Bose Corporation

Bose Corporation

company_name = Bose Corporation
company_type = Private
company_slogan = Better Sound Through Research
foundation = 1964
location = Framingham, Massachusetts
key_people = Amar Bose, Chairman, Founder
Bob Maresca, President
Thomas Froeschle, VP, Director of Research, Member of the Board
num_employees = 10,000
industry = Consumer electronics
revenue = $2 billion (2006) [ [ "Spotlight: Amar Bose, the guru of sound design"] , "International Herald Tribune", May 11, 2007]
products = Loudspeakers, Headphones, Audio equipment, Car audio
homepage = []

Bose Corporation (pronEng|boʊz) is a privately-held, American company, based in Framingham, Massachusetts, that specializes in audio equipment. [ [ C|Net "Classy compacts: high-end CD radios"] ] [ [ The Register "Bose SoundDock iPod speakers"] ] Bose products can be found in Olympics stadiums, [ MIT "Inventor of the

Week Archive"] ] The Broadway Theatre, the Sistine Chapel and the Space Shuttle. [ [ Cisco Nasa Publication] ] Bose operates 5 plants, 151 retail stores (as of October 20, 2006) and an automotive subsidiary at Stow, Massachusetts.

In 2006 Bose ranked second in Home Audio retail, behind Sony (based on retail point-of-sale data for the period of January through October, 2006). [ [ PoS article] ]


Bose Corporation develops and manufactures audio equipment (including speakers, amplifiers, headphones, automotive sound systems [ [ Bose Automotive Site] ] for luxury cars [ [ Forbes article stating the automobiles Bose installs its systems in a high-end automobiles] ] [ [ link to Bose automotive giving a list of the high-end automobiles that Bose will fit their systems to] ] ), automotive suspension systems, and performs some general research (such as debunking cold fusion [ [ Discover Magazine Interview with Amar Bose "Cold Fusion Research"] ] [ [ William M. Bulkeley, The Wall Street Journal, 31st December 1996] ] [ [ Article about suspension which mentions the Cold Fusion research towards the end] ] ). The company was founded in 1964 by Amar G. Bose, a professor of electrical engineering (who retired in 2005) at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. As of 2005, the company employs about 12,000 people worldwide (2,000 in Massachusetts) and had revenues of over US$2.8 billion in FY 2008 (ended March 31). Bose has contracts with the US military (Navy [ [ Bose Headsets used by Sonar Operators] ] , Air Force [ [ Aerospace News] ] & Army [ [ Bose Crewman Headphones used by the US military] ] ) and NASA [ [ Forbes Magazine Biography of Amar Bose] ] . Amar Bose is still the Chairman and primary stockholder, and also holds the title of Technical Director. [ MSNBC "A car that can jump over obstacles"] ]

History of Bose Corporation presidents

# William (Bill) Zackowitz (1964-66)
# Charles "Chuck" Hieken (1966-69)
# Frank E. Ferguson (1969-76)
# Amar G. Bose (1976-80)
# Sherwin Greenblatt (1980–2000)
# John Coleman (2000–2005)
# Bob Maresca (Since 2005)

The company dedicates a 6,500 square meter (70,000 square feet) building in Framingham for research, development, and engineering (RD&E) purposes with a minimum annual RD&E budget of $100 million. [ [ Satellite view of Bose Headquarters] ] In 2004, Bose purchased an additional site from HP in Stow, Massachusetts, to house growing automotive and marketing divisions. [ [ nixes N.Y. expansion, chooses Stow instead] ]

Early years

In 1956, while a graduate student at MIT, Amar Bose purchased a high-end stereo system and was disappointed when it failed to meet his expectations. [ [ Amar Bose Interview] ] He later began extensive research aimed at fixing what he saw as fundamental weaknesses plaguing high-end audio systems. The principal weakness, in Bose's view, was that the overall design of the electronics and speaker failed to account for psychoacoustics, i.e. the listener is part of the system. Eight years later, he started the company, charging it with a mission to achieve "Better Sound Through Research" (which is also the company's slogan).

Research history

During the company's first year in business Bose Corporation engaged in sponsored research. Its first loudspeaker product, the model 2201, dispersed 22 small mid-range speakers over an eighth of a sphere. It was designed to fit in the corner of a room, reflecting the speaker's sound as a mirror would for light in a corner cube and giving rise to an acoustical image of a sphere in a vastly larger room. Amar Bose used an electronic equalizer to adjust the acoustical output for flat total radiated power.

Although these speaker systems accurately emulated the characteristics of an ideal spherical membrane, the results of listening tests were disappointing (some of the reasons for this are detailed in a later publication [ [ Bose Panaray MA12 technical papers] ] from Bose's research department). This led Bose to conduct further research into psychoacoustics that eventually clarified the importance of a dominance of reflected sound arriving at the head of the listener, a listening condition that is characteristic of live performances. This finding led to a revised speaker design in which eight of nine identical small mid-range drivers (with electronic equalization) were aimed at the wall behind the speaker while one driver was aimed forward, thus ensuring a dominance of reflected over direct sound in home listening spaces, replicating the dominant reflected sound fields listeners experience in live performances.

Before hearing his new design for the first time, although confident that his new design would produce a more faithful replication of the "live" listening experience, Amar Bose was unsure as to whether his new "direct/reflected" design would be a small audible improvement or a large one over his earlier design and the best commercially available loudspeakers. The new pentagonal design, named the Model 901, was a very unconventional design for speakers at the time (which were generally either full-size floorstanding units or bookshelf type speakers accompanied by a subwoofer that handled only the very lowest frequencies). The Model 901 premiered in 1968 and was an immediate commercial success, and the Bose Corporation grew rapidly during the 1970s.

Amar Bose believes that imperfect knowledge of psychoacoustics limits the ability to adequately characterize quantitatively any two arbitrary sounds that are perceived differently, and to adequately characterize and quantify all aspects of perceived quality. He believes, for example, that distortion is much over-rated as a factor in perceived quality in the complex sounds that comprise music, noting that a sine wave and a square wave (a hugely distorted sine wave) are audibly indistinguishable above 7 kHz. Similarly, he does not find measurable relevance to perceived quality in other easily measured parameters of loudspeakers and electronics, and therefore does not publish those specifications for Bose products. The ultimate test, Bose insists, is the listener's perception of audible quality (or lack of it) and his or her own preferences. [ [ Amar Bose 1968 AES paper "On The Design, Measurement, and Evaluation of Loudspeakers"] ] Unlike other major speaker manufacturers, Bose does not publish specifications relating to the measured electrical and objective acoustic performance of its products. [ [ Bose Musicians Forum] ] [ [ Gadget Guy Review of the Bose Wave Music System] ] . This reluctance to publish information is due to Bose's rejection of these measurements in favour of "more meaningful measurement and evaluation procedures" [ [ AES paper] ] .

Additionally, the company researches portable audio within the fields of Circumaural and Supra-aural headphones, centering within the lines of Acoustic Noise Cancellation (see Bose Headphone Family).

Cold Fusion Research

In 1991 Bose Corporation began research into cold fusion [ [ Discover Magazine Interview with Amar Bose "Cold Fusion Research"] ] [ [ Article about suspension which mentions the Cold Fusion research towards the end] ] . Company engineers built a precision calorimeter [ [ William M. Bulkeley, The Wall Street Journal, 31st December 1996] ] , began replicating prior experiments, and concluded that there was no net energy gain.

Bose Stores

In 1993 Bose opened up its first store in Kittery, Maine. Since then Bose has opened 160 stores in the United States and numerous locations world-wide. In Britain there are 8 Bose stores, including one on Regent Street. Bose stores feature a 15 to 25 seat theater which has a short film that demonstrates a Lifestyle Home Entertainment System using a high-definition front LCD projector. At one point in the show a three-sided box is placed in front of the center speaker, and the Lifestyle system automatically adjusts and corrects the sound in the room via AdaptIQ technology. Stores located in factory outlets discount prices on some products and sell both new and "factory renewed" (retested open-box) products.

Proprietary technologies

*Tri-Port Earcup Drivers
*Acoustic Noise Cancellation
*Acoustimass Technology
*Acoustic Waveguide Technology
*Direct/Reflecting Technology
*Psychoacoustic Equalization
*TrueSpace Technology
*Electromagnetic Suspension System for Automobiles

Lines of Specialized Products

Car Audio

Bose has a wide range of speakers for car audio and has even started to make consoles for car audio including the Bose Media System which can play CDs, DVD audio discs, DVD video discs, Super Audio CDs, MP3s, AAC, and features a music storage system.

At the 2007 auto show in Geneva, Switzerland Bose launched a new media system with the Ferrari 612 Scaglietti. The new system combines stereo, navigation, and hands free calling into one component and interface. [ cite web | url = | title = Bose Media System debuts in Ferrari 612 Scaglietti | author = Frank Filipponio | accessdate = 2007-06-07 | date = 2007-03-08 ] In 2007 the Bose media system won the International Telematics Award for the "Best Storage Solution for In-Car Environment" [] .

Automotive Suspension System

Another area of research and development at Bose Corporation is two-state, non-linear power processing and conditioning. Several early patents were awarded to Amar Bose and other Bose engineers and this technology is one of the key elements in an innovative project that the company disclosed in 2004 after more than 20 years of research, [ [,22221,750663,00.html Auto Tech "Better Living Through Curiosity"] ] an automobile suspension system that uses electromagnetic principles instead of the hydraulics that are common today. This system uses electromagnetic linear motors to raise or lower the wheels of an automobile in response to un-even bumps or potholes on the road. [YouTube|sjojsrI5Gco|Bose bumps] The wheels are raised when approaching a bump, or extended into a pothole, within milliseconds, thus keeping the vehicle steady. This technology is another application of Bose's active noise reduction technology for speakers and earphones. The unevenness of the road is sensed, and processed much like a sound wave. A cancelling wave is generated, which is applied to the wheels through the linear motors. Amar Bose expects the system to be available commercially on high-end luxury cars by 2009. [ [ Inside Line "Bose Suspension"] ] In a French interview Bose even shows off the car jumping over an obstacle. [YouTube|Lyf4rfT7bHU&NR|French Interview "Suspension BOSE" Go 3 minutes and 20 seconds into it to view the Car jumping with Bose Suspension] Bose says that the system is "high cost" and heavy, even after nearly three decades, and $100 million, of development [ [ Bose Says Suspension Drawing Interest From OEMs ] ] .

Pro Speaker Systems

Bose produces professional speaker systems like the 102, 402, 802, 25SE, 32SE, 32, 8, 16, 3, and 6 that are made for musicians, professional and commercial applications.

L1 Personalized Amplification System

Bose makes the L1 Personalized Amplification Systems for Musicians [ [ web site for L1 systems] ] . Bose has been actively encouraging the use of the term L1 for this product line, and frequently refers to it on their website [ [ Bose Worldwide – Contacts ] ] as the L1 portable line array.

On October 15, 2003, Bose Corporation began selling the L1 Model I family of products through its internal sales division and [] (in the U.S., Puerto Rico, Canada or U.S. Virgin Islands only). Guitar Center and Musicians Friend began selling these products on November 1, 2003, in stores nationwide. [ [ Bose L1 Model I wiki] ]

On March 28, 2007, Bose Corporation introduced the L1 Model II system. It became available for sale May 1, 2007, through its internal sales groups and participating authorized dealers. [ [ Bose L1 Model II wiki] ] [ [ Bose L1 model II and T1 press release] ] At the same time the T1 ToneMatch Audio Engine was introduced [ [ T1 ToneMatch Audio Engine] ] . This separate processor is the main input and user interface for the Model II. It is also compatible with the original L1 System. That original L1 System is now known simply as the L1 Classic. [ [ L1 Different Models] ] It was replaced by the L1 Model I [ [ L1 Model I] ] . This new model looks and is functionally similar to the Classic. The L1 Model I is RoHS compliant, as is the [ L1 Model II] .

Bose maintains an active [ Musicians Community Message Board] for support, and there is an owner maintained [ Unofficial Wiki and FAQ]


In 2004 Bose acquired company assets related to the development, manufacture and sales of materials testing equipment, founding the [ ElectroForce Systems Group] The ElectroForce Systems Group provides materials testing and durability simulation instruments to research institutions, universities, medical device companies and engineering organizations worldwide.

Lines of Home audio products

Multimedia systems

*Bose computer speakers
*Bose headphones
*Bose SoundDock

peaker systems

*Bose wave systems
*Bose stereo speakers

Home entertainment systems

*Bose Lifestyle Home Entertainment Systems
*Bose 3-2-1 Home Entertainment Systems
*Bose Acoustimass Home Entertainment Systems

Opinions about Bose

Discussion of "Bose Quality" can sometimes elicit strong, and polarized opinions. There seem to be two major camps: those who see Bose as a maker of good, sometimes "High-End" audio equipment, and others who see Bose as company that uses marketing to make extravagant claims for otherwise ordinary products. The debates can be extended, and sometimes rancorous as evidenced in online forums [ [ Bose FAQ circa 1995] ] .

In some consumer-level publications outside of this debate, Bose is regarded as a producer of high-end audio systems. [ [ C|Net "Classy compacts: high-end CD radios"] ] [ [ The Register "Bose SoundDock iPod speakers"] ] [ [ Forbes Magazine – describing Bose as a producer of "high-end" products] ] [ [,22221,750663,00.html Popular Science – describing Bose as a producer of "high-end" products] ] [ [,1895,1764153,00.asp describing Bose as a producer of "high-end" products] ] [ [ Flyingmag review – describing Bose as a producer of "high-end" products] ] . A market study published in March 2006 by the independent market research firm Forrester Research reported that Bose's brand name was among the 3 most trusted brand names (by the US population) of consumer-electronics or computer brand names in the US. [,7211,38694,00.html Forrister Research – "The 2005 Technology Brand Scorecard"] ]

In 1968, Amar Bose presented a classic paper to the Audio Engineering Society entitled: "On the Design, Measurement and Evaluation of Loudspeakers" available from the AES at a small charge [ [ AES "On the Design, Measurement and Evaluation of Loudspeakers"] ] . Following the logic in this paper, Bose Corporation has endeavored to strike an economic balance between cost and performance to provide high quality as judged by the average listener whose criteria of quality include faithful reproduction of the listener's experience in a live performance, which according to Bose requires a dominance of the reverberant sound field in the listening space (a typical home environment). ("see audiophile beliefs").


Bose's systems were criticized by Stereophile in 1975 [ [ Stereophile Review] ] in a review of the 901 system, stating that in the magazine's opinion, the system was unexceptional and unlikely to appeal to perfectionists with a developed taste in precise imaging, detail, and timbre, and that these shortcomings were an excessive price to pay for the improvement in impact and ambiance generated by the large proportion of reflected sound [to on-axis sound] . However, the author also stated that the system produced a more realistic resemblance of natural ambiance than any other speaker system.

Audio forums tend to talk about the non-linear frequency response of certain Bose systems. A reviewer in PC Magazine stated that he believes Bose is not a producer of high-end audio systems, because it didn't fulfill his expectations of what a high-end system should be. [ [,1895,2097317,00.asp – a reviewer saying that whilst some people view Bose as a producer of "high-end" products, some people don't regard Bose as a producer of "high-end" audio systems] ] (Widely-accepted performance characteristics of 'high-end' audio systems typically include a flat frequency response curve throughout the audible spectrum, and precise impulse response.) Audio enthusiasts frequently criticize Bose in online forums, accusing it of overpricing its products and criticizing the sound produced by Bose products. [ [ William M. Bulkeley, The Wall Street Journal, 31st December 1996] ] In addition, Bose products are not sold at many stores which specialize in high-end audio and home theater. Bose does not publish specific technical specifications (impedance, sensitivity, range, sound pressure levels) on either their packaging or their website; and as of November 21, 2006 none of Bose's products is THX certified.

Legal Action

In 1981 Bose unsuccessfully sued the magazine Consumer Reports for libel. Consumer Reports reported in a review that the sound from the system that they reviewed "tended to wander about the room." Initially, the Federal District Court found that Consumer Reports "had published the false statement with knowledge that it was false or with reckless disregard of its truth or falsity" when it changed what the original reviewer wrote about the speakers in his pre-publication draft. The Court of Appeals then reversed the trial court's ruling on liability, and the United States Supreme Court affirmed in a 6-3 vote in the case "Bose Corp. v. Consumers Union of United States, Inc.", finding that the statement was made without actual malice, and therefore there was no liability for libel. [ [ Commentary on libel cases in general giving a specific example of "Bose Corp. v. Consumer's Union of United States."] ] [ [ Opinion of the United States Supreme Court] ] [ [ NY Times editorial on the Supreme Court's ruling] ]


External links

* [ The official Bose website] with links to various international sites.
* [ History of Bose Corporation]
* [ Active Suspension website]
* [ Bose's line of consumer-grade headphones]
* [ Bose's "Radio System" Challenge Pages]
* [ The Bose FAQ]
* [ Stereophile review of the Bose 901]
* [ G4TV Roundup: iPod Speakers]
* [ Aviation Headset X review]

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