Pros: Sound Decent, Rear Reflection... However They Cost Way Too Much...
Cons: EXPENSIVE, Killed By Competition, Everything Else
The Bose 701 Series II are some of the newest speakers in the Bose line. They incorporate a newer look, and they really caught my attention when I first saw them at ABT. Then I went to Best Buy, and heard them out. After this, I got a little curious, and decided to go to a store with a seperate listening room where I can really hear these out. After taking a good and long listen to the Bose 701 Series II speakers, here's what I found out:
If you start to play these speakers, you'll feel a nice beat and alright sounding sound. Well, once you look at the price tag, either you'll collapse because of shock, or you'll be laughing as hard as I did. The Bose 701 Series II cost $998 a pair in either cherry or gray finish. Well, these do sound decent, I'm not denying that... But once you enter the $1,000 speaker price range, you're talking about serious sound. These Bose 701 Series II speakers must compete with some pretty tough speakers. In $1,000 there are some speakers that blow the Bose 701 Series II without any doubt whatsoever. So, what can you get in this price range? I purchased Paradigm Monitor 11 speakers a while ago, and they costed me around ~$1,000. They create some serious sound, and they are phenominal 3-Way speakers. Also, for maybe a couple of extra hundred dollars, you can buy Magnepan MG1.6QR speakers, or other Maggies. Magnepans also offer sound that comes out of the rear (Like Bose's Direct Reflect technology), the sound is much cleaner, more powerful, and they cost less. There are many other brands that compete here. This includes many opponents from brands like Paradigm, M&K, Magnepan, Canton, JMLab, Mission, Polk, Klipsch, etc... They all have speakers in the same price, or even cheaper that simply kill the Bose 701 Series II speakers.
Looks and Styling:
The Bose 701 Series II are available in the usual gray finish, or also in cherry. I find the cherry speakers to be better and more expensive looking. The Bose 701 Series II and 601 speakers look different from other Bose speakers in their product line. They are quite attractive I must admit. They attracted me at first sight. They might look a lot better now than they did before, but they still carry that inferior Bose quality.
When I felt these speakers around, the cabinets seemed to be durable, and good quality. However, Bose still continues to use paper woofers and drivers which can cause distortion at higher volumes, and also may crack or get smoked when there is way too much power. However, they run at 8Ohms which means that they can be more easily driven by weaker amplifiers. However, if you don't assault these speakers, they should live.
When I first heard them, they sounded pretty good. The bass that they gave out was rather smooth, and the vocals were pretty smooth too. However, for the $998 asking price, these are complete jokes. While Bose uses paper woofers to run these speakers in a supposed 2-Way configuration, I use Paradigm Monitor 11 speakers which contain a pure titanium tweeter and high quality polymer woofers to drive them. The Bose 701 Series II are rated for 300 Watts of maximum power, however that is overkill. I think that it is made to attract buyers... But in reality, most users will run 30 Watts on average into each speaker at any given time. Instead of using seperate midrange drivers which can make drastic difference in vocal and instrumental quality, the Bose 701 Series II speakers use "stereo" tweeters as Bose calls them. One of them is a massive 3", and the other is 2.5" which fires in the other direction. Today, most spekaers use 1" or .75" tweeters, the 2"+ tweeters used by Bose are obsolete. They can cover the vocals OK, but the highs can get pretty bright and screetchy. These have actually given me migraines, and they highs are strong but way too bright. Then there's an 8" woofer and 6.5" woofer to drive the bass. One of them fires backwards to cause more sound reflection. The bass created by these can get pretty boomy if these are placed near walls. They can drown some of the vocals and instrumentals which makes them sound less realistic. Well, some people like sound relfecting speakers, and some don't... In my opinion, I do prefer forward firing cone speakers, but if I had $10,000 to spend now, I'd buy some top-of-the-line Magnepans. Magnepans fire sound straight backwards through the ribbons. The reflection can make a larger sound stage, some say it's unrealistic, and some say it adds warmth. However, with the Bose 701 Series II, it really hurts the imaging quite a bit, and the $1,000 competition speakers can still create superior sounding sound stages even if they don't have rear or side-way firing cones. Overall, the sound that you can get from other speakers, most notably from the Paradigm Montior 11s is much superior to the Bose 701 Series II in every aspect. These speakers are pure jokes.
The Bose 701 Series II manage to create some bass. However, they can get too boomy with relatively shallow sounding bass. They don't add that punch that many listeners look for. However, compared to some other speakers in a much lower price range, they do creat more bass. However, most people use powered subwoofers to creat these bass notes. When Bose wanted these speakers to create more bass, they sacrificed the vocal and instrumental quality. It's a trade off, and because of upgrade options with home theaters, it's a stupid choice because bass can always be re-created with a powered subwoofer, and much more of it than any speaker can actually handle!
As you can see, I believe that the Bose 701 Series II are terrible speakers. Sure they don't sound bad at all, but for that price of nearly $1k, it's a whole lot of money you're spending on not a whole lot of speaker. In this price range, you can do much better. Try brands like Paradigm, Canton, Magnepan, or JMLab, those are some that I recommend the most. Don't buy Bose, the Bose 701 Series II are speakers that you'd regret buying. $1,000 is simply outrageous, and I hope you'll agree. If you don't take a listen for yourself, and don't forget to compare Bose to ~$1,000, and the $500 or even the $300 competition, and you'll know exactly how I feel!