Q&A: Why do audiophiles not like Bose?

FELLIPE GALLETTA: A hi-fi enthusiast with experience and ownership of high end home and car audio ...

Audiophiles hate BOSE because as others have mentioned they are more about lifestyle than sound. They are like a poor man’s Bang & Olufsen in terms of market placement. Looks and significant other appeasement over sound.

Imagine a world where only civics and mustangs were associated with performance while Porsche, Ferrari, Lamborghini were unheard of. That’s sorta how it is with BOSE, as the average person is completely unaware of anything high end. This is what annoys audiophiles I think, that people “just don’t know”.

What I will say that I rarely see mentioned and is a bit against the grain is that for the money, BOSE usually isn’t bad. They can make a decent sounding speaker given design constraints. Their Engineers are pretty good at maximizing the sound with very cheap drivers in small enclosures. They have zero desire to be hi-fi or “high end”, but instead want to sell lots of product at a low price for very high revenue. You can’t knock it. Focal, Dynaudio, Wilson, etc., don’t stand a chance to compete revenue wise, and the more boutique companies are always struggling to stay afloat.

Tonally, BOSE speakers usually are not bad. They seem to understand midrange presence and rolled off highs and lows, which seems to put off newer audio enthusiasts, but is closer to the path of good sound than you think. Most BOSE car systems are tonally good, often better than some big name brands that charge huge money. Of course I’m only comparing OEM systems, as a good aftermarket system is playing in a different category altogether. A BOSE car system at say $2000 is probably a safer bet than a $6k system by B&W, if not outright better; usually this is not because of better speakers but better equalization (taste).

It became trendy to hate BOSE, but that went too far.

Audiophiles should neither revere nor hate them.

They are what they are.

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