For the past few months we’ve been renovating (or paying someone to renovate) our game room downstairs. It’s finally usable again, and I had been thinking about simplifying the home theater/stereo setup for some time. In the past, we had the following setup:
- Samsung 42” LCD
- FIOS Cable/DVR
- Onkyo Receiver
- JBL front towers, center, rear bookshelf surrounds
I wanted to lay out the room a little differently and eliminate the existing surround-sound setup and go with a simple 2.1 system. After reading around the web along with trying out equipment at various stores, I ended up finding a great deal on the Bose Cinemate Series II System at the Factory Outlet in Washington, PA. They ran me $399.99 instead of the $599.99 retail price found elsewhere. They sounded pretty good at the store, but keep in mind my expectations weren’t outrageous - they are $400 speakers so they aren’t going to be perfect…
The speakers were well packed and setup was a complete breeze. You simply place the satellites, connect them to the sub, connect the processing unit to the sub, plug a single digital optical out from your tv to the processing unit, and plug in the sub.
There is a tiny on/off and volume remote that must be used with the system. If you are trying to simplify and not have to use another remote, you may not like this.
I honestly can’t complain about the sound when it comes to watching TV and movies. The bass is plentiful, so much so I had to even turn down the default setting on the sub. The treble and mids aren’t mind blowing, and sounded a little “distant” but again I wasn’t looking for extremely high cost sound here. You have to play a bit with getting the satellites at the right high, distance, etc, but if you find a sweet spot these speakers really do excel for home theater on a budget.
This is where the review turns sour. So… I purchased an Apple TV to be able to not only watch tv & movies but mainly to be able to listen to Rdio and iTunes through the stereo system. The sound is really quite poor… You have to crank the speakers up to get decent treble & mid out of them to the point where the bass is just out of control even if you turn it down on the sub. You just get the feeling where you want to clean out your ears or your head is clogged up. It simply doesn’t sound right.
Another thing to note here is that if I plugged the digital out of the appletv directly into the Bose processing unit, the sound did get a little better. This shows a flaw in the design of this system where the quality of your TV may effect sound quality since it may muck with the sound while doing a pass-through.
I played a few things on the PS3 and don’t really have a complain. Again the bass was plentiful, and besides the general lack of high-end in the system it wasn’t really too bad.
They are getting returned today. Thankfully Bose has a great “try it out” policy where you can return the speakers within 30 days (or 90 during the current holiday season). The speakers simply do not work for me with my goals of tv/movies and music. They are truly meant for tv & movies so I can’t knock them as they excel at their intended purpose for a fairly low price point.
We’re going back to the old equipment, except I may just end up doing stereo with my massive JBL towers.