Anyone Using Bose 901 speakers In A Home Theater?

Anyone using Bose 901 speakers in a home theater? I'm considering getting one or two pair of good used 901's in a home theater setup. Anyone using Bose 301 or Bose 501 in a home theater?
What year is it again?
No highs, no lows, must be Bose!
"good used 901's".

Wait, isn't that an oxymoron?
This is what years of brainwashing by the magazines has achieved. To know what Bose are about you have to throw away everything you know about high end audio. Bose speakers only accept bare wire, but audiophiles will try to connect audiophile approved cables with their huge jewelry-like connectors with some kind of a Rube Goldberg invention to make it all work while instantly destroying the sound.

I was wondering, has anyone tried stacked Boses?
Stacked! I would think four per side would do the trick.

I would think that if you set them up properly they would do quite well as L/R or surround home theater speakers, though you'd probably need a better quality center channel. I'd expect a spacious, enveloping soundfield with a wide usuable listening area. The subwoofers would eliminate the deep bass deficiencies.
The whole Bose thing was a scam from the word go; their theory is junk as were their speakers. "To know what Bose are about you have to throw away everything you know about high end audio." Also about music; they were about one thing only ; MONEY.
How could they stay in business so long and remain profitable if all they sold was junk? Bose has survived a lot longer than many audiophile speaker brands.

I don't own any Bose stuff, but there has to be SOME redeeming quality to the stuff they sell. You can survive only so long selling junk.

I mean really, how bad can the 901's be for front and surround speakers in a home theater??
Bose's marketing strategy is aimed at gullable consumers.
The house wife at home, the non audiophile which out number audiophiles by 99 to 1.
It's all about the commercial Johnny or Suzie sees on tv that convinces them it has to be good.
Dr. Bose is a marketing genius that make low to mid fi equipment. And he's filthy rich from it. I'm a firm believer in capitalism, but at least give the consumer there moneys worth.
"The whole Bose thing was a scam from the word go; their theory is junk as were their speakers."

Bose just happens to be the most successful speaker manufacturer in the world. Bose hires all of their engineers from MIT and their reference is Quads. Bose manufactures and matches all of their drivers and uses a minimalist crossover approach.

"To know what Bose are about you have to throw away everything you know about high end audio." Also about music; they were about one thing only ; MONEY"

Actually Bose speakers are very musical with more than enough bass and a midrange to die for, provided you use careful system matching just as you would with any other high quality speaker. Bose speakers do not sound bright like many audiophile speakers. Remember, the bright speaker sells to the uneducated ear. Price wise, Bose speakers are very reasonably priced especially when compared to the rediculously over priced so called audiophile speakers made in someone's garage. Or the British speakers with import duties and an exchange rate that nearly doubles the price.
Zmanastronomy, Did you get your money's worth when you bought your Triangle speakers that needed expensive stands and a Velodyne subwoofer to make them worth listening to? Bose makes speakers that sell for $200-$300 that with the right electronics will blow away audiophile speakers costly 10 times more. And you don't need room treatment because they work with your room instead of against it.
Rrog, don't get so upset when someone has a different opinion from your own.
If you like Bose, great! Enjoy.
But please don't attack someone for there opinion or experience that differs from yours.
And to answer your question, yes I did.
I have been reading threads on this forum with Bose bashers for quite a while. I had no experience with Bose and I knew the Bose bashers had no experience with Bose either, so I decided to find out once and for all what Bose speakers are all about. I currently own speakers from Magnepan, Von Schweikert, Grean Mountain Audio and Spica. Speakers I have owned in the past include Vandersteen, Magnepan, Acoustat, Martin Logan, ESP Concert Grand, Dunlavy SCIV, KEF 105, Ruark, JPW and numerous vintage speakers.

I purchased a pair of Bose 301 series V speakers. These speakers cost me $328 with free shipping. The 301 is a bookshelf speaker with an 8" woofer and two tweeters firing in opposite directions. At first the 301s sounded a little dull, but after a lengthy break in period they started to come alive. These speakers will play any kind of music and they do it with ease. The sound is big, relaxed and coherent with bass that will boggle the mind. And if you want the 301s to play loud they will play LOUD effortlessly. They do not fall apart like some other so called high end speakers I have heard. These speakers sound like you are using tube electronics when you are using solid state. In fact I tried tubes, but I preferred solid state with these speakers even though I am a tube lover. Just think, tube sound without having to buy expensive tubes. At any rate, these speakers are an incredible value. I don't see how Bose can produce this quality of sound for so little money.
Zman, I am not upset. I just think you fall into the category of having a negative opinion about a product you have no experience with. If you want to bash something bash Bybee's Bulletts, Coconut's VibraPortal or how about a set of magic stones for $4,000. Are consumers getting their money's worth with these wonderful products?
"Zman, I am not upset. I just think you fall into the category of having a negative opinion about a product you have no experience with."

You're over reaching. You have no clue what experience I have with Bose. The discription you give is fairly accurate.
But it not my cup of tea.
If it's yours, great. Enjoy.
I am going to jump in at the risk of being labeled a idiot to support Rrog and hopefully provide an answer to the original question. I have listened to a Bose radio system, a Bose house custom system, and my Bose system in my 13 year old Mercedes (came with the car, would not have been my first choice) - none of these was anything special but they were pleasant for casual listening.
Way in the past I owned a pair of Bose 501's and they did several things well with their direct reflected sound including providing a sense of excitement and spaciousness that the Advents and JBL's etc of the time did not. I have no idea what they would sound like today because front ends and amplifiers have also progressed, but I would guess that they would not be hot in the highs as some designs are. Still today several brands such as Von Schweikert provide a refined, tunable ambience tweeter to provide a touch of the spaciousness from indirect sound. I moved up to the 901's and they again provided the above. They were missing exquisite highs, and a well-localized sound stage but still provided a enjoyable experience of wrap-around, lively sound. Given this I think that if gotten for cheap they may provide a nice home theater experience within a small budget. I do not know when they went out of production but given they may be decades old I would carefully inspect the drivers and surrounds and given a listen before purchase. Mitch4t hope this helps and let us know if you pull the trigger.
I actually did get to hear a 4 channel quad system using two pairs of 901's-two in front/two in back with a very nice set of marantz solid state. the guy i visited had a beautiful well kept apartment with nice furniture and tastefully decorated, etc. a brass telescope was behind the couch aimed at a skylight in the ceiling. very nice set-up indeed.
so we sat back to listen to a few albums (no CD's back then) and i was having a pretty hard time trying to like what i was hearing. Especially with the expensive and new-looking marantz components on display. later on after my friend and i left i asked him what he thought about the sound. he agreed it was pretty bad. there was i serious imbalance to the sound just in terms of frequency response alone- a lack of fullness and clarity as well. perhaps the guy didn't know how
to set them up properly...? at any rate i had definitely heard enough. the whole 8+1 w/equalizer technology only seemed like a good idea. but i really got off on his sense of style anyway.
Here is a pretty recent review of the current Bose 901's in Tone Audio Magazine:
Good review. Thats a very accurate interpretation of what I heard.
A polite way of saying "Average at best".
I was under the impression that a more expencive stand was not needed.
I've heard Bose 301, that my friend bought, and it sounded pretty good for $300 speaker, but I wouldn't call it high end (far from it). I bought, perhaps 20 years ago, cheapest of Acoustimass series set consisting of two speakers and subwoofer. I bought it only for use with TV but it sounded so bad, that even my wife begged me to return it.
The Tone reviewer said the 901s were a blast to listen to on all types of music. I think that's a step or two above average. I wonder if he would have liked them even better if he placed them closer than five feet from the rear wall.

Regarding the 301 -- I recently had a friend change his 301s for a pair of Dynaco A25 and he was extremely happy with the change.
My original question was does anyone think the Bose 901, 501 or 301 are suitable for home theater. The pros and cons of Bose speakers for two channel audio is of no interest to me. I am all set with two-channel speakers.

Click Here To See My Room

I have a very large room. My room is 22 feet wide and 70 feet long and the ceiling is 20 feet high. I gave Bose a thought because they are relatively small speakers and have a reputation for being able to play very loud without needing insane amounts of power.

I am considering installing an 11.2 system that includes front height speakers along with front wides and back surrounds and I don't have the money to buy new high-end home theater speakers. I need eleven speakers that can rock. But, I'd like to have good sounding speakers with workhorse durability. A used set of 901's is about $500 and a used set of 301's is about $200.

According to the review above, it seems that the 901's have a room-filling ability that just might be suitable for home theater. I'm looking to fill the room with sound without breaking the bank.

Most of the comments here were regarding the merits of Bose as 2 channel speakers. What about their suitability for home theater in a room like mine? The speakers will be fed good amplification with a new current model pre-pro.
Is that a room or a mini movie theater?
Just judging by the size of your room 901 speakers won't fill it with sound. Why you even try average speaker company like Bose? Why not to go to something like for instance Revel Saloon, that can pressurize room like that and provide extension down to 20Hz? Is there anything specific that makes you think of 901 as a good front end in a home theater system?
Milpai, it is my living room. I live in a loft.

Kijanki, I am contemplating an 11.2 system. I am considering ten Bose 901 speakers, 2 fronts, 2 heights, 2 wides, 2 surrounds and 2 back surrounds. I will have two Velodyne DD18 subwoofers. Revel Salons cost $20k a thanks.
Yes, Revels are expensive and might be not be to your liking but putting a lot of (from what I've heard) average speakers won't make for quality. I cannot speak of multispeaker home theater systems since I've never had one, but having high quality front speakers seems to be the highest priority. 901s might sound good to you (it's a subjective thing) but I cannot imagine how they can fill the room of this extreme size.
Kijanki,..your quote is below:

I cannot speak of multispeaker home theater systems since I've never had one,

....and you have no experience with the 901's.
As always, the end result has to do with system setup. I am fortunate to have a variety of amplifers, preamps and CD players to experiment with. To simply throw a speaker or component into a given system and think you have evaluated that speaker or component is not how it works. All that tells you is how it sounds in that system. I have spent several months with a variety of electronics and cables evaluating the Bose 301. I can tell you they are sensitive to every little change in the system. They produce a big soundstage and image as well as any electrostatic or planar speaker I have ever heard. Midrange timbre is natural and toward the warm side of neutral making them idea with solid state amplifiers. If you want to listen to the equipment look elsewhere because all these speakers are good for is listening to music.
....and you have no experience with the 901's.

I just questioned if you can get good sound level from such small speaker in very large room, even if you use four of them for the front.
MofiMadness- Thanks for posting the link to the review of the 901. I thought it was very informative, aligns with what I heard from mine and answers the question originally posted that they deserve a listen for his big room home theater.
The review listing the price at $1,400 stuck a cord. I remember the fear and trembling I had at such an expensive purchase when I bought mine. Now I find myself reading articles about $1,400 power cords and wondering if they may be worth it. YIKES - it appears that I have descended the slippery slope into equipment madness, all the more dangerous because it feels like audio nirvana.

Without comment (one way or the other) on the sound quality of Bose products:

It would seem that very wide dispersion speakers would make a ton of sense for that room - particularly for the sides, back, height, & rear positions. The 901 fits that bill, as do modestly priced omnidirectional speakers from Mirage (among others). While many (maybe most) side/surrounds are also designed for wide dispersion, few of the affordable models - that I know of, anyway - are both high sensitivity and suited to high SPL like the Bose.

Some time ago, there was a local gym/yoga place that I'd attend from time to time that had an array of six 901s in a space a bit larger than yours, and they worked very well in that high SPL application. He had a CD player into a modest distribution amp powering the set-up, but I don't recall the specifics. Not a theater set-up, per se, but similar requirements were involved, IMO. Uniform coverage of a large space at "get the blood pumping" levels.

If this is a dual purpose system for movies and music, you can always stick with more traditional high end speakers for the front L & R & CC, and go with the 901 for the other channels. In your case, I suspect that any "voicing" mismatch between the brands will be much less trouble than getting appropriate coverage without investing more $.

Note: I'm assuming that, even though these channels are typically well down in level from the mains, your space would require lots of power/power handling from lower sensitivity side/surrounds. Depending on your preferred listening levels, that could be wrong, so you might want to test that assumption before purchase. End of the day, my guess is that the Bose are one of a limited # of options out there that tick all of your boxes. I'm sure that there are other wide dispersion, high sensitivity, high output options available at modest cost, but I couldn't name any off the top of my head.

No first hand experience (beyond the commercial application, per above), but that's the way I'd think about it, were I in your shoes.

Mitch, You seem well informed and you may already know Bose 901s will play very loud with the right amplifier.
Mitch4t, just go ahead and do it. Your situation is somewhat unique and nobody on this forum can truly guide you. I once owned 901s, liked them and think they would work very well for you, but what do I know? Let us known how it sounds.
Marty, you brought up some very good points for using the 901's. They will fill a large space, and for that matter they would fit the bill well.
Mofimadness, the review you forwarded was priceless, thank you.

Rog, Marty,Onhwy61 & Gammajo, thank you for your input and your encouragement. I look forward to more of your input as I post further questions during my home theater project.



A friend of mine who is both a serious (and I would even say meticulous audiophile) was also a DJ in his younger years speaks very, very highly about the Bose 901s. He's also an engineer and hyper-critical about his electronics and cabling. If he speaks highly about those speakers with some of the gear he has, that speaks volumes to me.

He ardently claims that with the proper amplification, they are truly stellar and indeed are very well suited to larger spaces. He still uses them for music in large spaces and venues and connects them to his 250wpc amps with custom braided cables.

If you like the sound of the 901s, then go for it and don't worry about what others say. I've only heard the 901s at his house playing music streamed from online services. It wasn't critical listening by any stretch, but they did indeed sound good.

So if your space is larger as I'm guessing, then I think you may be very happy with that setup if you like the sound of the 901s.

901'S May indeed do very well for home theater. In a multi channel set up you may find that they spread the audio around so well too the point of offering a confused sound for audio intended for the back or side channels only. Might just be too much of a good thing in there sound dispersion. That would be my only real concern. Make sure you can interface the equalizer into your system.

Used to have a set of 901's back in the day. Great fun and enjoyed them for years in a stereo only set up. Many folks forget that Bose were the toast of many hi end stores until they began to be sold by the big box stores. Then all the sudden they were terrible. Umm...Strange isn't it.
Hi Mitch4t. YES! I actually ran a home theater system with Bose 901 front speakers, a Bose center speaker, and Bose 301 rear speakers. I've also run the same system with 501's in the front. The 501's actually sounded better than the 901's. I never could get the 901's to sound as rich at lower volume levels. The middle tones were always missing (opposite of the popular mantra). Even turning them backwards and moving them high and low didn't help. It may have just been that pair because I bought them refurbished from Bose. Anyway, even with that issue, the system was amazing! I've yet to go to anyone's house and hear a better one (even the ones that cost thousands of dollars and were custom installed still didn't match the feeling of being "IN THE MOVIE" (from ANYWHERE in the room) that I love. It also sounded great from other rooms. Front speakers were on floor stands. Rear speakers were mounted about 7 ft. up. Room approx. 12x18 ft. with pitched ceiling.
Well interesting topic,and mind as well give my experience.Last spring I bought two pairs of Bose 151SE environmental speakers another words the outdoors variety.I got them from Best Buy on sale and because they looked better than the rest on the shelf.They gave me good sound in my back yard with Hafler Pro2400 amps and Bryston BP-20 preamp,source was the Wadia 170i playing ipod classic loaded with mp3's.Then I wanted more loud sound so I found this usede paor of Bose 901 series VI from local Craigslist at a decent price and bought them.I hanged them from the porch roof and drove them with the Hafler Pro 2400 bridged so we are talking 400W per side.I partied all summer,me and my neighbours!!!! So you know what I am keeping them and I just bought this last weekend a Bryston 3B-SST amp from and the Haflers will be changed,of course the summer season here in Toronto is over and I will pack and bring the 901 indoors but next spring I will rock the joint.I need to buy another Bryston 3B-SST to run them in mono with the 901's.Also just bought the Olive 04HD music server for the porch system so I won't have to get off my recliner.Music all weekend. I personally love the 901 for what I9 am using them for,they are an excellent party speaker.Now just to clarify my back yard deck is covered with clear roof panels,no rain is coming through so the 901 don't get wet.All the electronics are in a separate room buy the deck and are well protected from the weather.
Yeah i'm here also using Bose 901 Speaker in Home Theater.I'v use so many speaker before but found the Bose 901 speaker's response is better then other. When my friends seeking advice then always suggest same to them.
Cd Production
Bose 301 iv's is a great way to make a budget HT system. They play loud, are spacios, and even musical IMO. For a bit more, Klipsch can be a killer "budget" HT setup. I would use the Bose 301 IV im medium sized rooms for best results. Can get them used for $150 pr, but sadly the poor quality drivers often need new foam.

Personally I would go Klipsch for budget HT! Long as you don't mind towers.
Sthomas12321, what model Klipsch would you suggest?
Mitch--if you're still interested in this issue after 3 months:

I have experience with Bose 901s--I worked at an audio store that sold them along with other state-of-the-art speakers of the time--Ohm, Dahlquist, ESS, Infinity, Advent.

The 901s are probably the most discreet speaker for filling a very large area, and I think they're particularly well-suited for the surrounds and rear surrounds of a multi-channel HT setup. I think they'd do fine with the High channel as well. I'm less sure about having them for front left and right speakers. You're better off getting a triad of same manufacture L-C-Rs to get timbre matching for voices, 1st-level effects, and music. Unlike speaker placement in Tone Audio's review, you're better off placing the speakers about 1 foot from the wall behind. This will give you a more seamless enveloping sound and give better bass response with less effort. I'd go with more rigid speaker stands that also make the speaker terminals easily accessible for cleaner sound and so you can use whatever cable gauge you want.

Although I don't use Bose 901s in my home theater, I *do* use omnidirectional Mirage speakers all around and they make for a very natural, seamless soundfield. Dispersion is so wide you don't hear one speaker "handing off" to the next. Bose 901s should give you this as well.

Used Series VI 901s w/equalizer run about $300-500/pair on eBay. You could put in some real room-filling sound for not much money, and if you need more room-filling sound, doubling up the speakers per channel won't be that expensive. For your room size, I'd probably go with two 901s per speaker location. This should create an effortless sound, what with 18 drivers per channel.

If you have the room, one of the best deals out there is Klipsch KLF speakers. The 20's &30's are insane for under $700-800 IMO. You should buy Crites titanium tweeter diaphrams for $58 shipped per pair with them, as stock used a terrible diaphram that rolled off to quickly.

I have owned so many high end speakers, and the KLS 30's are the best deal I have seen IMO. I feel they compare to some 3k-5k speakers I owned. Better in some ways, bit worse in others. I did replace the tweeter diaphrams, added a layer of pl premium to all inside corners(read glue issue on klipsch forum), and I would add 2-4 braces on earlier pre 2000 models

This is all extremely simple for anyone to do. There are many klf 30 or 20's that already have the crites titaniums & glue fix done for you.

If you want ultimate HT at a steal, grab 3 pair KLF 20's and convert 1 speaker baffle sideways and use as a center. A 5 channel all matching KLF 20 HT! Check out the Klipsch forum!
Bose's marketing strategy is aimed at gullable consumers.

Where would Wilson be than?
The Klipsch KLF may be terrific speakers (I've never heard 'em,so no comment here on SQ either way), but they are 180 degrees opposite from the bose 901 in "application logic". If the idea is wide dispersion from the surrounds for coverage of a very large space, horn speakers are the last thing I would consider. They control dispersion by design and - in the right application -can work very, very well IME. They might be a good choice for L/R/C, however, I don't see how they'd bee good for any of the other channels.

Just my opinion.

If your market is a country where coast to coast kitch and bad-taste are cultual norms, someone wanting to sell a lot aims at the 98% who follow those norms, not the 2% that don't.
Schubert, Does that mean don't go with the Klipsch?

What did you settle on? I was going to put for your consideration some KEF Q900s all around - should be in a similar price range as the Bose. However, I thought Martykl offered better advice on the Mirage although I have not heard them. With your space, wide dispersion speakers almost de rigueur for your room and budget - a 34,000 cu ft room is quite a space. How may tube amps are you using to heat it in the winter?
Ive owned many speakers and none have sounded as good over a wide listening are as the KLF's. I know Klipsch takes some hits by hi end purists at times, I have been silly enough to buy into that talk in the past. Stock the KLF 30 lack extension in the top end, and can be harsh. The TI tweeter diaphrams made me a horn believer.

After many years in high end audio, there is one test that tells a speakers worth. After 2 yrs with them would I buy them again for the money.

Only a few have passed that and the KLF 30/Crites are on that very short list of 3.