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Denon vs Bose

by bling67 / July 22, 2008 11:22 AM PDT

I just purchased a flat panel HDTV and am looking into home theater systems; the idea is to integrate TV sound and play DVD's.

I'm considering the Bose 321 GSX and the Denon S 302. I prefer the sound quality of the Bose and the 200 hr CD progam features, though much of what I've read on this forum is negative for Bose.

Can anyone offer advise or insight? Thanks!

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by ns387241 / July 22, 2008 2:31 PM PDT
In reply to: Denon vs Bose

Though Denon may be a good brand name, their S-series is horrible. It lacks overall definition, bass authority, and imaging quality.

Might I also say, while not perfect, the Bose 321 GSX system has a lot of features for the money and might seem as though it is a good value in this comparision.

Might I recommend the Klipsch CS-700 system ( I recently auditioned the Klipsch system at a freind's home, watching a DVD and listening to some music. The Klipsch system blows many systems out of the water. I has the authority not present on Bose systems, while maintaining the imaging ability of Bookshelf-based 2.1 systems.

The reliability of Bose all-in-one systems is much like that of my Palm Treo 650 = very poor. I got rid of my Palm almost as quickly as I get rid of Bose products every time I test their newest strain of abyssmal made-in-Mexico quality product.

What's more, their products seem to worsen in quality over time, so act quickly if you are looking into only Bose. That being said, I hope you keep an open mind, as it will serve you right in the long run.

The Klipsch system I mentioned above retails for about the same price as the Bose 321 GSX, about $1,200 at your local Best Buy or Klipsch centre.

Best of Luck -


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by bling67 / July 22, 2008 11:35 PM PDT
In reply to: Neither

Thanks, N. I hadn't considered Klipsch.

So much positive stuff has been written up about the Denon S302 but when I checked it out at a store I was more impressed with the sound quality from the Bose, though I've read they've had quality issues.

Any other thoughts out there?

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maybe a sound bar
by gabereyes / July 23, 2008 2:01 AM PDT
In reply to: thx

yamaha and defenitive technology's make a nice sound bar as well, if you have the room on a shelf or wall for one.

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soundbar vs. other systems
by bling67 / July 23, 2008 2:55 AM PDT
In reply to: maybe a sound bar

Thanks for the suggestion. Does a soundbar have the same capabilities as other systems?

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Soundbar? Geez Louise, the inherent problem is that it is
by NM_Bill / August 1, 2008 1:56 PM PDT

just a soundbar. Yes, I realize sales of these are spreading. So, some are $1500 & some floks then think they can in on the cheap & expect good results from one that is a fraction of that price.

Convenience always has some allure, but how about real, actual surround sound rather than "simulated?"

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by Riverledge / July 23, 2008 12:23 PM PDT
In reply to: maybe a sound bar


CRAPPY "SOUND-BAR" speaker 'systems', POLK, YAMAHA, CAMBRIDGE, among


Maybe I've been around too long; to me, if you spent less than $800.00 bucks (for a pair of STEREO speakers mind you!) in the 1980's, you had crap or
you were tone deaf.

Preferred brands were BOSTON ACOUSTICS, OHM, BOSE, and KLIPSCH.

MAGNEPANS were all the RAGE!

God, how times change...........

Best to all,


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Educated Opinion
by gmf_fairy / July 25, 2008 12:15 AM PDT
In reply to: Denon vs Bose

It's funny how a lot of people say that Bose products aren't that great, and that they are a load of crap and that you can buy a $500 system that sounds better than their $3000 dollar system.

Well, let's see, Bose has been around for nearly 40 years. In that time they have grown to be the most known audio brand in the world. When you think of high end, except for some self proclaimed audiophiles or purists, people think of Bose. Why is that? Maybe it's because for the last 40 years they have been making products that wowed over 95% of the people that heard them. And that's what makes Bose systems so great. When you hear them, and see the size of the speaker the sound comes from, you can't help but be amazed.

Again, most will say that its all marketing or they are just selling a brand, but how did they become the Brand to Buy if they weren't the best at what they do. It's like saying all cars are the same since they all have tires, engines, and doors, but that is where the similarities end. Just as comparing a Ferrari Enzo with a Ford Focus, the difference is in how the car brings a certain emotion when driven, a heightened sense of your surroundings as you go through the gears, where all that matters is the ride. Same can be said about Bose audio equipment. Yes, there are other audio systems out there for less that sound good, but it is the Bose experience that you can't mistake. It's the detail in the pin drop, and the fullness of the bass from the orchestra, or even the sense of being right there where the action is that makes Bose what it is today...A leader among the followers, and just like any leader...there will always be the many nay sayers, but none can deny what millions have heard...amazing sound, Period.

Now, I know this seems drawn out, but to go back as to whether you should get the Bose or the other already answered your own question. You heard both and you thought the Bose was better, because it was better and you didn't need to be an audiophile and sit for extended periods of time to hear the difference. So, I say go with the'll be glad you did.

And by the way...I've designed many audio systems for hotels to custom residential systems over the years and none compare to shear simplicity and quality that Bose products bring to the industry, and I have many deeply satisfied clients that would proudly back-up this claim.

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Thanks for the advice!
by bling67 / July 25, 2008 1:23 AM PDT
In reply to: Educated Opinion

Thanks, EO. You're correct, it's all about reviewing the product to determine if it's right for you.

I'm not a techie/audiofile, I just want something reliable that's easy to use and gives good sound, and based on what I've seen the Bose can provide that.

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by ns387241 / July 26, 2008 10:34 AM PDT
In reply to: Educated Opinion

First and foremost, its not Ferrari Enzo, it's Enzo Ferrari, named after the founder of Ferrari.

Secondly, if people actually heard in their homes what they do at the demo at their local retail store, my opinion would be different. I have owned several Bose systems and have been satisfied with none in any way, be it price or simplicity or the experience. It is not at all like comparing a million dollar supercar to a $20,000 compact, it would be comparing cars in the same range, like an Audi A8 to a Mercedes S550. The Mercedes is better known, but the Audi is by far a better value in the way of pricing, build quality and performance. But Mercedes is better known. That doesn't mean that the Mercedes will shift gears as fast or ride smoother. Back to the point: that doesn't mean that Bose performs.

I have currently in a small room (where nobody with prying eyes can see) Bose Model 601 Flooratnders ($600 new), Bose model VCS-10 centre ($200 new) and Bose Model 901 Bookshelf's ($1,300 new) in a surround setup, the bookshelf's in front. I spent roughly $2100 on speakers alone, not including my Denon test receiver (Model 4308 CI). Never in my life have I heard such undetailed sound from any $2000+ system. The highs were faint at best, the mids and mid bass section boomy and overdramatized, and there was no low end, even for a system without a subwoofer. And yes, my receiver was set correctly, taking into account it is a 5.0 system, not a 7.2 system. I recently compared it to the Polk audio TSI series speakers from Best Buy. The system cost about $1,300. The Polks outperformed the Bose system in every way imaginable. They had crisper highs, deeper, more authoritative lows, and accurate slightly taken aback mids. They were smaller speakers, too. Overall, setup with both systems was simple, but the Polks were simply better: better sounding, better looking, more affordable.

The lifestyle systems and the 321 system are not different. setup is no easier on the lifestyle 48 than on a Denon-based system for the price. Plus to make thos systems look right, the speakers need to be professionally installed on the wall and wires run through the walls. Most other systems do not necessitate that to look good and still kick Bose's *** every time.

For those that buy into the Bose experience and would like to have an excellent expereince with their system, look for Bowers and Wilkins. You get what you pay for and they are committed to serving the customer's every need. I personally use B&W 600 series loudspeakers for a computer system and have the flagship model Nautilus' used in a 7.2 array. I know a good speaker from a bad one at any price and Bose is definitely not one of them.

I will say that for the longest time, Bose had it with the 321, as not other system existed for the price that would give it a run for it's money. But now that the Klipsch systems have come along (as well as Kef), there is no need to so much as look at the 321 until the next model comes out.

I will not let by that 95 percent of this forum has a tendency to dislike Bose products for their value and performance, as they have none of that. Bose claims they are the most respected name in sound. I believe by my count they are the least respected name in sound. My friends are rich and poor. Some don't even have systems. But when I bring them to my lab to double check my thoughts, they assure me that the competition sounds better than Bose.

Bose became the brand to buy because they are excellent at one thing: their advertising. Because of their advertising, they have led consumers to believe that they are the best without saying so. And some consumers don't know what good sound is. Too bad for them when they order some ridiculous system that sounds like crap. Most people have been around long enough to pop into their local Best Buy or Circuit city to hear what the salespeople have to say or hear the difference themselves.

Also, the difference is hearing. BUT, you cannot hear the same material played on both systems at any local retailer because the Bose system cannot play anything else than it's own disc as it is on demo mode. So there never was a comparison. At the big box store, you are listening to material that Bose has calibrated to be perfect for that particular system at that particular location in the store. Most HT systems don't undergo that type of calibration, especially not all the way back to the source, which a consumer has no choice of how that's recorded. An in-store comparison is unfair, it will only ever be in the home that you will hear the fair and true difference between Bose and others. I have heard it. It is so distinct that I can get my 97-year-old neighbor, George, to tell the difference. If he can tell the difference, all of you can also... that is if you have passed your last hearing test.

I hope this helps everyone understand why Bose is not the product to buy no matter what. I have tried many of their systems and compared it to systems costing far less and found that the other system suited the rooms better, and sounded better.

And this is the home industry we're talking about, customers here have aims other than showing off a brand and having mediocre quality (BTW, I know many companies that have gone with B&W or Bryston, as an extreme statement for their commercial sound needs). Customers do more intimate listening sessions in the home than at some grocery store or hotel.

Best of Luck


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But you sell Bose
by NM_Bill / July 26, 2008 11:55 PM PDT
In reply to: Educated Opinion

My formerly thrilled grandson with the whole big Bose outfit now has found out their quqlity & reliability issues.

Installer friends of mine happen to scoff at Bose custom install prices. These guys think more highly of their customers than to just bid Bose to them.
Dr. Amar Bose did engineer the 901 many years ago & it surely attracted attention. Its companion special amplifier because of the low efficiency 901 needing plenty of power all died soon due to poorly thought out engineering on it.

Bose is best a being a mass marketing company. Certainly not praised for keeping up with technology nor for the platic made in Mexico speaker quality. Anyone interested should find an opportunity to take a B ose speaker apart - you would then never buy one.

The big box stores are free to sell as many of the very convenient 321 systems to those who want it for their HTIB. Yes, convenient indeed.

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You remind me of two friends I have
by jostenmeat / July 27, 2008 7:51 AM PDT
In reply to: Educated Opinion

they are custom installers as well. Large commercial installs. Have their installs as photo spreads in home magazines as well.

They like Bose too. One particularly. I don't go to the point of saying that they are flat out wrong, as Im not really familiar with their products. I just ask if they are aware that Bose is the most widely ridiculed audio product there is, hands down, no question.

I will say that in about a year's time as an avid consumer do I know more about Audio consumer electronics than the two of them combined. Yes they do $xxx,xxx installs, but its all about the prettiness plus automation. Not about audio performance. They will charge you $500 for setting up the remote though.

just FWIW.

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(NT) You have certainly given me a good chuckle today (n/t)
by Pepe7 / July 29, 2008 11:59 PM PDT
In reply to: Educated Opinion
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Bo$e in know because they spend BIG $$$$$$$$
by jcrobso / July 31, 2008 7:22 AM PDT
In reply to: Educated Opinion

On advertising!!! Not in producing quality products!
Yes there are many $500 systems that will blow away Bo$e $3000 systems!

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Oh, please. You are an installer & refer to Bose being the
by NM_Bill / August 1, 2008 1:59 PM PDT
In reply to: Educated Opinion

best at what they are. I'll look a lot farther for qualified custom installation.

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Denon vs Bose
by MARKINNYC / July 27, 2008 6:29 AM PDT
In reply to: Denon vs Bose

In general you can get more bang for your dollar with Denon. Not their pre-assembled "Home Theater in a box", but by picking out and individual components and buying them. Then choosing decent - doesn't need to be lavish - speakers and wiring it up yourself.

Bose is famous for "PLUG AND PLAY" but you pay dearly for the convenience and until they came out with the new V-Series Home Theatre systems you were stuck with a NON Blue Ray DVD player in all their units whether you wanted one or not. And of course you paid for it, too. Also, their earlier units did not directly support HDMI connectivity - which I personally think is the greatest thing since sliced bread! One cable, once connection and you're got multi-channel stereo, and a great HD pic all in one small, relatively cheap cable! Amazing! The new Bose V series does NOT make you pay for a crummy DVD player you don't want or need, and it does support full HDMI connectivity albeit at a healthy price. But they sound great if you don't mind shelling out >2k (or more.)

My best advise is go shopping for a nice Denon Receiver with 5/1 or 6/1 sound, HDMI, and unless you have a huge room, don't worry about power. 50 watts per channel is ample for most normal rooms and speakers. More if you've got a 20 x 50 foot room. But not mandatory. Also, if you really care about storing a lot of digital music, get a Denon receiver that allow you to plug in your iPod and you'll have more storage online than you could ever dream of with any other set-up short of a real music server!

You should get the receiver on sale for less than $400. Then a set of decent speakers. Stick w/ major brands, B&W, Polk Audio, etc. Their low end speakers are usually better than most kit or "ht in the box" speakers. Buy yourself some decent cable, speaker stands or wall mounts if needed, and the requisite HDMI cable. You should get out the door for under a grand if you shop well. Remember you need BASIC not "state of the art" here. If you want to be a real audiophile you can pay upwards of $20k for a pair of speakers. But personally I'd rather have a used SL to drive! (grin) You can put together you own very respectable and great sounding system for far under the 995 or so that Bose charges for their 321 series. Which BTW is NOT that great in terms of sound. I've heard built in speakers in the TV sound as good on some Samsung LCD's and Plasma's. If you insist on going the Bose route, then get the Bose V series or don't bother. It's about the only one of their products that's really worth paying for right now. The rest of the line is kind of "old" technology and in line and way overdue for a major upgrade.

Good Luck and happy shopping.

Oh, One More Thing... when you get the Receiver, and the HDMI connectors, make sure you've got at LEAST two HDMI in and one out. (Three or four in and two out are better, but will bump you up in terms of price on the receiver. And a 5/1 receiver is FINE for most home applications. The 7 and 6 channel stuff is mainly hype until you're spending over $50k for the set-up. Then consider it. Not at the entry level!

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i get your general gist.
by jostenmeat / July 27, 2008 7:56 AM PDT
In reply to: Denon vs Bose

but 50w is not seeing the whole picture. minimal impedance can change that in a hurry, as will volumes obtained, distance seated from speakers, as well as simple sensitivity.

I also disagree that Polk's entry level is better than HTIB stuff. I'll take Onkyo speakers over Polk R150s. Then again, the Onkyo speakers might actually cost more? I think r150s were $25 at Fry's on and off for the last year, or longer. in fact i think even as low as $20.

However, with your good intentions Mark, I really doubt the OP is looking to invest time or money into a decent system... try as you might... ;p just my experienced guess.

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by jasondtx / August 2, 2008 1:37 AM PDT

One of the first people that replied said it best, neither one will get you very good sound. I'd look at a Denon receiver with different speakers if you want something good but not overly expensive. You can get a really good speaker system with a separate receiver for around 1500 to 2000 dollars. Bose became so popular because of marketing. They had a couple decent models back in the day but now they are total junk. If you look at some of the bose small speakers they don't use a tweeter, the subwoofer (sorry, Bass Module) receives power from the receiver (which robs power from your main channels), the wiring is junk that they give you, I could go on and on. Anyway, don't buy a bose system or a sound bar. Find a reputable smaller Custom Install store that can show you a higher end system that will cost the same but perform twice as good as what you can get at your Best Buy or Circuit City.

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