Ok getting into this new hobby although i've been reading here for over 2 years and other sites and i have lots of personal experience with sound equipment(like all of you i'm sure) working in the worst audition place Best buy.
I heard plenty of Bose speakers/full systems, and listened to many customers talk about bose(either love them or hate them) and from what i noticed the ones who love them are the ones who haven't experienced other speakers much or only listened to HTIB systems or Sony bookshelf speakers or worse they have that friend who swears by bose. The ones who hate them have much more expensive speakers(or bigger speakers) or just have horrible ways to explain why they hate them they say 'because it sucks" "because their small" the only good reason is because they have bad price/performance.
Anyways let me start by saying you can do much worse(basically any HTIB) than bose for example at our store they are still up there(in the top 5) but they can't stand a hair to Polk, Klipsch or even Pioneer. We know this at best buy we also know Bose pays extra to keep their systems away from the others. What they don't know is i try everything to have the customers hear all the systems and tell them sound is subjective and use an analogy.
From what i experienced Bose is really good at emulating surround sound from 2 speakers and they use the same technology in all speakers and for some customers this sounds great and that fake sound even sounds decent to me. But Bose blows in one huge aspect and that is frequency response and realism, i took home the speakers once and used a frequency test those Bose cubes gave out at around 270 hz and only went to 13,000khz(no tweeter wow). Now the Sub goes to around 250 hz to around 55 hz, That's a huge issue not to mention most AVRs only go to 200 hz on the Xover which means you could send information to it that is bad and you would have a major gap in frequency and that is where the voices are.
From a small speaker standpoint i can't recommend Polk enough when it comes to their TL1,2,3 series it's amazing and has a decent frequency response to around 100 hz(starts to lose its punch slowly around 120 hz and ends completely at 90 hz). Now from a high-end frequency standpoint they sound great to around 18,000khz. With their Ring tweeter even going above 20,000hz..
Now i also tell them to only pick small speakers if they have to(wife, size of room) From a Price performance perspective Pioneer is selling fast at our store with their 5.1 setup costing the same as Bose's 2.1 system let alone their 5.1.
Not only that but Bose is just horrible with music even their Bose 301's(best product they made in 10 years IMHO) are nothing to brag about.