Bose 201 Series IV Bookshelf Speakers

201 Series IV

2-Way Bookshelf Speaker - 6.5" Woofer and 2" Ferrofluid Cooled Tweeter - 120 Watts

User Reviews (102)

Showing 1-10 of 102  
Myndliss   AudioPhile [Aug 24, 2014]

Kids these are Bose 201's. If you want to get the most out of these speakers, you not only need to understand the specs, but also a little Bose history to understand the true intent of each product they make! Speakers, like cars, are designed for a specific purpose in mind. I would definitely NOT expect my new Mustang to perform like my 2000 Explorer. even if they have relatively the same size engine. The Bose 201's are mid priced bookshelf speakers. expect nothing more than what comparably priced speakers would offer in build quality. Book shelf speakers are intended for small to medium spaces. Trying to use them for any other intent than filling an decent sized apartment living room with sonically correct stereo music played at a reasonable (or slightly above reasonable) volume, they may leave you disappointed! But also like the automobile, you need the right fuel to get the desired results. My Explorer does exactly what I need it to with 87 octane, but I definitely want more octane for my Mustang! if you're going to use the 201's as any part of a surround system, or even a digital system, yes,they are going to need tweaking and help of some sorts, but with the right stereo receiver and a few minor tweaks these speakers will deliver a nice rich full sound. I have a very simple Harman/Kardon HK3380 stereo receiver. This receiver has a passive sub output on it, but find that for my needs, it would just be overkill, and irritate my neighbors. The 201's have a 6.5" woofer (NOT sub-woofer) if you get your kicks irritating the neighbors by rattling their pictures off the wall with your bass, these aren't those speakers! They would compliment a compatible sub-woofer though. Also keep in mind, to get the most out of any sound system, speaker placement is very critical! These are pretty unidirectional, but placed in the corners at ear level, angled about 30 degrees, the bass reflects nicely off the walls, and the dispersion tweeters fill my 20'x25' living room with beautiful easy to listen to music. But I also switched left and right speakers around to bounce the tweeters off the outside wall, which expands the dispersion field a little. I have to boost the treble slightly more to compensate, but then again some reviewers complained that the 201's had too much treble, this might be a way to control that a bit more for them. The 201's aren't for everyone. But if used correctly, they are truly a joy to the ears, no matter what you enjoy listening to (currently listening to Fall Out Boy doing a cover of Beat It. Sounds great!)!! But this is all just my opinion!!

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
audioarcheology   Audio Enthusiast [Jul 03, 2012]

I have Bose 201 IV. I think I paid no more than a price of an average restaurant meal for them. Construction is OK. They are fairly small, so vibrations of thin walls are not as bad as in 301s, especially when seams are missing some glue. 6 1/2" driver actually has a cloth surround!!! I suspect (and others here confirm), that these don't really have any crossover network inside, typical Bose. "Woofer" cone suspension seems kinda stiff. They do not sound very efficient (seem to take more power than my other speakers). I find their highs too harsh and muddy (they don't really have sophisticated crossovers, may be one capacitor, so that HF most likely gets a big chunk of full range signal and it's not filtered well). Small room does reflect some bass, but only in some spots. I do not hear the same sound in every corner of my room as Bose advertises; they are fairly direct as most of the port-design speakers are (well, speaking about reflected sound, I am thinking about 901s here ))). Not an audiophile grade speaker, for sure; with tone controls flat, they sound way too compressed, I mean "baseball" size, almost white noise. Most of the people here seem to use them in HT setups with subs, which makes sense. Despite all the drawbacks, I believe they are a good "investment", because Bose marketing is so penetrating, that their speakers sell like hot cakes, new and old.

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
panchoramos   Audio Enthusiast [May 17, 2010]

Bought the Bose 201 Series IV a year ago, they are the predecessor to the current model, Bose 201 Series V. If you are experienced in home audio, its obvious that just picking up one of these 201's feel much lighter in weight than your typical higher-end bookshelf speakers, of comparable or even smaller size. Cheap construction, the cabinet was only partially laminated, leaving exposed fiberboard. When you connect your wires, you'll notice Spring loaded terminals, lacking the Binding posts found in higher quality, comparably priced brands. I removed the grille and inspected further, the tweeter and woofer cones are all made of paper. Just for fun, I unscrewed the 6 1/2" main Driver and inspected the inside. There were no connectors on the end of the wires, instead I find that the wires are hand tied to the woofer's terminals (See for yourself!)

I connected the Bose 201's to my Denon AVR-1706 7.1 Channel receiver in Stereo Mode. These speakers have no enjoyable high nor low frequencies. There is no improvement in sound quality between the Bose and my HDTV's internal speakers. These speakers seem to augment the sound in an unnatural manner, and the direct-reflecting feature is bogus. I proceeded to connect my Klipsch SB-1's bookshelfs and ran an A/B test through my receiver on a variety of movies music and games. The Klipsch's blew away the Bose's. Sold them on craigslist a few weeks later.

Dont be suckered into any of Bose's products. If youre looking to break into high end audio, go for Infinity, Polk Audio, JBL, Boston Acoustics, Klipsch, which can be had for much less than comparable Bose models. The only thing Bose should get credit for, is their world class marketing strategy.

OVERALL
RATING
1
VALUE
RATING
1
ericchanning   AudioPhile [Feb 08, 2009]

Picked a pair up at a pawn shop for $20. They were basically straight. I had some high end Optimus book shelve speakers on my back channels of my 7.1 surround.

Relatively speaking, they bring volume and a warmer tone than the Optimus in a bookshelf. In my house, the front speakers are the drivers and the rear speakers for effects. If you look at a $4K Bose system with those little 4" midrange for surround, they are okay but lack the full thrust of sound as a 7.1 swooshes through your home entertainment system.

I run 3 subs. One with the sub out, one with the 7.1 fronts and one with the two back centers. the two back sides need some bass to fill out the low response. I also run on a separate amp some Bose 901's to augment the front channel Optimus speakers. It's a much better "warm" sound, not brassy or crisp like horns give, but more like someone actually talking in front of you.

I'm a amateur musician but a overly zealous audiophile. I've got to say that the more I listen to Bose, they more I like them. I've owned pretty much every major brand of equipement out there. I think they think things through versus just heart pounding bass and screaming highs. There's a quality of sound, like a good wine, that only a person who listen to a lot of systems can appreciate.

OVERALL
RATING
4
VALUE
RATING
5
manlystanley   Casual Listener [May 19, 2008]
Strength:

Size and cost

Weakness:

Limited highs.

Bought these because they fit perfectly mounted below the cabinets in my kitchen. Without running my receivers 'Auto Setup' they sounded really flat (huge middle and no highs). After running the Setup they sounded just OK.

In general, I'm sorry that I bought them. The Bose 301 Series IV is just a little bigger and cost about the same on Craigslist. So, the old saying is true: Buy in haste repent in leisure......



Similar Products Used: Klipsch RB-5, Cerwin Vera LS-8
OVERALL
RATING
3
VALUE
RATING
3
biggertroy   Audio Enthusiast [Feb 07, 2008]
Strength:

Very pleasant sound and easy on the ears. You can get them cheap on the used market.

Weakness:

I would not pay the new price for these because there are better speakers out there for about the same price. A little weak on bass response . You need a good subwoofer to make these sound good. Cheap push open connectors on the back which I hate. Midrange heavy. Dont buy unless you have a midrange control on your receiver or preamp.

I won these on ebay with a 45 dollar bid which really surprised me because most of the 201s on there were selling for much more. I have always teetered on liking and hating Bose speakers in the past. My barracks mate while stationed in Korea had a pair of 301s and they sounded good but I dont like the AM or lifestyle sound at all. After they arrived I hooked them up and was quite surprised at their pleasant sound. They are very easy on the ears and have enough volume and imaging for most listeners. No they dont sound as good as Paradigms or NHT's but if you just need a decent set of speakers for casual listening and can pick up a pair cheap I would more than recommend these. They sounded great with my NHT subwoofer. I am using them as my rear speakers for my home theater system and am more than pleased. I would not buy these unless you have a midrange control on your receiver or preamp because they are midrange heavy but sound great when I turned the midrange down . When I upgrade my rears I will probably keep these just because Ithey are cool and the growing stacks of speakers in my closet is really making my wife insane.

Customer Service

NA

Similar Products Used: Soundwave metronomes ( The best sounding speaker ever made )
Polk audio RT7 ,
OVERALL
RATING
3
VALUE
RATING
3
mconn   Audio Enthusiast [Jan 03, 2007]
Strength:

Inexpensive, smooth not brassey or overly bright. Easy to listen to for extended periods. Look good on speaker stands, if looks matter at all. Will play loud with little audible distortion.

Weakness:

Low end limited, needs SW help. Doesn't have cool factor with the in crowd. Didn't cost enough to impress anyone.

Speakers are easy to listen to over an extanded period. Ran them with a frequency test disc and sound pressure meter and guess what ? Midrange +_ 2 db and frequency responce to 16K was right on. Only dogs and kids under 5 can hear much more than that you Bose bashers. Limited low end as expected but as main speakers I cross them with my Onkyo to a Velodyne CHT 12. I really couln't ask for a more satisfying, for my taste, system at a reasonable price. I chose the 201's over the 301's because of the smoother midrange. When I made my own speakers years ago, I always settled on paper drivers, after trying and testing many others, with their more tolerable coloration......all speaker cones add their own sounds, and paper is the closest we can get to the human ear.
For the money, I liked the Yamaha line as well......it was a toss up when buying. Salesman said Bose tend to be more reliable, that sold me over the Y's.

Customer Service

None needed

Similar Products Used: AR,Boston Acoustics, Velodyne, MCM kit sub. Bose 161 remotes
OVERALL
RATING
4
VALUE
RATING
4
David Kinzler   Audio Enthusiast [Apr 18, 2006]
Strength:

only 218 new$ (for their succesor)
Small and elegant

Weakness:

overemphasis of the midrange
lack of lowend authority (even for their class)
dull and rolled off highs
little transparency
finicky soundstaging
No binding posts (use spring clips like the mini-systems)
close in price to entry level botique units

Tonight I went to demo a used hi-fi. Sweet componentry, with a top of the line Nakamichi receiver. To make a long story short, the speakers that come with it are Bose 201's. When tested, they sounded much too midrangy and had little to no transparency. I'd probably have trouble spotting the difference between a 128 MP3 and the original source on these puppies. I tried tweaking the amp's audio settings, but to no avail. Bass was subpar, even allowing for their 6 1/2" woofer cones. Most will want to augment them with a subwoofer if used in a stereo system. The sound reflection technique seems little more than a gimmick, albeit a very marketable one. In addition, it has the effect of making speaker placement much more important than with a typical loudspeaker. Expect to budget extra money for stands if you buy them.

I'm not comparing these to pie in the sky audiophile equipment. Frankly, these "speakers" sound little better than my 25 year old pair of Sears LX floorstanders. Yes that's right, Sears, the department store! With plastic dust caps, a half-inch thick particle board cabinet held together with penny nails, and standard Phillips screws for binding posts! Come on Bose, that’s not hard to trounce. If you haven't guessed, I find it quite hard to recommend these speakers... to anyone. Better sounding bookshelf units can be found for a third the price at any mass-market electronics chain. For the 218$ these sell for new (V series) one would be getting close to the price of a boutique bookshelf systembotique bookshelf speakers. I will admit they look pretty nice, but ultimately it’s the fidelity that matters. If you buy them as mains, expect to get upgrade fever soon. I know mine are going right back onto Craigslist.

Customer Service

No experience,wouldn't expect much because the series IV 's are long out of production.

Similar Products Used: Kenwood and KLH (vintage) floor standing units
Sears LX series with 8" woofer and 3" tweeter
Bookshelf units by Infiniti and Axiom
OVERALL
RATING
2
VALUE
RATING
1
thekid   Audio Enthusiast [May 07, 2005]
Strength:

Sound quality-Price

Weakness:

Plastic exterior Size can make for difficult placement

After reading all of the reviews on this product I am amazed at the diversity of the comments. It seems at times people are reviewing entirely different speakers. The majority of people who have written negative reviews about these speakers appear to be pushing an anti-Bose agenda as opposed to contributing a meaningful review of the product to help people who are looking for advice to determine what audio equipment to buy. As has been noted in some of the previous reviews, it appears those who are the most negative about these speakers have never owned a pair. I have owned a pair for about 3 years now and have been very pleased with their performance. I bought them in part because I liked their sound and because I have owned a pair of 201 Series II speakers for about 17 years and they still sound great! I use the Series IV's as the front speakers in my family room (16x20) as part of my home theater/audio set up. I am not so much of an audiophile that I can start talking about response frequencies and other techno speak. However, I can say these speakers do an excellent job for which they were designed. They are BOOKSHELF SPEAKERS! This means they are meant to provide a wide array of sound without taking up much room or drawing attention to themselves. A few of the reviews mention these speakers lack deep bass which is true but then again it is foolish to think they should, given the speakers size. For a home theater set-up you need to add a subwoofer,set your crossover frequences in part based on personal preferences-room dimensions etc and you will find these speakers are incredible relative to their cost/size. I am not crazy about their all plastic exterior compared to the nice wood exterior of my Series II but it does not appear to affect their performance. Their size is a little awkward because they are too large for most speaker stands which means you have to use a bookcase or shelf to place them on and that can cause some difficulty when positioning them for proper home theater placement. From a price/sound standpoint you may want to compare them to the Sony SS350 speakers which are less expensive and are bit large for "bookshelf speakers". Bottom line you should listen to these speakers (or any speakers you are considering) in the proper environment and make your choice based on your listening preferences. When comparing 2 or more brands try to make sure the listening conditions are as equal as possible. The room size,receiver brand/quality etc can lead to significant differences in sound quality. I hope some of you who read this review find it useful. One last comment about some of the negative reviewers of this product. If you own a better product stick to writing a useful review of the product you own rather than a negative one of a product you don't. It makes open forums like this more effective tools for people looking to get serious about expanding their audio world.

Similar Products Used: The rest of the speakers in this set up are Bose 161's Rear surrounds VCS-10 Center Channel Speaker Sony SW-200 My second home theater set-up includes Sony SS-350 Fronts Sony Center Channel Sony SS-150 Rear Surrounds Aiwa Subwoofer
OVERALL
RATING
4
VALUE
RATING
4
Rhoxed   AudioPhile [Apr 26, 2005]
Strength:

Durability

Weakness:

Bass Response High's are not crisp Bose is a good "mid-range" sounding speaker only.

I have my pair of Bose 201's since 1989. These speakers LAST, most people hate the fact that they use paper cones, but i have never had to replace the cones in these speakers after over 15years of DAILY use, and yes, i do push these speakers to their limits weekly. These speakers are made incredibly well, and have good sound. The problem with these is the price (now currently going for ~200$ i beleive) I recently bought a pair of Pyle PHS78 which was MUCH cheaper, has much more bass, and much clearer highs. These Bose are excellent in the fact that they have been pumping out sound for over 15 years, without one speaker failing/having a problem.

Similar Products Used: Complete line of Pyle home audio speakers, Kenwood, Pioneer, and Cerwin vega
OVERALL
RATING
3
VALUE
RATING
3
Showing 1-10 of 102  

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