Laiq and I had recently done a shootout between the Sennheiser 350 and the Bose QC3. The flurry of comments revealed lots of strikingly different views and opinions, but then variety is what it's all about. Ironically, that same week I was invited for a one-on-one with the product manager of Bose, for the preview of a new product that will soon launch in India: the Computer MusicMonitor.
It sounded interesting, and I instinctively asked them to send one over for a review. Let it release here later; we’ll keep you posted about that. So this is one of those times when Tech2 gets to review a product well before its release. (It’s available globally though; as you know India always gets these stuff later than most.)
Design and Features
We received the piece in a neat carry case; which is optional and costs extra (damn)! The case contains two neatly placed metallic speakers; rigid in construction and classy to touch. Bose always scores in the aesthetic department, and this is no different. It’s a 2.0 system.
The form factor is made of a lead-colored solid trapezoid, with parallel front and back panels, though the base is longer than the top panel, giving it an attractive 'multimedia speaker' look. The driver is shielded by a fixed grille; there's no scope of removal. The cursive Bose branding is attached, a third of the height from the bottom.
The right speaker is the powered one. The back panel contains DC input, audio input, and finally the left speaker input — the wires for which are either attached (left speaker) or included.
Now comes the interesting part: the design of the speaker contains an acoustic tweak; basically a system containing two passive radiators near the back panel to pump out extra bass. That’s not all, they are concentrically placed with a calculated distance between them, and both vibrate in exact opposite phase with each other. This minimizes chances of the speakers physically moving due to the bass vibrations.
This is what was demonstrated and explained at the interview, though I feel the speaker body should be heavier to minimize vibrations in the first place, as these vibrations add resonance to the low bass response. Anyway, the performance says all, so I shall wait till I actually start reviewing the sound before passing any comments.
Not much is stated about specs, except that it uses a class D switching amp, which I had rightly assumed when I first saw the piece, and neodymium magnets in the transducers.
It was really exciting to test these speakers, as I had already got a tease at the interview. I connected it up, in a simple setup, and played a Sheffield Audiophile series classical music disc to see the lows. The lows were indeed very impressive.
The tightness was not as good as I’ve seen elsewhere, and does overpower the rest of the frequency spectrum at high levels, probably because of our hearing curves. But they were there, till quite a low frequency. I checked a sine tone sweep and it was audible till at least 48 Hz, even if softly. That’s good for such a small device.
The highs and mids were crisp and forward sounding: typical response of a metallic speaker with class D amplification. People who like laidback response will not like this. I switched to some electronic music, and continued evaluation. The volume goes pretty loud, and while power has not been rated, I can subjectively say it's loud enough for a room, and it does not distort drastically at high levels.
The other good thing I found is that the sound is pretty open and large, in terms of the size of the speaker. The depth in classical music thus sounded very good.
We have not seen an Indian price yet, as it's not released and all, though the dollar price indicates upwards of Rs 15,000. That’s in keeping with the Bose tradition. It would have got an easy 4 out of 5, but the high price makes it a 3.5. A demo is definitely recommended, as the style and some parts of the sound are very good.