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Overpriced Clock Radio: Bose Wave Music System

Reviewing: Bose Wave Music System  |  Rating:
Erich Rosenberger By Erich Rosenberger on
Badge: Author | Level: 3 | Audio & Visual Expertise:

Bose does it again. They managed to make an overpriced, under-featured audio monstrosity and then convince thousands of people that it's the best equipment on the market. In fact, the Bose Wave Music System is nothing more than a very expensive clock radio.

The base unit of the Wave is about the size of a shoe box. It sports a single CD slot and a very small and simple display which has big, blocky green numbers and letter. Even the cheapest cell phones have better looking displays. The Bose display looks like a throwback to the 80's. No color, low resolution.

In keeping with the minimalist look, there are no actual conrols on the front of the radio. The radio is controlled entirely through the credit card size remote control. So when your dog/cat/child walks away with the remote, the radio becomes totally useless. The remote itself is tiny, thin and feels like it's going to break at any moment. There is no display on the remote, only basic features for controlling the audio - start, stop, forward, back, etc.

The CD player offers nothing special. It plays standard as well as MP3 encoded CDs. Big deal - just about any CD player does that these days. No CD text support. No support for MP3 DVDs. There is also a complete lack of an auxillary input to be able to plug in an external MP3 player, something which is becoming quite common on many other players today.

The sound quality of the Wave is good. For a player its size, it does produce decent sound. Because it's a single unit however, there is no way to create stereo separation. All the sound comes out of one place, just like a clock radio. Bass is adequate, treble and highs are tight. Of course, if you aren't happy with the equalization, too bad - Bose includes NO EQ controls. That's right, you can't alter the bass and treble levels. That is a serious lack for something in this price range.

And then there is the issue of price. The Bose Wave Music System is obnoxiously overpriced. The base unit will set you back $500. The sytem is worth about $100. Certainly there are other systems on the market that cost a fraction of the cost of the Wave and have more features, better sound and a nicer look.

But wait, there's more! For only an extra $250 you can add a supplemental 5 disk CD player. How very 80's. This type of thing went out of style almost 20 years ago. And the price is completely insane. I can get an 80GB MP3 player that holds thousands of albums for the same price, and that would also be portable.

For an extra $130 you can get an iPod dock kit. This same function could be accomplished with an auxillary input and a $2 cable, neither of which is found on the Wave. And should you use any sort of MP3 player besides an iPod, you're out of luck.

In summary - if you are looking for an overpriced clock radio, this is the unit for you. It offers nothing in the way of innovative features. Sound is OK, but nothing great for the price. Save your money and get something else - anything else.