Bose 901 Series ii


I own a set of Bose 901s with the equalizer.  I have them paired to a Carver pm700 200wpc amp, and am using a Harmon Kardon 630 for the pre-amp and tuner?  Any suggestions for something that might put out a little better sound and not break the bank?  And yes I know, no highs not lows must be Bose.
mdschmi
I would say to first upgrade your preamp, then your amp.
Those 901's suck a lot of juice. 
A good inexpensive route would be McCormack. A used RLD-1 and DNA-225 should give you more punch. The nice part is that Steve McCormack is still providing upgrades at SMc Audio.
My 2 cents....
Bob
Thanks for the input.  I'm just getting into the separates world.  Just don't know where to begin.  Thanks again
I strongly recommend you think about a good integrated then. How about Parasound? Lots of inputs, a very nice built-in DAC, and plenty of power.
Keep the electronics and ditch the Bose's! Buy a good used pair of DCM Time Windows and experience truly great sound! I am presently listening to a pair (serial no's 52779 and 52780) driven by a GAS Thoebe preamp and a Son of Ampzilla (both circa 1978). The TW's were bought on EBAY for $219 + shipping (in excellent condition!). The biggest (and best!) improvement for you would be a speaker upgrade. If not TW's, then I recommend Vandersteen 2's.
Yes, I agree with roberjerman, a pair of Vandy's would be a move upwards. I only mentioned the McCormack's should you want to keep the Bose.
I remember the 901's. They had a nice openness, but, as you said neither great highs or lows. A pair of Vandy 1's and 2w subs would probably blow the Bose away. You'll not only get the nice open sound, but a better soundstage with more definition of instruments and vocals.
I have heard the DCM time windows years ago. They were pretty nice, but I think a current pair of Magneplan speakers would be a better choice as they would be easier to run. (as would the Vandy's).

If you still want to keep the Bose, then perhaps going to the Adcom gfa555 and matching preamp would be another inexpensive way to power them. Though I still think the HK pre is probably your limiting piece of equipment.
B
I would go head and sell those old.. very bad sounding 901's, they are much better speakers out there!..  Used Martin Logan ESL's are much better for the money! Or wait until you can buy some new Martin Logan ESL-X's!


Has anyone ever tried stacking Bose 901s? 

Though almost everyone trashes Bose, I remember listening to my first pair for hours, and they're  some truly great memories.
Bose, to me, has that jukebox bass (warm and rich) that goes surprisingly deep. Nice staging and pleasant voicing. 
Soooo, I'd keep them, buy a nice Integrated as someone suggested. One with a bit of power, because as someone pointed out, they're a bit hungry.
Wyred for sound, makes a good amp.... also consider the LSA Integrated. Used, it's inexpensive and has balls.
Good luck.

PS... be sure to listen to Carley singing 'De Bat Fly in me FACE after buying the new gear.... great fun.
Make that Wyred4Sound.....
oops.
I really think going to a different pair of speakers would make the most sense, the Bose 901's are just so sonically antiquated. I was a young audiophile when they came out, and never did warm up to their sound even back then. Most everyone I knew who had them would always set them up backwards. That is, the  multiple driver side facing toward the listener instead of the rear wall. BUT. If you like their sound, keep them and go after a good high current integrated amp....
Cheers,
Tim
i have the 901 series 2 also. i have 4 of them. i was young too when i bought them.
The first step is to figure out what you like rather than reacting to what someone else likes.  In this thread, for example, someone suggested DCM Time Windows.  A speaker more unlike Bose 901s would be hard to find.  You might hate them.  Find out for yourself what you like.  You need to get out and listen to some things.  Decide for yourself.  Set a budget and stay disciplined about staying within it.  What good would it do to find the speak of your dreams if it costs 10x what you can comfortably afford?  I would focus of speakers to start with.  Your electronics will work with just about anything and the sound differences are minor for electronics compared to speakers.  Another thing, you might find out that you like your 901s better than the alternatives that you can afford.  In spite of what you may read here, Bose 901s are very good speakers and do some things that are unique.  My best speakers cost $20K and are phenomenal, among the best, but I still very much enjoy listening to a properly set up 901 system.  And if you have the space for it, a double 901 setup can be a lot of fun.
Excellent post Bill.

Dave
i remember back in the 70's, bose came out with their "super bose system" it consisted of 4 901's and their 1802 power amp. 200 watts per chanell into 8 ohms and 400 watts into 4 ohms.
geofkait, what do you mean by stacking these speakers?
Stacking means placing one on top of another. Thus, you would be driving 4 901s.

i have 4 901's. i have 2 for the front and 2 for the sides. this is what was called the "super bose system" back in the 70's.
Stack enough of them and you'll have a version of the typical live concert line array.  Insanely loud, and capable of accepting more power than your home wiring can handle.  Can break any lease that any fool would let you sign.  Would bring the local PD to your door not long after you turned the knob past 5.

Probably would funny as hell to try Once.  It would take awhile for your ears to recover and to repair all the cracked plaster and/or rippled sheetrock.

Let me know when you plan to try this.  I'll come with a chair, cooler, and umbrella to watch from a safe distance...;)
i was told by a mcintosh dealer that allthough the 901's are rated to handle 270 watts, if you have 4, 2 per chanell, that does'nt mean it will handle 540 watts. this would apply to the original and series 2.
@asvjerry 

No. You'll have nothing like a modern line array no matter how many you stack up. A line array is a hell of a lot more that stacking a bunch of crap speakers in top of each other. Line array cabs and drivers are specifically designed for that purpose because the drivers need to be properly aligned from one cabinet to the next. If that proper alignment isn't achieved, you don't have a line array. You have a tall pile of garbage that's going to exhibit severe vertical comb filtering due to the source behaving in an incoherent way. 
kosst, granted....given the 901's design and intent, a stack of them would not be a 'perfect' line array.  It would be louder 'n hell but would exhibit all sorts of warts doing so....

Noting that a concert venue's arrays typically have a curvature, no doubt to minimize if not eliminate combing.  That, and they're meant for coverage and penetration of a large area, much larger than that of a 'typical' suburban listening space.  One might try that with a stack of 901's, but I've got my own predilections to play with and don't really have the desire to follow up on that...;) 

Given your comment, I'd suppose the bulk of 'line arrays' on the market (the tall, thin units with multiple small drivers) could be considered feces.  It would seem that combing would be impossible to avoid with them, which would really appall their owners.  Those who find them attractive no doubt like what they hear. *shrug*

Sets up an interesting conundrum, don'tcha think?  You either like it or you can't stand it.  Starts to sound like a lot of the equipment 'discussions' that become superheated on these pages, IMHO...

...as 'wrongheaded' as they may be...

Not trying to pick a fight with you, BTW.  Just observation and response...
Again, no, line arrays aren't curved to control combing. They're curved to provide fill in the near field. 

The entire definition of a line array is that the column act as a single acoustic source. The goal is to focus the energy and limit vertical dispersion. To do this the acoustic centers of the drivers must be closer together in the vertical plane than the wavelength of the driver's pass band. A primary difference between a common speaker for home or PA use and a line array segment is that the horns in a line array are carefully designed to emulate ribbons as much as possible. In short, having a bunch of domes or cones stacked up a plank of MDF does not a line array even remotely make, regardless of how much DIY'ers and some speaker companies claim it does. 

I'd suggest folks go read some white papers and research on the subject. 
Stacking 901s is not a line array in any shape or form.  However, I wouldn't be worried about comb effect interference from stacked 901s.  The majority of the sound is intentionally bounced off the rear wall making comb effects a non-factor.
Stacking 901's was common in Korea. A hallacious soundstage was the result.  901's are not designed to be pure and accurate - they are designed for musicality and large soundstage.  89% of the sound is reproduced by 8 drivers in the rear at specific angles to reproduce a lively experience. 11% of the sound is directly radiated at the listener.  This is where the amazing soundstage comes from when 901's are placed right. Your HK pre is likely the most limiting component.  I'd sell it and get a good 2/4 channel pre/pro that would match the 901's.  You may consider selling the Carver amp and get a Sunfire amp with 300W or more per channel.  Also comparable would be used Marantz or Denon amps which would be good matches for the 901's.  Bose had a demo room in Hawaii with generic entry-level components and high-end components - the listeners could not differentiate in direct A/B comparisons.   
Oh, and rather than stack the 901's, I'd place one pair on the floor with the Bose 901 stands and hang the other pair from the ceiling.  (901's MUST be used with the Bose active equalizer - it would be near impossible to replicate the active eq as it perfectly creates an exact opposite frequency curve of the drivers which are mid-range efficient).
I had 901's as did many of my friends while I was in high school and early college.  The best match for the 901 speakers I heard then were Marantz preamp paired with Marantz power amp. Very "tube-like" and delicious mids.  The overall presentation was very, very good with a pair hanging and a pair on Bose pedestals. 
archimedesaz, in an empty room you would have 2 up front and 2 on the side. this was called the "super bose system" back in the 70's. the 2 up front was the soundstage. the 2 on the side brought the soundstage to the side. i have this today but i have my 4 hanging from the ceiling.