Bose strikes again, a guy I know bought their Lifestyle 35 system
Sigh, I guess P.T. Barnum was right, there is one born every second...
Last weekend, despite all the warnings, cajoling, and advice that I gave him, somebody I know went to the Bose store and bought their Lifestyle 35 system ($3,000, no, I didn't misplace a decimal point, that's really $3,000). After I found out, cliches such as "A fool and his money are soon parted" and "You can lead a horse to water, but you can't make him drink" ran through my head while trying very hard to suppress laughter.
You'd think that common sense would tell someone to be suspicious when Bose does not release pertinent facts about its speakers such as freq. response, impedance, sensitivity, etc. Heck, Bose doesn't even release the physical measurements of their speakers. This is outrageous and a no-brainer, sort of like a car company not releasing specs on its cars such as gas mileage, horsepower, torque, or even the dimensions! Wake up, Bose customers!
I have to give it to Bose, though, they have done a very good job of marketing themselves and ultimately, if he's fine with his purchase, who am I to judge?
BTW, I have heard that somebody has actually measured the specs of Bose speakers and posted it on the Web and even extrapolated how much it costs to make those speakers compared to their retail price. Does anyone have a link?
Last edited by Widowmaker; 03-08-2004 at 09:57 AM.
$3000!!!? Holy crap, your friend could've done so much better for far less money(not that you don't already know that). Heck, he could've just gone to BB and picked up two pairs of Athena bookshelves, their CC and sub. And then walked over and thrown the Pioneer DV-563A universal disc player in his cart. There are tons of decent low-mid priced AV receivers out there which would've probably thrilled him. He could've spent half that amount and received better gear.....(sigh).
"You can lead a camel to water"....
My thoughts exactly. Bose is just emblematic of human nature in that we are all sheep. If it looks nice, is packaged nicely, and sells for a ridiculous price, hey, it must be great! For further proof, just look at pet rocks.
Originally Posted by headknocker
Yeah, it can be very frustrating at times. I have talked three-four friends out of buying Bose and they eventually thanked me later on. I have nothing against Bose per se but the value quotient for their gear is disgusting.If they slashed their prices by 50% I don't think most people would blast them as much. There are far too many quality products out there today to simply settle for their over-marketed gear....people are paying through the nose for that advertising. I'll never understand the mentality. All it takes is a little research and auditions to realize Bose just doesn't measure up. That's why I brought up the Athena line in BB..it's easily available and it sounds pretty good...hardly any research to do...just listen for yourself...and then head over to the Bose display.
Even my wife thinks Bose speakers(particularily the AM line) sound bad and she doesn't have a trained ear. It's painfully obvious that something is missing in their frequency response after you've listened to some decent bookshelves...it's as plain as the nose on your face...(sigh).
I suggest you lead yourself to the water and throw your Bose stuff in it ...I could put together and i'm sure anyone else could for close to $1000 and it'd sound better than a Bose...I could put together a system for $100 and have it sound better than Bose ....I've heard their stuff a little...No it's not good. Especially for the price! What is it that makes everyone believe this stuff is good...A few years ago I remember I was in Halifax and went to Future Shop.. I wanted to hear the BEST speakers they had. They fired up the speakers and played Jellyhead...Bose is a rip offfffff. There's so many limiations, You can't replace their Junk Module because it has to take some of the higher mid frequencies too. Therefore I would think this module would be able to be identified by ear, which means it would have to be close to the main speakers and not "Hide away" like Bose states it can....The prices are outrageous and it just doesn't add up why people think they are so great!...Oh well, I know i'll never be buying any of their stuff...Ooh yeah another thing, the 901's..What gives..Everyone says "Oooh the Bose 901's! They're the best!" I can't convince anyone otherwise . The drivers are too big to produce high sounds and too small to have a lot of excursion or produce low frequencies.....So you end up with a horrible sound which for some reason costs 10 times as much as a speaker that sounds way better! Why would anyone buy this???????...........And is that true about the specs???? What??? I can't belive that! Who wants a speaker without checking out the specs...ohmy !
Ah yes. The power and seduction of a name. I'd almost be tempted to have you ask him if you can come over and listen to his system. Bring a couple demo dvds along. Fellowship of the Ring and Jurrasic Park 3. Ask him to play those in DTS. I'd also ask him what he'll do when the dvd player goes. Will he buy another Lifestyle module or is he able to attach a new one, such as Denon's 910? Perhaps there is time for him to use his head rather than his feelings. Perhaps we can save him from the dark side. Perhaps he has just gone to far. Dare we ask about the room size? One thing is for certain: A bass module never has been nor ever will be a subwoofer.
I was at Best Buy today picking up some CDs. As always, I wondered back to the speakers. I could really tell the Bose Marketing machine is working better than ever. I had turned up the Athena floorstanders and was looking around. Three different people came into the speaker area and went straight to the BOSE speakers. They never even looked at the others. One person even went over and turned off the Athena speaker so he could hear the BOSE better. I leaned over and said, that's not going to help. He looked at me with this weird look and said, What the hell is Athena? He was real snobby so I just walked off. Some people don't deserve help.
AN OPEN LETTER TO POTENTIAL BOSE CUSTOMERS:
This is the bottom line, folks. I don't know about you all, but to me, $3,000 is A LOT of money and for that much coin, I expect MUCH quality in return. When I am considering buying something high-end and technical, like a receiver, an amp, or speakers, the suspicion hairs on the back of my neck go up when technical specifications are not fully disclosed.
Use common sense, Bose buyers. Next time you go to their store, ask the salespeople why Bose (unlike other A/V brands) does not publish the technical specs for their products. When they give you the typical BS such as their specs are "trade secrets," "only audiophiles care about that stuff," et. al., THEY ARE NOT SHOOTING STRAIGHT WITH YOU. Use your two feet and walk yourself and your money out of the place, it's that simple. Do yourself a favor, research cheaper and superior products (B&W, Paradigm, PSB, Boston, Klipsch, etc.) and buy what is honest and sounds good.
Trust us, you will thank us later.
Amen that that, my brother!
Look at the difference between the new HSU Ventriloquist VT-12(a 6.1 system) and the comparable Bose AM system. HSU obviously spent some serious time and effort to produce an innovative product...and the system reviewed in the last issue of HT magazine(with a REAL 10" sub...an HSU sub no less) could be had for only $650(factory direct). You could drop one of the rear surrounds and downgrade to their 8" sub and the price drops even further to $500.
I'm not in the market for that kind of system but I'd seriously consider it if need be.
I'm still astounded someone would pay serious cash(again..$3,000!!!?) for an overpriced and underperforming Bose system. Your friend could've had a very nice receiver, a mid-level universal disc player, and any number of quality HT speaker packages for that kind of money. Do you have a Def Tech dealer in your area? If so, take your friend inside so he can hear what a quality speaker system is supposed to sound like....then watch him weep
Yup, for that kind of money, it's easy to put together an incredibly viable home theatre system that will not only sound great, but set you up with great flexibility for future upgrades. The Bose Lifestyle systems are ripoffs of the highest order because they give you substandard performance for what you pay AND they lock you into a proprietary closed loop system that has minimal upgradability. So, even if a customer wises up someday, their only option is to start all over, rather than swap out one component at a time. This is because the connections are entirely proprietary, with all of the amplification originating not from receiver unit but from the bass module. Basically with a Lifestyle 35, you're stuck with those speakers and can never use a different set with that control unit. All this and the feature set is pretty thin to begin with -- they have no component video switching, no bass management, no digital audio outputs, and no progressive scan. Besides I can't support any company that thinks that they have any right to trademark the word "Lifestyle"
Just one more reason Bose blows!
As I've mentioned before, friends of mine who've sold audio equipment get the Bose inquiries all the time, and if a customer's deadset on Bose for any number of reasons, they won't be easily disuaded even if their ears are screaming out the truth at them. It's an uphill battle, but it's just a matter of spreading the real word one person at a time. Just to give some perspective, here's the type of system that can be assembled for that $3k budget.
Receiver: Yamaha RX-V1400 $800
Speakers: Paradigm Studio 20 v.3 $400 x 5 = $2,000
DVD player: Toshiba progressive scan $100
And if you can go a little over budget and grab a subwoofer around $500, then you'll have a system that outperforms the Lifestyle in every facet by a long shot, and gives you great flexibility for future upgrades. In a more tongue in cheek experience, this is what I wrote a while back about my adventure in a Bose Factory Store where I tried out the Lifestyle 28 for the first time.
This might be what you're referring to..........
Originally Posted by Widowmaker
----Never Off Topic, Never Rude-----
Originally Posted by Woochifer
Somehow, I knew your "Fairy tale in Bose store" link was coming
No argument here, but has anyone ever tried to use the bose speakers seperately w/o the bass module (I suppose you'd have to strip the wire)? I wonder how they would compare to a pair of $50 Pioneer speakers from BB?
On a more serious note, isn't Bose just doing what a smart company should do? After all, if a company can lock the consumer into it's own disposable product line, it is doing the same thing Sony is doing with their memory stick, Saturn with plastic car body pannels, and Microsoft with Windows. I'm going to guess that most companies that take this approach are increasing sales and raising the value of their stock. It's a system of commercialization that does not reward quality but quantity. Ultimately, Bose has reached the holy grail of consumerism, which is indicated by the countless buyers who won't even consider anything that doesn't have word Bose on the box.
In the end, every company is doing everything it can to reach the market saturation of the Bose name. There will always be a point where a company's mom-and-pop roots are overshadowed by stock-owners who will dictate production and distribution. And w/o sounding trite, isn't that what we laud as the path to success?
Personally I only consider products from smaller shops like Axiom, SVS, Polk, PSB, and the like. I also try to pay in cash at the grocery store to prevent my buying habits to be sold to the highest bidder, and I buy music from unsigned artists, and I build my own cables, but in the end I can't fight the tidal wave of popular consent. I do what I can...
Originally Posted by nightflier
I think there's a big diffference between what Bose does and what those other companies that you list do. Those other companies don't overprice their products by 4x, and they generally don't put out stuff with features as dubious as the ones that Bose touts. Saturn uses those plastic body panels, and while you may or may not see value in that Saturn doesn't price their cars at $60,000 either. Microsoft Windows may not be the best operating system out there, but they don't charge $800 for it. And the Sony memory sticks may cost more than comparable flash cards in other formats, but they don't cost four times more and/or perform noticeably worse.
Also, your analogy to stockholder interests isn't exactly correct either because Bose is a privately held company.
Bose has successfully penetrated the mass market, and within that market, they have a good image precisely because very few of the specialty products that get touted on this board are distributed through those channels. Bose has carved out a successful niche by basically eliminating bases of comparison. They don't issue spec sheets, they contractually exclude dealers from mixing Bose with other brands in their demo rooms, etc. I suppose it's the holy grail of consumerism to have that kind of name recognition, but they are the devil incarnate with a lot of hobbyists precisely because they're not content to just bask in their sales. They feel this need to put on this aura that everything that they do has to do with advanced technology, or that they do stuff differently because of their "patents" or that they're so important that they have dominion over the decimal place or the word "Lifestyle." Lawsuits are an integral part of their business plan, that's why I have as harsh an assessment of their practices as I do.
This is where 2,500.00 of that 3,000.00 went to. Another 100.00 went to the packaging and manual. He now has a 400.00 setup.
Originally Posted by Widowmaker
You're all forgetting one thing.
Bose isn't the market to sell sound equipment. They sell sytle that just happens to double as a sound system.
As such, thanks to an advertising juggernaut, they are pretty much at the top of the heap.
People who buy Bose don't buy sound. They buy image. That costs more than sound.
Last edited by markw; 03-09-2004 at 04:01 AM.
Actually, Bang & Olufsen sells style. But, they make no pretenses towards anything else. You pay for B&O, you're paying for the design.
Originally Posted by markw
Bose on the other hand, sells people on their technology, or perception thereof. They make pretenses about audio performance, they sell that their various buzzword concepts equate to sound quality. People who purchase Bose may not care about these things, but on the other hand quite a few Bose owners I've met sure do a lot of bragging along those lines.
Thanks for the link, I'll be sure to forward it to the Bose buyers I know.
Originally Posted by tentoze
Good Marketing II
I didn't know that Bose was a privately held company. I guess that shields them from more scrutiny. I also read up on the lawsuits and exclusivity contracts, pretty ugly stuff.
But in the end, Bose is still doing everything legally. What I'm getting at, is that before we beat up a company for this, we need to address the real problem: what is legal. It seems that there is too much protection for the 800-lb gorilla in the marketplace, and not enough for smaller businesses trying to invent a better mouse trap.
There's no room here to discuss Saturn or Microsoft, but Sony is a good case-in-point. They will make junk if it improves their bottom line, hence the gazillion products for impulse-buying uniformed consumers. Much of Sony's consumer electronics is sub-par, even their ES line, which is over-priced compared to competing companies' products. I also don't like their 800-lb gorilla attitude. Sony has the same exclusivity contracts with online and brick-and-mortar retailers for product placement. They also exploit workers in China, have done everything they could to keep prices high (wasn't the cost of CD's supposed to come down?), have pushed lawsuit after lawsuit to destroy innovation (remember the fights against cassetttes, DAT, and CD-writers?), and have been the biggest backers of the RIAA and MPAA, who use the Patriot Act for their own ends. Hardly a model company, but certainly Bose's role model, wouldn't it seem so?
As for the memory stick, my point wasn't so much the cost - although it is inexplicably more - but rather the fact that it only works with Sony equipment. I have yet to see a SmartMedia or CompactFlash slot on a Sony device. IBM tried that philosophy with MCA, and it didn't improve anything for the consumer. Finally, they also have copy-protection hard coded on those memory sticks. Thanks, but no thanks.
In the end, I will continue to look for the smaller, more focussed companies that still value quality. I also won't drive that Saturn because I'd rather protect my children a little better (just for my peace of mind), and I use Linux at home (even though I'm stuck with Windows at work). I choose my battles, I guess, but as the consumer I have the right to choose with my pocket book and I also have the right to let other know why I do so (at least I think I still do).
I am curious, though, has anyone used Bose satellites w/o the bass module?
You think $3000 is a lot for a Lifestyle 35 ???
I live in Belgium and over here they cost €4800, which is equal to $5962 US !!!
And yet we still sell these things very often, especially the "cheaper" Lifestyle 28 which still costs €4000 or $4938.
I know because I install ( & sell too) stuff like this for a living, makes me wanna cry every time I have to install Bose knowing those people could've gotten a LOT better stuff for that kind of money.
If I get a customer for a home theatre, Bose is always my last option, I will never ever advise a customer to get Bose unless they absolutely MUST have it at any cost because of small size/foolproof user interface/multisource capabilities/whatever.
But that's only after I've shown them all of the other options, and they still want Bose.
Those people are so persuaded by Bose marketing (if it says Bose on the front it's gotta be good) that they'll buy anything they make, regardless of how it sounds.
A co-worker friend of mine wanted to buy one of those Booze systems for her husband because a neighbour had bought one. I suggested kindly to her that they were trash and almsot anything sounded better for a fraction of the price. I suggested that she go look at the Onkyo package that was on sale at CC for about 500 dollars (A receiver, speaker, sub set). She went and heard it, thought it sounded way better than the bose and purchased it and a dvd player. The total cost was about 700 including tax.
Her husband was thrilled and her neighbours were truly irritated because that little onkyo receiver/sub/sat set sounded way better than the bose, with the DVD player for less than one quarter the price.
As for bose, nice gig if you can get it I suppose.
As P.T. Barnum used to say, "there is a sucker born every minute"...... (or as I mentioned to a buddhist pal, there is a sucker *re-born* every minute......
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