I know their headphones aren't good but are their speakers good? Im looking for a good surround sound equipment to put in my room. If bose isn't good, which one should I get? (I heard dolby is pretty good)
Are Bose speakers good?
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Speakers being good or not is rather subjective as every ear and peoples needs are different - Bose have made a market for super tiny speaker systems with a "wow" sound (a lot of shiny treble and PHAT bass) - but for audio quality (bigger uglier sized systems included) you can do better for the money.
Dolby is just a company that is an audio industry technology 'standard' like THX, which also has a rating system of audio quality. I don't think they actually produce their own loudspeakers.
I think even a cheap set of Creative/Logitech 5.1 computer speakers can sound more neutral than a low end bose system, but I wouldn't get those either.
If money is no object then I'd look into getting a decent 5.1 or 7.1 AV receiver amp (good 2nd hand ones can be had for less than 100 euros) and pair them up with a half decent set of speakers like Wharfedale DIamond 10 and an SW150 subwoofer. That'd be a good entry level cinema system - anything cheaper just isn't 'audiophile'
Here's an example link from a British website - http://www.superfi.co.uk/p-3146-wharfedale-diamond-10-hcp-home-cinema-speaker-system-with-sw150-subwoofer.aspx
I'm sure you could save even more money by looking for an old 5.1 set of speakers too - going vintage gives you 90-95% of the sound quality at less than half the price.
Edited by GREQ - 8/10/12 at 1:21am
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I have enjoyed the BOSE AE-1 (headphone) for many years and still do from time to time, it's lightweight, portable, comfortable and sound is quite good on lots of recordings.
As for their surround systems, I haven't heard any of them but I've heard a 2.1 system and I believe it to be quite nice for movies and some music too, maybe not so much for music if you're in to hifi.
Also they look good and many people will recognize them and automatically congratulate you for a well made purchase if that is important to you
If you can spend that much because tiny speakers are that important, YES, they are really good, both these considered. They are really great with HT, and if they have wireless now, all the better - the wires were the one drawback when I listened to a friend's system years ago,= - the satellite might be tiny but you either live with the clutter so it's plug-n-play, or you take the effort to hide them. That said, when I say the SQ was in any way "good," that was with movies - voices were clear, bass rocked the room, bullets shattering glass were eye-poppingly screaming. For music, the bass was there and the upper detail was there, but the midrange seemed to thin - like there was a disconnect between the strong bass and treble. The midrange was "there," it just didn't have any "oomph" to it. Think of the bass drum getting your attention by kicking you in the chest, but you can barely get enough from the toms (if at all); similarly the guitar solos scream and the cymbals are loud but the vocals seem to lack any body to them. I dunno, maybe we should have tweaked the angles/placements, but he mounted them just above our heads when standing and I got too lazy to do so.
If you want your speakers to do just as well with music and have no concerns about size and placement (ie, cats using the speaker stands for scratching posts, children knocking them over, etc), for the same money can get you Polk speakers, for example, and a good Onkyo, Yamaha or HarmanKardon receiver these will give you warmer midrange when playing music (or watching concerts), but of course each combo will vary. I actually kinda prefer Mirage Omnis for HT though, since extremely precise imaging for one person isn't as important in HT, and chances are watching a movie in the HT room will have the whole family in there. In any case, YMMV.
Dolby is a set of specifications standards for A/V but certification doesn't mean every gear will have the same performance and tolerances. In short, it's a bare minimum for "good" sound with a DVD or BluRay. It's good in so far as you think of "what kind of gear can't get a Dolby certification these says?!", but then again there's that (previously*) ridiculously low-price HLLY 5.1 decoder that can be paired with 5 monoblock T-amps, 5 speakers and an active sub and I don't think the HLLY (or maybe it does) doesn't have Dolby or THX certification. Plus surely the T-amps don't, but the one thread on it somewhere said it was an amazing and cheap (then, at least) combo.
*HarmanKardon entry-level AVR complete with dealer support can dip to as low as $199, Onkyo to about $229, etc in brick n mortar stores nowadays, so the appeal of that HLLY decoder is greatly reduced
Well, Harman Kardon only designs the outer shells really - the insides are Philips technology, so that makes those less desirable too, at least at those prices.
Today I picked up a Panasonic 5.1 Dolby home theatre amp/dvd/cd player combo (without speakers) for 10 euros today and it sounds neutral (if not a bit clinical) and pumps out a fair amount of volume - there are many good deals out there on 2nd stuff - but if size is an issue that sort of thing might not be for you, because this thing is a beast.
(heres a link to the system if you're interested) http://www.amazon.com/Panasonic-SC-HT80-5-DVD-Theater-System/dp/B00004T1Y4/ref=cm_cr_pr_product_top
Philips internals aren't all that bad - they're just not as desirable as back when they had Marantz. It's colored, sure, but that's what "entry level" is for the most part since a brand's "signature sound" is basically the compromises they prefer to make at most price points, which is why the TOTL gear across brands tend to be more similar than at lower price points. The artificially warm sound of an entry-level HK HT receiver makes for less problems matching with potentially bright, too analytical speakers for those who might be more into 2ch (either speakers or headphones), and plus the relatively low price, can get that sort of buyer a safe choice.
That Panasonic isn't a bad idea either but I imagine not everyone will like the analytical sound, same way the K701/2 is a very divisive product. Is that one of the HT receivers using a Class D chip? It was never released locally where I am but I've always wanted one - even I personally would have picked those up to $399 Class D HT receivers since the architecture generally isn't as sensitive to PSU design as Class A or A/B amps of comparable output.
I'm actually not totally against Philips tech, as I like my cheapo 90's Philips CD player quite a lot, but my old HK amp was just boring and way too coloured the wrong way for my taste (paired with a Grado in the headphone out who wouldn't?)
I had the opposite impression from the Bose HT systems I've listened to - all lows and and some highs, questionable midrange.
I haven't tried HT receivers with headphones, but for the few times I've accompanied friends to try out HT gear, I've tended to prefer HK receivers on most entry-level speakers from Monitor Audio, Infinity, Mission, and even the B&W 600 series (just the standmounts - only the really big ones have current for the multiple-woofer floorstanders), but I totally hated it with Wharfedale Diamonds, which I liked better with Onkyos. Mirage seemed a little boring on them too.
If you see a graph of the FR it drops at 250hz and well below 20khz and still manage to sound shimmery and bloated at the same time :)
Edited by Mischif - 8/13/12 at 3:50pm