Bose 901's

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  • 01-12-2007, 03:19 PM
    vandalfsens
    Bose 901's
    The lightning rod of controversy! Bose 901's! But how do they really work?

    What does the required equalizer actually do and how do they get away with all of the tiny little drivers?

    I've had them before, hooked up to my all-Carver system from the mid-90's and I thought they weren't too bad but I really just want to know besides the "direct-reflecting" stuff, how exactly are they different from a "normal" speaker?
  • 01-12-2007, 04:36 PM
    JohnMichael
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by vandalfsens
    The lightning rod of controversy! Bose 901's! But how do they really work?

    What does the required equalizer actually do and how do they get away with all of the tiny little drivers?

    I've had them before, hooked up to my all-Carver system from the mid-90's and I thought they weren't too bad but I really just want to know besides the "direct-reflecting" stuff, how exactly are they different from a "normal" speaker?


    Bose 901's are designed to give you the diffuse soundfield of a concert hall. Other speakers like the Shahinian Obelisk also give a diffuse sound by having drivers on many sides of the enclosure. The 901's as you know use 9 full range drivers that require a fair amount of eq to sound balanced. Many feel that the early measurements in the concert hall to create the balance of direct/reflected sound was done too far back in the concert hall. The 901's have 11% direct and 89% reflected. It is a matter of personal tastes if you like the sound.

    I prefer a point source speaker which are usually small two ways. They image well and for me I find them the most enjoyable. Listen to all types and decide what works for you.
  • 01-12-2007, 05:52 PM
    78vette
    The lightning rod of controversy! Bose 901's! But how do they really work?


    I agree with JohnMichael. The 901's are a special speaker. How DO they work with 9 small identical drivers and no X-overs??? Amar was a pretty smart guy in my opinion. I will always be impressed with the fact that you can get that much sound from such small speakers, and I am not sure that all of the controversy is not doing Bose some good. At least they are constantly being talked about, which I am sure some other speaker companies would love to hear about their product.

    No matter what your opinion is of Bose, you cannot take away the fact that these 901's have been around for so long, largely unchanged. Is there any other speaker in the history of stereo that has done that?
  • 01-12-2007, 08:09 PM
    Florian
    McDonalds burgers have been around a long time too, unchanged.But they are still ****!

    Bottom line: Bose is a absolutly horrible value , the construction is pure garbage, they have an incredibly none-existing response, tons of money for commercials and have sadly enough people with no good hearing that buy them.
  • 01-13-2007, 05:12 AM
    SAEA501
    I have to hand it to Bose as a company. This is an icredibly successful marketing company. They have convinced a great number of consumers that their product is the "best", and as a result, have sold mass quantities of their ersatz speakers to unsuspecting victims. How mant times have heard people say something to the effect that Bose is the be all end all?

    Here is a really good article that speaks to the technical realities behind Bose's imitation speakers and the rest of their pretend hi fi. Some of you all may have seeen it, but it's still fun to read.

    http://www.intellexual.net/bose.html
  • 01-13-2007, 06:09 AM
    Florian
    Quote:

    In the industry, "BOSE" is considered an acronym for "Buy Other Sound Equipment"

    :cornut::cornut::cornut::cornut::cornut::cornut::c ornut:
  • 01-13-2007, 06:22 AM
    emaidel
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by SAEA501
    I have to hand it to Bose as a company. This is an icredibly successful marketing company.


    I too have to hand it to Bose for their incredibly clever marketing. In the late 70's, and early 80's, Bose dealers had to dedicate an entire wall in their store exclusively to Bose products. In return, Bose personnel provided a plethora of Point of Purchase (POP) items to further "demonstrate" their silly claims of the benefits, etc. of "reflected" sound. Most of the dealers thought that the product was awful, but the ease of selling the product (due to the combination of Bose's advertising, and the POP materials in the store) made Bose a top-seller in most of those retailers.

    Presently, I own the large Bose "Acoustic Wave" radio/CD player. I didn't purchase it, but actually received it free as part of a Nissan/Bose promotion. I have to admit it sounds very nice indeed, but $1,200 nice? Not a chance!

    Speaker manufacturers who make better speakers than Bose (and that includes just about all of them!) could learn a thing or two from Bose's marketing savvy, instead of just attacking it.
  • 01-13-2007, 06:36 AM
    Florian
    You guys need to watch out on this "reflected" sound, the idea of using reflections is very clever and used in many Studios. BOSE just used it with their Silly Products
  • 01-13-2007, 07:42 AM
    audio_dude
    yeah, bose doesn't suck, but they charge waaaayyyyy too much for what they sell.

    I recently convinced some friends to not buy a bose iPod dock and go with a Kilpsch one, they're very happy with it!

    (btw flo, i like the new sig, nice and simple... but id you'll excuse me, i have to go mop up this drool)
  • 01-13-2007, 07:51 AM
    basite
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by 78vette
    these 901's have been around for so long, largely unchanged. Is there any other speaker in the history of stereo that has done that?

    yes, the klipshhorn for example, which has been in production since 1946, which is long before there even was a bose...

    bose isn't really bad bad, just, you pay alot of money, and get something you can do better with a system that is 1/3 of the price.
    people buy bose because of the mass name, they see it's expensive, so they think it's the top of the line and that all the rest is crap,

    people, wake up, there is much better than bose.

    also, why do they always hide the bose systems sub in shops? marketing trick?


    Keep them spinning,
    Bert.
  • 01-14-2007, 06:28 AM
    thekid
    How to make a "Lightning Rod of Controversy" (i.e. typical Bose thread)

    Ingredients needed;

    5% actual info
    50% BS
    45% kerosene

    Stir
    Add match
    Consume quickly after fire has burned
  • 01-15-2007, 10:53 AM
    Resident Loser
    I've...
    ...enjoyed my 901 Series ll ( the last of the acoustic suspension models) for over thirty years now (way before the Lifestyle/Acoustimass products) and never really entertained any thoughts of replacing them...

    As JM pointed out, they present a completely different soundfield when compared to conventional direct radiators...In light of that fact, comparing the two is a fool's errand...two completely different presentations, you will either like them or you won't...

    jimHJJ(...as it happens, they work for me...)
  • 01-15-2007, 05:47 PM
    njspeer
    Call me unenlightened then
    You could almost make the definition of a so-called Audiophile: "Stereo enthusiast who thinks he's smarter than he really is." Thinking you're smarter than you really are is a weakness, and it often renders one easily deceived or duped. As a result most audiophiles feel the insatiable urge to criticize whatever is popular with the lay people. When it comes to the Bose corporation, everything has to be explained as a complicated multi-decade conspiracy to fool the masses, and only audiophiles know the true nature of the corporation. Never mind Ochman's razor or the simplest explanation here. Conventional wisdom among audiophiles is: The Bose corporation, rather than develop products that people actually want, decided instead to spent billions of dollars engaging in a cynical propaganda campaign designed to brainwash the unenlightened into wanting their products.

    Well, call me unenlightened then, because my 901 series II speakers sound damn good. I don't care what the self proclaimed stero-intelligentsia says. I prefer the diffuse sound the speakers produce; they fill my entire house with warm music. Moreover, they can produce ample sound down to frequencies I can feel more than hear. And to top it all off, they look very cool on chrome stands in my 1930s Bungalow. Everyone that's seen them has commented on how cool they look, and that's before they hear them. Hooked up to my vintage Sansui 9090db, they will blow you away. And to top it off, I picked mine up for $275. Call me unenlightened, but I've yet to hear anything that sounds that good, let alone for under $300.

    BTW, most of the Bose bashing is aimed towards their Acoustimass speakers, with the most of the complaining focused on the sound/price ratio, but when pushed to offer an alternative it's always some speaker thats substantially larger in size. So, here's a question for you: Is there a home theater speaker system that's as small or smaller than Bose that sounds as good or better? I don't know the answer, haven't bothered to look, but I'm guessing the answer is no.
  • 01-15-2007, 05:58 PM
    bobsticks
    Occam's or Ockham's razor
  • 01-15-2007, 06:07 PM
    JoeE SP9
    Even I would admit that the earlier 901's didn't sound half bad. When they started using plastic cabinets the sound quality went down hill fast and far.
    There are those of us for whom good sound is not dictated by the size of the enclosure. I personally buy speakers that sound good! Size is not a consideration.
    As far as hiding speakers, most people don't know my ESL's are speakers until they ask "Where is the sound coming from?". When I point to my panels the response I most often hear is "I thought they were room dividers". :cool:
  • 01-15-2007, 07:23 PM
    njspeer
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by bobsticks
    Occam's or Ockham's razor


    I can't spell for crap. Thanks
  • 01-15-2007, 07:43 PM
    thekid
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by njspeer
    You could almost make the definition of a so-called Audiophile: "Stereo enthusiast who thinks he's smarter than he really is." Thinking you're smarter than you really are is a weakness, and it often renders one easily deceived or duped. As a result most audiophiles feel the insatiable urge to criticize whatever is popular with the lay people. When it comes to the Bose corporation, everything has to be explained as a complicated multi-decade conspiracy to fool the masses, and only audiophiles know the true nature of the corporation. Never mind Ochman's razor or the simplest explanation here. Conventional wisdom among audiophiles is: The Bose corporation, rather than develop products that people actually want, decided instead to spent billions of dollars engaging in a cynical propaganda campaign designed to brainwash the unenlightened into wanting their products.

    Well, call me unenlightened then, because my 901 series II speakers sound damn good. I don't care what the self proclaimed stero-intelligentsia says. I prefer the diffuse sound the speakers produce; they fill my entire house with warm music. Moreover, they can produce ample sound down to frequencies I can feel more than hear. And to top it all off, they look very cool on chrome stands in my 1930s Bungalow. Everyone that's seen them has commented on how cool they look, and that's before they hear them. Hooked up to my vintage Sansui 9090db, they will blow you away. And to top it off, I picked mine up for $275. Call me unenlightened, but I've yet to hear anything that sounds that good, let alone for under $300.

    BTW, most of the Bose bashing is aimed towards their Acoustimass speakers, with the most of the complaining focused on the sound/price ratio, but when pushed to offer an alternative it's always some speaker thats substantially larger in size. So, here's a question for you: Is there a home theater speaker system that's as small or smaller than Bose that sounds as good or better? I don't know the answer, haven't bothered to look, but I'm guessing the answer is no.

    NJ-
    Your response was far more eloquent to what I thought was going to turn into another ordinary Bose bashing thread. The original question struck me a little as trolling i.e new member who seemed to sense they were lighting a match...... :)
  • 01-22-2007, 06:40 AM
    emaidel
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by njspeer
    I picked mine up for $275. Call me unenlightened, but I've yet to hear anything that sounds that good, let alone for under $300.

    .


    The original 901 sold for $1,400 the pair, plus the cost of stands. I have no idea what they sell for today, but I know that the price escalated annually.

    My comments about Bose don't necessarily come under the heading of "Bose-bashing," but rather illustrate the poor performance/price ratio of Bose products. I don't think a single Bose product was ever downright lousy - you could just about always do a whole helluva lot better, for a whole helluva lot less money.

    Still, as a marketing company, Bose is on a plateau no one else ever reached. Now, if Bose spent as much money on engineering and parts, as they do on advertising, then you'd really have something to shout about!
  • 01-22-2007, 07:50 AM
    Resident Loser
    Correction...
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by emaidel
    The original 901 sold for $1,400 the pair, plus the cost of stands. I have no idea what they sell for today, but I know that the price escalated annually....

    ...back in '74-'75 (back in the days of the 'fair-trade' laws) the last acoustic-suspension models, Series Two 901s MSRPd @$525 the pair incl EQ...stands were extra...$1400 is the current list price for the ported version...

    jimHJJ(...stands are still extra...and in '74 coffee used to come in full one-pound cans for <$1.00...now it's nearly $5 for 11.5 ozs...you do the math...)
  • 01-22-2007, 08:57 AM
    emaidel
    You're correct in that my quote of $1,400 for original Bose 901's is wrong, but I don't think your price quote is right either: I worked for ESS from 1979-1981, and one of the company's ad campaigns was called, "ESS Wins on Campus." Double-blind listening tests were performed at various colleges across the U.S., and ESS delighted in having one of its inexpensive "Performance" models consistently outscoring the Bose 901. At the time, the 901 cost just under $1,000 for the pair, so I guess we're equally "wrong."
  • 01-22-2007, 02:44 PM
    vandalfsens
    Oh, I knew I was lighting a match alright...
    But I was only wanting to know simply how they work...

    I too have had 901's in my house. I too liked the way they sounded when hooked up to my all- Carver system. But when I went to my Denon 1804 and DVD player I opted for Paradigm v.3 Legends and ditched my 901's.

    What does the equalizer do, actually? Take the place of crossovers?
  • 01-22-2007, 03:51 PM
    Peter Duminy
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by vandalfsens
    But I was only wanting to know simply how they work...

    This article and test review will probably answer all your qustions here.

    It maybe old, but the technology remains the same. Bose'e comments at the end of the Review are puzzling to say the least.
  • 01-23-2007, 05:38 AM
    Resident Loser
    As far as I can...
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by emaidel
    You're correct in that my quote of $1,400 for original Bose 901's is wrong, but I don't think your price quote is right either: I worked for ESS from 1979-1981, and one of the company's ad campaigns was called, "ESS Wins on Campus." Double-blind listening tests were performed at various colleges across the U.S., and ESS delighted in having one of its inexpensive "Performance" models consistently outscoring the Bose 901. At the time, the 901 cost just under $1,000 for the pair, so I guess we're equally "wrong."

    ...determine, they were $476 pr w/ EQ when Julian Hirsch first reviewd them in High Fidelity in '68...As stated, in '74-'75, as per my copy of the High Fidelity Buyers Guide, they MSRPd for five-and-a-quarter (I purchased mine as part of a "package" to do an end-run around those 'fair-trade' laws and saved around $200 on the speaks/stands, Pioneer 9100 series int amp/tuner, a Phillips 212 TT and a Stanton 681EE cart) and around 900 clams in '85...so for the time period you mention, I'd have to take an edumacated guess at around $750 or so...I'd further guess only one of us is wrong...

    jimHJJ(...hint: it ain't me babe...)
  • 01-23-2007, 06:19 AM
    Resident Loser
    901s...
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by vandalfsens
    But I was only wanting to know simply how they work...

    I too have had 901's in my house. I too liked the way they sounded when hooked up to my all- Carver system. But when I went to my Denon 1804 and DVD player I opted for Paradigm v.3 Legends and ditched my 901's.

    What does the equalizer do, actually? Take the place of crossovers?

    ...neither have, nor do they need Xovers,...each speaker cabinet contains nine identical (and supposedly matched) 4.5 in. full-range drivers...These are essentially mid-range...however (and this is where the EQ comes in) approx. 18dB of bass boost is applied at low freqs...Since the drivers have an excursion (fore and aft cone movement) of +/- 1/4", they can handle that level of boost...also the 9 drivers have an effective radiating area of a 12" woofer with less moving mass than a single 12" speaker would...This translates into better control of the low-freq signal...IMNSHO, very tight , well defined and extended bass...The EQ also provides some boost and a certain amount of control over the high-freqs as it's actually the drivers' dust caps that mimic the response of conventional tweeters...

    My reference point is the Series ll of the breed and previous info also applies to the original acoustic suspension models which required a minimum of 100W/pc...Series lll and beyond are ported models with injection-molded enclosures and while they have wood trim, are indeed some sort of plastic, as wood is impractical for constructing the acoustic-labyrinth that they contain...This arrangement allows them to be powered by as little as 10Watts...I haven't really done any extended listening to the later models, so I'll reserve judgement...however, anecdotally, they have been characterized by some, as not up to the same level as the first and second models...

    They aren't for everyone and really do require a bit of involvement with regard to placement (I built a reflecting wall for my left channel) and even in listening...the soundfield produced by their design concept is radically different than that of any direct-radiator speaker system...but once you put aside the conventional boom and blare and dismiss any preconcieved notions of what is or isn't hi-fi and really listen into them, that's when they do their thing...

    jimHJJ(...thirty years and counting...)
  • 01-23-2007, 06:40 AM
    emaidel
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Resident Loser
    . ...so for the time period you mention, I'd have to take an edumacated guess at around $750 or so...I'd further guess only one of us is wrong...

    jimHJJ(...hint: it ain't me babe...)

    I concede.