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Customer Discussions > Speakers forum

How OVERATED is the Bose Wave Sound System? Opinions please.

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Showing 1-25 of 197 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Dec 6, 2011, 12:52:43 PM PST
zoom zoom says:
Hello everyone! I have wondered for years if the BOSE Wave Sound System is as great as advertised by Bose. Is it worth the money? I would love to hear honest opinions from people in the know. Owners perhaps. Thank-you for your time.

Posted on Dec 6, 2011, 2:19:07 PM PST
A. Saxena says:
The Bose Wave sound system will work for people who have a very closed listening space (short distance between TV/Screen to listening position). Having said that, they do not work for a great home theater surround sound experience and heck they are way overpriced. I would, on any day, invest in a decent receiver and some decent speakers albeit they may cost a little bit more for a true surround experience. Please don't consider buying these.

Posted on Dec 7, 2011, 3:19:16 AM PST
Last edited by the author on Dec 7, 2011, 10:52:28 AM PST
MikeT says:
Very over rated, you have good reason to be suspicious. :)
Bose is a hype circle. To get people to buy their mediocre gear they have to advertise to the masses (how many radio or speaker manufacturers advertise on national TV?), to pay for such advertising they have to over charge for the product, then they have to over hype the "benefits" of this mediocre gear on those expensive ads to justify the high price.

Some very good alternatives to Bose Wave for a LOT less money:

Posted on Dec 7, 2011, 4:17:11 AM PST
BOSE = Buy Other Sound Equipement
They once put real research into thier products. Then they learned the sad lesson that you can make way more by applying aggressive marketing and price positioning than you can with quality. The Soundwave system would be an acceptable, low end, consumer product if priced around the $100 dollar mark. At the prices they charge, it is pure hype.

Posted on Dec 11, 2011, 1:15:51 AM PST
I have a Bose Wave clock radio in my kitchen and Soundmatters MAINstage Soundmatters MAINstage Digital Surround Sound System - Speaker - 40 Watt in the guest bedroom. The Soundmatters device is the same size and shape as the Bose radio; but it doesn't have a radio or clock, and it was intended to be a TV's speaker upgrade and MP3 speakers. I mainly use the Bose for listening to my MP3 player anyway. Without question, Soundmatters has blown Bose out of the water in the very same form factor and at a lower price. The Soundmatters device also takes 4 different inputs. The Soundmatters MAINstage was not listed on that site linked in MikeT's post, but it probably should be considered if you were just going to wake up to your smartphone or MP3 player anyway. If your MP3 player is anything but an iPod, then you already have an FM tuner in it.

The Bose Wave Stereo (one rung up the latter from the Bose Wave Radio) at $1k is priced above a decent kit of Pioneer bookshelf speakers, a big Pioneer receiver, and a Blu-ray player that you can buy here at Amazon. Without question, that low-priced kit of Pioneer equipment will blow away the Bose Wave Stereo, though it will consume some floor space and more power. To boot, wall and ceiling flush-mount speakers sound and look better than the Bose Wave Stereo. The one thing the Bose Wave Stereo has going for it is that you can buy it with a carrying strap and a battery for using at tailgate events, but it won't rock that tailgate after the game if you play party music.

My at-work Bosses all have Bose Accoustimass 5.1 kits in their offices, and those all just plain stink. Those are just style statements. I'm blowing them away in terms of quality of sound with a vintage Carver receiver and 2 Polk bookshelf speakers. My office system fits well into a long set of bookshelves, so I don't think I'm losing anything in the appearance war. Besides that, every audiophile will recognize my system as something interesting and recognize the Bose Accoustimass kits as overpriced. The Accoustimass kit does come with an okay subwoofer, but better subwoofer can be bought for less than $200 on Amazon. Subwoofers aren't particularly needed or welcome in offices, though. A very cheap kit of Polk RM 5.1 speakers sounds better than Accousitmass within the micro form factor.

My car has a Bose system, also. It's not as bad as Bose car systems used to be in the 1980s and 1990s, but it is a brand that no car manufacturer should be proud to display on the sticker. Centerpoint sound processing is nice, but the drivers are all so sorry that they don't even image at a somewhat loud volume.

Bose has some neat technologies, such as conche-shell speakers and center-point sound processing, but they pair it with cheaper speaker drivers than you would otherwise buy in another brand's kit at that price point. As they say, if you hear no highs and no lows, the gear must be Bose.

The bottom line is that people buy Bose for the small size--the style. The only exception to that must be people who live on sailboats, where there is not anything quite like the Wave Stereo in something that is the size of a boom box.

Posted on Dec 13, 2011, 8:06:28 AM PST
BOSE is also an acronym for Better Off with Something Else. I've been in the business as a sideline for 15 years, and it's overpriced junk. Exceptions: the Wave radio is a decent, though not fantastic, $150 radio. Problem is that they charge $400 for it! The Wave Music System is even more of the same. If you are interested in an excellent-sounding two-channel system for around $650, including beautiful, great-sounding bookshelf speakers, contact me at I just put such a system in my kitchen, and we are totally enjoying it! It's powerful and good enough for a main system.

Posted on Dec 15, 2011, 8:22:10 AM PST
eaamon says:
audio video science forum been there for years and only a few newbees ask about bose.
no one really discusses bose. I do not think you could even give one away there.
they also have a DIY speaker section.
I agree with John:"BOSE is also an acronym for Better Off with Something Else."
but I think much better off.

Posted on Dec 15, 2011, 3:45:41 PM PST
Koze, Doze, Foze, Roze, Toze.....
However you choose to deliberately play with the name, it's still mud.

I've seen 'em; I say they're ugly.
I've heard 'em; I say they sound horrible.
They aren't just overpriced; they're a flat-out ripoff.

Far better products are available for considerably less money.
Spread the word.

Posted on Dec 19, 2011, 4:14:03 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Dec 19, 2011, 5:15:56 PM PST
Stonington says:
Well I know a thing or two about Bose and a few other speakers too I guess . . . , are Bose overpriced? No, they are not overpriced but people do like to rag on them. That dates back to a 20 year old legal action due to some poor advertising campaigns from the competition I'm afraid and it just won't die off, Bose is actually a very good name and the price is good to average for the products. Compare it the some B&W (Bowers & Wilkins) a cheaper set run $5,000 or the Crystal Cable Arabesque monitors, those will set you back a bit, like $25,000 for the mini series and $200,000 for the Glass Masters (in crystal) or perhaps the Fergusson Hill Horn for $26,000. If you don't mind taking out a mortgage for speakers I guess it's not a problem. Bose can get some bad press from an long dead grudge that should go away but you do need to shop for them. I would run a mid-range set of 201's with any satellite speakers because they don't handle the mid-stage very well but that is true of all satellites not just Bose. Before you buy you should hear them, that is the only way to do it correctly, a store a friend - wherever you can listen to them but hear them first and then listen to a mid range set for the difference in the sound, you will hear it. - - NEWBEES... hahaha, I have been at this for over 25 years and my Bose set up will thump nearly anything I have heard to date and I have heard loads of them and sets running over $10,000 that cannot touch them - and the people that owned those agreed with me too. Sorry boys, the old audiophile arguments against Bose is a dead cow, they rock with the best of them and I have proved it time and time again. I'm not going to follow this one, I bet it gets ugly fast now, beside I heard it all before and it doesn't wash. Bose is good stuff that's why they are in the high end cars - my Vette has them - ok, have fun (don't listen to the nay sayers, listen for yourself) : review - Bose Wave
PC World review:
This should help you, if you GOOD sound get a full system with full speakers but it's okay for a small unit.

Posted on Dec 20, 2011, 5:09:08 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Dec 20, 2011, 5:09:38 PM PST
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Posted on Dec 24, 2011, 1:40:08 PM PST
Idaho Dan says:
Retired electrical engineer, audiophile, put myself through college repairing top-end audio gear at TV Specialists in Salt Lake City, Utah. While working there was able to play with all the best equipment and compare it with everything else. Still very active in buying/testing new equipment and technologies. Bose didn't used to be, but over the last 20 years has become very overrated and overpriced. And that's sad because they used to be a "real" speaker company that was competitive with all the high end speaker manufacturers. Oh well - as a previous poster commented something about marketing is all they do well anymore...

Posted on Dec 26, 2011, 3:40:38 AM PST
J. Johnson says:
Junk. Cheap speakers selling, for 10x the price.

Posted on Feb 4, 2012, 4:56:28 AM PST
John Trent says:
Since I own two of them, and have also given them as gifts, I definitely think the Bose Wave music system is worth the money. The reviews that Stonington cited match my experience: rich, full sound that is "remarkably clear and present"; "a superb sounding system for its size." But as one of the reviews also pointed out, don't expect miracles. This is a table radio with a pair of two-inch speakers spaced about one foot apart. Obviously, compared with a larger system or component system, there are going to be limitations with respect to soundstaging, frequency extension, ability to fill large spaces, etc. Nevertheless, living in an apartment of modest size and needing to keep volumes at neighbor-friendly levels, I find that the Bose's compact dimensions, attractive appearance, ease of use, and engaging sound make it a highly satisfying purchase. With the Bose soundlink adapter giving me wireless access to all kinds of audio and video entertainment from my computer, and with a turntable hooked up to the auxiliary input, it's also extremely versatile.

Posted on Feb 4, 2012, 4:21:12 PM PST
Dave says:
I totally agree with David Obanion. People really are being taken to the cleaners and probably don't even realize it. There are speakers out there much more affordable than the "mighty bose" and they hope you never find out!!! Just to name a couple which (in my opinion) more than rival Bose would be Boston Acoustics,JBL and Polk Audio. Their prices are worth the money they ask for them and I feel overall, are truly superior!!! I have Polk for my home theatre (and they're the satellite speakers which weigh in at probably a few pounds/speaker...other than the center channel which is larger in comparison) and they're absolutely amazing! Bose would probably charge 4-5 times as much but hey......they're Bose. Had a Polk subwoofer which was really decent, but it blew?? Can't figure out why but I replaced it with a JBL and the sub truly kicks ass! Hope this helps you and you choose not to get taken to the cleaners!!!

Posted on Feb 6, 2012, 5:08:05 AM PST
Do yourself a favor and spend a afternoon listening to some options to a "wave" radio. I sold audio for years and can honestly tell you about the aggressive stance bose takes on marketing. No retailer can sale the item without permission, no retailer can go any lower than the price bose sets in the market, audio sales people are generally in a "points" program for selling bose, sales associates are given a cd of music selected by bose engineers to play through their product at point of sale, etc... If you walk into a store these days you will find a boat load of options with twice the flexibility at half the price. I just bought a "sound bar" for my father, at age 83 he wanted the simplicity of a wave radio, only because he had heard it advertised EVERYWHERE. Now he listens to cd's and dvd's through the sound bar as well as all the digital music offered by his satellite company. It's your money, they're your ears, these are merely suggestions.... IMO, listen to advertisements for a wave radio, played through a wave radio, and you won't buy a wave radio

Posted on Feb 6, 2012, 6:18:23 AM PST
John Trent says:
It seems a few posters have forgotten that this is a thread about the Bose Wave system, not their speakers or home theater systems; then again, this is the speaker forum . . .

I was interested in Mr. Bock's suggestion of a few other brands that are more affordable than Bose, so I checked their websites specifically for a small bookshelf speaker similar to the Bose 201, a two-way with a 6 1/2 inch bass driver. The cheapest one from Boston Acoustics, the CS 26 II, sells for $299.98 per pair; the cheapest from Polk, the RTi A3, lists at $399.95 per pair; JBL doesn't make a model with a 6 1/2 inch driver, but their ES30 with a 6 inch driver is $399.20. I also ran across the Infinity Primus P163, which sells for $278 per pair. The Bose, at $218.95 per pair, seems more than competitive in terms of affordability, though the others could well be worth their higher prices. I auditioned the Bose 201, but preferred the 301's, finding that the larger bass driver and dual tweeters filled my living room space better than the smaller speaker (the 201's sounded better in the bedroom, however; finding the right place for the dual tweeters of the 301's to operate properly in the smaller, more crowded room proved too difficult a chore).

The Wave music system is also competitively priced at $499.95. Similar products (i.e., AM/FM radio plus CD playback) from Boston Acoustics and Tivoli are priced at $499.99 and $599.99 respectively. Of the competitors, I've only heard the Tivoli, and preferred the Bose. I appreciate Mr. Klintz's point that for just a little more money, you could put together a nice two-channel system, but that negates the very reasons most people consider the Wave in the first place: extremely small size, simple operation, nothing else to hook up--just plug it in, and it works; the power cord even makes a serviceable FM antenna, so you don't even need to add that.

It should be re-iterated that the Wave is not a miracle; it's a good quality table radio. For many people, especially those in small apartments, it may be all they need. There was an interesting review of the Harbeth P3ESR in Stereophile. This is a tiny bookshelf speaker with a 5 inch driver ($2200 per pair, but very high quality). The reviewer reminded his readers that "the adage that your choice of loudspeaker dictates your choice of music still applies." You don't reach for Mahler symphonies or massive pipe organ recordings with such a speaker system, and you don't expect it to fill huge spaces or provide concert-level volumes of sound. But if you "choose from your collection . . . recordings that bring out that speaker's best and hide its shortcomings," you can have a very satisfying listening experience. At a much lower price, the Wave music system can also sound very nice, provided you use it within its limitations. Sports broadcasts, conference tapes, old-time radio shows, political commentary, and music such as most solo instruments, string quartets, jazz trios, folk singers, bluegrass bands, etc., can come across very effectively. I enjoy mine in my present living situation, but I now think chamber music instead of full symphony, harpsichord rather than pipe organ.

Posted on Feb 7, 2012, 5:09:58 AM PST
C. Horan says:
My uncle had this system. He has the same model HD TV as we have in my house...

I did not know that the sound wasn't coming from the internal speakers until I saw them. Absolutely worthless IMO...

Posted on Feb 14, 2012, 12:28:50 PM PST
Bose is a marketing company and sells overpriced junk. In places like best buy they have their own little set up away from all the other speaker company's equipment. It is played way to loud and then they spike the bass and treble so you think it sounds good. Save yourself some money and don't pay for mulit-million dollar ad budgets. There are lots of good values in speakers, klipsch, polk, BIC and other that cost less and sound a lot better.

Posted on Feb 16, 2012, 7:53:21 PM PST
RichJ says:
I've owned Bose speakers before. I heard that "Bose" is short for Bad Overpriced Sound Equipment.

Posted on Feb 17, 2012, 5:07:32 PM PST
Very over rated. Period

In reply to an earlier post on Feb 22, 2012, 4:05:25 AM PST
FAA says:
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Posted on Feb 23, 2012, 2:00:29 AM PST
They're worth about 1/3 to 1/2 of the price asked for them. Their subwoofer can be boomy depending on placement. Soundstage is totally indistinct. So imaging is poor, since purposefully reflecting sound off the walls confuses musician placement most of the time. Bose may slightly bend the laws of physics, but I believe for frequencies below 70 hz the acoustamass module is probably down 8-12 db from response at 1000 hz. If someone gave me the top of the line bose sound system, I would immediately turn around and sell them without even looking at them at home. They cannot hold a candle to my current sound system in ANY way.

In reply to an earlier post on Mar 23, 2012, 6:23:26 PM PDT
I think there are many options for getting a home theater system for literally 1/2 or even 1/3 the price that actually sound better. I heard a klipsch speaker system for around $500 that sounded pretty good. Nothing fancy - good little speakers with 4 inch woofer and a decent 8 inch subwoofer.

In reply to an earlier post on Mar 26, 2012, 12:43:17 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Mar 26, 2012, 12:53:00 PM PDT
It was not designed to be a home theater playback system. No one uses it for that purpose. It is designed to play back CDs and ipods in a small room.

In reply to an earlier post on Mar 26, 2012, 12:48:47 PM PDT
Different product, Sparky.
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