Bose 301 Main / Stereo Speakers Reviews

Bose 301 Main / Stereo Speakers

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Introducing The Bose 301 Series V...A leap In Performance Per Dollar!

Aug 25, 2004 (Updated Oct 1, 2012)
Review by  
Rated a Very Helpful Review
  • User Rating: Excellent

  • Ease of Use:
  • Durability:
  • Flatness:
  • Imaging:
  • Overall Sound:

Pros:Clean powerful natural spacious sound no matter where you position yourself in your listening room.

Cons:Absolutely and positively none at all!

The Bottom Line: At 1/4 of the 901's price, the Bose 301 Series V has accomplished the rare feat of surpassing a level of already spectacular performance per dollar with a giant leap!

Bose 301 Series V: Original Review Date...5 Jul., 2003

Matthew Polk has stated on more than one occasion that speaker designers need to stop constantly replacing speaker models and their #'s with new ones so all can benefit from the attributes of a given model. Apparently the Bose Corporation of The Mountain...Framingham, Mass. feels the same way!

The Bose 301 is now in its fifth series and continues the envious legacy of perhaps the co.'s most popular speaker of all time. Is it any wonder that this successful design is now one of the top all time best selling speakers in the world?

A Little History Lesson:

1975...The Bose 301 Bookshelf Speaker is introduced with one 8" woofer and a single side mounted tweeter with a port for bass extension and a rotating vane mounted in front of the tweeter for controlling directionality. The speakers are sold in mirror imaged pairs and utilize the standard straight edged box with sharp corners.

1983...Series II is introduced keeping the 8" woofer but eliminating the tweeter vane by adding a second tweeter on the side of the enclosure. The two tweeters are angled in different directions and crossed over at slightly different frequencies to minimize crossover distortion forming "The Free Space Array".

1990...Series III is introduced with improved cosmetics and the introduction of "The Acoustimass Enclosure" replacing the circular port for even better bass response.

1996...Series IV is introduced and the "Free Space Array" is eliminated by separating the two tweeters even further apart. The speaker is now offered in two or the high end looking rosewood. The straight forward box look is replaced by smooth rounded corners.

2002...Bose announces the offering of the latest 301 with both improved high frequency reproduction and dramatically improved bass extension! Efficiency is increased with the introduction of flared ports.

Well...that pretty much brings us up to date and the task at hand...that is evaluating the current Bose 301 SERIES V speaker system.

The 301 has been given a rather dramatic facelift! While keeping with the 16" x 12" x 9" dimensions, the front and rear of the enclosure now sport curved sleek lines. This is the immediate difference from its predecessors that is easily perceived.

The new Bose 301 Series V is rather striking in appearance! The Stereo Targeting Tweeters w/their silvery acoustic flared lenses are now exposed through the front grills which in themselves are quite seductive looking and bespeak droves of quality!

The optional finishes are exceptionally attractive in either black or cherry! The exposed tweeters look and sound lovely! The HD spring loaded red and black speaker terminals have ample bite for thick OFC wire supplied by MIRASONIC.COM for an extremely low price that includes fast shipping to just about anywhere. The speakers are sold in Mirror Imaged Pairs. The light cherry model was chosen for the review.

Listening to the 301's thru several quality amplifiers revealed improvements over earlier models that must be noted. First of all, the tweeters are now perfectly angled and exposed for unbelievable clarity! The speakers can now be placed on the two ends of a bookshelf with enough clearance between the rear tweeters and walls for correct direct/reflecting sound. Just keep a few inches behind the speakers free of objects for the benefit of top notch first rate Imaging!

The Proprietary Drivers and the ported enclosure have been improved rather dramatically with deep bass now very well reproduced and a more open detailed midrange and highs!

Soundstaging is awesome! The speakers portray an impressive wide open clarity with excellent instrument placement and downright natural voice quality while maintaining impact on dynamics that the co.'s noted for. Height is also exceptional. The general sound character is rich and natural with a noticeable extension over earlier models at both ends of the spectrum!

On Telarc's "Disney Spectacular" the breadth and depth of the orchestra with clear concise overtones is utterly seductive! Yet the subtleties are even better defined compared to the 301-V's predecessors.

If you want to truly hear how lovely and pleasing the speaker can get then try the "Atmospheres" CD by Celtic Voices on for size. The accuracy of musical timbre is quite convincing indeed! Even the ambient sound of the waterfalls is breathtaking!

On Telarc's "Rite Of Spring" there are some tympani gut punching sounds that simply shake the room! Transient Response has been significantly improved while percussive sounds like those on my Jazz sampler have proper weight and proportion with little or no smearing.

On the Rhino CD ... Nancy Sinatra-The Hit Years "Some Velvet Morning" is reproduced with a bone chilling effect that I dare say very few speakers at any price can reproduce! Yet the 301-V can handle all genres of music quite convincingly.

Most notable is the bass extension that now is able to reproduce some of the fundamental of the opening low organ pedal of "2001-A Space Oddysey". All of the vast catalog of movies with their incredible Dynamic Range is handled by the Bose with exceptional clarity and no sign of strain regardless of the POWER RATING on one's amplifier as long as "amplifier clipping" is avoided.

My impression of the Frequency Response of these little Bose 301's is that they are pretty flat from 45 Hz out to 19 KHz sloping off to beyond audibility. The sound is rich and strong! There may be useful output at 40 Hz but not much lower than that. Midbass is smooth and powerful!

Just wait til you hear "Sgt. Peppers" or J-Lo or even Metallica! You're in for it!

Whether you choose stereo or home theater for your listening room, the 301's will fit right in comfortably. They are simply just that versatile! In fact if one has an older "Dolby Pro-Logic Phantom" receiver, one could purchase four of these babies and have quite a rather convincing home theater arrangement in their listening room. All this...without the aid of a sub!

The Owner's Manual is well written and should not prove confusing although the 201-V model is included in the book. The Bose 301 Series V represents a significant leap over the co.'s earlier models and now with the extended Power Response will excite more people than any 301 ever has in the past.

These newer breed 301's are highly recommended for audiophiles that cherish their classic gear as older amps the likes of the AR Amplifier and Receiver designed by Edgar Vilchur or any of the wonderful Lafayette receivers and amplifiers plus the HK's and Heathkit AR Series as these super sonic performers should drive the Bose speakers nicely!

...And don't throw out that low powered blue lit Pioneer SX-435 just yet...nor that old Advent Receiver that could kick butt at only fifteen watts/channel! These receivers and amplifiers mate particularly well with the new 301-V speakers with a warm and downright natural sound quality.

The new curved look is very reminiscent of the Celestion UL 6 model of the mid 70's. The fact that Bose has maintained an attractive price [$325 to $350] for the pair while making striking sonic and cosmetic improvements will now make the Bose 301 the # 1 best seller of all time!

Compare the 301-V to any similarly priced Paradigm, B&W, AR, PSB, Polk, Boston, JBL or even speakers costing twice the price! See if you discover like I have that no other compact bookshelf model even approaches the overall quality of this exemplary reproducer of sound! They require little power to drive but go give 'em a listen. Bose proves once again that their 301 model is something very special! Thanks for your time. I do so very much welcome and respect all comments!...Peter

Please see my updated review on these speakers...


Ijust ordered another pair of 301-V Cherry Boses with FS-01 Pedestals for head-to-head competition with Allison Fours.  The new 301's will be patched into my Blue Rock 2000 amplifier with KnuKonceptz Karma 16 gauge interconnects.  The results...WOW but stay tuned!


Recommend this product? Yes

Amount Paid (US$): n/a

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