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The Secret Behind Bose Sound Revealed!

June 12, 2019



hey how's it going this is Joe and tell and today I want to talk about why some people like bows and why audio files don't so if you don't know a Marv Bose is the creator of Bose products and he was actually a professor at MIT leather implies different okay it's impossible to do anything that to make anything better unless you do it differently clear okay not the other way around okay the arrow doesn't go backwards now it's the difference that implies courage it was a very interesting guy so you may want to look at some of the videos I'll link down below to some of those so I was inspired to make this video from a video I saw from this does not compute and he did something where he talked about why audio files hate bows I found it very interesting he talks about how Bose uses DSP instead of perhaps using better parts things like that I'll link to that video also very interesting what I wanted to talk about in this video though is more of a middle ground not necessarily why audio files hate bows but more of the reason why a lot of people seem to like them so here's an interesting fact from audio holux and they stated that in the 90s Bose actually captured 30% of the market with their acoustic as setup not their entire line just this one set of speakers that's pretty crazy so what that tells me is that they're able to capture a segment of the market that the typical audio companies are not focused on the folks over at Bose are targeting non audio files and the way they do that is partially in how they mark it but also how they design their products a lot of Bose products seem to focus heavily on convenience and ease of use and that's something that's not typical of most audio products another thing that they do is they focus on the design a lot of boses products look different than typical audiophile speakers for example take a look at their acoustic setup the bosu cousteau master were some of the first speakers that were a satellite system meaning they had the small speakers and then they had the base module tucked away somewhere else at the time that was very innovative also take a look at the Bose 901 this is a very different and interesting design where it had a bunch of small drivers facing backwards and so they had something called direct reflect it was something that Bose focused on and it was supposed to give you more of a live experience many would argue that it affected the imaging of the speakers and we'll go into that a little bit later on another thing that I noticed is a lot of Bose products have a different sound signature and we're gonna go into more detail about that but typically they have a little bit more bass and the treble is a little bit more rolled off another thing is that Bose happens to make some pretty decent headphones and Bluetooth speakers so they came out with some headphones that had the noise cancellation I think they did a really good job a lot of people still give it very good reviews now there are a lot of different headphones that do the same thing and maybe are more comfortable with a little bit better sound quality but Bose was one of the first ones to come out with that technology and they happen to make some pretty decent Bluetooth speakers also I've had a few different ones I actually own these this is the Bose Soundlink 3 and for a Bluetooth speaker I think it sounds a lot better than some of the other Bluetooth speakers that have had now that's not saying much but what I found is that there's not much to complain about for a Bluetooth speaker yes it's more expensive but the build quality and the sound quality I think is a step above some of the other Bluetooth speakers that have had now I know for myself when I think of Bose the first thing that comes to mind are those old acoustics that we talked about earlier so the problem with that system is that they had these small Bose cubes that were supposed to take care of the mids and highs and then they had a Bose bass module that you tuck in the corner now the problem with that is that there were holes in the frequency response so there were certain frequencies that the bass module could not handle and there were some lower frequencies that the mid-range in the treble couldn't handle also the bass modules didn't go extremely low and the cubes didn't really have the highs that you'd expect and that's why a lot of people say no highs no lows must be both the other reason a lot of audio files didn't like Bose was because a lot of their stuffs proprietary so you can't just take speakers from this acoustic as set up and start using them on your ABR receiver they really relied heavily on you using all Bose products so if one thing broke you kind of had to get a whole new system the other issue that audio files have with this is the price Bose products are not inexpensive and for the same price people would argue that you could get better gear maybe it won't look the same maybe it'll be a little bit bigger but sound quality wise it's gonna be superior to the boast product the other problem that people have with bows is that they don't really allow you to compare between bows and other speakers even at some of the big-box stores that have demos but they wouldn't be in the same place as the other speakers that have their own separate location just for Bose products they also don't show specs on their website regarding frequency response and that is kind of an issue because you don't know what you're getting but we're gonna fix that because I've taken some measurements of some speakers that I have here that happen to be both speakers another problem that I have with Bose is it seems like people don't really move on from Bose once somebody gets a Bose set up they think it's the greatest thing in the world and so they're not even open to trying out different speakers because to them Bose is the best so here I have a Bose 301 and it's one of the older models and these don't sell for too much they're around $300 so nothing crazy but very interesting design one thing you'll notice is that it's designed to be placed horizontally another thing that you might notice is that this is a relatively small enclosure not huge not small but somewhere in the middle but they were able to fit an 8 inch woofer now this is incorporating what they call direct reflect which means that it does have tweeters that face the rear and so it's meant to reflect off their walls and kind of supposed to sound more like a live environment according to both from my experience it just kind of smeared the soundstage so I didn't get a solid Center image and so that was my issue with these is it does scatter the sound but not in a way that I think is pleasing or accurate so here I've taken some measurements of these Bose 301's so as you can tell here this might give some insight as to the Bose frequency response maybe their own personal sound signature and perhaps why people seem to like Bose so it's real easy to dismiss people and say oh you like Bose that's crap blah blah but in reality what you'll notice here is that Bose tends to bump up the bass so if you were to compare something from Bose versus something with a flat frequency response to somebody who's not an audiophile they're gonna say the Bose seems to sound better it has more bass well that's how they design the speaker to have more bass and they're not the only ones doing that beats is popular because they're basic phones the other thing you'll notice is that does have rolled off highs and that's partially because it has those tweeters that are facing to the rear and not facing directly forward there are other speaker manufacturers like those from elac that kind of have a similar sound signature with a top-end that's kind of downward sloping and a lot of people seem to find that pleasing because it sounds less harsh less fatiguing for long listening periods but there is a point where the highs are too rolled off and so here I would like to compare these with some SBS speakers these are the SV s prime bookshelf speakers and take a look at the frequency response between these two now the goal for most speaker designers is to create a sound signature that is flat and as you can see from these graphs it doesn't look like poses trying to do that whatsoever at the end of this video I'm gonna be doing a sound demo and you can listen to the difference between the original track the Bose 301 and the SV s prime bookshelves alright so I was editing this video and I realized that I had some bows two O ones that I had in the ceiling from when I was doing a dolby atmos set up here in my shop so these are some older Bose speakers and I wanted to see if they had a similar frequency response to the Bose 300 ones that I had now looking at these these are using looks like a 6-inch driver maybe six and a half and it also has the tweeter that faces towards the rear and it's interesting because if you look at these the tweeter is not what you'd normally expect to see it looks more of like a small full range driver and it's running free air that just means that it's not in a box another term is open baffle and I also thought it might be a good idea to measure the Bose Soundlink three that I have here just because I wanted to know if this is just Bose a sound signature or if it was just what these older speakers and the thing that you'll notice with this Bose Soundlink is that they used ESP to flatten out the response so the Bose Bluetooth speaker doesn't have the same roll-off as the older speakers and that's likely due to some of the DSP that they now have access to that they didn't have before sorry for the noise in the background here mm-hmm so I did a blind sound test where I played these two speakers and to let people in the comments judge whether they liked the green one or the blue one better the green one is the S vs the blue is the Bose and out of 49 people I found that 92% liked the green the SVS better and 8% like the bose better now a comment that i got a few times was that the green was actually louder and in reality it is not it's just that the way your ears perceive things and the way that a microphone or the software perceives it is different so these are equal and the reason why it sounds like it's not as loud is because the SVS does not have as much base as the Bose one so loudness on the computer what it's judging is the SPL or how much energy the speakers have and bass tends to have more energy than treble the way that that would work out in a normal listening environment is you may end up turning up the Bose louder than the SVS the result of that is that the Bose will have more bass and in comparison the SVS will sound like it has anemic bass and in reality the SBS is actually more accurate but you can see why a lot of people would look at the Bose and say well that one sounds better it has more bass so in conclusion what I figured out is that Bose knows their target market and their target market is not the typical audiophile their target market is the person who is not an audiophile the person who just wants decent sound that knows really nothing about audio at the end when I do the sound demo notice that the Bose does have more bass so that's nothing to scoff at they were able to fit an 8 inch driver into the small enclosure so it kind of makes sense people do like more bass most audio files would even say that this is exaggerated bass but people seem to like it so the lesson here is that a lot of people do like Bose and for decent reasons and audio files don't like Bose and they have their own reasons I'm hoping that some of these audio file focused companies start learning a little bit from Bose with regards to maybe ease of use or maybe even enhancing the sound signature or giving people the option and hopefully Bose can learn from the audiophile companies and be a little bit more open with their specs so as with all speakers I review I have to put them on the leader board let's see how they place so these are the Bose 301 version for that cell maybe a little bit under $200 right now on Amazon this is the older model so let's see where it places as far as best bookshelf I would have to place it hmm pretty far down on this list I'm gonna say towards the bottom but above the mica oh and threes but below the Ben Q's yes huh that's pretty harsh mmm that's pretty harsh hmm yeah you just see what else is here you know what yeah I'll have to put them there all right so as far as uh in the five hundred dollar price range oh I guess these are under $200 so I'm gonna have to put them slightly below this video sound bar so at the very bottom and then for Best Overall I'm gonna put them down let's see here home pod Micah and b42 I'm gonna put them right here below the traval oh that's very harsh let me let me hmm I'll put them slightly above that I'll put them above the Travolta on this one and I'm gonna have to go back and just put them back up above the travaux lows as far as best bookshelf now the Micah mp40 2 X's will not have as much base but at least they have a flatter frequency response you know I I just can't I can't stand the treble response on this most 3:01 myself personally so that's where they land let me know if you disagree in the comments so there you go those are the bose 301's hope you enjoyed the video if you did make sure to LIKE subscribe ring the notification belt to be notified when I upload new videos and also I have a podcast on patreon calm for us lies Joe and tell link is right here so anyway that's it take care enjoy the sound demo in the drill again you see follow on this side now your name comes around your knives and play and full of you all a bath here our fool [Applause] [Applause]

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32 Comments

  • Reply Pascal Salerno June 12, 2019 at 12:00 pm

    Thank you. I feel better about how I really enjoy my Bose. I get the flaws, but you didn’t mention one important feature of the Bose design. You don’t have to sit in the sweet spot. I like to listen to music lying down on my couch. This puts my head slightly to the right and below the right speaker, yet I still hear an amazing stereo soundstage with my old Bose 3-2-1 system. You may think the sound is “smeared all over”, someone else would say it sounds good anywhere in the room. That’s appealing to most consumers despite the sonic compromises that offends the audiophile.

  • Reply Tenncoin June 12, 2019 at 12:00 pm

    The Bose sounds better on my Ion Road Warrior 10" 500 watt subs. I have the Ion because it was only $249.43 shipped to my door. It has bluetooth or 3.5 phone jack and AM FM tuner with A battery built in.

  • Reply Tenncoin June 12, 2019 at 12:00 pm

    I LOVE BASS!

  • Reply TheLuismondo June 12, 2019 at 12:00 pm

    Bose don’t have more bass. I have a Bose and a Yamaha sub, I can assure that Yamaha goes way lower than Bose.

  • Reply Alan Hilton June 12, 2019 at 12:00 pm

    I'll cover this in one word….."CHEAP"!

  • Reply Shane Lanz June 12, 2019 at 12:00 pm

    Bose products are so vastly different that its impossible to have a blanket opinion about them. A pair of Bose 802s Series IIs with the matching active EQ module installed in an 1800V amplifier is still the most unique and impressive audio setups for music I have ever listened to, especially for vocals. 401 array speakers with the 1800V sub weren't great to me. 901s are interesting to try. They basically turn your walls into giant speakers. Terrible bottom end and highs, so I sold them. I prefer the 151s to the 301s for a pair of speakers for the garage. RoomMate IIs were great portable party speakers. Lifestyle systems were great, passive Acoustimass were COMPLETE TRASH. Quitecomfort 25 headphones I love! Companion IIs I liked. Companion IIIs I don't care for. Bose OEM for car audio are all custom for each model. Sounds like crap in some cars, fantastic (90s Chevy Lumina for example) in others.

  • Reply Jose Jr June 12, 2019 at 12:00 pm

    Bose is still lacking something though

  • Reply Jose Jr June 12, 2019 at 12:00 pm

    Me I rather make something myself n be better than Bose

  • Reply Jose Jr June 12, 2019 at 12:00 pm

    The speakers they make also are limited to hard low and hard high frequencies n me personally I think Bose's bass only sounds louder because that's what they wanted therefore adding more bass with the treb n mids limited on their highs n lows

  • Reply Jose Jr June 12, 2019 at 12:00 pm

    Why they mad they just did something dumb they limited high and low frequencies

  • Reply D Me June 12, 2019 at 12:00 pm

    One day, back in the 70's, I smoked a joint – not a fuckin' 'blunt', laid down on my carpet to listen to some Pat Metheny Group sounds, looked at my BOSE speakers, & noticed that backwards & upside down, BOSE looks like 3508. I dont play lottery, but I did for a week, & hit, for $3508 $$!. I'm not kidding 😎

  • Reply Arnie Carlson June 12, 2019 at 12:00 pm

    I always liked my 501's from the '70's. I've been building my own speakers for a couple of years now, those are the best. It's hard to design a great speaker without years of practice, so I use plans from reputable designers, like Paul Carmody. I'm not a audiophile, but I have a large music collection and listen to my speakers everyday. Is it cheaper to build your own? I've spent a lot of money on tools that's for sure. I spend weeks on a pair and make them look as good as they sound, it's a great hobby.

  • Reply Stan Leery June 12, 2019 at 12:00 pm

    Listening on my $1 ear buds, the svs does seem to sound better…

  • Reply MAGGOT VOMIT June 12, 2019 at 12:00 pm

    Sorry but Bose301 sounds muffled like my JBL Charge3. It sounds 2D, like when someone accidentally gets the Polarity wrong on one of the Speakers.

  • Reply IVAN ŠANTEK June 12, 2019 at 12:00 pm

    ALTEC – BOSE !

  • Reply JimmyTulip1 June 12, 2019 at 12:00 pm

    You know I wonder how many of the self proclaimed audiophiles that hate BOSE are actually using their smart phone cameras and think there are good ones. Every low grade DSLR has 10x the image quality of even the best smartphone cam, but people can argue all day long about whether the iPhone or Galaxy or Pixel have the best cameras. Well, they all have CRAPPY cameras, compared to a "real one", but still people use them and THEY DON'T CARE that there are much better cameras for less money. Simply, because most people have other priorities than a pro or enthusiast might have. A halfway decent smartphone camera is all people need for their typical use cases, and their lives will not be any better if they run around carrying semi pro DSLRs instead.

    It is the same with speakers. Most of use DO NOT CARE if a speaker has a linear frequency response or not. They have to sound nice to the ear, and they should look nice to the eye. We see them standing there every day, we ahve to look at them even more than listening to them. Yes, there are "better", more neutral sounding speakers for less money. But who really cares? If you care, go get them. But if you like a decent looking and sounding speaker system that sounds good to YOUR ear, and that is not some ugly black box but an almost invisible little thing that's unobtrusive, why not get a BOSE system.

  • Reply ssgeek45 June 12, 2019 at 12:00 pm

    Bose and all hifi are not very efficient so you turn down the tweeter to match the woofer to make it a flatter Freq responce. This is done with £100 and £100,000 speakers.

  • Reply Rushil Mareddy June 12, 2019 at 12:00 pm

    sound demo from 13:35

  • Reply Jason Grisafi June 12, 2019 at 12:00 pm

    Bose 301's had Better Bass but the highs weren't as clear. More of a Muffled sound between the Highs and Mid's. SVS Primes had Very Clear Highs but lacked the Thumping Bass that I Love Oh So Much. So what Brand of Speakers out there has the Perfect Mix of all 3 Highs, Mid's, and Bass is my Question ? I want Bass that I can Feel Pounding in my Chest with each Thump and at the same time give me the Mid's and Highs to hear the lyrics and other Instruments perfectly clear while the Bass is Pounding ?

  • Reply jetbtkng June 12, 2019 at 12:00 pm

    the bose are too muddy, & svs are to tingy, the stuff played in the red had the best sound, bass & highs & mids were good……

  • Reply The Solemn Wishes June 12, 2019 at 12:00 pm

    Speaker spec sheet is useless tho.
    Sounds matter

  • Reply nanceeleana June 12, 2019 at 12:00 pm

    I have a set of Bose 601 series III, I always thought they sounded great.

  • Reply Jake Duggan June 12, 2019 at 12:00 pm

    Wow, Bose sound muffled. I always thought Bose was like what Apple is in the smartphone world; well presented, marketed well and presented an ease of use. They sounded really tinny with a lack of mid-range and treble. I'd imagine they would sound worse paired with a sub-woofer. So glad I have stayed clear of the Bose and stuck to JBL.

  • Reply Antonio R June 12, 2019 at 12:00 pm

    Dr. Amara was wrong on a race some time to win you only have to. Move faster even if you’re going in the same direction

  • Reply Norma Black9.1.5 June 12, 2019 at 12:00 pm

    Did anybody else forget what they were watching this guy's voice to put you to sleep.

  • Reply ryan Mosey June 12, 2019 at 12:00 pm

    I am listening to this with my Bose QC35 II headphones and everything sounds great on them. I am simple and don’t need a crazy set up so I am perfectly content.

  • Reply ryan Mosey June 12, 2019 at 12:00 pm

    Bose is really the Apple of the sound market.

  • Reply Cool Cat June 12, 2019 at 12:00 pm

    It's just those acoustimass & lifestyle systems that gives Bose a bad name because they're expensive, and suck! Vintage Bose speakers are great. Good old fashion American sound.

  • Reply Redneck Why not June 12, 2019 at 12:00 pm

    Why do people call it my Bose or let's play the Bose wtf

  • Reply LANPartyAnimal June 12, 2019 at 12:00 pm

    I use their noise cancelling headphones and that's it. I distinctly remember auditioning Bose 901's when they first came out. We were listening to a Joni Mitchell album and we could clearly place the musicians in their respective places as mixed by the Engineer/Producer. When we switched in the 901's any soundfield definition completely disappeared and Joni Mitchell's lips sounded like they were about 6 feet across. From that point on I never wanted anything to do with Bose speakers. I found it amusing how aggressively Bose speakers were marketed over the years. I had found, up to that point, in the audio world the better quality the equipment the less marketing was done. When was the last time you saw a Macintosh rep giving anyone the hard sell? Just another reason Bose was a turn-off for me.

  • Reply T Wang June 12, 2019 at 12:00 pm

    Had Bose qc25 and qc35 and they both break at exactly 24 months. Really incredible engineering on predicting when they'll break and they can sell you new ones.

  • Reply Mac cat June 12, 2019 at 12:00 pm

    No highs, No lows, Must be Bose… Bose also developed a electric over hydraulic suspension of a Lexus.

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