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
-Jim-

-Jim-

Full Audioholic
Ratings
151
#81
Team,

I just read Steve Feinstein's well done Editorial https://www.audioholics.com/editorials/bose-conundrum but couldn't find any place to comment so I thought I'd start a Thread. I apologise if there's one somewhere on the Site and I missed it.

My take is that is a well written and entertaining piece, until it gets into trying to draw comparisons to the US political arena. But that's just a minor quibble. (And probably only noticeable to me because I'm a Canadian, and not an American.) Fundamentally I agree with Steve's article. I have maintained that ever since my wife bought me a Bose Acoustimass system for Christmas one year (after she and her girlfriends raved how cute the little Cube Arrays were; and I said they may be worth a listen) they had poor highs and lows when compared (side by side) to my then ancient Altec Santanas. It wasn't really a fair fight as the Santanas had a 15 woofer which moves a lot of air, and I'd replaced their tweeters to a 1 inch silk dome type, which improved the original high end significantly. (At least to my ears.)

However, my Misses was shocked that I was thinking of returning the Bose to Best Buy, so for grins I borrowed a new 15 inch Klipsch Sub that my brother had recently bought. When connected and setup with the Bose System, that brought the bass back from the dead, but still the high end wasn't there. My brother agreed. So I quietly returned the Bose System and suffered the consequence with my wife for a long time...(Sometime I still think it's going on. See my posts on our Family & Games Room setups.)

Some years went by, and frankly I didn't think much about Bose, other than they just weren't for me. The next encounter was on a flight from London to Chicago (enroute to Dallas connecting to Monterey Mexico). I had taken the family on Vacation to London to visit another one of my brothers, and his family who lived there, and do the typical tourist thing. We had a great time but I had to cut it short to go to Monterey Mexico for a business meeting & factory tour. At the time the company I worked for had a policy that all international flights were Business Class. I flew (solo - another mistake I still hear about...) American Airlines from Heathrow, and after the complimentary beverage upon boarding, the Stewardess gave me a box with Bose Noise Cancelling Headphones. Of course I had my own lightweight Sennheiser "regular" headphones for the trip but they had foam ear cups and didn't cancel out anything. So I tried the Bose and I was blown away. Of course they were priced for those who could pay for Business Class seats, and didn't have a young growing family that needed me to spend my dollars elsewhere at the time. The Stewardess made me return them to her. So, I put them on my Christmas list for a couple of years, but I think the Misses was sending me another message about once bitten with a Bose present, she wasn't about to let me have another.

Of course the industry OEMs has developed many noise cancelling headphones, some even Bluetooth, but I'll always remember how Bose were the first ones who got it right.

What did you think of Steve's Editorial? Do you have a Bose story to share?
 
highfigh

highfigh

Audioholic Overlord
Ratings
2,991 9 12
#82
I looked at their setup a while ago and they don't have an equalizer in their equipment stack, so it's just the speakers that are awful. I told the owner of the bar that maybe I could make some suggestions if he wanted to replace the speakers, and his response was, "They're already Bose. It's not like you can get any better." Sigh.
Google search 'Bose suck' and you'll get this-

https://www.google.com/search?q=Bos...hrome..69i57.821j0j7&sourceid=chrome&ie=UTF-8
 
N

New Yorker

Audiophyte
#83
While I do feel that some Bose products leave much to be desired when it comes to audio quality, others - as you’ve pointed out - are quite good. I love my Bose QuietComfort Noise-Canceling phones, and the Bose Wave radio I owned for nearly 20 years was extraordinary. I haven’t read the editorial yet, but the notion that Bose is all marketing and zero good product is obviously absurd.
 
theJman

theJman

Audioholic Chief
Ratings
353 4 1
#84
LMAO the jig is up. It was a stealth marketing piece for Bose but you were too smart and figured it out. Of course the accompanying YouTube video where we dissed them for not being audiophile must have really put the whole endeavor over the top. Now if only I could actually get them to pay us for this effort...that would be something ;)
I actually didn't watch the video, the article had me so bewildered I didn't even finish reading it. You should have saved that piece for April 1st... :p
 
Swerd

Swerd

Audioholic Spartan
Ratings
4,682 11 6
#85
@-Jim-
I agree with your comments. However, I want to point out that Bose certainly did not invent noise cancelling head phones. Others did that. Bose only marketed them is such a way as to mislead people into thinking Bose had invented them.

I think Bose marketed their Acoustimass system to people, mainly women, who don't like the idea of audio gear interfering with their home decoration plans.

@New Yorker
Both products you mentioned were not Bose inventions. Both are decent quality, but certainly not extraordinary. They are, however, extraordinarily over-priced. That wave radio, if I recall, sold for $400 or $500!

I believe your statement that "the notion that Bose is all marketing and zero good product is obviously absurd" might work better if "obviously absurd" is replaced by "not entirely correct".
 
Last edited:
Dan

Dan

Senior Audioholic
Ratings
178 2
#86
I'd like to make another analogy to another industry I've made before. Politics is a bit different than the audio world but coffee has many similarities. People like my self and Swerd roast our our beans in small quantities. The beans are very freshly roasted and are of very high quality. Call us "coffeephiles". We roast the beans to the degree we like (both of us like light roasts). Light roasts allow the flavors of the bean to dominate over the flavor of the roast (burnt sugars).

Starbucks (aka Charbucks) is the 800 pound gorilla of the coffee market. They buy low grade poor quality beans and roast them very dark which hides the poor quality of the beans under a heap of IMO nasty burnt flavors. They then market their coffee as the best and most don't know the difference. Since a lot of what they sell are caffeinated milkshakes the coffee quality hardly matters. Of course like Bose it's all expensive as hell. (My "high end" self roasted coffee costs me 11 cents a cup).

Bose and Starbucks = higher profits through marketing. NTTIAWWT (Not That There's Anything Wrong With That)
 
T

The Digital Dan

Audiophyte
Ratings
2
#88
A lot of you are missing the point of the article. It is written from a business perspective. I am both an avid audiohpile and a businessman. While I find BOSE to be garbage from a sound and value point argument, there is no denying that they are successful from a business standpoint. The article correctly points out that they will never win on the merits of their audio quality and will do everything in their power (suing Consumer Reports for example) not to compete on audio terms. However they do win based on their marketing and the targeting of a segment of listeners that either don't know any better or are happy with being comfortably ignorant. The whole purpose of a company is to make money and they do that rather well.
 
highfigh

highfigh

Audioholic Overlord
Ratings
2,991 9 12
#89
The article correctly points out that they will never win on the merits of their audio quality and will do everything in their power (suing Consumer Reports for example) not to compete on audio terms.

However they do win based on their marketing and the targeting of a segment of listeners that either don't know any better or are happy with being comfortably ignorant.

The whole purpose of a company is to make money and they do that rather well.
So much for building a better product and compete on its merits- just prey on the ignorant. The last was mentioned in Citizen Kane- "Making money is easy, if all you want to do is make money".
 
BoredSysAdmin

BoredSysAdmin

Audioholic Overlord
Ratings
5,714 22 38
#90
People like my self and Swerd roast our our beans in small quantities. The beans are very freshly roasted and are of very high quality. Call us "coffeephiles". We roast the beans to the degree we like (both of us like light roasts). Light roasts allow the flavors of the bean to dominate over the flavor of the roast (burnt sugars).
I resent this statement! i roast to full city (medium) and there is nothing wrong with that! :) Sue me for prefer a balanced flavor. I'm also guilty of preference in Central America green beans, in particular from Guatemala.
 
M

Motrek

Junior Audioholic
Ratings
14
#91
A lot of you are missing the point of the article. It is written from a business perspective. I am both an avid audiohpile and a businessman. While I find BOSE to be garbage from a sound and value point argument, there is no denying that they are successful from a business standpoint. The article correctly points out that they will never win on the merits of their audio quality and will do everything in their power (suing Consumer Reports for example) not to compete on audio terms. However they do win based on their marketing and the targeting of a segment of listeners that either don't know any better or are happy with being comfortably ignorant. The whole purpose of a company is to make money and they do that rather well.
Not sure if that was the entire point of the article. It has a lot of text about how Bose employs (employed?) several big-name engineers.

Also I think the article disingenuously compares Bose to Apple. It's true that Apple's marketing doesn't focus on specs, but Apple isn't shy about revealing specs, and they also don't sue people who disassemble their products to reveal what's inside, or measure their products against the competition. Also, Apple makes top-quality products. Comparing Bose to Apple and only discussing their marketing would seem to imply that Bose makes top-quality products too, which they don't, unless you're talking about the noise-cancelling abilities of some of their headphones.
 
Swerd

Swerd

Audioholic Spartan
Ratings
4,682 11 6
#92
Comparing Bose to Apple and only discussing their marketing would seem to imply that Bose makes top-quality products too, which they don't, unless you're talking about the noise-cancelling abilities of some of their headphones.
There's that marketing hype again. I understand you didn't say Bose invented them, but too many people believe that because of all the advertising.

Read this Wikipedia link on Noise-cancelling headphones, and search for the word Bose. It isn't there. Here's what that link does say about their invention:

By the 1950s, Dr. Lawrence Jerome Fogel created systems and submitted patents about active noise cancellation specifically in the field of aviation. This system was designed to reduce noise for the pilots in the cockpit area and help make their communication easier and protect hearing. Fogel was considered to be the inventor of active noise cancellation and he designed one of the first noise canceling headphones systems. Later on, Willard Meeker, designed an active noise control model that was applied to circumaural earmuffs for advanced hearing protection. Noise-cancelling aviation headsets are now commonly available.​
A number of airlines provide noise-cancelling headphones in their business and first class cabins. Noise cancelling is particularly effective against aircraft engine noise. In these cases, the headphones are about the same size as normal headphones. The electronics, located in the plane armrest, take the sound from the microphone behind the headphone, invert it, and add it back into the audio signal, which reduces background noise.​

Guess which company provides those headphones for business and first class airline passengers?
 
M

Motrek

Junior Audioholic
Ratings
14
#93
There's that marketing hype again. I understand you didn't say Bose invented them, but too many people believe that because of all the advertising.

Read this Wikipedia link on Noise-cancelling headphones, and search for the word Bose. It isn't there. Here's what that link does say about their invention:
...
Guess which company provides those headphones for business and first class airline passengers?
I don't know who invented what but my understanding was that Bose owns several key patents, and that's why Bose noise-cancellation is (was?) so much more effective than that of other manufacturers. I was interested in noise-cancelling headphones several years ago and tried a bunch of different models, and the Bose headphones were FAR superior to everything else. I assume that's why they are (were?) preferred in aviation, by the military, etc.

Looking at Inner Fidelity's measurements it looks like Bose's active noise cancelling headphones are still much more effective than their other top picks.

If anybody knows more about this patent situation and when the key patents will run out, I'd be curious to know...
 
Klipschhead302

Klipschhead302

Senior Audioholic
Ratings
180 1
#94
In my view, Bose may not be targeting specs or the enthusiast but they act like they do and they sure do brag about how awesome they are without having to back the claims. Put out an infomercial showing fancy wav lines and telling us how incredible it will sound, better than an entire sound system even, but not having to back it up with a comparison against a competitor, or give specs, who says, Bose says so take it to the bank, no thanks. I loved Bose early on, my brother still has a pair of 601's that sound pretty good (now rotting in his garage) but the first time I heard the AM5 I couldn't understand how that distorted bass module and those little cubes could sell or how they can sell today. I should say I do understand but its mind boggling.

My brother, bought it, he has bought many since and watching movies in his house on those module systems actually hurts my ears as that God awful "subwoofer" destroys the sound trac. This past Christmas he surprised me with a new sound system for his living room, not Bose this time, nope, RCA.... R....C....A..... he claimed it was something new and better and I wouldn't get headaches listening to it, the sound is horrifying. I ask him these days if we can just watch and listen through the TV speakers or anything else, I even game him a pair of Elac's which are still in the box.

I agree Bose is successful as a business but to me it's that they convinced people to think they were buying high end for much less when they are actually buying low end for more than it's worth. Their business model is to target the average person to buy their goods based on what Bose says, exactly like every white van salesman I have ever seen or see on YouTube. They sell the same thing, their product can do everything for less money and beats full on sound systems etc.... snake oil. I'm not an audiophile but I love audio enough to know crap when I hear it and I haven't heard a good new Bose speaker in decades. Having such top level engineers make such uninspired equipment is sad, very sad.
 
BoredSysAdmin

BoredSysAdmin

Audioholic Overlord
Ratings
5,714 22 38
#95
Those guys with their light lady roast preference.

We drank Turkish coffee which my mother said would grow a tail on you if you drank it before you got old enough.
Love Turkish and greek coffee. Just don't drink the stuff on the bottom of the cup or you will grow a tail on you :)
 
KEW

KEW

Audioholic Warlord
Ratings
4,845 22 9
#96
I haven't read the article and don't know if/when I will!

However, I reject the fundamental premise that Bose is one or the other and they must be mutually exclusive!
I think it very unreasonable to believe that Bose is not a "Legit Audio Company"! They started out introducing some significant innovations. The 901's may not be the best speakers by many measures, but they would fill a room in a (good) way no other speaker I had heard at the time could. The 201's, 301's, 501's all were decently good sounding and I believe competitive speakers for their price in the late 70's/early 80's. While they did a good job with marketing, they certainly did not start out with the marketing end of their operations running the show and I believe they earned their niche among Audio Companies of the late 70's.

Perhaps I should add that I consider Pyle to be a legit audio electronics company - many of their products are sh!t, but I still think they are a legit player.

If you ask about value or orientation towards quality, that is a totally different question, but I fail to understand how you can begin to consider Bose NOT to be a legit audio company (guess I'll have to read the article).:)

As far as their marketing, yes they are a slick marketing operation.

I dislike Bose because I do believe they use slick marketing to compensate for overall poor value. I do have a pair of noise cancelling headphones from them, otherwise they have nothing of interest to me.
 
John Parks

John Parks

Full Audioholic
Ratings
223 1 1
You guys remember the sound of the toilet flushing on All in the Family to punctuate a point?

I don't know that I could get through the entire article if I was paid.

I've been to a Bose store a couple of different times with a Dire Straits BIA CD. The $1400 901 speakers didn't sound as good as the Infinity Primus line and the 901s were set up on a couple of thousand dollars worth of wall for reflection purposes. But this taper at work says that Bose is the best in the business. :rolleyes:
Was the toilet flushing All in the Family or Married With Children? I was a little too young to appreciate the former (my dad certainly loved it) and too grown up to be interested in the latter...
 

newsletter
  • RBHsound.com
  • BlueJeansCable.com
  • SVS Sound Subwoofers
  • Experience the Martin Logan Montis