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on June 17, 2013
I waited for a while and debated with myself for quite a while as to whether I could justify spending this money and finally gave in when the price came down by $400. I had looked at the SR1 Soundbar as a relatively (only relatively) cheaper option when I finally felt that this kind of technology had reached a level that might be worth trying. My wife had, for a long time, been unhappy with the speakers and wires all over the lounge associated with my several innovations of surround sound. We are keen film fans, and believe that good sound is imperative to really enjoy the full experience of a good film. My surround sound set ups in the past had involved Onkyo, Sony and Yamaha receivers with a variety of different speakers and I had been satisfied, yet never completely happy and in particular with the separation of the vocal sound and breadth of background and music in most films. One of my biggest frustrations, despite having a central speaker, was the lack of clarity in the spoken voice without having to turn up the volume such that the background sounds were too loud.

Anyway, this unit finally arrived, and I chose it over the SR1 because of the multiple HDMI inputs and the fact that it has a headphone socket for late night viewing. The installation was fairly painless, and instructions on screen very comprehensive. As for the proprietary 'headphone' microphones that allow the system to balance the sound for where you sit, I was very impressed with the ease of use and the resulting effect. Once everything was set up, I tried the system out with a variety of inputs; films, music and the iPod connector. INCREDIBLE. That's all I can say. I have experienced a couple of other units including a Yamaha and an LG soundbar and this thing absolutely blows them out of the water. Not only that, the sound reproduction is superior to any of the multiple speaker systems I have used in the past. Whilst it does not produce a completely flawless surround sound from what would have been the back speakers - it comes close to resembling a full surround sound system. But what is remarkable is the complete clarity of the vocals, the beautiful spread of the music and effects spectrum which makes you feel like you are really experiencing what is going on on the screen. I don't know why people complain about Bose - I have heard the rather childish 'No highs, no lows it must be Bose' and I just have to say that these people obviously have no ear for how music and effects realistically sound in real life. What Bose are trying to do is not give you some overarching boom from the bass or overbright treble, they are clearly seeking to reproduce sounds as they might be heard live. As far as I am concerned, they achieve this really well. The subwoofer provides just enough bass to blend into the overall sound and give a good bass response without it sounding like a punk in his beat box car showing off and the treble response is so clear without being thin and reedy. I love this thing and have tested rock, folk, classical and movie soundtracks extensively since it arrived. I have also turned up the volume to near maximum and do not get the kind of distortion of sound that is often heard at these levels. All that being said, if you want more treble or bass, there are options to up the levels and there is even an option to make the sound of voices in films more prominent - but to be honest, I have not yet had to turn this on.

In addition, the accompanying remote control automatically picked up my TV remote control with a couple of inputs from my existing remote, and automatically controlled the ipod without any programming. The multiple HDMI slots are great and my existing set of Bose Headphones sound absolutely great when listening without the speakers. It has really helped my wife by being easy enough to use where in the past the operation of multiple pieces of equipment had sometimes proved to be extremely frustrating.

Highly recommend this unit, which from all the units I have tried and heard in the past, is far superior and I have absolutely no regrets at having had to spend more than I might normally have done to get this kind of sound quality.
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on December 14, 2012
This is the easiest to install, most compact, best sounding home theatre system I've ever encountered. Understand that my living room is relatively small at 16x18, but it easily outperformed the onkyo 7.1 system I had before. You really do get what you pay for with the bose...
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on February 16, 2013
Let me start out by saying that i'm not a Bose "fanboy" by any stretch. I've always felt that Bose products, while not terrible, were far from hi fidelity. To me, they've always been the rich lazy man's easy system. They're very expensive comparable to what else is out there, but always very self-contained and easy to setup. Kinda like "home theater for dummies," but dummies with money to burn. I formerly had a V20 system that i purchased for a very specific application through a friend that was able to get an "employee" discount. My main home theater setup (before i moved) was a true home theater 5.1 system with large, full-range in-wall hidden speakers, yamaha receiver, Universal Remote RF system, etc. I moved and my new home is small, old, and not really well positioned to have a "proper" home theater system.

So i've been looking at various 2.1 and soundbar options. While expensive, the Bose 1SR and Freestyle 135 systems are amazing. The speaker array is capable of producing a tremendous full volume, and has enough drivers to fill the entire room with sound. The wireless bass box is more than adequate, having special benefit in being wireless. All in all, this system puts out more sound and volume than any "soundbar" system i've ever heard. I wont get into the details on how much surround imaging it has, because when you settle on a soundbar instead of a true 5.1 system, such arguments are silly. But what i can tell you is that i don't miss having a 5.1 system (not too much) in my small, oddly shaped house anymore.

The 135 connects well with others too. I was able to run my Tivo premeire almost seamlessly. My playstation 3 is another issue, but it's an issue everywhere because it uses bluetooth instead of standard IR or RF. I could buy the logitech adapter, but it's just as easy to keep the PS remote around for the times i feel like watching a movie on it. Oddly, you do all the programming through the base, not the remote itself. The remote only communicates with the base via RF, and the base has the IR blasting and emitter functions within it. The base comes with a nice 3-emitter cable, so you can "light up" three different components directly, or three different areas (say, a left, center, and right portion of your cabinet). The blaster is powerful, and works well if there are no walls, etc separating your components. You "program" the remote by simply pointing and clicking various buttons on your remote to be learned when prompted. After a few clicks, the base figures out what your component is and it automatically maps the rest of the buttons. I was super skeptical at first, but it worked quite well.

The included iPod dock is very simple to use, and the on-screen menu and operating system is quite attractive and well laid out (feels like an Apple product). Best of all, the system comes with a USB drive that you can use to upgrade/update the software of the base. My old V system used to really annoy me because I felt it needed a software update, but that there was no way to perform one without sending the unit back. Software upgradability is a good thing. Software upgradability that is easy and done at home is awesome.

My girlfriend and i listen to a lot of music programming on tv/blu ray/etc. and this system is a huge improvement over every other souindbar or compact HT system i've heard to date. Yes, it's ridiculously overpriced, but when i factored in all the features (RF/IR extension, universal remote) that would cost me additional money with another system, and how much use it'll get (we watch a lot of TV), it wasn't so offensive anymore.

My only complaints, and these are pretty trivial, is that the remote doesn't have a proper "learning" function, at least not that i can find (yet). There are a couple buttons that i'd like to manually map and move around from the "Standard" configuration that Bose offers. Other than that, i don't like that the screen is static while playing iPod tracks, etc. I'm concerned with burn in (I use Panasonic Plasmas) over the long run, but then again, i'm not using the music features that often, and it's pretty easy to turn off the TV when you're listening to music.

Oh, and one other interesting thing, the Remote gives you information while you're watching/listening. For example, when listening to the iPod, the remote lists the artist and track names.
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on January 3, 2013
I have been a fan of Bose technology and products since my college days in the early 70's, I owned a set of 901 Series I. Bose believes there are improved ways to deliver sound beyond the conventional and traditional speaker and amplifier designs. Bose engineers and manufactures products that are often well 'outside the box'. The Lifestyle 135 is an incredible product and I am delighted with everything about it. I found it easier to 'connect' than the traditional amplifier/receiver & speaker system. The one 'extra' step in completing the installation is 'tuning' the system to the environment. This process is/was completely guided with on screen directions on my TV/display. I am NOT a fan of all-in-one remotes and chose not to program the system remote to operate my other equipment.

Most hi-tech electronics today require more than simply plugging things together and turning them on. The Lifestyle 135 system does require that the user/installer perform some specific procedures that are, in my experience, clear and easier to perform than many other technology products I have used. The system is definitely is NOT for the technophobe or those who can't or won't read/follow directions. Unlike many owner manuals the instructions are clear and easy to perform.

Bose does not publish 'specs', their products usually don't fit within conventional measurement/specification parameters used by the AV industry. Despite all the analysis and comparison we frequently use to make selections, in the end the choice is 'what feels good'. Look at and listen to Bose, you will be glad you did. When it is all said and done, all of the specifications, analysis and comparisons don't improve the end user experience.

I have Bose 901's, Wave Radios, outdoor speakers and computer speakers, all of which I am more very satisfied with. It is true and accurate that Bose products often 'sound different' than conventional technologies. My opinion is that Bose technologies improve the listening environment, delivering an excellent audio experience.

Bose products are expensive and IMHO worth the money, you do get what you pay for. There are improvements I would suggest, more HDMI inputs, dual HDMI outputs, an 'atomic clock', and an integrated BluRay player.

A big plus for me is that Bose is a US company and most of the system is Made in the USA.
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on February 20, 2012
I previously had multiple components, receiver and lots of tangled cords. I was looking to downsize without giving up quality and eliminate the clutter. I was not disappointed. This is a great system. I was surprised, however, that it took so much work to set up the new Bose system. It is not 'plug n play'. I ended up spending several hours to connect the components. Once set up it is great and I recommend this system. I am very pleased.
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on December 2, 2013
Wonderful sound but those who do the research know, it is not a substitute for a real surround system.

I am not an audiophile but I am not a good enough and cheap enough person either. I watch mostly TV shows off my DVR, sporting events and video streaming. Almost all of these, except for some sporting events, the networks make little effort in my opinion to make surround sound worthwhile.

For my taste surround sound is only really nice when watching something on Blue-Ray. For the ease of not having to deal with all the wires, the ease of a simple and smaller receiver that this has compared to a large, heavy and wires galore of a regular receiver, this has great sound and convenience.
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on December 21, 2012
We bought this system to replace our surround sound system. The sound quality is excellent and now we don't have speakers and wires all over the living room! I would definitely recommend this product.
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on July 14, 2013
I bought this to go in a large open room with no place to put surround speakers. It was easy to set up and the remote programmed well for all the devices I have in the system (Samsung TV and BluRay, Apple TV, cable box). The only thing the remote won't do is open and close the blu ray player, which is annoying because it is tucked away and hard to reach. So I have to keep that remote around. The sound is excellent and a huge upgrade from the TV speakers for regular programming. I have a true surround system in my basement and the Bose 135 is actually better for sports and news because of the way it integrates the voices of the commentators with the other sounds in the programming. I don't use it for audio only because it doesn't quite get stereo recordings right. I also bought one for my son for his first apartment. In his case its being used in a small room. It is excellent in that setting as well although the bass can be overwhelming at times and we haven't figured out any way to moderate it. (He also says that he can't use it with his X Box, this is not an issue for me). So I would recommend this system for both large and small rooms where a surround system isn't possible. The one downside is the cost but I don't know of any other systems with comparable functionality and quality.
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on March 1, 2013
Its expensive but well worth it. Great sound for a sound bar and easy setup. Love the wireless sub-woofer. I would strongly recommend it.
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on April 10, 2013
Sounds great. Room feels like a theater. Setup is quite easy. I think the price can be cheaper. But overall a great product.
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