Speakers: all-time worst

What is the all-time worst (home audio speaker systems, not the plastic cabinets or ceiling types) loudspeaker system that you have heard, and why? In other words, the all-time worst value.
Bose 501s from quite a few years ago were pretty bad.
ESS Heil had tweeters which could take your head off cleanly but were marketed as detailed.
Thw Wilson Witt I . The dealer would not take them back on a trade for the Watt/Puppy 3 months after the sale.
Come on guys... Bose 901's take this title hands down...Yeech...
Optional Bose stereo in my car.
I'd have to say that the Bose Acoustimass whatevers get my vote for worst speaker. annoying highs, boomy, boomy bass, and midrange? what's that? these speakers don't seem to know. worst part about these speakers is how many non-stereo junkies buy them and think they rule. ick!
Any speaker you buy in a parking lot out of the back of a white van.
Notwithstanding all the rubbish out there, I am in complete agreement that Bose deserve this title, regardless of which of their products you select, not only for their products but also for their miseducation of so many music lovers - who now believe they have the best, but find they are losing interest and faith in recorded music. It is one thing to produce a bad product, but to fool so many people into thinking it is not harmful to you means you deserve a fate akin to the tobacco industry.
Ditto on the tobacco industry. Tobacco serves no useful or positive purpose, AND IT SHOULD BE SMITED FROM THE EARTH!!
I have to buy into the bose acoustimass camp. Their five speaker system sounds like a couple of cheap clock radio's wired together. A close runner up is the set of the ultra-moderne products from B(ad) & O(verpriced) back in the early nineties (the last time I went into one of their showrooms). Silent beauties they were.
the heils had a realy rough top that you couildnt sdtay in the room with. then if someone used an at ccartridge with shibata styulus, the two having a similar top, were probably the first commercially available laser. dyanaco a25s slunded better.
The worst were Acousti Phase sold by Crazy Eddies in NYC back in the 70's. They would disconnect the tweeters on JBL L100's or put speaker upside down and then play Acousti Phase with an equalizer hidden away to improve the sound. They sold many of these speakers with Kenwood receivers which they would sell for close to dealers cost. (They made big bucks on the Acousti Phase speakers though) Second place goes to Ultralinear! Also mid seventies.
In the late 70's I heard "Savard" speakers. Very efficient, very cheap drivers, very dishonest demo. They sold based on loudness - did not let you adjust volume so a/b was at equal volume levels. The demo'd against Bose 901's WITHOUT the Bose equalizer in the circuit. Otherwise, the Bose killed them. That's right. They were that bad.
Come on people - he said speakers not noise makers.
EPI microtower
Bose certainly deserves the all around award for hype, horribleness, and hubris. However, I once heard a pair of cheap Kenwoods that were so bad the manager actually told me to go to another store to buy speakers as a kindness.
I didn't know how much I loved this site until I read all the glowing comments about Bose. I didn't think there were that many people who hated the company as much as I did. The really sad part is that every time a person comes to my home to service something (Air conditioner, telephone, or whatever) they look at my seven foot tall Soundlabs Ultimates and every person says essentially the same thing "I bet those will really blow the walls out!" (or move furniture, or whatever) and then, I'll bet those will even beat my BOSE! (Really?)
Hands-down, bar-none anything Dr. Bose has ever touched. I cringe at the mention of the name. How anyone with any sort of sensory apparatus whatsoever could buy into his sound is way beyond me.
I really feel sorry for you guys. You have it all wrong on the Bose. Excessive amounts of phase shift and no mid range is exactly what the public wants!
Landes, your sarcasm is exactly what Audiogon wants! (Or at least what I want). Please, keep it up.
I once had a girlfriend over to my house to watch a movie on my Hi-fi. I have a pair of ProAc 1SCs and she said they sounded nice. However, she went on to ask me if I thought they were as good as a BOSE speaker system?!? I was so shocked I did not know what to say, I did manage to assure her they were better! I had a pair of BOSE speakers about 10 years ago. I can't remember which model though. They had two tweaters, one facing straight and one at a 45 degree angle, they called it some kind of special imaging thing. They had more BOOMY bass than any speaker I have ever heard in my life and all out of two ported 8" drivers. Face it, there are a lot of bad speakers but Mr. Bose takes the cake. Bose is a false prophet who misguides the uninformed.
Bose Blows the Most. Even setting aside the rediculous over pricing, and their marketting that is killing high end audio, they are still some of the worst speakers I have ever heard. The AcoustiMudds, the 9 mids 0 tweeters 1 helluva price model, and everything in between - they are all terrible. If I had to choose between Bose, Cerwin Vega, and a used tire, I'd take the tire and beat it with a stick to make sound. I am always saddened by the high end audio industry's lack of marketting ability, when a friend asks me if my "pretty good audiophile" system has Bose speakers. I kindly inform him that I did not pay for advertising, but for wood, drivers, and a thing called "music".
Hey guys-- Not only did Bose speakers suck, they didn't suck very well. Add the Bose Super Radio--or whatever name the thing is currently marketed under--for nearly $400 (you've all seen the ads). It's hyped as sound Nirvana. I've heard one an acquaintance was comparing to my Avalon Arcuses. P.T. was right.
What is it about Bose speakers? Several times now in casual conversation with different colleagues the topic of audio has come up and when they find out I'm into high end audio, they proudly announce that they, too, are audiophiles-- they've "just bought one of those Bose systems with the dinky little speakers and gee, they sound great!" I haven't listened to the Bose Acoustimass system... what is it that makes it attractive to those wishing to "step up"... is it successful advertising that positions Bose as "better", or something about the sound (e.g., a forward, presentation coupled with a boomy subwoofer to give a superficially appealing sound?) Steve
Steve--Yes and yes.
Try selling hifi for a living, and the Bose bug will catch you. When asked what I do for a, living I answer: "I sell high end audio". Their reply: "Do you sell Bose?" (often pronounced: "Bossee"). Really gets old.
Gino- What were the results of the guy comparing his Bose radio to your Avalons??? ............................................ .................. Re: Speakers: all-time worst Hey guys-- Not only did Bose speakers suck, they didn't suck very well. Add the Bose Super Radio--or whatever name the thing is currently marketed under--for nearly $400 (you've all seen the ads). It's hyped as sound Nirvana. I've heard one an acquaintance was comparing to my Avalon Arcuses. P.T. was right. By Gino on 04-24-00
I dont know why you are all beating up on Bose. I heard the Acoustimass system last week at a well known chain electronics retailer and was stunned!!! Their purity of tone and bloomy sound stage really was quite special. The presentation was open,airy and detailed without even the mearest hint of the grain or boxiness associated with lesser speakers. Highly recommended and dare I say a contender for class A (Restricted LF)...... OK only joking. These speakers are complete and utter crap! And they ain't cheap!
I dont know why you are all beating up on Bose. I heard the Acoustimass system last week at a well known chain electronics retailer and was stunned!!! Their purity of tone and bloomy sound stage really was quite special. The presentation was open,airy and detailed without even the mearest hint of the grain or boxiness associated with lesser speakers. Highly recommended and dare I say a contender for class A (Restricted LF)...... OK only joking. These speakers are complete and utter crap! And they ain't cheap!
I just don't know why those aweful speakers have such a big market. People only know about bose and JBL. I live in Canada, and the biggest electronic franchise here is FutureShop, they have stores all from Halifax to Victoria. The main speaker stream they carring are JBL, Bose, and Polk. Polk is OK when you look at other two.
The Carver "Amazing Loudspeaker" was a terrible value. $1500 (in the mid '80s) for piss-poor performance. Speaking of Bose... at a (college) party a number of years ago the host was blasting his little Bose 201s. Someone who had a little too much to drink took a knife and stabbed the tweeter of one of the 201s, completetly mangling it. Net result, no audible difference!
c'mon, Bose is an incredible musical instrument when compared to Cerwin-Vega, the all time worst box to ever be marketed, anywhere, at any time.
I'm glad I'm not he only one who thinks BOSE is one of the worst speakers. I remember when I was in high school a friend of mine was telling me how the BOSE 901's were the best sounding speakers. Even back then, with my limited audio experience, when I heard them in a store I could never understand why people thought this. The various array of drivers was supposed to simulate a "live" sound. Obviously they've done a great job in the marketing department because every major electronics store and department store sells them. The thing that upsets me is that things like the "Acoustimass" system are not inexpensive. People could get so much more enjoyment for their money if they would go to the audio specialty shops instead of the "Best Buy/Circuit City" type places. But most people are like sheep I guess.
Stop bashing Bose! They're the smartest people on the planet! Dr. Amar is a pure genius, smarter than Albert Einstein. Bose has taken a piece of junk and using smart marketing and advertising, built an audio empire. Their board of directors must be fun to be around because they're always laughing all the way to the bank! P.T. Barnum was right. There's a sucker born every minute. So, let's bash something else. How about Infinity?
I believe if I cracked open my speakerphone and smoke detector and mounted their drivers in a shoe box the sound would be more pleasant than any offering from Bose.
Okay, I'll take the bait and go after something other than Bose: PSB. At least the lineup below the Bronze. I've heard these speakers in a variety of setting at different stores and, while they are not godawful, I think they're pretty unimpressive. I really don't get how others can compare them to, say, Monitor Audio or Paradigm or even B&W of comparable prices and pick the PSB. A very dull, artificial sound in my book. Or am I just hearing them in extremely poor setups?
Bose anything!
I agree with several of the respondents. I had a Bose 901 about 14 years ago and the sound was RUBBISH. Unfortunately I fell prey to the MIT hype, and should have known better. At least the experience thought me what NOT to listen for and subsequently I bought a Spendor LS35a, B&W CDM1, and a Contour 3.3 by Dynaudio.
While Bose must take the cake for making uniformly bad speakers for a long time, my nominee is the Wilson Grand Slamm. At an audition lovingly set up by a dealer, I was mainly impressed by the "bleeding ears treble" nature of the speakers. Sounded a bit like a pair of JBL studio monitors, but without the stigma of low cost. If you really want to spend $60K+ on stereo, build a well-designed room and put good-soounding speakers in it!
You Guys are cracking me up!!! I'm laughing my head off reading the comments! This is better than a good book and I do agree about the bose speakers. Bose, as the saying goes "All Highs and no lows-come to think about it, what highs!!?? Joe Lienhard
When I was in college, a twice annual lampoon of the student newspaper was eagerly anticipated by all. Mind you, this is the university where Dr. Bose taught, and still teaches. Well, in one memorable lampoon issue, there was and advert for "Blose" speakers (very easy to alter the logo, even well before the days of Photoshop). Like the Bose adverts of the day, the text was a mish-mash of pseudo-scientific babble about acoustics. In particular there was a description of the "revolutionary" port system in the speakers which required less air than the output drivers. Or to quote, "This research breakthrough has resulted in a remarkable speaker: one that blows more than it sucks". Enough said.
Cardinal, are you saying that Bose is "blow" the quality standards of those seeking music? I certainly agree! (Great story, thanks!)
As I tell people who come into my audio shop here in Austin...Bose was recently given the franchise to outfit all the patients rooms at the State School for the Deaf here in Texas. About says it all. By the way the quip about the tire and the stick was hilarious...thanks for all the laughs.
There was a chain store in the Dallas area several years back called Highland Superstore's. That now defunct franchise used to have a dedicated Bose listening room. In this torture chamber from left to right was a wall starting with the BOSE 901 all the way to the "new" accoustamas. EVERY one of these had the same boomy, bland sound! No wonder the sold so many of the "little cube" speakers - why not get the same crappy sound from something 1/3rd the size? And what was up with those speaker designs??? Tweeters firing out the top and sides at wierd angles. Cones upside down in the cabinet that were supposed to give you "stereo everywhere" as the speakers fired out the side AT EACH OTHER! Of course all of this was explained by some computer graphic or speaker cut-away illustration. By far the crappiest, overpriced, overhyped pieces of sh-- on the planet! A car salesman just lost a sale last week because I was all ready to buy a new car from him until he told me it came with a "premium Bose sound system". I told him to knock down the price - so I could afford to get that crap ripped out of the vehicle - and he looked at me like I was nuts. Didn't I know that was an "extra" he was throwing in? The biggest tragedy is that it's companies like Bose that are putting real speaker manufacturers out of business. By the way, my vote for second crappiest speaker is Cerwin-Vega. I had a buddy in college that used to crank his up all the time - now he's almost deaf!
Martin Logan arius...in the set up i heard ss Conrad Johnson amp and rest...sounded lifeless, dead...wonder all this reviews..it must be some trick! Also Klipsch (any)should stay frozen in the 50's....
OK, OK, you guys probably have it right with the Bose 901s (or the Bose mini satellite Home Theater System). But in terms of today's systems, I think the sound of the Wilson MAXX speakers is pretty poor. Very exxageratted presentation.
Bose reps in the 70s had an insane demo I guess to show the durability of the 901s fool-range drivers. They wouuld plug the speaker directly into a wall socket. It would rip the cones to shreds but remain buzzing at 60hz. With technology like that who needs sound?
I had a pair of Bose 501's back in the early 70's before I knew better. They were the greatest thing since sliced bread in my opinion, I know better now. The accoustimass speakers are okay, just way overpriced for what they offer, excellent marketing Dr. Amar, other high end manufacturers could learn (some have including Vandersteen, NHT, Magnepan Paradigm and others I'm sure I've left out)I think Wilson is an overall poor value read OVERPRICED in my opinion). I think Cerwin Vega might take the ultimate prize from what I've heard of their boomy boxes. They absolutely suck the worst yet they continue to sell.......go figure.
Well, let's throw in something made in Britain - the Celestion Ditton 25; a speaker designed to take advantage of the fact that 12inch drivers disqualified the speaker from Purchase Tax back in the 70s (professional, you see..) Unfortunately, they also disqualified it from having anything other than awful boomy bass, supported by two HF13OOs wired in parallel for the mid and a T2000 tweeter that sounded awful. With the grilles off, it looked like a homebrew and sounded worse. Even in the 70s it was bad, I got shot of them soonest and changed them for - Celestion Ditton 66s! Yes, the same philosophy (12" units, ABR and all) but done properly and sounding pretty good until I got the Gale 401s with the coooool chrome end caps - enough said.
Great Story Cardinal that is funny