Why the criticism of Bose? - AVS Forum | Home Theater Discussions And Reviews
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post #1 of 496 Old 06-24-2015, 05:50 AM - Thread Starter
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Why the criticism of Bose?

I read a lot of statements saying that Bose speakers are inferior for their price and their popularity is only due to marketing, but I haven't read a concise account of their audio shortcomings.

My questions are what are their product's audio profile, what are the shortcomings, and how do these shortcomings compare to other products in their price point?

Thanks.
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post #2 of 496 Old 06-24-2015, 05:55 AM
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Do you know how to use the search feature or Google?

https://www.google.com/search?q=site....com+bose+hate
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post #3 of 496 Old 06-24-2015, 06:20 AM
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-Lots of companies sell small "form factor" speakers with small drivers. Those will be limited in their ability to produce a decent range or volume. Bose further "complicates" by having no tweeter. Last but not least, many Bose systems uses the bass module, which is upper midbass only and CANNOT be confused with even a crappy subwoofer...however, most companies who produce limited small form factor speakers are cheaper than Bose and sound as good or better (especially if they have a tweeter).
-Bose DOES NOT use expensive drivers in their speakers.
-Bose advertises a lot of junk science- Twidller technology, Truespace signal processing and etc, etc, that has no basis in science for any audio improvements.
-Bose refuses to allow professional publications to do reviews, assumable becuase they know they won't make Bose look good. I was told by one Bose rep, when I simply asked what size and configuration of drivers were in the Bose Cinemate soundbar "why does it matter, as long as it sounds good"!

In a nut shell, the bang doesn't equal the buck...

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post #4 of 496 Old 06-24-2015, 06:26 AM
 
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^Well said..


(I was just gonna reply with bose sucks, that's why)
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post #5 of 496 Old 06-24-2015, 06:38 AM
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No highs, no lows, must be Bose.

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post #6 of 496 Old 06-24-2015, 06:43 AM
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Blose

Even more disturbing is that per dealer agreement they MUST be kept separated from the other components or at least that was a requirement.


Translation-If you compare our speakers we lose

I know it sounds great and looks great.....but can we communicate with it? If not it is useless:)
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post #7 of 496 Old 06-24-2015, 08:04 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DE Theater Room View Post
I haven't read a concise account of their audio shortcomings.
http://web.archive.org/web/201301210....net/bose.html
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post #8 of 496 Old 06-24-2015, 08:52 AM
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While I won't TOTALLY bash Bose, because they do make some pretty enjoyable consumer products like their little bluetooth speaker, I will say that on the home theater front, I can't support them due to the extremely poor value they offer when compared to other products.

Even the dirt cheap Monoprice 5.1 speaker set absolutely smokes the microcube speaker packages that Bose sells for much, much more.

What they HAVE succeeded in is total brand recognition. Everybody knows the name. They've become the Apple of the audio world, except with even less value. As an installer, it just makes me sick to see the amount of Bose products that I do around town. Not because it's Bose necessarily, but rather because I know the customer got totally ripped off and I could have set them up with something far superior for a fraction of the cost. I look out for my customers like that.

The sad truth is that people overwhelmingly are easily persuaded by good marketing, which is something that Bose is exceedingly good at.
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post #9 of 496 Old 06-24-2015, 09:01 AM
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you just cant turn up the volume without blowing something with bose. they ok at low/mid listening levels. I would use bose in a bedroom or office if given to me.
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post #10 of 496 Old 06-24-2015, 09:07 AM
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Bose is like a cross between a massive marketing scam and a cult.

(That said, their noise-cancelling technology isn't bad and their BT speakers are okayish.)
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post #11 of 496 Old 06-24-2015, 09:13 AM
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Bose = B S
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post #12 of 496 Old 06-24-2015, 09:44 AM
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I think the enmity towards Bose dates back to the introduction of the 901.

Bose burst on the scene in the late Sixties with the 901 Direct/Reflect system. Like it or not, it was a substantially different approach to sound representation. Instead of big clunky floor-standing boxes, you had these elegant little angled cabinets placed on an appealing pedestal which, owing to their ostensibly "backwards" orientation, sprayed most of their radiation away from the listeners and all over the wall behind them. A true Wall Of Sound, unlike anything else.

The 901 further annoyed the traditionalists with its bundled equalizer module -- (JBL M2, anyone?) -- which rather drastically altered the input to the power amplifier so as to produce, in conjunction with the vague reflective properties of the rear wall, a more or less even response across most of the spectrum. The 20 dB bass boost required was seen as something of a cheat to produce phony bass, but the 901's power-hungry nature was to be met by the fortuitous debut of the Crown DC300 -- the first true high-power solid-state amplifier -- which further rubbed salt in the perceived wound.

And despite several innovations -- one of the first digital powered pro speakers, noise-cancelling headphones -- that image among aficionados of utilizing modest transducers as a "cheat" to fetch premium prices has not just endured, it has become something of an enigma.
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post #13 of 496 Old 06-24-2015, 10:11 AM
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Besides the reasons listed above a big beef I have is Dr Bose's exploitation of graduate students back in the early days at MIT. Grad students deserve to share in the profits generated by their research when their major profs spin off from academia into commercial ventures based on the lab results. True that the PI brings in the money and runs the lab, but many ideas and advancements come directly from the brains of the grad students (if not they should never receive a PhD).
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post #14 of 496 Old 06-24-2015, 10:46 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PrimeTime View Post
I think the enmity towards Bose dates back to the introduction of the 901.

Bose burst on the scene in the late Sixties with the 901 Direct/Reflect system. Like it or not, it was a substantially different approach to sound representation. Instead of big clunky floor-standing boxes, you had these elegant little angled cabinets placed on an appealing pedestal which, owing to their ostensibly "backwards" orientation, sprayed most of their radiation away from the listeners and all over the wall behind them. A true Wall Of Sound, unlike anything else.

The 901 further annoyed the traditionalists with its bundled equalizer module -- (JBL M2, anyone?) -- which rather drastically altered the input to the power amplifier so as to produce, in conjunction with the vague reflective properties of the rear wall, a more or less even response across most of the spectrum. The 20 dB bass boost required was seen as something of a cheat to produce phony bass, but the 901's power-hungry nature was to be met by the fortuitous debut of the Crown DC300 -- the first true high-power solid-state amplifier -- which further rubbed salt in the perceived wound.

And despite several innovations -- one of the first digital powered pro speakers, noise-cancelling headphones -- that image among aficionados of utilizing modest transducers as a "cheat" to fetch premium prices has not just endured, it has become something of an enigma.
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.

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post #15 of 496 Old 06-24-2015, 10:57 AM
 
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I had 901s back in the late 80s. I actually enjoyed them. I traded them for JBL XPL-200s, which were a lot better but I always thought the 901s were good. Most of my Army buddies really liked them too. But then again, we thought Miller Genuine Draft was a premium beer

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post #16 of 496 Old 06-24-2015, 11:30 AM
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I don't like to bash Bose simply because most people who buy them are happy with them. They look neat and as bad as they sound, they're a big improvement over most TV speakers. You can't blame Bose for filling a market need. People who want a surround sound system and care more about appearances than fidelity.
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post #17 of 496 Old 06-24-2015, 11:31 AM
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A lot of good points in this thread and surprisingly even-handed. (Bose is a touchstone that really sets folks off.) I think they are ok for nearfield non-critical listening, which is what I use their computer speakers for. I say non-critical because Bose deliberately delivers heavily modified sound from whatever you are playing back, thus they cannot be considered high fidelity.

What Bose is good at is recognizing that John Q Public doesn't actually like flat speaker response. They use a smiley face equalization that emphasizes sound toward either end of the spectrum and deemphasizes midrange. Now their drivers are limited so that you don't get the really deep bass or the really high highs since they have an inexplicable hate for the tweeter.

What you get is a bass cube (they truthfully do not even attempt to call it a subwoofer) and several compromised small cubes which are the perfect size to not be particularly good at midrange or high reproduction. These would sound terrible except that Bose applies their proprietary equalization on them so that they produce a good "warm and dramatic" Bose signature sound, or at least they do when you are up close in one of the sweet spots in a Bose demo booth. That sweet sound can't reliably be produced loudly enough for a large room with such compromised speaker designs so it tends to break up in a large family room environment (ironically, the market what they are selling these products for.)

There's a lot to like about the signature Bose sound, especially if you're not in the market for true high fidelity. They sell you pleasing sounds in the upper bass quadrant and roll off nice and easy around 7kz. If you want that sound, however, you could reproduce it with inexpensive speakers from many other makers and add a graphic equalizer set so it looks like a smile and you'll get results that will probably hold together as well or better than Bose in a larger room.

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post #18 of 496 Old 06-24-2015, 11:35 AM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Stereodude View Post
Do you know how to use the search feature or Google?

https://www.google.com/search?q=site....com+bose+hate
Well, sure I can search just as well as you, but what you pulled up in your search was the same non descriptive complaints about BOSE being inferior for their price without specifying how they were inferior.

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post #19 of 496 Old 06-24-2015, 11:36 AM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Bill Fitzmaurice View Post
Excellent reading! Thanks for sharing that as it was the kind of explanation that I was looking for!

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post #20 of 496 Old 06-24-2015, 11:43 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by billqs View Post
A lot of good points in this thread and surprisingly even-handed. (Bose is a touchstone that really sets folks off.) I think they are ok for nearfield non-critical listening, which is what I use their computer speakers for. I say non-critical because Bose deliberately delivers heavily modified sound from whatever you are playing back, thus they cannot be considered high fidelity.

What Bose is good at is recognizing that John Q Public doesn't actually like flat speaker response. They use a smiley face equalization that emphasizes sound toward either end of the spectrum and deemphasizes midrange. Now their drivers are limited so that you don't get the really deep bass or the really high highs since they have an inexplicable hate for the tweeter.

What you get is a bass cube (they truthfully do not even attempt to call it a subwoofer) and several compromised small cubes which are the perfect size to not be particularly good at midrange or high reproduction. These would sound terrible except that Bose applies their proprietary equalization on them so that they produce a good "warm and dramatic" Bose signature sound, or at least they do when you are up close in one of the sweet spots in a Bose demo booth. That sweet sound can't reliably be produced loudly enough for a large room with such compromised speaker designs so it tends to break up in a large family room environment (ironically, the market what they are selling these products for.)

There's a lot to like about the signature Bose sound, especially if you're not in the market for true high fidelity. They sell you pleasing sounds in the upper bass quadrant and roll off nice and easy around 7kz. If you want that sound, however, you could reproduce it with inexpensive speakers from many other makers and add a graphic equalizer set so it looks like a smile and you'll get results that will probably hold together as well or better than Bose in a larger room.
Thanks for that explanation. I now see the point of contention is the smile vs the flat speaker response, combined with the limited output and overpriced equipment.

I liked your point that you could replicate their sound with cheaper equipment and a equalizer. You also suggests that you could do so and build a system for a large room, if the smile was what you were after.

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post #21 of 496 Old 06-24-2015, 11:46 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dsrussell View Post
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.
I appreciate the history lesson, I didn't realize Bose was around for that long as the first I remember hearing about them was advertising for their wave radio in the early '90s.

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post #22 of 496 Old 06-24-2015, 12:19 PM
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..they have an inexplicable hate for the tweeter...
Not inexplicable. Adding a tweeter and crossover costs money.
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post #23 of 496 Old 06-24-2015, 12:31 PM
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I appreciate the history lesson, I didn't realize Bose was around for that long as the first I remember hearing about them was advertising for their wave radio in the early '90s.
Oh yeah... I'd forgotten about the $800 clock radio.
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post #24 of 496 Old 06-24-2015, 12:48 PM
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I've got some family members who think Bose is the height of great audio. Frankly, for a lot of people it'll do the job and they will be very happy with it. My issue with them is the way they run their business. It's actually brilliant in a lot of ways, because they are actually using a higher price to convince people that it is a superior product. They are essentially saying, "look at what we charge, it's expensive so it must be great." The audio really isn't as terrible as people make it out to be, the problem rather is that the audio is terrible when compared to other speakers in the same price range. There is a need for good, cheap, sound systems out there. I've have times over the years where I would have liked a solid option that cost me under $200-$300. If Bose shot for that market (best speakers under $300) I think they would get a lot less criticism and would actually be a pretty decent choice. Instead they continue to masquerade as a high end company with their prices, when their products are clearly inferior to essentially everything else in the price range.

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post #26 of 496 Old 06-24-2015, 12:58 PM - Thread Starter
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I've got some family members who think Bose is the height of great audio. Frankly, for a lot of people it'll do the job and they will be very happy with it. My issue with them is the way they run their business. It's actually brilliant in a lot of ways, because they are actually using a higher price to convince people that it is a superior product. They are essentially saying, "look at what we charge, it's expensive so it must be great." The audio really isn't as terrible as people make it out to be, the problem rather is that the audio is terrible when compared to other speakers in the same price range. There is a need for good, cheap, sound systems out there. I've have times over the years where I would have liked a solid option that cost me under $200-$300. If Bose shot for that market (best speakers under $300) I think they would get a lot less criticism and would actually be a pretty decent choice. Instead they continue to masquerade as a high end company with their prices, when their products are clearly inferior to essentially everything else in the price range.
I can certainly understand if they are marketing their "sound," which appears to be high dB output at the 2 kHz -4 kHz (on the low end) and 12khz -15 kHz (on the high end), and using cheap speakers to produce that. One thing seems for sure is they do produce a unique sound and it is very plesent to many people.

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post #27 of 496 Old 06-24-2015, 01:07 PM
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Do Bose suck? Yes they do, but you'd be surprised how bad other products are within their category.

The Bose BT speaker isn't great, until you compare it to other BT speakers of the same category and how bad they are.

The Bose soundbars don't sound great either, until you compare it to the absolute junk of sound bars other brands are making.

Bose do not sound good, not even close, compared to proper bookshelf/floorstanding speakers. But however, if you compare them to other products in their category, like Bose BT speakers vs other BT speakers, or Bose soundbars vs other soundbars, the Bose is actually often the far superior product. People just don't realize how *extra* crappy Samsung soundbars or Philips HTIBs are, for example

I wrote a bit more about it here.

https://www.avsforum.com/forum/89-spe...ng-better.html
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post #28 of 496 Old 06-24-2015, 01:13 PM
 
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Bose charge £2500 for their lifestyle system.

I could put together a system for a quarter of the price, and have superior sound, built and component quality.
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post #29 of 496 Old 06-24-2015, 01:17 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DE Theater Room View Post
I liked your point that you could replicate their sound with cheaper equipment and a equalizer. You also suggests that you could do so and build a system for a large room, if the smile was what you were after.
Actually...the so-called Smiley Curve was one of the supposedly distinguishing characteristics of what was called "The West Coast Sound" at the time, from some rather brilliant ads placed by Rectilinear.

As far as replicating the Bose 901-type sound, I think the Direct/Reflect aspect is more significant than the actual frequency response, which really can't be pinned down as it is intimately related with the wall acoustics, of course. I mentioned this in another thread, but here is an interesting approach that was mentioned by JBL way back when the 901 was happening. They took a 2356 (I think that's the model) long-throw horn with a 2480 (or similar) on it and set the CD on its back, pointing vertically. The idea was to spray sound up into the room omnidirectionally; they called it "The Flower Pot."

I did something like that around that same time, but more along the lines of the 901 concept. The "direct" part of this system was a pair of standard (2205) woofers in 6 cu ft reflexes up against a wall, with EV T35 tweeters on top, aimed towards the listeners. The "reflect" part was a pair of 2480s on long-throw horns, sitting on the floor next to the bass cabs, pointing vertically up against that wall. Now that was an interesting sound -- kind of like a 901 with lows, highs and balls!

Last edited by PrimeTime; 06-24-2015 at 01:30 PM.
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post #30 of 496 Old 06-24-2015, 03:28 PM
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They always sounded midrangey to me, and never sounded like actual live music. Just gimmicky. My experience is more with Khorns, Magnepans, B&W, and Infinity.
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