After much resaerching my hubby finally decided that this was the system he wanted. And I am not disappointed with it! The sound quality is superb and I love the fact that he also hasn't tried to run a mass of cables around our living room in order for us to have surround sound. Especially as we bought it around the time his godson was trying to pull every cable he saw! There is the main unit, which has a green LED display and is a charchol grey and light grey colured casing, then there are 2 speakers, which are quite compact - not even as big as a housebrick. Then there is the humungous sub - but this sits quite nicely at the end of our TV unit. You can definetly tell the difference with the sound quality when comparing it to the TV's built in speakers and also with other peoples surround sound systems when we visit them - the Bose certainly has a superior sound, much more rounded and not at all tinny even at louder volumes. It is very easy to use as well - the remote that comes with it is self explanitory. It has a built in FM radio, however, I have to say I am not all that impressed with this as despite setting up the aerial we never seem to be able to get a good reception. However, we hardly ever use this feature as we mainly listen to the radio in the kitchen and we have a digital radio in there. The DVD player is also very good, the picture quality it provides is very good and the menu functions are responsive and easy to use. I am afraid I can't comment on the set up as my hubby deals with all that as cables bewilder me! However, I do know that he has our sky box, his PS3 and our Wii connected through it so it must have plenty of sockets and stuff on the back. We have had this unit for about 4 years now and it still works as well as it did the day we brought it home.
Bose. I have always been fascinated by the Bose wave system - those tame and unassuming, modest adverts in the likes of airline in-flight magazines or the AA magazine; the idea of their unbelievable sound has always played on my mind. Well boom, here I am the proud owner of a Bose 3-2-1 home DVD system. At only about 4x13x10 inches the sound IS staggering, where is it coming from is the mystery. There is just the machine, two small speakers and the “Acoustimass module”, ie the massive 10Kg, 14x9x19 inch boom box behind the sofa. The number of holes in the back of the machine is a bit alarming but I have only plugged in the audio signals from our free-to-air box for the telly and taken an S-video wire out to the TV to watch DVD’s. There are almost enough holes in the back to wire in all the neighbours audio requirements. It is expensive but considering this is our first audio system since my student days of my Trio tuner, JVC amp, Micro Seiki record deck, Sanyo reel-to-reel tape deck and couple of Wharfedale speakers, I can convince myself it is money well spent. The children have there own small CD/Tape/Radio systems which are great quality in their bedrooms but I wanted one; bigger and better of course. Critics would say this is isn’t a proper surround system, you need at least a five speaker system for that but you have to trail wires all round the room, unless you can lay them before the carpet, also the price goes up and anyway I wanted a DVD and radio whilst I was at it. The only wires for this system are power to the Acoustimass, wire to the mediacentre, wire to the speakers, wire to TV and an FM aerial. The sound from this system gives a startlingly good surround sound impression, more than good enough for me. It will play any format of CD and DVD, re-written ones or whatever; there is also a simple software fix so it will play any region DVD. Quality CD’s of an y style of music sound unbelievably well, I am honestly staggered by the clarity of every sound, instrument and voice. The bass really does appear to come from the two tiny but heavy speakers (about 3x8x5 inches) and absolutely no impression of being misplaced or emerging from somewhere else, despite being hidden behind the sofa. Many of the sounds are not even produced on the other CD players in the house or in the car. CD’s of re-mastered older music are again fabulous, the only comment is that you can become critical of the recordings themselves. Real DVD’s, by that I mean films that are made for DVD’s are of amazing quality, the picture is so clear, steady, colour depth, brightness and the sound is faultless with real cinema sound effect. The s-video connection to the TV makes a real difference. TV. I have put the audio signals from our Thomson set top free-to-air box (see my review) through our new toy and again this improves the enjoyment of TV one hundred fold. I never realised the audio quality of TV programs that must have been pumped out over the years but have never even heard it before. Sounds bit sad, but even watching a news report from some far flung country, you hear every background sound, whether it is the wind or trees swaying, water lapping, the cameraman coughing or whatever. The enjoyment of purpose made TV documentaries and the like are really improved. Our TV is a new Panasonic 28in 100Hz model (see review) and is proving to be a great part of our new audio-visual set up. Radio, again, quality faultless and you hear every click and error in the transmission. Free-to-view TV now also transmits radio programs 1 to 5 so we use that, no need to turn the TV on as I take the audio signal from the free-to-view box. The remote is sturdy and easy on the hand and does everything except put a disc in for you. One thing that still impresses me, and I know that’s not difficult having jus t been catapulted into this new audio visual age, is however high the volume there is absolutely no noise or hiss. This really adds to the realism of any CD, DVD or TV program you really find yourself hearing that voice, ring, noise anything coming from behind you or from the side. Lost count of the number of times jumping up to answer a phone that I could have sworn rang in our hall behind us but was on the telly in front. This surround sound effect is weird. Something, also that Bose advertise and is definitely true, is however low or high you turn the volume the bass effects are exactly the same. It still booms where it should and at high volume, you can easily shake the floorboards but there is no hint of distortion in the mid and treble ranges whatever the type of music. It certainly has lived up to my expectations. Pricey I know but hopefully should last me many few years. The price is the same wherever you buy it, so we bought it from our favourite shop, John Lewis. The only extra I’ve bought is a pair of pricey Bose speaker stands. These bring them the two small speakers up to the recommended height, ie ear level and level with top of the television. They do make a huge difference, the sound balance is perfect and you cannot locate the source, particularly for DVD and TV where you are totally fooled that voices come from the screen and other sounds come from all around the room. Weird but wonderful. It is worth playing with different positions for the boom box as, depending on the size of your room and the amount of furnishing; the amount of bass will be affected. I have had no particular need to adjust treble and bass settings, though it is worth playing with them if you are listening to speech only on the TV or radio. Techies, I wont attempt to impress you with my lack of knowledge, but everything is on the Bose website at http://www.bose.co.uk/home_audio/uk_pdf/og_321.pdf