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I inherited some 50+ year old Bose 901's. Should I bother?

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  • #31
    Maybe there's a way to incorporate a horn loaded tweeter? It could just sit on top of the cabinet. The crossover would have to be modified of course.
    Form does not follow function
    Form is simultaneous to function

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    • #32
      Originally posted by lunchmoney View Post
      Maybe there's a way to incorporate a horn loaded tweeter? It could just sit on top of the cabinet. The crossover would have to be modified of course.
      Just a guess, but integrating the weird omnidirectional driver setup with a horn sounds like a nightmare to get right.
      Francis

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      • #33
        Originally posted by fpitas View Post

        Just a guess, but integrating the weird omnidirectional driver setup with a horn sounds like a nightmare to get right.
        I completely agree, I even tried to integrate a subwoofer and could never get it right. They are great garage speakers or party speakers. We hung them from the ceiling above the crowd and cranked them up. Not audiophile by any stretch but they will get loud.

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        • #34
          Originally posted by fpitas View Post
          If you keep them, from what I remember Bose had an EQ box to go with them that sort of helped. You already found out that room placement is a big deal.
          Yes. And the cost of 18 replacement drivers might be better spent elsewhere.

          I hung out as kid at the local stereo center when Bose 901's first came out in 1968. Room placement was part of "the system". IIRC, they were made to placed 18+" away from a corner. The bass was designed to reflect off the wall. And the EQ box was a necessary part of the system. It contoured the eight 3.5" rear drivers to match with the single front driver.

          Despite the several less than stellar comments, these were a huge innovation in their day. At the time, serious bass only came from huge boxes: 4' T x 2' W x 1.5' D. Klipsch horns beyond monkey coffin size. The little, pedestal mount 901s were made to compete with that and were amazing given their size.

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          • #35
            Maybe the on-axis highs will be alright (assuming the woofers are in decent shape) and it'll mostly be the off-axis highs that suffer because of the fullrange driver beaming.? I'm guessing there's some distortion up there though.

            Ooh, found the review I was thinking of earlier. Includes measurements (of the speakers in front, in back, in different positions and of the EQ-box with its different options), and is generally a fun read.
            http://noaudiophile.com/Bose_901/

            A quote from the review:
            "If one was obsessed enough with these speakers and wanted to try and make improvements there are a few obvious ones that I can recommend. First priority is to get a subwoofer, crossing over to a sub as high as 90Hz can really clean up the sound of the speakers, and will give even more headroom. The second priority would be to add a dome tweeter to the speaker. A stand alone enclosure that sits on top and crosses over to the 901's around 3k with something like a minidsp would fix all of the cone breakup and much of the comb filtering issues. Doing all of this should still leave most of the imaging tricks intact and while it does add considerable cost, there are worse things to do with your money."
            My first 2way build

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            • #36
              Originally posted by LOUT View Post
              Maybe the on-axis highs will be alright (assuming the woofers are in decent shape) and it'll mostly be the off-axis highs that suffer because of the fullrange driver beaming.? I'm guessing there's some distortion up there though.

              Ooh, found the review I was thinking of earlier. Includes measurements (of the speakers in front, in back, in different positions and of the EQ-box with its different options), and is generally a fun read.
              http://noaudiophile.com/Bose_901/

              A quote from the review:
              "If one was obsessed enough with these speakers and wanted to try and make improvements there are a few obvious ones that I can recommend. First priority is to get a subwoofer, crossing over to a sub as high as 90Hz can really clean up the sound of the speakers, and will give even more headroom. The second priority would be to add a dome tweeter to the speaker. A stand alone enclosure that sits on top and crosses over to the 901's around 3k with something like a minidsp would fix all of the cone breakup and much of the comb filtering issues. Doing all of this should still leave most of the imaging tricks intact and while it does add considerable cost, there are worse things to do with your money."
              Thanks! Yeah, noaudiophile does amusing reviews. That frequency response is just plain scary.
              Francis

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              • #37
                You can repair Blose 901's and 501's but lots of $350 a pair DIY speakers will outperform them. Fancy cabinets run the price up more than the guts. I'll admit I want to put nice drivers in pretty wood, but it doesn't really make them sound better. I have some very good drivers in a test box while my shoulder is healing from surgery. It's ugly MDF, not even squared-off on all edges, or finished with urethane, but they sound darn good! About $400 worth of parts in them. Including some sale Peerless midwoofers.Good sound.

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                • #38
                  To keep things in perspective, every good restoration I've seen of ancient speakers was time intensive, costly and frustrating. Looks like new drivers are available, so by comparison this could be a simple restoration.
                  Francis

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                  • #39
                    Am I too cynical if I think Bose came upon a large supply of useless surplus drivers and contrived this design to use them up and make a profit?

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                    • #40
                      Originally posted by djg View Post
                      Am I too cynical if I think Bose came upon a large supply of useless surplus drivers and contrived this design to use them up and make a profit?
                      Yeah. But I'm sure they found the cheapest little drivers they could, that didn't immediately tear your eardrums apart. They didn't get to be a big wealthy company by spending unnecessary money on quality.
                      Francis

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                      • #41
                        Here's a recent review of the Bose 901 by a fellow DIY loudspeaker designer. I think his analysis is spot on.

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                        • #42
                          Originally posted by Shonver View Post
                          Here's a recent review of the Bose 901 by a fellow DIY loudspeaker designer. I think his analysis is spot on.

                          Thanks, that was interesting.
                          Francis

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                          • #43
                            The 901 does have a wide sound stage, but so do line arrays, without the 901 shortcomings.
                            www.billfitzmaurice.com
                            www.billfitzmaurice.info/forum

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                            • #44
                              Originally posted by billfitzmaurice View Post
                              The 901 does have a wide sound stage, but so do line arrays, without the 901 shortcomings.
                              Well, I agree. I'm sure nostalgia plays into many 901 buying decisions. Not much nostalgia about a line array
                              Francis

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                              • #45
                                The thing is that Bose does line arrays, the Panaray series, back in the day and currently. They're only marketed for pro-sound, but there's no reason why they couldn't have made them for home use as well. Of course in true Bose fashion they've mucked those up as well. There's the right way, the wrong way, and the cheap way, and they always choose the cheap way, even though that's not reflected in their pricing.
                                www.billfitzmaurice.com
                                www.billfitzmaurice.info/forum

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