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 Post subject: A big eye opening defect in Bose 901's!
PostPosted: Sep Wed 14, 2016 7:12 pm 
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Location: Hutchinson KS
Customer brings in a pair of Bose 901's from the late 70's saying they crackle. My boss is the one that does speaker re-foaming and related stuff with speakers. He was not familiar (being barely 40 years old!) with these and neither was I. He took the grill off and found only one small woofer that had a rotten surround. He found some original replacements and replaced each speaker on both units. Still sounded horrible. He didn't know that there are speakers on the other side, with 8 small woofers, all with rotten surrounds! So, it will be a total of 18 bad speakers! Waiting on customer approval.....


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 Post subject: Re: A big eye opening defect in Bose 901's!
PostPosted: Sep Wed 14, 2016 8:19 pm 
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Joined: Jan Thu 01, 1970 1:00 am
Posts: 12461
Location: Fernandina Beach, FL
When will we stop using foam? The headliner in my Jeep Grand Cherokee is falling down. The door panels on my Mustang GT are falling down. I have B&O speakers with surrounds that are "missing". Will we ever stop using this stuff????

Gosh, I have speakers with butyl surrounds... still like new. I have speakers with no surrounds (accordion paper), cloth surrounds. They are all still good...

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 Post subject: Re: A big eye opening defect in Bose 901's!
PostPosted: Sep Wed 14, 2016 10:20 pm 
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Location: Thornhill, Ontario
Don Cavey wrote:
When will we stop using foam?... Will we ever stop using this stuff????.... Gosh, I have speakers with butyl surrounds... still like new. I have speakers with no surrounds (accordion paper), cloth surrounds. They are all still good...
Don, my sentiments exactly! And I don't like Bose 901's, either! "Captain, I canna change the laws of physics!" Well, neither can Bose.
Cheers,
Roger

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Roger Jones,
Thornhill, Ontario
Ontario Vintage Radio Assoc. http://www.ovra.ca


Last edited by engineer on Sep Thu 15, 2016 3:23 am, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: A big eye opening defect in Bose 901's!
PostPosted: Sep Wed 14, 2016 11:21 pm 
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Joined: Aug Sun 01, 2010 1:12 am
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Location: Minnesota
Series 1 and 2 901's didn't use foam. Started with series 3's. However the foam surround versions had better frequency response and were a little more efficient.

In the 1970's and on, most speaker manufacturers used acoustical foam. There was a very good reason why. I'm pretty sure that they weren't considering that someone would complain about replacing it 40 years down the road.

And yes, while refoaming 18 speakers is a bit of a job, the 901's are worth it. PROPERLY set up using it's add on equilizer and hooked up to a powerful amplifier, the 901 can be amazing. Not the best speakers ever made but very good. Those that don't agree simply have not heard them set up correctly.

BTW I'm not a Bose lover overall, but I have a lot of respect for 901's.


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 Post subject: Re: A big eye opening defect in Bose 901's!
PostPosted: Sep Thu 15, 2016 2:31 pm 
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Joined: Aug Sun 23, 2015 6:01 pm
Posts: 334
Location: South Jersey East of Philly
Bose stuff---overrated and overpriced.


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 Post subject: Re: A big eye opening defect in Bose 901's!
PostPosted: Sep Thu 15, 2016 6:59 pm 
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Joined: Aug Sun 01, 2010 1:12 am
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Location: Minnesota
In many cases, you are 100% correct but your using too broad a brush. Bose does have some winners. 901's, 301's, their 70's line of power amplifiers are beasts, and a couple of others.

Not everything they made was a wave radio or AM-5 system. Again, said by someone who is not overly fond of most of their stuff.


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 Post subject: Re: A big eye opening defect in Bose 901's!
PostPosted: Sep Fri 16, 2016 2:38 am 
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Joined: Jan Thu 01, 1970 1:00 am
Posts: 3807
Location: Boston, MA USA
"No highs, no lows,
you pay thru the nose,
it must be Bose!"

-David


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 Post subject: Re: A big eye opening defect in Bose 901's!
PostPosted: Sep Fri 16, 2016 3:02 pm 
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Joined: Aug Sat 01, 2009 2:23 pm
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ggregg wrote:
In many cases, you are 100% correct but your using too broad a brush. Bose does have some winners. 901's, 301's, their 70's line of power amplifiers are beasts, and a couple of others.

Not everything they made was a wave radio or AM-5 system. Again, said by someone who is not overly fond of most of their stuff.


I guess it depends on what you mean by "winners". The 901 is wrong on so many levels that it isn't even worth discussing. I worked in the loudspeaker industry for 25 yrs and worked with some of the most influential and talented loudspeaker designers in the business. You would be hard pressed to find one of them that has a single good thing to say about the Bose 901. The basic premise behind its claimed choice for an 89% reflective radiation pattern was questionable from the start and has been long debunked. Given that they designed the speaker with other serious compromises to achieve this goal, it renders the whole thing as a kind of a bad inside joke. That they managed to keep it on the market for as long as they did is a testament to the quality of Bose marketing, which is about as good as it gets in the consumer electronics field.

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 Post subject: Re: A big eye opening defect in Bose 901's!
PostPosted: Sep Fri 16, 2016 4:15 pm 
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Joined: Aug Wed 24, 2011 4:35 am
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Location: Sunnyvale CA
jmsent wrote:
ggregg wrote:
In many cases, you are 100% correct but your using too broad a brush. Bose does have some winners. 901's, 301's, their 70's line of power amplifiers are beasts, and a couple of others.

Not everything they made was a wave radio or AM-5 system. Again, said by someone who is not overly fond of most of their stuff.


I guess it depends on what you mean by "winners". The 901 is wrong on so many levels that it isn't even worth discussing. I worked in the loudspeaker industry for 25 yrs and worked with some of the most influential and talented loudspeaker designers in the business. You would be hard pressed to find one of them that has a single good thing to say about the Bose 901. The basic premise behind its claimed choice for an 89% reflective radiation pattern was questionable from the start and has been long debunked. Given that they designed the speaker with other serious compromises to achieve this goal, it renders the whole thing as a kind of a bad inside joke. That they managed to keep it on the market for as long as they did is a testament to the quality of Bose marketing, which is about as good as it gets in the consumer electronics field.



I think this is harsh. I am fully on board with every hi fi person in their general contempt for Bose as a company, they are the dregs. However, for its day (1968) it was not way out of bounds. It was designed to demonstrate a wide sound field, with whatever compromises it took. This in an era when many companies were using paper cone tweeters mounted in the middle of a 4 foot wide panel, and 18" woofers with magnets the size of your thumbnail, while most consumers were using "brown coffin" consoles with 12 watt amplifiers advertised as "1500 watts peak instantaneous power" that were stereo version of '30's console radios. Bose made the compromise to get the wide sound field and giving up on frequency response compensated by a very heavy equalizer. The equalizer alone guarantees that the resolution of the system was going to be poor. And many of the "no highs, no lows, must be Bose" people ran it *without the equalizer" which means you are expecting full range from a glorified AA5 audio system. Point being, at the time, it was NOT way off the mark as a hi-fi speaker, it just had a different set of compromises than most others,

Of course, it was very quickly surpassed by others. Even others trying to solve the same problems like Walsh drivers, which had the same wide sound field effects, but didn't have the frequency and phase response issues - but were far beyond the capabilities of almost any amplifier available. Time moves on, and any discussion of 901s of a leading hi-fi speaker should have ended in the mid-70s. Everything after than was indeed a function of the marketing department.

But they were and interesting and useful experiment back in 1968. They weren't always a scam. Time moves on.

Brett


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 Post subject: Re: A big eye opening defect in Bose 901's!
PostPosted: Sep Fri 16, 2016 7:10 pm 
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Joined: Aug Thu 27, 2009 7:47 am
Posts: 2615
Location: Seattle 98125
They're not a scam now, either, but (as with many audio technologies) their sound signature isn't to everyone's taste for sure.

I own a few pairs of the Series I/II, and a pair of Series IV, and find them to be easy to listen to and sonically, if not spatially, accurate. They also do give a very wide sound field and stereo imaging from many positions in the room.

The downside, though, is they have almost no spatial accuracy...complaints about dozen-foot-wide guitars, etc. They're also power-hungry like nothing else, and if that equalizer isn't up to snuff, sound awful.

My daily-driver speakers are Klipsch KG4s, Ohm Acoustics Model Ds, and Vandersteen 2Cs though. My current listening setup doesn't lend itself to the 901s.

Lots of hate for the 901s due to their active EQ. Anyone ever listened to any of the others from around the same time? DBX SFX-10, EV Interface, McIntosh MQ-101?


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 Post subject: Re: A big eye opening defect in Bose 901's!
PostPosted: Sep Fri 16, 2016 8:49 pm 
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Joined: Mar Tue 03, 2009 11:12 pm
Posts: 1179
Location: Hutchinson KS
I'm not familiar with McIntosh speakers other than a set of XRT20's we have for sale on consignment at the store I work at. I have listened to them and they sound fantastic to me, but I'm not a good judge, being quite hard of hearing. Personally my home speakers are all from the 70's with new surrounds, Advents and Radio Shack stuff.


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 Post subject: Re: A big eye opening defect in Bose 901's!
PostPosted: Sep Fri 16, 2016 9:30 pm 
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Joined: Jun Thu 15, 2006 1:21 am
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Location: NE Ohio
I think that the key to the success of Bose for a long period of time was the careful selection of dealers. Limited distribution and proper training of the sales staff meant they made a good buck on every sale which meant that the dealer pushed the product at every chance.

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 Post subject: Re: A big eye opening defect in Bose 901's!
PostPosted: Sep Fri 16, 2016 10:17 pm 
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Joined: Aug Sun 01, 2010 1:12 am
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Location: Minnesota
Excellent and very true.

In the 80's, when I was still selling audio, if a guy and his wife came into the store, and had already looked at Bose AM-5 or 7 speaker systems, you were screwed. Didn't matter how good what you were trying to sell them, sounded like. The women would always pick the little Bose system, as over priced and awful sounding as it was. Most likely because the sub could be hidden and the dinky little satellites wouldn't interfere with the room décor. Even though it was possible to put together a sub/satellite system for half the price that would blow the Bose systems away. The Bose system was the smallest thing out there and women loved 'em .

There are very few companies that have marketed their product as well as Bose has. Probably why they one of the only few still standing.


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 Post subject: Re: A big eye opening defect in Bose 901's!
PostPosted: Sep Sat 17, 2016 4:14 am 
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I worked where we were a Bose warranty repair outlet among many other brands. Wave radio speaker was $2.75 and junk. No way refoaming old 901's is worth it IMO. Not even at $10 per driver and it would be at least $25 per anywhere and that's $450.

Some Bose hi fi stuff in the 70's was OK . The old 1800 amp, 250 ch weighing 80 pounds was OK. The idea of a full range driver only has some advantages and obvious disadvantages. 501 and 601 were OK.

Their modern tiny speakers and integrated components are overpriced junk. The Wave radio is way overpriced too.

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T

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 Post subject: Re: A big eye opening defect in Bose 901's!
PostPosted: Sep Sat 17, 2016 4:29 am 
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Location: Syracuse NY
Oops - I didn't know that I wasn't supposed to like the Bose 901s.

I bought a pair when I was stationed in Germany in 1971 (obviously before the foam surrounds). Some of the guys came over and complained that they have slow response. (I put on a record last night - can't wait to hear how it sounds!)
Mine must be defective - very deep lows and very good highs. They even handle the very deep bass drum on Neil Diamond's "Tap Root Manuscript". Most speakers will reproduce the striking of the drum, but these speakers will reproduce the drum head vibration.

I have listened to many good stereo systems which were all around, thanks to the good prices at the PX/Audio Club, but the 901s don't have the boomy sound of most bass reflex systems, just good clean bass. I have heard the 501 which was pretty bad, and the 5-speaker satellite system which made me cringe.
Never listened to the Wave Radio. The ad turned me off.

I still use the 901s with a used Sony STR-160. The last time I fired it up was about 5 minutes ago. Still sound great, except that I can't set them up properly with all the old radios piled around the house. The only problem I had was the switches in the equalizer.

Bob

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 Post subject: Re: A big eye opening defect in Bose 901's!
PostPosted: Sep Sat 17, 2016 9:50 am 
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Buy Other Sound Equipment


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 Post subject: Re: A big eye opening defect in Bose 901's!
PostPosted: Sep Sun 18, 2016 1:47 pm 
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Joined: Nov Thu 06, 2014 9:41 pm
Posts: 172
Location: New Hampshire U.S.A.
My friends and pseudo audiophile acquaintances always referred to their products as Blows citing their high prices for products and repair costs and gimmickry over the years. Bose=Blows.. Never have/never will own one of their products or see one come in through my front door.

Tom (PK)


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 Post subject: Re: A big eye opening defect in Bose 901's!
PostPosted: Sep Mon 19, 2016 4:01 pm 
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Funny, I see refoaming videos all the time showing JBL, Advent, and other brands, showing how it's done. This is not an issue specific to Bose 901's. It happens.

It's not indicative of a "defect", rather, a design compromise that impacts other brands and models of loudspeakers. Like a vintage automobile, a vintage speaker is also going to need some periodic maintenance.

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 Post subject: Re: A big eye opening defect in Bose 901's!
PostPosted: Sep Mon 19, 2016 9:45 pm 
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Joined: Aug Sun 01, 2010 1:12 am
Posts: 8360
Location: Minnesota
It's different when it's Bose though............. :mrgreen:


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 Post subject: Re: A big eye opening defect in Bose 901's!
PostPosted: Sep Mon 19, 2016 9:53 pm 
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Joined: Aug Wed 24, 2011 4:35 am
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Location: Sunnyvale CA
ggregg wrote:
It's different when it's Bose though............. :mrgreen:


It's different when there are 18 of them, none of which actually require a foam surround. The tiny (midrange) speakers don't need a large free travel so they don't need a foam surround - rubber or even just terminating it into paper or silk accordian would be fine. The AR and other acoustic suspension need the foam surround to work properly.

This is just a function of Bose buying whatever was available at the time they did it. They buy drivers, and build the cabinet. This is the opposite of, say, B&W, where they design and build the drivers, and at least for a while, farmed out the woodworking.

Brett


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