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Thread: Sales: Bose vs JBL

  1. #16
    Junior Member George Roland's Avatar
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    Used to Own Bose 901s

    You'd like to hear from someone who owned Bose 901s, eh? Okay, I'm up for this!

    I bought a pair of Bose 901 IIIs around 1974-76 or so, don't recall exactly. Prior to purchasing them, my only "stereos" had been a Sears plastic portable "record player" with little detachable speakers and, somewhat later, my first system consisting of a used Fisher tube integrated amp, a Garrard turntable and a pair of new B&O Beovox S60s, actually a quite nice little pair of speakers. I bought them at Audio Associates, a now-defunct chain of audio stores in the Washington, D.C. area.

    As a hi-fi rube, I had gotten sucked in by two things. The first was an ad campaign Bose had at that time featuring the slogan, "Bring Home a Legend" accompanied by a photograph of a smug-looking guy who looked like he was in the know and a pair of Bose 901 speakers. I thought bringing home a legend would be pretty cool. The other factor that made me vulnerable was Audio Associates' one-year trade-up policy. This clever bit of marketing allowed you to return any item you had purchased within one year for full credit towards any new item as long as it was 50% more expensive than the cost of the trade-in. So, back went the B&Os and home came the Bose 901 IIIs.

    I am sure I auditioned them somewhat carefully in the store, but after I got them home, I was less than thrilled about owning this particular "legend". They actually lasted less time in my listening room than anything else I have ever purchased. Why?

    I was listening to a lot of operas and orchestral music at the time and the spaciousness of the 901's sound was pretty seductive as I recall. However, I will never forget when I put on a song recital--Schubert Lieder with Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau, probably Die Schone Mullerin, with Gerald Moore accompanying. What? WHAT?? What was I hearing? There was Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau's voice as big as the entire rear wall of my listening room. It sounded like he was inside this huge resonant barrel. I had never before heard anything so bloated and unrealistic in my life! Once I got it into my head that the aspect of the Bose's that made orchestral music so seductive and spacious--that spraying of sound all over the rear wall of the listening room--meant that EVERYTHING was going to be similarly sprayed. The speaker's sonic perspective completely overwhelmed the performer's. In the case of an intimate single voice, a solo instrumentalist or any other small-scale source fuggedaboudit. No, no, NO, this would NOT DO.

    So back to Audio Associates I went with my "Legends" from Bose. I bought a pair of Klipsch Cornwalls, my first pair of monster-sized, hi-eff speakers, and never looked back.

    That is the experience of one owner of Bose 901 speakers--their top of the line at the time.

    Any others of you out there have another take on these speakers?

    Enjoy your music,

    George Roland

  2. #17
    Senior Member Akira's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by George Roland View Post
    As a hi-fi rube, I had gotten sucked in by two things. The first was an ad campaign Bose had at that time featuring the slogan, "Bring Home a Legend" accompanied by a photograph of a smug-looking guy who looked like he was in the know and a pair of Bose 901 speakers. I thought bringing home a legend would be pretty cool.
    I see that Bose was good at marketing even way back then.
    Great post George and welcome to Lansing Heritage.

  3. #18
    Heather [Senorita member] hjames's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by George Roland View Post
    You'd like to hear from someone who owned Bose 901s, eh? Okay, I'm up for this!

    I bought them at Audio Associates, a now-defunct chain of audio stores in the Washington, D.C. area.


    So back to Audio Associates
    Any others of you out there have another take on these speakers?

    George Roland
    Well, I bought my L-36s at Audio Assoc, and later got my Denon DP-45 from them ...
    no Bose, tho I used to see them used as Sound reinforcement or some darned thing at
    The Cellar Door, a nightclub in DC that used to get a lot of cool talent over the years
    (Saw Brand X there, among other groups ...) ...
    2ch: Oppo, Acurus RL-11, JBL 240ti, Heath AS101, Carver TFM-25,Von Schweikert VR4
    7: Oppo BDP103D, B&K, UREI 809A, JBL B460,

  4. #19
    RIP 2014 Ken Pachkowsky's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by hjames View Post
    (Saw Brand X there, among other groups ...) ...
    Wow, bet that was a good show? Was PC on the kit?
    Ken

  5. #20
    Heather [Senorita member] hjames's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ken Pachkowsky View Post
    Wow, bet that was a good show? Was PC on the kit?
    Ken
    Nah, I don't think he did any US shows with the group -
    I think he was more a studio influence
    2ch: Oppo, Acurus RL-11, JBL 240ti, Heath AS101, Carver TFM-25,Von Schweikert VR4
    7: Oppo BDP103D, B&K, UREI 809A, JBL B460,

  6. #21
    RIP 2014 Ken Pachkowsky's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by hjames View Post
    Nah, I don't think he did any US shows with the group -
    I think he was more a studio influence
    Was it Chester Thompson then? Sorry...kind of off topic...the end

  7. #22
    Heather [Senorita member] hjames's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ken Pachkowsky View Post
    Was it Chester Thompson then? Sorry...kind of off topic...the end
    I saw them around Morroccan Roll era - saw a Duo tour with Lumley and Goodsall for "Marscape" - I know Morris Pert was one drummer - would have recognized Bruford
    hmmm the Wiki sez it was Kenwood Dennard

    The rest of the band decided to carry on as an instrumental, jazz-fusion

    By early 1977, it became clear that Collins would be unavailable for much of the year, and Brand X decided to recruit a replacement drummer (although Collins rejoined for strategic dates throughout the year). Their first choice, Joe Blocker, didn't work out (he joined Steve Hillage's band instead), and eventually American drummer Kenwood Dennard filled the slot, making his debut on the band's first US tour (a 32-date affair in May-June 1977) and appearing on part of the live album Livestock. Collins came back to the fold for a series of dates in September 1977 including two appearances on the same day in London (Crystal Palace garden party) and Paris (Fete de l’Humanite) - the first time ever a band played two open-air shows in different countries on the same day ! A second US tour followed late in the year, again with Dennard on drums.
    2ch: Oppo, Acurus RL-11, JBL 240ti, Heath AS101, Carver TFM-25,Von Schweikert VR4
    7: Oppo BDP103D, B&K, UREI 809A, JBL B460,

  8. #23
    Junior Member George Roland's Avatar
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    Cellar Door Memories

    Quote Originally Posted by hjames View Post
    Well, I bought my L-36s at Audio Assoc, and later got my Denon DP-45 from them ...
    no Bose, tho I used to see them used as Sound reinforcement or some darned thing at
    The Cellar Door, a nightclub in DC that used to get a lot of cool talent over the years
    (Saw Brand X there, among other groups ...) ...
    Your mentioning the Cellar Door really brings back memories. I went to High School in Fairfax County Virginia, Thomas A. Edison High to be exact. I went to the Cellar Door twice when I was in H.S. The first time was with a couple of friends. I don't remember the act we saw, but what really sticks out in my mind was the fact that we were underage and hoping to be served some booze without being carded, and it worked. My first illicit alcohol purchase! Heady stuff for a sixteen year old! The other time I went was for one of their open mike nights. I went with two or three friends from H.S. We fancied ourselves to be folksingers. The less said about our "performance" the better.

    I hadn't thought about that for years.

    George Roland

  9. #24
    RIP 2013 Rolf's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BMWCCA View Post
    That would be Amar.
    Sorry for the miss spelling.

  10. #25
    Senior Member JBLRaiser's Avatar
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    Not really......

    Quote Originally Posted by Ken Pachkowsky View Post
    Was it Chester Thompson then? Sorry...kind of off topic...the end
    We know they didn't use Bose, and good chance there was some JBL in the room.

  11. #26
    Senior Member jcrobso's Avatar
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    I have heard them! No big deal!

    Quote Originally Posted by Akira View Post
    I know it's popular to trash Bose but, the original 901's were supposed to be a good product has anyone heard them that can comment.

    Although I never heard them, they had a professional equivalent, the same size and basic design that employed eight 4" drivers all firing forward. They were excellent speakers for their intended application--crystal clear natural vocals. We used to use them for conferencing, and you could even playback music with acceptable results. A pair can easily cover 100 people in a meeting.
    It was a long time ago now! It was an interesting effect using the corner to make the sound image bigger, a K horn used the corner much better.
    As for the Bo$e 801 Pro speaker there is set of these at the station, crystal clear they are NOT!

  12. #27
    Senior Member Hoerninger's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jcrobso View Post
    It was a long time ago now!
    Yes, when they were new I had a chance to listen to them in a studio, very common at that time . At that time I liked them, but I did not have much comparisons.
    It was an interesting effect using the corner to make the sound image bigger
    The 901s have to be placed in front of a straight wall in a definite distance. The Bose equalizer is mandatory!
    The direct/indirect sound distribution was revolutionary at that time and it sounded interesting.

    Today I prefer speakers with higher efficiency ( Boses are low - especially for SR), some "augmentation with adequate speakers" and a direct sound with care of early reflections.
    ____________
    Peter

  13. #28
    Senior Member LowPhreak's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by George Roland View Post

    ...So back to Audio Associates I went with my "Legends" from Bose.
    Great story, George.

  14. #29
    RIP 2010 scott fitlin's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Akira View Post
    I know it's popular to trash Bose but, the original 901's were supposed to be a good product has anyone heard them that can comment.

    Although I never heard them, they had a professional equivalent, the same size and basic design that employed eight 4" drivers all firing forward. They were excellent speakers for their intended application--crystal clear natural vocals. We used to use them for conferencing, and you could even playback music with acceptable results. A pair can easily cover 100 people in a meeting.
    I had a pair of Bose 901, still have them packed away in a warehouse, they are from 1977-78. They were originally purchased by my uncle, who tired of them in less than a year, and my dad bought them for me, and I never loved them. They could play loudly, and were pretty unbreakable, and I never broke them, but, having grown up with Altec, JBL and Gauss they never satisfied my craving for low end and highs, OR the realistic dynamics of GOOD compression drivers on a proper horn.

    Another thing I always found I couldn't be happy with, was the fact that the 901,s are basically inefficient. And no matter how much power you had, YOU HAD TO CRANK THEM TO GET volume. Again, and even at 15 years old, having grown up in my families business, that had and still has a completely horn loaded high sensitivity system, the 901,s could never match the lifelike presentation of music, and wicked transient response of a properly set up high efficiency system. And again, even at 15, I understood that high efficiency systems were special. And that even with 1000 watts per speaker, the 901,s could never do what Altec and JBL basshorns and tweeters and horns can with a few watts.

    OTOH, Bose was a name everyone else went crazy about, even back then, and my friends used to be ga-ga over my Bose 901,s with my McIntosh pre, and power amp.

    In the early 1980,s dad got me a pair of JBL 4312,s and he got a pair of L-300,s, and the Bose got packed up and put away, and have NEVER been used since. I never even missed them!

    I am also familiar with the pro variant of the 901 as they were used as booth monitors in the famous NYC nightclub, THE PARADISE GARAGE, and I didn't like them in that application, either.
    scottyj

  15. #30
    Senior Member Tom Brennan's Avatar
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    Well as your dynamic direct radiators go Bose isn't so bad. And that goofy line source band speaker they make actually does a pretty good job as a hi-fi speaker, really.

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