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Are Bose 301 speakers worth buying?

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rakeshkale

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Hi I am thinking of buying Bose 301 speakers.Any comments if i should go for them?If not any suggestions please.
I am planning to hook them up to Yamaha / Onkyo amps as a first step in assembling a home theatre.
 
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koushik

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That completely depends on you, if you like the sound then nothing else matters. I haven't heard them, but Bose lovers say 301s are good.

But be assured there will be no imaging and focus, sound will come from all over the place :)
 
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Hey Rakesh, i'm not sure what do you mean by "worth buying"? My father in law has them in working condition from 1982...!!! I quite don't like the way they sound but again listening preferences definitely vary. Go for it, if you like it.
 

Srinath_seshadri

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The 301 and 501/601 series are prime candidates for pulling the 2 paper tweeters out and swapping them out with real tweeters. Soft domes or other tweeters.
Also you compare to speakers of the same size component abilty/quality. You cant compare a 301 to say a B&W 805 cos they are the same size.
Cool.
Srinath.
 

Flash

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Hi I am thinking of buying Bose 301 speakers.Any comments if i should go for them?If not any suggestions please.
I am planning to hook them up to Yamaha / Onkyo amps as a first step in assembling a home theatre.

The Bose 301 I would not categorize as a bad speaker. Considering the price. I have heard them several times in the past .

Let me break it down ...

Buy them if

1 You like powerful bass albeit one note bass
2 .You like a large sounstage from wall to wall and a wide sweetspot.
3. Like to listen at really high volumes

Look elsewhere if

1. You value accuracy
2. Flatter frequency response across the human hearing range
3. You value detail extraction and midrange clarity
 

preth30

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There are 5 series of Bose 301s of which I have used series III and series IV. I would say series IV was the better ones of the lot. Series III too was ok, but the latest series V is just junk. That doesn't mean that series IV 301s are great. The sound is abolutely coloured and there is little detailing or imaging. But these are exciting party speakers and when placed on a bookslef speaker stand, looks stunning. But if you are looking for clean, detailed, pure sound, just forget the 301s, as a matter of fact, any bose speaker. For that go for some good British speaker or Danish speakers.
 

Srinath_seshadri

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You have just mentioned one of the finest speakers (more so if it is Matrix 805) beside Bose's speaker :)
That sounds like an oxymoron to me ;)
LOL, yea, I used to say you should compare speakers of like size. Dont compare a bookshelf to a floor stander. Wouldn't you know it, as soon as one of my friends heard it, he compared a DM603 t0 a 301.
Lesson learned.

Cool.
Srinath.
 

deba

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If you like the sound go for it....... the 301 is a good hifi speakers for the price....go to any Bose store for audition.......
 
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Robert Bose

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The Latest Series is real bad

I have series 3, it is not bad for casual listening, pleasant rounded sound

but lacks resolution, sells for 12-15K and OK for the price

Series IV is better, goes for 18K in good condition

Advantage is just ordinary amp will drive it

another advantage is it is designed for operation in room corners

the HF response in very poor for Jazz Cymbals, works with Orchestra Music

and has a good tone

Robert Bose
 

vanarp

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Here is my experience being a user of another Bose product (SoundDock with iPod) if that helps in anyway.

The SoundDock can go quite loud and makes the sound felt across the room with nearly the same intensity using its tiny speakers. I believe this experience is common across the Bose products which must be a result of their research into Psychoacoustics. However I miss the fine details in the music (note that I use ALACs from iTunes mostly) and feel unnecessary bass all the time.

I remember reading somewhere that the only best speakers Bose ever produced are their 901s (with 7 or 9 drivers firing front and rear). Before frequenting on this forum I was thinking my upgrade path will be to 301s and then to 901s. But I am thinking now.
 

navin advani

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The 301 and 501/601 series are prime candidates for pulling the 2 paper tweeters out and swapping them out with real tweeters. Soft domes or other tweeters.
I would advice against this unless you can control dispersion with a wave guide.

That said...and I am not saying what I am about to post to diss Bose or anything...

Somewhere around 1983-4 my cousin bought a pair of Bose 301 (along with a Sony something Receiver and a Technics Tapedeck and turntable) for about $300/pr.

Summer of 1986 he told me the speaker had gone bad and asked if I could resurrect them so he could use them in the basement.

When I opened the grill I noticed the woofer's foam surround was mostly eaten away by NYC's climate (we lived in NYC at the time).

I asked around (we did not have Google or the internet) and A&S Speakers (Denver, CO) and Just Speakers (SFC, CA) had a 8" woofer in their portfolio that they said was an OEM for a company who's named rhymed with "nose". I got 2 of these woofers for $7 ea. I also managed to source 4 2" cone tweeters for $1.5 ea. Total cost of drivers for both speakers was $20. I believe the cabinets would not have cost more than $30/pr so Bose was selling $50 worth of parts (retail value) for $300! At whole sale purchase prices wonder what their profit margins are!

Anyway, I replaced the drivers and when I was doing so I noticed the woofer was crossover-less (it was being driven full range) and the tweeters had just a single cap. (1st order). So I disconnected the tweeters and ran the speaker without them to get a feel as to where the breakup nodes could me. The equipment I had that time did not permit T/S measurements and I was not looking a accurate bass response anyway. To cut a long story short I crossed the woofer at 6db/3k and the tweeters at 12b/3k (more for protection) and at least to my cousin's untrained ears they sounded "better than new".

Bose does a lot of things well (small speakers in WAF friendly packaging) but I doubt if they can be considered VFM or "audiophile quality" whatever that is supposed to mean. In short, in my view, better speakers can be had for the prices Bose demands for their products.
 

George T

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I would advice against this unless you can control dispersion with a wave guide.

That said...and I am not saying what I am about to post to diss Bose or anything...

Somewhere around 1983-4 my cousin bought a pair of Bose 301 (along with a Sony something Receiver and a Technics Tapedeck and turntable) for about $300/pr.

Summer of 1986 he told me the speaker had gone bad and asked if I could resurrect them so he could use them in the basement.

When I opened the grill I noticed the woofer's foam surround was mostly eaten away by NYC's climate (we lived in NYC at the time).

I asked around (we did not have Google or the internet) and A&S Speakers (Denver, CO) and Just Speakers (SFC, CA) had a 8" woofer in their portfolio that they said was an OEM for a company who's named rhymed with "nose". I got 2 of these woofers for $7 ea. I also managed to source 4 2" cone tweeters for $1.5 ea. Total cost of drivers for both speakers was $20. I believe the cabinets would not have cost more than $30/pr so Bose was selling $50 worth of parts (retail value) for $300! At whole sale purchase prices wonder what their profit margins are!

Anyway, I replaced the drivers and when I was doing so I noticed the woofer was crossover-less (it was being driven full range) and the tweeters had just a single cap. (1st order). So I disconnected the tweeters and ran the speaker without them to get a feel as to where the breakup nodes could me. The equipment I had that time did not permit T/S measurements and I was not looking a accurate bass response anyway. To cut a long story short I crossed the woofer at 6db/3k and the tweeters at 12b/3k (more for protection) and at least to my cousin's untrained ears they sounded "better than new".

Bose does a lot of things well (small speakers in WAF friendly packaging) but I doubt if they can be considered VFM or "audiophile quality" whatever that is supposed to mean. In short, in my view, better speakers can be had for the prices Bose demands for their products.
I have heard many audiophiles complain that BOSE speakers are not on par with the premium brands of which there is a wide variety- now more than then - and I am talking 30 years back. In the 80s when I first came to know about BOSE 901, it was the rage - the Direct/ Reflect concept. Now I hear different voices. Anyway I bought a pair of BOSE 201 Series V recently. I set it up as part of a 7.1 Surround system and while using the Audyssey MultiEQ setup it gave the same calibration as the rest of the setup which is JBL Fronts and Center. I couldn't determine much of difference between my 3 way Fronts and the 2 way BOSE 201 when playing HD media except for the Bass range which is quite logical as my JBL Fronts have an 8" woofer cone and the 201 has a 6".
 

navin advani

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I have heard many audiophiles complain that BOSE speakers are not on par with the premium brands ......
I do not consider myself an "audiophile" and I am not even sure what that means.

Like you, George, I have been "fooling around" with speakers and amplifiers before I started wearing long pants. The 901 was born in the 2 channel world. For the life of me I could not understand why Dr. Bose and his MIT thesis could determine that exactly 11% (1 out of 9 drivers) needs to be direct and the rest can be reflected (more so given that no 2 rooms have the same acoustics). Then was the fullrange vs multi-way debate.

I do not consider Bose products bad as a group. For many applications they are "just what the doctor ordered". Be it compact, one box 'lifestyle' home theatre systems or their 802/402 pro audio systems (very useful for small bands, one man bands, and small college auditoriums).

In my rather long post I never once said their products were down-right poor. I do however believe that there are many "better" products that can be had for the money Bose charges. For that matter I am not happy with the current gen JBL products either. Maybe I am just a fussy guy! :D

If one took apart a Vanderstoeen 2ci (highly reputed speaker from a highly regarded manufacturer) you will find that you could build the same speaker for about half the price (at least the version I took apart 20 odd years ago) but you will also find a rather well designed crossover, a solidly built box, and a speaker that look like it has some degree of "value" in it. This is my only beef with Bose. I do not see value in their MBA-coated-plastic home audio speakers.
 

George T

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I do not consider myself an "audiophile" and I am not even sure what that means.

Like you, George, I have been "fooling around" with speakers and amplifiers before I started wearing long pants. The 901 was born in the 2 channel world. For the life of me I could not understand why Dr. Bose and his MIT thesis could determine that exactly 11% (1 out of 9 drivers) needs to be direct and the rest can be reflected (more so given that no 2 rooms have the same acoustics). Then was the fullrange vs multi-way debate.

I do not consider Bose products bad as a group. For many applications they are "just what the doctor ordered". Be it compact, one box 'lifestyle' home theatre systems or their 802/402 pro audio systems (very useful for small bands, one man bands, and small college auditoriums).

In my rather long post I never once said their products were down-right poor. I do however believe that there are many "better" products that can be had for the money Bose charges. For that matter I am not happy with the current gen JBL products either. Maybe I am just a fussy guy! :D

If one took apart a Vanderstoeen 2ci (highly reputed speaker from a highly regarded manufacturer) you will find that you could build the same speaker for about half the price (at least the version I took apart 20 odd years ago) but you will also find a rather well designed crossover, a solidly built box, and a speaker that look like it has some degree of "value" in it. This is my only beef with Bose. I do not see value in their MBA-coated-plastic home audio speakers.
You are right in that there are much better build of speakers in the market. BTW I had a fairly good knowledge of most American made speakers from Polks to Wilsons but I must confess I never heard about the Vandersteen Speakers for some reason. I have spent most of my life in the Middle East and the rest in India and I guess these have not found a market in this part of the World. anyway just to give my two bits about the BOSE speakers and then I rest my case. You are right in that the BOSE 901s came out in the stereophonic sound era. BOSE research in my opinion came the closest to a live theatrical performance or ambient sound with the Direct/ Reflect concept with the two speaker system. It was unique then. With the advent of the Surround system era the need for direct/ reflect speakers is no longer critical as the AVR software could mimic the ambient effect and channel them to separate units. Again you are right in asking the question why 11% direct and 89% reflected. My guess is that Dr Amar Bose had conventional Theater of the old days in mind when he designed these speakers. I remember reading an article, in the reader's digest I as I recall in the 80s, His logic was that in a theater the sound that reaches the ears of the audience was mostly reflected.
A friend of mine has a pair of BOSE speakers ( I forget the model) Fllor standing with One Speakers facing backwards. Great Sound as I could determine. Perhaps BOSE "audio reflectology" may not appeal to much more aware audio enthusiasts of today as good audio performance is now acknowledged to be equally determined by the room audio characteristics as the HT system characteristics. BTW an Audiophile is one who used to be called a Audio Purist in the old days: One who not only listens to Music/ Soundtrack but who listens to the "Sound" of Music/ Soundtrack. :)
 

navin advani

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You are right in that there are much better build of speakers in the market. BTW I had a fairly good knowledge of most American made speakers from Polks to Wilsons

Perhaps BOSE "audio reflectology" may not appeal to much more aware audio enthusiasts of today

BTW an Audiophile is one who used to be called a Audio Purist in the old days: One who not only listens to Music/ Soundtrack but who listens to the "Sound" of Music/ Soundtrack. :)
Polk, ha Polk! The stuff the tall man in the white lab coat sold! I took apart a few Polks too....ok I used to take apart a lot of speakers, everything from the AR 2ax to the Ken Kantor designed MGC-1 to the dbx Soundfield to Vandersteens and more. Some like the dbx, Polk, and Bose offered more room for improvement then Vandersteens or the MGC-1 or the venerable 2ax because these later models were so well designed to begin with.

For me that is the hallmark of a good speaker, can I take it apart and make it better, if I can, then why did the designer not do so in the first place? At OEM (bulk) prices for drivers, crossover components, and cabinets the difference in cost between a good driver and a poor driver is small (please exclude RAALs, Illuminators, Revelators, Excel, Nextel, Aerogel, and all variations of AMTs etc.. from this - I am referring to simple doped paper cones and silk/metal domes).

Take for example the dynamic range limited Polk SDA 1 (A, B, C, etc.. the one with 4 6" woofers and a 12-14" Passive Radiator). Peerless (DK) made a pretty VFM 6" midbass called the TP165R (there was also a foam surround version called the 165F) that cost $2.5 or maybe $3 more (at OEM prices) to the 6" Polk used (various versions were used in the 1A, 1B, 1C - in my opinion the 1B got the best one). Now that is a total cost of $20 across a pair of speakers that retailed for well over $1000 (somewhere in the mid 1980s). Why did not care to use the 165R? Their crossover would have been a little simpler. This is but one example (since George bought up Polk) but there are 10s if not 100s of such examples. Well designed speakers are a minority. Bose is just one proponent of speakers that easily be improved on.

Bose invested a lot of money in the science of how we listen. This was in the area of psychoacoustics. They built there home audio speakers to fit a "certain" demographic and hence it must be said that Bose did study their market well. Trouble is that for the rest of us (who do not fit this demographic) Bose speakers fall apart. Sad. They can make better speakers and even systems. They just don't feel like they need to.

For me I believe that unless one has a lot of experience with live music both Acoustic and Electric, both Indian and Western, one will never know what reproduced sound should sound like. So go out there and listen. Listen to every live band that comes to your town, it don't matter if it is Swedish House Mafia or Dr. Lakshminarayana Subramaniam! Then maybe you can call yourself as someone who is interested in music not just in the bells and whistles that the MBAs sell.
 

ROBIN LANDANSON

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Bose 301 is the best speakers from Bose audio company. But don't expect more musicality and dynamics as like other good brand hifi's

Hi I am thinking of buying Bose 301 speakers.Any comments if i should go for them?If not any suggestions please.
I am planning to hook them up to Yamaha / Onkyo amps as a first step in assembling a home theatre.
 
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