Bose is a very private Company, some would say arrogant. They rarely hold press conferences except when they have a technology breakthrough. So this week’s press briefing for a new pair of desktop speakers was well worth the wait.
Working on a lifestyle technology magazine like SmartHouse one sees a lot of technology gear from notebooks to TV’s to top end Hi Fi systems to the latest attach gear for iPods and PCs.
But occasionally one gets blown away by the sheer performance and design of a product. In my case it is the latest desktop speakers from Bose. These small monsters are not only impressive but look good.
When I first heard them I was sitting a Hotel suite high above Sydney with a Bose executive who was demonstrating them in a controlled environment.
So it was not till I got back to my office and plugged them into a PC running Vista that I got blown away by the sheer quality and depth of the reproduction that these speakers delivered.
After playing the Bose demo DVD I then moved to an array of music from classical to rock to good old jazz and with each track the performance just got better and better. Even in a gaming environment these little beasts delivered.
So how did Bose achieve such a technological breakthrough?
Firstly Bose is a very arrogant company which while having an excellent pedigree for delivering great sound from small speakers they also suffer from the syndrome known as the “Bose way or no way”
What they have delivered a brilliant technology breakthrough with their desktop speakers they have failed to deliver the same breakthrough with their new Lifestyle home theatre system in that while the sound is good and the operation simple it has no iPod attach capability or USB port or Ethernet port that would allow users to access online content? (Separate review coming up soon).
When Bose first showed me these speakers they claimed that they were able to provide symphony hall-comparable sound from what are digital camera-sized speakers through what it called a breakthrough: a technology for delivering deep bass tones from small enclosures.
They were right. These speakers are as good as a $2,000 pair of speakers from a high end Hi Fi manufacturer.
The key to the roughly 12.7 centimetres-by-5.08 centimetres speakers is what Bose calls “dual internal opposing passive radiators.”
Conventional speakers typically feature one large radiator. Each of the new Bose speakers has two smaller radiators, in addition to a larger loudspeaker at the front of the unit.
With the radiators opposite one another inside the back of the speakers, the vibrations created by one work in opposition to those created by the other and cancel each other out. Without the opposing forces, such small speakers might creep along, propelled by the force of the powerful vibrations.
For now, the technology is incorporated only in the Computer MusicMonitor; however I am certain that they will pop up in other small speakers.
“I think the demand for smaller and better sound will never stop,” said Santiago Carvajal, a Bose business manager who introduced the product to me at the Shangri La Hotel in Sydney. “And this is our best effort to deliver lifelike sound from something smaller than we’ve ever done before.”
The privately held, $2 billion-a-year company only shows journalists the latest creations from its nearly 1,000-person engineering staff only once every few years, when it believes it’s made a breakthrough. The last such introductions were in 2004, when Bose rolled out its Wave Systems audio technology as well as an experimental high-end automobile suspension system.
Company officials said the technology behind their latest product took four years to refine once they struck upon the idea of pairing radiators to cancel out their mechanical vibrations without harming sound reproduction.
The Computer MusicMonitor includes a pair of speakers, a remote control and a jack to connect the speakers to desktop or laptop computers, or digital music players like Apple’s iPod.
The price in Australia is $499.00