Theatre Sound in a Small Package
Jun 30, 2009 (Updated May 18, 2011)
Review by image2i
Rated a Very Helpful Review
Pros:Jewel Cube Speakers with excellent sound reproduction.
Cons:For the Money, Bose should offer the newer HDMI 1.3 connectors.
The Bottom Line: If you can fit the V30 into your budget, I would suggest this system as the Jewel Cube speakers offer high end sound.
I have been waiting for a long while now to purchase a Bose Home Theatre System. My sites were set on a Bose 321 system as I had been looking to simplify the system with a minimal amount of wire connectivity. I visited our local Bose Factory Store in Manchester Vermont and was treated to what can only be described as outstanding customer service with a thorough background in in knowledge and attention to customer service. I was impressed with the 321 demonstration, but since we recently upgraded to a Sharp Aquos (I have reviewed this TV as well Model LC52D85U) and with the addition of a Blu Ray as a gift, I was hoping that Bose made as system that would compliment my equipment instead of offering a second DVD into the Package. That is where the Lifestyle V30 comes in. The V Series from Bose is basically an extension of the Lifestyle Systems minus the Hard Drive and DVD players. The ability to customize with your equipment and still have the Bose Sound experience is something that I was looking for. As part of our visit, we took the time to do the Theatre Demonstration and we were just wowed by the sound clarity and crispness of the sound. The sound reproduction was very lifelike in nature. I was impressed with the Jewel Cube Speaker and kept an open mind and had the the entry level and mid Level V series demonstrated as well. While it's just an opinion, I felt that the Jewel Cube Line offered a distint improvement in overall sound reproduction and had my hopes up for this system. At $3,000 however, I have to admit that this was out of my reach. Or so I thought. At the time of our visit the Lifestyle Systems were on sale for 10% off and offered 0% financing. Still I was hesitant about taking the leap, and then I was informed that the Factory Store I was at had a selection of "Factory Renewed" Systems with the exact warranty as new and at a savings of $700. As well, I was still able to get the financing offer so I went ahead and made the purchase. I was unable to detect the difference between new and the Factory serviced system I had purchased. Bose does and exellent job in this regard.
Recommend this product?
What you get:
A Media Center Console which allows you to connect your components via multiple input selections from Digital Optical, to HDMI, Component, S Video and Composite.
The Display Panel for which is placed in your entertainment center to view the Audio/Video Mode you are in.
1 Remote Control
4 Jewel Cube Speakers and 1 Center Speaker and the Acoustimass Module.
Set up of the system took some time as we were starting from scratch and looking to do some cable management of the wires. However, the setup was pretty straight forward and relatively easy for component connectivity.
Of the entire install process, the speakers will take the longest to install. I opted for the ceiling mount for the rear speakers and the wall mount for the front. Installation of the rear speakers took about an hour between deciding on placement and the mounting hardware that was used. I had to use the hollow wall mount application and some drilling was involved. I am sure if they were mounted to a stud installation would have been quicker. Once installed, you are able to adjust the top portion of the speaker and angle to a wall area for reflected sound.
I do not have an ideal setting for front speaker placement as our TV is cornered up against the wall with a bit of with a bump out on one of the walls so speaker placement is not flush. No problem, that is where the AtaptiQ Feature comes in. More on that in a minute.
Bose does a nice job with the instruction manual, but I highly recommend taking the time to view the instructional DVD they provide you with as this is a good source of info for installation purposes as well as system setup.
As stated earlier, part of the set up is the AdaptiQ Callibration of the sound system. Bascially, the AtaptiQ is a Headset with that you wear with a series of built in microphones to pick up the sound emitted from various seating positions in the room you are in. You have up to 5 selections for seating. As you are seated in each area, the system automatically callibrates the sound providing the same surround experience for each person in the viewing area. This systems is nothing short of brilliant when it comes to optimizing sound reproduction.
The Bose Remote is a Universal Remote with Radio Frequency transmission which allows you to hook up your components in an enclosed cabinet or closet and still have use of your components. Bose includes 2 IR emitters for improved signal recognition and operation of your components. I have a total of 3 emitters, but with the block type adapter you can hook up to 4 emitters via the Bose Media Center. From there your Display Panel is hooked into the Center showing you the overall status of audio/video broadcast.
Now to the Medial center, as mentioned, there are HDMI inputs available on the back of the console for up to 2 devices. Those being the TV and DVD Player. The input versions of the HDMI from Bose are version 1.2a. It's not a deal breaker, but for those who have a Blu Ray Player with HDMI version 1.3, I decided to bypass the console in this case and go directly with the input of our TV. As we have satellite, I have the system running through the Bose Media Center and the TV upscale is very good. Bose claims up to 1080 P.
When watching movies via DVD, be sure to select you audio options prior to disc play. If you see PCM 2.0 for example instead of either Do bly Digital 5.1 or DTS, then it usually is an indication it was not set prior to DVD Play. Also, for best sound reproduction, I would recommend the Digital Optical Cable as is offers a very good level of quality in sound playback.
The Acoustimass Module is the Subwoofer as well as the amplifierr of the system. Bose has Base and Treble Compensation allowing you to adjust according to your taste. These settinings are achieved via the remote control under System and will be displayed on your TV screen.
Now for the Bose experience, I can honestly say that the V30 lives up to the sound quality that Bose is known for. The small Jewel Cube speakers have a very precise and lifelike sound to them. We have watched many movies and programs and are just amazed at the sound detail with surround features we never really had experienced before. Watching or listening to a concert gives you a feeling of as if you were there at the show. Sound synchronization is top notch with settings available for adjustment if needed. The Jewel Cubes hold up very well with increased volume levels with no detectable distortion. Our normal volume level is mid 30's although we have pushed it into the 60's just to gauge overall performance.
Bose has hit a homerun with the V30 as the sound experience is everything that I had been looking for in a home theatre package. There are more that enough settings to customize this system to your overall liking.
Update: May 2011
I have now owned this system for 2 years and it does not dissapoint. I am still intrigued by the lifelike and room filling surround capability of the Jewel Cube Speakers. The beauty of this system is that it allows you expand either the main sound or 2nd source sound such as CD, Radio etc to other locations for a total of up to 14 rooms. I have recently expanded the system to include the Bose 251 Outdoor Speaker (Which I will review shortly). With each room add on, you will need to purchase an additional amplifier for the speakers, but the beauty of these units is that they can daisy chain together in a location of your choosing up to 20ft. with the Bose Link Cable. Each room can be assigned a different source code via the remote and amplifier allowing for independent control. While this most certainly can be a self install project, I opted for a professional electrician to do the initial install as the speaker wire (in wall rated 16 guage) was being directed outside and required drilling allowing for proper run of the wire without disrupting the Vinyl Siding on our house. As to room add on capability, the Bose Media Center acts as the Hub for the wiring for the individual components. Connections available include, HDMI, Optical Digital and RCA hookups with the latter two hookups provided for each component for a total of up to 5. Your functions for the V30 expansion include: AM/FM Radio, VCR, CD/DVD, AUX and Cable/Sat Control. There is also a set of RCA controls available on The Bose SA3 Amplifier allowing for a Local Source hook up such as an MP3 player via a 3.5mm/RCA hookup. Control of this source is via the Bose RS18-27 expansion Remote. The Remote Control Codes for the components are set up via the Main Remote through the Media Center and once established you have basic function control with the expansion remotes. The components to be used must be powered up from either the main remote or the device itself, but once on you will be able to control volume and device use from the expansion remote. The on/off power button on the expansion remotes is for power control of the amplifier.
My current setup up is as follows: Satellite, AUX for the Bose Accoustic Wave I pod Connect kit, VCR for 2nd tuner hook up off my Dish 722 receiver for use of the Sirius Radio stations. (Just a quick note on this. You will have to set up the Dish Receiver for dual mode use if you want a seperate source for outdoor use and utilize the #2 remote for channel operation as the Bose remote will now allow for dual tuner operation.), FM/AM Radio Control, DVD/CD Control and Local for the optional MP3 or other compatible RCA hookup device on an SA3 amplifier.
Bose provides 2 different amplifier models an SA2 (40 Watt) and SA3 100 Watt model. In talking with Bose, they recommend the SA3 for their 251 outdoor and 791 Ceiling Speakers. The SA2 is more than adequate for the 191 wall/ceiling speakers as well as the 161 series bookshelf/wallmount speakers. As I had mentioned earlier, the amplifiers can daisy chain and that includes both models together for connectivity. The switches on the amplifier can be set for independent control or all room control for single sound source throughout all rooms.
I will conclude by saying that for the money, Bose provides not only excellent sound but also value for expansion. The Bose Customer support staff has been absolutely outstanding in helping me with my questions concerning operation and connectivity. I placed on the order of 4+ calls in a week looking to tweak the settings further and in each case my representative was very helpful and also sent out a Software Update for my system at No additional Charge. That is customer service and excellence at it's Best. You may pay more for a Bose product, but you receive so much more in the way of free customer technical support. Overall I can still highly recommend the Bose Lifestyle Product line.
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