Bose Companion 5's Review - VERY Good Speakers

Discussion in 'Mac Peripherals' started by Tucom, Dec 19, 2012.

  1. Tucom, Dec 19, 2012
    Last edited: Dec 19, 2012

    macrumors 6502a

    Tucom

    Joined:
    Jul 29, 2006
    #1
    So I just got back from the Bose store after extensive research and in-store auditions of what are an overall a fantastic and *VERY* well built set of speakers.


    The Build Quality - *SUPERB* Very Apple like, these are the speakers the Apple would have made if Apple made computer speakers. The bases are all thick slabs of painted aluminum and the speaker grills and fine painted metal, with very high quality plastic for the housing and speaker stand necks.

    The subwoofer or "Acoustimass Module" feels incredibly solid, and pretty heavy - a sign of a heavy magnet and quality. The plastic is superbly high quality and feels like the high end warehouse machinery plastic. Amazing feel of quality herre.

    The control pod is all aluminum or metal, and has a very solid and nice feel to it.


    The Sound. 1 word: Balanced. 2 words: Balanced and very detailed. 3 words: Balanced, detailed, and immersive. The highs and the mids are excellent, however some of the mid-tones are played through the Acoustimass module (subwoofer), but overall meshes together well. I've heard better sound only from setups costing 40-50% more, if not then in the $1,500 range (for highs and mids).

    Now to the confusing part: At first I thought the bass was weak or off, but after a while I started getting to points in songs where it really kicked in and accompanied the speakers wonderfully. The thing is, the bass is INCREDIBLY controlled on this system. More so than the Klipsch iFi I had previously. And it's not going to knock down any picture frames or rattle any windows (well it might), but the bass that IS there is low, prominent, and VERY controlled and musical.


    Another upside about this system is that you don't need a high end sound card because it's USB - the soundcard is built in. And these supposedly also decode 5.1 audio and emulate a surround system with two speakers, but I'm only using it for stereo, and it exceeds in that area I'd say.

    I purchased these speakers with the Bose 12 month payment plan, and I think I'll keep them. Bose has a 30 day return policy, but I'll let them break in and see how they sound, and I think they're staying.


    I'll add photos when I can.


    UPDATE: After further testing, I'd say that the bass for lower frequencies IS weak, but there, and again, has a very balanced sound to it. There are certain songs where I can literally feel the bass, but on certain frequencies, it's just not really there.


    Still recommend these though, and it could just totally be my placement, though the Acoustimass module (subwoofer) is in a corner.

    UPDATE 2: So after playing a frequency bass test on YouTube that shows you the frequencies being played back, the Bose Companion 5's reach down to about 30-35Hz pretty well, and even has response down to about 20-25Hz. I think for movies this system would be awesome, will update my findings as such.


    UPDATE 3: Ok so after using GarageBand and the bass notes from "HipHop Kit" - these speakers have some bass to them, that's for sure. And it's rattling something in my house. I'm actually planning on using these speakers for music production, at least to the point until I need monitors like I used to have.
     
  2. thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Tucom

    Joined:
    Jul 29, 2006
    #2
    Another note: These speakers sound EXCELLENT at low volumes. Bose is known for this, and probably a result of them using DSP's and such, but low or loud volume, it sounds great.
     
  3. Moderator

    840quadra

    Staff Member

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    #3
    Thanks for the review, I was looking to the speakers as well. The biggest problem is, bose doesnt release detailed text specifications of frequency response, driver size, and overall power, so purchasers can make an informed choice.

    Examples,
    Note the detail in frequency response of the drivers, and sub woofers.

    Audio engine tech specs from their site
    http://audioengineusa.com/Store/audioengine-A5plus-tech#.UNNZNny9KSM


    Swan tech specs from their site
    http://www.swanspeaker.com/products/products.aspx?cid=5&sid=0&pid=22&cmenu=spec

    Bose tech specs offer only dimensions of the enclosures, weight, and overall input.

    Because of this lack of info, I am leaning towards brands like audioengine and Swan because they sound great, have good customer service, and have full disclosure on detailed subjects that audiophiles ( not myself ) ask questions about.

    I would suspect the lack of bass you are experiencing, is due to a lack of low range on the subwoofer for the Bose. When listening to one of my test tracks at the store, I noticed it wasn't reaching the ultra low frequencies that go below 50hz very reliably . I also found the highs to be a bit muddy, and not able to reproduce a couple of artifacts recorded into one of my test songs ( you can hear studio CRT monitors in one track in the background). I don't really want to hear these tones, but I found that headphones, or speakers that don't produce these artifacts, are clipping off some of the upper treble frequencies that are desirable in some songs.

    Overall I too liked the Bose system, perhaps the test unit I was listening to, didn't get built properly, or was damaged in some way.

    The system is still far better than similarly priced HK, Klipsch, and Logitech systems I tested. But, as they say, speaker decisions are a personal choice, and you must go with what sounds good to you, and you!
     
  4. macrumors 6502a

    Blaine

    Joined:
    Dec 3, 2007
    Location:
    Abilene TX
    #4
    Thanks for the review! I'm also interested in them.
     
  5. Tucom, Dec 25, 2012
    Last edited: Dec 25, 2012

    thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Tucom

    Joined:
    Jul 29, 2006
    #5
    I've decided that I'm taking them back to return them. They just sound so *odd* when playing back stereo music, and sound very off when in games. Also some of the voices and mid range are being produced through the subwoofer, which sounds terrible IMO.

    EDIT: They sound very DIFFERENT in stereo, but not bad, but in fact quite good, to great even, just odd at times. The only downside is that on some what seems like not properly mastered audio, some voices play through the sub, and does sound a bit off and bad, but besides that there's no issues with voices, even low male voices, and sounds great.


    I still can't get over the build quality of these speakers - the Bose Companion 5's, but I think my Logitech Z623 sounds better than them, and MUCH better bass.

    EDIT: "MUCH better" as in MUCH MORE, and a bit lower in frequency, but playing some Bassbin Twins the Companion 5's have some very good bass to them, just wish there was more of it.


    I think the Bose Companion 3's actually had possibly better sound quality and bass than the Bose Companion 5's.

    EDIT: Better sound quality for *stereo playback*, the SQ on the C5's is still great.


    They're good speakers, just not what I was looking for.
     
  6. thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Tucom

    Joined:
    Jul 29, 2006
    #6
    Well I may end up keeping them, I'm just really liking the build quality and design, and they do sound GOOD, just lacking in bass.


    Anyone else with Companion 5's that has powerful bass?
     
  7. macrumors 6502a

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    San Diego, CA USA
    #7
    That's odd. The C5's have better DSP in them and better treble speakers. They should sound better than the C3's. The C5's and C3's have the same bass module. You do know there's an adjustment knob on the bass module which controls the relative volume of the bass? Turn that knob up to get more bass. Also, the placement of the bass module can make a difference. It should be closer to a wall to get a better effect.
     
  8. thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Tucom

    Joined:
    Jul 29, 2006
    #8

    That's the thing; the C5's and C3's actually have a very different bass module from eachother. One's ported and tuned differently than the other. I'm playing some Bassbin Twins right now ont he C5's, and the clarity is great, and the bass is low in frequency and pretty satisfactory, except if only there could be MORE of the bass, not lower, not stronger, just MORE of it.

    The bass knob is turned all the way to full.


    The treble speakers I believe are the same between the C5's and C3's - with the C5's having two per channel like the GSX systems.
     
  9. Moderator

    840quadra

    Staff Member

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    #9
    Don't take this the wrong way, but you should buy speakers for how they sound, not how they look.

    If you are after good build quality, and exceptional sound, look into brands that Audiophiles seek out, such as the brands I listed above, Bowers & Wilkins, Aktimate, or many of the high quality desktop monitor class speakers from other great brands.

    Why keep something that looks great, if it's sole purpose in life (making audio and music) causes you to cringe every time you turn them on ?
     
  10. thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Tucom

    Joined:
    Jul 29, 2006
    #10
    No that's a good point, but the only reason I said the Logitech Z623's sound better is that they sound more "focused" than the Bose Companion 5's. And by "MUCH better bass" it's just that the Logitech has MORE bass, not necessarily better. I'll revise it.


    I looked at the Focal XS 2.1, and I don't think the build quality is quite up to Bose standards, and some parts just look cheap/poorly designed.


    I may eventually either get M-Audio BX5's or Orb Audio speakers, but for NOW, it's either the Logitech Z623's or Bose C5's. right now leaning towards the C5's.
     
  11. torana355, Dec 25, 2012
    Last edited: Dec 25, 2012

    macrumors 68000

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    #11
    I would avoid Bose audio gear, its grossly over priced for what you get. A logitech (good bang for your buck), Denon or Bowers & Wilkins setup is much better for the money. That being said im an Audiophile and always go for SQ over looks.
     
  12. thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Tucom

    Joined:
    Jul 29, 2006
    #12
    "Grosly" is a huge overstatement - depending on what product you're talking about. They're headphones are phenomenal and VERY well priced. Their computer speaker line is excellent, and well priced. It's their Lifestyle series that are overpriced, but their less costlier models are not that bad.


    I've owned studio monitors, and have heard B&W 800D's running of a McIntosh Amp with my own source material - it was incredible, so I know what good sound sounds like, and these Bose C5's are very good to great speakers, but I think their Companion 3's were definitely better suited for stereo listening, and having owned a set, they easily sounded better than my Infinity Primus 150 bookshelfs I had back in the day.

    Finally, I'm not just set on the looks, but the build quality. It's outstanding on the Bose Companion 5's, and even the plastic feels like a composite, not even plastic, but instead more like a bowling ball or metal.
     
  13. macrumors 68000

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    Dec 8, 2009
    Location:
    Sydney, Australia
    #13
    Bose headphones phenomenal? lol Bose headphones are not even mentioned in the same sentence as Audeze, Stax, Hifiman, Fostex and Sennheiser in Audiophile circles. Look im glad you are happy with your purchase but don't try and tell me Bose is an any way well priced for the SQ you get because that just isn't true.

    All i will say is you can get better sound for the money you spent, that is all. I didn't mean to come off rude either but it just bugs me when brands like Bose and Dre Beats get talked up when they are overpriced and middle tier quality at best.
     
  14. thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Tucom

    Joined:
    Jul 29, 2006
    #14
    Woah you should be ashamed to be even MENTION Bose in the same sentence as the overpriced, crap quality Beats (at least the Studios and Solos).

    Bose is *FAR* superior to anything Beats, and while still a little overpriced, are actually quality units and have great to fantastic sound quality, and well built. Unlike Beats (except the Executives and Pros)

    I tried the Beats Studios at an Apple store, and sounded decent, then the Bose AE2's, and sounded just as good (if not better) at less than half the price, and felt very, very comfortable.

    You're way off to say "middle tier quality" about Bose, at least in terms of build quality. Sound quality is subjective, but yes there are usually better options for the money for Bose's home theater, but not necessarily better all around all factors considered.

    Also Bose's customer service is second to none, from what I hear.


    Yes, for $400 I can get better sounding 2.0 speakers, but not a sound card, subwoofer, and the satellite speakers and amp that the C5 provides, and not of the build quality (seriously, it's pretty great how well and solid they're built) of the C5's I bet.


    They're not perfect, but I think they'll be adequate until I upgrade.
     
  15. macrumors 68000

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    Location:
    Sydney, Australia
    #15
    Im sorry but Bose and Beats are in the same overpriced and under performing category for me. Look it seems you are very happy with your purchase so ill leave it at that. :) Out of curiosity did you check out any Audioengine or M-Audio gear?
     
  16. thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Tucom

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    Jul 29, 2006
    #16
    The only Beats items that are even remotely comparable to Bose quality is the Beats Executives all aluminum pretty good sounding headset, and the Beats Pros. Bose walks all over Beats crap otherwise.


    I did a bunch of research on Audioengine and M-Audio gear. The artist B.T uses M-Audio BX5's (and his songs are incredible). And Orb Audio is used in some high end famous studio (I think Abbey Roads) for vocal checks, so I may upgrade to those at some point.
     
  17. thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Tucom

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    #17
    Well, the Bose are packed up and going back. The Logitechs definitely sound better for stereo, and the bass walks all over the Bose.

    It's a shame too because I really wanted to like the Bose, given their design and clear highs and mids, but the imaging was way off and the bass was really disappointing.
     
  18. thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Tucom

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    #18
  19. thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Tucom

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    #19
    UPDATE - Decided to try the Companion 5's again, just in case I got a lemon the first which was why I was initially disappointed with the sound.

    I GOT A LEMON - Just got a new a set about a year ago - and ALL the complaints I had with it are gone; the bass is incredible, VERY controlled and detailed, and this is from someone who has listened to, again, very high end audio solutions from B&W, Klipsch, Polk, JL Audio. The bass is excellent. With the bass adjustment dial at half, the bass shakes my whole apartment more or less. Phenomenal, to say the least.

    Nothing sounds bad in "stereo" anymore. Everything sounds great.

    The highs are VERY clean, and detailed. The imaging is excellent. The mids are there, and sound great.


    So, in short, ignore ALL the negatives I mentioned about these speakers in this thread. If you ever get one that's not performing the way it should, return it, and try a new set. That's what happened with me.

    Oh, and these walk ALL OVER the Logitech Z620's in sound quality.


    Just wanted to update you all incase anybody here was curious in buying this set of speakers - well worth it. Again, I've owned studio monitors, and numerous other Hi-Fi gear, and BOSE really did it right the Companion 5's.
     
  20. macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Aug 3, 2012
    Location:
    London
    #20
    I was considering these but opted for the companion 20's instead. The bass is great for a 2.0 system. I may get the companion 5's once i don't require a reasonably portable system.
     
  21. macrumors 6502

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    Belgium
    #21
    This is turning out to be a very confusing review. Good - Bad, Keeping them - Returning them ...
     
  22. thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Tucom

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    #22
    Please don't even bother typing nonsense like this, it's a waste of time. You obviously failed to read my final reply to this thread.


    Good day.
     
  23. macrumors 6502

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    #23
    It might've been easier for everyone else to read if you would've just updated your first post. :rolleyes:
     
  24. Tucom, Dec 21, 2014
    Last edited: Dec 21, 2014

    thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Tucom

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    #24

    Yeah, you obviously have nothing better to do. Though I guess that's kind of fair. However why you couldn't merely just read the latest post - and figure out to read the time of date when the initial review was posted is beyond me.

    EDIT: You can't edit a post from this time ago. Again, nothing would have been "confusing" had you just read the final post.

    If you have any REAL questions, however, THEN I'd be happy to answer.


    Good day.
     

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