Bose 901 series VI & Yamaha A-S2000

I'm a jazz mania who is interested in purchasing new audio system in a couple of months.

Currently, I'm considering Bose 901 (series VI) speakers & Yamaha A-S2000 integrated amp but not sure if the Yamaha amp will be a good match for the Bose speakers.
Also, I heard that Creek 5350SE will be a good one.
Can anyone recommend any good integrated amp (under $2,000) that can match well with the Bose speakers?

Or I would be glad if anyone can recommend good system (amp + speakers) for listening to jazz. My budget is limited to $3,500. Since I use my PC & a DAC (NuForce uDAC-2) to play 24/96 FLAC files, I don't think I need to buy a CD player for now. (I might need to buy a better DAC though.)

Thanks in advance.
Honestly, dump the 901s. I have a pair in the attic (series VI also). I loved them 25+ years ago. But by todays standards, they just do not cut it.

For the money you are talking there are lots of great options. The last system I set up was a Naim NAT i-2 integrated and Totem Staff speakers, which match your price new and you could get them for half that used. That system will kill any Bose 901 systems.

It is time to move forward. There are lots of options of there. If you can, go to a local shop and listen to some $3K speaker and amp options. And, figure that used you can do even better.
Sorry - that is Totem Sttaf. I always mis-type that. Sttaf is just not a natural spelling.
Henryjudy, You will probably have a ton of people telling you Bose are not good and the funny thing is the majority of those people probably never heard Bose speakers let alone assembled a system around them. If you are a music lover go with the 901s, but you will need a big room. You may want to consider Bose 301s if you have an average size room (15'x20'). I think the Yamaha will be a good match with any of the Bose speakers. If you are buying from Crutchfield ask their advice. The 901 is a speaker with practically no box to resonate, the drivers are of the same voice, there is no crossover, comes with an EQ to help tune the system to your room and shares direct/reflecting with high end speakers like MBL, Martin Logan, Magnepan, Quad Electrostatics, Mirage and many others. Or you can get on the merry-go-round and start listening to the equipment instead of enjoying the music.
the yamaha will be a better match with 901's. enjoy.
+1 on the Bose 901's. For years I read in forums as audiophiles bashed these famous speakers, but had not heard a new pair until recently.

FYI, I run Merlin TSM-MXr speakers with Manley tube amp, so I'm certainly nowhere near the "Bose mindset."

BUT....Guess what? The 901's I heard were a ton of fun. They filled a large room with clean musical sound that really impressed me. They were not set up for critical listening, but were well powered by Adcom stuff. I put my upturned nose away and said, "Those 901's actually sound good!" And they did.


I sold Bose back in the day and owned a pair of 901s. I would highly recommend you go in another direction. I would agree with Dtc's comments.
Dpatterson, Maybe you were ignorant back then. You should take the knowledge you have acquired over the years and apply it to a project of getting the best sound from a pair of Bose 901s. You might be surprised.
I have never owned Bose speakers, but I have heard them in stereo shops a few times. I did not hear anything objectionable about the sound although I was not critically listening. I have owned too many speakers, amplifiers and preamps to mention including both tube and solid state designs and I have enjoyed each one for their own set of strengths. Because there is so much Bose bashing among audiophiles I am seriously considering the purchase of Bose speakers to find out the truth. I believe too many audiophiles are bashing equipment they know nothing about and have never experience first hand. Why not try them. They are rediculously inexpensive. You can buy used Bose 901s for $500-$700 used including stands and matching equalizer. I have spent that much on stands alone for so called audiophile speakers. I still have the stands, but the speakers are long gone. I would like to hear Bose speakers with some really nice tube electronics. The stores usually demo them with a Japanese receiver. I would like to hear Bose speakers with a high quality front end and cables selected to get the most out of the system. Maybe I will like them and maybe I won't, but there is no way of knowing until you have experienced it for yourself and it could be a lot of fun. Isn't that what it's all about?
Rrog, there's more than "Bose bashing" when it comes to this sort of thing. Believe your ears first and everyone else second.

When it comes to audio people either rave or rant and often without feet planted firmly.

Years ago I heard about a speaker called The Carver Amazing. It was a huge ribbon speaker with multiple subs in each panel. A audiophile friend commented that they got little love, but that most people had no clue about what they could really do when properly set up. I ended up buying a pair for an amazing 1200 dollars here in NY. To this day I've never had more fun with a pair of speakers. They played LOUD. They imaged and had depth. And they soaked up wattage like a sponge and created all kinds of room reflection issues while failing to be continuous from top-to-bottom. My current pair of Merlins are infinitely more refined; a more mature product in every respect.....but WOW those Carvers were a great time and I miss them. There has never been a speaker since to even come close to what they could do for the money, IF set up well.
Hearing those 901's blasting away reminded me of those Carvers. There's room for all kinds of speakers out there, folks!

I was at a party in an apartment about 20 years ago when I first heard the Bose 301. They sounded really good. A few years later, I heard the Bose 901 in someone's home, they sounded really good also. Both times I heard them, I was not doing any critical listing, but I do remember it being a pleasant listening experience. I am considering getting a set of Bose 901 series VI for the front speakers in my home theater.

When I joined Audiogon, I was surprised to find out that Bose was a no-no. When I started to assemble my main 2-channel system, I dared not consider Bose, mainly because of the opinions I read on Audiogon. For the most part, most of the advice that I've followed on Audiogon to build my system has been spot-on with no complaints.

My advice to the original poster, if you've ever heard the 901's and you liked them and don't look back. buy what you like and enjoy it.

The 901's come with an equalizer. Make sure the preamp you buy is compatible and has the correct connetctions to work with the Bose EQ. You can go to the Bose website and check out the Owner's manual for the 901 to see if your preamp is compatible.
The end is surely near. This is a sign that the apocalypse is upon us. I think it all started when people began using "party" as a verb.

Next I'll be reading about Wendy's gourmet restaurants.
Two friends of mine used to Bose 901 & Yamaha based c.d. only systems, they sounded that good to me that it started me questioning my Quad ELS 63 based system. Definition and depth of field being much better with Bose.
Think you'll be more than happy.
With all due respect guys, for a $3,500 price for a set of speakers and an integrated amp, you are suggesting that Bose 901s are the best choice? Sorry, I am not buying it.

Henryjudy - you can do a lot better than the 901s for your system. At least, listen to some other options before making a decision. In my opinion, the idea that 901s are the best you can do in your price range is, quite frankly, ludicrous.

Remember, I have 901 series VI in my attic for a reason. I listened to them for years, not at a party for an evening.
HenryJudy, I see that you are very new to Audiogon. You will find out soon enough that a lot of knowledgeable people on this forum disagree on just about every topic, sometimes they vehemently disagree. I suggest you take in all of the opinions that you read, then go with your ears, gut and wallet in choosing a system for yourself. You are the one that has to live with the system. What one guy recommends for you might not sound good to you in your room. I am not making a recommendation for or against...I'm recommending you buy what you like. You should be able to buy a good set of used 901 series VI for about $500. That way you get to try them in your home to see if you like them. If you don't like them, you should be able to unload them for little or no loss. If you like them and just have to have a new set, sell the used set and buy yourself a new set. Don't fall for the audiophile snobbery. When it's all said and done, it's YOUR money.
Everyone should buy what they like. However, all of us, if we are honest and we can still remember that far back, made a lot of costly mistakes finding our way. In those days it was much easier to turn your product back into the market place than it is today. So decisions made now are harder to correct than they were when we were fumbling.

Smart people learn from history and the mistakes of others thereby sparing themselves the expense, disappointment and inconvenience that an emotional or otherwise unwise purchase can cause. This is why we read Consumer Reports and ask for advice on this and other forums. Apparently many, maybe most, of us believe this to be true.

That being said, it is also true that we only know what we know and, in most cases, can't see how little we know vis a vis the whole body of available knowledge. To overcome this handicap, I strive to locate and emulate the individuals who impress me as well experienced and intellectually sufficient enough to guide me by the way they spent their money. That removes much (probably all) of "personal agenda" questions from my evaluation of their selections.

So --- please find me an amplifier manufacturer who involves their company with Bose. The potential to hitchhike a partnership with a sales monster like Bose would be very tempting, I would think. But no-one does it. Could be because of the credibility bruising they would suffer from embracing a product which the majority of audiophiles denounce -- or --- it could be because Bose really is that bad relative to the various and sundry other alternatives available. I suspect the latter, having owned 901s for 4 years in the 1970s and having sold hundreds of pairs of them during that time. Quite by accident I found myself using a pair of $100 AR speakers back then and being amazed at just how much better they sounded than my prized 901s.
What a shock that was. It took me awhile but I got over my ego and my staunch evangelical recalcitrance and sold my 901s. Got a pair of B&O S-45 speakers and never looked back.

For what it's worth - that's my answer to your inquiry.

Incidentally, I own and use daily a pair of horn hybrid loudspeakers nowadays that outperform anything else I've ever heard anywhere. And I drive them with a Yamaha A-S2000 integrated which is very well up to the task. So you are on the right track amp wise in my opinion but you should look elsewhere for speakers if you value nuance, tonal accuracy and timbral fullness. Bose doesn't do that stuff. There's no harm in buying them and there's the chance that you will like them for awhile, but the most likely scenario has Bose going down in your personal experience as an unnecessary detour.
There are certain things in the Bose 901 design that are desirable, especially crossoverless full-range drivers and an array designed to interact with the room. There are many speakers designed to interact with the rom to good effect. Examples include omnis from MBL, Ohm, Mirage, and Duevel, bipolars from Def Tech, and dipoles from Quad, Alon, Martin-Logan, Magnepan, and others.

There are other things I don't agree with. For example, Amar Bose arrived at an 11/89% ratio of direct-to-reflected sound based on his measurements of Boston's Symphony Hall. The thing is, Symphony Hall is one of the most reverberant concert venues in the world. Mirage, on the other hand, has over 25 years research into psychoacoustics and they arrived at a 60/40 ratio of direct-to-reflected sound for their Omniguide-based speakers. I've been living with a pair of those for nearly 4 years and still find them to be engaging and timbre-correct.

I think the Bose concept could be a lot better than it is in the 901 format. Bose has improved their 4" driver somewhat over the 43 years they've been in production, but they could do better. GoldenEar's 4" driver has a cast frame and is light and fast enough to have usable response out to 20KHz. What if Bose made a floorstander with GoldenEar-quality drivers backloaded with a transmission line? What if there was a curved front baffle to angle 5 of these drivers for optimum dispersion and 4 drivers on the back for ambience? With a light, fast driver and transmission line loading, the active equalizer circuit wouldn't have to work so hard and would presumably be less intrusive regarding phase relationships and whatnot.

That said, I have to admit that I haven't listened to 901s for a long long time, and certainly haven't listened to Series VI, so I have no business saying exactly how good or bad their current product offering is. For all I know they've made significant improvements in how resolving and how wide the bandwidth is in their 4" drivers, but I don't know. The current driver still has a stamped frame and the cone material is still blue paper like the Series III as far as I can tell. They've evidently improved the baseline bandwidth, however, because the current active equalizer isn't compatible with Series I-IV.
i get a good laugh when ever i think back to my 501 and 901 days. had a carver receiver pushing them and thought they sounded great.

i was wrong =)
01-07-12: Johnnyb53
There are other things I don't agree with. For example, Amar Bose arrived at an 11/89% ratio of direct-to-reflected sound based on his measurements of Boston's Symphony Hall. The thing is, Symphony Hall is one of the most reverberant concert venues in the world.
I would add that there are problems with the 11/89% ratio in at least two other respects:

1)A recording of a performance in a hall will already have captured both direct and reflected sound. And if the recording is well engineered, that will have been done in a reasonably proper ratio.

2)A given ratio of direct to reflected sound that is produced by the speakers and the listening room will be perceived completely differently than the same ratio would be perceived in a concert hall, because the delay times between direct and reflected sound arrivals are vastly different in the two cases.

Putting aside issues related to quality of implementation, the basic concept itself is fundamentally flawed IMO.

Disclaimer: I have never heard a Bose speaker. I also have no desire to.

-- Al
As with any audio advise especially speakers, let your ears be the judge. That being said, I used to own the 901's powered by a Yamaha receiver, sounded great to my ears back in the day. Beat my Harvard speakers and Pioneer system hands down. Time moved on and my audio tasted changed, I hope for the better. But truly enjoyed the 901's and the Yamaha gear. If they sound good to you, that is the best way to go for you. Happy listening.
Save your money very bad choice.
almarg is unquestionably the smartest person on these forums. possibly in the world. therefore, you should follow his counsel.
01-07-12: Loomisjohnson
"almarg is unquestionably the smartest person on these forums. possibly in the world. therefore, you should follow his counsel."

Sometimes I just scan down the thread to almarg's post to get the answer.
I have extensive experience with the Bose 901s originals (now called series I) and experience with the Super Bose configuration and even the big Bose 1801 power amp. Bose can project a nice wide sound stage but it is a totally artificial concoction and only works with certain recordings. In most cases the sound is spread too wide and singers sound like they are 12 feet wide. Add the lack of full frequency response and the result is not even approaching anything near hi-fi.
If you like a wide sound stage and good 3D imaging without the loss of pinpoint location, a panel speaker will get you way more satisfaction. On your budget an Onkyo 9555 and a pair of Magnepans would work. If you must use Bose 901s the Onkyo is still a good choice. Happy hunting.
sebrof and loomis, too funny guys! and i agree. whenever an initial thread has me looking for more information, i first look for a reply by Al. his answers are most certainly all i need to know. incredible time saver as well.

cheers to Al.
For $3500 for amp & speakers there are so many great ways to split up the pie. For example, if you like "stereo everywhere" in a more realistic soundfield, you could get a pair of Mirage OMD-15s from for $1K (closeout down from $2500) plus a Rogue Cronus Magnum tube integrated amp ($2195). Or a pair of GoldenEar Triton 2's plus any decent integrated amp at $1K or less and you'd have a true full-range system. Or Magnepan 1.7s plus an Anthem 225 or the $1500 integrated amp of your choice.

You could also get a pair of Ohm Micro Tall speakers and an Anthem or Rogue Cronus Magnum integrated amp.
Now with all of the brick and mortar stores mostly gone, it makes it hard for someone buying anymore.

The Creek is a good amp, but I don't know if it will have enough power for them.

Those Bose 901 speakers really does a design flaw. Any of them from the original, to present, will not sound transparent and clean. This is a problem trying to get bass and treble from a ~4 inch speaker. Everyone since the begin had a problem trying to do so. A 4 inch is good for midrange, not bass down into the thirty Hz region, and treble up to the twenty HZ region.

If you were used to good transparent speakers (I grew up with good audio gear), and system before auditioning the Bose 901 (all series), their flaws are very obvious. Still, a lot of people do enjoy them.

There is a lot of distortion, and congestion in their sound. Forcing them to do the highs and lows (with their equalizer), also destroys their their midrange. I've heard the factory reps put on their show/demo (at dealers) using two pairs, and large amps, but always the same result. It's hard for me to recommend speakers in that range.

I would try to find a dealer, even if you need to stay out of town over a weekend (or two) to audition some audio gear. The Bose 301 series from about 15 years ago fared a lot better for making music, but where small, and couldn't play as loud. I would take some of your music with you, and see what is out there. Paradigm (any price), Klipsch, and speakers with metal tweeters should probably not be considered either. The high dollar ones are better at using metal tweeters.

Big box stores don't seem to have anything good for music anymore. One exception might be Vienna Acoustics. I've always walked past them. So I can't comment on them fairly. Most big box store speakers are geared more for home theater. If the sales people use terms like crisp highs, they probably have no experience. Also, the big box stores almost always have the bass and treble turned up in the displays. Tell them to go in the menu, and set them (bass and treble) flat. I called the headquarters of three chains complaining about this years ago. One actually listened (I believe), and that worked for only a short time.
Loomis, Sebrof, Lev, thanks very much for the nice words. Cheers back atcha!

Best regards,
-- Al
Bose brings back fun memories many many moons ago. Had a pair of 901's driven with Hafler DH500 and DH110 at home. 201's or 301's (forgot) with a Marantz receiver for college. Loved the sound and thought they were great at the time. Moved on after meeting an AUDIOPHILE at my 1st job after college. He educated and set me straight very fast :-)

Whenever I hear the word Bose now, there's an image being in a night club with music blasting from all different directions ... maybe from my drunken college days :-)

For $3500, there are many excellent choices. Used Gallo, Thiel ... I suggests attending audio shows or local dealers and audition different types of speakers. At the end if you still like 901's the best, go for it.
Russ69, You have extensive experience with a 45 year old speaker? Bose 901 is on series 6 now while your experience is with series 1. The original Vandersteen model 2 used a passive radiator and many people hated it because the bass was ill defined and boomy. So should we hate all Vandersteen speakers based on the experience of the owners of original Vandersteens. Once again I see another Bose basher with no real experience with Bose products.
Every system provides a different presentation. Some have better imaging and others provide a wider soundstage. Some have a deep sound stage and others do not. Please tell me which one is not an artificial concoction because I want my system to be exactly like the original event.
"Russ69, You have extensive experience with a 45 year old speaker? Bose 901 is on series 6 now while your experience is with series 1...Once again I see another Bose basher with no real experience with Bose products."

Yes, I'm an old guy. I owned the 901s for quite some time, starting with a receiver, then a small amp and finally with a big Phase Linear. I heard a number of systems with 901s back in the day, including some impressive show demos (back when Bose went to hi-fi shows). Some say the series I speakers were the best sounding of the series but were so power hungry that later models were made more efficient but did not improve the sound, especially in the bass region. Anyway, if that qualifies as no experience with Bose products, then I'm guilty.
I'm also an old guy who owned the Series 1 Bose 901. Drove them with a Kenwood receiver and then a Phase Linear power amp.

I had a lot of fun with them; at the time they were among the most popular "audiophile" speakers.

Have not heard any of the latest iterations but given their limitations at the frequency extremes (due to the 4" drivers as previously mentioned) it's a speaker I would no longer consider owning. There are many more fine choices today than in the early 70's.

No disrespect to any former, current, or potential owners.

Russ69, with all due respect this is not "back in the day." It's now and I've never heard anyone comment that the original 901's were best until now. The versions I heard sounded a good deal better than I remembered and I was impressed. Stereophile did a review of them in the mid 90's. It was a mixed review and they had issues with the design and the speakers difficult placement issues.
As I pointed out, my system is light years away from those 901's. I'm using expensive small monitors with tube power. But hearing the 901's was a nice reminder that there are different goals for designers. Those 901's filled the room with amazingly spacious sound. I didn't stop to analyze the timbre or image. It just sounded fun.
I agree with those who suggest the buyer hear other speakers, but no one should condemn a product without hearing it's current incarnation in more than one system and room. I've heard some highly respected speakers sound awful when paired with the wrong gear in the wrong room.


Rrog - You seem to me to be a neophyte. Because of your ignorance you assume as much about others. Fact is, Bose has never for a minute been about performance. It is a marketing triumph, pure and simple. Any contention that the latest Bose 901 is substantively different or better than previous iterations is specious and probably naive, and certainly unrealistically optimistic.

The design, as has been explained here several times by your superiors, has inherent limitations. Of course, you have the right to believe anything that comforts you, but confronting others who plainly know more about physics, speaker design and reality than you do, is a very poor decision. Lighten up. Go enjoy your speakers, if you have them, and let the guys who have maps give directions.
The Yamaha A-S2000 is a great choice 4 an amp. I like it so much, I've
added the CD-S2000. I also enjoy it fronted by a Modwright Transpoter,
The S2000 can biamp many affordable spkrs. A wise man in audio
once said, "I'd rather pick another man's wife, than his speakers 4 him."
Implying it's a deeply personal choice. Don't let the 'talking heads' dissuade you. Buy what you like & can afford, then enjoy your tunes...
I've decided to hold out for the Bose 902. It is rumored to have power grills and dual exhaust.
Henryjudy , I have some of the Latest 901's and a Yamaha a-s2000 amp and yes they are a GOOD match BUT these 901's sound their very best with Tube gear.

I AGREE BUT the Yamaha a-s2000 is a solid-state amp so how did I get the Yamaha a-s2000 to sound like a tube amp ??

Would you believe me if I told you it was a FUSE I replaced with a Audio Magic Nano-Liquid fuse.

It's true ! These audio magic fuses are a DREAM COME TRUE for all solid-state gear owners out there !!

It takes these fuses about 14 days..24/7 to hear their full potential .
I saw this on the web, somebody who claimed they did some art work for the next gen 901.

In Bose defense, many of us here got our first taste of music on Bose,and then we moved onto better equipment. Some of Bose latest products have gotten better in sound quality. Bose uses Quads stats for some of their reference in R&D work. And alot of Bose engineers are audiophiles....Keep in mind Bose in NOT an audiophile company, that is not their mission statement.
Thanks all for your valuable inputs.
As a newbie in the hi-fi world, I learn new things everyday. :)
I pretty much made up my mind to buy the Yamaha amp but still not sure which speakers to choose. I guess it would be better for me to buy a pair of used speakers that would match well with the A-S2000 amp. Can anyone recommend any good ones under $1,000?
Tell us where you are located and its just possible there will be some used speakers in your vicinity that you can evaluate in person. Audiogoners are everywhere.
I live in Howard county, Maryland.
It's kinda hard to find any stores that carries hi-fi audio equipment around here.
I've heard that Vandersteen 2Ce speakers are very good but not sure if they will match well with the Yamaha amp. Also, I tested Totem Model 1 a couple of weeks ago, and it was awesome! I just can't afford them though... :(
Henryjudy, if you love jazz music then your going love these latest 901's ! I have been to all the shows and heard A LOT speakers in my time and I think these latest 901's are among the BEST on the market !! Let your own ears be the judge !! These forums are full of bose bashers just waiting to jump when they hear the word BOSE !!....
01-10-12: Henryjudy
Thanks all for your valuable inputs.
As a newbie in the hi-fi world, I learn new things everyday. :)
I pretty much made up my mind to buy the Yamaha amp but still not sure which speakers to choose. I guess it would be better for me to buy a pair of used speakers that would match well with the A-S2000 amp. Can anyone recommend any good ones under $1,000?
Mirage OMD=15. It's that much sweeter when you consider that these are $2500/pr speakers (and truly compete there). They give you "stereo everywhere" but sound much more real and work on every kind of music. I've been happily living with mine for 3-1/2 years. At $1K/pair they're a steal. S/b great match for that Yamaha. I recommend bi-wiring or getting better jumpers.
These speakers would deliver a lot of performance for minimal money and they are located in the Tidewater area of Virginia. I'm sure they would be a good match for the Yamaha amp which, by the way, I also own and love.
There are 2 pair of Totem Model 1 - Signature on sale here on Audiogon for $1,250 and $1,4000. Seems like they could fit within your budget along with the Yamaha. If you like the Totem sound, the Arro, Sttaf, or Hawk floorstanders may be of interest, used of course.
Here's a deal in Erie, Pa. and the seller sounds like he would meet you part way since he can't ship. Maybe you could meet up at Paterno's house for the exchange. State College might be a reasonable midpoint.

I remember these speakers from the 1990s. They were excellent.;topicseen#new
Out of curiosity, I googled the Unity Fountainhead and found a thread with pictures so you can see what these speakers look like. They are much better than anything you imagined buying. If you can swing for somewhere near $2K and travel some to get them, you will be glad you did. The cabinets are made of Corian, very dead and quite expensive. I'm not sure what drivers he used but I know there is an 11 inch downward firing woofer with very good bass.
Efficiency was in the low 90s so your Yamaha would drive them with ease.

Original msrp in the mid 1990s was around $5-6K.

There was a very positive Stereophile review which you might turn up with a little research.
Be careful purchasing very very old speakers.

I sold my 901s, Hafler amp and pre to a non-audiophile friend ... practically gave it to him. He loves them and after a year or so, the drivers started to fall apart probably due to age. He contacted Bose and they replaced them with a new/latest pair for a nominal fee. EXCELLENT EXCELLENT customer service!
Mirage OMD15 seems to be a nice affordable one.
88 positive reviews on the website are very impressive.
Thanks Johnnyb53 for the information.

01-11-12: Henryjudy
Mirage OMD15 seems to be a nice affordable one.
88 positive reviews on the website are very impressive.
They'll also be a great match with your Yamaha A-S2000. Follow Mirage's instructions on break-in and you'll be richly rewarded.
I've found a pair of used Proac Studio 125 speakers at $1,000. What do you guys think?