the buyer, and he is open to negotiation (seems genuine), but before I engage further, naturally I wanted to run this through the forum/you to see if an arrangement of the AV35 console with 901 speakers will work? I assume the sound quality should be fine given it's a bose console? Anything, in particular, to be wary about or keep in mind while using a different console than LS20 in this case?

 

Much appreciate your help, and thank you for being super responsive to my previous posts.

Wish you a Merry Christmas! 

Brian_M
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Re: Bose 901 Direct Reflecting Powered Speakers

Hello Keb,

 

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays! Considering the AV35 console was a great idea, but unfortunately, it will not be compatible with your powered 901s. The only audio output on this console is the 9-pin connection. This was engineered to output to a compatible Acoustimass bass module. Firmware communications are passed through this cable, as well as audio. The powered 901s will not be compatible with this connection. I'm sorry that this wasn't the answer you were hoping for. The CD20 is still going to be the console you will need. 

 

Best regards,

 

Brian - Bose Support