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  1. #1
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    Looking for replacement for BOSE AC 10 III System

    Hi, I recently purchased a Bose Acoustimass 10 Series III 5.1 ch home theater speaker system for a little less than $1000. My eyes were opened when I stumbled upon this page: http://www.intellexual.net/bose.html. Indeed, the specs for this system were not published by BOSE as they were by other manufacturers. And when the system was tested using standardized methods by the author of the page, I found the system specs to be of much lower quality than the competition. Suffice to say, I wish to return my Acoustimass system ASAP, as I have not set it up yet. Since everyone here seems to know alot about audio, I am asking for your opinion on a new 5.1 system for me in the $800-$1000 range to replace the BOSE system. I was looking at polk and infinity but I don't have the time to completely research every brand and model. Suggestions anyone? Thanks.

  2. #2
    Forum Regular Florian's Avatar
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    Well welcome to Audioreview first :-)

    BOSE aint all that bad. The complete systems from them are very practical and not really a hassle to setup. They are easy to place and dont intrude the room like my walls. Set them up and see if you like them first. If you think they really stink then return them, but liste first and see how the fit your room.

    -Flo
    Lots of music but not enough time for it all

  3. #3
    My custom user title This Guy's Avatar
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    No just return them imediatly, they may not let you return them if you opened them up already.

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    I have done some research and found that indeed, specifications for BOSE's drivers are not published ANYWHERE. Not in the manual, not on their site. Tell me if any system with these specs can possibly sound good:

    BOSE AM
    Satellites: 280 Hz to 13.3k Hz at 10.5 dB (2 1/2" Tweeters/Midrange drivers)
    "Bass Module": 46Hz to 202Hz at 2.3 dB (5 1/2" driver)
    Material: Untreated Paper, foam surrounds

    Polk RM20
    Satellites: 80 Hz to 24k Hz (3/4" Tweeter & 3 1/2" Midrange driver)
    Subwoofer: 35 Hz to 125 Hz (12" driver)
    Material: Mineral-filled polymer, rubber surrounds

    The bose "bass module" consists of two 5.5 inch paper cone speakers. First of all, a 5.5 inch speaker is NOT a subwoofer. Secondly, BOSE build quality is incredibly poor. Drivers are made of raw, untreated paper, with a foam surround. Untreated paper is very susceptible to moisture and foam surrounds fall apart within 10 years, no matter the usage or brand. Meanwhile, the polk system's 12-inch subwoofer cone is made of a special mineral-filled polymer, with a rubber surround. If you know anything about speakers you can see that the materials put into BOSE speakers cost about $20 and fall apart quickly. Third, the bose bass module is crosses over at 202 hz, which is well above bass frequencies and into the midrange. So you will be hearing things come from the bass module that should be coming from the satellites only. The satellites also cut off their upper frequencies at 13,300 hz, when the human ear can distinguish sounds well up into the 20,000 hz range. The most glaring shorcoming is the fact that there is a 78 hz gap between the bass module and the satellites. 203hz-279hz will be missing from everything you hear! Notice how the polk systems frequencies overlap a good amount. The bass response starts lower, ends lower, and the satellites can produce frequencies higher than the human ear can distinguish. Bose's satellites are also very poorly engineered. The 2.5" drivers chosen are the worst size for a speaker. Tweeters should be in the range of .5 to 1 inch, and midrange from 3 to 6.5 inches. Bose's combination tweeter/midrange drivers are larger than a tweeter should be, and smaller than a midrange should be. So youre getting the worst of both worlds. Bose uses two of these drivers per cube speaker. Sure, they could use one for high frequencies and the other for midrange, but no. There is no internal crossover so both drivers are producing the exact same frequencies. As a side note, Bose uses LDF or low density fiberboard for its bass module enclosure, and Polk and most other manufacturers use at least MDF (medium density), or other materials such a hard oak, marble, or cast aluminum. LDF is a fraction of the density of MDF. Bose uses half-inch LDF and other manufacturers use 1.5-inch MDF.

    Read all this and tell me BOSE makes good speakers. Why do they refuse to publish any frequency response specs or anything besides the dimensions of their products? Because they don't want people to know how ****ty their stuff is. Go ahead, browse BOSE's website. I guarantee you won't find any frequency response specs. Bose spends more on advertising than other audio manufacturers COMBINED. They market products to people on the basis of being small and good looking, and fitting in with a person's "lifestyle". Bose cannot cover up that small speakers just suck, even with all their gimmicks and "patented technologies". The size and materials that make up bose speakers are their downfall. And the "patented technologies" that bose touts have been around for years before the company was ever formed. They just changed it around a bit and used lawyers to re-patent old technology. Why have Bose's flagship 901 speakers gone through 0 design changes in the past 15 years? Where is the "better sound through research" going? To advertising. And charging hundreds more than should be paid for **** $20 products. You think Bose isn't all that bad because of its image that it has invested millions into making. I don't have a problem with Bose electronics, since the CD changer and RF audio remote I have from them works like a charm. I have a bose acoustimass 3 series II stereo speaker system with 3 components. The subwoofer or "bass module" just died today for no apparent reason. BTW, the driver in the "bass module" is 5.5 inches. Since when have you heard of a subwoofer being 5.5 inches? Ive never. I took it apart, and sure enough it's made of 1/2" LDF, glued together sloppily, looking like a kid put it together. The driver is made of paper. Plain old paper. Tell me bose makes quality speakers.

  5. #5
    Suspended topspeed's Avatar
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    When I originally read your post, I thought maybe you were just another guy looking to learn something.

    Now it's starting to look a lot more like a troll trying to start a Bose bashing thread.

    I'll put the honus on you:

    If you are so convinced Bose makes crappy products, why did you buy them in the first place? You did listen to them first, right? Assuming you did, obviously there was something the system was doing that you liked, otherwise you wouldn't have laid out your hard earned cash. Does the Bose suddenly sound much, much worse now compared to your initial audition because you've read some specs? The last time I checked, you listened with your ears, not your eyes.

  6. #6
    Forum Regular Florian's Avatar
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    I really dont think BOSE is that bad. Yes its expensive, but so what. I think those small BOSE cubes are pretty cool. Hi WAF and sound pretty good for HT. I have a sperate Music system anyways.

    -Flo
    Lots of music but not enough time for it all

  7. #7
    Forum Regular Woochifer's Avatar
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    Yup, you ventured onto the most prominent Bose bashing site on the web. If you got time, go ahead and audition other speakers in that price range. Bose is not bad per se, but their Acoustimass systems in particular are definitely overpriced for the sound that they deliver. In the $1,000 price range, you got plenty of alternatives for 5.1 speaker packages -- Paradigm, Klipsch, Boston, Energy, JBL, Polk, Infinity, KEF, Definitive Technology, etc. Those companies all produce small sub/sat systems that have much better coverage of the audible frequency range than the Bose Acoustimass systems. Try them out at a local audio store and see if they measure up. If they do, then feel free to go with any of those options.

    Otherwise, with a $1,000 budget, you could do even better and just start with a pair of good bookshelf speakers and gradually add on. The best thing about home theater is that you don't have to buy the whole thing at the same time. Start with the front two speakers, add the center, add the subwoofer, add the surrounds in whatever order you want. Going that route, you assure yourself that your speaker setup will have a more seamless transition between the speakers and the subwoofer. It also allows you to choose a subwoofer based on its true low frequency performance, rather than a "bass module" that has to do double duty handling the lower midrange.

    It took me two years to build up my system. I started with a $1,000 budget, and found that the speakers I preferred cost $900 a pair. So, I went with that, hooked up a pair of old Bose 301 speakers that my girlfriend had lying around as the surrounds. Added the center speaker a year later, added the subwoofer six months after that, and six months later, I completed the system by adding the matching surround speakers.

  8. #8
    Forum Regular Woochifer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Florian
    I really dont think BOSE is that bad. Yes its expensive, but so what. I think those small BOSE cubes are pretty cool. Hi WAF and sound pretty good for HT. I have a sperate Music system anyways.

    -Flo
    Pretty good for HT? I don't see how any system with that huge a frequency gap between the satellites and the sub can be considered "pretty good," regardless of the source. Bose is considered expensive because there are so many better sounding alternatives that cost a lot less. Pretty much any sub/sat system at the $1,000 price point will have a frequency gap between the point at which the satellites leave off and the bass module picks up, but all of the ones I've seen and heard in that price range do not present nearly as huge a gap and have a "subwoofer" that goes as high into the midrange as the Bose system does.

    And if someone cannot afford a separate music system like you can, then what? Would it sound equally "pretty good" for music?

  9. #9
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    Alright, heres how it went. I was helping my dad pick out a home theater system. He got a Samsung HLP5685WX 56" Widescreen DLP TV, Denon AVR-1905 Receiver, Samsung DVD-HD941 DVD Player, and Bose Acoustimass 10 Series III system. The whole thing isnt set up yet, because he needs to get someone to run wires in the walls. So I am trying to convince him to return the bose system and get something better for the money. And NO he didn't do a comparison test. Just got what the salesperson said was good. :-/

  10. #10
    RGA
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    Yes the salesperson generally makes a lot more money selling Bose than anything else -- never trust most salespeople or any salesp[eople who recommend bose for any reason.

    You don;t need to listen to stuff for the same money as Bose -- listen to any system from anybody else at half whatever Bose is charging -- chances are it will be a LOT better or at the worst just as good. This applies to the acoustimass. I have not heard the 901 for some years and maybe they made it better -- doubtful but ya never know.

  11. #11
    Forum Regular Woochifer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bmw5002
    Alright, heres how it went. I was helping my dad pick out a home theater system. He got a Samsung HLP5685WX 56" Widescreen DLP TV, Denon AVR-1905 Receiver, Samsung DVD-HD941 DVD Player, and Bose Acoustimass 10 Series III system. The whole thing isnt set up yet, because he needs to get someone to run wires in the walls. So I am trying to convince him to return the bose system and get something better for the money. And NO he didn't do a comparison test. Just got what the salesperson said was good. :-/
    RGA is right. Keep in mind that Bose has some of the highest profit margins in the industry, outside of accessories such as cables. So, the sales reps have plenty of incentive to recommend Bose, and it's an easy sell due to Bose's name recognition. If a consumer has never heard of Energy, they won't know that Energy's Take and Encore systems are among the best sounding 5.1 packages in their price ranges. It's also hard to do comparison tests because most stores that carry Bose have to put them in standalone displays and demo rooms with no other brands present.

    Bose has a good "wow" factor because the bass module (it should not be called a subwoofer because it's asked to reproduce sounds well over 200 Hz, which are clearly directional and into the midrange) is voiced with a boost in midbass. But, this only compensates for the lack of deep bass extension, and Bose's demo DVDs have audio clips handpicked to sound best with these types of deficiencies. To a first time listener, this might sound impressive, but without the ability to do comparisons first hand in the store, it won't be immediately known that other speaker packages in the same price range can render deeper and more accurate bass with fewer deficiencies in the lower midrange.

  12. #12
    Can a crooner get a gig? dean_martin's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bmw5002
    Alright, heres how it went. I was helping my dad pick out a home theater system. He got a Samsung HLP5685WX 56" Widescreen DLP TV, Denon AVR-1905 Receiver, Samsung DVD-HD941 DVD Player, and Bose Acoustimass 10 Series III system. The whole thing isnt set up yet, because he needs to get someone to run wires in the walls. So I am trying to convince him to return the bose system and get something better for the money. And NO he didn't do a comparison test. Just got what the salesperson said was good. :-/
    Don't hold me to this, but I think I've read posts that say you cannot manage the bass module with your receiver, or that there is some screwy connection scenario where you can't control the sats with your receiver. If you can confirm either of these problems, then your best argument to your dad will probably be that the Bose system does not allow you to take full advantage of his receiver's adjustment capabilities. Denon's receivers are generally pretty good. Why hamstring it with the Bose system?

    The last Bose system I happened to walk by and hear at Circuit City sounded like crap - muffled midrange, no air or detail in the treble, no bass extension. But others may not hear what I heard. Anyhow, someone around here should be able to confirm, correct or expand on my memory regarding the limited control over the Bose system.

  13. #13
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    He didn't think that they would take it back because we don't have the main box that everything was in anymore with all the styrofoam and stuff. The bass module is unpacked and the rest of the stuff is still in its separate box. Im gonna tell him to ask the store nicely to let us do a comparison test in the store because we really should've in the first place. Since we never tested systems, they should be nice enough to let us before we decide if we really want the bose or not. The store is electronics expo btw. The salesman that helped us out for all our purchases knew what he was talking about but maybe he doesn't know much about bose. My dad just accepted it because of brand recognition, you know how it goes. Im hoping they wont have a problem taking it back because they were good with everything else. Because they are waiting a few weeks for the new model of the samsung tv he's getting, they are even loaning him the older model for a week or two before the new one comes in for no extra charge. How nice is that? The only difference is the new one has a hdtv tuner built in. So im sure they won't have a problem taking back the bose system. Frankly, I don't see how anyone can say bose is good. Wife approval factor. My mom doesn't give a crap what my dad buys. Other than bose system's small formfactor, everything else is garbage in my opinion. The frequency response is garbage. The enclosures look nice on the outside but are really cheap garbage made with LDF instead of MDF like every other quality speaker manufacturer. The drivers are also paper garbage. What I have in my car cost me about $200 total. An amplified bazooka tube, pioneer speakers, alpine amp, pioneer head unit. Got it all used but perfect condition. You should see the difference with the driver quality. The pioneer speakers are made with special plastic compounds and mixtures and stuff and look 10x more durable and higher quality than the paper bose speakers. I took apart the "bass module" of the 5 or so year old AM3 we have that just died for no apparent reason. I can personally verify that it is made with cheap looking wood, glued together sloppily, and the driver is 5.5 inches in diameter. Since when is a subwoofer 5.5 inches? It looks like it cost $10. The woofer in my bazooka tube is 10 inches and is made of some kinda composite. Its extremely hard and durable and can blow away any bose "bass module". Sorry for all the ranting. I just cant stand how they can pass off this cheap garbage as good audio equipment.

  14. #14
    Forum Regular Woochifer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dean_martin
    Don't hold me to this, but I think I've read posts that say you cannot manage the bass module with your receiver, or that there is some screwy connection scenario where you can't control the sats with your receiver. If you can confirm either of these problems, then your best argument to your dad will probably be that the Bose system does not allow you to take full advantage of his receiver's adjustment capabilities. Denon's receivers are generally pretty good. Why hamstring it with the Bose system?
    You got it right. The Acoustimass setup requires that you connect the speaker and LFE outputs on the receiver to the bass module using a ribbon cable with a proprietary connector. From the bass module, the speaker outputs get resent to the satellite units. The bass management is all done internally with the bass module using passive speaker level crossovers blending into the line level LFE output.

    You do control the satellite levels with the receiver because the output that the bass module receives is the speaker level connection. However, the bass management is screwy because the crossover point used by the bass module is somewhere above 200 Hz, and it's not a line level crossover. The satellite units cannot be directly connected to a receiver because they cannot handle low frequency sounds or even lower midrange.

  15. #15
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    Check out www.orbaudio.com. My favorite audio purchase ever. Great sound and really good customer service.

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    Anyway were looking for a nice 5.1 system with small-medium size wall-mounted satellites. The Polk RM20 looked nice, but I didn't get to hear it yet. Any suggestions?

  17. #17
    Forum Regular Florian's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Woochifer
    Pretty good for HT? I don't see how any system with that huge a frequency gap between the satellites and the sub can be considered "pretty good," regardless of the source. Bose is considered expensive because there are so many better sounding alternatives that cost a lot less. Pretty much any sub/sat system at the $1,000 price point will have a frequency gap between the point at which the satellites leave off and the bass module picks up, but all of the ones I've seen and heard in that price range do not present nearly as huge a gap and have a "subwoofer" that goes as high into the midrange as the Bose system does.

    And if someone cannot afford a separate music system like you can, then what? Would it sound equally "pretty good" for music?
    Dont get me wrong please, i am not saying that those things are state of the art in the their price range. BUT for an average person who is looking for an "easy" operation with good warranty BOSE aint that bad really. You dont need a seperate subwoofer, cables, receivers plus its small and has a high WAF too etc...

    Besides the profit margins are the same as with B&W. Nothing saying about quality, but the margins are high on all brands and particulary on B&W too.
    Lots of music but not enough time for it all

  18. #18
    Forum Regular Woochifer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Florian
    Dont get me wrong please, i am not saying that those things are state of the art in the their price range. BUT for an average person who is looking for an "easy" operation with good warranty BOSE aint that bad really. You dont need a seperate subwoofer, cables, receivers plus its small and has a high WAF too etc...
    I'll agree that Bose is not bad in and of itself. Most shoppers who buy Bose systems are upgrading from a smaller system or just used to the TV speakers. Compared to that, Bose represents a notable upgrade in performance. The issue is that Bose is not the only company out there that delivers an easy-to-use all-in-one system, and competing systems serve the market with superior performing products that cost a lot less. Plus, a lot of the stores that stock Bose are contractually obligated to put the Bose products into a separate demo room in order to prevent consumers from doing direct comparisons with other brands.

    I will give Bose credit for making their products very user friendly, but none for value leadership.

    Quote Originally Posted by Florian
    Besides the profit margins are the same as with B&W. Nothing saying about quality, but the margins are high on all brands and particulary on B&W too.
    You sure about that? A friend of mine worked at a store that carried Bose as well as Monitor Audio, Parasound, Velodyne, Klipsch, Energy, Yamaha, Denon, and the usual assortment of entry level mass market brands. He told me that aside from Monster Cable and other accessories, Bose had the highest margins among all of the products that they carried. ($1,200 for a boombox, $500 for a clock radio, $3,800 for a home-theater-in-a-box -- few companies else even comes close to those stratospheric prices for those types of products) He personally did not like Bose, but they were very easy to sell because of the name recognition, and they worked great for him because the Bose products also had very high commissions attached to them. I don't see any reason why B&W would command higher margins than the other brands sold at that store.

  19. #19
    Forum Regular Florian's Avatar
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    There is no doubt that BOSE has a lot of dirty laundry. From seperate rooms to engenieered presentation dvd's etc... And compared to other systems and quality its definetly overprized. But for instance B&W dealers get close to 60% off from retail and they have no advertising or shiping cost because B&W pays for that. Also they are very easy to sell. BOSE has a fixed price strategy in which all the stores are run by BOSE and control the price. The Audio Industry is unfortunatly full of it :-)
    Lots of music but not enough time for it all

  20. #20
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    U'r Answer Ventriloquist VT-12

    The best values in speakers in almost any range are from direct to consumer brands like Ascend acoustics, Axiom and HSU Research etc.

    the Ventrilioquist system from HSU Research should not only meet the aesthetics factor but also provide you with sound that is WAAAY superior than the one from any comparable bose system. The sound from this system should be better than most sat-sub systems too. Check out their glowing reviews on the net.

    Of course if u dont like it there is always the no hassle return.

    Reviews:
    - http://www.soundandvisionmag.com/art...ber=3&preview=

    - http://www.hometheatersound.com/equi..._vt12_stf1.htm

    - http://www.ecoustics.com/dt/1288

    - http://ecoustics-cnet.com.com/4505-6...ecoustics-cnet

    happy listening,
    prashant


    Quote Originally Posted by bmw5002
    Anyway were looking for a nice 5.1 system with small-medium size wall-mounted satellites. The Polk RM20 looked nice, but I didn't get to hear it yet. Any suggestions?

  21. #21
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    If you're still having trouble convincing your dad to return the Bose speakers, pass this on to him from me - I work in a Circuit City, in the audio/video department, and therefore spend hours a day almost every day listening to different brands of speakers. Our soundroom at my store (set up by yours truly) differs from many in the fact that it has a Bose Acoustimass system set up in the same room and configuration as other types and brands. Long story short, (and you've heard this one before) the Bose system is outperformed and outclassed by systems that cost half as much, with speakers of similar dimensions. The room is configured with a single DVD player hooked up to multiple surround sound recievers, with each reciever running a single set of speakers. I never get tired of letting people listen to a movie or music over the Bose, Polk, and Infinity satellite systems and then informing them that the one that they thought sounded the best (either Polk or Infinity EVERY SINGLE time without fail) was one of the two that cost roughly half as much as the $1299.99 AM15. I don't work on commission, my goal in any audio sale is to have the customer leave with something I can be jealous of, not necessarily something that makes the store a few extra bucks. I've seen at least a few people online who have said that talking somebody out of a belief in the inherent superiority of Bose could not be done. Well, at this point, I've worked it into something of an art form. Going into technical details of course doesn't hurt, but just listening to the thing with the ability to do a direct comparison to a quality system just makes it a walk in the park.

    If your dad has any idea what a subwoofer is supposed to be doing, pass this little tidbit on to him - the last time I hooked up a Bose system, I decided to take the opportunity to really see just how much of the work the bass module was actually doing. After I had mounted all the speakers and run all the wires and hooked up the bass module to the reciever, but before I connected the wire to the speakers, I played a movie over the system. On most systems, needless to say, this would have produced little more than rumbling and such. On the Bose system, I had no trouble at all following the movie, with anything from dialog to music to - well, everything - coming from the "sub". Even the upper mids / lower highs, although extremely muffled, were still there.

    Hooked up as it is supposed to be, the Bose system is still fairly offensive to the discerning ear. That cheap construction comes through loud and clear in the form of boomy, muddy, distorted lows. Determining the position of the sub by ear is rediculously easy - if it's placed off of center from the TV, it can be quite distracting. Basically, in comparison with any other system at anything even approaching its price range, it sounds terrible. Not just to a "trained" ear, either. As I touched on earlier, I have let many a customer (I know Bose is the best, but what else do you have? -type customers) listen to the Bose AM15 Series II, Polk RM6800, and Infinity TSS750 systems in our sound room, often switching among them without giving any indication as to which was which, which one I liked best, or any other reason for them to have a biased opinion. Never, not once, has a customer thought the Bose system sounded as good as the other two. There was one occasion where a customer thought that it was as good or even better than one of them, but not as good as the other.
    The reason that I bring this up is because I know that Bose systems are designed to accentuate the sounds that people tend to associate with "good sound", i.e. mid-bass and the high notes commonly associated with clarity. Because of this many are led to believe that only audio enthusiasts or audiophiles would prefer the sound from a system that was more accurate and flat. Clearly, in my experience, this has not been the case.

    Stay tuned for a somewhat interesting story of how a brand new Bose system screwed up two perfectly good recievers - but right now I'm going to bed.

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    Please post that story! Thanks. Ill be sure to print this thread out for him. ;-)

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    Sorry I took so long to reply, I never saw that anybody had responded to this thread after I did. Hopefully by now you've already managed to talk him into getting something else.

    Anyway, the story -
    I came into work one day maybe a couple of days after I had finished hooking up the soundroom. First thing my coworker says to me is "Hey David, what's wrong with this thing?" Takes me into the soundroom, and one of our recievers is malfunctioning. Harman Kardon AVR 135 having a strange problem - as soon as you turned it on, it shot up to roughly -15 or so volume level, regardless of where the volume was set. When you turned the knob, the numbers on the display would change accordingly, but the volume would not decrease. You could turn it up, but not down below the point where it had started.
    Having never seen or heard of a problem quite like this one, and slightly befuddled, I did a system reset on the reciever. No change from before. Unplugged the reciever from the wall for a few, then plugged it back in. No change from before. Opened up a brand new AVR 135 and hooked it up in place of the old one - no change from before.
    At that point I figured I had screwed up by assuming the reciever was faulty. I called Harman Kardon customer service (which was excellent, by the way, talked to two different guys speaking unaccented English who knew what they were talking about). They too had never heard of such an issue. I mentioned to them that I had it hooked up to an AM15, as I was starting to think that it could be the problem. The customer service guy suggested that it might be that the Bose system was sending feedback into the reciever that the HK was somehow sensitive to. As far as I know, he was exactly right, because I hooked the HK's up to a Polk system, and they worked fine. Tried the Bose system with an Onkyo and a cheap Sony reciever, and they worked fine.

    On that note, something I've been wondering since that happened - has anybody else ever heard of an issue like this coming up? Is it normal for a speaker or speaker system to send feedback into the reciever? If not, is it possible that this Bose system is inflicting some level of harm to any reciever it's hooked up to, whether it shows symptoms or not?
    This Bose system was brand new, BTW. The one that had been in there before was sent off to be serviced for a strange problem of its own.

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