Bose AM-3 Series IV Floorstanding Speakers

3/5 (4 Reviews) MSRP : $299.00


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Reviews 1 - 4 (4 Reviews Total)

User Reviews

Overall Rating:3
Value Rating:2
Submitted by rbuszka a Audio Enthusiast

Date Reviewed: June 27, 2007

Bottom Line:   
With all the one-sided Bose bashing that goes on, I considered titling this review "Confessions of a Bose Owner" and kissing my future credibility as a reviewer goodbye, but I'd rather take a different track instead. So I went digging through my magazine archives for an editorial article by The Absolute Sound magazine editor-in-chief Robert Harley, in which he challenges the notion that flat frequency response is essential to a satisfying high-fidelity experience. Instead, Harley virtually waxes Dr. Bose on the subject, speaking more about the far less quantifiable characteristics that lend musicality and enjoyability to a listening experience. I recently bought the Acoustimass 3 Series IV system to use as multi-room extension speakers for my Harman Kardon receiver (for background music), though I figured I'd hook them up in place of the main speakers and give them a good evaluation.

Whoever purchases these speakers needs to have a good idea of what to expect. I've listened to several small sub-sat systems, including the Acoustimass 3 system from the previous model series, and the Henry-Kloss-designed Cambridge Soundworks Ensemble IV system. Of all these tiny satellite systems, none of them can truly replace a good set of multi-way bookshelf speakers. Instead, they need to be taken for what they are, to a certain extent. They also need to be heard as an entire system -- you can't just isolate the subwoofer, and then isolate the satellite speakers, and talk only about them.

The Bose Acoustimass 3 system's bass module is almost twice the size of the Ensemble IV bass module, and this gives it a noticeable advantage in output level capability. Through my testing, the module sounded remarkably unstrained, though it did lack some of the tightness and immediacy of the Ensemble's bandpass bass module, which uses an acoustic suspension rear chamber, instead of the Acoustimass module's network of series-tuned chambers. The size of the small cube speakers requires a crossover frequency that's higher than could be managed with larger satellite speakers, a problem the Ensemble system shares. Still, the Acoustimass 3 series IV system has a fuller, deeper-sounding bass response than the comparable Ensembles.

The Bose Acoustimass 3 system uses single-cube speakers, instead of the direct-reflecting cube arrays used by other Acoustimass systems. I think that's why I've often heard that the Acoustimass 3 system is the best-sounding of all the Acoustimass systems, despite its being the smallest. Since all the sound is direct, these tiny cube speakers can exhibit the characteristics of single-driver speakers that make them so attractive to many audiophiles -- improved imaging and detail through phase coherence. In fact, if these speakers are set up properly (eight feet apart, ear level, yada yada), they seem to disappear in an expansive sound field that isn't unnaturally accentuated by 'reflected' sound. The Acoustimass cubes are a bit more colored than the Ensemble cubes. The thin plastic enclosures can vibrate and create a 'cupped' coloration through the midrange, while an accentuated upper midrange (5-8kHz) creates an exaggerated sense of 'crispness' that can sound unnatural. These speakers also noticeably roll off in the upper treble, so they can sound like they're missing a bit of sparkle in the top end, something I also noticed with the single-driver Ensemble satellite speakers.

Placement is important with these speakers. The Acoustimass module should be placed along a wall (preferably the front wall), and the cube speakers can benefit from being placed close to the rear wall, which can improve warmth through the midbass range. These speakers also need a beefy amplifier to drive them, since they aren't very efficient, and they present a 6 ohm load instead of the standard eight ohm load which makes them a little tougher to drive for receivers that can't deliver plenty of current. Bose made the mistake of voicing these speakers 'flat' through the bass range, which causes many people to call the Acoustimass speakers "lacking" in the lower end, but a bit of additional tweaking of the bass control on my receiver yielded a more powerful sound. In fact, many listeners typically set their subwoofers 10-15dB above 'flat'. So, it's not surprising that the Acoustimass speakers can sound lacking in the low end without further tweaking.

Let me sum things up by saying...yes, I know the Bose Acoustimass system doesn't have a flat frequrency response. Yes, I know that the materials quality isn't quite up there with the price category, and I quite likely overpaid. Still, in terms of the ability to deliver a rewarding music experience, I think the Bose Acoustimass 3 is the small sub/sat package to have. Still, there's definitely much to be gained from going to full-sized bookshelf speakers and a powered sub, a system which won't have to deal with the engineering challenges that plague small passive sub/sat systems.

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Used product for:   Less than 1 month

Duration Product Used:   Audio Enthusiast

Price Paid:    $200.00

Purchased At:   Bose.com



Overall Rating:4
Value Rating:4
Submitted by Dalockmanjr a Audio Enthusiast

Date Reviewed: September 19, 2006

Bottom Line:   
Nice enjoyable system works and sounds great out of the box.
Easy to listen to... not ear fatiguing

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Used product for:   More than 1 year

Duration Product Used:   Audio Enthusiast

Product model year:   2005

Price Paid:    $299.00

Purchased At:   Bose



Overall Rating:1
Value Rating:1
Submitted by gcook67 a Audio Enthusiast

Date Reviewed: June 9, 2005

Bottom Line:   
Well let me start by saying back in the early 90's I tested the JBL, Cerwin Vega and The Bose speakers. The JBL's were too bright and the Cerwin Vega's were too boomy. However the Bose 501's were just perfect. They were accurate and absolutely blew me and everyone I knew away. Years passed and when surround speakers started becomming popular I decided to sell my 501's and purchase surround speakers. What a huge mistake! The Bose AM-3 in a very small environment such as a bedroom sound good when being used not as a surround speaker, but two way and being used as analogue input, not digital. They sound warm and natural. When trying to use them as a front for surround they absolutely are terrible. What I believe is that Bose has cut back on the quality of their product and decided to use that money for marketing and to mass produce and as a result have cut back on the overal sound. Think about it! Most companies these days send their product to either China or Mexico to be assembled. That means they have to make the product light in order to keep the freight to a mininum when it comes time for shipping. In order for a speaker to sound good in a larg room it needs to have a large speaker and large housing. So therefore they produce a very small speaker that sucks in a large environment. How many times have you gone to a concert and seen little tiny cube speakers. NEVER!!!!!!!!!!!!

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Used product for:   1 to 3 months

Duration Product Used:   Audio Enthusiast

Product model year:   2004

Price Paid:    $299.00

Purchased At:   Bose



Overall Rating:4
Value Rating:4
Submitted by adibigs87 a Audio Enthusiast

Date Reviewed: January 22, 2005

Bottom Line:   
Purchased an Onkyo shelf system, wasn't happy with the speakers that came with it after break-in. I'm very familiar with Bose products I went to the Bose store in my area, told the salesman my situation, size of the room and how much wattage my amp is.

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Used product for:   Less than 1 month

Duration Product Used:   Audio Enthusiast

Product model year:   2004

Price Paid:    $299.00

Purchased At:   Bose




Reviews 1 - 4 (4 Reviews Total)

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