Bose 201 Series V Main / Stereo Speakers Reviews

Bose 201 Series V Main / Stereo Speakers

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Slightly Smaller, but Still Stellar

Jul 23, 2008
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Rated a Very Helpful Review
  • User Rating: Excellent

  • Ease of Use:
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Pros:Excellent sound quality, bright highs, good mids

Cons:No bass (not real con - need to pair up with a subwoofer)

The Bottom Line: Crystal clear cymbals, excellent voice reproduction.

As some of my fellow readers know, I've been using a stereo desktop speaker set (though a good one - Klipsch ProMedia 2.1) for my modest home theater system. Basically it consists of a PC running Vista Media Center and a modest sized LCD HDTV. My friend also have a TV the same size as mine, but paired with an 5.1 surround system. After playing a few movies as well as playing Age of Conan (excellent support for surround sound!), it's finally time for me to step up to the plate. Gotta keep up with the Jones, right?

I head off to Best Buy to see what they have to showcase. They seem to have a lot to play with, from stereo bookshelf speakers, to a set of 5.1 speakers, even complete "home theater" systems. I've decided to go the "put it together yourself" route, and checked out a few receivers, speakers, and sub woofers.

Bose 201v
The Best Buy in my area have a nice set up to showcase their bookshelf speakers. All speakers and subwoofers are connected to an A/B switch, which allows for you to turn on or off. These kind of speakers are perfect for a front stage speaker set, and can also be used for the rear surround set up as well. They are expensive, but sound much better than the small speakers typically found in most 5.1 speaker set (such as Klipsch's Quintet series).

At $220, the Bose 201v is $100 less than the Bose 301v. They are the second largest speakers in the bookshelf speaker area of Best Buy (the largest being the 301v). Just like the 301v, the 201v is designed to sit squat on what would traditionally be on it's side. They measure about 8" x 14" x 9".

The 201v comes with a 6.5" mid-range driver along with dual 2" tweeters. The tweeters are angled in a way where you'd have to position both speakers so that the tweeters are angled towards the listener or outwards to reflect off surfaces. The mid-range driver is covered by a cloth grill, while the tweeters are left exposed.

As with the 301v, the Bose 201v pushes out clear mids and brilliant highs. Without a large woofer driver (the 301v uses a 8" speaker for mid range - which is more woofer-like), the sound is less filling than the 301v. There is less of the lower frequencies reproduced, but it's not unexpected. Still, they were able to fill a great amount of space such as a large home theater room that takes up most of a typical basement.

Just like the 201v's bigger sibling, the tweeters are directional and fixed. They are pointed inwards in the set up, which creates a pretty bright sound. It can be tiring to listen for an extended amount of time. Since they are directional, if you are not in the direct path of the sound waves, the overall quality is muddy since you'll only be hearing the mids. However, since the mid-range speaker is smaller, it seem to sound LESS muffled than the 301v, since it was able to produce most of the mid-range frequencies even though you are not in-line with the tweeter's firing range. It may sound different when the speakers are oriented in a way where the tweeters are directed to reflect off walls, but there will still be a sweet spot created for the listener.

Compared to the larger Bose 301v, the 201v isn't as loud as the 301v at the same volume setting. The 201v seem to be able to deal with the increase in volume level more evenly than the 301v. The 301v would drown out the high-range tweeter since the woofer over powers them. Here, the 201v was able to increase power to both drivers at a more linear rate. Overall, it is 2nd best all around compared to larger Bose 301v and still have a brighter sound than the Klipsch B-3 and B-2 speakers in the same bookshelf category.

The Upshot
The Bose 201v sounds pretty amazing for a pair of $220 speakers. I say it's a better deal than the Bose 301v, which costs $100 more! However, I'm still aware that you only get 2 speakers at this price, so while sound is good, I might still find myself buying a 5 speaker set such as the Klipsch Quientet III ($400 for all 5 speakers!).

Recommend this product? Yes

Amount Paid (US$): 220

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