Originally Posted by Dave in Green
Thank you for taking the time to help explain the points you were trying to make. I understand much better now and don't disagree with the points you made in your further explanation. There's a tendency among some to deify or demonize Bose in these discussions. A more balanced view acknowledges that over the years they've made positive contributions to the AV industry while pointing out that their current philosophy on speakers is questionable, especially when compared with the scientific work on acoustics and psychoacoustics that Dr. Floyd Toole began at Canada's NRC in 1965, just one year after Dr. Amar Bose founded his company.
While it's understandable that some might be attracted to the Bose sound, it's also true that Bose actively discouraged A/B testing of their speakers against others. Bose first set requirements that audio stores selling their speakers must have a separate listening room for Bose speakers and then opened their own company stores with only Bose products. If Bose speakers truly outperformed other brands in A/B testing one would have expected Bose would have welcomed those comparisons instead of discouraging them. It could be deduced that the magic of Bose psychoacoustics works best when not directly compared with the competition.
It's a real challenge to accept both the Bose concept of psychoacoustics and the results of research pioneered by Dr. Toole, which heavily featured A/B comparisons. The audio industry has largely cast its votes in favor of the research pioneered by Dr. Toole. The one area where Dr. Bose certainly came out on top was in personal wealth as he became a billionaire on the basis of marketing the Bose sound.
While I'm not aware of Bose discouraging A/B comparison, stores where I've lived that carried Bose would do comparisons without hesitation.
I can under stand a separate room for setup as Bose was dependent on room reflections for their sound and even advertised as a Direct Reflecting Speaker System. I don't see this a a unique requirement as Ivor Tiefenbrun of Linn made the same demands of his dealers. Has to do with a wall of speakers and sympathetic vibrations of dormant drivers coloring sound during the demo. My local high end shop has four rooms off the main area. The rooms are for display and storage where product can be initially demonstrated. The fourth room is used to narrow one's choice where the room is fully treated and one set or an A/B set up with your choice of electronics can be listened to in isolation. They also can conduct ABX comparisons in the same room.
Most really good shops will have a similar demo room and or encourage you to take the units home ant try them.
And yes, Bose opened company stores where they could control and optimize the demonstration environment as they saw it. They were maybe internet direct before the internet. Kind of smart if you think about it.
You get to believe what you like, but I'm not so sure about the voting and the challenge to accept thing...
The entire Harmon International group which consists of AKG, AMX, Arcam, Becker, BSS Audio, Crown International, dbx, DigiTech, HardWire, HiQnet, harmon/kardon, Infinity, JBL, Lexicon, Mark Levinson, Martin Professional, Revel, Selenium, S1nn GmbH & Co., Soundcraft, Studer, and HALOsonic with ~26,000 employees was just sold to Samsung in 2017 for $8 billlion.
The Bose Corporation with ~8000 employees reported fiscal 2017 earnings of $3.8 billion or close to half of the Harmon selling price which encompasses some 22 high profile brands, some of who have also made significant contributions including Dr. Toole as a former employee.
I just don't think you can sustain a business for 55+ years, keep it private, and generate those kind of numbers and be so far out of step with reality as many suggest with regards to Bose. Like them or not, they don't have investors to prop them up and they seem to do ok.
Again, I'm not claiming that Bose made perfect speaker, just that they developed some remarkable technology and it's difficult to argue with their success.