Pros: Small and powerful! Rich sound! Can take a full 80 watts!
Cons: Lacking the extreme ends of the audio spectrum.
This tiny little classic by Bose has been auditioned by yours truly on several occasions over the recent years. Somehow...I just never got around to reporting on the little guy! Well...as I've always said...better late than never. Let me now go to my notes that I jotted down several times!...
The product for review here...the Bose 141 speaker system is comprised of a single solitary 4 1/2" driver designed to cover the entire audio spectrum. In reality...it does not but does manage to pour forth some convincing sound with good Efficiency and with my little 10 watt per channel Pioneer SA-500 classic integrated amp driving it...it does manage to fill a small room with surprisingly good sound!
From The Manufacturer's Own Mouth:
"These bookshelf speakers offer renowned Bose sound at an affordable price. Bose 141 speakers deliver high-fidelity sound you'd expect from much larger, more expensive speakers. And their compact, classic styling helps them blend easily into any decor. Each speaker features a patented StarDriver full-range driver, delivers clear, crisp highs and deep, full bass. In addition, special slot port tuning helps deliver full, accurate sound. You can use 141 speakers as your main speakers, extension speakers in a second room, or as rear surround speakers for your home theater system."
Nominal Power 10 Watt RMS
Peak Power Handling 80 Watt
Impedance 8 Ohm
Exterior Color Gray
Width 9.75 in.
Depth 6.5 in.
Height 6 in.
Weight 4.4 Ib.
Warranty 5 Years
The Owner's Manual is well written and gives much detail about setup and room placement. It talks of the 4 1/2" Star Driver.
No doubt this 4 1/2" full ranger was inspired by the driver used in Bose's flagship 901 Series VI speaker. It is a quality driver with a heavy magnet...and can handle a surprisingly great amount of power before it breaks up. This was evidenced by the audition at the local 6th Ave Electronics store that I experienced on more than one listen. As a matter of fact...when I first heard the system in the shop about five years ago...I was taken aback by the fact that the 100 watt per channel Carver Receiver drove it at extremely loud volume levels without any distress or compression!
The Carver however was not pushed into clipping...as this could cause any speaker system to burnout. My guess is that Bose's 80 Watt Peak Power Rating is more than satisfactory and right on the money.
Listening to several vinyl and CD sources during these numerous auditions proved that Bose indeed knows how to make small speakers sound good. Having the drivers angled precisely while slot-venting the aesthetically pleasing two-tone enclosure helps to create a wide soundstage with convincing bass that is effective only in smaller rooms and considerably less effective in larger rooms. At least the sound is more three-dimensional than one would expect at this price.
Remember...the room and speaker are inseparable! This speaker...although tagged by Bose as "full range" has no equalizer and therefore is dependent on its enclosure design for its Frequency Response which is somewhat limited compared to other hi-fi higher priced loudspeakers. The aesthetically pleasing two-tone walnut or black/gray enclosure is definitely a space saver making this speaker system ideal for a small den or dormitory.
It is one of those speaker systems that have and will find their way into many a college environment. The extreme bass fundamentals are noticeably lacking as is the extreme treble. This is effectively offset by the fact that the little speaker has great balance! This fact was so evident on Redbone's "When You Got Trouble" which I have on vinyl ...a two record set entitled..."Come And Get Your Redbone"...which features a great bass guitar riff and some nasty but pleasant keyboards. The speakers can sound convincing on the Telarc/Shaw "Carmina Burana" with mighty impact but no real extension.
On guitar and mid treble sounds it is fairly clear and detailed but not to the extent of my reference Polk R-30's or even the small Paradigm Atom I reviewed. The overall sound is rich with nice "impact". It is very pleasant to listen to for lengthy periods.
This plus the speaker's very good Power Handling is its real forte'. But its overall Frequency Response seems a bit limited to me. My impression is that it is reasonably flat from 80Hz to 14KHz with a sharp roll of at both extremes of the audible spectrum.
Are they better than the $59/Pr Sony SS-MB150H speakers? I don't think so but DO give 'em a listen anyway. The Sonys are brighter but lack the bass and impact of the Bose. The 141 speakers have their strong points indeed!
They sounded great with my classic Pioneer amp so maybe they should be driven with similar types. Perhaps some modern electronics are not ideal with these special transducers. For Home Theater as sub-woofered fronts or surrounds in a quality 5.1 arrangement they will be ideal! Whatever...they are very good quality Bose speakers for a fraction of the normal Bose high price!
The Bose 141 is most certainly not the most accurate of sound reproducers but is still available at a most reasonable blowout price...less than $70/Pr at a select few popular local big guys. The pair is "mirror imaged". As closeouts they may be very well worth your consideration. Just don't expect them to shake the listening room...c@PJS Series II