Tech and Culture

My experience with Bose products

Bose is one of those strange companies that use their brand position almost as much as tangible metrics like product quality to make money. At the same time, they advertise their products so vehemently that you feel like they need to invest in a telemarketing channel.

I decided to buy two Bose products last month as I wanted to see what the hype was all about. After using them for about a month, here’s what I feel:

1. Bose Companion 3 Desktop Speaker System

This is a 2.1 desktop speaker system that I bought from CompUSA. The build is nice and the controls are probably the best I have seen. Now, the sound is a rather unique experience. There is lots and lots of equalization in the sound. It is just so audible. The soundtracks don’t sound like they sound at a theater. Nevertheless, the equalization makes the speakers sound exactly how you would *like* the music to sound at home. The Bose speakers are known to use the “smiley face” equalization technique in almost all their consumer products. What that does is “accentuates the low and high ends to extremely un-natural levels , causes booms, screeches, high end clipping, pronounced “S” when speaking, low end resonant vibrations”. As such, the speakers sound a lot better when placed at a considerable distance from the ears.

The speakers sound great when there’s not a lot of vocal elements in the audio being reproduced. The low freq. bass output is pretty powerful, and the subwoofer houses the main sound processing circuitry of the system. I was astounded when I tried to look in the specifications in the users manual for the total system power output and frequency response, and was unable to find anything. Then, I realized that it was a Bose user’s manual 😉

All in all, I am decently pleased with the system even though there are times when I seriously consider reverting back to my $15 speakers.

2. Bose QuietComfort 2 Noise Cancelling Headphones

As someone else has pointed out, these headphones are $100 worth of headphones, and $200 worth of good noise reduction. I have to say, the noise reduction is spectacular. I used them at a construction site, and all that heavy noise was just reduced to hardly noticeable mumbling. The noise reproduction, on the other hand, is the worst thing these headphones have to offer. Music sounds bland, and vocals are just terrible. Again, these headphones use the same “smiley face” equalization technique that tends to hurt your ears, and could in fact cause temporary loss of high end hearing! These headphones are most definitely going back to the store.

Now, you could say that my opinion was skewed against Bose from the get go, but let me assure you that I am, in fact, loving the desktop speakers. The headphones are great to nullify background noise, but are no better than those $100 headphones you’d buy from any other manufacturer. The triport technology does produce a good low freq response in the form of beats, but all the good is negated by the poor reproduction of vocals; Something which is not easily noticeable in Bose’s desktop and surround speaker systems.

This was surprisingly my first ever product review at this blog!

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