Bose Sound

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Wistful Whiz

Bose Sound

I have been following Bose for quite a few years. Back when Bose first introduced small speakers and a sub all in a tidy package I was always curious about the line. Bose also had some interesting stereo speaker products. When Lifestyle systems, using tiny jewel cubes, came out, the product line was considered premium and was only aviaible at premium audio stores here in Canada. 

 

Reading many reviews over the years there was lots of positive and negative criticism about the build quality and sound of Bose products and sound. Lots of audiophile hate. During all of that, whenever I auditioned any of the Bose gear and actually listened myself  I quite liked what I saw and heard. In time I slowly started to acquire some Bose products after trying a variety of other solutions.

 

I don’t know how many Bluetooth in ear speakers for my mobile phone I tried for hands free phone calling. The best one by far was the Bose Bluetooth speaker. It integrated so well with my iPhone and Siri. The sound from callers was great and they said I sounded good and clear too. 

 

I quickly dropped the Apple earbuds from my first iPhone in favour Bose IE 2. These got a lot of favourable reviews and indeed sounded very good. I still use them everyday to listen to music and YouTube, so as not to disturb fellow coffee shop patrons. Again great build and sound.

 

After trying way too many computer speakers, I settled on a Bose Companion 2 system. Again great sound which really caught my attention.

 

Still reticent to make the full jump to Bose home theater solutions I toiled with reviews and demonstrations for years. When I purchased my first HT system the premium stores were dropping Bose only to be picked up partially by Bestbuy and Costco. I eventually brought home a Yamaha sound bar and sub to try, I didn’t like the resulting flat anemic sound. I took it back the next day and bought the Cinemate 130 which exhibited way better sound and excellent build quality. I knew I made the right decision.

 

Bose was moving into wireless in a big way with SoundTouch. I was noticing the reviews about Bose’ newer products. Audio quality was starting to get better and less Bose hate was making the rounds. Unfortunately a new kind of hate about feature availability surfaced, no Apple Music and SoundTouch functionality dominated the posts. With all all the new market demands it seems the talk, good and bad, centred around the new tech, BlueTooth, AirPlay, Apple Music. Not a lot of complaints about sound.

 

Feeling more comfortable about making a full jump I unloaded my legacy 5.1 AV gear and settled on a Cinemate 130 system with SoundTouch, Solo and SoundTouch 30s. That was after months of auditioning and pontification. Through it all, the Bose Sound, which is what this really about, has remained solid with warmth, detail and as much punch as my ears needed. Bose has stayed true to its roots of direct and reflected sound, air volume for bass and psychoacoustics. I think Bose does a great job decoding the modern digital AV standards from optical and streaming sources.

 

I have repeated my story a few times in the forum as I remain very satisfied with the product line. Only time will tell how long my love affair with the Bose line will remain. I have to say though it was always the resulting Sound that attracted me to Bose. The wireless features remain a challenge and not just for Bose. I was at an audio show recently and one of the reps from a different company, that seems to have implemented their wireless systems quite well, said it was a VERY hard road.

 

I am quick to put my comments out to customers who are so frustrated with some of the features lacking in the Bose wireless line (no. 1 being Apple Music)  that they will sacrifice sound quality and go to a competitor. I hope Bose really takes notice of that because there are lot of people who will not shell out extra money to by Airport Express devices or employ some other way to get to Apple Music, preferring to give up and get lesser sounding gear from a competitor.

 

I added Airport Express and Apple TV into my mix and don’t regret my choices, a few others have posted the same. The results have been a great.

 

Bose sound still remains high quality and that for me is what it’s all about.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

9 REPLIES
Friendly Fanatic

Re: Bose Sound

I gather that we can look forward to Airplay2 being included in SoundTouch. It’s not clear to me that Airplay2 will be incorporated into the existing Bose speakers, though - don’t know if it could be a software update, or require new hardware. But this does imply that Apple Music might become available, too. After all, AM is on Sonos. 

 

I have a Series 2 Bose Portable which incorporates Airplay1, so if I recall correctly (I’m on the road right now), I can leverage that into getting Apple Music playing on all my speakers, by making the Portable my master device. And of course, you can’t do that on Bluetooth, which is limited to a single speaker. 

 

You can get some Apple Music into the SoundTouch ecosystem by downloading files into iTunes (subject to limitation of the number of downloads you can have) and using My Music Library. 

 

My Bose speakers are Series 2 Portables (I actually have 2) and a couple of 10s, plus a Wave radio. I find the quality of the music to be fine for what I think of as “ambient listening” - that is, background music for parties, or dinner, or reading. For serious listening, I have a set of BeoPlay S3s which have noticeably better sound quality. But I can’t compare that to the larger Bose speakers, having never heard them. 

 

 

Wistful Whiz

Re: Bose Sound

AirPlay2 and Apple Music are different animals. I think adding AirPlay 2 to Bose devices is more likely to occur than adding Apple Music as was done with Sonos. There will be licensing fees etc. I think Apple is more willing to license AirPlay 2 to other manufacturers without fear of Apple Music sales (profits) being cannibalized. Apple Musc is more of the golden egg than AirPlay 2.

 

Sonos must pay handsomely for the privilege of carrying Apple Music in their systems.

 

Having AirPlay 1 in the earlier versions of SoundTouch speakers was convenient but there was spotty performance issues. Not too sure how upgradeable that will be either.

 

I can’t really comment about B&O, good reputation though.  I have a couple Sound Touch 30(v3)s and they have big beautiful sound. Fills out my living room (20 ft ceilings) quite nicely. I also have a ST 20 at work which does the job nicely. 

 

Pairing a couple ST30s into stereo would be a nice feature but nothing from Bose on that one yet.

 

 

 

 

Friendly Fanatic

Re: Bose Sound

Different animals, yes, but they reside in the same zoo.  I’ve seen posts by Bose saying that Airplay2 is in the works. If that happens, getting Apple Music to play through the SoundTouch system will be easy, even if there’s no formal listing for it in the ST app. It just takes an extra step or two. Once you get AM playing, there’s no problem sending the music to other speakers. 

 

That being the case, I think that the logic of the situation gets AM a listing in ST. AM is in direct competition with Spotify. But AM is not in direct competition with Bose. That is, Apple is poised to overtake Spotify in the US, and will be competing for the same subscribers, but Apple’s Bose-equivalent speaker system, HomePod, is part of a home control system, overlapping on the music side with Bose but also doing many other things Bose doesn’t: HomePod integrates with Apple Notes, Reminders, etc., controls lights, locks, and probably security systems. While the Bose & Apple speaker markets overlap, they are by no means identical. So it seems to me that letting Bose integrate AM into the ST system is a net gain for Apple, and something Bose needs if Apple winds up dominating the music streaming market.

 

 

 

 

Wistful Whiz

Re: Bose Sound


@Harmon wrote:

Different animals, yes, but they reside in the same zoo.  I’ve seen posts by Bose saying that Airplay2 is in the works. If that happens, getting Apple Music to play through the SoundTouch system will be easy, even if there’s no formal listing for it in the ST app. It just takes an extra step or two. Once you get AM playing, there’s no problem sending the music to other speakers. 

 

I don’t disagree Airplay would certainly allow Apple Music to be streamed over wifi to SoundTouch devices and is a step up from Bluetooth. As I recall the official explanation for Bose dropping Airplay was issues around multiroom. 

 

I also beleive what is in more demand, according to the many posts on this forum, is the ability to access Apple Music as an on board service like Spotify, Deezer and the other services offered by Bose through the ST menu system. I don't see that being a reality based on the limited press releases from Bose or Apple. Airplay 2 over wifi will likely be as good as it gets. 

 

That being the case, I think that the logic of the situation gets AM a listing in ST. AM is in direct competition with Spotify. But AM is not in direct competition with Bose.

 

I think Apple is in direct competition with Bose with the introduction of Home Pod. It is a speaker system after all and Bose has already demonstrated a willingness to incorporate home automation into Sound Touch using Google and Alexa. 

 

That is, Apple is poised to overtake Spotify in the US, and will be competing for the same subscribers, but Apple’s Bose-equivalent speaker system, HomePod, is part of a home control system, overlapping on the music side with Bose but also doing many other things Bose doesn’t: HomePod integrates with Apple Notes, Reminders, etc., controls lights, locks, and probably security systems. While the Bose & Apple speaker markets overlap, they are by no means identical. So it seems to me that letting Bose integrate AM into the ST system is a net gain for Apple, and something Bose needs if Apple winds up dominating the music streaming market.

 

I recently posted a few ideas around the spectre of getting Siri into SoundTouch, apparently Alex and Google are their via BlueTooth and AUX input. To have Siri in SoundTouch would be a huge win Bose. There are some interesting possibilities. For example, Belkin just announced their HomeKit Bridge for their legacy products. Just plug in a dongle to your local wifi hub...all Wemo devices become HomeKit Compliant. Airplay 2 or some kind of hardware bridge will likely bring that kind of functionality to Bose gear if Apple and Bose are willing.

 

All very interesting stuff coming down the pipe.

 

 

 

 


 

JB2
Friendly Fanatic

Re: Bose Sound

rickatk,

I do agree with your OP here and we share a similar history.

A few years back I contemplated heavily between bailing on Bose after a life long commitment and going with Sonos but ultimately chose to go with better sound over function and bought a ST 130, SA-5, ST20 & 30's, outddor speakers and wired up my home...the sound was great but the incompatibility with Apple almost cost me my sanity & marriage and the componants were mostly sold off and the remaining ones were relegated to the basement for rare use. Unreliable, amatuer blue tooth connectivity that brought our party to a screeching halt was the final straw! I check in occasionally here to see if any advancements have been made but looks like the same old nothing going on between Bose and Apple but your comment "I added Airport Express and Apple TV into my mix and don’t regret my choices, a few others have posted the same. The results have been a great" was intriguing.

How do you use the Airport express with your 130?

If I could have simply connected my Apple TV4 to the ST 130 and broadcast my apple music throughout my ST system I would have been plenty happy and satisfied but the bose geniuses have thought of every possible way to thwart that...is the Airport express a work around?

 

Wistful Whiz

Re: Bose Sound


@JB2 wrote:

rickatk,

>I do agree with your OP here and we share a similar history.

A few years back I contemplated heavily between bailing on Bose after a life long commitment and going with Sonos but ultimately chose to go with better sound over function and bought a ST 130, SA-5, ST20 & 30's, outddor speakers and wired up my home...the sound was great but the incompatibility with Apple almost cost me my sanity & marriage and the componants were mostly sold off and the remaining ones were relegated to the basement for rare use.

 

Sounds like you had some nice gear! Too bad you chose to sell off out of frustration. I took a different approach an accepted that Bose doesn’t support AirPlay etc. But there were work arounds that were acceptable.

 

The SA-5 is very interesting to me as a stand-alone amp for a pair of Bose 301 speakers. I heard this setup at a Bose store last year - nice!

 

>Unreliable, amatuer blue tooth connectivity that brought our party to a screeching halt was the final straw!

 

Bluetooth is not a great solution for many reasons including sound quality. Not to mention system actives in your mobile device cause interruptions.

 

>I check in occasionally here to see if any advancements have been made but looks like the same old nothing going on between Bose and Apple but your comment "I added Airport Express and Apple TV into my mix and don’t regret my choices, a few others have posted the same. The results have been a great" was intriguing.

 

I made a decision to accept the reality that Bose makes great sounding gear but unfortunately doesn’t support Apple Music and AirPlay. So I did the next best thing and bought a couple Airport Expresses and connected them to my Sound Touch 30s in the AUX 3.5mm port. That was well over a year ago even before Bose released AUX input rebroadcast which really opens up the ST ecosystem.

 

>How do you use the Airport express with your 130?

 

I don’t have an AE connected to my ST130. I do have an Apple TV v3 connected and can send Apple Music to my ST 130 using my Mac as macOS, which has supported multiroom for a few years. ATV v3 does not support Apple Music directly.

 

Alternatively (this is how my set up goes) If you have another ST speaker simply connect an AE router to the 3.5mm port then use “play all or specify a speaker” to connect with your other ST speaker(s). I have three speakers all SoundTouch capable, the ST 130 does not have an Airport Express attached but picks up the signal from any one of my ST speakers with an AE router plugged in the 3.5mm jack utilizing AUX rebroadcast.

 

>If I could have simply connected my Apple TV4 to the ST 130 and broadcast my apple music throughout my ST system I would have been plenty happy and satisfied but the bose geniuses have thought of every possible way to thwart that...is the Airport express a work around?

 

Apple TV v 4 supports AppleMusic directly so I don’t see any reason why you can’t access your Apple TV using HDMI and SoundTouch then broadcast to your other ST speakers .  Another option is to connect an Airport Express via the optical port using a cable that has toslink on one end to plug into the ST130 and mini toslink on the other end to plug into the AE. Audioquest cables have such setups. There are others as well I am sure. I would try your Apple TV connected to HDMI first broadcast over SoundTouch first.

 

In short you only need one Airport Express or Apple TV in the SoundTouch mix and you are off to the races.

 

 

 

 


 

Wistful Whiz

Re: Bose Sound


@JB2 wrote:

rickatk,

....

If I could have simply connected my Apple TV4 to the ST 130 and broadcast my apple music throughout my ST system I would have been plenty happy and satisfied but the bose geniuses have thought of every possible way to thwart that...is the Airport express a work around?

 


Update:

 

Further to my previous post and after some closer review of the manual, there is a 3.5mm port on the side of the ST130 console. The port is configurable, from within the menu system, to act as an “audio in “ port, among other functions such as Adapt IQ. That is the way you plug in your Airport Express. From there your system will behave like your other SoundTouch speakers and will relay Apple Music around your house should you desire. With ST AUX input relay, you should not require additional Airport Express devices for the other speakers to receive Apple Music signal from your main ST130 console.

Friendly Fanatic

Re: Bose Sound

(I drafted this but somehow didn't post it. So, belatedly...)

 

I think that Apple is a different concept than Bose. Apple is about their own stuff working together in their Garden. Bose seems to be about making reasonably decent headphones & speakers, & making them open to a lot of different sources. (Same old Mac v. Windows, iOS v Android stuff.)  So from Apple’s point of view, it probably won’t be losing many core Mac consumers to Bose by letting Bose consumers have easy access to AM. The way I figure it, AP2 will make it onto Bose first, followed by AM onto SoundTouch once Apple has HomePod established & available for multiroom usage, which is the one thing that might lose Apple consumers to Bose right now.  But ultimately, I think Apple would be foolish to allow Spotify to have the “ease of use” slot in SoundTouch. 

 

Interesting thoughts you have on Siri. My reservations about Apple’s willingness to let Siri on other systems come down to (1) thinking that Siri will ultimately outstrip Google/Alexa - that is, it will be a better AI, long term, and that’s a selling point for Apple stuff, plus (2) potential dangers to Siri’s superior privacy protection if it becomes part of other systems. 

 

If I understand your observations about “HomeKit compliant” dongles, it seems to me that what happens there is that other products are integrated into Apple’s system, not Apple capabilities being exported to other systems. 

 

Personally, I’m a core Mac consumer, I have Bose products, but only when Apple doesn’t make the products I want. I have Bose noise-cancelling headphones & earphones, Bose computer speakers (which used to be linked to my TV but aren’t anymore since my TV is linked to my Bose SoundTouch speakers, and the WAVE radio. But I have the speakers & WAVE because Apple products do not easily accommodate non-Apple products, and my wife wants dirt-simple physical controls for music, plus she wants to be able to stick a CD in something. So I programmed her stations (internet radio, Sirius) onto the physical controls. All she needs the SoundTouch app for is to establish groups. So she’s happy with Bose, & in the meantime, I will probably construct an alternative HomePod universe for myself over the next couple of years. 

 

Wistful Whiz

Re: Bose Sound

Only a few months have passed since your post however there are some major changes afoot.

 

Apple seems to be opening up their software services and I expect Bose will be taking advantage of this new reality. Apple recently announced Airplay and Apple Music will be added to Samsung TVs and Alexa. Bose has indicated Airplay 2 is also destined for all their BlueTooth Wi-Fi enabled speakers including SoundTouch.

 

Until recently I doubted we would ever see Apple Music offered as a service for SoundTouch and Smarthome speakers but you never know. Apple’s willingness to open up the Apple Music architecture to other companies signals a change in their philosophy. 

 

Apple has always struggled with proprietory v open platform for decades. This latest trend to make Airplay and Apple Music more readily available will be interesting.