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Just A Couple Reasons Why Bose Sucks | Obnoxious Listeners
Just A Couple Reasons Why Bose Sucks
Written by Mike on July 20, 2009
Home >> Editorials >> Just A Couple Reasons Why Bose Sucks
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First I just need to clarify something so we’re all on the same page here. Bose speaker systems are entry-level… if you think they’re audiophile-quality or anything even close to it then you are severely misinformed. So why all the hype? Well the reason I think is simple: they have an aggressive marketing plan. Just think about it - how many TV commercials or popular magazine ads have you seen for Bose? Now think about how many of those things you’ve seen for any other speaker manufacturer. Anyway, to get on with the story, I’ve highlighted the two most blatant deficiencies of Bose speakers in my opinion.

Fatal Flaw #1: Full-Range Drivers

All of Bose’s home theatre systems utilize full-range drivers. This is probably already known by most or all of you, but full range speakers attempt to recreate frequencies  across the entire audible spectrum (roughly 20 Hz to 20,000 Hz). Now most of the Bose home theatre systems do include a subwoofer, so maybe the other channels only have to produce frequencies as low as about 200 Hz, but this still leaves far too broad a frequency range for a single driver to effectively operate across. Quality speakers have a tweeter dedicated to producing crisp highs, along with a larger woofer and possibly a mid-range for generating lower frequencies. Bose’s insistence upon using only a subwoofer and a collection of 2.5″-diameter full-range drivers means that the high frequencies aren’t accurate and the mid-bass frequencies (roughly 200 Hz to 500 Hz) are seriously lacking.

Fatal Flaw #2: Cheap Materials

Bose uses paper cones for their speakers. Actually, I believe they call it something like “space-age paper”, whatever the hell that means. The bottom line is paper warps far too easily, resulting in inaccurate reproduction of sound, especially at high volumes. An easy way to observe this is to listen to a loud Michael Bay-esque explosion through both a Bose system and an actually decent one (explosions are an example of a complex sound effect containing low rumbling, high crackling, and pretty much every frequency in between). The decent system will sound noticeably cleaner and Bose will sound distorted or muddy - I promise. Most good speakers utilize some sort of high-tech plastic or composite material because they are more rigid and durable than paper, resulting in a more accurate sound.

Besides the driver cones being crappy, the cone surrounds are crappy too. They’re either thin foam or some type of fabric; I didn’t even bother researching to see what exactly it is because either way it’s second-rate material. Quality speakers have rubber surrounds or something comparable. Now I don’t think the surround material affects sound quality right out of the box (someone correct me here if I’m wrong though) but this really pays off when the speakers are several years old; rubber will hold up just fine whereas cheaper materials are more prone to deterioration over time.

Like I said in the intro, Bose builds entry-level home theatre equipment. But even if you’re on a budget (most of us probably are) there are plenty of alternatives. In fact there are a multitude of speaker manufacturers out there, and far more than you’ll see at Best Buy or even an audio/video catalog like Crutchfield. Some companies that offer quality home theatre systems that won’t break your wallet are: Infinity, Polk, Klipsch, Boston Acoustics, and DCM. And they are just a few of the fish in the sea of many, so there’s no reason to settle for a crappy system just because some housewife on a TV commercial says she’s amazed by the sound quality of her new Bose system.

Viewing 5 Comments

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    sound is subjective. if i tell you that my $5 sound system from wallmart is better than your fancy audiophile approved 7.2 triple quadruple surround around sound system, then i'm NOT wrong. people blame bose for being successful... the facts are, people like the way their stuff sounds so they buy it. and it's simple to use. unlike other high end equipment. bose fits the needs of the average audio consumer.

    and truth is, anyone can spend money on marketing, but if the product isn't good, people aren't going to buy it. microsoft spends millions on marketing, but their sales keep plummeting. high marketing does not equal high success.

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    Right on! The best and only good thing about Bose are their advertizing. My stepbrother worked at the Bose factory in Framingham and took me on a tour. The one thing I noticed right off the bat was the high current amps (not watts) they were using, only the very best. The next thing I did (like any audiophile would) was to pull or TRY to pull the grill off and could not. I asked my stepbrother why they would not come off. He told me while laughing you don't really want to see them and did I notice the weight? Along with every set of speakers we listened came an acoustically sound room. We all have one of them because if you can afford to throw your money away on crap like Bose you must have one. I have a pair of old OhmIs and I would put them agaist anything Bose can through at them. John

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    Oh and nothing wrong with paper speakers, there are 100k speakers that use them, the best JBL systems use them, as did all the legendary Klipsch Heratige line.   But Bose do use cheaply made ones that suck.

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    Yes Bose is garbage. I went to college in the 80′s when speakers and music wear a huge deal. Most everybody had their own set of speakers so there were often two sets of speakers in every dorm room. In head to head listening the Bose speakers never once came out ahead with speakers anywhere near the same price.
    The speakers are made very cheaply, even the 901′s use wood screws to attached them to the stands! They screw right into the wood, no metal threads in the wood!The worst car speakers I ever heard were also Bose, amazingly they were an expensive option, and sounded like table radio.I also compared the Bose wave radio against a Cambridge sound works radio in the same room at the same time. The CS radio was cheaper, clearer, louder and full range. The Bose sounded ok at low volumes but was mostly midrange and really strained at medium volumes.I have heard people say the Bose 601′s were decent, and the 901′s are fun speakers, they can fill up a room with sound, even though it lacks highs and real lows, but buy them off of Ebay for 400 bucks, not from Bose for $1,500.+ with the stands.

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    The bottom line is that for 1500$ I can install a stereo system that is worlds better than Bose...less money, more sound. 

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