Are Bose AM-10 s up to the H/T task?

Discussion in 'AV Receivers' started by Chuck_J, Feb 15, 2005.

  1. Chuck_J

    Chuck_J Extra

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    In my efforts to create a decent budget home theater, I've decided to examine my current stereo set-up. I know Bose speakers aren't necessarily the best choice for HT, but since I'm stuck with them what can I do to enhance its performance? Someone suggested I purchase a subwoofer.

    Once I get my new 5.1/6.1 receiver my next task will be to get the most out of the new receiver...help.
     
  2. MichaelPR

    MichaelPR Second Unit

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    Upgrade those speakers BEFORE anything man.
     
  3. Tu Pham

    Tu Pham Auditioning

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    Try it and find out.
     
  4. Robert_Gaither

    Robert_Gaither Screenwriter

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    I recommend selling them on ebay and get a different brand of speakers.
     
  5. Chu Gai

    Chu Gai Lead Actor

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    How big is your room that you want to put the sub in and how do you have your current speakers positioned?
     
  6. Chuck_J

    Chuck_J Extra

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    Chu Gai,

    The room is approx 19 x 17. Speaker placement is traditional:
    2 front on each side of display set,

    center spkr centered just below display,

    surrounds mounted on back wall just above ear level from sitting position,

    sub located near front just to the right of right front speaker.
     
  7. ScottHH

    ScottHH Stunt Coordinator

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    I agree with Tu, try it and find out. What does it sound like? Is it lacking bass? Is it lacking sound in the higher frequencies? Have the people who recommended dumping the speakers ever listened to them?

    Here's a major issue for me with this speaker system, it uses a proprietary cable system. Someone was asking about a replacement the other day in the forums, and I think you have to go to Bose to get it (and it's not cheap). According to the manual (available on the Bose website) you should never hook up the satellite speakers directly to your receiver (is this true or is it Bose trying to get a monopoly on your HT?). The proprietary cable hooks into the LFE (RCA jack) and 5 speaker terminals (speaker wire) then to the subwoofer in the AM-10. You then hook up the satellites via RCA cables.

    I don't know how these speakers work. You might be able to run them off the receiver, or hooking them up directly might damage the speakers or the receiver, I don't know. If you don't want to risk this, you could buy an additional sub and use the Bose base to pass all the other speaker outputs to the satellites, or you could get a Y-adapter and run LFE output to both the Bose and your new sub.

    What receiver do you currently have, and what are you planning on replacing it with? If your problem is thin sound all around, maybe you should keep your current receiver and replace the speakers.
     
  8. Philip Hamm

    Philip Hamm Lead Actor

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    Those speakers have a very high resale on ebay thanks to brand recognition. I recommend selling them and buying something else. However, if you're hesitant to do that, getting a subwoofer would be a big help. You'll need a sub anyway to have good HT sound no matter whether you keep the Bose speakers or not.
     
  9. Chuck_J

    Chuck_J Extra

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    Scott,

    To me, those Bose speakers sound pretty good. I must admit, I might not have the "ear" for high-end sound.

    The Bose speakers were prewired behind the walls when my house was being built. So, I think the wiring set-up is customed for the Bose.

    I'm in the process of replacing my receiver, I'm currently using a Sony D965 Pro-logic surround sound receiver purchased in 94. Of course, this receiver isn't built to accept the newer speaker formats.

    My first inclination after purchasing a new receiver is to buy a subwoofer to supplement the Bose sub.

    I don't won't to spend too much money on this H/T since my big project will be reserved for my basement when I'm ready (and able) to start that project.
     
  10. Robert Cowan

    Robert Cowan Supporting Actor

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    keep in mind bose speakers have a VERY high xover point... so adding a sub might give you a big hole in the sound, or you will get dialog coming from the subwoofer...
     
  11. Chu Gai

    Chu Gai Lead Actor

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    Chuck, you didn't say if you've got their bass module. If you don't have the Acoustimass module, then Mr. Cowan's point is worth considering. The small Bose satellites probably don't go down far enough in frequency to allow for a reasonably seamless blending of the sound with a commecially available sub. That's mostly because the Acoustimass module is not really a subwoofer. Rather it picks up some of the low end and real subs just don't go high enough in frequency to pull this off. If you do though, then consider the following two plausible approaches.

    If I recall correctly, and it ought to be in the manual (Bose ought to have it), the speakers are connected to the powered Acoustimass module. Then from the module is something like a ribbon cord that goes to your receiver. The wires are then separated and connected to the appropriate connections on the back of the receiver. I don't recall what the LFE/Sub connector on the wire looks like though. If it's an RCA type, then you ought to be able to buy an adapter that attaches to the receiver and splits the signal in two. You'll run one to the module and the other to the sub you're contemplating buying. I'd be looking for a sub that's self-powered and has variable crossover points. Others can suggest reasonable choices that are available locally. This will allow you to return it if it doesn't meet your expectations. If you don't have a Radio Shack SPL meter, then you ought to get one. It'll greatly facilitate setting up your system. Should you go this route, connect everything up (you can use a CATV coax with F-connectors on the ends and just slap F-to-RCA adapters on from Radio Shack for the connection to your new sub) and turn the gain on the new sub's amp all the way down. Optimise just the Bose portion of things first. Then, playing with the gain and crossover points on the sub, get that to blend in properly. You'll find sources here as well as in magazines like Sound & Vision to help you out with getting the sound right which will involve the SPL meter.

    If you either don't have the Acoustimass module or just want to go with something different, then investigate what your speakers will go for on ebay or for that matter by posting an ad at various local stores or supermarket bulletin boards. You might find that for what you can sell them for, plus the money for a sub, you can move in a different direction. For example, the HSU Ventriloquist package is reasonably priced and has a fair amount of WAF. If your other half likes the small footprint of the Bose, this approach might net you less resistance.

    As an aside, there's a Bose forum over at HomeTheaterSpot but I don't know how active it is. Bose also maintains a forum and you might want to also pose your question over there. There's always a better speaker out there. For all the condemnation Bose gets and the fact that it probably is overpriced, at least it puts out sound. That's a damned sight better than dropping $2,500 on a Nordost Valhalla Power Cord that doesn't do shit.
     
  12. John Garcia

    John Garcia Executive Producer

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    The crossover is in the bass module, that's why they used the proprietary connectors, and why you have to connect the cubes to it. If you connect them directly to a receiver and send them frequencies below what they are capable of (which would be easy if you don't have the ability to adjust x-over to something like 120Hz or higher), they will distort. The bass module puts out a surprising amount of bass, but it definitely is not a SUB and it does not extend very far into the bottom octave. Bass isn't really the problem for Bose though, it's the satellites that lack. If you don't have the bass module, you might as well pull them off the wall...

    My fahter has the AM-15, and I set it up for him (begrudgingly [​IMG] ).

    I believe the sub gets it's signal via the speaker level outputs, so you would configure all the main spekers as small, sub to yes, and simply add in the other sub via the sub pre-out.
     
  13. MichaelPR

    MichaelPR Second Unit

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    To be honest with you I think you should do quite a bit more research before rushing into any purchases. I will totally reccomend just altogether ditching those speakers and upgrading. I think your sound will be more dynamic and clean with a receiver but you will be lacking major quality. I think if you invested in some Paradigms and hooked that up to your receiver you might get a little WOW. And then after that just pick up a quality receiver. Many people have made some good reccomendations.

    Also to get the most out of any of this equipment you purchase you should also purchase AVIA or Digital Video Essentials and a Radio Shack SPL meter. This will help you calibrate both your audio and your visuals. There's not much else you can do after that other than upgrading. And don't be suckered into wires for a low end system, as I was in the begining because thats all money that could really be going towards some quality components. I wish you the best of luck in your purchases. And when the last thing left to buy is the sub remember VIVA SVS!
     
  14. Robert_Gaither

    Robert_Gaither Screenwriter

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    Unfortunately yes I've heard them way too many times, from the time I worked at Best Buy to ex-girlfriends who thought they were good speakers until listening to other brands. In fact one would be very hard pressed to find a brand of speakers which actually sounds worse (it's very similar in sound to many HTib and the build quality to boot).

    The AVR will make a little difference since the system will run thru the bose am-10 "bass" module therefore you'll lose a lot of the discrete capability of sound separation for the sats (which usually starts off at about 280 hz and higher). I would recommend highly to sell the Bose and look into a set of nice Nht XU series or any other reputable brand with White wall mountable speakers. Whatever brand of speakers you end up with make certain to get an AVR that will allow you to x-over at the bottom point of the sats or higher.
     
  15. Philip Hamm

    Philip Hamm Lead Actor

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    HA HA HA HA so true!!!! [​IMG]
     
  16. Chuck_J

    Chuck_J Extra

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    I do have the bass module with the AM-10 Acoustimass set. For all those who suggest I should replace the speaker system, my question to you is, what will I do with the prewiring done for the Bose system? I don't know if the installers set-up my speaker wires where it could be interchangeable with any non Bose acoustimass system. I know Bose uses a unique set-up where all the satellites run into the bass module from the bass all the cable run to the receiver. So I need to verify/ or isolate the speaker wire running from behind the wall and to the receiver jacks can be used with any speaker without have the pull all the wires from behind all the walls. Make sense??

    I do want to try purchasing a new receiver and sub first. Because that my remedy the lack of H/T sound I'm not getting from my old Sony surround sound receiver.
     
  17. Paul Seyfarth

    Paul Seyfarth Stunt Coordinator

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    Isn't there a way you can pull off the jacks and see what type of wire is back there? I am not sure but if it's just plain speaker wire that comes out of the module then it should be fine for normal speakers.

    How much money are you looking to spend?

    I don't think it's going ot matter how much you spend on reciever and sub because you will never get anything that sounds that good out of those cubes.
     
  18. John Garcia

    John Garcia Executive Producer

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    The Bose connectors are proprietary - just cut them off; nothing magic about the wire.
     
  19. brentl

    brentl Cinematographer

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    "The Bose connectors are proprietary - just cut them off; nothing magic about the wire. "

    but them he runs into problems trying to sell the speakers.

    Brent
     
  20. John Garcia

    John Garcia Executive Producer

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    If the wire is in the wall, it's already a problem.
     

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