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  1. #1
    Suspended Smokey's Avatar
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    Smile Why Bose doesn't get into Front-Firing speakers design?

    Except their small Cube speakers, non of their bookshelf or floor speakers utilize front firing tweeters. Their speakers feature Bose proprietary Direct/Reflecting speaker technology which mean only a small percentage (about 11 percent) reaches you directly. The rest is reflected off the walls. And that design haven't change over last 30 years.

    Since Bose have such a exposure in chain electronics store (such as BB or CC), and a monstrous adverting machinery to match, they probably could capture a slice of "front firing" speaker design market if they decide to design such a speakers.

    I wonder why they haven't explore that avenue?

  2. #2
    Forum Regular Woochifer's Avatar
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    Short answer? Because if they did, then they would have nothing more to hang their hat on than a poorly built POS that looks like every other speaker, and sounds a lot worse.

    They stick to the direct/reflecting design because they can market it as some grand innovation. I mean, if they started making direct firing speakers, they can't call some cheap off-angle plastic tweeter mounting, a patented "articulated array" design. Say what you will about Bose, irregardless of their merits, their speakers do sound "different" from the competition. And this is just enough of an opening to convince some people that different must mean better.

    Just so you know, I seriously doubt that most of their bookshelf and floorstanding speakers reflect nearly as much of the sound as the 901. That reflected sound figure you cite I believe is from that infamous MIT study of a symphony hall in Boston that found that around 11 percent of the sound emanating from the stage was reflected. Problem is that Bose decided to use that study as the basis for their entire approach to speaker design. That reflected sound count was ONLY for that one symphony hall, and not intended as a template for how all music should sound. A helluva lot of music should not sound like it originated inside a symphony hall, yet the Bose 901 makes everything sound big, even if it's not supposed to. Even so, at least with those 301s that I was using before, the majority of the sound was still coming from the front. The woofer was still facing the front as was one of the two tweeters. Only the second tweeter was angled toward the wall, yet it still produced just enough of a racket to destroy the imaging.

  3. #3
    JSE
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    I'm sure most of you have seen this article before and it's probably been posted before but here it is. It gives some pretty good insight into the whole Bose marketing machine. Interesting read.

    http://www.perrymarshall.com/marketing/bose.htm

    JSE

  4. #4
    Forum Regular Woochifer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JSE
    I'm sure most of you have seen this article before and it's probably been posted before but here it is. It gives some pretty good insight into the whole Bose marketing machine. Interesting read.

    http://www.perrymarshall.com/marketing/bose.htm

    JSE
    Sheez, what a snake oil peddler! I understand his praise of Bose from a marketing perspective, since it seems that all he respects is sales success and doesn't care whether customers get real value for their money. But, he also conveniently ignores the fact that Bose products are typically the most expensive products in their respective categories, and often significant underperformers, even compared to comparable products designed with ergonomics and design in mind.

  5. #5
    Suspended Smokey's Avatar
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    Thanks JSE for the link

    Quote Originally Posted by Woochifer
    That reflected sound figure you cite I believe is from that infamous MIT study of a symphony hall in Boston that found that around 11 percent of the sound emanating from the stage was reflected. Problem is that Bose decided to use that study as the basis for their entire approach to speaker design. That reflected sound count was ONLY for that one symphony hall, and not intended as a template for how all music should sound. A helluva lot of music should not sound like it originated inside a symphony hall, yet the Bose 901 makes everything sound big, even if it's not supposed to.
    So are you saying that Bose 901 sound best with symphony Classical music since that is what their design is based on?

    As a Bose owner , I have to agree with you that Bose does make everything sound big. But added benefit of that might be more spacious sound-and as you said-at cost of degraded Imaging.

    But I think they might do a lucrative business in mid to low end speaker market if they venture into front firing design. The trick might be to make their price higher or lower than their standards direct/reflecting line of speakers. And I am sure they can think of some fancy name to go with it

  6. #6
    RGA
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    Quote Originally Posted by Woochifer
    Sheez, what a snake oil peddler! I understand his praise of Bose from a marketing perspective, since it seems that all he respects is sales success and doesn't care whether customers get real value for their money. But, he also conveniently ignores the fact that Bose products are typically the most expensive products in their respective categories, and often significant underperformers, even compared to comparable products designed with ergonomics and design in mind.
    I knew a guy that worked at the Brick...a furniture chain that sold Bose and Vivid speakers(if there is worse than Bose it's Vivid). ANywway this guy owned the Bose 901s for years swore by them - best speakers ever made.

    Upon listening to my B&W DM 302s...the cheapest speaker the company made he shook his head admitting the cleaned the 901's clock in every arena except bass depth and obviously in max SPL. I simply said yes but these are after all only the $300.00 not $1800.00 for the 901. I should have let him listen to my Wharfedales which do have more bass, more treble extension and will play a lot louder cleaner clearer than the 901.

    Needless to say he had his Bose up soon for sale. Never did keep in touch to find out what he bought...no matter since nothing over $300.00 I can recal sound worse than the 901. Not only is it a bad value it's a down right LOUSY speaker period at any price.

  7. #7
    Loving This kexodusc's Avatar
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    I've actually experienced some rather pleasing results with Bose HT setups ...the only damn problem was the surround channels seemed too "busy" if that's the right word. But not the worst I've heard.
    For music I've found them absolutely horrible, especially for jazz and classical...Someone suggested to me that the biggest reason for this is that the speakers lose timbre matching ones the sounds are forced to reflect of different surfaces. Most rooms I guess are not perfectly symmerical, and in fact you wouldn't want them to be anyway.
    Not sure if there's any truth in that statement, but seems plausible.

    Here's a question though, why do so many audiophile newbies think that Bose is the end-all-be-all of loudspeakers? Is it good marketing? Is it that they are the most expensive product at Sears, Best Buy, etc? Is it their weird looks? What gives?

  8. #8
    Sgt. At Arms Worf101's Avatar
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    And the answer is....

    Quote Originally Posted by kexodusc
    Here's a question though, why do so many audiophile newbies think that Bose is the end-all-be-all of loudspeakers? Is it good marketing? Is it that they are the most expensive product at Sears, Best Buy, etc? Is it their weird looks? What gives?
    Wife Accpetance Factor!!!!! I've been living with my son's mum now for just 8 months and I've already had to change my mains in the living room (the Ohm Walsh F's were "too pyramidal" and were brown so they didn't match the rest of the av equipment) and added white speakers to the kitchen. Sigh... man when dem wommens see dem cute, little white cubes that they can hide anywhere, instead of those hideous, ugly, bulky towers that you can't even put a flower pot on, they go into a frenzy and your goose is litterally quite cooked. Trust me my brother... I know from whence I speak.

    Da Worfster

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by JSE
    I'm sure most of you have seen this article before and it's probably been posted before but here it is. It gives some pretty good insight into the whole Bose marketing machine. Interesting read.

    http://www.perrymarshall.com/marketing/bose.htm

    JSE
    wow...that article really epitomizes why most engineers dislike the marketing department. It is interesting to see a guy who was an engineer now fall so completely into the marketing realm.

    While I believe that Bose should be praised for their excellent marketing, let's realize what marketing really is: persuading people that they want your product. Does this have to be based on facts? Not at all.

    Bose wants to sell us much more than speakers; they want us to buy into their vision for how we want music. Then they want us to think that they are the only ones who can provide this vision. It certainly sounds like marketing to me...

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by JSE
    I'm sure most of you have seen this article before and it's probably been posted before but here it is. It gives some pretty good insight into the whole Bose marketing machine. Interesting read.

    http://www.perrymarshall.com/marketing/bose.htm

    JSE
    Yeah, it's an interesting read all right ... and some of the points he makes regarding why Bose has been so successful are right on target. But IMO, he runs off the road into the ditch at the end of his article when he says:

    So does that make the people at Bose bad people?

    No, just fantastically wealthy people, with happy customers, who get more respect than most speaker guys out there.


    I have to strongly disagree with Mr.Marshall on this point ... I do consider Bose as a bad and evil entity - not because they charge exhorbitant (relatively) prices for mediocre products, but because they are sorely lacking in business ethics and morals! The prime example of which is the way that they design products with connectors that are proprietary which precludes the consumer from "upgrading" any part of a Bose system should they want to do so! They even pulled a similar stunt on a contract for our federal government where they designed a headphone product using a proprietary plug that wouldn't fit into the jacks of the aircraft where it was toi be used - costing the US taxpayers MILLIONS of dollars! This is a unique marketing strategy that's not employed by any other company to the best of my knowledge (and I've been actively involved in the industry for a whole bunch of years and have pretty much "seen it all"). This to me is unethical behavior to say the least, and IMO is sufficient reason why we should all continue bashing Bose every time the subject comes up.
    woodman

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  11. #11
    JSE
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    [QUOTE=woodman]Yeah, it's an interesting read all right ... and some of the points he makes regarding why Bose has been so successful are right on target. But IMO, he runs off the road into the ditch at the end of his article when he says:

    So does that make the people at Bose bad people?

    No, just fantastically wealthy people, with happy customers, who get more respect than most speaker guys out there.
    "

    Yeah, I have to agree with you there. They seem to prey on the uninformed.

    True story. I was talking to my wife's boss about a year ago. He was telling me how he was getting ready to buy a Bose system for his $1m plus house because that's what all his neighbors had. He's pretty materialistic. Initially, my stomach started to tighten into knots. But, then I thought I would help him. We met for lunch a couple of days later and we went to Tweeter. We first listened to a Bose system that was about $3k, I think? He was impressed and said, "see, that's why I am getting Bose." Poor man. We then listen to the Boston Acoustic speakers I own. He was BLOWN away. He thought they were the best he had ever heard. We then proceeded to listen to Vienna, Sonus and then Martin Logan. He was like a kid in a candy shop. Needless to say the Boston's fell off the "new" list as well.

    Now? He has a 5.1 Martin Logan system driven by B&K components. He totally get's off on watching his neighbors drool now. I have created a Monster. He does not even have the system calibrated and really could care less about doing it. I have to admit I am pretty blown away by the sound. Ah, to have big money!

    JSE

  12. #12
    Forum Regular Woochifer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Worf101
    Wife Accpetance Factor!!!!! I've been living with my son's mum now for just 8 months and I've already had to change my mains in the living room (the Ohm Walsh F's were "too pyramidal" and were brown so they didn't match the rest of the av equipment) and added white speakers to the kitchen. Sigh... man when dem wommens see dem cute, little white cubes that they can hide anywhere, instead of those hideous, ugly, bulky towers that you can't even put a flower pot on, they go into a frenzy and your goose is litterally quite cooked. Trust me my brother... I know from whence I speak.

    Da Worfster
    Oh man, I feel for you brother! Lucky for me, my wife had a negative association between those Bose cubes and her ex-boyfriend, so they never ventured into the discussion when I was putting together the HT system. (The first demo with the Paradigm and B&W speakers I brought home for demo pretty much burnished her impression that her ex-boyfriend wasn't really all that bright.) It was a bonus that the cherry laminate finish on those Paradigm Studio speakers just happened to match the hardwood floor.

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    Smokey; some years back, I believe BOSE did have a line of direct firing speakers. They were called INTERAUDIO. There was one store in Ft. Lauderdale in the 70s that was a stereo store specializing in BOSE products. I do not remember how many models they made regarding the bass drivers and whether they had a three way design. A friend of my brothers bought a pair and used a RS SA-1000 intergrated 20 watt per channel amp(one of the few things from RS that had good sound). The speakers played very well on that amp. I remember that this store sold a rather huge power amplifier that BOSE made. I thought that item had rather good sound for a power amp and I believe was expensive.

  14. #14
    Forum Regular Woochifer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JSE
    Yeah, I have to agree with you there. They seem to prey on the uninformed.

    True story. I was talking to my wife's boss about a year ago. He was telling me how he was getting ready to buy a Bose system for his $1m plus house because that's what all his neighbors had. He's pretty materialistic. Initially, my stomach started to tighten into knots. But, then I thought I would help him. We met for lunch a couple of days later and we went to Tweeter. We first listened to a Bose system that was about $3k, I think? He was impressed and said, "see, that's why I am getting Bose." Poor man. We then listen to the Boston Acoustic speakers I own. He was BLOWN away. He thought they were the best he had ever heard. We then proceeded to listen to Vienna, Sonus and then Martin Logan. He was like a kid in a candy shop. Needless to say the Boston's fell off the "new" list as well.

    Now? He has a 5.1 Martin Logan system driven by B&K components. He totally get's off on watching his neighbors drool now. I have created a Monster. He does not even have the system calibrated and really could care less about doing it. I have to admit I am pretty blown away by the sound. Ah, to have big money!

    JSE
    Pretty insane what marketing and groupthink can accomplish, eh? Friends of mine who worked in AV sales always had to combat the preconceived advantage that Bose had with a lot of buyers. It got to the point that one of those stores paid for their own Bose Acoustimass system so that customers could do their own A/B comparisons, since Bose displays in other stores don't allow for that. They didn't lose as many sales after that.

    When I was speaker shopping and overhearing the banter between other customers and the sales reps, at some point Bose always entered the discussion and it was interesting to see how the sales reps responded. One of them cupped his hand over his mouth to "demonstrate" what Bose speakers sound like. Another one proceeded to demo a system in the same price range as the Lifestyle 35. Strange thing is that the customer admitted that the store's comparably priced system blew away the Lifestyle, but still went on about how he thought that Bose had all that "superior technology" in their products. Not sure if the sales rep made the sale.

    Another friend got it from both ends. His store finally decided to pick up Bose after losing one too many sales from customers who'd come in, listen to a system that they admitted sounded better, but still wind up buying Bose from a competitor because they just couldn't believe that anything could possibly be better, even if their ears were telling them the truth. When my friend's store picked up Bose, he said that the store had to clear out a dedicated demo room for the Bose products, with no competing products present. During a training session, the Bose reps went into the sales points and did some sound demos. Keep in mind that this store carried Klipsch, Energy, Boston, and Polk among others, and while the Bose rep was chiming on about how great the Bose sound was as the disc was playing, the sales reps were all looking at one another like who's this guy kidding?

    Once they started carrying Bose, it was great for the sales reps because the commissions on the Bose units are higher and they were more often impulse buys. The customer would come in and ask about Bose. The sales rep would demo the unit, and the customer buys it without demoing anything else. Easy sale, easy profit. My friend would demo other products only if the customer asked, and he did try to move them into other product lines if the customer was open-minded. With Bose, there's no upgrade path, but with a component system, there are more opportunities to add on and upgrade later on, so he was also thinking with his pocketbook. But, very often, the customers came into the store already convinced that Bose was the best, and no demo or comparison was going to disuade them from that belief.

    At least your friend was open minded enough to get blown away by a different brand, and believe that something actually was better than Bose. It is pretty easy to create monsters in audio. Just recently, my wife's friend and her husband came over. Her husband is into home theatre (has a full sized satellite dish in the backyard), but had gone with a mismatched set of speakers for years. I had just finished matching my surround setup, so he gave it a listen and was pretty floored by how much better the imaging and overall coherency was. Less than a month later, I heard that he had swapped out his entire speaker setup for a matched top-of-the-line Def Tech set. Ironically, even though those tower speakers physically have low WAF, the sound actually met with the wife's approval. She told my wife, "Gosh, my husband's loud movies don't sound as annoying as they did before!" Who knew that new speakers could contribute to domestic tranquility?

  15. #15
    Loving This kexodusc's Avatar
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    Thumbs up Never underestimate the power of the WAF.

    I've always handled the WAF or (Fiancee Acceptance Factor in my case) by employing a few simple tactics:

    First, always start with:
    "Honey, what color do you think would best match the room?"
    Followed by a "Well we better go test them in store to see if the colour really matches the brochure"...

    Then they get hooked in the sound demo...if there's one weakness most women I know have, it's that they love to shop. Doesn't matter what for...could be chainsaw, jock-strap, whatever. Put it to them as if it's a challenge, find the best deal on this item you can exploit that weakness to no end.

    Another trick I have personally is a bit more devious on my part. My finacee is incredibly resentful of my best friend's wife for some reason...Just hates her. For some reason she measures our relationship against there's constantly. So when Ryan gets new audio gear because of a pay raise or something, I usually say something like "Do you remember how nice Ryan and Tanya's living room was, well they've just added $2000 of speakers to it"...
    This usually motivates a counter-move on our part.
    In the last year I've upgraded speakers, couches and refinished my HT room without complaint about how much money I've dropped just because we were engaged in a battle of one-upsmanship. It's great!!!

    Finally, it's not just enough to buy your gear and forget the wife...once in a while you have to invest a few dollars and a few painful hours into "purchase reinforcement". By this I mean go out and buy the latest DTS romantic comedy (I recommend a Hugh Grant flick, these are the least painful and are generally all the same, short, witty, and to the point) or buy her an Enrique CD or something romantic, and give her "limited supervised access" to your stereo....Trust me, this goes along way to preserving harmony. This last step is perhaps the most important, forget to do this and you'll find yourself dumping money in weird european restaurants or brutal local theater performances.

    Hope I've provided you all with something useful. Pass on what you have learned, my friends.

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by kexodusc

    This last step is perhaps the most important, forget to do this and you'll find yourself dumping money in weird european restaurants or brutal local theater performances.

    Hope I've provided you all with something useful. Pass on what you have learned, my friends.
    That is hilarious! You are dead on with the weird restuarant or brutal local theater thing. I just dodged a 3-ticket package to the Berkeley theater group last night and am well aware of how lucky I am. The deal breaker? The additional "convenience fees" charged by their website.

    I'd better run out and get a romatic comedy asap to keep the good luck rolling

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by samgupta
    That is hilarious! You are dead on with the weird restuarant or brutal local theater thing. I just dodged a 3-ticket package to the Berkeley theater group last night and am well aware of how lucky I am. The deal breaker? The additional "convenience fees" charged by their website.

    I'd better run out and get a romatic comedy asap to keep the good luck rolling
    Compared to some of the "performances" I've attended, Berkeley would be a treat.
    You haven't blown money until you've dropped $80 on two tickets for "Kung Fu: The Legend Continues: The Musical" or paid $400 for a trip to Dr. Phil that never even aired on TV.

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    hey, it coulda been worse

    the episode could have aired and everyone would have known that you went to a taping of Dr. Phil. Of course they still wouldn't have known it cost ya $400.

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by agtpunx40
    the episode could have aired and everyone would have known that you went to a taping of Dr. Phil. Of course they still wouldn't have known it cost ya $400.
    Actually, that in itself is something of a funny story, my girlfriend (now engaged) and her friends gave me the impression this show was less like Oprah and more like Springer or Jenny Jones, with fights, smut etc.

  20. #20
    M.P.S.E /AES/SMPTE member Sir Terrence the Terrible's Avatar
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    Wooch and Woodman hit the nail on the head with this one. Bose thrives on presenting themselves as cutting edge and proprietory. Doing business as usual will not make them the largest speaker manufacturer in the country and possible the world. They want to make it so you must upgrade THEIR systems with THEIR components and nobody elses.

    They make their products so they cannot effectively be measured and compared with other component of simular price(or less for that matter). This makes it difficult for reviewers to subjectively or objectively rate the product. That keep negative opinion at bay, and products flying off the the shelves.

    They have a movie theater system called the acoustic cannon system. It has only been installed in 4 theaters in the world. I am personally not sure how they got it installed in those four theaters. The system sound horrible, and it doesn't integrate well with the industry standard equipment in all theaters. You must buy proprietary rings, interconnects, and interfaces(which only Bose can supply) to get it to interface with projection heads and readers(at an extra cost of course)

    Bose has got a good game going, and they are succeeding through marketing, and because of ignorance, and laziness on the part of the consumer.
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    Forum Regular Woochifer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sir Terrence the Terrible
    Wooch and Woodman hit the nail on the head with this one. Bose thrives on presenting themselves as cutting edge and proprietory. Doing business as usual will not make them the largest speaker manufacturer in the country and possible the world. They want to make it so you must upgrade THEIR systems with THEIR components and nobody elses.

    They make their products so they cannot effectively be measured and compared with other component of simular price(or less for that matter). This makes it difficult for reviewers to subjectively or objectively rate the product. That keep negative opinion at bay, and products flying off the the shelves.

    They have a movie theater system called the acoustic cannon system. It has only been installed in 4 theaters in the world. I am personally not sure how they got it installed in those four theaters. The system sound horrible, and it doesn't integrate well with the industry standard equipment in all theaters. You must buy proprietary rings, interconnects, and interfaces(which only Bose can supply) to get it to interface with projection heads and readers(at an extra cost of course)

    Bose has got a good game going, and they are succeeding through marketing, and because of ignorance, and laziness on the part of the consumer.
    Excellent summation T-man ...

    I agree with you about that Acoustic Cannon system ... it's an abomination beyond belief. I'm not one to use these kinds of hyperbolic terms to describe things, but in this case it's the stark truth. I didn't realize that the adoption of that system was so limited, and I am glad to hear that. But, unfortunately one of those installations was the Avco Cinema in L.A., which was one of the original THX installations, and until the Bose cannons came along, one of my personal favorite theaters. I always thought that theater was very well balanced and it seemed that a lot of attention to detail went into that installation. The bass was tight, and just extended and full enough without getting overly exaggerated.

    Why they switched out to that Bose Acoustic Wave Cannon was puzzling, because it instantly transformed the tight coherent bass I noted in the original setup into a bloated sounding mess. It seemed to take forever for the bass to get going, and what came out did not sound like low frequency sound reproduction, but some rumble getting purged out of a plastic tube, which the Wave Cannon actually is. That Bose installation pretty much butchered what I had regarded as a favorite spot to watch movies (theater management showed their contempt for that auditorium's significance even further by cutting it in half, which ruined the imaging and the great sight lines; unfortunately, the Bose cannons stayed).

    I've seen the Bose cannons installed in several Tower Records locations as well, which made me think they were more ubiquitous than they actually were. They didn't sound any better in a record store than they did in a movie theater.

    The only market where I think Bose seems to be okay is with nightclub systems. Then again, I have no idea how much these systems cost compared to other companies, and if they use the same nonstandard proprietary connectors that they use with a lot of their other products. Compared to other installations, I thought that the Bose systems were decent because they didn't totally assault your ears the way that a lot of other nightclub systems did. I remember that they made some ported nightclub subwoofers that got decent thump without sounding overly bloated, but later on, they seemed to switch some of those systems to the acoustic cannon systems, and that ruined everything.

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    Suspended Smokey's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Woochifer
    The only market where I think Bose seems to be okay is with nightclub systems.
    Don't you mean disco systems

    They used to use a term "Stereo Everywhere" to describe their speakers. And looks like Bose speakers design (especially 901s) lend themselves nicely with that type of set up

  23. #23
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    One of my company's clients owns several large pro-sports stadium/arenas in the USA and Canada, and generally they use Bose systems. They sound as good as anything at a ball game or hockey rink, I guess.

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    Some people make all this seem as if Bose is in some sort of marketing conspiracy. When I was in college I had a humanities course, and for part of the course we had to listen to classical music. I really dislike that kind of music, but listening to some in class I must admit my ears were thoroughly impressed with the sound quality. I mean they seriously sounded fantastic... Later I would ask what kind of speakers they were, (they were the Bose 301 bookshelf model). The sound seemed to fill up the room from such small speakers (I really couldn't tell where the sound was coming from).

    I don't like this kind of music, although I wouldn't buy Bose for the type of music I listen to.

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