BOSE Cinemate Experience - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 12 Old 01-17-2007, 01:16 PM - Thread Starter
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First of all, I have never purchased a Bose product in my life (lets just say that I always felt that Bose products are overpriced). Well, we just moved to a new house and I am about 80% done with completing a media/office room in my basement for my main home theater (Samsung 56" DLP, Onkyo 700 series receiver, Polk and RBH speakers).

In the meantime we are watching a 32" LCD TV (Polaroid 3232) in our living room. When I bought the Polaroid (for a ridiculously low price), I knew it had a few expected shortcomings. The major shortcoming is the horrible sound from the internal speakers (think clock radio sound)..

So, on somewhat of a whim (I did a little research) I picked up a Bose Cinemate system for $499 (+ tax). I liked the Bose for its small form factor, clean look, and sound. Let me mention that my wife is totally against having large speakers in the room (that is what the basement is for) and our 20'+ vaulted ceilings really make it tough to have any type of large sound. My wife does not want speaker wire running everywhere, and is against having 5+ speakers in the room. I really thought the Bose would do the trick..

PROS:
- Great form factor and size
- Very easy setup
- Good sound when watching DVD's and cranking the volume
- Sounded good with my Xbox360

CONS:
- No digital or component hookups (only RCA)!
- No ability to control individual sound settings (treble, bass, etc)
- Lack of depth at low and mid ranges
- Little to no bass through the subwoofer unless the TV volume is cranked up
- DVD's sounded good when the volume was cranked, but there was little improvement to listening to the TV at normal volume settings

I was really disappointed with the sound at normal volume levels. As a test I hooked up my HK computer speakers ($50 speakers) directly to my TV and the sound quality was only slightly worse than the Bose (which cost over $450 more!) Needless to say I packed up and returned the Bose system for a full refund.

Based on my budget I decided to go with:
- Onkyo TXSR304 5.1 receiver
- Polk Audio M10 bookshelf speakers
- Sony 100watt powered 8" subwoofer

I can easily mount or hide the Polk speakers and Sony subwoofer with little to no wires showing. I bought the whole system for under $360, thus saving $140. Through a connection I have I may be upgrading the Polk M10's to RBH MC4C bookhelf speakers (if I can get the price right!)

I will keep this thread posted on how the new system sounds compared to the Bose system. I would highly discourage anyone from purcahsing the Bose Cinemate system (unless it was less than $200). Definitely not worth $499+...
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post #2 of 12 Old 01-17-2007, 04:27 PM
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Dude, It sounds as if you didn't do any sort of research on the Bose Cinemate before you bought it.

It's pretty well documented, that this system is desiged to hook up to your TV's L/R RCA audio out rather than an optical or other 5.1/7.1 digital out and has no Eq, or other advanced sound controls.

I'm surprised that the salesperson didn't take the time to explain exactly how it works and is hooked up.

Bose is also well known for not having the best bass, but rather having exceptionally clear high end noises/sounds.

Post back once you got your other system online for a comparison, I'm sure that a true 5.1 system will sound better than this 2.1 system, even if it is from Bose.
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post #3 of 12 Old 01-18-2007, 12:07 AM
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As one of the very few on this forum that like the Bose 321 (gs series ll) I purchased a Bose Cinemate last year just for fun to check it out.
WOW, was it horrible !!!!!!!!!!!
I have seen were it has been said that the Cinemate is just like the 321 without the media center, not true at all.
So while I still do like the Bose 321 for certain applications when used in the right room, the Cinemate is pretty much worthless.

Returned the Cinemate within an hour after I purchased it.

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post #4 of 12 Old 01-18-2007, 08:45 AM - Thread Starter
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Your right, I did very little research when buying the Cinemate outside of seeing some reviews on Amazon and Circuit City where it received favorable marks. Normally I would do more research, but it was kind of an impulse buy and I knew I had 30 days to return it for a full refund.

That being said, I hooked up my new setup last night:
- Onkyo TX-SR304S receiver
- Polk M10 speakers
- Sony SA-WM250 8" 100watt powered subwoofer

I was able to hide the sub and wiring quite nicely, so it is a nice clean look. I wish the Polk M10's were a little smaller, but I got the whole setup for a great deal and saved quite a bit of money over the Bose. I am working a deal with a friend for some RBH MC4 speakers which will be an improvement over the Polk's (and are much smaller).

Let me say for the record that I am not a fan of Sony at all and usually stay far away from their audio products, but having listened to subwoofers that cost $50-150 more, I could not justify paying more when the Sony sub was on an awesome sale and suited my needs. It sounds as good if not better than the Polk sub that I have downstairs which was priced over $100 more (I know, Polk is not known for their subs but I got it free when I bought some high-end Polk speakers for my HT).

That said, I hooked everything up and cranked up XMen 3 in my DVD player. WOW! This little system really rocks! It has much more depth and bass than the Bose, and everything was a snap to hook-up since I used digital optical for everything but the subwoofer. The Onkyo TX-SR304 is a great receiver (it can be had for around $119 shipped at shoponkyo online). This receiver is perfect for a smaller room or apartment or for folks on a budget and has plenty of input options.

The Polk M10's are crystal clear and, while they lack the bass of some other bookshelf speakers, they really shine when coupled with a subwoofer. I would be a little leary of using these speakers as fronts without a subwoofer. My wife commented as to how much better the sound was at low to mid volume than the Bose Cinemate. With the Bose we had a hard time hearing conversations in shows or movies without really cranking up the volume. I immediately noticed the difference with the newer system as soon as we started watching TV.

The lack of digital input options on the Bose (unless you live in Japan, the Cinemate in Japan has a digital optical input) is really frustrating, and the fact that there are no sperate audio controls make no sense on a system that costs $500.

So far, I am very happy with my purchase. This is a sub $300 system which is going to sound much better than most HTIB options and will allow for flexibility in the future.
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post #5 of 12 Old 01-18-2007, 11:32 AM
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ack_bk,
How many M10's do you have hooked up the TX-SR304S?
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post #6 of 12 Old 01-18-2007, 12:13 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by astropuppy View Post

ack_bk,
How many M10's do you have hooked up the TX-SR304S?

Only 2. We are only 5-6 feet away from the TV so we get great sound from the M10's. I have a full fledged HT system downstairs in our media room and my wife did not want speakers all over our living room. So, a pair of Polks and a subwoofer was all I was allowed

If I cannot get the deal on the RBH 4c bookshelves I am working through a friend, then I am seriously considering saving up for some Orbit Audio speakers and either using the Polk's somwhere else or selling them. Don't get me wrong, I love the M10's, but I am leaning towards something a little smaller. I am also considering some middys...
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post #7 of 12 Old 01-20-2007, 10:51 AM
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Thanks ack_bk.

I'm trying to simplify our family room setup because of button pushing kids. Not sure if I want to pop for a surround bar type deal or just run a couple small book shelve speakers. I'm seriously considering buy a Denon receiver and just running two speakers and a sub and calling it good.
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post #8 of 12 Old 01-21-2007, 07:06 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by astropuppy View Post

Thanks ack_bk.

I'm trying to simplify our family room setup because of button pushing kids. Not sure if I want to pop for a surround bar type deal or just run a couple small book shelve speakers. I'm seriously considering buy a Denon receiver and just running two speakers and a sub and calling it good.

My advice is to get the Denon and some decent bookshelves (Polk, Athena, etc) and a sub.

Most of the smaller bookshelf speakers can easily be wall mounted if you want.
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post #9 of 12 Old 01-21-2007, 12:25 PM
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Ya know I think your right. I already have speakers and a sub. Tooled though CC last night in search of a open box special. All I found was a bunch of sony's and a thrash surround bar. The only reason I was thinking Denon was for its virtual surround doby feature. If anybody knows of any other receivers with virtual doby, I'm all ears.
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post #10 of 12 Old 10-31-2007, 08:04 AM
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Hey ack_bk,

I'm a little naive about Home Theatre systems. What happens if you hook up only 2 M10s and a Sub to a Receiver designed for 5.1? Do you lose the centre and rear sounds or do they get blended?
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post #11 of 12 Old 11-02-2007, 04:18 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ack_bk View Post

The lack of digital input options on the Bose (unless you live in Japan, the Cinemate in Japan has a digital optical input) is really frustrating

WTF!!! How is it that they make a system now a days with no digital input and call it a home theater system? And why is it that the Japanese version does have one?
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post #12 of 12 Old 11-04-2007, 07:56 AM
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The BOSE Cinemate was previously sold as the Freestyle system. Under the old name it was marketed mainly to gamers. Interestingly enough, the Freestyle system had an optical and a coaxial connection for digital audio (in addition to the RCA analog inputs).

A year or two after the Freestyle was discontinued (due to lack of sales), BOSE brought the Freestyle back under the Cinemate name, having eliminated the digital inputs altogether. BOSE likes to tout the system's TrueSpace digital processing circuitry (which the Freestyle also had) that supposedly emulates a surround-sound effect. But the question remains unanswered: Wouldn't this circuitry function more effectively if it had access to the 5.1 digital audio track, as opposed to 2 channels of analog audio?

It is also noteworthy that the Cinemate costs $500, the same amount as the Freestyle system was sold for; and yet the Cinemate has less versatility than its predecessor. Not to mention that BOSE doesn't have to mess with Dolby and/or DTS decoders.
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