Bose 901: Most Successful Speaker of All Time?

Bose doesn’t often attend CEDIA (or CES for that matter), so I was surprised to see them here. They were here last year as well, but I missed them. The emphasis here appeared to be on lifestyle or custom install products, noted in another blog.

The pair of 901 Series 6 loudspeakers shown here were also on hand, but not playing. I haven’t followed that speaker for years, but assumed it must be up to at least Series 25 by now, since the speaker first launched in the mid 1960s. I had a friend who once owned a stacked pair!

My favorite Bose story is that Bose’ first speaker was the 2201 launched in 1964. It was shaped as an eighth of a sphere using 22 full-range drivers per channel, and was intended to sit in a room corner, where reflections would simulate a spherical radiator. That much is definitely true. But the speaker was apparently not a wild success. A pair of them might have sounded fine, or even spectacular (I never heard them) but the impractical positioning required for a pair of them (adjacent corners for proper stereo) could have done them in.

The rest of the story is my warped imagining of what might have happened next. Amar Bose, looking at a warehouse full of drivers in 1968 (44 needed for each pair of 2201s), might have wondered how he could recover something from his unused inventory. Viola! The 901 (nine drivers each) was born. End of speculation. Despite reservations from many audiophiles over the years, the 901 might well have been the most successful home loudspeaker of all time, thanks to glowing reviews from High Fidelity and Stereo Review magazines.