Bose: Legit Audio Company or Slick Marketing?

How do you View Bose?

  • Real Audio Company

    Votes: 11 35.5%
  • Marketing Company

    Votes: 17 54.8%
  • Crapola

    Votes: 3 9.7%

  • Total voters
    31
gene

gene

Audioholics Master Chief
Administrator
Ratings
4,486 22 9
#1
The mere mention of the company’s name conjures up all manner of reaction, response and opinion from the audio community.

Common retorts such as "no highs no lows, must be a Bose" or "people that don't know audio, know Bose" is often recited by audiophiles when a neophyte asks for their opinion.

Are their products really as awful as some people think? Are they really "all marketing and no engineering?" Here's a fascinating look from an "insider" who was there when the AM-5 and Wave Radio were introduced.

Some things will confirm your suspicions and some things will surprise the heck out of you.

Be sure to vote in our poll and watch our related YouTube video discussion on "Why Audiophiles Hate Bose" for further insights.
bose.jpg



Read: Bose: Real Audio Company of Slick Marketing?
 
JerryLove

JerryLove

Audioholic Samurai
Ratings
653 1
#3
Bose cannot be criticized for not winning a game they choose not to play. They win the game they’re in.
I beg to differ. It certainly can.

More to the point: they can be critized for the quality of their product and their lessening of public understanding.

It's like saying that we cannot criticize FOX for lying because they get good ratings; or we can't criticize cigarette manufacturers for killing their customers because cigarettes are popular. Empirically: we can.
 
B

beginjapan!

Audioholic Intern
Ratings
6
#4
Bose has their niche and they dominate it. What they do can't be described as high fidelity but for the average Joe, it's OK. The portables and table top devices they make are tough to beat.

Having said that, i wouldnt put anything they make in a home theater or 2 channel system. I mean, EEWE!
 
S

snakeeyes

Audioholic Samurai
Ratings
919 1 1
#5
I like that they had an RF remote back before it was common. That was the feature I remember liking. The sound from a bunch of 2in drivers and a suitcase is pretty loud and most regular people probably think it is good enough. For me, it’s not what I would want for my home. :)

So Slick Marketing is my vote...
 
Steve81

Steve81

Audioholics Five-0
Ratings
2,968 18 1
#6
I'd go with slick marketing...but the "big" definition of marketing, not just advertising. I think they've got The 4 P's down pretty darned well.
 
M Code

M Code

Audioholic General
Ratings
598 1
#7
All marketing fluff...
Dr.Bose's academics are in marketing not acoustics..

Just my $0.02... ;)
 
Swerd

Swerd

Audioholic Spartan
Ratings
4,682 11 6
#8
All marketing fluff...
Dr.Bose's academics are in marketing not acoustics...
I did not know that. Thanks. Not that I stayed awake at night wondering what Bose's academic accomplishments were.

So he demonstrated, yet again, that no one ever went broke underestimating the intelligence of the buying public.
 
B

beginjapan!

Audioholic Intern
Ratings
6
#9
Amar Bose was actually an Electrical Engineer and an Audio Engineer. The marketing was really pushed in the 90's, long after he developed the 901's and other speakers. Regardless, they never really made what audiophiles would call high fidelity. If you have to have an equalizer for your top of the line offering, the 901 series, then you really screwed up on the fundamentals of your speaker design.

Bose has actually done some pioneering work with low frequency acoustics. I wouldn't underestimate the mid-fi stuff they make. Compared to other small electronics it's relatively good.
 
Steve81

Steve81

Audioholics Five-0
Ratings
2,968 18 1
#10
Amar Bose was actually an Electrical Engineer and an Audio Engineer.
Wikipedia seems to confirm the Electrical Engineer bit:
After graduating from Abington Senior High School in Abington, Pennsylvania, Bose enrolled at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, graduating with an SB (Bachelor of Science) in Electrical Engineering in the early 1950s. Bose spent a year at Philips Natuurkundig Laboratorium in Eindhoven, Netherlands; and a year as a Fulbright research student in New Delhi, India, where he met his future first wife. He completed his PhD in Electrical Engineering from MIT, writing a thesis on non-linear systems under the supervision of Norbert Wiener and Yuk-Wing Lee.
 
BoredSysAdmin

BoredSysAdmin

Audioholic Overlord
Ratings
5,714 22 38
#11
This article is thinly veiled attempt to enrage the community and artificially increase the traffic and discussions.
However, sometimes their tightly controlled marketing message....
Tightly controlled is an understatement of the year. The author had mentioned severe restrictions on Bose product demos but completely and utterly failed to provide the real reasons to why.
These demos were rigged to such unfair levels as even using custom equalized CD tracks which would only sound good on Bose system.
In some cases, there were entire racks full of very expensive electronics completely hidden from punter view which only sees the tiny boxes.
Don't have time to write more but here's a great read:
http://nyet.org/bose/
This six-speaker unit costs $1299.99 USD. From dissecting it, I can tell you it costs $100, no more than $150 tops, to assemble. It performs similarly to a $500 Optimus-Radio Shack surround system and very easily outperformed by a $350 Cambridge Soundworks system.
 
Irvrobinson

Irvrobinson

Audioholic Ninja
Ratings
2,632 7 7
#12
There is more than one Bose company; the one that was founded in the 1960s and produced the 901, and its youngest child, the Bose of today that's a mass-market company trying to maximize sales and profits (which, I should mention, is what almost all legitimate companies try to do).

I know several people who own pairs of the Bose 901 Series 6, and I've been in their homes. None of them are set up properly. The Jetson's styling combined with the requirements for placement away from walls and corners is apparently too much for non-audiophile wives to handle. I have heard one pair of Bose 901s set up properly, years ago, and I can sum up my impressions in one sentence. Impressive for a 1960s design when listening to well-recorded symphony orchestras, unrealistic for pretty much anything else, especially solo anything. (The diffuse imaging was a complete disappointment with solo voices, solo piano, classical guitar - whatever - the 901 has the inverse of pinpoint imaging.)

[Side note - I should also mention that I thought the only speaker from 1960s and early 1970s that I had any respect for at all were the Quad electrostatics, and I had neither the space nor the money for them back then. I had been told I needed to listen to the KLH electrostatics, but the opportunity never arose, and by the early 1980s, when I could actually afford decent audio equipment, moving coil speakers had improved to the point where I lost my obsession with electrostatics.]

I'd guess some of you are wondering how I know several people with Bose 901s. The entire group falls into two categories: 1) MIT graduates, 2) engineers of Indian descent. Both hold Amar Bose in very high regard, and one even has an original copy of the Stereo Review magazine with Julian Hirsch's review on a coffee table, even though the 901s are stuffed into two room corners virtually against the walls. Never mind that I was about 12 years old when the review was published, and now I'm eligible for Social Security.

I believe that back then Bose was an audiophile company, and they probably were until the 1980s, when automotive systems and solving the WAF problem in homes became interesting for research and for financial reasons. I suppose many of us forget that Bose was ground-breaking in designing audio systems for specific vehicles. The only Bose products I've ever owned were in automobiles, three Corvettes and a Porsche. If I turned on the audio systems at all in those cars it was to listen to NPR, but I can say the voices were intelligible. ;-)

The Bose of today, IMO, isn't even trying to be a serious audio company, except for perhaps its professional division, if you consider that serious audio. (IMO, no PA speaker is about serious audio.) Now it's about automotive installations, "lifestyle" and appearance, and being as unobtrusive as possible. And noise-cancelling headphones. As for the audiophiles here, this is a place where, as an example, subwoofer value is determined almost solely by how loud you can get at what frequency with what distortion, and almost everything else be damned. It almost seems like a silly question why this group dislikes Bose products.
 
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Mikado463

Mikado463

Audioholic Chief
Ratings
388 4 28
#13
good post Irv, you summed it up quite well !

while I've had 'Bose' in several of my recent vehicles I never considered them for my 2 channel rig. By the time I could afford something decent (early seventies) it was a pair of Dahlquist DQ-10's.
 
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Matthew J Poes

Matthew J Poes

Full Audioholic
Ratings
243
#15
I actually have an AM-5 II Acoustimas system in my family room. My dad has it setup in his sun room since 1990 and when he moved he gave it to me. @shadyJ and I plan to torture it one of these days by taking it outside and measuring it.

As noted by many, Bose did some really important work in the development of miniature drivers, noise canceling, transmission line modeling, etc. the products are life style products and they are good for what they are.

Having that Bose system actually surprised quite a few people who know my passion for sound and the fact that I run an acoustics consulting company and write for/work for online forums/magazines. I think it adds more drama when they see a 10 year old Plasma tv mounted on a wall with Bose cubes on either side and then walk into the Blue Room.
 
Irvrobinson

Irvrobinson

Audioholic Ninja
Ratings
2,632 7 7
#16
If you have to have an equalizer for your top of the line offering, the 901 series, then you really screwed up on the fundamentals of your speaker design.
No, the equalization was a fundamental part of the 901 design. As much as I didn't care for the 901, your statement is incorrect in this case.

The Martin-Login Renaissance Series, which I've auditioned and found to be quite excellent, includes Anthem Room Correction in the speakers.

All powered sealed subwoofers have equalization in their design.
 
B

beginjapan!

Audioholic Intern
Ratings
6
#17
No, the equalization was a fundamental part of the 901 design. As much as I didn't care for the 901, your statement is incorrect in this case.

The Martin-Login Renaissance Series, which I've auditioned and found to be quite excellent, includes Anthem Room Correction in the speakers.

All powered sealed subwoofers have equalization in their design.
True, some other speakers do have eq built in. But that equalization is usually meant to overcome some limitations in the driver design, is it not? ML's are pretty nice speakers but the difference is they use much more elaborate drivers than the 901's did. Electronic correction might be needed to integrate the highs and mids with the unique emitters used on ML's.

The 901's used a very simple driver and cabinet design. Nearly every other classic style cone or dome driver loudspeaker gets acceptable results with only cross-overs allowing the drivers to do what they're good at and the boxes sized appropriately for the best bass response.

I don't know as much about sealed subs. i do realize a subwoofer has to work really hard to cover ~20hz - 80hz. Low frequencies are harder for a driver to cover with any range. Maybe they use eq to even out the peaks and valleys? I'd like to hear more.

Oh, I forgot to mention that a big selling point for 901's was that you supposedly couldn't blow them. Back in my college days I knew a guy that would try to demonstrate how loud he could make these terrible speakers get with a very crappy receiver. No, they wouldn't self destruct, but with the amount of clipping his receiver would produce it would have been more merciful if they had. :)

The only Bose system I ever had was the one that came with my old Infiniti. It was awful. That's the extent of my ownership experience.
 
mtrycrafts

mtrycrafts

Audioholic Slumlord
Ratings
1,976 5 6
#18
Amar Bose was actually an Electrical Engineer and an Audio Engineer. The marketing was really pushed in the 90's, long after he developed the 901's and other speakers. Regardless, they never really made what audiophiles would call high fidelity. If you have to have an equalizer for your top of the line offering, the 901 series, then you really screwed up on the fundamentals of your speaker design.

Bose has actually done some pioneering work with low frequency acoustics. I wouldn't underestimate the mid-fi stuff they make. Compared to other small electronics it's relatively good.
And he was a professor at MIT for 45 years. Don't think that was in marketing. ;)
 
mtrycrafts

mtrycrafts

Audioholic Slumlord
Ratings
1,976 5 6
#20
...

As noted by many, Bose did some really important work in the development of miniature drivers, noise canceling, transmission line modeling, etc. the products are life style products and they are good for what they are.

...
Don't forget, they also demonstrated automobile electromagnetic shock absorbers. The videos I saw was impressive.


I guess the car companies are not using them, yet.
 

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