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How are VINTAGE bose speakers?

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24 replies to this topic

#1 of 25 OFFLINE   NickSo



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Posted May 03 2004 - 09:25 PM

Hey guys, I was just curious on how well VINTAGE bose speakers sounded. My dad's friend, an avid vintage audio equipment collector is willing to pass on some of his stuff to me, including speakers. He suggested a pair of BOSE. A cold tingle went down my spine, but they looked pretty hefty. Bigger than the pair of Paradigm Atoms i was thinking of getting. He also suggested a pair of New Advents (mentioned in a recent thread here), but they seemed too big for the layout of my room (this is for a small bedroom system). Anyhow, so do VINTAGE bose speakers also have the notorious reputation as their current counterparts? Thanks

#2 of 25 OFFLINE   Robert Cowan

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Posted May 03 2004 - 09:31 PM

vintage bose are still pretty bad. they were good back then for many reasons, but they never matured and many speakers have. they are poor compared to today's standards.

#3 of 25 OFFLINE   Andy Goldstein

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Posted May 04 2004 - 03:20 AM

the advents will not dissapoint you. mine never have! (see other post also.) ag.
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#4 of 25 OFFLINE   Brad_See


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Posted May 04 2004 - 04:43 AM

I have a pair of Bose Omnivectors. I don't know if they're first generation or what...in fact when I got them I couldn't really find any info on them. They are on the larger side of bookshelf speakers and I have them because I wanted surround but didn't have a whole lot of money and this guy sold them to me for 10 bucks. They sound ok. That's it. I was surprised at how well they handled bass though for Bose and for being that old. When I was doing the descending bass freq. from the THX setup on a DVD the other day they really stuck with the bass pretty well until it hit the crossover point and the sub came in. I was a bit surprised by how much bass they reproduced. I'm so used to hearing that exaggerated upper mid and shrillness with Bose. If the guy is giving them to you then why not take them and try them out. At the very least they will probably be passable while you save up money for something excellent. brad cook

#5 of 25 OFFLINE   Ben Stern

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Posted May 04 2004 - 05:02 AM

Get yourself the Paradigm Atoms. Then save your money and get yourself a nice sub. The Paradigm PDR-10 or the PDR-12 subs are small and relatively inexpensive.

#6 of 25 OFFLINE   NickSo



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Posted May 04 2004 - 08:40 AM

Thanks for the responses... This system is really just a bonus music system, id like to get nice sound for as little as possible. Seeing how i can get the vintage advents for cheap or free, i don't think ill be shelling out anything for the Atoms or a sub quite yet (id think they'd be better suited for a HT system than a purely music system compared to the advents)

#7 of 25 OFFLINE   ChrisWiggles



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Posted May 04 2004 - 11:37 AM

Free is always a good value!

#8 of 25 OFFLINE   John Garcia

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Posted May 04 2004 - 12:38 PM

My friend has some v1 601s (ancient) and I thought they actually sound half decent. No sparkling highs, due to a lack of a true tweeter, but they are acceptable for the same price you are talking about...Posted Image Can't beat free. He has a very large room, and these speakers with all the directional "sound everywhere" free floating drivers, were able to fill the room quite well, and had respectable bass. Too bad they aren't so attractive...
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#9 of 25 OFFLINE   DorianBryant



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Posted May 04 2004 - 12:59 PM

I just sold a pair of Series 4 501's. These were made in 1984 and in perfect shape. I thought they were a great sounding speaker. Now, I would not spend full price on any product from Bose, but I really liked these speakers for 2 channel use. I have all JBL now but like floor standing Bose. What i do not like is their center speaker or any of the smaller cubes where the paper speaker really expose their limitations....Just my 2 cents!

#10 of 25 OFFLINE   Mark Hedges

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Posted May 05 2004 - 09:20 AM

Some would say that most of Bose's current product is basically of vintage design...

#11 of 25 OFFLINE   ScottCHI



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Posted May 05 2004 - 09:55 AM


Free is always a good value!

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#12 of 25 OFFLINE   MikeNg


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Posted May 06 2004 - 09:33 AM

The 901's are actually pretty good. If you can find these on the cheap, I'd consider them.

#13 of 25 OFFLINE   DonnyD



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Posted May 07 2004 - 03:08 AM

I was visiting my brother last year (who is a retired Marine) and he told me military friend had given him a pair of old Bose speakers. We dragged them out of the corner and found they were 901 series II. Took'em into his HT room and hooked'em up. Now back in the 70's, I thought 901's were the cats meow so I really expected these to be a major catch. Hooked'em to "B" channel alongside his "A" speakers, with the Bose corner setup as suggested. The "A" speakers are S38 JBL (originals).....within 5 minutes we were lugging those Bose back to their storeroom.... It was truly no highs/no lows and the S38 simply blew them away easily. The Bose soon were headed down the road in another give-shi#-to-a-friend.......
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#14 of 25 OFFLINE   John F. Palacio

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Posted May 07 2004 - 06:36 AM

FYI The old Bose loudspeakers bear no resemblance to today's overpriced offerings. The original Bose entry was the 901, if I recall correctly, and it offered a new approach in speaker design in that most of the sound of the speaker was aimed towards the rear and intended to be reflected from the walls. Instead of woofers and tweeters it had a numerous array of small drivers which carried the full spectrum. One forward facing driver was used as a tweeter to provide some direct radiation of the highs. An outboard equalizer was required to flatten the frequency response and a hefty amp was required to drive them as they were power hungry. They sounded different than anything available at the time. Most people either loved them or hated them. They were also visually unlike anything available at the time. It provided a big sound stage and amazing bass for a speaker of that size.
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#15 of 25 OFFLINE   Jack Briggs

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Posted May 07 2004 - 06:58 AM

John, most reviewers hated them at the time; even Stereo Review's Julian Hirsch, often derided for loving everything he reviewed, was harshly critical of the original 901s. The consensus then was that these speakers were more accurately described as "musical instruments" than as music reproducers. High Fidelity magazine (remember them?) decried "20-foot-wide pianos" and human voices that seemed to come from all directions.

#16 of 25 OFFLINE   Phil Iturralde

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Posted May 07 2004 - 07:55 AM

Jack - you must be thinking about another speaker since ... Stereophile Bose 901 loudspeaker by J. Gordon Holt, November, 1971 wrote ...


"...I must say that I have never heard a speaker system in my own home which could surpass, or even equal, the Bose 901 for overall realism of sound."

-Julian Hirsch, Stereo Review


Just for the record, read Julian Hirsch entire Stereo Review test report HERE! I remember reading this Sept. 1968 speaker review and I also remember from another magazine (Audio or Hi-Fi?) that said to get the full-potential of the 901's design you'd need two complete corner's and a wall space at least 20' apart! Definitely not for apartment or some duplex consumer's.

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#17 of 25 OFFLINE   Jack Briggs

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Posted May 07 2004 - 12:05 PM

I stand corrected. Perhaps I was thinking of Len Feldman?

#18 of 25 OFFLINE   Rory Buszka

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Posted May 07 2004 - 12:41 PM

If you hooked them (the 901s) up without an active equalizer, and/or they had rotting foam surrounds (Bose need to be refoamed every ten years), then of course they sound like junk. After all, they are little more than heavily equalized open-backed midrange drivers. The combined surface area make them quite competent for bass, but the mids and highs were most decidedly weird when I heard them. If I got a set for free I might set them up as party speakers but not much else. The active equalizer applies huge amounts of EQ.
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#19 of 25 OFFLINE   John F. Palacio

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Posted May 08 2004 - 07:07 AM

Jack Briggs says:


John, most reviewers hated them at the time


If my memory serves me right this is not quite accurate. Although some reviewers did not like them, some others did.

I did not particularly like them because I felt the sound field was too diffused and the highs too muted for my taste at the time. To me they could be impressive playing synphony orchestras but not for rock. Price was out of my range as well, when you took into consideration the hefty amp required to drive them.

The point I was trying to make was that whether you loved them, hated them or were impartial, these 901 were a well made product, priced competitively and bear no resemblance to today's Bose offerings.
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#20 of 25 OFFLINE   Jack Briggs

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Posted May 08 2004 - 08:42 AM

Yes, some reviewers did write favorably of the 901 (and, later, about the Bose amplifier and preamplifier of the early '70s). But what I remember from then was that the original Bose had the distinction of being about the only speaker system that was disparaged in the "above-ground," commercial audio press (at least in some quarters).

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