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Bose 901 Series VI Active Equalizer Measurements

Waxx

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The Bose 301 and 901 are the two exception on the rule for me for Bose, they sonud actually quiet decent, but are still overhyped in my book. But the rest is crap if you ask me. This measurment is also not that spectacular. But many speakers of that era sound way better and were a lot cheaper. These days they got a few decent boomboxes also, but i still would prefer a JBL boombox if iwas in that market.
 

Dennis_FL

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I grew up with the belief "no highs, no lows, must be Bose

Me too. Then I heard a band playing using the industrial version of Bose 901's and I was flabbergasted. I went to a local store and asked the salesman who bad mouthed everything about them. Especially their cardboard speakers and cheap drivers.

But I couldn't get the actual performance out of my mind and set a goal to someday own them (I was out of college and in debt at the time). Eventually the day came and the performance in my house wasn't what wasn't in my memory. Oh well.
 

DSJR

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We had the 301 IV and I liked them a lot, the sound still likeable after many hours playing the radio at low levels (so many speakers just couldn't do this back then before one switches speaker or turned them off). The 1970's era 901's were a bit 'odd' to me, but then I'm not disposed to omni's in general as I prefer the direct 'mixing seat' approach, despite trying to respect what they do (if you DO like omni's, nothing else will do I discovered). Said 301 IV's also sounded fine set on stands close to the wall behind them and played on the end of various separates systems. (Actually, the earlier 301's often used in bars, small venues and so on can also sound quite respectable as long as the drivers are ok)

My old boss had the pro versions of the 901's with a cheap powerful PA style amp and we found we liked them if the angled 'rear' panels were facing the listener!!! He threw a lot of family parties and they got a lot of use.
 
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KxDx

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but I do suspect that I would like the Definitive Technology towers, say the 9040 or the 9060, given they have the bipolar sound, with some speakers pointing to the back. Every time I look at them I think, that just looks like direct reflecting sound, just not using a single full range driver.
If you ever come across a pair of Eosone RSF-600s for a decent price, jump on them. Those are a true dipolar design vs bipolar, and have an even more amazing effect.
 

FrankW

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I'm surprised how deep the (in room) bass goes on these version VIs given the data from the V https://www.erinsaudiocorner.com/loudspeakers/bose_901_series_v/
Bose%20901%20Series%20V%20(Bass%202%20-%20Treble%20Min,%20Midbass%20Flat)%20FR_Linearity.png

Did the shift they tuning lower? Or maybe the driver specs changed.
 

beagleman

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Just recently heard a pair. Never owned them.........of all things a friend has a pair!!

FAR better than the sound I expected. In fact not even close to horrible.
A huge soundstage and a very pleasant but not highly detailed soundscape. Fairly decent bass for a speaker that in person is actually fairly small.

Do not believe those that say they are horrible or junk. Nor those that say they are perfection.
They sound unique in a nice way overall. Not sure I would own them ever, but they are far from how bad some will try to claim.
 

Dennis_FL

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. Fairly decent bass for a speaker that in person is actually fairly small.
It is my understanding that bass is achieved by 8 of the nine speakers moving in unison. Like a giant woofer.
 

Oldasdrt

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I loved my 901s, I had the Active EQ but didn't use it,I used a ten band per channel Pioneer EQ instead
Powered by my VSX D1S, Circa 1990, plenty of power for them,
Pretty good price for them in black or walnut at the BX
I may of liked my 601s a tad better though:)
 

steve59

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I flipped the tulip stands over and screwed them into the ceiling 2' in from the outside corners and room reinforcement in the bass was among the best i've heard, with a 55 wpc realistic receiver! The 901's were lacking detail at the top of the audible range, but they were a lot of fun for the money.
 

Oldasdrt

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I flipped the tulip stands over and screwed them into the ceiling 2' in from the outside corners and room reinforcement in the bass was among the best i've heard, with a 55 wpc realistic receiver! The 901's were lacking detail at the top of the audible range, but they were a lot of fun for the money.
I ended up suspending them from the ceiling also
Nothing quite like cranking up some LZ thru them, wish I still had them
 

anmpr1

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Problem was the Equalizer added a 15 db bass boost which of course meant they speakers required 2^5 times as much amplifier power to play without clipping. Considering the AR 1500 put out 70-80 watts on a good day, it's not hard to see how the 901s got in trouble reproducing bass all the time.

Realizing the loudspeaker's thirst, and in order to accommodate it, in the mid '70s Bose sold a high powered amplifier, the 1801. I think they made a matching preamp, too, with built in EQ for the speakers.

Fun fact: at the '77 summer CES, MLAS was showing off their HQD system, requiring among other things, six ML-2 class A amps. Mark didn't yet have that many made, so he drove the two Hartley 18 inch bass commodes with an 1801. My guess is that the Bose probably did a better job at it, than his own amp--unless his idea was to bridge two of his amps for the bass cabinets, in which case you would need eight ML-2s, four per side. That certainly could have been a possibility, given Levinson's 'money is no object as long as I'm the one receiving it' philosophy.

I ended up suspending them from the ceiling also

Bose 901 was never inexpensive (although some said the drivers were cheap); with that in mind, and in order to maximize profits sonic quality, plus in order to satisfy the requirements of really big spenders, Bose advertised a 'super system' that included four 901s--two on their dedicated '60s-modern space-age stands, with two hanging down from the ceiling. This, in order to accentuate their special 'wall of sound' sonic presentation. I would have like to have heard that set up, and even without hearing it I'm certain that Phil, Ronnie, and the Wrecking Crew's 'Be My Baby' (in mono) sounded just fine over that system, turned all the way up, of course. I am serious.

The Absolute Sound was founded after Harry Pearson was unhappy with the sound quality of the Bose 901's he purchased. Julian Hirsch, an objectivist audiophile, emphasized measured performance of audio gear from the earliest days of this hobby, and loved the Bose 901

Hirsch took a lot of heat for his 901 review (as he did with his L100 write up), leading many to suspect advertising shenanigans. It wasn't just Julian, however--the press in general were enthusiastic-- Hans Fantel writing for the NYT comes to mind. For their part, Consumer Reports complained how they couldn't really get into six foot long violins (or whatever it was) due to the loudspeakers unusual sonic presentation. Bose took them to court over it, arguing libel, which was a pretty stupid thing to do-- at least back in the '70s, a time when there was more concern over press freedom for diverse opinion.

Gordon Holt was equivocal to a degree, writing:

Thus, some 901 installations will have deep, tight, and quite well-defined bass, while others (in the majority) will exhibit uncontrolled bass resonances at frequencies which are entirely a function of the room dimensions. This no doubt explains the very widely conflicting reactions of different listeners who auditioned the Bose 901 in stores or purchased them for use at home. It is ideal for rock enthusiasts to whom sheer sonic impact is of paramount importance, and for classical listeners who want the next best thing to ambient stereo without the cost and the bother of rear-channel add-ons. However, we doubt that the 901 will appeal to perfectionists who have developed a taste for subtleties of detail and timbre.

As far as Pearson? His idea of sonic excellence was a set of Infinity IRS in a rather smallish room--some said it was really a closet, leading many to speculate that it was more like listening to headphones.

_________

As popular as the 901 was, I never heard it in an 'ideal' listening situation, which many rooms, because of decorating schemes, couldn't supply. I knew folks who owned them, but they were always placed up against a back wall, in a corner, or such. One guy turned the multiple drivers forward, because that was what he liked best.

I remember hearing 501s in a couple of living rooms. Those were advertised as an 'easier to accommodate' 901--certainly less expensive. My own 'living with with Bose' experience was a short lived set of 'Interaudio by Bose' box speakers (standard air suspension woofer plus two free standing angled tweeters, as I recall); you could say they were average sounding, for the time. I don't even remember where I got them, or what I did with them. Probably from a trade. Plus a pair of 301s I owned for a few weeks, and that I couldn't really figure out how to work.

That said, one of the best auditorium sound systems I remember featured two 'pro' Bose loudspeakers, that looked like 901s, but with the angled multiple drivers (if that is what they incorporated) turned toward the audience. I have no idea if they used 'active' EQ. But for a high school gym, they pretty much did the trick. If I lived in a HS gym, those would be on my A-List, for sure.
 

Sonny1

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Great review. I lost count of how many of these I passed on CL over the years. Even saw a pair at a rummage sale and turned my nose up at them in try audiofool fashion. They were like new and selling for cheap. If I see a pair with EQ, I’m picking them up. Thanks for the review.
 

steve59

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The 901 VI took time to get right. I found it interesting that using the same stands with the speakers on the floor they sounded a bit anemic, but I flip them over and bolt them to the ceiling and I bet wall shaking bass? I had mine around the time Van Hagar dropped the second? disc 'Finish what ya started' Eddie coming out of the right speaker never sounded better. The opening track on 'A momentary lapse of reason' never sounded more lifelike with the bass rumbling around the rowboat.
 

steve59

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Great review. I lost count of how many of these I passed on CL over the years. Even saw a pair at a rummage sale and turned my nose up at them in try audiofool fashion. They were like new and selling for cheap. If I see a pair with EQ, I’m picking them up. Thanks for the review.
It took me months to find the right placement! All speakers are finicky to placement, but the 901's can sound like a bunch of neutered choir boys til you get them right.
 

sarumbear

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Bose realised the single front facing driver's limitation on SPL output and created a professional version of the speaker, which only had the rear facing drivers of the home version but faced to the front instead. They were a stable of live music for decades until line arrays arrived. They deliver high SPL with good bass.


bose_802_loudspeaker_system.jpg
 

Spkrdctr

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Has anyone considered sending a pair to GR for some mods, maybe a tweeter?
LOL!!! Now that is a good one. If I had a 901, I would send it to Danny. It would probably give him fits though since there is no onboard crossover. So there
is really nothing he could do except speaker wire and terminals and that is about it.
 
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GXAlan

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LOL!!! Now that is a good one. If I had a 901, I would send it to Danny. It would probably give him fits though since there is no onboard crossover. So ther is really nothing he could do except speaker wire and terminals and that is about it.
Tube connectors!

I wonder, if I took a nearfield measurement, then EQ’d the response what would happen far field to the in room measurements for a design like this…
 
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