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Bose TV Speaker Soundbar Review

beaRA

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Yea, I'll alter the script to provide my standard ±3dB window but also have an extra plot for the full span and just let MATLAB sort out the axes values. Here you go.

That is a TON of limiting. I can't say I'm necessarily surprised by it, though, given the small speaker size. But it is definitely eye-opening.


View attachment 134143
Thanks! Given the scooped response at 76dB, you could convince yourself that everything above ~200Hz @86dB is loudness compensation. As expected, bass is heavily limited below 80Hz and things get pretty unusable @96dB.
 

astrex342

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Yea, I'll alter the script to provide my standard ±3dB window but also have an extra plot for the full span and just let MATLAB sort out the axes values. Here you go.

That is a TON of limiting. I can't say I'm necessarily surprised by it, though, given the small speaker size. But it is definitely eye-opening.


View attachment 134143
Does this graph mean that it's actually producing 91 db's when the input is 96db (increased 20db from 76)?
 

Maiky76

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As usual, copy/paste from my website so some things may not translate as well. Here is the link if you want to view it natively there:



Bose TV Speaker Soundbar Review
  • Saturday, Jun 5, 2021
DSC01970.JPG

Foreword / YouTube Video Review
The review on this website is a brief overview and summary of the objective performance of this speaker. It is not intended to be a deep dive. Moreso, this is information for those who prefer “just the facts” and prefer to have the data without the filler.

A video review is coming soon.

For a primer on what the data means, please watch my series of videos where I provide in-depth discussion and examples of how to read the graphics presented hereon.


Information and Photos
The Bose TV Speaker Soundbar is a relatively small replacement option for TV speakers which sports 2 full-range drivers mounted to the side of a center tweeter. This product features a bass boost/cut mode as well as dialogue mode to enhance speech. It features HDMI ARC, optical input, auxilary input and Bluetooth.
Retail is $249.
DSC01975.JPG


DSC01973.JPG





CTA-2034 (SPINORAMA) and Accompanying Data
All data collected using Klippel’s Near-Field Scanner. The Near-Field-Scanner 3D (NFS) offers a fully automated acoustic measurement of direct sound radiated from the source under test. The radiated sound is determined in any desired distance and angle in the 3D space outside the scanning surface. Directivity, sound power, SPL response and many more key figures are obtained for any kind of loudspeaker and audio system in near field applications (e.g. studio monitors, mobile devices) as well as far field applications (e.g. professional audio systems). Utilizing a minimum of measurement points, a comprehensive data set is generated containing the loudspeaker’s high resolution, free field sound radiation in the near and far field. For a detailed explanation of how the NFS works and the science behind it, please watch the below discussion with designer Christian Bellmann:

Measurements were referenced to the center (tweeter location). Approximate SPL of test is 80dB. I usually test closer to 80dB but given the nature of this speaker and the uncertainty as to its linearity (to be addressed in testing provided below) I chose to not push the speaker too hard for the frequency response testing. Higher output testing is provided, however, in the distortion and compression tests.

I DIY’d a standoff to place the soundbar upon. The reason for this is simply because the NFS platform is wider than the depth of the Bose soundbar and I did not want the platform to create comb filtering and alter the true (anechoic) performance of the soundbar.
DSC01966.JPG

Measurements are provided in a format in accordance with the Standard Method of Measurement for In-Home Loudspeakers (ANSI/CTA-2034-A R-2020). For more information, please see this link.
CTA-2034 / SPINORAMA:
CEA2034%20--%20Bose%20TV%20Speaker%20Soundbar.png



Early Reflections Breakout:
Early%20Reflections.png


Estimated In-Room Response:
Estimated%20In-Room%20Response.png


Horizontal Frequency Response (0° to ±90°):
SPL%20Horizontal.png


Vertical Frequency Response (0° to ±40°):
SPL%20Vertical.png


Horizontal Contour Plot (not normalized):
Bose%20TV%20Speaker%20Soundbar_Horizontal_Spectrogram_Full.png


Horizontal Contour Plot (normalized):
Bose%20TV%20Speaker%20Soundbar%20Beamwidth_Horizontal.png


Vertical Contour Plot (not normalized):
Bose%20TV%20Speaker%20Soundbar_Vertical_Spectrogram_Full.png


Vertical Contour Plot (normalized):
Bose%20TV%20Speaker%20Soundbar%20Beamwidth_Vertical.png




Additional Measurements

On-Axis Response Linearity
Bose%20TV%20Speaker%20Soundbar%20FR_Linearity.png

“Globe” Plots
These plots are generated from exporting the Klippel data to text files. I then process that data with my own MATLAB script to provide what you see. These are not part of any software packages and are unique to my tests.
Horizontal Polar (Globe) Plot:
This represents the sound field at 2 meters - above 200Hz - per the legend in the upper left.
Bose%20TV%20Speaker%20Soundbar_360_Horizontal_Polar.png



Vertical Polar (Globe) Plot:
This represents the sound field at 2 meters - above 200Hz - per the legend in the upper left.
Bose%20TV%20Speaker%20Soundbar_360_Vertical_Polar.png



Harmonic Distortion
Harmonic Distortion at 86dB @ 1m:
Bose%20TV%20Speaker%20Soundbar%20--%20Harmonic%20Distortion%20%2886dB%20%40%201m%29.png


Harmonic Distortion at 96dB @ 1m:
Bose%20TV%20Speaker%20Soundbar%20--%20Harmonic%20Distortion%20%2896dB%20%40%201m%29.png




Dynamic Range (Instantaneous Compression Test)
The below graphic indicates just how much SPL is lost (compression) or gained (enhancement; usually due to distortion) when the speaker is played at higher output volumes instantly via a 2.7 second logarithmic sine sweep referenced to 76dB at 1 meter. The signals are played consecutively without any additional stimulus applied. Then normalized against the 76dB result.
The tests are conducted in this fashion:
  1. 76dB at 1 meter (baseline; black)
  2. 86dB at 1 meter (red)
  3. 96dB at 1 meter (blue)
  4. 102dB at 1 meter (purple)
The purpose of this test is to illustrate how much (if at all) the output changes as a speaker’s components temperature increases (i.e., voice coils, crossover components) instantaneously.
Bose%20TV%20Speaker%20Soundbar_Compression.png


Long Term Compression Tests
The below graphics indicate how much SPL is lost or gained in the long-term as a speaker plays at the same output level for 2 minutes, in intervals. Each graphic represents a different SPL: 86dB and 96dB both at 1 meter.
The purpose of this test is to illustrate how much (if at all) the output changes as a speaker’s components temperature increases (i.e., voice coils, crossover components).
The tests are conducted in this fashion:
  1. “Cold” logarithmic sine sweep (no stimulus applied beforehand)
  2. Multitone stimulus played at desired SPL/distance for 2 minutes; intended to represent music signal
  3. Interim logarithmic sine sweep (no stimulus applied beforehand) (Red in graphic)
  4. Multitone stimulus played at desired SPL/distance for 2 minutes; intended to represent music signal
  5. Final logarithmic sine sweep (no stimulus applied beforehand) (Blue in graphic)
The red and blue lines represent changes in the output compared to the initial “cold” test.
Bose%20TV%20Speaker%20Soundbar_Long_Term_86_Compression.png

Bose%20TV%20Speaker%20Soundbar_Long_Term_96_Compression.png



Bass Adjustment
This soundbar features a bass level adjustment. I have provided the relative changes below, referenced to the default (normal) bass adjustment.
Note: Measurements are not anechoic; data is intended to be analyzed for differences in settings.
Bose%20TV%20Speaker%20Soundbar%20--%20Bass%20Adjustment%20Settings.png


Dialogue Mode
This soundbar features a “dialogue” option to enhance speech clarity. I have provided a graphic below of the difference with this setting enabled vs disabled (default state).
Note: Measurements are not anechoic; data is intended to be analyzed for differences in settings.
Bose%20TV%20Speaker%20Soundbar%20--%20Dialogue%20Settings.png


Parting / Random Thoughts
  • This was a first for me and to be honest, I wasn’t sure what to expect.
  • The horizontal radiation pattern shows a hole in response from about 10-30° between 800Hz to 2kHz. It almost seems as if it would be best to sit either dead on-axis or extremely far to the side (between 30 to 50°). One could easily have a different opinion depending on what frequency range and angle they are concerned with, however. No matter what, however, there is an undeniable drop in output (by about 30dB) right about 1300Hz to the side of the speaker and (as expected), there is not much output to the very rear. Still, there is a lot of sound energy spread by this speaker; however non-uniform it may be.
  • I’m surprised the horizontal radiation is so diffuse. I’d have expected this to behave much more like a true point-source given the close center-to-center spacing of the full-range drivers and the tweeter. There is a lot of cancellation in the 1300Hz region and I can’t imagine this is due to the tweeter (one would expect a tweeter of this size to be crossed much higher; especially since the side drivers are assumedly truly full-range or at least extend to the HF). Weird stuff.
  • There is a significant level of limiting here. It registers off the chart, literally, from 76dB up to 86dB+. So, there is no doubt at all that this speaker incorporates some sort of loudness contour or something of the sort.
  • Dialogue mode makes a drastic effect but surprisingly it really only seems to just increase the level almost overall rather than enhancing a specific region (for example, a boost from 200-800Hz or 2-4kHz for detail).
  • Bass adjustment on this thing is also counterintuitive. In the max bass setting the difference between it and default is only up a dB or two below 100Hz. Above this frequency, however, both bass adjustment settings (max and min) are actually lower than the default. Odd.
Is this a good alternative to TV speakers? Yea, I think so. Especially if you enable the dialogue function and aren’t really concerned with true full-range response (i.e., no low bass). But for $250? I just don’t know. Stay tuned for more TV soundbar testing so we can narrow down the selection pool.

Support / Donate

If you like what you see here and want to help me keep it going, please consider donating via the PayPal Contribute button below. I’m going to need to buy a good de-humidifier (or a window A/C unit) for my garage to help make sure things stay properly climate controlled for future tests this summer. So, if you can help chip in a few bucks, know that it is very much appreciated and that the support means a lot to me.
https://www.erinsaudiocorner.com/contribute/

Hi,

Here is my take on the EQ.

The raw data with corrected ER and PIR:

Score no EQ: 1.6
With Sub: 4.0

Spinorama with no EQ:
  • Just poor!
  • Directivity?
Bose TV Speaker Soundbar No EQ Spinorama.png

Directivity:
Surprisingly poor especially in the Horizontal plan

Bose TV Speaker Soundbar 2D surface Directivity Contour Only Data.png

Bose TV Speaker Soundbar LW Better data.png


EQ design:

I have generated one EQ. The APO config file is attached although it's not going to be easy to implement.

Score EQ Score: 4.6
with sub: 7.0

Code:
Bose TV Speaker Soundbar APO EQ Score 96000Hz
June072021-104317

Preamp: -2.8 dB

Filter 1: ON PK Fc 120 Hz Gain -2.6 dB Q 2.04
Filter 2: ON PK Fc 434 Hz Gain 3 dB Q 1.41
Filter 3: ON PK Fc 511.5 Hz Gain -5.44 dB Q 15
Filter 4: ON PK Fc 2028 Hz Gain -2.85 dB Q 2.49
Filter 5: ON PK Fc 5000 Hz Gain 3.25 dB Q 6.35
Filter 6: ON PK Fc 5242 Hz Gain -6.16 dB Q 1.68
Filter 7: ON PK Fc 13788 Hz Gain -4 dB Q 2.37

Bose TV Speaker Soundbar EQ Design.png


Spinorama EQ Score
Bose TV Speaker Soundbar Score EQ Spinorama.png


Zoom PIR-LW-ON
Bose TV Speaker Soundbar Zoom.png


Regression - Tonal
Bose TV Speaker Soundbar Regression-Tonal.png


Radar no EQ vs EQ score
Nice improvements
Bose TV Speaker Soundbar Radar.png


The rest of the plots is attached.
 

Attachments

  • Bose TV Speaker Soundbar APO EQ Score 96000Hz.txt
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  • Bose TV Speaker Soundbar Vertical 3D Directivity data.png
    Bose TV Speaker Soundbar Vertical 3D Directivity data.png
    628.2 KB · Views: 12
  • Bose TV Speaker Soundbar Horizontal 3D Directivity data.png
    Bose TV Speaker Soundbar Horizontal 3D Directivity data.png
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  • Bose TV Speaker Soundbar Normalized Directivity data.png
    Bose TV Speaker Soundbar Normalized Directivity data.png
    514.6 KB · Views: 11
  • Bose TV Speaker Soundbar Raw Directivity data.png
    Bose TV Speaker Soundbar Raw Directivity data.png
    791.6 KB · Views: 22
  • Bose TV Speaker Soundbar Reflexion data.png
    Bose TV Speaker Soundbar Reflexion data.png
    265.1 KB · Views: 17
  • Bose TV Speaker Soundbar LW data.png
    Bose TV Speaker Soundbar LW data.png
    321.4 KB · Views: 15
  • Bose TV Speaker Soundbar 2D surface Directivity Contour Data.png
    Bose TV Speaker Soundbar 2D surface Directivity Contour Data.png
    281.6 KB · Views: 15
  • Bose TV Speaker Soundbar 3D surface Vertical Directivity Data.png
    Bose TV Speaker Soundbar 3D surface Vertical Directivity Data.png
    425 KB · Views: 10
  • Bose TV Speaker Soundbar 3D surface Horizontal Directivity Data.png
    Bose TV Speaker Soundbar 3D surface Horizontal Directivity Data.png
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Marakk

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Apr 15, 2020
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Great review! Really horrible directivity. That's a clear advantage that most speakers offer over this soundbar, something that Rtings' reviews don't reveal.

For soundbars with 3.0 channels on the bar, definitely testing the center speaker as a standalone would also be incredibly illuminating, as often the center speaker has a slightly varying driver configuration and performance.
 

Vict0r

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A lot of people in my social circle come to me for TV audio advice and almost all of them want a soundbar, even when I try to dissuade them from one and steer them towards speakers. It would come in handy to know if there's a soundbar out there that is actually worth recommending! Like, "If you're dead-set on a soundbar and won't listen to anything I say, at least get THIS ONE." :)
 

warpdrive

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Jan 21, 2021
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I agree that I like that soundbars are being measured. I have a great set of speakers on my desk but for our secondary TV system, I want something better than the built-in speaker but I don't want to deal with regular bookshelf speaker. My wife doesn't want a bunch of boxes in our bedroom.

It'd be nice to separate the soundbars that measure ok versus the ones that are really bad.
 

Ata

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I have generated one EQ. The APO config file is attached although it's not going to be easy to implement.

Score EQ Score: 4.6
with sub: 7.0

Code:
Bose TV Speaker Soundbar APO EQ Score 96000Hz
June072021-104317

Preamp: -2.8 dB

Filter 1: ON PK Fc 120 Hz Gain -2.6 dB Q 2.04
Filter 2: ON PK Fc 434 Hz Gain 3 dB Q 1.41
Filter 3: ON PK Fc 511.5 Hz Gain -5.44 dB Q 15
Filter 4: ON PK Fc 2028 Hz Gain -2.85 dB Q 2.49
Filter 5: ON PK Fc 5000 Hz Gain 3.25 dB Q 6.35
Filter 6: ON PK Fc 5242 Hz Gain -6.16 dB Q 1.68
Filter 7: ON PK Fc 13788 Hz Gain -4 dB Q 2.37

Wow, this soundbar with EQ and sub scores better than KEF R3 w/o a sub! :D What's happening?! :eek:
 

More Dynamics Please

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Toole/Olive subscribe to the finding that bass is a dominant factor in speaker evaluation with ~30% of our overall rating of sound quality based on low frequencies. Therefore an underperforming speaker with sub can easily outscore a better performing speaker without sub by the simplistic ASR numerical scoring system.
 

Koeitje

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I expected worse. I mean, there are speakers that are actually worse than this.
 

Ata

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Toole/Olive subscribe to the finding that bass is a dominant factor in speaker evaluation with ~30% of our overall rating of sound quality based on low frequencies. Therefore an underperforming speaker with sub can easily outscore a better performing speaker without sub by the simplistic ASR numerical scoring system.

I know, I was making a joke... This soundbar should be measured with one of those Bose subs to see how close to the ideal rating of 7.0 that would get with the intended real life matching.
 

skyfly

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Do you have an in-room pink noise omni-mic measurement?
 
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