how to connect bose 901 with denon 3803 [Archive] - Audio & Video Forums


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03-26-2004, 02:22 AM
i had a denon 3803 , recently i got bose 901 ( wanted one since i was
a kid , great marketing ) now these 901's have a equaliser , without which they sound as bad as a 10 usd speaker , so to use this equaliser i have to use analog mode ( as the dvd is connected to them by rc cable ,and they to dvd in on the receiver , the optical goes straight to the receiver ) in case of music i have no problem in using analog , but once i put a dvd i want to switch to dts , at which time the equaliser gets cut out , giving me rubbish sound on my front speakers , bose suggests to use pre amp out and main amp in , but i cannot find main amp in , also during analog play all my speakers get driven by the equaliser . so if someone has an idea pls help me .

03-26-2004, 02:42 AM
You are using the only option you have. That's about as good as it gets nowadays. Not to bash bose, but that equalizer makes these speakers a bad choice for most HT systems. Unless you use a separate power amp for the front speakers, you're screwed.

This equalizer/speaker set was designed in the old days of analog two channel receivers and worked great thru tape monitor loops or External Processor loops (EPL) and between preamps and power amps.

03-26-2004, 03:10 AM
thanks , should have joined this forum before buyin the speakers , i even tried
using pre amp out , and ext in but did not work , funny thing is bose shows in their catalogue that ht set up is possible , as they say a fool and his money are soon parted ..........

03-26-2004, 03:19 AM
FWIW, Bose isn't held in the highest regards by many of us here and the product itself is the least of our complaints.

It's their misleading advertising and marketing to the technically ignorant and status suceptable that riles us mostly. FWIW, don't taks that as a slam. I 'd say you are in the first category, not the second and third. You did your homework but they misled you.

Anyhow, that's a a fine receiver you have. Welcome to the machine...

BTW, if you ever choose to go to a separate two channel system, you will probably be able to utilize those 901's to their fullest.

03-26-2004, 04:39 AM
should have gone for the kef , or pro logix ( local company ) but i think the marketing did it , since childhood one has grown on stories of bose 901 ..... it sucks in india we do not have return policy , thats a good usd 2000 down .....`though music sounds awesome , last nite i slept at 3 , ........

03-26-2004, 04:47 AM
Here we go again. We have our on schedule flame war started abuout tubes versus solid state on the amp/preamp board, and now we have the everybody hates Bose flame war on this board. I guess it's that time of the month.

For some reason, when many audiophiles hear the word Bose, it's just like when the full moon comes out over Larry Talbot. Their bodies get covered with hair, their teeth grow into fangs, and their fingernails and toe nails become claws. They get an insatiable lust to kill all four inch drivers they encounter. Any objective discussion of Bose in general and Bose 901 in particular becomes impossible. And pointing out that this is one of the most successful, widely sought after, longest running products in history is like waving a red flag in front of a bull. It just gets them angrier.

Bose 901 is what it is. It is merely an inanimate object which some people like and others don't. Then why does it arouse so many passions? Most of the people who speak about them have never owned a pair and have only heard it on rare occasion. Among the many loudspekers I own, the original Bose 901 is one of them so at least I can be objective.

Bose 901 is NOT an audiophile loudspeaker by today's standards. It costs as much and more than many loudspeakers admired by many audiophiles so for them it is a very bad choice. In 1968 about the year it was introduced in its original form, it was by the standards of that day, an audiophile speaker. But it evolved along different lines which sought to improve and maximize profits rather than performance. Compared to the original, today's version (starting with series 3) cannot produce the extreme bass it once did when sufficient power was made available. With a well designed amplifier of 300 watts per channel, the original could outperform the bass response of every other speaker of its time within it loudness limitations. It cannot equal the treble response of todays audiophile speakers IMO because of the high inertia of its four inch drivers. Published performance specifications are non existant because they would be meaningless in any sense. Because this speaker depends to a far greater extent than any other loudspeaker system for its performance and for creating the special effect for which it was designed, on the room it is placed in and the way it is positioned in that room, most installations have one or more serious shortcomings which compromise the capabilities it does have. Even the installation in Bose's own showroom at a shopping mall near me does not show the full capabilities of the system.

Regardless of whether you like the sound of this speaker or not, my judgement of the quality of manufacture of the unit I own is that it was built to very high quality standards and shows no signs of deterioration after 35 years of ownership including several years of storage in unconditioned space. It has many precision parts. The equalizer is critical to the design and talking about using the system without it is like talking about driving a racecar without a transmission. It won't perform properly.

Setting up a Home Theater using Bose 901 requires careful planning and an understanding of the requirements of the loudspeaker. It is no one's fault except your own if you failed to do this. Would you blame a phonograph cartridge manufacturer if you bought a moving coil cartridge without knowing that you need a preamplifier that has an extra gain stage to use it and yours doesn't have one?

OK, now we will see the flames shooting from everywhere. Bring on the Bose haters. Dr. Bose doesn't care. He's laughing all the way to the bank. I feel the same way about most of your favorite celebrities, sports heroes, and musicians. As I see it, they made their millions without having offered anything of any value in return as well.

03-26-2004, 05:11 AM
i dont say bose is bad speaker , in fact i tried a lot of them , including b& w
nautilius , bose sounds much better, but the problem is while using optical , bose should have put the damn equaliser in the speaker itself , i am miffed only because the guy at the bose store knew that i am going to hook up the bose 901 to ht also denon has a pre amp out , and ext in , its just that i do not know how to hook the damn thing , but this is the most passionate debate to bose or not too , i reserve my comment for the next 6 months

03-26-2004, 05:40 AM
To get Bose 901 to operate properly, the equalizer MUST be in the signal path. you have several options. If you don't have a preamp output, you can insert it in the tape monitor loop and switch your receiver to tape monitor. If there is a signal processor loop in your receiver, you can use that instead. The signal going to other speakers in an HT system such as the rear speakers or an outboard sub MUST NEVER be in the equalizer's signal path. If you make this mistake, not only won't they work properly but you risk damaging them and possibly even the receiver output stage. The equalizer from one Bose 901 series CANNOT be used in conjunction with the 901 speakers from another. They would provide the wrong equalization curve.

Bose 901 requires an adjustable gain stage ahead of the equalizer (preamp stage with a volume control) and a power amp after the equalizer. Short of selling you another amplifier, the 901 equalizer cannot be built into the speaker.

The use of equalization, nontechnical audiophile preconceptions and myths notwithstanding, is one of the most widely used and accepted techniques of analog audio signal processing among electrical engineers. What are some of the commonly used electronic devices employing equalization? Vinyl long playing phonograph records get huge treble boost and bass cuts on recording and complimentary equalization on playback. This is called the RIAA curve. Similarly, analog tape uses the identical technique called the NAB curve. FM radio uses it as well. And so do many circuits in a television set. It is the precision and suitability of the equalization circuit which determines its success or failure and in the case of the Bose 901 equalizer, this requirement has been recognized and met.

The use of 901 equalizer and the performance of the 901 speaker system without it is NOT a shortcoming of the speakers. They are designed to work together and ONLY together. Either one without the other is useless, as useless as any other speaker system without its enclosure or crossover network. It is unfortunate that you did not understand this before you bought the speakers. You now have several options. You can try to return them or sell them used. You can use them in a separate two channel system. Or you can redesign your HT system with another receiver or combination of components which are more suitable for use with Bose 901. Any way you look at it, your failure to understand the special requirements of this speaker before you bought them will cost you money. Consider it a good lesson in how to be a better consumer.

03-26-2004, 06:16 AM

I owned - still do actually but they aren't being used anymore - some Bose 901's and expereinced the same problem. I went the seperate amplifier route, which worked well for me. In fact, if you can find a second hand amplifier for reasonable money, it works very well indeed.

If that is not an option you can try this but I don't know that it will work, and requires some extra cables, which in theary could compromise the sound somewhat. It also requires that you have outs for all channels and not just the two front channels.

Connect the amps pre out to the equalizer, the equalizer to main in. This should only equalise the signal going to the 901's. If that doesn't work, and you have pre outs for the rears and the mains, you can try reversing the main and rear amps. So you would go main out to eq, eq out to rear in, connecting the 901's to the rear speaker terminals (in effect turning the amplifier for the rear speaker into the amplifier for the 901's or main speakers). From the Rear out connection, use an RCA cable to connect to the main in (in effect turning your main amp into the rear amplifier). In theory, this shouldn't be any different than the first option I gave you but it is possible that it will change the signal path in such a way as to allow an equalised signal to go to the 901's and a non eq'd signal to go to the rest of your speakers. That is what you are trying to achieve anyway.

What you are proposing is possible and I really like the 901's for home theater, much more so than for music in fact. It is just going to take a bit of creativity. Good luck!

BTW, the problem is not that you are using digital connections of sending a 5.1 signal from you dvd player that causes the problem, the problem is caused by how the amplifier routes the signal to the different amps and speakers. You can still use a digital connection from the dvd to the amp.




03-26-2004, 07:11 AM
Get another set of speakers for your home theatre hook up, and a separate 2 channel receiver for your musical enjoyment with the 901's. All the solutions mentioned involve you spending more money anyway, why not spend more and make your life a little simpler. No slams, no knocks against Bose or you. Or better yet, sell them to someone else who's only interested in 2 channel and get a set of speakers that will do double duty.

Da Worfster

03-26-2004, 01:21 PM
Setting up a Home Theater using Bose 901 requires careful planning and an understanding of the requirements of the loudspeaker. It is no one's fault except your own if you failed to do this. Would you blame a phonograph cartridge manufacturer if you bought a moving coil cartridge without knowing that you need a preamplifier that has an extra gain stage to use it and yours doesn't have one?

Since all his equipment was purchased from the same shop, presumably at the same time, from a dealer who knew his intentions up front, I would say that he was somewhat misled by the dealer.

Don't you sometimes put your faith in those who purport to know what's best for you? I know I rely on experts in many areas. To think I know more about everything than everyone else would be perhaps the most extreme case of hubris I can imagine.

Unless you do all your own medical and dental work and fix everything on your own car I'd say that you too are somewhat dependent on experts to know better than you.

And, I'm glad you like your original 901's which are what.. .35 years old or so?

I heard them back then also . Not bad on certain music, when properly positioned and adequately powered. .In fact, it really did a pretty good job on large scale symphonic pieces if I remember correctly, The reflected sounds did a pretty good job of emulating a large orchestra on a stage where pin point imaging is not an issue.

But, on the whole, not a speaker for everyman. ...or every music type. Particularly in today's market. ...and particularly considering that the current speaker is a mere shadow of what it once was. Remember, it's 2004, not 1970, although I sometimes wish I could go back there.

Larry Talbot/Wolfman/Lon Chaney Jr.... Remember him in "Abbot and Costello Meet Frankenstein"? I loved it when Costello said "A lot of guys become wolves when the moon comes out." Lon almost showed some emotion.

03-26-2004, 11:41 PM
okay yamdsp1,
will try yr options on sunday , my amp does have individual
channel in , ( i presume ext in , means main in ) if it does not work i will use ,
my old kenwood amp to drive the main , hope it works , ...... and for all anti-bose people try listening to barry white , or supertramp on these babies , i dont care if the sound is as they say 'made up ' it sounds amazing

03-27-2004, 01:55 AM

You compared the Bose to B&W nautilus and you liked bose better ! Ok now I know where you come from.You are like most of my casual hi fi enthusiast friends. In my opinion, you made a wise choice.You will always like the bose sound.The product is made keeping people like you in mind.The truth is that most people don't have the time or inclination to setup audiophile grade speakers properly in a good room with good cables and matching components.When you get the synergy and setup right, a b&w setup will blow the BOSE out into oblivion.You will then know what crap bose makes.But sadly most people will never know.That is why dr bose designed this speaker which reflects sound all over the place.He is laughing all the way to the Bank.Congrats on your purchase..:)
BTW: If possible, try and get the pro FX guys to give you a KEF Q7 speaker demo at your place.Pair it with a denon pm2000 integrated which they stock and you might see what I meant.

03-27-2004, 06:39 AM
I'd been giving some thought to it because of some recent threads on this BB and a flame war on another site, so I decided to experiment with my old 901s. I took them out of my 18 x 22 bedroom where they were flanking a 9 foot dresser in a very unfavorable arrangement and put them in my 14 x 14 sun room. The bedroom was acoustically on the dead side, this room is much more on the live side with a lot of glass, I'd estimate 50%. I've added 3 Audax polys per side crossed over at 6 khz reflecting off the same wall as the main speaker and biamplified. I'm using lots of additional equalization. The Bose 901s and equalizer are in fine shape and can produce tremendous bass. But the high end is a disaster. I attribute this to the high inertia of the cones. The additional tweeters help considerably and I know a lot of audiophiles won't believe it but with these improvements, this becomes an outstanding loudspeaker. Now I have to add a front firing pair which I'm planning to cross over at about 12 khz. I've got three pairs I dug up from my basement, more 3/4 polys, some SD13s and some SD50s. Anybody know anything about the SD13s or SD50s? I have 4 JVC ribbons but I am not going to waste them on this project.

Extending the rear firing frequency response on the high end does wonders for this speaker but without extending the front firing response as well it creates some wierd effects on some music. Further equalization is very critical as well because this is one speaker whose performance is highly dependent on room acoustics and placement probably to a far greater degree than any other speaker system.

It's too bad that the series 3 though 6 doesn't have anything like the low end capabilities of series one and two. You'd need a subwoofer as well just to get the lowest octave.

03-29-2004, 12:57 AM
hey hertz ,
maybe i am not a audiophille ,but isnt it true that sound is what one perceives , and not some something which get amplified / equalised / digitised , to my ear the bose sounded better , maybe i am wrong , but it is so subjective , the nautilius were 4 times the cost of the bose , but guys the ext in does not work , did not get to using another amp , but if someone can tell me if the set up i did was okay , i took the optical cable and hooked it to the amp ( dvd in opt ) my amp has seperate pre outs , and seperate ext in , so i connected the pre amp out ( front speaker ) to the equaliser ( input ) then cnnected the equaliser output to the front speaker ext in , to the amp , now when i switch on my dvd and make source as digital i get sound ( but this is direct , not thru the
equaliser )but if is switch to ext in i loose complete sound ..... in such a case i should have got sound in my front speakers at least ..... so any one for some
advice , and please guys keep the bose vs anti-bose down , i have the bose now so i need to learn to love them ... next time i will get on the forum and then buy the speakers ,

03-29-2004, 05:30 AM
i surie and congrats on winning PAK-INDIA Series

i dont know much abt denon but i was reading the PDF from there site they said it has a 8 channel external decoder input for feature formats, so when u use ext in option i guess ur preamp section stops working and the power amp section needs a signal to amplify which in this case it is not getting. Thats a full time guess no technical info to back it up but u can try to use the pre amp section of ur old amp instead of using preout form ur denon.
connect denon preouts to EQ and connect EQ-out to ur old amp and connect old amp to 901s then select EXT option in ur denon to see if ur pre amp section works and sends the signal out to pre outs

just my 2 rupees
hope u get it sorted out
best of luck

03-29-2004, 06:47 AM
okay yamdsp1,
will try yr options on sunday , my amp does have individual
channel in , ( i presume ext in , means main in ) if it does not work i will use ,
my old kenwood amp to drive the main , hope it works , ...... and for all anti-bose people try listening to barry white , or supertramp on these babies , i dont care if the sound is as they say 'made up ' it sounds amazing

How did it go? I think Ext in is not he same as main in. I think Ext in refers to to a secondary processor, like an EQ (not the Bose EQ) and will EQ the sound for all channels and not just the two front channels. Although I could be mistaken on that. Check your user manual and see if it says waht the Ext in is intended to do.

If you have an old amp around that has adequate power, that is your easiest least painful option, although you are in effect wasting the denon main power amps. You may have to do some tweeking of the surround levels and center level to get the levels to match.

On another note (and maybe Bose has fixed this) I found the Bose Center channel to be a piece of crap at louder volumes. It vibrated at certain frquencies and sounded quite tinnie. I like the 901's but was wholly unimpressed with their center channel at loud volumes. It was okay for TV listening but for movies, it found it did not pull it weight.

Hope it all worked out for you.


04-04-2004, 10:43 AM
Hi. i came here cuz i'm inheriting my dad's old bose 901's, but no equalizer, and i am trying to see if i should buy 1. Bose says they are series 1, ser num 153865. there is no series number written on them, which would make me believe they are 1st.
My bose experiences. I was bitten by the high end bug as a 16 y/o back in LA in 1970. I couldn't afford new, but i bought most of my local high end shops demos after a few years.
SAE 1 preamp, phase linear 400 ( no wood cabinet- just big ol' steel fins, harmon kardon cad 5 ( the ??1st cassette deck), the marantz tuner with the oscilloscope ??#120, Garrard sl95 B ( remember that?- replaced with a B&O 3000 later, and original series 1 901's, with the grill bent and falling off.
I went with my dad to a hi/fi show and was blown away by the sound, and decided i had to have them.

My listening room was my 26 x 26 3rd floor room, overlooking the beach, parquet floors, with 2 8 foot sliding glass doors in front.

With respect to bass, When i turned that sucker up, and played the opening bass note from also spach zarathrustra, i have NEVER heard it since then the way i heard it thru that setup.
absolutely amazing.
I have long since been out of the audiophile game, I just have my ohm -2's??, , the ones with the cones inside, and some medium high end h-t stuff.

Question- as of this moment i have been outbid on the equalizer and don't want to go any higher.
Would one of those multi band equalizers work??

04-04-2004, 12:08 PM
many do love them. it is NOT high end. the 901s require BIG power. not much in the way of clarity or top end. lots of pseudo spaciousness. i personally think they would function well as rear surround speakers.

for recreating an accurate soundstage from a properly done recording, nothing beats direct radiating front speakers. the need for the outboard eq is something that has been used by other manufacturers including kef, and they have always been criticized for the added electronic sound. no electronics are perfectly transparent.

if the end result is successful for your application, then good. we all make compromises. mine is in surround. i will not use the standard surround sound receiver/processor modes as i cant use them with the sacd so i derive the ambience channels as i always have, with a dynaco quadaptor. i'm happy with that.

in my setup, the bose 901s would not work in the rear unless i had 901s all around. not likely at my house. in any event, my progress would be up and away from the bose approach toward lower mass drivers and more dynamic response, more efficiency. my current front speakers are only of 84db sensitivity. no center. thats another distraction, the tonality of the center can never truly match the left and right fronts because they radiate from a different place with different reflective surfaces near them.

so much for my dissertation.

04-08-2004, 01:43 AM
hey linjon ,
the eq is a must , without the eq it sounds crap , so if you get hold of the eq ( be sure it is series I otherwise it wont sound so good ) then hear the sound , without the eq it is like a f1 car on regular wheels . [

04-08-2004, 11:38 AM
i would ask the retailer for a credit if they have other speakers that would work for never hurts to ask. you could always dispute the charges if you paid by credit card saying you were misled and that attempts where made to remedy the situation with the retailer where denied. good luck. you can sell them on ebay for about 800 usd ,maybe more in india as harder to get.

04-25-2004, 03:18 AM
i am thinking of picking up some second hand 901s for use with the following system:

Technics 1210's * 2
Pioneer CDJ800
Allan and Heath mixer
unknown stereo amp

Goes without saying i play dance music. How d'you guys reckon they will go?

10-21-2004, 02:31 AM
finally i got this thing to work , lucky for me i did not throw my old amp , so this is what i did , took the digital out from the dvd and connect it to the amplifier , then connect all
the speakers , except the 901 , take the pre amp out ( lucky 3803 had seperate pre amps for all speakers ) connect it to the bose equaliser , and then connect the equaliser to another amp , now this thing sounds like a dream , only problem is that i am running two amps , but can tweak the sound , as the 3803 works as a pre amp for the main .