Using Bose 901's and equilizer from the 80's with a modern Amp

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Robbiebozo

Audiophyte
Hey everyone, i'm new to the site and i need some help. I have a pair of Bose 901's and eqiulizer from the 80's that my dad gave me and i'm having trouble hooking it up to a new amp and having it sound good. My problem is i don't know how to use the equilizer with the new amp and form what i've read the equilizer is essential for getting a non muddy sound. Please help!!!!!!
 
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markw

Audioholic Overlord
what "amp" are you talking about and, yes, those speakers sound like drek without their propriatary equalizer.
 
Pyrrho

Pyrrho

Audioholic Ninja
You should specify what you are wanting to hook the speakers up to. It turns out, though, that many modern home theater receivers have an automatic EQ system which can be used instead of the separate box that Bose provides. It will not be the same, as the automatic EQ will not merely compensate for the speakers, but also for the room effects of placement. But tell us what you have, and we can then tell you what is possible, and what is advisable, though some solutions can cost some money.
 
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markw

Audioholic Overlord
You do realize that that Bose equalizer, depending on what version 901 we're talking about, provides up to 18 db of bass boost, don't you?

No, the 901's require their intended equalizer to sound right. That's about all there is to it.
 
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Robbiebozo

Audiophyte
Sorry i didn't have all the info earlier, the receiver or amp i have is a Yamaha natural sound AV Receiver HTR-5560. If you can shed some light as to how i hook up the equilizer and the amp together in order to achieve the best sound i would really appreciate it.
 
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markw

Audioholic Overlord
Unfortunately, you cannot use an equalizer with that, and most other, modern multi-channel receivers. They do not allow a way to intercept the audio signal, send it to an external processing device, and reinsert it right back into the signal chain. Old fashioned two-channel stereos used to do this with a "tape monitor" switch but AVR's generally lack this feature.

But, not all hope is lost. Your only option is to take your signal from the main outputs on the back of your unit, feed it to the equalizers input and then take the equalizers output and feed it to an external power amplifier. Yes, you will need an external power amp to do this.

The Bose 901 is a nifty speaker but their mandatory use of an equalizer makes them a bad choice for AVRs.

Here's a copy of your owners manual. You can see these outputs on page 18 there and the procedure is pictured on page 5 of that link Steve 81 provided, except you won't be feeding it back into the receiver but into the external power amp instead.
 
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Robbiebozo

Audiophyte
Okay i have to admit that when it comes to audio equipment i am some what not qualified. Can you recommend a decent low priced external power amplifier? I came into these speakers at no cost and the lowest cost to make them produce their full potential is my main concern.
 
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markw

Audioholic Overlord
Two questions:

1) What do you consider "low cost"? There's a lot of "low cost" (read "cheap crap") out there but I suggest you avoid those. Saturday Audio* has a used Adcom GFA-5400 (125 wpc) for $349 which looks good. You can find it at that link in their "Used" section under "Amplifiers"

2) The 901 went through several series in it's 40+ year life span. The power requirements varied between them. Which series do you have?

One other thing to keep in mind here if you're just building your system. If you're looking towards a full surround system, you're going to be hard pressed to find a matching center speaker for the 901's and their "ambient" sound stage really doesn't lend itself well to home theatre appications where directionality is a plus.

But, they can be very refreshing with the right material in a two channel system when properly powered and positioned.

* I've bought several things from these guys. They are trustworthy.
 
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walter duque

walter duque

Audioholic Samurai
There are 2 ways to hook them up. 1st, if you have jumpers on your Avr between preamp and power amp section. (2) front main out to Eq to amp to speakers, providing you have pre-outs.
 
T

tbgillespie

Audiophyte
Unfortunately, you cannot use an equalizer with that, and most other, modern multi-channel receivers. They do not allow a way to intercept the audio signal, send it to an external processing device, and reinsert it right back into the signal chain. Old fashioned two-channel stereos used to do this with a "tape monitor" switch but AVR's generally lack this feature.

But, not all hope is lost. Your only option is to take your signal from the main outputs on the back of your unit, feed it to the equalizers input and then take the equalizers output and feed it to an external power amplifier. Yes, you will need an external power amp to do this.

The Bose 901 is a nifty speaker but their mandatory use of an equalizer makes them a bad choice for AVRs.

Here's a copy of your owners manual. You can see these outputs on page 18 there and the procedure is pictured on page 5 of that link Steve 81 provided, except you won't be feeding it back into the receiver but into the external power amp instead.
You CAN use the Bose 901 EQ with most all modern receivers (for just $20).
The Bose EQ has to be "between" the source (CD, Sirus/XM radio, computer, Amazon Alexa, etc.) and the power amp. So you plug in all of your music sources into an audio/video switcher. The switcher output then goes into the input jacks of the EQ. The EQ output goes into the AUX (or whichever) input of the receiver. I just keep my receiver always on AUX and choose which source I want to listen to on the switcher.
RCA or GE Pro 4-Device Audio/Video Switcher - $20 at Wal-Mart.
 
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tbgillespie

Audiophyte
Post is 6 years old... lol.
I know the post is 6 years old. I wasn't writing my suggestions for you (lol). It was for those who find this thread and are looking for help in continuing to use Bose 901 speakers.
 
Eppie

Eppie

Audioholic Samurai
Yeah, old post, but reminds of a friend who had a problem with his 901s. His right channel was considerably lower in volume and he couldn't figure out why. I switched the wires on the receiver and eliminated that as the problem. Then physically switched the two speakers around, but the problem persisted. I thought it over and realized the issue. He placed the right speaker in front of curtains! The 901s having one forward firing speaker and 8 rear firing speakers and rely heavily on reflected sound. I told him the curtains were absorbing the sound from the right rear speakers, but the guy wouldn't believe me. Drawing the curtains back proved my point. :D They can sound pretty decent but the end result depends greatly on the room; more so than most box speakers.
 
davidscott

davidscott

Audioholic Ninja
Yeah, old post, but reminds of a friend who had a problem with his 901s. His right channel was considerably lower in volume and he couldn't figure out why. I switched the wires on the receiver and eliminated that as the problem. Then physically switched the two speakers around, but the problem persisted. I thought it over and realized the issue. He placed the right speaker in front of curtains! The 901s having one forward firing speaker and 8 rear firing speakers and rely heavily on reflected sound. I told him the curtains were absorbing the sound from the right rear speakers, but the guy wouldn't believe me. Drawing the curtains back proved my point. :D They can sound pretty decent but the end result depends greatly on the room; more so than most box speakers.
Nice! He owes you one.
 
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N1ck

Audiophyte
You CAN use the Bose 901 EQ with most all modern receivers (for just $20).
The Bose EQ has to be "between" the source (CD, Sirus/XM radio, computer, Amazon Alexa, etc.) and the power amp. So you plug in all of your music sources into an audio/video switcher. The switcher output then goes into the input jacks of the EQ. The EQ output goes into the AUX (or whichever) input of the receiver. I just keep my receiver always on AUX and choose which source I want to listen to on the switcher.
RCA or GE Pro 4-Device Audio/Video Switcher - $20 at Wal-Mart.
Brilliant, thank you for the tip. Do you know if I could still use an HDMI cable so send my video from a PC to my receiver, while sending the RCA audio to (1) the audio/ video switcher, (2) Bose EQ and then (3) my receiver for sound with my receiver passing both combined sound and video to my (4) projector? I've been trying to get my Bose 901 to work with my home cinema set up. Cheers
 
Eppie

Eppie

Audioholic Samurai
Brilliant, thank you for the tip. Do you know if I could still use an HDMI cable so send my video from a PC to my receiver, while sending the RCA audio to (1) the audio/ video switcher, (2) Bose EQ and then (3) my receiver for sound with my receiver passing both combined sound and video to my (4) projector? I've been trying to get my Bose 901 to work with my home cinema set up. Cheers
That's going to depend on the receiver but unlikely. My AVR allows me to combine different analogue inputs, so I can combine composite or component video with analogue (RCA) or optical audio, but I see no ability on mine to take an HDMI channel and replace the digital audio with analogue. To be honest, any 901s are best kept for a strictly music only system where it's easier to patch in the EQ. They will be a real challenge to use in any home theatre setup if you also have digital sources. The best way I can think of is to use a receiver with pre-amp outputs for the main channels, run those to the EQ and then use a separate 2 channel amp to drive the 901s. Use the amps in the receiver to drive your surround channels. It's more money and equipment, but you can then use any source that the receiver can handle without the need of a switch box.
 
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N1ck

Audiophyte
That's going to depend on the receiver but unlikely. My AVR allows me to combine different analogue inputs, so I can combine composite or component video with analogue (RCA) or optical audio, but I see no ability on mine to take an HDMI channel and replace the digital audio with analogue. To be honest, any 901s are best kept for a strictly music only system where it's easier to patch in the EQ. They will be a real challenge to use in any home theatre setup if you also have digital sources. The best way I can think of is to use a receiver with pre-amp outputs for the main channels, run those to the EQ and then use a separate 2 channel amp to drive the 901s. Use the amps in the receiver to drive your surround channels. It's more money and equipment, but you can then use any source that the receiver can handle without the need of a switch box.
Will have to have a think about it, but what you said makes sense, plus I can keep my other surround sound system intact. Much appreciated, thanks for the info.
 
Eppie

Eppie

Audioholic Samurai
Will have to have a think about it, but what you said makes sense, plus I can keep my other surround sound system intact. Much appreciated, thanks for the info.
If you go that route, there are amps from Crown and Outlaw that are pretty reasonable and also Buckeye Hypex amps. The big one is the pre-outs on the AVR but if you can sell your AVR and put that towards a model with pre-outs, that can lower the cost. A lot of people will point out that 901s are old technology and they are very picky in how they are placed in a room because of the rear firing drivers. From a cost standpoint, modern speakers are probably a better investment, but some people like the nostalgia of owning 901s or they have some sentimental value attached to them, so the extra effort is worth it.
 
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