What happens when you don't like a system?

October 1, 2017
 by Paul McGowan

4 comments on “What happens when you don't like a system?”

  1. It seems that every time I have heard 901's it was nearly the same situation you so aptly described - loud enough to instantly pulverize grey matter, and utterly awful to anyone with even a slightly trained ear. One presumes that in normal situations they were somewhat better, though I'm not sure why we need to hear a piano sounding like it's 20-feet wide. But this raises what I think is an important point: we all have different preferences, and not all of us are really looking for accuracy. It took me some years to learn to prefer fidelity over the various forms of sonic showmanship and mid-fi exaggeration, and to be comfortable with the fact that, like everybody I guess, some kinds of sonic flaws bother me more than others, and that what irks audio critics is not always what drives _me_ up a wall. Bottom line, this hobby is all about what makes us happy as individuals. If somebody has a system that sounds like a 600-watt transistor radio and it puts him in seventh heaven... well, I try not to tinkle on his campfire. 🙂

  2. hi Paul, that is such a funny story. when i was in the biz in the early 80's, we sold both Bose and Dahlquist along with Infinity and a few others. I personally hated Bose and the only one i could deal with was their baby speaker the 301 (i think). anyway, i worked part time and when i was not there a customer came in and the new guy waited on him. he was looking for a sound system for his night club and the idiot sold him some DQ 10's. when i heard about that i just cracked up. i said he will be back with some blown speakers and we will have to get him something different. sure enough, that happened as he blew them out right away. we exchanged them for the 901's which we said were pretty much indestructible. the 901's were truly some of the worst speakers i have ever heard. Bose is the best example of marketing "trumping" (i hate that word now) quality. When a customer came in the store with an AC/DC or Molly Hatchet album under their arm, i always showed them Bose. The guy with the classical or jazz record was taken to music room three where we had either DQ 10's or some of the better Infinity speakers. funny times

  3. There have been many times when running out of the room was the appropriate response, however my wife of many years has discouraged me from doing so. There was one time way back in the late 70's at a party that I just had to save everyone there from the horrid distortion due to a miss-tracking phono cartridge. After asking permission from our host I adjusted the balance of the tonearm and made a few adjustments to the tracing force until the record sounded decent. Our host was amazed at the difference in sound as where all. It was then that I was offered a beer.

  4. I was a complete novice. For my first pair of "high end" speakers I bought a pair of Bose 901's at salesman accommodation (I used to work for BSR)... I fell for the marketing glitz. And, in the 70's speaker science was just starting to blossom. Needless to say... they lasted a short time. A little bit later I began working at a high end audio store and the owner was allowed me to take home on the weekends various speakers to audition. I had a pick of the crop.

    I tried various cutting edge concepts at that time. They sounded like?,... speakers. hmm. Then, I took home these plain looking boxes and set them up. Put the needle in the groove..... and got blown away. KEF 104AB's. This is not an an endorsement for KEF here. For they apparently got away from what ever they had been doing with the 104 AB's ...

    I believe Bose 901's could have actually sounded much better if they had done two things (which could not be accomplished at that time). First ... get rid of the horrible solid state equalizer that sounded congested and dry. Replace it with a Barcus Berry Sonic Maximizer. I have a feeling that would have changed things dramatically. And... for the rear speakers to the 901's? Build in an adjustable digital time delay and have the ability to adjust the rear volume to blend with the direct sound. With that combination? They might have had something. For the reflected sound in concert halls and recording rooms was not immediate and quick like the 901's gave you. With a nice delay to the reflected sound? It might have actually achieved something much closer to what the design was claiming to accomplish for the listener. Otherwise? I chalked it up as my beginner's "lunk. "

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