Bose 901 Series V Objective & Subjective Review

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erinh

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Bose 901 Series V Objective & Subjective Review
« on: 31 Jul 2020, 01:17 pm »
I thought some of you guys might be interested in this review I did for the Bose 901 V if for no other reason than nostalgia.  I've attached the link to my review below and I also am presenting the review in YT format (since YT is the future, you know ;)).  I have about 23 hours in this test so I hope you all get something useful out of it. 

https://www.erinsaudiocorner.com/loudspeakers/bose_901_series_v/

https://youtu.be/SRmJo3y5JQI

JLM

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Re: Bose 901 Series V Objective & Subjective Review
« Reply #1 on: 31 Jul 2020, 01:43 pm »
Thanks for posting and for your reviews. 

The 901 has been an odd ball since introduction decades ago and certainly not what modern testing methods had in mind.

From my understanding and second hand observations the 901 has one of the lowest content values in the industry (not hard to imagine with all their marketing efforts).  Wonder what you'd get if you put all the drivers on the front baffle in a matrix or mini line array.

erinh

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Re: Bose 901 Series V Objective & Subjective Review
« Reply #2 on: 31 Jul 2020, 01:51 pm »
The 901 has been an odd ball since introduction decades ago and certainly not what modern testing methods had in mind.

Absolutely.  I'm sure you read it but that's exactly one of the notes I made in the intro of the writeup.  I considered the effort more of a research project than anything else, given just how "odd" the design goal was relative to the typical speaker designs. 

That said, it was a fun experiment and it gave me the opportunity to see why the 901 is such a controversial speaker in the audiophile world.  I don't hate it like some.  I appreciate it for what it is.  But I definitely would love to hear something like it but with today's benefit of better transducer technology and built-in DSP.  Someone on ASR brought up the Beolab 90 as a possible "modern day" alternative.  I don't have experience with the 90 but based on the literature I could see where they are coming from (though, the 90 has a specific way to tailor the directivity). 

poseidonsvoice

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Re: Bose 901 Series V Objective & Subjective Review
« Reply #3 on: 31 Jul 2020, 01:52 pm »
Erin,

Your reviews are truly fantastic, especially the Philharmonic BMR. I encourage everyone to read Erin’s reviews which are a perfect balance of the objective and subjective and are executed with consistency.

Good luck and yes, I am getting a sweatshirt (wife approved!)

Best,
Anand.

erinh

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Re: Bose 901 Series V Objective & Subjective Review
« Reply #4 on: 31 Jul 2020, 02:18 pm »
Erin,

Your reviews are truly fantastic, especially the Philharmonic BMR. I encourage everyone to read Erin’s reviews which are a perfect balance of the objective and subjective and are executed with consistency.

Good luck and yes, I am getting a sweatshirt (wife approved!)

Best,
Anand.

Thanks, man!  I appreciate the kind words!  LMK how that wife approved sweatshirt works out for you!  LOL

nrenter

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Re: Bose 901 Series V Objective & Subjective Review
« Reply #5 on: 31 Jul 2020, 04:22 pm »
Out of morbid curiosity, I owned a pair of 901 v6 for 7 days. I bought them used - they were in absolute pristine condition. It took me about 10 seconds of listening to understand their sound signature. Given all I've read about these speakers, very few people ever do.

During my undergrad years at Northwestern University, I worked as a sound / recording engineer at Pick-Staiger concert hall. This theater seats just over 1,000 patrons, and can be acoustically configured to support anything from an unamplified solo performance or an entire orchestra.



If I arranged the movable acoustic panels and walls just so, I could easily hear a center-stage conversation in the back row of the hall (up by my recording booth). Depending on the anticipated audience, I could change the reverberant fill by adjusting the drapes up in the mezzanine. I thought the space was spectacular.

Sometimes during a particularly lengthy tear-down, we'd wheel-out some reinforcement speakers (which, given the volume of the space, were physically limited on both the low-end and the high end - similar to the behavior of a 901 driver). We'd crank the likes of Rage Against the Machine, Tool, Nine Inch Nails, etc. and the sonic experience was akin to watching a performance through a thick, hazy fog aka a big hot mess.

However, if you played a closely-mic'ed solo artist (or even a chamber orchestra) through that same speaker set-up, the hall was filled this this gloriously-reverberant sound - exactly as if that performer was playing live.

This is the experience the Bose 901 series was designed to provide: reproduce the reverberant experience of a concert hall. That's it. No thunderous bass. No spine-tingling highs. No pin-point imaging. No precise articulation. No flat frequency response. Just big, reverberant sound.

I think if these speaker were framed in this context, they'd be far less "controversial".

I actually put them back up for sale the day after I bought them, and had them sold (for exactly what I paid) the following weekend.

Digi-G

Re: Bose 901 Series V Objective & Subjective Review
« Reply #6 on: 31 Jul 2020, 05:43 pm »
I remember hearing a pair of these at my local household store (that had a decent hi-fi section) in the early 1980s.  And they were set up correctly.  It was actually a fun listen.  No, probably not accurate, and not what you'd hear at a 'real' hi-fi place, but different and fun.  What I remember is that sound came from the entire wall, floor to ceiling and the entire width.

One of the next times I went into the store, they had added a shelf above the speakers, housing more equipment (VCRs, I think), probably about 4 to 5 feet high and the effect was totally ruined.  What's funny is that the salesman didn't even seem to notice (I don't think it was same guy who did the original demo for me).  I said something to him about the shelf and he just kinda shrugged like my 22 year old self didn't know what I was talking about.

poseidonsvoice

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Re: Bose 901 Series V Objective & Subjective Review
« Reply #7 on: 31 Jul 2020, 05:56 pm »

This is the experience the Bose 901 series was designed to provide: reproduce the reverberant experience of a concert hall. That's it. No thunderous bass. No spine-tingling highs. No pin-point imaging. No precise articulation. No flat frequency response. Just big, reverberant sound.


In my college days I was doing a research study and staying at a physician's home who had a pair of 901's. Your description of the sonic experience of the 901's was exactly what I heard there.

Best,
Anand.

dB Cooper


MtnHam

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Re: Bose 901 Series V Objective & Subjective Review
« Reply #9 on: 1 Aug 2020, 01:11 am »
I owned a pair in the early 1970's. They were hung from a 14' ceiling, about 9' off the floor and 3' out from the wall in a large 40x50' very live room (my commercial photo studio). They had a tremendous "wow" factor. Everyone loved them. However, they did have all the well known flaws.

I believe the experience was a major factor in shaping my preference for planar speakers, which they mimicked. I have owned various large Sound Lab electrostatic panels for the last 25 years. They provide the large presentation I love, and excell at everything Bose 901's can not deliver.


« Last Edit: 1 Aug 2020, 01:42 pm by MtnHam »

Jumpin

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Re: Bose 901 Series V Objective & Subjective Review
« Reply #10 on: 1 Aug 2020, 11:41 am »
We had 901’s hanging from the ceiling in our fraternity so many years ago long before I became woke in audio.  They were fantastic speakers for our loud frat parties.  They filled the room with blasting Springsteen and Southside Johnny during our famous Tequila, Vodka and Bruce parties.   Oh, the great memories!

Avoosl

Re: Bose 901 Series V Objective & Subjective Review
« Reply #11 on: 1 Aug 2020, 02:05 pm »
While we're on the always amusing subject of subjective reviews of Bose enterprises, I recall my friend had, around 1971, FOUR 901s installed in corners of a large, squarish room about 24 by 24 feet, powered by a monstrous Bose 1801 amplifier. My friend put on a vinyl of Holst's Planets. Talk about immersion! Oppressive immersion. I felt like I was manhandled by clouds of waves and counter-waves. The experience was stunning; not good, but certainly stunning. When asked for my impression all I could get out was, "I never heard anything like that EVER!"  Indeed, I hadn't, and never have since then. Knowing what I know now, I should have suggested that he surround each of the four 'shouters' with enormous masses of fiberglass absorbers.

timind

Re: Bose 901 Series V Objective & Subjective Review
« Reply #12 on: 1 Aug 2020, 02:16 pm »
I had a pair while stationed in Greece during the mid 80s. Hung them from the ceiling of a large living room and man could they party.
Bose replaced them for a very nominal fee when they developed the foam rot. I sold the replacements as new unopened and bought real speakers. The thing is, there are many albums I had listened to a lot with the 901s that don't sound as good on hi-end speakers. :duh:

erinh

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Re: Bose 901 Series V Objective & Subjective Review
« Reply #13 on: 3 Aug 2020, 12:57 pm »
Glad to see the review (or topic, at least) is getting some of you guys reminiscing.  Some of my favorite memories revolve around music/speakers.  :)