Bose Sound Quality opinions?

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Audible Advocate

Bose Sound Quality opinions?

I consider myself to have a trained ear with an extensive background in audio reproduction and would like to place my feedback here regarding my perception of the general sound quality characteristics of Bose products in general:

The first thing you notice is that all frequencies from the upper midrange down carry a distinct-to-Bose lifelike energy and tactile force type of effect that can normally only be achieved through the brute force of live sound, or thousands of watts and huge drivers. This makes pitch and notes ring more loud and clear for a given db level. It's like I'm perceiving 90db on a Bose system sounds louder than any other conventional brand.

Another characteristic is what I call the Bose reference curve. Each manufacturer tends to have their own target frequency response curve (would love Bose's insight on this).

Bose curve always seems to take on a warm relaxing tilt with quite rolled off treble, a present but soft dark midrange, and soft yet authoritative bass that always seems to be riding the edge of encroaching on the midrange energy.

As far as soundstage, it's usually further back and relaxed, wide. Images are well placed but no distinct edge around them.

In general, I always found Bose sound to be noticeably smoothed over to the point of not being able to hear precise hidden details while monitoring a track. At the same time, the power response and tactile wave energy is very lifelike and convincing. It's as if I'm listening to a perfect lifelike recreation of the recording, but with a thick blanket draped in front of the performance. The effect is especially noticeable in the mid-range frequencies. And the usually bass has this puffy/chesty yet addicting quality to it. Soft, rounded, fat, slow, friendly, loving.

All my songs sound like this on all the Bose products I own. Doesn't matter if it's my wave radio, 901, QC35, Triport IE, etc..

I love my Bose products for casual unfocused music listening, or for presenting a low quality recording to a listener with an untrained ear to aid in comprehension of the material. Even a monkey could sit down for a compressed album and the Bose would just cram the music down it's throat in the most enjoyable fashion imagionable. The monkey wouldn't be able to resist listening to the music. Normally he wouldn't be bothered to actually pay attention to an accurate reference monitoring system.

I really do believe they have a perfect consumer sound signature. And recently, I've been particularly impressed with their QC25 and QC35 headphones and how far the engineers have overcome some of the sound quality issues of past designs such as the old QC2 and Triport series. I find the latest products to have better balance and timbre accuracy while still retaining the Bose signature sound, for better or worse.

I hope one of the Bose engineers sees this and gives some insight on the reasons why Bose sounds the way it does and what sets them apart from other key players in the art of perfect audio reproduction.

Thanks!


7 REPLIES
Moderator

Re: Bose Sound Quality opinions?

Hi Eyedrop0,

 

Welcome to the community, and thank you for your review!

 

I don't have any information about the specific frequency curves on our products as they are not published by the development teams.

 

Best Regards,

Brandon - Community Support

Wistful Whiz

Re: Bose Sound Quality opinions?

Most speaker manufacturers colour their should through engineering all aspects of their products including enclosures, crossovers driver design and firmware. I certainly can’t put titles to the various aspects of the sound I am hearing, as you have done, but I can recognize different sound traits across the product lines.

 

My first exposure to this was with Advent, Boston Acoustics and Snell speakers which share engineering DNA. I recall going into an electronics store and immediately zeroed in on some Advent speakers that were playing. For me the sound was very pleasing and familiar. For years I remained loyal to Boston Acoustics line preferring the sound to other products including B and W which I always found tinny. I could tell a pair of B and Ws immediately because they sound brite to me. B and W like to use metal drivers. Which is quite evident in the sound.

 

I made the error of picking up some Yamaha “monitors” thinking they were good bookshelf speakers. That was a mistake. Monitors are designed to have a flat response - no colour. This is to facilitate the audio engineering in sound studios, not in the living room.

 

For years I steered away from Bose speakers, not because they didn’t sound very good, they did.  Deep bass, lots of non tinny detail and rich sound. I avoided Bose products because of my lack of understanding about the speakers and the online forums full of Bose hate. Even though when I listened to Bose setups I found the sound satisfying. I found this all perplexing because when I actually listened to Bose speakers I liked the sound.

 

I started to purchase Bose speakers a few years ago starting with iE ear buds, which sounded so good. Then a Companion 20 computer speaker pair, again nice sounding. I eventually decided to purchase an all in one speaker system looking for a little more simplicity and less wiring. Also as I was becoming more interested in that Bose sound.

 

I trialled a Yamaha speaker bar (just to be sure) and was sufficiently underwhelmed. I eventually picked up a Cinemate system and couldn’t have been more happy. Same with SoundTouch 30s. All very good sounding, deep bass, warm rich sound. I also like the build of the Bose products. Good looking fit and finish and definitely some pretty clever engineering.

 

I listened to a one man band performing at the boat show the other day. He had an L1 system which sounded so good, rich and clear. The arstist said he doesn’t use anything else.

 

I can’t  tell you about staging, imaging and all the other technical terms, all I know is Bose (like most manufacturers) has its own distinctive sound across the product line, a sound that appeals to my senses.

 

 

 

 

Moderator

Re: Bose Sound Quality opinions?

Hi rickatk,

 

Thank you for sharing your experiences. We appreciate the contributions! Come back anytime!

 

Warm Regards,

 

Tony G - Community Support

Wistful Whiz

Re: Bose Sound Quality opinions?

I built my first surround sound system years ago starting with a Bose Acoustimass 7 and Onkyo receiver.  I didn't buy it for the sound but because my wife complained about the size of every system I brought home until I got down to the Bose.  I later added a used Bose Acoustimass 5 for the rear surrounds and a Klipsch subwoofer.  The sound quality was very pleasing even to my old "drummer's ears."

 

About 1 1/2 years ago, I purchased an LG 65C7P OLED (a beautiful tv) and wanted to try something different for the sound.  I bought a Bose Soundtouch 300 with rear surrounds and bass module.  I have been totally happy with the typical Bose sound, and my wife is happy with the asthetics in our family room.  She always hated all the double cubes, speaker stands, and wires.

 

I did consider swapping the Bose Soundtouch 300 for a Bose Lifestyle 650, but after listening to it on several different ocassions, I decided I preferred the mellow sound of the Bose 300 to the sharper, crisper sound of the Bose 650.  At least, that's how my ears perceived it.

Wistful Whiz

Re: Bose Sound Quality opinions?


@jimgfitz wrote:

>I built my first surround sound system years ago starting with a Bose Acoustimass 7 and Onkyo receiver.  I didn't buy it for the sound but because my wife complained about the size of every system I brought home until I got down to the Bose.  I later added a used Bose Acoustimass 5 for the rear surrounds and a Klipsch subwoofer.  The sound quality was very pleasing even to my old "drummer's ears."

 

I missed the whole Acoustimass opportunity not understanding exactly how the speakers worked. Choosing instead a more conventional Yamaha /Boston Acoustics system. That system was very good and very expensive. I could never get past the idea of an Acoustimass system connected to a really nice Yamaha receiver, not understanding the Acoustimass package was a self contained speaker system only, not a receiver with decoding that would somehow duplicate the receiver processes.

 

>About 1 1/2 years ago, I purchased an LG 65C7P OLED (a beautiful tv) and wanted to try something different for the sound.  I bought a Bose Soundtouch 300 with rear surrounds and bass module.  I have been totally happy with the typical Bose sound, and my wife is happy with the asthetics in our family room.  She always hated all the double cubes, speaker stands, and wires.

 

Same here, my wire grew tired of the heavy Audioquest speaker wire, 12 gauge cables actually and heavy, metal Boston Acoustics bookshelf speakers on heavy metal stands. My wife was pleased when I sold of my old gear and brought home the Cinemate system.

 

>I did consider swapping the Bose Soundtouch 300 for a Bose Lifestyle 650, but after listening to it on several different ocassions, I decided I preferred the mellow sound of the Bose 300 to the sharper, crisper sound of the Bose 650.  At least, that's how my ears perceived it.

 

I auditioned the last round of metal finished Lifestyle speakers at the Bose store theater in Vancouver. They are very very detailed bordering on harsh, for my tastes. They still require a lot of wiring and speaker mounting. Good looking speakers though.

 

I am quite amazed how well these sound bars work, especially the reflected virtual surround. In my present room, my Cinemate 130 pumps out really good projected sound. So well in fact I have no desire to step it up to buy a ST 300, SH500 or SH700 system to access wireless rear speakers. Phase guide is pure magic.

 

There is a Bose video that show the SR soundbar (first speaker in the line up to 130) without the cover. The soundbar it is pure tech, circuit boards and some crazy looking speaker drivers. The ST 300 is also featured in a video at CES a couple years ago. Same thing, lots of tech buried in a good looking glass laden soundbar. I agree they are very good sounding and not as detailed (bordering on harsh) as the Lifestyle Speakers.

 

I find it interesting that Bose only released updated soundbars for last Christmas and nothing at CES. Makes me wonder what is going to happen to the Lifestyle systems.


 

Audible Advocate

Re: Bose Sound Quality opinions?

Bose want their products to appeal to a very wide audience, so they go with a very "safe" sound signature. Warm tilted, no listening fatigue. Detail intelligibility is high and just grab your ears at a visceral level using force. Listening skills are unnessesary with Bose, they just give themselves to you in a generic, always pleasing way that is impactful, inviting and never offensive, even with the worst recordings.

 

BUT, this all comes at the cost of accuracy. Bose products do tend to have a "natural" timbre in the same sense a musical instrument would. But if you listen closely, voices, guitars etc typically take on wooly or blanketed quality to them as a safeguard for bright recordings. You will also notice smeared imaging with wide stretched and undistinctive images, and a general generic Bose coloration of the sound. The engineers actually do a fantastic job at this tuning, I find the experience pretty consistent across product lines. I reccomend Bose products to all of my non-audiophile family and friends. 

 

Just understand its a one trick pony. 

 

When it comes down to serious business, there is a reason Bose engineers use the Genelec monitors as a reference in their critical listening rooms.  

 

I simply wish Bose would just give a shot at a true reference monitor. If there were some way to get that grabbing, immediate sound that Bose has, but without the Bose "sheen", I would probably just lock myself in a room forever and be satisfied. 

 

But until then, I think ill buy some Genelec monitors, and get with an acoustic engineer for building a treated room. Because right now, Im having to choose between listening with my brain or listening with my body. All of my reference monitors sound so thin yet very transparent and holographic like the Bose would never touch. Its like clearing the Bose fog with a USB cable plugged into the brain. 

 

The Bose sound more immediate and convincing in a way, like a "live" performance would. But the texture and accuracy, while not bad, is deffinitly very off sounding although not immediatly apparent to untrained ears. So its pleasing, but it is wrong. 

 

Is there a way to clean this up with some DSP? Maybe add a monitor button to already good audio performance products like the QC35 and 301's. Sell it through only Bose professional and see what happens. 

 

I would love to hear if, or why, the Bose engineers have tried to make a reference monitor, what the challenges are, and why they ultimately cant or wont. 

 

It seems they have the engineering chops, respect and the attention of everyones ears already. Isnt there a way?

 

Wistful Whiz

Re: Bose Sound Quality opinions?

@Eyedrop0 

 

That was an enjoyable read.

 

Thank you.