Customer Review

180 of 222 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Besides BOSE, who says BOSE is the best?, January 10, 2010
This review is from: Bose® Acoustimass® 10 Series IV home entertainment speaker system - Black (Electronics)
I hooked up the acoustimass speakers to Harman Kardon AVR 154 receiver. If you are into audio, you will know that although this receiver is not very powerful, the sound quality it delivers is excellent.

Purpose: My purpose in purchasing this system was two folds: Music and movies.

Setup: Setting up this system is a breeze. All cables are color coded and there's plenty of it (20 ft for the front speakers and 50 ft for the rear or surround speakers). All you have to remember is that all the cables first go into the module, and then one single cable (actually a set of 5 joined together) are connected to the receiver. I think this system was up and running within 20 minutes of me unpacking it.

What's included: You will get 4 cube array (vertical) speakers, one center speaker (identical to the cube arrays, just horizontal) and one BOSE module which houses all the connections and the sub woofer.

Sound Test: I own an IPOD touch and a PS3. I do own a cable box, but that is not ideal to check a $60 AIWA system, let alone a BOSE 5.1 speaker set. I connected my IPOD using an RCA cable and my PS3 using an optical cable.

IPOD: This was an analogue audio test, and I knew that this system will not perform its best with this setup, but since this is how I listen to music, I had to perform this test. The bass was great. It sounded balanced and did not over power the other aspects of the song. The instruments sounded nice, if not great, and the initial impression was one of utter satisfaction with the sound quality. However, once I started playing a song where vocals were the focal point, the system really disappointed me. The voice of the artist was just not crisp or clear. When the bass module was allowed to contribute, the sound quality was decent, but a song where the bass module had very little to do, the system sounded almost like a boombox, which was really disappointing.

PS3: I tested this system with Dark Knight's Blu Ray disc. I wanted Matrix, but Blockbuster didn't have it at time. I am sure a DVD would have done the trick, but since I own a Blu-Ray player, I thought it would be a great test. In the beginning when the Joker started killing all his compatriots during the Bank Heist, the system astounded me. Not only could you hear the sound, but feel it. Every gunshot, every bang was distinct, crisp and clear. It was like being in a theatre and I almost forgave BOSE for not giving me my vocals during the IPOD test. But then I heard the dialogue, and I ran into the same exact problem. You had to turn the volume up to hear the dialogue, but then it was too loud during the action sequences. I even tried turning the bass way down, but then for some unknown reason whatever clarity the dialogues had, disappeared. Then I tried playing an MP4 file from my PS3, which had the exact same problem. For some reason, this system has trouble with treble or highs. I know nothing about audio, but I know what sounds good, and for the amount of money I paid, this was not good.

Troubleshooting: The room where I had placed the BOSE system is not very big. It is around 12x20 feet and I had placed three speakers on the tv stand and 2 right on the wall behind my sofa. I played for hours with changing the direction of the cube speakers individually and together. I also tried different sound settings (DOLBY, DTS, NEO etc) but the vocals and dialogues were just not there. In the end I just packed up the system and returned it.

Conclusion: The system is barely ok for the movies, and horrible for music. I actually went to some independently owned audio stores and heard some other speakers. Before I bought BOSE, I hadn't even heard of companies like Mirage, Paradigm and KEF. I always assumed that BOSE was the best, but after buying the system realized that BOSE is the only one saying it. Even CNET doesn't have an expert review of this "excellent" system. I ended up buying KEF 2005.3 5.1 speaker system and couldn't be happier with it. The vocals are crystal clear, sound is crisp, and dialogues are powerful. The bass is great and does not interfere.

IMHO, please go and listen for yourself to other systems before you buy BOSE. Ask the dealer if its at all possible to play BOSE and another comparable system next to each other. Try listening to the speakers without the bass module or the subwoofer. Take your favourite CD, IPOD or a DVD with you and listen to the system at low, medium and high volumes. Don't let the salesperson blast the manufacturer's CD or DVD in your face while you are standing 2 feet away from the speakers. It's just like singing in the shower, everyone sounds good.

In the end, BOSE was really disappointing for a system that claims to be the best. I did some research and found out that BOSE sued Consumer Reports and eventually lost because Consumer Reports criticized one of its systems. Also the lack of expert reviews on the BOSE systems should be a clue that there is something fishy. To me BOSE is all marketing and not a good bang for your buck.

Also go the AVS forums or any other audio video forums and read about BOSE and other speaker systems. You will be shocked as I was. And if you are a BOSE owner, and in love with the sound quality, I am very happy for you. I just couldn't spend that much money and not be happy with my system.
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Tracked by 6 customers

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Showing 1-10 of 112 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Feb 6, 2010 9:32:23 PM PST
JohnnyG says:
This was a very good and honest review. I used to work at a Bose retail store and sold a lot of these systems. Knew how to get people in and have them fall in love with the systems enough to ending up buying it. I even bought myself this same exact system, mainly because I got it for dirt cheap with my discount and could prob sell it on Craigslist for more than what I had paid.

I came across all the same problems as you. My main complaint was the lack of dialog and the sound was too muddled. I constantly had to play around with the volume between different scene types. It was annoying. So I upgraded to Polk Auidio's RTi A series. It's like night and day. Dialog is very clear and accurate, movies sound great, music sounds great, tv sounds great. No complaints at all (besides the neighbor). I ended up selling my Bose system after.

Posted on Apr 12, 2010 10:39:34 PM PDT
DWD says:
Did you guys use an audio out that was not powered? Remember these speakers are SELF POWERED. I have a LS28 wave system with pretty much the same speaker system. I built my brother's system using an 1000.00 Yamaha entertainment receiver and all Paradigm speakers, including the 1000 power cube subwoofer.

His system, being that it's paradigm and Yamaha, because BOSE uses pretty cheap electronics, is better quality, and the Super Cube sub from Paradigm is SOOOOO tight and small (smaller than the Bose base module). However, both systems sound really good. On paper and in the numbers, the Yamaha/Paradigm blows the Bose away, but to my ears, they both sound very good.

Posted on Dec 14, 2010 9:21:51 AM PST
Cpt Kirk says:
[Customers don't think this post adds to the discussion. Show post anyway. Show all unhelpful posts.]

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 14, 2010 2:40:34 PM PST
DWD says:
Bose doesn't make the "best" home systems. They don't reproduce sound as accurately as many top end speakers do. That's a fact well documented in most major audiophile magazines. What they do well is produce a nice sound all their own in a small package. I tend to like the Bose sound, but if I wanted a more accurate reproduction of music, such as if I were listening to classic and was a true audiophile, I would not buy them.

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 14, 2010 2:43:32 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Dec 14, 2010 3:24:05 PM PST
DWD says:
[Customers don't think this post adds to the discussion. Show post anyway. Show all unhelpful posts.]

Posted on Jan 27, 2011 4:40:51 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Jan 27, 2011 5:15:59 PM PST
A. Ramirez says:
Years ago, I read a review of one of the acoustimass systems where the frequency responses were tested. The set at the time was over $1000, but I do not remember which one. The problem with the system was that the dialogue was coming from the subwoofer and the satellites could not produce any sound above 13khz. Based on your review, it would appear nothing has changed. If anyone doesn't know much about frequency response, a decent system (not expensive) shouldn't have trouble playing 20hz to 20khz. The system I read a review on only produced 50hz to 13khz and at around 200hz it dipped off to nothing. This means the system could not render deep bass or high highs, and had trouble with mids (read: dialogue). If you look at the product details for any Bose system, you won't find any information on the products frequency response. That is because it is so atrocious, Bose won't release the details. Occasionally a reviewer will test them (which gave the numbers above), but most reviewers don't bother with Bose anymore ever since they sued Consumer Reports for giving them a bad review.

Like I said, Bose doesn't release data on how their systems actually perform. If you look at the details you'll just keep seeing words like "patented" and "futuristic" but it never says anything about its measured performance. Other companies do release this information.

Also, if you test a Bose system in a store like Best Buy, you are being deceived. Bose requires their approval for any demonstrations; they always have it set up to their specifications, and even sometimes put thousands of dollars into behind-the-scenes equipment like pre-amps, amps, and equalizers. You may find yourself listening to a $1000 Bose system, but behind the wall, there could be $10,000 in other equipment. Not every store does this, but some do. Either way, it's not going to sound the same in store as it does in house.

In reply to an earlier post on Jan 27, 2011 10:26:13 PM PST
M. Warren says:
Here you go:

Try combining two pairs of Polk Audio Monitors, a Polk Center Channel, and a HVS subwoofer and watch this combo blow this Acoustimass 10 out of the water!

In reply to an earlier post on Jan 27, 2011 11:12:19 PM PST
DWD says:
The problem is that many people listen to music with their ears, not with technical equipment. In 1986 two of my audiophile friends bought these 3' Klipsch monitor that cost like 2000USD and were the rage of technology at the time. Audiophiles RAVED over their specs. To me, and others in our group, they sounded horrid. It's just an example that shows that the person listening to the sound should make his or her decision based on both technical specs and how the monitors sound to the ear.

Posted on Mar 21, 2011 11:03:33 AM PDT
No matter what you do you can never get a better sound out of Harmon Kardon receivers. Try Pioneer Elite and you will see the difference with Bose. Bose is definitely over priced but if configured right you can never find a better small system like it. It should not be compared with floor standing speakers, it must be compared with other satellite systems.
I have more then 10 years of experience lisetning and working with different systems. The only trick to find the best sound is to have the correct setup.

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 22, 2011 7:57:29 AM PDT
[Deleted by the author on Mar 1, 2013 4:37:38 PM PST]
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