Bose CineMateâ„¢ Speaker System Home Theater Speaker Systems

CineMateâ„¢ Speaker System

The Bose® CineMate digital home theater speaker system makes it easy to enjoy the power of a home theater experience using your TV and video components, like a DVD player or VCR. There's no bulky equipment, complicated wiring or confusing installation. And there are no center or rear speakers. Just two front speakers and a hideaway Acoustimass® module bring movies and music to life with four quick connections. A universal infrared remote controls your system and most devices attached to your television.

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Dan   Audio Enthusiast [Oct 22, 2008]
Strength:

The price is in Canadian $ (before tax).

Weakness:

N/A

Introduction: Based on my reading, this is a system that is designed to enhance your TV sound. Regular TV speakers are doing a decent job at speech frequencies but are losing ground when you listen to music or to a soundtrack. There is no depth and they can become overwhelmed by sound effects, big orchestras, or even by a rock or country band. And this is where the Bose Cinemate comes to help. This is a “simple” system that feeds from the RCA line outputs of your TV and fills the room with crispy clear and reach sound. The greatness of the Cinemate is the simplicity and the fact that you don’t need to buy a $$$ receiver with $$$ speakers and with complicated setup procedures and zillion wires to achieve this. And I am using the “” on the simple because there is nothing simple about the technology and design used by Bose engineers to build this system. It plugs into your TV as a speaker but yet it is way much more than that.

Our environment: We have big Harman Kardon in the basement, with big Mirage box speakers and a dual 10” Polk subwoofer that can pop nails from the walls. But this is not what we wanted in our living room where we do most of our TV watching. There we have a 40” Bravia that has decent built-in speakers and great HD picture. But we noticed that when we listen to a concert or even when watching a movie on TMN, even if the picture is great, there are times when the TV speakers are just not enough and increasing the TV volume will only make things worse.
Bringing the big monsters from the basement upstairs and transforming the living room into a studio was out of the question; and this is when I started to look at what is available. And Cinemate was like the solution designed for us.
At the first look it is expensive as you are thinking two small speakers to add to your TV. But let’s not forget there are amplifiers and electronics and signal processing and remote, basically a whole system hidden inside 3 speakers.
So we bought it to see how it performs.

The Setup: First, after trying all kind of positions for the two speakers, and after reaching the brilliant conclusion they will just not float in the air at the required position, I went back and I bought the UFS-20 stands. Our TV sits on a glass and metal stand and there is nothing to hold the speakers near it.
I connected the system to the audio line outputs of the TV, which I set on fixed (not variable) output.
I set the TV on external audio system mode (internal speakers off): the volume of the TV is not needed anymore.
The Acustimate unit I placed behind the TV in the corner. First it was pointing with the output cone towards the corner (as it was easier to connect the cables) but this made the bass sound too obtrusive sometimes, so I turned it away from the corner and pointing towards the room. This gave a smooth and non obtrusive bass enhancement to the system. For the two speakers we tried in all the possible positions, but the best by far was when we installed them on the stands (at 3’ high) and placed them on both sides of the TV at about 3’ distance of each other and facing the room as directed in the setup instructions. They are at one inch from the TV on both sides and they blend with the TV and the stand and they look like they belong.
Finally, the control module I pushed between TV and the leg under the screen. As it was not tall enough I used a piece of black foam to hold it in place. It is almost invisible and it looks like part of the TV set. The small green light on the module is very discreet and it doesn’t disturb when watching the screen. It flashes each time you change the volume so you can estimate how much you change.
As for the sound, it is clean, reach and deep and it feels the room anywhere you are. This is what we were looking for. It will not shake your windows and if this is what you are looking for, you made a bad choice. And it is nothing like the demo in the store, which has too much bass and too much of everything (it has to impress you in that big and noisy place that this system is not built for). For the demo they do not connect to the TV set as they should, but to a small digital box provided by Bose. And who knows what signal the system is getting from this gizmo: this is why it sounds so different.
We are not even using the Bose remote. The Videotron Cable Box HD remote can control up to 4 devices and the Bose code they provided for the Audio control works perfect. You can chose which volume you want to control, so we control the channels of the cable box and the volume of the Bose system and we can power them all including the TV. There is also an ALL button on this remote, which when pressed, will power on (or off) all the devices at once. So we have great sound and very simple operation.

Bottom Line: To ramp up, this is not the cheapest system on the market, but you really get what you are paying for (nothing new here). And if you want simple, unobtrusive, and very good sound quality, you have to make your choice. We are keeping it.
As for the UFS-20 stands, if you already got over this financial barrier and bought the Bose system, don’t get cheap and try to save 50$ by buying some stands that are not made for these speakers. The Bose speaker cables are thick with big connectors and will not go through the tiny grooves on any other generic stand. You will have to improvise and it will look ugly. On the Bose stands, everything fits together like a breeze, you don’t see the cables and it looks great.

Customer Service

N/A

Similar Products Used: Harman Kardon, Mirage, Polk
OVERALL
RATING
4
VALUE
RATING
4
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