Bose 501 Series V Floorstanding Speakers

3.04/5 (85 Reviews) MSRP : $599.00


Product Description

5.25" Woofer and (2) 2.5" Tweeters - Direct/Reflecting Design


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Reviews 1 - 5 (85 Reviews Total) | Next 15

User Reviews

Overall Rating:1
Value Rating:1
Submitted by frank a Audio Enthusiast

Date Reviewed: July 30, 2016

Bottom Line:   
I read the reviews on these 501's and quite frankly I don't understand the high reviews. I bought mine back in 94 or 95 and had them for 30 days being powered by a HK PA2400, I tried various positions and locations in the room, even tried spikes under the speakers, and it always sounded the same boxy sound, it wasn't close to being natural sounding at all. The only thing I did like about the speakers was that it seemed to disperse the sound wider which was cool with movies but for music it was too much dispersed, but with either movies or music the base response while strong was not accurate all all which made drums sound like someone was hitting a very stiff cardboard box very loudly, the midrange was sort of mushy sounding, the highs were not defined at all which made cymbals sound like someone hitting a tin can even after I removed the grills thinking the grills may be holding back some of the sound. Even my old Large Advents I had that needed to be refoamed sounded better while needing the refoam!!

After auditioning many speakers I eventually settled on the JBL L7's which in the average consumer retail market had an outstanding sound as did the Infinity Kappa 9's, but the L7's had a stronger bottom end which sounded great for rock, blues, and movies, while the Kappa 9's were more in tune with classical, jazz, and blues, but the Kappa's had a beautiful cabinet design.

Today you'll find the 501's on the used market, I would not consider them at all, even their best speaker the 901 while having some strong points like they sounded superb with electric guitars but other sources of sound it fell flat especially the base and the highs, though it did widely disperse the sound but too much in my opinion which made singers sound like they had 8 foot long mouths! However one speaker they made is a pretty decent bookshelf speaker or could be used for a really nice set of rear speakers (probably better than any rear speaker on the market!) and that's the 301 series. Also their car audio speakers found in newer cars sound really nice, I'm very pleased with mine.

I think the direct reflecting idea that Bose used in a lot of their speakers is a great idea, problem is Bose used cheap speakers. If you ever get a chance to look at a Bose speaker, especially the smaller 3 inch ones found in 601's, 501's, 301's and I'm sure other models, they're just cheap speakers I've seen in midsize tabletop transistor radios back in the day! Even the much tooted 901's used the same cheap speaker design you would find in a tabletop radio they just upped the size to 4 inches. These tabletop radios sold for cheap back then, you could buy one for $20, so Bose contracted with the manufactures of the speakers and had them put into their speakers hoping that the direct reflecting stuff and their name would fool people and sell with a lot of marketing...which obviously it did, Bose still uses that same cheap speaker design except I think their 2 1/2 inches in their Wave radios and added a labyrinth port called a waveguide to one of the speakers to fake the base out, brilliant as far as Bose making a lot of money on a very inexpensive way to build radio. So just how cheap were these little 3 to 4 inch speakers? Today you can buy replacements for just $12 each!

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Used product for:   Less than 1 month

Duration Product Used:   Audio Enthusiast

Product model year:   1995



Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by randy a AudioPhile

Date Reviewed: May 18, 2016

Bottom Line:   
i have tthem hooked up in conjunction with a pair of 601 series 111to dennon thx receiver I
they sound incredible anything from bb king mamas and the pappas ac dc and everything in between 4 sournd sound there also great tried polk pildgiam infinitys and I blew all of them these take full volume and crystal clear but I am using a pildigam sub there awesome sub is to


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Used product for:   3 Months to 1 year

Duration Product Used:   AudioPhile

Product model year:   1998



Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:4
Submitted by Eric a Casual Listener

Date Reviewed: August 30, 2015

Bottom Line:   
Just bought a set of the Bose 501 series V. Hooked them up to an older 600 watt Sony tuner/amp, then I hard wired my cell phone in and went to you tube to listen to a new album with some bass and acoustics. These little guys rock hard, with little or no distortion. That speaks volumes... The mid and high levels are perfect. Hint if you want more base put them near the corners of your room fairly close to the wall. For less bass put away from the corners like mid room and pull them away from the wall a little. I found them on craigslist for 99.00 for the set and in mint condition. The guys wife said she was tired of all his speakers and she wanted all of them gone. When I got to his house he also had the Bose Acoustimass with a sub and front right and left already sold bummer... Pick these little guys up if you can, I think 250.00 or below would be worth it...

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Used product for:   Less than 1 month

Duration Product Used:   Casual Listener

Product model year:   2005



Overall Rating:4
Value Rating:5
Submitted by Brian a Audio Enthusiast

Date Reviewed: February 26, 2014

Bottom Line:   
Ok, first off, anyone who says these are bad speakers hasn't heard them setup properly (which is the case in most stores that used to sell these). Back when I bought these 20 years ago, I thought they sounded OK in the store. When I got them home I was floored by the omnipresent and HUGE sound that comes from these little things.
The bass is exceptionally clean and omnipresent. You can't tell where it's coming from, it's just everywhere. That's the nature of this style of speaker enclosure. That same style makes it not as "punchy" as other speakers (that and the fact that it's only a 5.25" woofer). It won't shake the place but it will move a ton of air. Like another reviewer here said, they will kill 40hz all day long, but i've noticed with a test cd that they will just barely squeak out 30hz. (but it's not the 30hz you'll hear from a car system that's shaking body panels and stuff).
The treble is pleasant and accurate but not painful like newer speakers. I run mine with the treble all the way up and they're not hurting my ears or anything (I've heard some newer speakers that hurt). But I’m not sure if this is the receiver or the speakers.
I tend to keep mine at least a foot from the wall in the back and 2 or 3 feet on the sides. I turn them slightly outward and this seems to widen out the soundstage and make a larger sound. If they're too close to the wall in the back, the bass will sound funny. The further away, the cleaner the sound.
They're 500 dollar speakers though. If you compare them to other 500 dollar speakers, you'll like em. If you try comparing them to >$1500 speakers, you're not gonna be impressed with them (as is the case with people I know who brag about how much better their Bostons or their Paradigms sound- they're Bragging because their $2000 speakers sound a little better than my $500 Bose 501s).

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Used product for:   More than 1 year

Duration Product Used:   Audio Enthusiast

Product model year:   1995



Overall Rating:4
Value Rating:5
Submitted by Julian K a Audio Enthusiast

Date Reviewed: October 4, 2013

Bottom Line:   
The Bose 501 Series V is an interesting speaker. It doesn't really fit well into any category. A bit of background. I use these speakers in my basement which is a rectangle 12x18 room. It has a sofa and carpeting and is a pretty decent sound room.

WHAT IT IS: A good speaker with a fairly accurate representation of the music, a good sound stage, and the ability to fill up the room even at lower volumes.

WHAT IT ISN'T: A super accurate studio speaker. You won't feel the thump of the base pounding on your chest, and you won't hear the "tst, tst, tst" of the tweeters inside of your head.

Why to get this speaker:

When someone buys Bose, they are purchasing an "effect." Direct/Reflecting isn't just marketing. Set up correctly, people who hear these speakers keep looking for the "rear" speakers. Its that good of an effect.

It doesn't take up much room for a tower speaker. Using the technology learned from the Acoustic Wave boom box, they're able to make 5" woofers sound like they're much bigger. And the tweeter array sounds a bit more like a conventional speaker without loosing the direct/reflecting effect.

A secondary effect of the direct/reflecting design is that you get very little in the way of ear fatigue. High end stuff is nice, but after awhile your ears and brain get tired of the extreme highs and lows. You can comfortably listen to just about any Bose system for hours. Its the nature of the design.

The bass is the cleanest I've ever heard from a speaker system. No booming, and almost no distortion. Which at first sounds kinda weird until you realize what you're hearing.

They are REALLY pretty speakers. They're like a work of art in your living room. Not many speakers look as nice as these do.

Lastly, because its got such a bad rap in the press, these speakers are now dirt cheap.

SPECIFIC TO THE BOSE 501 SERIES V:

You will need power. Preferably at least 50 REAL watts, so I guess on todays stuff, maybe 100 to 150 watts per channel. The 5" woofers may be small, but to get those base enclosures to work, you need a lot of clean power. And when they work, people are always surprised how much CLEAN base comes through. Alternately, if you have a loudness button, that works on some systems, but lots of clean power is better.

The bass port is facing rearward. You can tune the base by where you place the speaker relative to the wall. However, I suspect that some of the direct/reflecting effect relies on the sound coming out of that port relative to the wall. So speaker placement is critical.

That being said, these are great speakers for what they're designed for. If you're an audiophile, move along and pass these up. If you're an audio enthusiast and are looking for some artwork that also happen to be speakers for your living room (or personal space, these only have about 7"x7" footprint), these are a great value for what you can get them for. Oh, also great for a home theater.

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Used product for:   More than 1 year

Duration Product Used:   Audio Enthusiast

Product model year:   2000




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