As you've just learned, Bose is not a name that generates warm and fuzzy feelings hereabouts. It has less to do with the inherent quality of the systems than with the fact that they are grossly over-priced for what you get. (A criticism that also applies to Monster cable and other "high end" interconnects and speaker wire.) Also the Bose systems offer fewer connection and expansion options for adding other components than even most other "Home Theater in a Box" (HTiB) systems. (And a lack of expansion capability is a problem for most HTiB systems.) Also the Bose "acoutimass" modules are not true subwoofers. The old joke in the HT community is "No highs, no lows, it must be Bose."
For what that Bose system would cost you (on sale) you can get a more capable Onkyo A/V HTiB, add a much better DVD player, buy a bunch of DVDs and still have a few bucks left over.
Well I have this system and I am happy with it. Is Bose expensive? Yes. Do the true audiophiles despise Bose? It appears so. Does that matter? Listen to the systems and decide for yourself. Not everyone likes anchovies on their pizza but will recommend a specific pizza place to you that specializes in that.
Here's why I like the 321 GS: 1. My wife doesn't want rear speakers visible in our room and our house has no attic or any way to "hide" speakers in the ceiling or walls. 2. I like the sound. The system has intelligence (software) built in so it knows what is playing and adjusts its bass/treble trim accordingly as well as detects source inputs like Dolby 5.1 or 2.0, PCM 2.0 or whatever and adjusts automatically. So I don't have to constantly mess with bass/treble/ bass boost settings. 3. It is extremely simple to set up! 4. The speakers are tiny, which my wife likes. 5. It appears to sense the loudness level and automatically adjusts the bass accordingly so you don't always have to boost the bass when you lower the sound. I know....the "audiophiles" don't believe it has enough bass. But if you place the powered subwoofer/amp in an appropriate place it is more than adequate. There is also a master bass/treble adjustment you can make if you want more bass overall. Personally, I'm tired of the rumbling of loud bass so I don't need overpowering bass. 6. The synthetic "surround" sound is good enough for me. If you want true surround sound then you need a system with at least 6 speakers including the subwoofer and places for them. 7. The center channel voice/audio image is excellent compared with my old Sony ProLogic surround system. The 321 also compensates for voice imaging when there is a lot of other background loud sounds occurring so you can always hear the voices. 8. It was on sale from retail so don't judge by retail.
Drawbacks: 1. If you want true surround sound...don't buy it. But for me it works 2. The DVD player is not Blu Ray. Bose store clerks say that this is a "passing format" similar to laser disc video. Time will tell. They say the future is for downloading HD video to your Video recorders. When I asked them if they were coming out with Blu Ray they said NO for the reason above. 3. Limited inputs and outputs on the rear. I have DirectTV and my manual says that the coax digital audio output from the DirectTV receiver may not be capable of carrying Dolby 5.1 or True Dolby...I'm not sure of the difference. The 321 only has one optical input for audio which the DirectTV has and I am using that. IF I want to add a Blu Ray Disc player I can't have two optical audio inputs. It also only just now has one HDMI input. I'm using that for my DirectTV. If I add a Blu Ray DVD player, I can't use the HDMI ouput of one of the two.
I think you may be exaggerating a little for a quality surround system on a 10:1 pricing ratio vs. Bose 321. And, in answer to your question about why pay a little more? For those interested in simplicity of connection and use, who are NOT home theater experts and who have the money.
I just joined this forum so I could reply to BOSE comments. I think Bill_L is on the right track here. I have a 'music room' consisting of KEF speakers, a tube amp, good pre-amp... all the trimmings. This system is made for 'music' and it's wonderful. In shopping for a Home Theater system, replacing my 5 year old Sony HTIB, I did not want more large speakers stuck all over, I did not want excessive componets and cables all over. Where I liked 5.1 systems, I rarely heard much from the rear speakers. We are all different, we hear different frequencies, we like different things, and what is good for one, may not be good for another. I picked up a 321 GS system, and liked it. It's not perfect, but it's not bad. I decided to go with the GSX version, which I brought home today, as I want to catalog my music a bit. I have heard, I believe, excellent systems (my tube / KEF) and the BOSE is OK.
Honestly, it does not matter what I say, and what others say. Go listen yourself, and then be self assured enough to stand by what you like, not what others tell you, you should like. I think you will like the BOSE system. Yep, I could have paid $500 for a amp, $200 for a CD, $500 for speakers, but for this price, I got the BOSE 321 GSX.
Don't stear others away from what they might like - let them listen and make a decision for themselves. If they can afford the BOSE, it's a fine system, you will like it if you spend time listening to it. If you don't like it, move on to something else - no harm done.
Ed, well stated, and anyone who reads your posts, I can only hope they are not swayed by the others posting here.
I live the fact that I don't see large speakers all over, and it's a very neat install, I now have the 321 and the HD DirectTV Rx - perfect for me.
The problem with the Bose is not how it sounds, it sounds pretty average. the problem is the price, they cost 2-3 times what they should for what you're getting. (Same story as Monster cable.) If you have money to throw away, then by all means get the Bose, no harm done. Otherwise there are better choices.
Here are a bunch of other sound bar options that will give you sound quality at least as good (and probably better) as the Bose setup for a lot less money for those who do not want to install a complete surround speaker setup.
I equate Bose to paying fillet mignon prices for a Big Mac.
Al states... "The problem with the Bose is not how it sounds, it sounds pretty average." - perhaps a more accurate statement would be, 'it sounds pretty average to him" - Let's ask ourselves, does it sound average to everyone? Are there some that like the sound? Is the 'sound' the only reason to buy Bose, or any equipment for that matter? I think it's been shown, it's not the only reason. We all weigh many reasons to spend money on equipment.. let’s list a few; the sound, price, speaker size, room size, ease of use, feature set, and many more. You see, the ‘sound’ is only one of many reasons to buy equipment. We all settle for a little less here, a little more there.. and if we have the money, and like the Bose, we buy it. It's difficult for me to understand why people spend time here, telling others what they should, and should not, like.
Scott - Nice equipment list I suppose. Did you pay over $1500 for the complete system? I assume so. If so, why tell us YOUR opinion of BOSE? Should I compare my BMW with you Honda FIT – and then tell others the Honda FIT is not worth the money? (this is clearly an example). Is the FIT a bad car? We all don't want to spend as much as you did on your system, in fact, some may think it's crazy to do so.
I happen to equate taking photos with a Canon 40D a waste of time, and money - just buy a Canon SD790 (or most other Canon SD series), it takes just as good of pictures for far less money, and it's easier to take with you - after all, carrying around a large SLR is a pain. We all know it. There is a lot to be said for having an 'in pocket' 10MP versatile camera with you vs. not having a large, heavy SLR.
So, we can go back and forth on this all day long. If you have the money, and like the feature set of BOSE products, but it, you won't regret it. Oh, did you see how large the DM604's are.. Man, I don't want those in my room.. much to large. The Bose speakers, for the size, will blow these away. (OK, not really, but they will be close and sound good to many)
So I guess because my complete system is closer to 7K mine should be better? Sorry, I don't get your reasoning. Are you better then me because you on Bose? Is it a status symbol among the uniformed?
So let's go with your Honda example (as it applies to Bose). The Honda is a car that works. It is economical and gets you from point a to point b (kind of like the alternatives mentioned in this thread). No lets say I have a competing company that makes a car just like the Honda. The only difference is I don't allow the specs to be known, and the marketing department pushed like it is a BMW. And they charge 5 times what the Honda costs. This is BOSE.
It is not a comparison between Honda and BMW. Its a comparison between two Hondas.
No, no, you do miss the point. You are not any better than anyone else (well, maybe you are, but I don't know you). In fact, I'm sure your $7K system is better than any system that costs $1500 - yes, even better than a $1500 BOSE. I do not consider a BOSE system to be a status symbol.. do you? I'd actually bet your $7K system is more of a status symbol (to you) than a BOSE is... but just my opinion. You need to focus on why people may buy BOSE – perhaps you missed it, I stated some reasons why people buy systems, any systems .. to quote: "let’s list a few; the sound, price, speaker size, room size, ease of use, feature set, and many more".
But we are getting way off track here.. we shouldn't write back and forth debating your system vs BOSE - yours is clearly better (or you got taken). Instead of debating BOSE over other systems, you should try to understand why people buy, and are happy with, BOSE systems. They like the sound, they like the size, they like the features... and for some to write, and tell readers, "I equate Bose to paying fillet mignon prices for a Big Mac" really makes all of us question, what is trying to be accomplished? Everyone has an opinion – and thank god most readers see these statements for what they are.
Oh, and clearly you have the BMW of systems, and the BOSE is a Honda.. so analogy may fit in some sense. The BOSE (Honda) is a system that works, it's much more economical than your system (BMW), it provides music like your system (getting me from point A to point B)... and I like the BOSE - as I'd really hate to pay $7K for a system with multiple large speakers detracting from the rest of my room - now don't get me wrong, I'm not telling you your system is not worth $7K, but I think there are many systems out there, for much less money, that come very close the your system... very close. Hum… seems similar to BOSE owners being told there are less expensive systems out with equal, or better sound quality, for much less money.
So why don't we leave this and just say, again, there are many reasons people buy systems, and what’s right for person X may not be right for person Y. This does not mean that person Y's choice is a bad, it's just different, and person Y likes his system as much as you like you system.
Ask most BOSE owners, they like their system - for many different reasons.
You are missing the point. If what you desire is a small speaker setup for space or decor reasons, there are many solutions other than Bose that offer the same benefits with better sound quality for a lot less money.
BTW, I am quite well acquainted with Bose. I bought a pair of Bose 601's in the mid 1980's. Later, when setting up a surround sound setup, i tried some Bose 201's for the surrounds and a VCS-10 center speaker in an attempt to get a tonally matched setup. That VCS-10 was the most over priced, poorest sounding speaker I've ever come across. It cost $200, and sounded like a $20 speaker wrapped in a burlap sack.
Bose is all about marketing. They lead the buyer to believe they are a premium product that warrants a premium price.
Bose slogan is "better sound through engineering". It should be "better sound through marketing".
This link is over 10 years old, but it really does still apply today.
Actually, it should be "better sales through marketing", since "better sound" really isn't an option.
And of course Scott M is right: the idea that the Bose sugar-cube speakers are the only alternative to big, clunky speakers is nonsense on stilts. Not only are there are better-sounding small speakers available for less money, but there are plenty of ways to conceal speakers or incorporate them into decor. Many entertainment wall units have alcoves with cloth covers to conceal the three front speakers, and there are lots of options for rear speakers. I my old place, I had my rear speakers on a small "floating shelf" above the couch. I placed books, which were taller than the speakers, between them. Visually the speakers became bookends, and people hardly noticed them. (I had more than one person, the day after movie night at my house, ask me where the rear speakers were.)
Mmm. Basically you're denying the original poster her question. That's very wrong.
It's well known to many of the members of this forum and especially those replying to the fair question of the OP, that there may be hundreds of reasons to buy a specific item and to determine the price you want to pay for that.
That may indeed include the smell, the colour, the size, the wishes of a partner, the specific parameters of one's ears, or any other reason a buyer may want to let play a part. Nothing new there and no reason to specifically come to this forum and lecture us about.
But the OP asked whether or not members here consider the Bose 321 GS Series III DVD Home Theater System a good system. Normally we don't assume a poster to be an idiot, and why would this poster be so in the first place? So most members replied under the assumption that the OP didn't mean to ask for all sorts of personal considerations or have those ruled out, and honestly replied giving their own opinion about the technical merits of the system as compared to the price asked. And they made no secret of the different parameters they were judging.
The OP can use that - or not. Or have other considerations. Or another weighing of parameters. And no-one here is denying her that! We never are.
I wonder for those posting opinions about BOSE products, or any product for that matter, have they actually purchased a system they are commenting on? We would all agree that you can't tell much from a listening room on some mall - or a highly polished listening room at a top-of-the-line stereo store. You need to take a system home, put it in your house, and listen to it there. Drapes, floor covering, furniture, ceiling height, will all make a difference. How many of you that write comments against BOSE have done this? Now, I'm sure there will be some that have and decided against BOSE (or any other system) - so, OK, this is where individual preference comes in. BOSE systems are not for everyone, Sony systems are not for everyone, $7K systems are not for everyone, $35,000 systems are not for everyone... but if you have not done the testing in your own living room, just tell us. If you have and did not like it, just tell us you brought home a system and did not like it in your home. I’m sure you did this for many other systems also, and did not like any as much as the one you finally purchased. Telling others not to try something because we did not like it is wrong. Many have purchased things we did not like and they seem to like it. Perhaps some people will like BOSE products.
I’ve had the 3-2-1 GSX system for a few days. I'm copying CD's as I write this. I like all the features about the system - that's why I bought it. Is the sound better than a $7K system, more than likely not, but I like it a lot and I did not pay even close to $7K (and I use 7K as an example, you pick the number - there is always something more expensive). I like the small speakers (they don’t detract from the room), the ease of set up, the ability to store 200 hours of music, the lack of components, fewer wires, the features, .... I don't listen to music for a living, my wife and I listen to our system in our spare time and when watching TV. We like what we hear.
So, is this a good system, it is for my wife and I. If you are thinking of getting a BOSE system, do it, try it, and if you don't like it, take it back - BOSE has a nice trial period for you to do just this. DO NOT base any decision on what to buy from other inputs here or elsewhere on the net. Many have never owned a BOSE system before.
Once again, Cees cuts to the point. The OP asked for opinions. It always amazes me how posts are made saying one person can express their opinion and others shouldn't.
I typically boil it down this way. If you want an unobtrusive system, both aurally and visually, and don't mind paying a premium for it, Bose is an obvious option, though there are definitely cheaper options. People putting together an HT may want a visually unobtrusive system, but they typically want their movie soundtracks to stand out and call for attention when they are supposed to. Bose doesn't ever provide that, despite what anyone says.
BTW, the Bose rep's comments about BR are hilarious.
Actually, all my speakers are internet direct brands (Axiom, SVS). I included the AVR in my price (really closer to 6K) since BOSE includes that in the price. I purchased ID brands since I wanted the most for my money. Being a budget conscious, it is not hard to see why I do not like BOSE.
Yeah, my system is a status symbol. It is fun to brag how inexpensive it is for the sound it puts out