Bose 3-2-1 Series II review: Bose 3-2-1 Series II

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CNET Editors' Rating

3 stars Good
Review Date:
Updated on:

The Good Quick setup, well written owners guide. Good quality sound. Value for money.

The Bad Not a true surround system. No HDMI output. Lack of treble response.

The Bottom Line This is a beautifully designed system, with great features for the price.

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The Bose 3-2-1 Series II is a 2.1 channel DVD/CD home system with sub-woofer. It is easy to set-up, takes up very little room, and would be a complement to any high definition wide screen panel or TV.

Design
The Bose 3-2-1 Series II comprises a dark-grey sub-woofer module called the "Accoustimass" module, a slim media centre and two speaker modules. The Accoustimass module is the only one you need plug into the mains power supply and a single cable is used between the Accoustimass module and the media centre.

Bose has borrowed an idea from PC connections, using a DB9 plug which is inserted and then hand screwed into the Accoustimass module. The ends of the cables from the DB9 plug simply insert into their respective speakers.

Everything is well marked and the set-up is straightforward which means frequent moving would not be a difficulty with this system.

Features
The Bose media centre includes an AM/FM tuner and a DVD/CD player in a very slim and tidy console. The rear panel incorporates the outputs for composite video, S-video, and component video; there is no provision, however, for an HDMI class of output which is the pure digital connection type. The input types include composite video, S-video and component video.

It also features a useful provision for TV audio input, cable and satellite TV as well as an auxiliary audio input.

Digital input is also well catered for with a single optical input and three coaxial digital inputs labelled Aux, ideal for a digital video recorder (DVR), Cbl-Sat, which could include the output of a Foxtel set top box, and TV for the output of an SD or HD set top box.

Bose has wisely incorporated a BoseLink for connection to other Bose lifestyle systems to allow for a multi room audio set-up.

Performance
This system's performance in most test scenarios was simply amazing. In listening tests of music DVD's, (Rod Stewart is a favourite in the office) and music CD's (Fleetwood Mac) the output was accurate and involving with very well integrated bass response at just the right level. It was not overpowering and seamlessly extended the response of the two speaker modules. There was a lack of higher frequencies so concert hall material would not be its forte, but all other material including movies will be more than fine.

The positioning of the two speaker modules is crucial because much of the surround sound effect relies on side walls reflecting the audio waves to give the impression of a 5.1 speaker system. Unfortunately it cannot equal the total immersive effect that a full surround system achieves using the extra speakers. Having said that, if surround speakers are not an option for you then this system should be auditioned.

Most surround systems require some careful thought and placement of the rear effect speakers (and all the wiring issues that go with them). In many situations room design and furniture placement makes it difficult to include the extra surround speakers, and this is where the Bose 3-2-1-Series II system will really win out.

The remote supplied with the system was a pleasure to use -- well laid out and allowing the possibility of also controlling a number of external devices such as a TV.

This Bose system is very easy to live with and will be very partner friendly.

Stuart Gibson writes reviews for CNET.com.au through his work with Enex TestLab, which is one of Australia's most experienced, independent technology test facilities. After more than 16 years with RMIT IT TestLab, Enex's founders acquired the business from RMIT in 2005.

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Where to Buy

Bose 3-2-1 Series II

Part Number: CNETBose 3-2-1 Series II

Typical Price: $1,499.00

See manufacturer website for availability.