I will never rule out the capabilities of a better quality book shelf at a cheaper price but the problem is setting them up. Its a real pain. Most of us don't have the luxury of a dedicated entertainment room with treated interiors. In most homes it is next to impossible to have the perfect placement for book shelves (most critical). Its in environments like these I would prefer Bose Acoustimass 5. I have heard this speaker system with a Yamaha stereo amplifier. Things can only improve with a better amplfier.
You mean Altec Lansing ATP3. I own one too & it is the best PC speaker system to buy but lets not compare it to something a lot bigger like the Bose in discussion. The Bose has a lot more power handling, can go way deeper with bass, does wonderful mids & highs & you can pair it with components of your choice starting with the amplifier itself. The ATP works best in something no bigger than a study.
you cant compare these two in terms of power etc, but clarity, yes. Bose has more volume and bass, but mids and highs is where it sucks big time. I have purchased bose a long time ago (mid 90s) and returned within a week. I am no audiophile, and didnt have access to such forums or even internet to check the reviews, just didnt like the sound et al. Before the bose, the only system I had owned was a mono philips tape recorder. And I have also auditioned quite a few bose systems, including their top of the line with some 10-12 cubes, the sound signature doesnt change. The only decent bose was supposed to be their 901s (model might have changed, its been a while).
Forget the music, try a good english movie with bose, you will have trouble understanding the dialogues without subtitles. The only way to describe the sound is muddy, you cant distinguish one guitar from another
oh, and setting up a system is not that complicated. you need an amp and source, which is the same case with bose too. and you do get dirt cheap speaker cables too. MX has a decent one for about 50/- a meter. maybe for the first time, you can take someones help, and once u see how its done, it becomes easy.