Bose Cinemate delivers!

Jun 5, 2007
Review by  
Rated a Very Helpful Review

Pros:Bring high end sound to TV and DVD in a bedroom or den

Cons:A bit pricey.

The Bottom Line: Find one used on eBay and save a few hundred dollars.

Let's say you have a TV in a bedroom or den. Chances are, since DVD players are so cheap, you have one of those connected as well. Odds are that you don't have a full surround sound home theater set-up though. First, they can be large and expensive, and second, a bunch of audio gear seems out of place in a nice bedroom.

Bose developed the Cinemate as an out-of-the-box cure for wimpy TV audio. The design could not be simpler. Run a set of RCA cables from the audio-out on your TV to the audio-in on the Cinemate. Set your TV's internal speaker to "off"(so the TV's speakers don't compete with the Bose) and the volume to "variable" (so you can then control the Bose volume using your same TV remote.

The system has four parts:

-Two small satellite speakers
-An Acoustimas bass module which also contains an amp for all of the speakers, plus handles the surround sound decoding duties
-A small unit that is both the ir (remote) receiver, and houses the audio-in jacks.
-A multi-brand remote

The Cinemate uses a proprietary decoding matrix to simulate a 5.1 surround experience using only the Acoustimas and two satellites. Regardless of the source (and only analog sources are acceptable), the Cinemate will sort out the dialogue and plant it front and center, put the main left and right front tracks in proper position and reflect/delay the ambient and background sound in a manner that makes it appear to be behind you and to the side.

Dolby Digital tracks that were converted by my stand-alone networked media player to analog produced excellent results, with a sound that was very open and transparent, but with plenty of punch and swell in the low end. Highs are clean and bright without being harsh or forced, music soundtracks sound quite majestic, and the dialogue is spot on.

Some reviewers lament the "subwoofer" performance. Bose systems do not have "subwoofers". They are essentially a two way system split between a large low-end enclosure, and two small high-end enclosures. They should compare to any other sealed, two-way speaker system, like a bookshelf or tower speaker. If you like more punch in the lows, this is not your system.

In my main home theater, I use a set of Bose Lifestyle sats and an Acoustimas module for the two front channels. Not the center (where they're too weak) or for the sub channel (they don't go low enough or hit hard enough). They're great for all the ambiant and incidental material that completes the front soundstage. They tend to create a more diffuse soundstage, where conventional speakers create a sound that is more localized and with a focused sweet spot.

In short, if you watch movies in a room other than your main viewing room, the Cinemate can bring an amazing improvement in audio, with minimally intrusive equipment.

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