The bang for the buck of these AM 5's is incredible, my speakers are almost 22 years old and sing as well as the day i got them, new from CC for $650. Lke many Bose speakers they sound better cranked up then at low volumes but thats true of almost any speaker and i have heard far worse and far better.
The AM 5 is NOT a floor standing speaker, they are small cubes combined with a small 6inch subwoofer and for what they are they are amazing. Highs are crisp, mids are good and bass is great if the accoustimas (subwoofer) is placed properly. They will not sound great at far distance in a huge room however they will sound fantastic in a smaller room, office or study. I use mine as front speakers in a HT enviormentl in a 16x20ft room. The accoustimas adds great bass effect in addition to a separate powered subwoofer.
If you can find a pair for under 300 you will have great stereo speakers for a smaller room or a start for a really good sounding surround system. You can find AM 5 cubes on ebay for around $50 and an accoustimas occaionally.
Years of research and development went into the Bose AM-5's at MIT before their release in the late 1980's. These are high quality speakers for a decent price. Yes, you pay for the size of Bose speakers, but that's what the future of sound is all about. As far as bass goes, it is such a small part of the sound spectrum...just remember that when you read all of these reviews. America is addicted to bass, but in truth, it is so overblown and exaggerated in the US, and that is all anybody listens to or compares when they buy speakers.
I have to say that I have been far beyond impressed with the Bose AM-5 speaker setup. I think people simply buy Bose speakers and expect great sound. For good sound, you must have a high-quality amplifier that is powerful, clear, and able to push the power these speakers need to operate. I would recommend at least 100 watts per channel, flat-line (center-level) the bass and treble controls, and look for an amplifier with a bass boost (loudness) control, and be sure this is up 3/4 of the way or ON, depending on the amp. Amplifiers are just like speakers...they fudge on output and power useage to impress you, the buyer. I would listen and shop for an amplifier as much as a speaker system, and with a powerful, high-quality amplifier, you will really hear the Bose AM's come to life and sound the way they are meant to, because these speakers are high performance, and they will take the power. A lot of people like to spike out the bass controls, drown the treble, and then expect to hear balanced sound. Does that make sense? It can't.
So, here is the long and short of it. The acoustimass module needs power, at least 100 watts per channel (a real 100 watts from a Kenwood or Pioneer) reciever, proper wiring so no speakers are out of polarity, and understanding of how to set the cube speakers and placement of the module depending on your room, and you will be MORE THAN IMPRESSED. The ported side of the module, 3-4 inches away from the wall (or behind an entertainment center) will yield the best bass response. I can feel my walls and floor shake, even at level 10 on my Kenwood reciever (100 watts per channel) that goes up to 30.
You will hear music as it was recorded and meant to be heard. If there is not too much bass, then it wasn't meant to be heard that way. If you are a fan of rap, then Bose speakers may not be for you. The Acoustimass module is designed with two six-inch drivers on a slanted angle to push an air mass inside the module out through columns to minimize audible distortion. Bose speakers are about purtiy and clarity of sound without being intrusive, and they accomplish exactly that.
I purchased these speakers at a Risley's store, and they had a room filled with Polk Audio, Cerwin-Vega, Paradigm, Klipsch, Infinity and Bose AM'5 speakers. These speakers, when compared in a listening test head-to-head, completley owned the competition. They were crystal-clear, the bass was tight, accurate, and controlled, and the cubes sounded more spacious than anything else in comparison. I could hear, just barely, some kind of audible distortion from the crossovers in all the other speakers, but the Bose was clear and warm, and that's when I knew I made the right choice in buying Bose.
Bass junkies, remember that powered subs are good for movies, but for music, the way it was meant to be, the Bose Acoustimass module is definately the source of natural-sounding bass, as it was meant to be.
I can't understand the people who review these speakers and say they have no bass.
Possibly they have the bass unit wired up out of phase ? I accidentally wired mine up out of phase on first attempt and the bass was pitiful : I had to crank my amp up to get any bass out of it too.
However after swapping the contacts on one of the inputs oh boy ! Bass aplenty !
I chose these speakers because, well - not to put too fine a point on it I've got a wife.
You know, those people who won't let you design your room decor around your speaker positions.
I would prefer to have floor standings, true, but these are a happy compromise. And what a compromise !
The breadth that the satellites give is truly tremendous. I'm very happy with my purchase but would prefer more mid-range at low volumes.
A word of caution though : you can't just (as bose say) put the bass unit anywhere in the room. I at first put mine behind my large pine TV cabinet (it's about a metre tall) in an alcove to the left of my chimney breast. The result was you could DEFINATELY tell that all the bass was coming from one side of the room. Probably because (a) I have a large bay window on the opposite side of the room and (b) the TV cabinet was operating as a huge resonance chamber.
I moved the unit (using the huge amount of cable which is supplied with the system) to a more central position alongside one of my sofas and hey presto !
I wouldn't have chose these speakers if it were left up to me to design my own room, but I must admit I am very impressed with the result given my circumstances and would recommend them to anyone. Even my wife likes them, which is a huge added bonus - and quoting her "what cute little speakers !"
It's my second AM5. I bought the first series from the Navy exchange in Virginia and was very please with the overall sound quality. I sold that first acoustimass 5 to my friend and bought another set this year (series 3). Now its part of my HT system with a JBL EC35 as center and the AM5 at both front side. I also have a pair of JBL L810, JBL E30, E50, Cambridge M80, and coming soon (on order), JBL L890. Yea, I love to collect nice speakers and I can compare how the AM5 measure up with my other speakers in term of sound quality, price range, and placement. When I listen to my AM5 on stereo, they sound good and loud with 200-Watt rating for its size. Well it doesn't have the highest highs and the lowest lows but it's better than my lower end speakers. If I want to go really deep, my cambridge P500 subwoofer takes care of that. I will make it as a REAR surround when my JBL L890 arrives. I like mixing the AM5 with JBL because of the sound timbre and JBL has the Titanium tweeters that can provide the real highs but the AM5 has the warm and realistic sound of music instrument, the action effect on movies and the stereo everywhere effect. I also tried to use it as rear with my JBL L810 as front or sometimes the Cambridge M80 as fronts.
It's very simple really. Bose are over rated speakers. I have owned these AM-5, 3 series speakers for a long time. They are crap in comparison to my B&W Nautilus 801 and my JBLs plus my Miller & Kreisel THX certified subwoofer. If you want cheap thrash around speakers, then the AM-5s are the way to go. Today you can get them for $359 according to www.bose.com
I have reviewed every speaker from bose including the so called infamous 901s. They are crap, no bass, and the showroom guy always play Richard Claydamon as a demo. He got a rude awakening when I produced my THX bass test tone CD. Believe it or not, those speakers were rated @ 400watts. God knows if it were RMS or PMPO but nevertheless, I managed to bust the left channel @ around 100 watts. The amp was a super Denon so no excuses there. I told them that I had cheque book in hand ready to buy a winner, but unfortunately there were none.....well until I finally tried out the 301s and the AM-5s. Let me tell you, The AM5s sound way better than any other bose system.
Either way, bose is still not a very good speaker in general. Let's talk about bass response. Since bose do not reveal the ACTUAL specs of the speakers, I had to studio test them using a THX rig to see how low the sub goes. Sorry to say, they only went as low as 47Hz without distortion. Anything lower made it crackle.
Bottom line is, if you want great sounding but more expensive speakers, here are some brands to consider. Miller & Kreisel, Mordaunt Short, Jamo, JBL, Infinity, B&W, Cerwin Vega, Bang & Olufsen, Paradigm and so on.
I highly recommend THX certified speakers though. The only 2 I can certify are B&W and Miller & Kreisel. Even JBL has lovely speakers. These speakers are perfect and when used with a Denon or Yamaha amp, how sweet they are.
Notice how bose never gives proper speaker specs on their site? hmm, a bit strange don't you think?