We Review the Bose 901…Magic or Myth?
The essentially crossover-less design gives the 901 an unmistakable coherence, the model’s greatest strength. Its incredibly wide dispersion comes in a close second. The Bose 901s sound great anywhere in the room, and what you might give up in terms of ultra-focused, sweet-spot listening, you’ll gain in spades when you have a room full of people. These could very well be one of the world’s three or four best party speakers. Again, compromise: Would you like a pair of speakers that you just listen to in your listening chair for private sessions, or do you do most of your listening in secondary mode while hanging out in the house cooking and entertaining?
No doubt, some graininess sneaks into the mid-band because the EQ box isn’t chock full of Mundorf capacitors. That said, have you ever taken a peek at the crossover of your choice $1,400 speaker? Precious few include components sporting any better quality.
After extensive listening, the Bose 901s strike me as being damn good. They have some limitations, but don’t all $1,400 speakers? For that matter, what $10,000 speakers are perfect? I’ve heard a handful of speakers that check a couple more audiophile boxes than the 901s, but I’ve heard many more that sound much worse. Much as I hate audiophile clichés, the “sins of omission” has never been truer than with these speakers. They are so smooth and musical, it’s tough to freak out about the missing detail.
And that’s the area in which the 901 lacks: reproducing low-level detail and microdynamics. When the keyboard enters the first verse of Joni Mitchell’s “Trouble Child,” it’s subdued, as are the bongos at the beginning of “Jericho.” Again, I suspect information is lost in the EQ and through the stock cables. What the 901s sacrifice here, they make up for on a broader scale via the ability to play really loud and without strain.
The 901s cruise while being played at volumes well beyond those that would reduce mini-monitors to rubble. Turning up Ace Frehley’s “Genghis Khan” from Anomaly at a level that hits 100 db peaks proves effortless.