Is Bose High Quality or Low Quality? Is Bose a Beloved or Hated Brand?

Among the masses, Bose is one of the most respected, trusted and beloved brands when it comes to audio speakers and headphones.  That’s their Core Target Market.  But to serious Audiophiles, with a discerning ear, Bose is total crap, with inferior technology, shabby production standards and resulting poor value.  This might be the equivalent about asking a Foodie what they think of Morton’s Steakhouse or Ruth’s Chris.

Bose has a great word of mouth reputation.  I remember when I first heard of Bose, it was a guy at work, who seemed to know more than I did say definitively “Bose are the best speakers you could buy”.  I immediately believed this to be true and have felt that way ever since.  I proudly own Bose headphones, a Bose Docking Station and Bose Speakers in my car.  I’m highly satisfied.

I’d love Bose Speakers for my TV, having drooled over the sound for years.   So I went into a Bose store, listened to a few different options and they sounded amazing.   So I looked on the Bose box, and there was no mention of Watts at all or really anything.   My first thought was “wow, Bose is just such a great brand, they don’t really need to get into those  tiny details like watts”.   But I wanted to compare brands just to ensure I was spending good money.   So I went on-line and here’s the specs comparison:

That brings us to The Bose philosophy:  Unlike other audio product manufacturers, Bose does not publish specifications relating to the measured electrical and objective acoustic performance of its products.  This reluctance to publish information links back to the classic Amar Bose paper presented in 1968  “On the Design, Measurement and Evaluation of Loudspeakers”. In the paper, Bose rejects these measurements in favor of “more meaningful measurement and evaluation procedures”, and considers the human experience the best measure of performance.

For Bose, sound is an experience, not a statistic.   Bose spends all their effort and dollars on perfecting the in-store sound demo so they can show off Bose’s great sound quality and let consumers be the judge of their sound.  And yet it’s arguably tough for the average ear to distinguish.  Bose invests a lot of money into their own retail stores as well as the store-in-store concepts.  That way, it can control the experience the consumer gets with its products–ensuring the consumers hear Bose at it’s best.

Bose has figured out how to make their brand work to their advantage–the proof is in the sound you hear in the store.  There’s a certain magic that happens in store when listening to the Bose stereo system.  Despite what Audiophiles say, Consumer feedback from the masses is definitively in favour of Bose with very high scores.  And in a most recent poll, Bose is the #3 trusted brand in Consumer Electronics, so they must be doing something right.  It’s tough for consumers to separate Product from Brand, even a brand like Apple has had success in this confusion where consumers think Apple has “great products”.  To the masses, Bose is a great brand and has great products.

Is Bose a Beloved or Hated Brand?  You be the judge.  


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4 thoughts on “Is Bose High Quality or Low Quality? Is Bose a Beloved or Hated Brand?

  1. Graham – no question, Bose has a great brand – but the product under delivers for what you pay. My feelings though – why burst the bubble for those who have already purchased. They are generally thrilled with their purchase, think they have premium products – so I just let them be! The products aren’t bad – they just aren’t great. Sound quality is so subjective – and the majority of people don’t have an ear that’s trained well enough to discern good from great – so for most Bose is terrific. Unfortunately (through ABX testing) I’ve confirmed I have an above avg. ear and bad sound quality does bother me … hence I have spent a little too much on my speakers and headphone collection (yes – headphone collection). And my bose noise reducers sit quietly dormant. I think where bose does excel is style … certainly the small cube speakers are impressive for what they are – but the sound can’t match up to a well produced speaker.

  2. I’d have to agree that they do have a nice name. I bought QC2’s years ago, and just purchased a $1500 soundbar from them. The sound is quite excellent, but I do wonder if my money could have been better spent. Other than the magic wand speaker the Bose rep at the Best Buy the thing that sold me on the system was the fact that it needs just 3 plugs, sold me on the system. I can place the sub where I want, just need to power the bar and plug it in (the speaker came with all extra cables as well) I won’t argue that $1500 is cheap, however the sound is quite phenomenal. It fills the room perfectly and the fact that I own a smaller townhome where too much sound would be a bad thing. I love the complaints when I read someone bought a $800 or $1500 Bose system and it doesn’t sound good in their massive living room with 20′ ceilings. I’m sure if they spent a couple thousand to have a system installed, they’d be fine, but they cheap out and buy a system not meant for such a large room. I agree Bose is for the masses, most of us don’t have 20′ ceilings or 10,000 sqft homes.

  3. This is nonsense. Bose is crap by any measurement. People are “thrilled” with the sound because they have had a chance to do a side by side comparison and even then Bose knows how to manipulate the sound which will later prove to be a complete disappointment. That is why measurement is important. I’ve been there and regretted buying Bose.

  4. The foregoing comments relate to individual opinions/experiences with the product. They don’t address the question of whether Bose is a beloved brand. Bose has identified a very large market of consumers that just want reliable, uncomplicated home entertainment equipment. Most consumers are not “audiophiles”, i.e. those who like to collect and assemble components, who read about/research sound technology, and perhaps care more about owning the latest equipment than about the music that plays on it.
    Bose has communicated, through consistent advertising, a simple positioning: good quality and easy to use. Judging by their print ads and media selection, they are targetting Adults 35+, maybe 45+. They often use black & white ads, direct mail/direct response. They do not discount, but often use value-added PWP (product with purchase).
    The product delivers on its promise: good sound, easy to install/use, portable, discreet visually.
    I think Bose is a beloved brand.

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