How Screwed Am I?

Disclaimer: I'm a newb but I am aware I didn't make the best equipment choices when I bought this stuff. My only defense is it was five years ago, I was in a hurry, and I didn't spend much cash.

I've got a Sony STR-DE845 receiver and a Bose Acoustimass 6 Series II satellite system (it's got single cubes, not doubles, and a passive "bass module"). Please, any ranting against Bose will be preaching to the choir at this point. I will indeed upgrade my speakers...later.

I want to get some bass out of my system, and the Bose bass module is godawful. So I'm shopping for an inexpensive (<$300) active subwoofer. The problem is that the satellites run through the bass module, and the super-secret Bose crossover is apparently set around 280 Hz, which is way high. Too high to use an active subwoofer or the receiver as the crossover. The receiver will only crossover up to 180 Hz, and active subwoofers around 120 to 180. So not only would I lose 180-280 Hz, but I might damage the satellites. So it looks like I need to keep the Bose bass module just for its crossover utility.

Finally I figured, hey, I'll just leave the Bose system as is and plug the active subwoofer into the receiver's LFE jack. But I couldn't find any stats on what where the LFE crossover is for the receiver. I've seen reports of 70, 80, 100, and 120 Hz for various receivers, so I assume it's somewhere in that range. My plan had been to buy a subwoofer that went pretty high (some go up to 200Hz) to try and better match the satellites, but it looks like no matter what its range the sub would be limited by whatever the LFE output fed it.

It looks like my only option (assuming I can only afford a subwoofer at this point) is to buy an active subwoofer, plug it into the LFE, and deal with the fact that there'll be a big gap of about 180 Hz between the top of the LFE (around 100) and the bottom of the satellites (around 280).

Oh, and I have one more question. Is my LFE output only going to work as the .1 channel when I'm playing a DVD in 5.1? Or will LFE output work for regular stereo inputs as well?

Any constructive comments would be appreciated. Such as, are my assumptions correct? Are my conclusions correct? Does anyone have any alternate proposals on how to solve this? Is my only option one of sucktitude?


- G
If you keep the bose system the way it is and add a powered sub, there shouldn't be any gaps. Don't worry about the output of the LFE, you should be able to cut off frequency extension on the sub itself. Check best buy, I think they sell Athena subs, which apparently are decent for the money. (in your price range)

As far as I know, the LFE channel is ative in both stereo and surround modes. So you should be good there. If you are going to upgrade the speakers in the near future, I might just hold off buying a sub and try some full range-ish speakers for the front first.
You should be fine if you run the new active sub off of the LFE port and run the bose system (sub and sats) off of the speaker level outputs from the Sony.

The Sony will output to the LFE channel anytime a DSP mode is used. So, unless you specify 2-channel direct or stereo, you will send the low pass information to the LFE line-level output.

Good luck. It seem you have "learned" something about consumer level audio components. It doesn't really cost much more to get a fine sounding system, you just need education. And you can't get that from manufacturers that depend on advertising and the media to push their products. Heck, for what you likely paid for your current setup, you could get a really decent sounding 2-channel system that would smoke it!

My advice is this: Read everything! Look to this site, AudioAsylum, AudioCircle and AudioKarma for information. There are some new technologies like class-T amplifiers that could revolutionize low cost audiophile systems. Add one of the new "giant killer" DVD/CD players and a pair of DIY speakers and you could possibly have a level of sound quality that previously costed thousands of dollars and do it for maybe $5-700 total.

It's a good time to be a budding audiophile!!!!


We use Bose speakers without the sub lots of times in home theater installations. We just add a powered sub and use the crossover in the receiver. Bose even sells the sats without the sub.
Here's a different perpective. Why not put the money towards the best pair of monitors you can afford now instead of a (sub)woofer? Sounds like you plan to scrap the Bose at some point any way. I think $300 on new monitors will give you better sound than tacking a $300 subwoofer onto the Bose system. Plus it's a lot easier.
Very screwed! And you will continue to be as long as you listen to Bose speakers ....
i have read that bose have a good resale value. if you are not happy with them i'm thing resale. you can then start over with a pair of full range floor standers. if you are going to run a reciever without seperate amps, i would suggest something that does not take lots of power. find a place that has a pair of klipschhorn and give them a listen, see if you like the horn sound. think about buying used speakers, you will spent half to one third the retail price.
Sell the Bose and add it to the $300. Buy a used set of speakers with the new total. You WILL be happier in the long run.
You have received some good advice above. Even though I previously answered that , yes, what you propose will work, I would also suggest, as some of the previous posters did, that you simply spend your budgeted dollars a a pair of different speakers.

If you want to stay at a budget level, the Athena line of speakers is considered to be an excellent soounding speaker for the $. They are very efficient so they don't require a lot of power, and from what I've read, they are good enough that they could be used in the future when you upgrade.

Athena makes a highly regarded floor standing speaker that list for $499 and gets great reviews. These are often sold at AudioAdvisor for $359-399 and sometime include shipping. They also sell this line at Best Buy, but I've never seen them priced as low as AudioAdvisor. Oh, and AudioAdvisor has a no-risk 30 day return policy.

Anyway, its a journey! Take your time and decide what is most important to you. Do some homework and it will pay huge dividends.....


Just make sure that if you try to sell the Bose, don't tell the customer what you think about the system. Anybody with one of those $200-$400 all-in-one surround systems would probably be happy to upgrade to a Bose!!! system. You might want to go out and shop for the speaker configuration you like and then decide what your next step is. Now that you are taking the time to plan ahead, I would figure out what your "final" system would be. That way your chance of making a similar mistake is lessened. Find the speakers you like and can live with financially and then plan your course. It took me abut 5 years of patience to get my dream system put together. $5,000 worth of speakers for $1600. I'm not saying go this anal route but a little planning can go a long way. Good luak Dan
One basic problem with the Bose approach is that it tries to make the "subwoofer" cover too much ground, and nothing you've contemplated fixes that problem. You sure won't find a subwoofer (at any price) that "better matches" the Bose satellites. Bose makes its subs to match its sats, and--at least that far--it knows what it's doing.

In other words, you can't improve on what you've got except by replacing it.
I gotta agree with the "Sell the Bose" suggestion and add that to the budget.
Not sure how big of a priority surround sound is for you, but i reccommend selling the bose, try to get 4-500 for it.
Take that 300 you have and pick up an Athena Subwoofer as earlier suggested, then take what you got from the Bose system and see if you can score some Jm Lab Chorus 707S's. Excellent sound for the budget, im running a pair of them and honestly i like them better than my last 3 sets of speakers and one of those sets cost me 1,600.

From there you can save up for a center and surrounds if needed, but in the meanwhile a pair of 707S's and an Athena SUb with that reciever, even tho it is not "surround" will smoke that blose acraptimess system.
This won't solve your bass problems, but it will get you WAY better sound for a very good price. Just going to some small yet "decent" speakers may give you the richer, fuller sound that you desire. Sean
Thanks for the responses; they're much appreciated.

I hadn't considered selling the Bose system; I've bought from ebay but never sold. I checked out other people's listings for an Acoustimass 6 Series II system and surprisingly it looks like I can get at least $300 for this old system! At least this time I've got the Bose reputation working in my favor. Plus I've got the white model, which I know drives the ladies crazy.

So my next step is planning for bigger and better things. I want the best of both worlds; i.e. good home theater and good music, but I've got a fairly small apartment. Is this possible? Is there someone who makes a satellites/sub combo that sounds great for music? Or would I need something bigger than satellites? Maybe mix and match, with good music speakers for front, a specialized center speaker, moderate satellites for the rear, and a decent sub? How do people get the best of both worlds?
No "micro" satellite is going to overcome the basic problem with the Bose system. The minimum acceptable music/HT system would be something like four Paradigm Atoms and matching center and sub. You're talking something like $1k for the set. If you want something a little better, replace the fronts and sub with units higher up the food chain.

If even $1k is too much for you right now, you'd be better off buying only part of a system now, rather than stretching your dollars to cover 6 speakers. A pair of Titans and a PDR-10 will run you $600 or so. Save your pennies, and add a center (first) and rears later.
i agree with Pabelson, buy the best speakers you can affoed now. no sat-sub system will do what a good pair of full range speakers can do. just compair the bose accustmass 12 to a pair of bose full range speaker at half the cost. the full range sounds twice as good.
You've been screwed real good by Dr. Bose and his marketing Minions......Sell the Bose and get some decent Paradigms, PSB's, B&W's etc........
One thing about home theater: concentrate on making it sound -good- first, and concentrate on making it come from all directions later. You will be much happier putting your money into a nice 2-channel setup, then adding the other channels later as you can afford it. You could even just get two crappy speakers from a garage sale and use those for surrounds until you can get something better.
My last post: in other words, I agree with Pabelson.

The "you are there" sensation that home theater is supposed to provide comes from the quality and setup of the equipment, not the number of speakers. A good 2-channel setup will send shivers down your spine while watching a movie way more than a mediocre 5-channel setup will.