Originally Posted by dsrussell
Excellent analysis, PrimeTime! I purchased a pair of 901s Series II back in the early 70s. But to get the sound I was after, I had to hang them from the ceilings, had an audio friend with a pink noise generator, and drilled numerous holes in my ceiling until I and the print out graph were happy (I could never get them to sound good on pedestals). I bought a McIntosh 200 watt amp to “help” drive them when I found out my Pioneer integrated amp cried (the 901s sucked up power like a vacuum cleaner sucks up dirt … I could have used 1 kilowatt/channel). My audio friend sold Bose at his high-end store, but didn’t like them. Once they were properly setup, he ask if he could bring potential clients to my home for auditions.
Long story short, I actually enjoyed them for over two decades. They did indeed present a whole wall of sound and its bass capabilities were surprising. They were a great speaker for parties and dancing (I use to have a lot of parties at my house). For critical listening, there were positives and negatives. Unfortunately, this type of sound is difficult to quantify with specs, and publications hammered them. Bose, in its idiot wisdom, decided not to publish specs from that time forward. Dr. Bose was very forward-thinking in an audio world filled with static, textbook designs of the time, making him and his designs very controversial.
Fast forward to today: they are known for their marketing genius only. And the price per sound ratio (bang-for-buck) has diminished for decades, to the point it’s almost non-existent. I wouldn’t own Bose today. I could have received 60 % off for a new pair of 901s by sending them my old pair (the surrounds of my pair were piled up in the bottom of the cabinet). I decided wisely to go in a new direction. But the truth is, Bose influenced my current speaker selection because of that huge soundstage. People today hate everything Bose, and probably rightfully so. All I can say is that there was a time when Bose actually had some good sounding speakers that didn’t cost an arm and a leg.
Way back in the last century (mid 80's), when I was looking at new speakers, it came down to the Bose 901s or Klipsch Cornwalls. I choose the Cornwalls, but I can still remember how impressed I was with the 901s, and I do remember that "wall of sound." I have thought many times "should I have bought the 901s?" I can't answer that question even today except to say that I still have the Cornwalls, and I was able to keep adding to my speaker collection using Klipschs. Had I bought the 901s, I am not convinced that I would have kept the 901s, and I don't know if they would have transitioned into home theater.
I bought a Bose cd/radio for the kitchen; the sound is impressive. I have listened to many Bose systems in retail establishments and homes. The good news is they do not take up as much territory as the system I have built; my wife would probably prefer Bose. In addition, the Bose systems sound pretty good. I don't know how to compare the Bose systems to other products. Others have done a good job on that score in this thread.
A Bose system would not satisfy my audio appetite for a number of reasons; some of which have nothing to do with quality sound. I like to tinker with my stuff, and when one buys a complete system in a box, it is hard to change the configuration once it has been installed. Without going into too much detail, I am not crazy about the Bose sound. It sounds over processed to me. I know that is just my ears speaking. I have friends who love their Bose systems, and their wives agree.
If I were to install a sound system in my bedroom, or any small room, I might choose Bose. Those little tiny speakers still put out a great "wall of sound".