My relationship with Bose speakers

I have a total of 23 Bose speakers in my house.

I became somewhat fascinated by the Bose name after a visit to the (then) Tussaud’s Group owned Alton Towers, a large theme park in the UK. Any outdoor speaker there was a Bose 151. All along Towers Street, almost every 10 feet on the soffits of buildings these Bose 151s with their kevlar cones and 5 year guarantee pumped out the theme music. In the farm section, a larger Bose column speaker was hidden in a vehicle pumping out farmyard-y music. Bose 101s were in the petting zoo barn. Bose 802s were scattered among the queue line at the (then) newly opened Nemesis ride.

Yes, there were still Paramount Omnispeakers (the in-ground type with 360 degree sound dispersion) dotted around. Another new ride, Toyland Tours (now no more) used literally hundreds of Bose 151s along the water’s edge as your boat cruised through a toy factory. Even in the Haunted House (before it became the vulgar ‘Duel’ laser shooting game) there were the smallest Bose freespace speakers positioned near animatronics (only visible upon examining flash photos taken at the time).

The “Peter Rabbit and Friends On Ice” show in the big top had Bose Panaray 502As suspended in the air. I now have a pair of these curvy beauties either side of my TV in the lounge! They were priced at £1,230 per pair at the time back in 1994, but I managed to get a nearly new pair on eBay in about 2004 for about £150. They are still being made today. As an aside, I recently saw that they are the speakers that multi-millionaire composer Andrew Lloyd Weber has in his lounge too.

I must say I’ve never bought new Bose speakers. The only new Bose product I have bought is the bluetooth headset for my blackberry, which is very good (but wasn’t at all cheap).

Starting outside, I have 2 x Bose Panaray 502As on the patio. They’ve been there for 6 years now. BUT I only recently discovered that they aren’t actually weatherproof. So one of them no longer works. I have a pair of Bose 151 (the original ‘cube’ shaped type) pointing into the patio from the garden wall. I also have a Paramount Omnispeaker nearby, but this isn’t yet wired in. On the front porch is a single Bose 151. There is also a Paramount Omnispeaker near the front wall next to the gate. I can speak into a microphone in my office through both of these speakers.

In the kitchen we have a Bose 101 in white with a cloth fabric grille on top of the fridge that pumps out the radio from a Cambridge A1 amplifier. In the dining room, a Bose Wave Radio that I was given by a family friend who didn’t think it kept the correct time (it did) pumps out wifi radio (notably KABL and BBC Radio 4 Extra).

In the lounge, as mentioned, are 2 x Panaray 502As either side of the TV on the wall. A 600W subwoofer fills in the bass. A Bose Video RoomMate pair in white are either side of the sitter on a sofa (in case I fall asleep!). The Video RoomMates have a built-in amplifier.

A pair of black Bose 101s compliments a pair of JVC speakers in my upstairs office. In my bedroom I have a black pair of Bose Video RoomMates plugged into my laptop at the side of the bed. I also have my prized and rare Bose 171s which aren’t plugged in. These look great and are magnetically shielded. I was going to use these in the dining room, but they’re just so nice and brand new.

In the garage I have another pair of black Bose 101s, a single spare 101, and a spare pair of 151s. I had previously owned a few pairs of 32SEs, but because these were 100v line systems and I didn’t have an appropriate amplifier, they always sounded very quiet so I sold them on eBay. I think I actually made a profit on what I paid for them.

I once read that Bose are a non-profit making company, in that the put all the profits they make back into research and development of new products. I’m not sure if this is entirely true, or if everyone who works there is just on one hell of a salary.

All the speakers seem to use the same speaker cone, and multiples of it – a full range driver, so no separate tweeter or woofer. If all their money goes into R&D and they’ve been using this same full range driver for the last 30 years, then they must surely be just designing cabinets for them? Even the ‘omnispeaker’ style garden speakers just have the Bose 151 kevlar cone driver in it. They say full range drivers “are more reliable than conventional speakers whose small, separate tweeters often cannot handle the high power and extended use demands of professional applications.”

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