A round-up of some audio wonders
Adorama Learning Center Editors
October 21, 2010
Bose has earned its reputation as the company that crammed big sound into small devices. That legacy continues in a range of audio products for the home and on the road.
The CineMate GS Series II (above) is a 2.1-channel home theater in a box that's designed to give your TV a quick audio boost. The $799 GS Series II packages two 2.5 x 5.5 x 4.1-inch speakers with an Acoustimass subwoofer that plugs directly into a TV via an interface module. Use the included universal remote to control your audio experience. The system features the Bose TrueSpace digital processing, which gives you the impression of multiple speakers from just the two speakers flanking your television.
The $599 CineMate Series II offers a slightly more humble riff on the 2.1-channel system. The speakers are a bit larger, at 3.3 x 7.8 x 5.1 and the remote is pared down to a simplified four-button approach.
If you want to take your Bose sound on the road, or at least, into the backyard or porch, you can opt for the Portable SoundDock ($399, right). Bose is justly famous from cramming a powerful speaker into a tiny package. The iPod's claim to fame is not much different, jamming thousands of tunes into a pocketable music player. Pair the two, and you have one convenient musical package.
In the Portable SoundDock you'll get a single speaker iPod dock with a 3.5mm connection for other digital music players and devices. The unit uses a rechargeable lithium ion battery that is rated to last a minimum of three hours at maximum volume, or longer if you dial back a bit on the volume level. It also bundles a remote for tackling some basic iPod navigation (on/off, pause, volume, etc.)
The Portable SoundDock offers a rotating iPod dock (to protect it in transit) as well as a built-in handle, so you can carry the 5-pound speaker with you wherever you may roam.
The $599 Bose SoundDock 10 sits at just 8.7 x 17 x 9.6-inches deep and accepts iPhones and most iPod models in addition to third party MP3 players through an extra input. It uses the company's "waveguide" technology to strengthen sound performance, particularly base, despite the tiny dimensions. It has a video input as well, so you can tether it to your TV to view videos stored on your iPod or recorded with you iPhone.
Once you've docked your player, the battery will recharge and you can navigate your way around your playlist with the included remote. It's a versatile system, but you'll need to be near a wall outlet at all times as it doesn't take batteries. If you want to add capability, an accessory Bluetooth dock ($149) will enable the SoundDock 10 to receive music streams from Bluetooth-enabled phones.
The company also offers a more basic model, the Series II, for $299. You'll lose the optional Bluetooth capability and the video out, but you'll still get solid sound quality with an auxiliary input for third party players.
On the Road
As nice as it is to kick back and enjoy your music in the open air, there are times when that's not possible (or appropriate). Then, you'll have to retreat to the blissful solitude of your headphones. The Bose On-Ear Headphones ($179) boasts a proprietary TriPort structure for improved audio performance. The ear cups are built with memory form so even the most unique ears can be comfortably accommodated. Depending on your needs, you can use the included 43-inch or 16-inch detachable cables to connect to your audio source.
You can also avoid the tinny sound from the ear buds supplied with your digital music player. Bose's IE2 headphones ($99) use the firm's StayHear silicone tips to keep the headphones securely in place with a new acoustic design for improved audio performance. It features a 45-inch cable with an angled plug and a protective carrying case.