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Bose 901 Series V Speaker Review!

Xulonn

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#81
I took a look around the internet via Google, and there are a number of reviews of the Bose 901's over the past 10 or 20 years. In 2012, there was a review by Tone Publications with no measurements and bits of subjectivist B.S., and they concluded that the Bose 901 sound was similar to the old Magnepan MGII's.

The consensus seems to be that they sound good to lots of people (like my friend from the 1970's who like the big, room-filling sound), but don't measure well. A majority of the reviews and comments that I scanned wither state or imply that they are are not accurate and transparent, and if we stick with the concept of adhering to the definition of "high fidelity", I see them as being very low on the totem pole. As I said in an earlier comment, in the late 1970's, I very much preferred my big, high-end JBL speakers to my friend's Bose 901s.
 

pacdpm

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#82
I first met Dr (amir) Bose in 1968 at his factory in Framingham, MA...I purchased a series I pair of 901s...They were great for some music...rock, broadway, choral...not so much for opera and chamber music BUT they throw a HUGE image when properly set up and , yes, needed ALOT of power...I upgraded to Series II a few years later...somewhat more efficient..since then I've owned ARs, KLH, B&W, Magnum Opus, JBL, Legacy..and many others I've forgotten but I still have a deep fondness for those 901s....put on some DEAD, AIRPLANE, STONES, big Verdi choruses, Act 1 finale to Turandot, etc, etc...sit back and enjoy the sound wrapping around you...they made listening to music FUN
 

tomtoo

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#83
I took a look around the internet via Google, and there are a number of reviews of the Bose 901's over the past 10 or 20 years. In 2012, there was a review by Tone Publications with no measurements and bits of subjectivist B.S., and they concluded that the Bose 901 sound was similar to the old Magnepan MGII's.

The consensus seems to be that they sound good to lots of people (like my friend from the 1970's who like the big, room-filling sound), but don't measure well. A majority of the reviews and comments that I scanned wither state or imply that they are are not accurate and transparent, and if we stick with the concept of adhering to the definition of "high fidelity", I see them as being very low on the totem pole. As I said in an earlier comment, in the late 1970's, I very much preferred my big, high-end JBL speakers to my friend's Bose 901s.
When was 16 i was some kinde of a hifi nerd. I started with 12 eating hifi magazins.
The first time i listend to the 901 it was clear to me that they are tonal to far away. They are not realy bad, but also far away from being good. Thats 40 years ago.
 

Xulonn

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#84
In January of 1961, Popular Electronics magazine published a design for 16 - 5" drivers in a flat, square enclosure that supposedly had a smooth midrange and would reach 20Hz in the bass region. One of my fraternity brothers built one, hung it on his dorm room wall, and It sounded pretty good. However, like my later stereo experience with Bose vs JBL, I preferred my (monaural) Jensen DIY bass reflex speaker with it's conventional 3-way driver configuration over the "Sweet 16" DIY unit.

Sweet16-1.jpg


The first multi-speaker product from Bose, introduced five years after the Sweet-16 plans were published in 1966, did not fare very well.

Bose 2201.jpg


2201
The "2201" was released in 1966 and was Bose's first speaker system. It consisted of 22 five-inch drivers and was designed to be located in the corner of a room, using reflections off the walls and floor to disperse the sound. The system included tone controls and a switch to attenuate frequencies below 50 Hz. The 2201 was a failure in the market and was discontinued after three or four years.

Stereo
901
The "901" was released in 1968 and was a conventional design consisting of two floorstanding speakers. The system has nine drivers per channel, a separate amplifier unit, and an equalizer.

It was sold until 2016, when the 901 Series VI was discontinued.
 

tomtoo

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#85
In January of 1961, Popular Electronics magazine published a design for 16 - 5" drivers in a flat, square enclosure that supposedly had a smooth midrange and would reach 20Hz in the bass region. One of my fraternity brothers built one, hung it on his dorm room wall, and It sounded pretty good. However, like my later stereo experience with Bose vs JBL, I preferred my (monaural) Jensen DIY bass reflex speaker with it's conventional 3-way driver configuration over the "Sweet 16" DIY unit.

View attachment 74817

The first multi-speaker product from Bose, introduced five years after the Sweet-16 plans were published in 1966, did not fare very well.

View attachment 74818
Thorens did something like this in the end 70's beginnig 80's. But with a tweeter.

https://www.hifi-wiki.de/index.php/Thorens_HP_381
 

Ericglo

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#86
In January of 1961, Popular Electronics magazine published a design for 16 - 5" drivers in a flat, square enclosure that supposedly had a smooth midrange and would reach 20Hz in the bass region. One of my fraternity brothers built one, hung it on his dorm room wall, and It sounded pretty good. However, like my later stereo experience with Bose vs JBL, I preferred my (monaural) Jensen DIY bass reflex speaker with it's conventional 3-way driver configuration over the "Sweet 16" DIY unit.

View attachment 74817

The first multi-speaker product from Bose, introduced five years after the Sweet-16 plans were published in 1966, did not fare very well.

View attachment 74818

WOW, that is what I imagined a horizontal and vertical CBT would look like. He may have been a little ahead of his time for this speaker layout.
 

617

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#87
1595530976271.png


It looks like conventional series/parallel 3x3 wiring. With 8 ohm drivers we'd have an 8 ohm system with 9.5 db gain.

1595531228692.png


Note the front driver is in an enclosed compartment. The angle on the back is bigger than I thought, too. I definitely don't understand the ports.
 

tomtoo

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#88

MattHooper

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#91
I would love... LOVE... to get a demo of the Beolab 90. I did reach out to a fellow who works for B&O but he never replied back. I can't blame him, I don't guess. LOL
Some reports of the Beolab 90 painted it as sounding almost freaky in it's focused, 3D soundstage/imaging. That would be interesting.

That said, we had a Bang & Olufsen store near us that I used to go in to fairly often. I found the sound of their speakers to be essentially like BOSE for the well-heeled. Better and sometimes impressive, but sort of lacking the same basics as BOSE (e.g. even, natural tone).
 

Ericglo

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#92
IIRC I heard the BeoLabs at Cedia a couple of years ago. I was unimpressed. I will have to ask my audiophile friend his recollection of them.
 

pozz

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#93
I wish Dr. Bose was still alive. I would have really liked to speak with him about the 901's development. It seems like a conceptual design worked out on mostly with pencil and paper, including the EQ points, crossover and expected final FR after accounting for the strength of direct vs. reflected sound.
 

Wes

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#94
Maybe we have a psycho-acoustic lesson here?

I don't think that the results "prov[e] that people buy stories, not products" necessarily (tho many do, of course). Instead, it may well be that people buy large, impressive soundstages, not accuracy. Or that untrained listeners do, and that is most people.
 

Juhazi

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#95
Maybe we have a psycho-acoustic lesson here?

I don't think that the results "prov[e] that people buy stories, not products" necessarily (tho many do, of course). Instead, it may well be that people buy large, impressive soundstages, not accuracy. Or that untrained listeners do, and that is most people.
We must remember that these "wall of sound" speakers come from monophonic era, trying to fill the room with one box, but Bose 901 was designed for stereo. At that time designers obviously didn't know the modern basics of sound radiation and measurement systems were poor. Also music spectrum was something like 30-6000Hz (ceramic cartridges, FM-radio). As well closed box design was just newborn!

Home hifi leaped in early 70s, hifi-stereo record players, compact cassettes and FM-stereo broadcasts were rapidly spread in homes around the western world. Many designs still had fundamental flaws for hifi as we know it now.

Swede Stig Carlsson (brand Sonab) made many popular omnipole speakers, I have a pair of OA-13

 

tomtoo

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#96
If a enthusiast likes to play with the concept why not. Get 2 speakers per stereo channel and put them back on back. Then you can dsp and level the direct and indirect sound.

A lot to play with.

For the beginning you could start with cheap not to bad speakers like this neumi @hardisj testet.
 
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restorer-john

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#97
Someone needs to send you a pair of DCM Timewindow 1as. Another unconventional, but incredibly alluring speaker. What they do right is amazing and what they do wrong, you can forgive most of the time.

@hardisj Excellent article/review and the 20 hours you spent was worth it and very much appreciated.
 

SIY

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#99
Someone needs to send you a pair of DCM Timewindow 1as. Another unconventional, but incredibly alluring speaker. What they do right is amazing and what they do wrong, you can forgive most of the time.
Ditto the AR MGC-1.
 
OP
hardisj

hardisj

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Thread Starter #100
I brought these back downstairs so I could take a picture of how I had them set up when I demoed them in my living room. Figured I might as well fire them up again.

And dangit... they got me again. The large, hugemongous soundstage is just dumb. In a good way. The tonality is just dumb. In a bad way. But the soundstage being so wildly abnormal overrides the pretty significant tonal imbalance.

Anyway, here's the pic of that setup. The speakers were a foot off from the wall, 9 feet apart from each other and approximately 14 feet from the listening position. My wife would kill me if she knew I didn't clean things up before taking and sharing this photo. But we are all adults here. We know no one has a perfectly clean living room. Especially when you have kids and pets. :D Plus, I don't have a dedicated amp or receiver in my living room so wires are always just flung around while I'm doing my demos and then I clean it up and carry it all upstairs.

 
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