Bose TV Speaker Soundbar Review



Audioholic General
As usual, copy/paste from my website so some things may not translate as well. Here is the link if you want to view it natively there:

Bose TV Speaker Soundbar Review
  • Saturday, Jun 5, 2021

Foreword / YouTube Video Review
The review on this website is a brief overview and summary of the objective performance of this speaker. It is not intended to be a deep dive. Moreso, this is information for those who prefer “just the facts” and prefer to have the data without the filler.

A video review is coming soon.

For a primer on what the data means, please watch my series of videos where I provide in-depth discussion and examples of how to read the graphics presented hereon.

Information and Photos
The Bose TV Speaker Soundbar is a relatively small replacement option for TV speakers which sports 2 full-range drivers mounted to the side of a center tweeter. This product features a bass boost/cut mode as well as dialogue mode to enhance speech. It features HDMI ARC, optical input, auxilary input and Bluetooth.
Retail is $249.

CTA-2034 (SPINORAMA) and Accompanying Data
All data collected using Klippel’s Near-Field Scanner. The Near-Field-Scanner 3D (NFS) offers a fully automated acoustic measurement of direct sound radiated from the source under test. The radiated sound is determined in any desired distance and angle in the 3D space outside the scanning surface. Directivity, sound power, SPL response and many more key figures are obtained for any kind of loudspeaker and audio system in near field applications (e.g. studio monitors, mobile devices) as well as far field applications (e.g. professional audio systems). Utilizing a minimum of measurement points, a comprehensive data set is generated containing the loudspeaker’s high resolution, free field sound radiation in the near and far field. For a detailed explanation of how the NFS works and the science behind it, please watch the below discussion with designer Christian Bellmann:

Measurements were referenced to the center (tweeter location). Approximate SPL of test is 80dB. I usually test powered speakers closer to 86dB for SPIN data but given the nature of this speaker and the uncertainty as to its linearity (to be addressed in testing provided below) I chose to not push the speaker too hard for the frequency response testing. Higher output testing is provided, however, in the distortion and compression tests.

I DIY’d a standoff to place the soundbar upon. The reason for this is simply because the NFS platform is wider than the depth of the Bose soundbar and I did not want the platform to create comb filtering and alter the true (anechoic) performance of the soundbar.

Measurements are provided in a format in accordance with the Standard Method of Measurement for In-Home Loudspeakers (ANSI/CTA-2034-A R-2020). For more information, please see this link.

Early Reflections Breakout:

Estimated In-Room Response:

Horizontal Frequency Response (0° to ±90°):

Vertical Frequency Response (0° to ±40°):

Horizontal Contour Plot (not normalized):

Horizontal Contour Plot (normalized):

Vertical Contour Plot (not normalized):

Vertical Contour Plot (normalized):

Additional Measurements

On-Axis Response Linearity

“Globe” Plots
These plots are generated from exporting the Klippel data to text files. I then process that data with my own MATLAB script to provide what you see. These are not part of any software packages and are unique to my tests.
Horizontal Polar (Globe) Plot:
This represents the sound field at 2 meters - above 200Hz - per the legend in the upper left.

Vertical Polar (Globe) Plot:
This represents the sound field at 2 meters - above 200Hz - per the legend in the upper left.

Harmonic Distortion
Harmonic Distortion at 86dB @ 1m:

Harmonic Distortion at 96dB @ 1m:

Dynamic Range (Instantaneous Compression Test)
The below graphic indicates just how much SPL is lost (compression) or gained (enhancement; usually due to distortion) when the speaker is played at higher output volumes instantly via a 2.7 second logarithmic sine sweep referenced to 76dB at 1 meter. The signals are played consecutively without any additional stimulus applied. Then normalized against the 76dB result.
The tests are conducted in this fashion:
  1. 76dB at 1 meter (baseline; black)
  2. 86dB at 1 meter (red)
  3. 96dB at 1 meter (blue)
  4. 102dB at 1 meter (purple)
The purpose of this test is to illustrate how much (if at all) the output changes as a speaker’s components temperature increases (i.e., voice coils, crossover components) instantaneously.

And since there is a whole lot of limiting (or, otherwise, altering of the output volume), here is the full window:

Long Term Compression Tests
The below graphics indicate how much SPL is lost or gained in the long-term as a speaker plays at the same output level for 2 minutes, in intervals. Each graphic represents a different SPL: 86dB and 96dB both at 1 meter.
The purpose of this test is to illustrate how much (if at all) the output changes as a speaker’s components temperature increases (i.e., voice coils, crossover components).
The tests are conducted in this fashion:
  1. “Cold” logarithmic sine sweep (no stimulus applied beforehand)
  2. Multitone stimulus played at desired SPL/distance for 2 minutes; intended to represent music signal
  3. Interim logarithmic sine sweep (no stimulus applied beforehand) (Red in graphic)
  4. Multitone stimulus played at desired SPL/distance for 2 minutes; intended to represent music signal
  5. Final logarithmic sine sweep (no stimulus applied beforehand) (Blue in graphic)
The red and blue lines represent changes in the output compared to the initial “cold” test.

Bass Adjustment
This soundbar features a bass level adjustment. I have provided the relative changes below, referenced to the default (normal) bass adjustment.
Note: Measurements are not anechoic; data is intended to be analyzed for differences in settings.

Dialogue Mode
This soundbar features a “dialogue” option to enhance speech clarity. I have provided a graphic below of the difference with this setting enabled vs disabled (default state).
Note: Measurements are not anechoic; data is intended to be analyzed for differences in settings.

Parting / Random Thoughts
  • This was a first for me and to be honest, I wasn’t sure what to expect.
  • The horizontal radiation pattern shows a hole in response from about 10-30° between 800Hz to 2kHz. It almost seems as if it would be best to sit either dead on-axis or extremely far to the side (between 30 to 50°). One could easily have a different opinion depending on what frequency range and angle they are concerned with, however. No matter what, however, there is an undeniable drop in output (by about 30dB) right about 1300Hz to the side of the speaker and (as expected), there is not much output to the very rear. Still, there is a lot of sound energy spread by this speaker; however non-uniform it may be.
  • I’m surprised the horizontal radiation is so diffuse. I’d have expected this to behave much more like a true point-source given the close center-to-center spacing of the full-range drivers and the tweeter. There is a lot of cancellation in the 1300Hz region and I can’t imagine this is due to the tweeter (one would expect a tweeter of this size to be crossed much higher; especially since the side drivers are assumedly truly full-range or at least extend to the HF). Weird stuff.
  • There is a significant level of limiting here. It registers off the chart, literally, from 76dB up to 86dB+. So, there is no doubt at all that this speaker incorporates some sort of loudness contour or something of the sort.
  • Dialogue mode makes a drastic effect but surprisingly it really only seems to just increase the level almost overall rather than enhancing a specific region (for example, a boost from 200-800Hz or 2-4kHz for detail).
  • Bass adjustment on this thing is also counterintuitive. In the max bass setting the difference between it and default is only up a dB or two below 100Hz. Above this frequency, however, both bass adjustment settings (max and min) are actually lower than the default. Odd.
Is this a good alternative to TV speakers? Yea, I think so. Especially if you enable the dialogue function and aren’t really concerned with true full-range response (i.e., no low bass). But for $250? I just don’t know. Stay tuned for more TV soundbar testing so we can narrow down the selection pool.

Support / Donate

If you like what you see here and want to help me keep it going, please consider donating via the PayPal Contribute button below. I’m going to need to buy a good de-humidifier (or a window A/C unit) for my garage to help make sure things stay properly climate controlled for future tests this summer. So, if you can help chip in a few bucks, know that it is very much appreciated and that the support means a lot to me.
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Speaker of the House
Staff member
Interesting analysis. To be honest, if I understand this right, it seems like a misfire. I would have eliminated one of the woofers if only to have a wider and more consistent horizontal dispersion. Maybe replace one with a small passive radiator or something. $250 is far too much for a small monaural soundbar that can't even avoid these off-axis nulls.


Audioholic Overlord
Ooh! I'm excited to see you are going to do more soundbars. :) I tried getting my Dad to get one because the TV in his room sounds horrid. He mostly watches news and sports... hardwood floors and no real decorations on the wall. I'm certain you can imagine a TV in a room like that. :eek:
Just getting some bass to even things out and speakers not aimed down at the floor like the TV is.
I don't know what's worse... that or The Lady listening to her iPhone speaker. Both make my ears hurt! :p


Senior Audioholic
I bought one of these for my father who is by no means an enthusiast on the level that most of us are. If I start talking about on axis performance and low frequency extension I run a high risk of putting him into a coma. That being said I did gift him a TCL 6 series 65” tv which was a substantial upgrade from the 2010 Samsung 1080p tv he had. He’s becoming hard of hearing as it comes with age and I was able to grab one of these for $50. He was impressed as I’ve purchased him Bose products before such as the Bose companion which is a sort of Bluetooth headphone but it rests around the base of your neck/shoulders. He has a pair of Bose QC35 II’s for music listening I got for $85 and overall he’s been very impressed with them. To me Bose is an ideal gift for someone who isn’t as much of a critical listener as we are. That being said their retail prices are laughable. My father did mention the tv shows he streamed were exponentially easier to hear but wasn’t able to attest to the sound quality overall as he listens through hearing aids. He did state that compared to the TV speakers it’s night and day which seems like a given. A month ago he finally relented and allowed me to wall mount a pair of Mirage OMD-5’s connected to an SVS SB1000 all running off a small Rotel integrated amp. It was the first time I ever saw my dad really understand why my room has “Those big boxes that take up so much space and just make things fall off the walls” granted even used the total systems price is many times that of the Bose soundbar but it certainly served it’s purpose.

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