I'm Glad I Bought This!
May 28, 2007 (Updated May 29, 2007)
Review by breviceps
Rated a Very Helpful Review
Pros:Unbelievable sound from tiny speakers, heart-thumping bass, Bose quality, mute button.
Cons:Price may be a turnoff.
The Bottom Line: I own several Bose products: Acoustimass speakers, SoundDock, 3-2-1 System and now this. Bose speakers are just simply amazing in the sound that they deliver.
My 7 year old Monsoon IM700 speakers have been in the ICU. The jack that connects to the back of the subwoofer has been troublesome for quite some time now where the sound would disappear from the right channel and taping the cable in a certain position would help alleviate the problem. Well, I'm done with this, but the speakers have truly served its purpose.
Recommend this product?
I've been looking at the Bose Companion 3 Series II and the Companion 5 speakers for a good month now. Both have good reviews but it was still a difficult decision for me until I finally decided to go to the Apple Store to try them out. Two computers had the Bose speakers, on the Companion 5, and directly across is the Companion 3. I felt so stupid going back and forth to test out the sound. But ultimately, settled for Companion 3's for my needs and I'm glad I didn't pay the extra $150 price premium for the Companion 5's.
What's in the box:
Acoustimass module (8.5" x 6.75" x 13.75" @ 14.7 lbs.)
2 satellite speakers (6" x 3 3/8" x 3.25" @ 0.8 lbs. each)
audio input cable
control pod (2.5" diameter x 1 1/8" height @ 0.5 lbs)
AC power cord
The Acoustimass module is the subwoofer of the system. Since the sounds are low frequencies, they don't need to be placed on the table to be heard. Usual placement is at the bottom of your table. The back must be at least 3 inches away from the wall in order to produce the correct bass. There is a dial in the back to increase or decrease the bass power. But its placement will also help increase or decrease the bass. Placing it closer to a wall increases the bass while further away has the opposite effect. Since the module is not magnetically shielded, it must be placed at least 6 inches from the computer monitor or TV or else you'll get an interference.
The satellite speakers already come on a stand but a simple unscrewing the base of the stand will release it from its base. The satellite speakers are designed to be used with the stand for optimal sound but can be removed if chosen. There are included rubber feet that can be used if the stand is removed for added stability. They can be placed no more than 3 feet from each other, which is ample space to the right and left side of the monitor. The satellite speakers are magnetically shielded, so it's safe to use around computer monitors and TV sets.
Connecting the Speakers:
The satellite speakers have an RCA type connection at the end of the wires which directly connect to the back of the Acoustimass Module and are clearly labelled for Right and Left channels. The audio cable is connected from the audio jack output of your computer to the back of the Acoustimass Module as well. Finally, there is a hockey puck control pod that almost looks like it has an S-Video connection at the end. It too connects to the back of the module.
The purpose of the control pod is to mute and unmute, control the volume, plug in headphones or use the other port as an audio jack in (for iPods for example). It has a sticky base so it sits still on the table without any adhesive residue, almost like that sticky mat that you can put on your dash so that cell phones don't slip.
Controlling the System:
The system gets really loud and you need to find a happy medium from your computer volume control and the hockey puck control pod. I set my system volume about halfway and then use the control pod to further increase the volume. The outer aspect of the pod is rubberized and by turning it to the right, the volume is increased and turning it to the left, decreases the volume. I tried putting the system volume to the max and then the control pod to the max volume. The sound is LOUD to the point that it's really uncomfortable. Bose has a way of delivering loud and clear sound via such small speakers. It's amazing!
In the middle of the control puck is a touch-sensitive part with a small LED light. Press it once and the LED turns green and sound is present. Pressing it again turns the light to amber and it mutes the sound. Towards the front of the pod are to jacks, one for headphones and the other serves as an audio in. So you can connect a second source to the system, say your iPod. The control pod is truly a nice touch to the system.
By the way, if the volume is set too loud, the system has a protective circuitry so that the speakers don't blow and it will automatically reduce the system volume.
Make sure that the Acoustimass Module is accessible because at the back of it is the dial to control the "oomph" of the system. You have to play with it as to how much bass you want. The module delivers heart-thumping bass at any volume level.
I debated long and hard about which to purchase, the $250 Companion 3's or the $400 Companion 5's. I normally gravitate towards the top-of-the-line but I was surprised that I enjoyed the sound coming form the Companion 3's better.
Just for clarification, the Companion 3's are two channel speakers: left and right. The Companion 5's are the computer speaker version of Bose's 3-2-1 System, where 5.1 is simulated using 3 speakers. If you're the type who uses your computer to watch a lot of DVD movies, more than listening to music, then the 5's might be more to your liking.
So, at The Apple Store. Used both computers to listen to two songs: Michael Buble's "Moondance" and Seal's "Love's Divine." As well as the movie trailer of "Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer." The Companion 3's produced the most pure sound compared to the Companion 5's. The vocals are crisp and realistic. It helps to close your eyes and just listen. When I do, I feel like both Michael Buble and Seal are performing right in front of me. You gotta hear it to experience the sound. I was disappointed with the Companion 5's listening to the same reference songs. The sound was tiny and there was an echo listening to Seal like I was in church. This is partly because of the acoustics at the store but also due to the fact that the Companion 5's were making the sound 5.1. Watching the trailer, the 5's did better at producing the surround sound effect but for vocals, I still liked the Companion 3's.
I don't watch movies on my iMac, I have my entertainment system for that. I use the speakers to listen to my iTunes collection and for a better computer speaker sound. For my listening purposes, the Companion 3's suit me well and the extra $150 price premium for the Companion 5's was not worth it because it sacrificed sound quality.
The best way to experience this is to go to a store and try it out yourself. If you're not happy, Bose has an unconditional 30 day money back guarantee so if you purchase it from The Apple Store, you won't be charged a restocking fee, which is a bonus if either system isn't right for you.
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