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Sound Engineer and Entrepreneur Amar Bose Dead At 83

timothy posted about a year ago | from the audiophiles-can-just-be-polite-ok? dept.

Technology 129

countach44 writes with the news that Amar Bose, founder of the electronics company that bears his name, has died at age 83. "Dr. Bose founded Bose Corporation almost 50 years ago with a set of guiding principles centered on research and innovation. That focus has never changed, and never will," said Bob Maresca, president of Bose Corporation. "Bose Corporation will remain privately held, and stay true to Dr. Bose's ideals. We are as committed to this as he was to us. Today and every day going forward, our hearts are with Dr. Bose; and we will do everything we can to make him proud of the company he built." The slideshow that accompanies the MIT posting shows some of his sound-related inventions over the years.

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Eh (5, Funny)

Desler (1608317) | about a year ago | (#44266059)

No highs. No lows. It's Bose.

Re:Eh (5, Funny)

rei_slashdot (558039) | about a year ago | (#44266107)

BOSE: Buy Other Speaker Equipment

or... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44266363)

Better Off with Something Else

Re:Eh (1)

djl4570 (801529) | about a year ago | (#44266843)

Wasn't Bose behind the "direct reflecting" loudspeaker? It couldn't have been designed by an engineer with a basic understanding of reflected waveforms, phase and wave interference. I listened to a set of these at a stereo shop in Monterey, California back in 1983. The space in front of me with sound, but the violin solo was distorted and smeared across the space.

Re:Eh (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44268107)

And since this was California there is no doubt that the speakers where positioned correctly in that specific room.....and by the way, your understanding of basic this and that is clearly much better....

Re:Eh (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44266321)

Dunlavy.

Re:Eh (3, Interesting)

rwa2 (4391) | about a year ago | (#44266403)

Oh yay, all of the audiophiles will be squirming out of the woodwork on this one :D

I really like my triport headphones, and despite having a bunch of other gear, the little Companion II speakers keep migrating around the house after my wife's laptop or one of the tablets. Now I didn't pay actual money for them, I got them both from trading in rewards points on credit cards or from work or crap like that back before I figured out how to redeem them for gift cards or something more liquid. But they are noticeably better than most of the other junk headphones / earbuds / speakers I have. I can pick out more details in my music, and bass seldom hits the weary resonant monotone drone that comes out of most other speakers I've played with.

The headphones are comfortable since they cup your skull around your earlobes. The speakers are relatively compact for the sound that comes out of them and have 2 sets of RCA inputs. They start to sound a bit muddy when you turn them all the way up, but we never really need to.

Yes, Bose crap is probably overpriced, but it certainly seems as if some science and engineering and testing went into them, compared to other crap.
Yeah, I'm not an audiophile. And I don't really want to become one either.

Re:Eh (1)

Lunix Nutcase (1092239) | about a year ago | (#44266431)

Audiophiles? Spending half the price of what Bose charges for better quality makes one an audiophile?

Re:Eh (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44266607)

If there's anything that compares at all to the QuietComforts at half the price, I'd love to hear about it!

Re:Eh (2)

icebike (68054) | about a year ago | (#44266731)

If there's anything that compares at all to the QuietComforts at half the price, I'd love to hear about it!

True.
That is one best products Bose makes.

I didn't say they were the best headphones, but they are plenty good enough for most listening.
And they take so much background noise out you can actually hear what you are listening to.
I sometimes use them just for that purpose without listening to anything.

Re:Eh (3, Informative)

ATMAvatar (648864) | about a year ago | (#44266735)

There you go. [newegg.com]

Re:Eh (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44266851)

I'm not sure you get the point of the QuietComfort range. The only highs and lows I'll be enjoying without noise cancellation is from the construction work outside our office.

Re:Eh (2)

schnell (163007) | about a year ago | (#44267517)

Audiophiles? Spending half the price of what Bose charges for better quality makes one an audiophile?

I am not an "audiophile." Not even close, and I do gauche things like listen to MP3s (gasp). That being said, I have read all about how awful Bose speakers are in this thread, but I have not seen anybody offer an answer to this question:

What are the speakers that are much better than Bose and/or cheaper? I'm not trying to defend Bose, I just don't know much about "high end" audio gear and I'm curious.

Re:Eh (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44267639)

Klipsch, Def Tech, Infinity, B&W (Bowers & Wilkins -- the lower end stuff is cheaper but they get much more expensive), Martin Logan, Energy... The list really goes on but that's a good start off the top of my head.

Re:Eh (3, Interesting)

StormUP (892787) | about a year ago | (#44267641)

Almost anything at the same price point is going to be better. If you want better AND cheaper, it is a bit harder, but very easily doable. Bose himself may have created some great products in his day, but the company for the last 20 years or so has mostly been putting out overpriced crap. Personally, I just use Polk monitor 40's in for my side and rear speakers in my surround setup. I think they sound better than Bose and it cost me something like $200 for 2 pairs. My left and right mains though are Poly Natalia's I built. Link to the design: http://blackdahlia.com/the_poly_natalia__a_diy_loudsp.htm [blackdahlia.com] The Poly Natalia's are pretty amazing even compared to my Ultimate Ears Triple Fi 10 headphones (retail $400, but they were available for $100 about once a year when in production)

Re:Eh (2)

AmiMoJo (196126) | about a year ago | (#44268755)

There are lots of products that sound "better" than Bose for a lot less money, depending on your definition of "better".

Bose do not aim to accurately reproduce the sound. They aim to sound good to people who don't care about accuracy, which is probably most people. I'm mostly into headphones and my equipment doesn't have any a tone control on, no equalizer or other processing. Of course I still get fantastic bass on some tracks, but that's because that was recorded and I prefer it because otherwise all music sounds the same.

A track recorded in the 70s is bound to sound different to one recorded in the 80s or 90s unless you have a lot of processing, which is what Bose have. A lot of Sony gear seems to be similar. Some people like it, some people don't.

Re:Eh (1)

jrumney (197329) | about a year ago | (#44268837)

Pretty much any big boxy speaker is going to be better than Bose. Consider the big boxy floor standing audiophile speakers to be like uncompressed WAV or some really expensive smaller models that sound just as good could be like FLAC. You can also buy some smaller bookshelf sized ones that might be analogous to 320kbps MP3 (most people who doing a direct comparison and know what to listen for would consider these to be just as good). Bose is like 128kbps MP3 (artifacts are audible, but most people tolerate them for streaming audio if it eliminates rebuffering), and all those mini-hifis from consumer electronics companies are like WAV files sampled at 16kHz 8 bit (just scaled down boxes without the research that Bose does into making scaled down sound semi-tolerable).

A lot of people have wives, and wives don't tend to like a pair of massive speakers that hubby insists need to be at least 3 feet away from any walls. That is the market Bose is aiming for.

Re:Eh (1)

roarkarchitect (2540406) | about a year ago | (#44268943)

Aka Klipshhorns - Great sound - very very efficient. I was able to bounce my wife's good china with an appropriate Pink Floyd song and 5 watts of power.

Re:Eh (1)

jd2112 (1535857) | about a year ago | (#44267767)

Audiophiles? Spending half the price of what Bose charges for better quality makes one an audiophile?

No, Spending double or more what Bose equipment costs for worse quality and then bragging about the quality of your hyper-expensive equipment makes you an audiophile.

Re:Eh (4, Informative)

russbutton (675993) | about a year ago | (#44267899)

I'm not sure at what level you think "hyper-expensive" is. The top end Bose loudspeaker, the 901, is only about $1400/pair, which is pretty pedestrian these days. To me you'd have to drop $20,000 or more to begin to get into what I think is "hyper-expensive". Certainly you can drop $50,000 to $100,000 to $200,000 on a two-channel system without much trouble. That's where I put the phrase, "hyper-expensive"

I'm an Old School, two channel audiophile. To me the word "audiophile" is someone who loves listening to music in such a way that it attempts to approximate the original live performance. This is really only relevant to acoustic music.

Sadly to many others, the word "audiophile" means someone who is anal-retentive to the max and spends insane amounts of money on cables, room treatments and a lot of other wacky stuff.

I'm a big band trumpet player and my wife is a professional violinist, so acoustic music is what we listen to. I love hearing the life-like quality a good recording can bring into my home. I've probably got about $6,000 total into my audio rig and feel that it sounds as good as any other system I've ever heard, at *any* price. Oh, and I use 14 gauge zip cord for speaker wire.

If you want to hear truly extreme hi-end sound without having to sell your wife and children into slavery, check out the Linkwitz Orion system at:

http://www.linkwitzlab.com/orion_challenge.htm [linkwitzlab.com]

Could you get sound this good with the top end Bose stuff? Not a chance. Not even close. The Bose 901 was a screwball idea when it was new, but it was fun.

But if you really want to ruin your life, go hear a Linkwitz Orion rig. Three dimensional, detailed, life-like and a great pleasure.

14 gauge zip cord (4, Informative)

dutchwhizzman (817898) | about a year ago | (#44268279)

There's a good, measurable, audible reason you want to use low resistance cables for speakers. Speakers have a resonance frequency. When the membrane is pushed/pulled out of the center the membrane will want to move back to the center. Because of the speed it's traveling, it will overshoot that and there's your resonance. To stop that from happening, you'd ideally want the coil that's attached to the membrane to be "shorted out" on the outside. That way, the electrical energy generated by the coil moving over the magnet will be converted in to heat and the resonance will get dampened. Good amplifiers have a "damping rate" that's high. Essentially, that means they are very good at shorting out the speakers to eliminate resonance. The thing is, speakers themselves have a very low impendance, typically 4-8 Ohms. To effectively dampen out those speakers, you'll need a low resistance, way below 1 Ohms. This resistance is for the entire circuit combined, amplifier, speakers and all the connecting terminals in between. Having speaker cables that add a few tenth of an Ohm to this resonance will make your speakers sound "like someone is banging on a cardboard box" for lows and "a bit like a tin can" for highs. This effect is clearly measurable, and audible and has nothing to do with audiophile subjective arguments.

Low resistance cable doesn't mean hellishly expensive by itself. You can get good results by keeping your wires short, using as little interconnects as possible and making sure the resistance at the interconnects is as low as possible. Low resistance is achieved by tightly coupling as much surface area as possible. If you have screw type terminals, make sure to tighten them sufficiently. You usually can get affordable 4mm2 Oxygen Free Copper (OFC) wire for a reasonable price at electronics stores. The wire with the fine strands will remain bendable and in theory will give you "better transients". Since audio frequencies don't really get influenced by that I personally think it's not that important, but having cable that will flex will make it a lot easier to put in place and work with. You could spend fortunes on brand cabling, silver cabling, gold plated silver cabling and whatnot, but for any "normal" application, the 4mm2 copper wire is just fine.

Re:14 gauge zip cord (1)

russbutton (675993) | about a year ago | (#44268301)

If you were to examine the Linkwitz website, you'd find that the Orion loudspeaker is tri-amplified with an active crossover and that it calls for four channels of amplification on each loudspeaker. That's 8 runs from amplifier to loudspeakers. That's a *LOT* of cable.

I remember buying my cable from Parts Express. It was several years ago. All I can say is that EVERY time a serious audiophile comes to my home to hear the Orions, they come away filled with audio lust.

I recently purchased a new DAC from Peachtree at Music Lovers in Berkeley. I auditioned it in their $100k+ "reference" system - Big Wilson Audio loudspeakers, etc, etc. Their reference system sounded good. As good as my own. No better. Both were 3 dimensional and imaged well. Both were natural and detailed. But soup to nuts, my rig, amplification, loudspeakers, cables, turntable, etc, etc, comes in around $6k.

Re:14 gauge zip cord (1)

AmiMoJo (196126) | about a year ago | (#44268773)

Cat 5 network cable works really well and is dirt cheap. Ideal for cross-overs too.

Re:14 gauge zip cord (1)

thegarbz (1787294) | about a year ago | (#44268851)

Why use a cable that is mostly made up of insulation? For the same sized copper crossection as Cat5 you can get a MUCH smaller and cheaper cable.

Re:14 gauge zip cord (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44269555)

For the same sized copper crossection as Cat5 you can get a MUCH smaller and cheaper cable.

Not cheaper. There's so much CAT5 just lying about unused that it's essentially free.

Re:14 gauge zip cord (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44269565)

Because it's pretty when you remove the perfectly good cabling from your headphones and replace it with multicoloured bunches of twisted pairs(headphone fora are a good place to see this, occasionally followed with the admission that it actually sounds like mud now), even if it does offer very poor performance because of all the insulator.

Re:14 gauge zip cord (1)

gopla (597381) | about a year ago | (#44268811)

I can't make out are being funny here

Are you serious! Do you even know what you are talking about?

Re:Eh (1)

thegarbz (1787294) | about a year ago | (#44268855)

I'm not sure at what level you think "hyper-expensive" is. The top end Bose loudspeaker, the 901, is only about $1400/pair, which is pretty pedestrian these days. To me you'd have to drop $20,000 or more to begin to get into what I think is "hyper-expensive".

Maybe absolute cost isn't what the GP was talking about. The top end Bose 901 is only $1400 a pair and yet bang for buck wise is bested by many other speakers costing the same. It's hyper-expensive for what you get.

Re:Eh (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44269207)

The little people use their equipment to listen to music.

True Audiophiles use music to listen to their equipment.

Re:Eh (1)

nabsltd (1313397) | about a year ago | (#44266639)

Yes, Bose crap is probably overpriced, but it certainly seems as if some science and engineering and testing went into them, compared to other crap.

The only "science and technology" that goes into Bose products is how to make the product more visually attractive (even Apple could take lessons from Bose) and configure the built-in equalizer to alter the sound to make people respond more positively to it. By definition, this make the reproduction less accurate.

Even insanely cheap speakers are better than Bose, simply because they are at least trying to reproduce sound accurately. They may not succeed, but they aren't any less accurate than Bose products. Just a small bit of money will buy you far better sound reproduction, and equal money will get you far better.

Re:Eh (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44266433)

Bose sold mostly crap speakers and crap products for an inflated price. The 501's were actually pretty good (I got a good trade-in for some 501's when I decided to get real speakers that had high fidelity). But mostly, it was all based on marketing and betting that customers did not know better.

Note well, that the President of The MathWorks (Jack Little, just a few miles down Route 9 from Bose) idealizes Bose (as well as idealizing Bill Gates), and operates much the same way. He actually gives (or used to give) Bose Wave units for each employees' 10th anniversary.

If you are a MATLAB user, have you noticed very high annual maintenance fees, for something that does not seem to produce any perceptible improvements?

Re:Eh (1)

Charliemopps (1157495) | about a year ago | (#44266465)

Seriously, did Bose EVER make a good speaker? I've heard Pristine ones from all the way back in the 70s and even those were crap. Their car stereos are boomy over sound processed crap. Usually with proprietary connectors, amplifiers, even line levels so if you removed any part of the system you had to scrap the entire thing. I remember replacing a bose system in one car, and when I tested the door speakers they were running at 1ohm in series down each side of the car. WTF is that? If you look at the only picture they have of a speaker in that slideshow, it's just a garbage line array. Not only that the drivers are pointing in every direction possible. That thing would sound horrible and all the problems you'd have with phase would make it extremely inefficient. I know everyone is saying he was a great engineer and that may be, but he didn't know shit about designing speakers.

 

Re:Eh (1)

Grishnakh (216268) | about a year ago | (#44266495)

I don't know why MIT holds him up as some kind of great engineer; his real skill was obviously in marketing.

Re:Eh (1)

adolf (21054) | about a year ago | (#44266573)

Actually, that's one thing Bose did get right with speakers: Making them all sound about the same.

I don't particularly like that sound, but it is what it is.

Meanwhile, there's nothing wrong with 1 Ohm speakers, except for the fact that they seem to be the only ones doing it. Really. If nothing else, it can simplify the power supply of the amplifier by reducing the voltage on the rails.

And if you wanted to, you could have easily-enough used some transformers to convert that 1-Ohm nominal impedance to whatever suited your fancy.

I mean, it's an upgraded factory stereo. They've been making these difficult to upgrade for twenty+ years, and it normally doesn't matter: Most folks who tick the "please sell me a bad-sounding $2500 stereo" box on the dealer order sheet will never do anything different with it.

Re:Eh (1)

nabsltd (1313397) | about a year ago | (#44266673)

Meanwhile, there's nothing wrong with 1 Ohm speakers, except for the fact that they seem to be the only ones doing it. Really. If nothing else, it can simplify the power supply of the amplifier by reducing the voltage on the rails.

That "1 Ohm" is not a measure of resitance, but instead is impedance. It is much harder to drive a low impedance speaker to equivalent sound levels and keep the sound accurate.

Re:Eh (1)

adolf (21054) | about a year ago | (#44266779)

Now that you've lectured me on the difference between impedance and resistance (which is not something I'm confused about), perhaps you'll care to explain why it's "much harder" to drive a low-impedance speaker in a system designed to do nothing but that.

I still like my 901s (1)

HornWumpus (783565) | about a year ago | (#44266793)

They're hardly flat.

9 3.5 inch drivers is an unusual setup.

Wouldn't have paid the price for new ones. $1400 pair last I looked.

Re:I still like my 901s (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44267797)

mod parent up, the 901 is the only bose speaker that could ever be described as 'good', though by today's standards it is more 'just OK'.

everything else ranges from bad (802) to ubershit (wave, satellite)

Re:Eh (2)

ChrisMaple (607946) | about a year ago | (#44267477)

The advantage of 1 ohm speakers in car stereo is that it's possible to get almost 100 watts from a car's traditional 14 volts (when charging). 4 ohm speakers are limited to 25 watts. This saves the money of building a boosting power supply if more than 25 watts per speaker is desired.

Marketing company (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44266077)

Bose had "sound-related inventions"? I thought they were just marketeers with crappy paper cone speakers [audiogon.com] .

Re:Marketing company (1)

Grishnakh (216268) | about a year ago | (#44266539)

Paper cone speakers aren't really a bad thing: there's a reason paper has been used for speakers for so long: it's stiff, lightweight, and cheap. With a speaker cone, the first two qualities are of the greatest importance. Stiffness is important for accurate sound reproduction, and lightweightness is important for efficiency (the heavier the cones, the more energy is required to move them with the speaker coils, meaning you need a more powerful amplifier to generate the same volume of sound). And of course since consumer equipment needs to be affordable, cheapness is good. There are other materials that have been used for speaker cones, but they usually have some big deficiency: they might be heavier, thus requiring a much more powerful amplifier, or they might be horribly expensive, making them unaffordable.

Now in Bose's case, it's really not excusable. The reason paper is good is because it works decently well and is dirt cheap. But Bose charges ridiculous, boutique prices, so you should be getting better materials for your money. If you're going to pay high-end prices, you should at least get high-end materials.

Re:Marketing company (3, Insightful)

NJRoadfan (1254248) | about a year ago | (#44268023)

A small read from another speaker manufacturer about technology and marketing. It addresses the paper cone myth.: http://www.humanspeakers.com/cgi-bin/page.pl?page=human/oldnews.txt [humanspeakers.com]

While I wasn't really a fan of BOSE's newer products (their WaveRadios have a high failure rate due to shoddy components and the amps in an OEM BOSE car stereo I had failed), the older 70s stuff was fairly decent. I do give them credit for building stuff in the USA long after others have moved overseas. I think the only part in that car with the BOSE stereo that was made in the USA were the speakers and amps!

Re:Marketing company (1)

Grishnakh (216268) | about a year ago | (#44269401)

Interesting that you point to Human Speaker's site; I happen to have a pair of Genesis speakers rebuilt with Human drivers (the guy who runs Human was one of the employees of Genesis when it folded, and continued making EPI and Genesis speakers and parts on his own).

Re:Marketing company (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44266579)

That's a very long and seemingly technical article for a self-confessed "liberal arts major". I'm not about to rush out and buy some Bose gear but I'd much prefer to find out why I shouldn't from someone who can actually explain why.

RIP (2)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44266091)

I've yet to like a Bose product, but he obviously made many, many people's life a bit more enjoyable.

RIP(-off artists) (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44266115)

But not the people's wallets. Bose's markup for their shitty products would make even Apple blush.

Re:RIP(-off artists) (2)

durdur (252098) | about a year ago | (#44266463)

By and large they don't make expensive gear. And as far as I can tell it isn't much worse than the other mass-market stuff it competes against. Their poor reputation among audio buffs is somewhat deserved but IMO mainly because it is cheapo gear and there is some tradeoff of cost and performance, certainly at the part of the cost curve they are operating in.

Re:RIP(-off artists) (5, Interesting)

Grishnakh (216268) | about a year ago | (#44266567)

It seems to me the poor reputation is because they charge near-audiophile prices for cheap mass-market gear. You don't see companies like Panasonic getting a bad reputation this way, because they don't do this: they sell cheap mass-market gear, at cheap mass-market prices. It's hard to fault someone for paying low-end prices for a low-end product, as that might be all they can afford, and a lot of mass-market stuff really isn't that bad these days (it has a lot of "bang for your buck").

It's like paying Aston-Martin prices for a Ford. Car snobs who own Ferraris aren't going to bash people for buying a Kia or a Ford Fiesta, because they know not everyone can afford a Ferrari like them. But if someone somehow convinced a bunch of people to pay Ferrari prices for a car no better than a Fiesta, a lot of people would be bashing that company for that.

Re:RIP (1)

Lost Penguin (636359) | about a year ago | (#44266253)

The old 501s rocked, but this was in the 1980s....

Re:RIP (1)

Lunix Nutcase (1092239) | about a year ago | (#44266327)

And their wave radio was really only of note, not because it was that great, because most of the other radios being put out at the same time were utter shit.

Re:RIP (2)

bonehead (6382) | about a year ago | (#44266287)

Their noise cancelling headphones are actually somewhat decent.

Of course, that's more due to the noise cancellation rather than the sound quality, and the price is at least double what it should be.

TYPO: Centered on marketing and marketing. (2)

rei_slashdot (558039) | about a year ago | (#44266099)

Fixed it for you.

Re:TYPO: Centered on marketing and marketing. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44267807)

And litigation. Bose is quite litigious over their patents.

ahh BOSE (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44266121)

bad, overpriced, shit electronics

took his class at MIT (5, Interesting)

soundhack (179543) | about a year ago | (#44266147)

Long time ago (Acoustics). It was by far the best class I took as a grad student. He genuinely was not only a great engineer but a great teacher. He showed he movie Stand By Me to the class, and hosted the entire class to a tour of Bose. Most importantly, he was the only professor to really stress that common principles in engineering (lumped parameter model) exist throughout multiple domains, whether electrical, mechanical, or acoustic.

I really hated my experience at MIT for the most part, but his class was one of the few bright moments and I would like to think I am a better engineer because of him.

Re:took his class at MIT (1)

Lunix Nutcase (1092239) | about a year ago | (#44266195)

It's unfortunate, then, that the products his company made were sold at far higher prices than they were actually worth. But I guess you sell at the price the idiots who buy into your marketing campaigns will let you.

Re:took his class at MIT (4, Funny)

arcite (661011) | about a year ago | (#44266263)

You sound like a bitter, sad man. Perhaps a pair of quality headphones is what you need.

Re:took his class at MIT (1)

Lunix Nutcase (1092239) | about a year ago | (#44266305)

I do have some. And they cost half of what Bose charges for their's, too.

Re:took his class at MIT (1)

Threni (635302) | about a year ago | (#44266343)

No highs. No lows. It's Bose.

Yep, I'm sticking with Sennheiser.

Re:took his class at MIT (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44266725)

Are you drunk?

You seem to understand that marketing can increase your profit margins per unit. Why, then, do you believe in such a nebulous concept as "actual worth"? Products are "worth" what people will pay for them.

Re:took his class at MIT (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44268641)

Er perhaps you haven't noticed, but "worth" can be objectively defined only in terms of what people are willing to pay.

Re:took his class at MIT (4, Interesting)

Reverberant (303566) | about a year ago | (#44266219)

The two notable things (other than the quality of teaching) about his class: infinite time is given to take exams (exams started at 7pm and a teaching assistant would stay until the last student left - the record during my tenure was 5:00am, or so I heard) and he provide free Tosci's ice cream during the exam.

During the Bose factory tours, he showed off Project Sound [thecarconnection.com] a decade before it was revealed to the press. And inevitably a student would challenge some of the concepts the Bose company popularized (direct/reflecting, lack of tone controls, etc) and Dr. Bose would gently, but convincingly slap down the student using a blizzard of engineering arguments (rumor has it that Ken Kantor was the only student that could successfully go toe-to-toe with Dr. Bose).

RIP Dr. Bose.

Re:took his class at MIT (4, Interesting)

chipschap (1444407) | about a year ago | (#44266413)

In 1968 I took an introductory circuit theory class from Dr. Bose (I was in the 2nd semester of my freshman year at MIT). It was a fantastic class but far from easy, and Dr. Bose liked to teach in a manner that implied you were as smart as he was. (Few if any of us were.) And I only got a "B" in the class :( The final exam was a killer. The only Bose product I've ever owned over the years was a set of Bose 10.2 speakers. I liked them very much; they made music sound great but they were not accurate. I was running a 16-track studio and while the clients loved the sound, I always had to explain that the speakers were no good for mixing because they seriously overemphasized the bass. My JBL monitors were much better in terms of flat response.

Re:took his class at MIT (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44266415)

The two notable things (other than the quality of teaching) about his class: infinite time is given to take exams (exams started at 7pm and a teaching assistant would stay until the last student left - the record during my tenure was 5:00am, or so I heard) and he provide free Tosci's ice cream during the exam.

During the Bose factory tours, he showed off Project Sound [thecarconnection.com] a decade before it was revealed to the press. And inevitably a student would challenge some of the concepts the Bose company popularized (direct/reflecting, lack of tone controls, etc) and Dr. Bose would gently, but convincingly slap down the student using a blizzard of engineering arguments (rumor has it that Ken Kantor was the only student that could successfully go toe-to-toe with Dr. Bose).

RIP Dr. Bose.

I'm not going to argue with you on how intelligent or unintelligent Dr. Bose was (undoubtedly he was pretty smart).

Unfortunately, the products of his company are overpriced shite.

Bose makes marketing agreements with their retail partners. Notice how Bose has its own exclusive section in any retail electronics store? That's because it's so good, right? Nope, that's because it's part of the agreement Bose reaches with the big box stores like Best Buy in order to limit the customers' ability to compare other equipment with Bose. Bose understood early on that a combination of clever marketing and a slick exterior form-factor would allow the company to charge significantly more than their competitors in the home-theater market.

Re:took his class at MIT (2)

RightSaidFred99 (874576) | about a year ago | (#44266553)

So you're saying not only was he a good engineer but apparently a brilliant business man? Uhh, OK I agree then.

Re:took his class at MIT (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44266563)

Bose understood early on that a combination of clever marketing and a slick exterior form-factor would allow the company to charge significantly more than their competitors in the home-theater market.

Bose understood that men often want a nice sound system but their wives don't want big hulking speakers in their living room. Bose offers a compromise: a decent (ok, that is questionable too) sound system in a package the wife will accept. They figured out that they could charge big time for that last part.

They have a new wave TV. The sound quality is obviously not nearly as good as real speakers but it has one A++ benefit: no external speakers. That makes it an easy sell to a wife. And it's still better than using normal TV speakers.

I'm not a Bose defender, usually, but their products do have a market--people don't buy them just because they think they are best.

Re:took his class at MIT (1)

JaredOfEuropa (526365) | about a year ago | (#44268529)

Where's my mod points when I need them? You're right: Bose is a good compromise for people who do not want big speakers but still get decent sound. And yes, it's a decent system for people who are not too discerning about sound quality, i.e. most of us. These days you can do better for your money, but for a good while Bose was the only name in town for those looking for small speakers with decent sound.

Personally, I'm still looking for speakers that excel at reproducing music (modern as well as classical) but also do a good job in a home theater setup. I settled on a pair of Acoustic Research Status S-50 floor standers, good but still a bit of a compromise. Hearing good things about the LinkWitz Orion [linkwitzlab.com] but I still have to find a pair I can listen to, to decide whether all that extra cabling and equipment is worth the effort.

Re:took his class at MIT (1)

Sorny (521429) | about a year ago | (#44268747)

"Personally, I'm still looking for speakers that excel at reproducing music (modern as well as classical) but also do a good job in a home theater setup. I settled on a pair of Acoustic Research Status S-50 floor standers, good but still a bit of a compromise. Hearing good things about the LinkWitz Orion but I still have to find a pair I can listen to, to decide whether all that extra cabling and equipment is worth the effort."

Magnepan MMG. Order them direct from Magnepan, by phone, for a shade over $600/pair. They're made in the USA and sold in China. Be warned, you'll want an honest 200Wpc at 4 Ohms to dive them (I use 400 per channel), you'll need good subwoofers, plural, and good bass management in your processor/preamp. Seriously, there is no receiver that'll drive them as their efficiency is low. But man, the sound is incredible. I've listened to many a high-end box speaker and they all sound like the sound is coming from a box. Not so with dipoles, be they Planar Magnetic or Electrostatic. I've also not heard the Orion setup, but I can appreciate what it has to offer (no box!).

Planar-Magnetic dipoles and electrostatic dipoles are awesome. When you fall in love, you can move up to the bigger Maggies, where your speaker prices are still reasonable and have better bass, but they dominate a room and will have your amp begging for mercy.

Does this mean... (2)

Ogre332 (145645) | about a year ago | (#44266161)

that their prices will go even higher? I don't understand why people think Bose is high end. I get better sound out of iHome speakers.

Re:Does this mean... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44266175)

iHome? Isn't that Soundesign? I mean, I know Bose isn't great, but surely it's better than Soundesign.

Re:Does this mean... (1)

Lunix Nutcase (1092239) | about a year ago | (#44266179)

Paying more for something means it's high end. Duuuuuuuh.

Re:Does this mean... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44266351)

Bose used to be high-end. They went mass market 20 years ago.

The man was an engineer (4, Interesting)

thegarbz (1787294) | about a year ago | (#44266307)

The man was an engineer and a good one at that. It's a shame his company was centred around art. Not that there's anything wrong with that, I have a Bang and Olufsen system here for the simple reason that it sounds ok but looks damn spectacular. The biggest problem with Bose the company was their slogan "Better Sound Through Research." The reality is all of their designs sacrificed good sound in the name of artistic design.

Nothing really innovative has come from the company. The double cube speakers effectively ensure that the room acoustics and design completely wreak any hope of having a proper soundstage, their Accoustimass module is nothing more than a cheap papercone subwoofer which is horn loaded and again prioritises being small over producing good bass, and they seem to be the last to the market with these sound bars which they are trying to sell these days.

They do have a great set of noise cancelling headphones. They do a better job than any other I have worn. It's just a shame their sound isn't up to scratch and their cost is insane (I can get a set of Sennheiser Reference series headphones for cheaper, and I did).

None the less Bose the person and his company have done great things. I credit the popularity of his products to the change in style in sound equipment over the past 10 years. HiFi's used to be something we'd hide in cupboards, heat permitting, yet they have now become the centrepiece of many living rooms.

Re:The man was an engineer (1)

Skapare (16644) | about a year ago | (#44266475)

The QC-15 headphones I have sound OK. They are more quiet than anything else I've tried in the consumer market. But I still find it annoying they didn't come with a volume control. They must have saved $0.75 to leave that out.

Re:The man was an engineer (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44266575)

I also have the QC-15. The noise cancelling is excellent. Still, they are the cheapest feeling $300 product I have ever owned. I don't know how they can feel so cheap yet cost so much. The sound quality is acceptable. Given that I use them with an iPad most of the time, I am not losing much in quality. The DAC on the iPad already sucks, so whatever. The noise cancelling makes 14-hour flights to Asia much more bearable; they definitely reduce fatigue. They especially shine when you watch movies--you can hear the dialogue so crisply.

Re:The man was an engineer (2)

Skapare (16644) | about a year ago | (#44266803)

They cost the price that they believe the market will bear enough to maximize their profit.

Re:The man was an engineer (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44267425)

Funny how you can tell from the first line in your post what the rest will be. A standard "Mr X was a good man, but ___".

In your case, the ___ was "his life's work was shit", or close enough to that not to matter.

I wonder, has any research ever been done to see whether audiophilia leads to assholishness, or whether assholishness leads to audiophilia?

The double cube speakers effectively ensure that the room acoustics and design completely wreak any hope of having a proper soundstage

Define soundstage. For bonus points, prove your assertion.

Re:The man was an engineer (1)

thegarbz (1787294) | about a year ago | (#44268829)

Funny how you can tell from the first line in your post what the rest will be. A standard "Mr X was a good man, but ___".

In your case, the ___ was "his life's work was shit", or close enough to that not to matter.

Only if you have the reading comprehension that I expect from some basement dwelling school dropout. Maybe learn to read before...

I wonder, has any research ever been done to see whether audiophilia leads to assholishness, or whether assholishness leads to audiophilia?

... ahh too late. Should have learnt to read. Now you're just trying to insult someone for no reason.

Define soundstage. For bonus points, prove your assertion.

The ability to know where in the room the instrument is played relative to the microphone. Something which doesn't work when you start bouncing sound off walls. You want proof, just go have a listen to a Bose system side by side with a standard stereo. Common gimme a harder question. This isn't audiophilia, this is just plain good sound that any $300 stereo would give you if you sat in the right spot.

Their aviation (pilot) headphones are great (5, Interesting)

AlexOsadzinski (221254) | about a year ago | (#44266647)

I've never been a fan of Bose home audio equipment: the whole mall-store marketing schtick and, well, um, the actual sound, were enough to put me off.

But they launched the first practical and useful noise-cancelling pilot headphones to the civilian population in 1998, after almost 10 years of military sales, and they quickly dominated the market, even at the then-lofty price of $999. They just plain worked, and worked well. Other manufacturers followed, and sometimes beat Bose's performance in later years, usually at about half the price, but there's no denying that they did pioneering, real audio engineering work in this space.

They were also smart in offering a "panel install" of their proprietary connector into aircraft. If you've owned an aircraft, you'll know that installing anything permamently is (a) expensive and (b) requires a pile of paperwork and (c) you'll never rip it out. The connector eliminated the need for the little battery pack you had to carry around, and provided additional lock-in. Clever. Sucky, but clever.

The Wave radio that "fills the room with sound" on the other hand. Meh.

Re:Their aviation (pilot) headphones are great (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44269033)

I bought a pair of $70 noise cancellation headphones around 1989. Way before the overpriced BOSE ones came out. Worked bloody well too they did..

One word: (3, Informative)

Larry_Dillon (20347) | about a year ago | (#44266749)

Klipsch

Re:One word: (1)

stox (131684) | about a year ago | (#44267777)

Next words, ElectroVoice Eliminators. Even more efficient than the Klipsch's.

Now then, if you want imaging, Magnepan.

Re:One word: (1)

Sorny (521429) | about a year ago | (#44268771)

"Now then, if you want imaging, Magnepan."

All hail Magnepan!

Even if they're on the complete opposite end of the efficiency spectrum from the horn speakers.

I feed my little MMGs 400Wpc (@ 4 Ohms), and back them up with a pair of HSU TN1220HO subs, but my little MMG/HSU setup is sonic bliss. Some day, when I've acquired more amplification, I'll be grabbing some bigger maggies and moving the MMGs to surround duty.

better yet: (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44267787)

Magnepan

Re: One word: (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44267875)

Paul Klipsch was quite a character and a good engineer, but the individual who had the greatest impact in the area of loudspeaker development, and modern hearing aid design (which he refused to patent) while being largely self taught to boot was Ed Villchur. If you you don't know who he was you are either under 30, know zip about acoustics, or more likely both.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Edgar_Villchur

Re:One word: (1)

AmiMoJo (196126) | about a year ago | (#44268783)

Bless you. Now what were you going to say?

Now if his company would only follow him (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44266759)

Now if Bose would just follow suit. Grossly overpriced completely classless speakers universally hated by audiophiles everywhere.

Bose Suspension System (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44267055)

I was never impressed with Bose speakers at their price, but I was impressed with the video demo of the Bose Suspension System.

The Bose Ride system for heavy trucks looks interesting as well.

Re:Bose Suspension System (1)

ChrisMaple (607946) | about a year ago | (#44267563)

Many companies make active vehicle suspension systems.

Sounds like the .... (2)

niftymitch (1625721) | about a year ago | (#44267073)

It sounds like the trolls woke up on the wrong side of the bed.

I have listened to and on occasion bought the big B's products.

Like anything ---even /. Listen with an educated ear (or read) and make up your own mind.

Got ride of BOSE in my Murano... (1)

David_Hart (1184661) | about a year ago | (#44267089)

The only BOSE system that I have ever had was in my Murano. Unfortunately, it was integrated with the environmental system controls, so it took 8 years before Metra came out with a kit to replace it. Finally I was able to replace it with a Kenwood head unit and Infinity Reference speakers. The difference was like night and day.

Re:Got ride of BOSE in my Murano... (1)

ChrisMaple (607946) | about a year ago | (#44267587)

My '84 Corvette had a Bose sound system. The tape player was made in Japan by someone else, and had the Bose name slapped on it. It was already dead of mechanical failure when I bought the car in 1990.

Re:Got ride of BOSE in my Murano... (2)

NJRoadfan (1254248) | about a year ago | (#44268061)

The head unit was built by GM Delco, at least it was in the 85s. That system was odd in that the speaker grills were co-branded Delco/BOSE. BOSE only made the amplifiers and the speakers in car OEM systems. The head unit was provided by the OEM's supplier of choice with balanced line level outputs (as opposed to amplified speaker terminals) to feed the speaker mounted amps. The speakers themselves were a weird 1ohm design that could only be properly driven with the BOSE amplifiers (which had non-defeatable equalization built in).

Synopsis of Bose and high end audio (1)

Beeftopia (1846720) | about a year ago | (#44267093)

It's a cartoon video, but it sums up the situation pretty well IMO: "The High End Store" [youtube.com]

lift your lamp beside the golden door (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44267379)

From the Wikipedia [wikipedia.org] entry:

Bose was born and raised in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania to Noni Gopal Bose and an American mother. His father was a Indian freedom revolutionary[6] who, having been imprisoned for his political activities, fled Calcutta in the 1920s in order to avoid further prosecution by the British colonial police.

You mean to tell me the USA has knowingly harbored terrorists!? Say it ain't so..!

The Perfect Bose Accessory (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44267495)

http://bobbyowsinski.blogspot.com/2012/05/485-volume-knob.html

Klipsch (1)

p51d007 (656414) | about a year ago | (#44267937)

Nothing wrong with Bose, but 25 years ago, when I was looking for speakers, I like the sound of my still running Klipsch speakers. Still sound as good as they did when I bought them.

Look in the mirror (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44268099)

A fine man has passed away, a man who belived in research and sharing knowledge. Now look at what this community is able to produce at this very moment. It is sad reading, sad, sad reading.

Imagine what the rest of the world would write if this crowd, the /. crowd closed down? Lets us hope the some would reflect of the wisdome and style of this crowd, on how the site and crowd brought us new knowledge, new ways to share a crowds knowledge in a way that made an impact on many technical branches of an emerging technologies, that set standards that our kids would try to live up to. Imagine that someone you hold high and dear passed away, is this how that person should be remembered on /.?

Save your shitty comments on the company that carries Dr. Boses's name and its products to another day and take 60 seconds away from producing comments and reflect in honour of the passing of a great man.

That's okay... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44268143)

We have "Beats" now by Dre... The real mastermind in audio tech.

Well, (2)

Kaenneth (82978) | about a year ago | (#44269009)

So much for the lifetime warranty.

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