Should I keep the Bose Lifestyle 38?

yaknakterryJuly 31, 2007

We just bought the system with 5 double cube speakers and the accoustimass. It also has the programmable presets. We have it all hooked up and need to decide if it is worth the $3,000. The sound that comes from the front of the room sounds good, but I am concerned that there doesn't seem to be much bass and also the two back speakers sound kind of tinney when you are near them. We had an old stack HK system with two huge speakers. My goal was to get the smallest speakers, biggest sound, one or two components. Any suggestions?

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I am not a fan of Bose products, and frequently recommend to people that they consider other brands. However, in this particular product space -- integrated components and small speakers -- they have little competition.

There are some combination units by high-end audio companies like Arcam, Linn, and Naim. Some of those systems would sound much better but cost even more than the Bose system; some of them are a little bigger; some of them will be very difficult to find outside a larger metropolitan area. There is any number of "mini-component" systems which could rival the Bose in size and, likely, in sound. But finding the best ones would be difficult as the organizations that rate products don't listen for music and organizations which test audio components dismiss these smaller systems.

So, short form, I think you've done about as well as you can without a fair amount of searching and giving up on some size.

What you can do to improve the sound is to play with speaker placement and the tone controls. Speakers closer to walls tend to sound like they have more bass. The back speakers may sound "tinny" because they're designed to put out supplementary sound. They're not intended to be the primary speakers you listen to, so they won't have the same performance. You can play with the tone controls, too, though it is too easy to throw things really out of whack and make it sound worse than it did when you started.

    Bookmark   July 31, 2007 at 9:48PM
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Thank you for the response. We were not huge Bose fans to begin with, and when I saw the compactness of this system, I just couldn't resist. The thing I do hate is that stupid acoustimass bass thing. It is huge and I am having trouble with finding a spot. Is it ok to point it toward the front of the room? I can sit it either behind my couch and point it toward a cabinet, behind the couch pointing outward toward nothing, or next to the couch with the same pointing. Any suggestion? I have been playing with it for about a day and a half. Trying to decide whether to keep it or not, but I cannot find any other system so compact. I did try unplugging the two back speakers, and you are right, they add that supplementary sound that you just don't get if they are not there!

    Bookmark   July 31, 2007 at 10:41PM
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Low bass is (theoretically, anyway) non-directional -- you should not be able to determine where it's coming from. So, from that perspective, it shouldn't matter where you put the Acoustimass cabinet. I would just make sure the speakers on front face out. The woofers firing into open air should be better than loading into a piece of furniture, but you likely will not find the difference huge.

    Bookmark   August 1, 2007 at 7:46PM
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