General Question

syz's avatar

Is Bose worth the money?

Asked by syz (35649points) January 7th, 2008

Can they possibly be that much better than other brands? Is there some sort of secret technology that they know? Is it all hype?

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8 Answers

glial's avatar

I’m not a Bose fan. I think there is much better gear for the money. I don’t even consider them high end audio.

cwilbur's avatar

I don’t like Bose either, so I’m inclined to say “hype.”

On the other hand, personal preference in stereo equipment is a known thing; it could be that Bose is just the right thing for your ears. Reputable stereo dealers know about this personal preference, and most have long merchandise return periods so that you can take the gear home and listen to it for a few weeks before making up your mind.

andrew's avatar

I’m sure sam and sndfreq can give you a more informed opinion, but in my experience, any audiophile worth their weight thinks Bose are overrated—especially the teeny-tiny speaker units they put out.

They do have a huge R&D branch and have come up with some pretty amazing technologies (not even related to speakers), but I think you’re better going with a different brand.

Go to a speaker store, bring a CD of yours, and listen to the different sets.

sndfreQ's avatar

Hi andrew-flattered at your recommendation :)

Just a thought or two from my background in audio-Bose systems and similar derive their ‘signature sound’ by ‘enhancing’ sound (or sweetening in the vernacular of the audiophile) beyond the original intended ‘mix’ or fidelity of the original recording. while this may be helpful for degraded or sub-par recordings (e.g. low-res mp3s, or cassette tapes), it is not a true representation of the original recording.

I explain this to my audio students as the “Radio Shack smile” syndrome-The improper use of system equalization, which may be analogous in concept to steroid use in bodybuilding…

While a student in college, one of my audio professors had told me the joke that on a visit to a home electronics store, he was approached by an over-zealous salesman, who was very intent on selling him a home theatre system.

The salesman was so eager to show him how ‘good’ the system was, that he proceeded to ‘crank up’ the volume to the point of ear thumping (and ear-covering).

The salesman then proceeded to ‘shout’ at my prof, above the din of the muzak, pointing out the ‘extra’ features on the unit; in particular, the system had a graphic equalizer-that section of a home stereo that has a bay of vertical sliders labeled with frequencies from bass (low) up through to treble.

Long story short-the equalizer was set in such a way that the sliders made a ‘smile shape’-that is, the low and high sliders were pushed all the way up and as you went toward the middle section (midrange) the sliders formed a shape of a smile. The salesman insisted that this was needed to “really hear the sound”.

My professor simply shrugged and quietly replied to salesman ”...think I’ll pass on that Radio Shack Smile.”

howbecome's avatar

I am also not a Bose fan. But a huge music fan.

For me, Bose, doesn’t sound that great. They are also expensive! Dr. Bose and co. spend a lot to be so well known and widely distributed. Your purchase price covers a lot of advertising and marketing.

Other more reasonable, good-sounding speaker systems to consider are: PSB (Canadian), Cambridge Soundworks (hifi.com), hsu (hsuresearch.com). All will provide both better sound and better value than a Bose system IMHO. You should also consider well-maintained used speakers from reputable brands such as those mentioned and certain Klipsch models. Good gear holds up very well.

As noted above, what your ears hear and enjoy is quite personal. Listen before you buy to avoid disappointment. You’ll be living with a good speaker system for quite a while.

cwilbur's avatar

I have friends who are very happy with Cambridge Soundworks speakers, though part of that is that the speakers produce big sound from tiny enclosures. They were far less happy with the Cambridge Soundworks receiver they bought, though they were happy with the warranty/return policy when they discovered just how unhappy they were.

When I went speaker-shopping last, I was in graduate school, and I wound up buying a pair of Sony floor speakers that I liked almost as much as my first-choice Acoustic Research speakers but were about half the price. At this point I wouldn’t buy the Sonys, for a multitude of reasons, but they’ve served me well—and that decision was based on actually hearing the speakers, not on marketing or price or a features checklist.

crooner12's avatar

No. I echo the sentiments of the other posters here in saying that Bose is really not intended for audiophile quality sound. Bose makes lifestyle products that are marketed towards consumers who want a simple solution and clean design. Sound quality is above average, but far from what you could otherwise get with true high-quality components like B&W, KEF, Velodye, McIntosh, NAD, etc. To top it off, Bose gear is way overpriced relative to other solutions in the market that give much greater performance and accuracy, yet at less cost.

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