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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hey,

My mother bought a new pair of Bose 161 speakers and a used Kenwood VR-407 receiver to power it.

The receiver is putting out 100 watts and the speakers are rated for 1 to 100 watts. The problem is that they sound like a pair of $14 computer speakers, not a pair of $150 speakers. I wasn't expecting them to sound as good as my Polk speakers, but man, they are bad. No bass, which was expected but the mids and highs are weak and crappy sounding.

I just assumed that they were crap speakers and that was the end of it but all I see are good reviews for them. Amazon gives them a 4.3/5 from 285 reviews. Same on B&H and other websites.

What am I missing?
 

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all I see are good reviews for them. Amazon gives them a 4.3/5 from 285 reviews. Same on B&H and other websites.
What am I missing?
The reviewers never heard a good speaker. You have.
 

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Those speakers each contain one 2.5" full range driver. What can you expect from them? Might be good for background music but certainly not critical listening. If you want a small, good sounding, cheap speaker that actually has a little bass, pick up a pair of Realistic Minimus 7's (or any of the later variations of them) off eBay.
 

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Hey,

My mother bought a new pair of Bose 161 speakers and a used Kenwood VR-407 receiver to power it.

The receiver is putting out 100 watts and the speakers are rated for 1 to 100 watts. The problem is that they sound like a pair of $14 computer speakers, not a pair of $150 speakers. I wasn't expecting them to sound as good as my Polk speakers, but man, they are bad. No bass, which was expected but the mids and highs are weak and crappy sounding.

I just assumed that they were crap speakers and that was the end of it but all I see are good reviews for them. Amazon gives them a 4.3/5 from 285 reviews. Same on B&H and other websites.

What am I missing?
Welcome to the cold hard reality of the massive and diabolically lucrative marketing scam a.k.a. BOSE. :)

Consumer reviews are 50/50, sometimes they are helpful and other times they are comically bogus. With Bose products, there is a confluence of 2 factors: breathless newbies upgrading from boomboxes or their TV's lousy built-in speakers who've never been exposed to half-decent REAL speakers but want to reassure themselves that they haven't been duped into blowing a lot of money on overhyped junk products, and also Bose shills manipulating the purposefully-easy-to-game Amazon review system. Google up "reputation management industry" for details.
 

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Give those speakers a try on some other receiver. The Kenwood may be partially to blame - and I'm not trying to defend Bose - they are what they are so I'm not going to cover old ground.

The VR-407 is probably 10+ years old. My sister & BIL had a Kenwood VR-605 (2000-2001?) with some decent but huge and quite old three way bookshelf speakers but the combo never quite sounded 'right' at low listening levels. We inserted my bedroom setup's Sony STRD-1015 receiver and all three of us immediately noted the better sound quality at quiet loud & louder and stupid loud. Those poor speakers should have died 10x over! The Sony weighed (going on memory here) about 40# - about 2x or more than the Kenwood did. The Kenwood was 5.1 and quite light. I suspect Kenwood used chip amps in those receivers.
 

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Give those speakers a try on some other receiver. The Kenwood may be partially to blame - and I'm not trying to defend Bose - they are what they are so I'm not going to cover old ground.

The VR-407 is probably 10+ years old. My sister & BIL had a Kenwood VR-605 (2000-2001?) with some decent but huge and quite old three way bookshelf speakers but the combo never quite sounded 'right' at low listening levels. We inserted my bedroom setup's Sony STRD-1015 receiver and all three of us immediately noted the better sound quality at quiet loud & louder and stupid loud. Those poor speakers should have died 10x over! The Sony weighed (going on memory here) about 40# - about 2x or more than the Kenwood did. The Kenwood was 5.1 and quite light. I suspect Kenwood used chip amps in those receivers.
Good point, I think back in the 70s and 80s Kenwood receivers were still pretty good, but by the 90s and 00s they had already gone downhill quick.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Thank you for the replies. This place is pretty cool. I am going to have her return the Bose either way, but I am going to bring over my receiver and see how it does.

Also, I attended an event a few months ago and noted that their PA sounded link crap. After it was over I got close to the stage to see was it was... Bose. Seems like their pro stuff sucks too.

Thanks again!
 

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There is a good reason Bose never list any specs on their grossly overpriced equipment. If people knew the truth no one would buy them.
The best move is to return them and use the funds on something much better.
 

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There is an acronym that has floated around for years - BOSE actually means Buy Other Sound Equipment.
 
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