Bose speakers have quite a controversial reputation with many audiophiles dismissive of the companayâ€™ advertising claims of high quality sound from small boxes via unique patents. With phrases like, â€œBoseÂ® proprietary acoustic designâ€, on its web site itâ€™s easy to get riled but we decided to judge purely on what we heard.
In terms of looks the Bose speakers are smart, and probably the best looking on test. The set is far smaller than the Appleâ€™s or the Altec Lansing iM7â€™s which make them far more suitable for placing in a bedroom or kitchen area. That said the power brick is on the large size, and could get in the way of discreet placement.
The dock is placed in front of the speakers with a volume control buttons on either side. The remote has all the controls you expect but loses out in the swish factor to Appleâ€™s. Thereâ€™s also no slot provided to keep it handy as there is with the iM7s and the iRhythms. The Bose also loses points for flexibility with no auxiliary input, which means you can only use it with iPods with a dock connector and nothing else. It also doesnâ€™t have a battery compartment so thereâ€™s no playing away with the Bose, itâ€™s a strictly home affair.
Playback is a simple matter of popping the iPod in the dock. The sound pleasingly fades up as it starts even from the middle of a track. Bose makes a lot of the clarity of its SoundDock and that is certainly one of the distinguishing features of the set. Tracks sound clear, and precise. However, also immediate apparent when you move from any of the other sets is that the bass immediately seems to go missing. On further listening you realise that the bass is all there, but that itâ€™s not as prominent or as simply full-on as it is on any of others, particularly compared to the similarly sized iRhythms.