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Bose Acoustic Wave Music System II
I promised to bring you at least one portable speaker review a week, and after having covered all the compact pocket-sized devices and some mid-level performers, I now have for you an old heavy-duty entrant — Bose Acoustic Wave System II.
Bose likes to call it an "one-piece system", and it comes in a neat box design; a solution that could revolutionize the portable speakers segment. However, the price tag of Rs 69,995, plus the system’s inability to perform up to its money's worth, comes as a real downer.
Bose may fancy itself the Mercedes of the sound world, but surely, as you will agree, not at the cost of your money. Still, the rich may want to show off one of these in their living room. The minimalist design is fashioned so as to blend into a variety of decors without fuss.
It’s the kind of device that can, despite its weight (6.5kg approx.), be ported across rooms with ease (thanks to the two handles on the sides). The face embodies simple grate lines that run from one end to the other, housing the stereo speakers on either side. The infrared receptor marks the only change in the design on the front.
The top of the speaker system is equipped with a CD player that comes up with a slight press of the cover, and the buttons are all neatly bunched on the right. The system is equipped with an LED screen, which should have been on the face — that would have allowed you to sit anywhere and still see what you are up to.
The absence of a DVD player goes against the purpose of the system; however, it does play MP3 CDs. It doesn’t help that the system is bit slow in reading discs, mainly while surfing tracks or folders. If you are buying this for your car, you will need to be patient and bear in mind which song is where.
On the plus side, Bose has included every possible charging option: a car lighter charger and two different kinds of wall socket chargers.
Another problem while using it in your car is that every time you restart your car (for instance, at a traffic light), the system does that too, if it's connected to the car lighter socket. That’s not as bad as having to select the source mode again, and then go back to look for what you were listening to prior to the glitch.
The system can also be connected to an MP3 player, or a phone with a 3.5mm jack. For this an RCA cable is provided. The device comes with a good FM and AM radio player, which is nice. The provision of a telescopic antenna, and a wire antenna for indoor usage, is a good move. The problem is having only 6 presets; we have more stations than that here in Mumbai.
The credit-card style remote has all the buttons present on the player, so that's sorted out. The device comes with a carry bag with separate slots for storing all the cables, plus a CD case for good measure. Definitely a plus.
There’s a good reason why the price was mentioned in the first paragraph itself, and that would the below-par performance of the system. The first thing that hit me was the accentuated and distorted highs. To top it all, you can’t fix this. There’s no EQ, not even bass or treble leveling options.
The bass lacks the punch, and the mids are downright flat. While listening to electronic tracks the bass lacked resonance and quality. The mids are inaccurate, and the highs too interfering. In short, the sound lacks soul.
However, listening to an acoustic live performance CD of Shakti was a nice experience. I felt the mids were a bit roomier and the fine clunk in the highs were very well reproduced.
Still, the high price tag of almost Rs 70,000 just doesn’t make sense. The device may appeal to diehard Bose fans who have fat bank accounts, but it's not a good deal for price- and value-conscious folk!