Bose unveils black SoundDock | iLounge News

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Bose unveils black SoundDock

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Bose has provided iLounge with details and photos of its new black SoundDock iPod speaker system. The black SoundDock, designed to match the black fifth-generation iPod and iPod nano, will be available in stores and online in early May for $299—the same price as the original white system. The new SoundDock will also offer the same features as the original, including Bose’s proprietary acoustic design, universal docking cradle for all dockable iPods, and matching infrared remote control.

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Comments

1

I can’t believe it took them so long honestly.

Posted by JeremytheIndian on April 11, 2006 at 7:27 AM (PDT)

2

That actually looks pretty sharp in black, but the price point, at $299, is still somewhat difficult to justify when there are systems that sound just as good for $250 and less.  I own a SoundDock and love it, but the only reason I could afford it was because I was given an employee discount, at $150, from a family friend.  Now with Apple’s (admittedly huge in comparison) HiFi, priced at only $50 more and sounding worlds better, Bose should really introduce an updated model or possibly reduce the price.  That being said, the SoundDock has a much more appealing, simplistic design, IMHO, than any system currently on the market.

Posted by Nick on April 11, 2006 at 7:29 AM (PDT)

3

I am battling whether I should buy a SoundDock or a HiFi. Testing it by far, the HIFi blows SoundDock by a huge margin. Quite an accomplishment for Apple, since this is the first decent speaker they release.

Posted by Steve on April 11, 2006 at 9:09 AM (PDT)

4

The only Bose equipment I’ve had was a pair of TriPort cans a few years back. They sounded pretty good, but I quickly abandoned them once I discovered in-ear monitors, which I found to be exponentially better sounding, especially with acoustic instrumental and classical works.

Audiophiles have complained about something called the Bose “sonic signature.” And Bose’s “shaping” of the sound. I wonder what they mean by that.

Audiophiles haven’t piped in on the whole iPod accessory market yet (with the exception of in-ear monitors). Their opinion of the iPod is the same as for that of any other MP3 player. They generally revile cheap solid-state circuitry (if it is that small it has to be bad) and compressed audio. But their disdain for Bose is well known.

I’d love to see an audiophile reviewer contracted by iLounge or one of the other iPod enthusiast sites to auditon all of these speakers (Apple iPod Hi-Fi, Bose SoundDock, Klipsch iFi, Audio Engine 5, Altec Lansing iM7). For a lot of listeners sound quality is the most important factor, followed by price and features.

Posted by Happy Phantom on April 11, 2006 at 9:15 AM (PDT)

5

To Happy Phantom,
IMHO Bose tries, with their lifestyle products anyway,  to control the listening experience. I went to a demo for the Wave Radio a few years back and found the sound muddied and bass-heavy. Clarity was definately lacking. They seemed so full of themselves trumpeting the “full range of sound” that they forgot about balance. I personally think the output is designed NOT to offend the listener, so that those people who listen to their stereos with the bass all the way up will feel right at home. How quaint. I believe that is the “sonic signature” you referenced.

I also found there are no tone controls for the unit - it plays its own way regardless of the room acoustics. That speaks volumes to me. I think I know what sounds good in my house - and whatever Bose tries to tell you - a particular passage, rendered identically, WILL sound different in two different rooms. That Bose gives me no options is what keeps me away.

Posted by RB on April 11, 2006 at 10:17 AM (PDT)

6

I worked with Dr. Amar Bose as an undergrad - I was his T.A. my senior year at MIT back in ‘86. He is open about his feelings and a terrific teacher.

He is in fact very concerned with the listening experience that users have - extraordinarily so. He also understands that the percentage of people with any degree of technical sophistication is very, very small. This is part of the reason that he and his company very conciously developed a “keep it simple for the end user” philosophy. Judging by market results, it has been a successful approach to put it mildly.

In many conversations with him, he strongly felt that users should not be given much control over EQ because it will be used improperly a very high percentage of the time and thus destroy the musical presentation he is trying to deliver. (Note to flamers: his words, not mine)

I don’t think he would argue with some of the points raised - a very simple system like the Sounddock is designed to produce well balanced sound and presentation in average environments. Larger systems like the big Lifestyle home theatre setups incorporate mics and perform acoustic analysis to automatically set EQ, thus making them flexible in a way that adheres to Dr. Bose’s philosophy.

A very important point in the Bose philosophy is the conviction that the recording process is itself so fatally flawed that the best you can hope for is a musically pleasing performance, not an accurate one - because accuracy has little real meaning in context.

As a musician and producer, I agree with the last statement. While I enjoy recorded music all the time (and create some) I would never claim that 2-channel audio is meaningfully realistic on any conceivable system, including all the high-end audio I have heard and owned. Fun, yes. Real, no. The data just isn’t there.

All this being said, the Sounddock is a dandy device that allows your iPod to sound pretty darn good in most rooms with absolutely no fuss and bother and a very small footprint. I don’t own one, I plug my iPods into my stereos around the house.

Since all of these toys are only around $300, it isn’t enough to get bent about regardless. This is cheap fun for most.

(Disclaimers: No, I don’t work for Bose. My thesis topic was a description of the non-linear model required to digitally duplicate a real vacuum tube guitar amp in breakup and Bose was not my advisor. I did research on acoustic wave technology for Bose while a student.)

Posted by BradPDX in Portland, OR USA on April 11, 2006 at 11:10 AM (PDT)

7

I agree with “nick” all the way!m And steve, get the Hi-Fi! think about it! you got an apple iPod for about $50 more that what one creative would have cost @ wal mart! looking back on that, Iarnt you glad you went apple! In my humble but accurate oppinon, WE WANT IPOD STUFF TO BE WHITE!!! DOWN WITH BLACK!!

Posted by LawnBoy on April 11, 2006 at 11:20 AM (PDT)

8

Bose is certainly a polarizing man and brand. I tend to REALLY dislike his products and approach (I’ve often referred to the company as the Thomas Kinkade of the audio world). But I know supposedly well-rounded and educated people who swear by his stuff (though the audio snob in me tries to keep these ‘friends’ at arm’s length wink ).

As for the new variant: I wasn’t impressed by the SoundDock’s audio performance when in white. I suspect the same goes for the performance in its new costume as well.

Posted by flatline response on April 11, 2006 at 12:19 PM (PDT)

9

Hi flatline response,

Polarizing is right. I was just reading the wikis on Dr. Bose and the Bose Corporation.

Apparently there is a lot of acrimony over these guys. Bose Corp is considered very litigious, having sued competitors (e.g. Cambridge Soundworks, JBL, etc) and reviewers (e.g Consumer Reports) that make statements about Bose products that they take exception to, or are offended by. I especially like this example:

“Bose sued Consumer Reports in 1973 and initially won, however they lost on appeal in 1984. Bose initially won because Consumer Reports could not prove that its statement, “worse, individual instruments heard through the Bose system seemed to grow to gigantic proportions and tended to wander about the room.”, was “worse”.”

Posted by Happy Phantom on April 11, 2006 at 2:36 PM (PDT)

10

Brad PDX wrote: “Since all of these toys are only around $300, it isn’t enough to get bent about regardless. This is cheap fun for most.”
Huh? $300 is not a “toy.” That’s what a lot of people would call an “investment.” For most people (the other 98% of the population), money vs. quality is a very important question. I liked what you wrote before that, but you really ruined your point with that out-of-touch and insensitive remark. iLounge does people a great service by reviewing these speakers comparatively, and what it has found is that for $50 less you can get better sound.

Lawnboy wrote: “think about it! you got an apple iPod for about $50 more that what one creative would have cost @ wal mart! looking back on that, Iarnt you glad you went apple! In my humble but accurate oppinon, WE WANT IPOD STUFF TO BE WHITE!!! DOWN WITH BLACK!!”

What are you trying to say, Lawnboy? I honestly can’t tell. Those statements above have absolutely nothing to do with each other. Clarification would be nice…and it might be worth mentioning that the black iPods are doing just as well, if not better, than the white ones. So, no. We don’t want iPod stuff to be white. We want it to be white and black.

As for my own opinion on the above speaker: well, you have to admit it looks hot in black. But the value (nonexistent) hurts.

Posted by larkbird on April 11, 2006 at 4:25 PM (PDT)

11

....all they need is an aux input…

Posted by teknikal on April 11, 2006 at 5:08 PM (PDT)

12

i’m hoping this will force some other manufacturers to update their existing lines…. I for one would LOVE a black Altec Lansing iM7! With an upgrade to the remote to make it RF too would be nice. Don’t need it but I’d buy it!

Posted by Piarco75 on April 12, 2006 at 6:13 AM (PDT)

13

Is their a good sounding, and appealing to look at iPod stereo system that also has an am/fm receiver built in?  This would be ideal to have in the living room.

Posted by brando65 on April 12, 2006 at 10:09 AM (PDT)

14

brando65,

Tivoli Audio makes something called an “iSongBook” which has received many favorable reviews. It is also in that prive range that includes the SoundDock, Audio Engine 5s, and the Hi-Fi.

Posted by Happy Phantom on April 14, 2006 at 11:09 AM (PDT)

15

So many years since its first release and this new version has no improvements over the old white one!
Many it should at least include a universal dock or a pass through dock connector to sync

Posted by hoho on April 15, 2006 at 2:45 AM (PDT)

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