Bose Wave/PC Interactive Music System Page 4

Bose should be commended for including an easy-to-understand manual with crisp illustrations, a glossary and index, and - something rare these days - an 800 number for support. During the course of a week, all of my calls were answered promptly and knowledgeably by human beings. What a novelty!

Keep in mind that if you're thinking of installing the Wave/PC but are already using external speakers with your computer, you'll have to disconnect them. In my case, I moved out a rather clunky pair of desktop towers and an under-the-desk subwoofer. I don't miss them. At 14 x 4 3/16 x 8 1/4 inches, the 6 3/4-pound Wave/PC occupies only a corner of my desk, but it gives me all the sound I was used to. And, like the original Wave radio, the Wave/PC gives you an amazing amount of bass for its size.

Thanks to one of the idiosyncrasies of dial-up connections I couldn't help but marvel at the difference between mono and stereo on the Wave/PC. When a streaming-radio source's bit rate fell too low for stereo, it unceremoniously switched to mono. When it returned to stereo, the audible difference was startling - I felt enveloped in sound, not just oriented to a single source.

Bose hasn't put the radio's own readout to much new use, except to flash "PC" when you're booting up the computer. That's too bad, because it would be nice if song titles crawled across its face. It's also too bad you can't run the software under Windows 95, since earlier PCs have the necessary serial ports. Still, I'm not complaining. Since an easy-to-use database manager is integrated into the software, switching between over-the-air and Web radio, a CD, or a library of MP3 songs is like twisting your own custom music dial. As computers are used more and more to deliver audio from a variety of sources, the Bose Wave/PC is primed to bring out your PC's musical talents. And it's an excellent alarm clock, too.

Bose, Dept. S&V, The Mountain, Framingham, MA 01701;; 800-999-2673