Time to Upgrade

I have an old (1997) Bose Acoustimass Lifestyle 12, and the AM/FM/CD player has stopped working. I want to know if I can still use the five cube speakers with a new A/V receiver and a new subwoofer. I hate to throw it all away, and I like the look of the cubes. Can I expect the speakers to work, and will I get a good sound out of them?

Dennis Couch

The Bose cubes are designed to work with the Acoustimass subwoofer, not to be connected directly to an A/V receiver. I couldn't find the manual for the Lifestyle 12, but the manual for the Acoustimass 10 system includes the following warning: "Connecting the small speakers to a receiver can result in damage to your system and possible electric shock." As I was looking around the Bose site, a representative appeared in a chat window, so I asked him if the Lifestyle 12 speakers can be connected directly to an AVR, and he said no. And even if you could connect them directly to an AVR, I'm willing to bet they wouldn't sound very good at all.

I'd start fresh with a good home theater in a box, such as the Onkyo HT-S9300THX (list price $1099, shown above and reviewed here) or its successor, the HT-S9400THX, which we haven't yet reviewed. These particular systems do not come with a disc player, so you'll need to budget for one. I'd get a Blu-ray player, which cost as little as $100 or so, and virtually all of them perform very well.

If you have an A/V question, please send it to askhometheater@gmail.com.

techguy378's picture

You can indeed connect the Bose cubes to a standalone AV receiver. You need to make sure the receiver has a crossover of 250hz and also that the subwoofer has an LFE connection to bypass the subwoofer's own crossover.

Scott Wilkinson's picture
250Hz is a mighty high crossover point to the subwoofer. Not many can reproduce frequencies that high. The result is a big hole in the frequency response of the system.
techguy378's picture

The Acoustimass module in Bose's Acoustimass speaker only systems and the Lifestyle systems also has its own active EQ circuitry to attempt to compensate for the massive frequency response hole. This really screws up the sound when using an Acoustimass speaker system with a standalone AV receiver. Even Audyssey has significant difficulty compensating for this when the cubes are hooked up the Bose recommended way.

klipsch27's picture

first of all,i would never own a bose product.you are mainly paying for the name.if u care anything about sound quality at all ,invest in a quality sound system.

techguy378's picture

It's just the cubes that have crappy sound quality. If you take the best sounding bookshelf speaker in existence and put its tweeter and woofer in separate locations in the listening room do you really think you'll get spectacular sound? Bose was dumb enough to think so. That's why the crossover between the cubes and Acoustimass module is so high.

Remonster's picture

The Bose cubes aren't really worth keeping, I've heard various Acoustimass systems in a couple of my friends' homes and I can't believe they cost as much as they do. The one thing they get right is their size, you can mount them anywhere and they seem to work alright even in the actual corners of a room. With that said, their frequency response is awful.

I bought an Onkyo HTIB for around $500 (on sale, it was normally $7-800) and can vouch for their quality. The speakers are obviously much larger than the Bose ones so as long as you have space for them you will hear the difference immediately. I currently have two home theater setups, one is that same Onkyo setup I got 7 or more years ago and the other is a Polk RTi A7 system with a HSU VTF subwoofer connected to a Denon AVR. The Polk system is definitely superior but considering it cost me nearly four times as much as the Onkyo setup, I'm not too reluctant to watch movies or listen to music on the Onkyo system.

william c goff's picture

I would scrap the idea of using the old speakers and get a new system that meets your present needs.

The speakers are tricked up to sound great at say 5 - 15 watts but with a modern amp you could accidentally crank 30 or more watts into them and fry the speaker coils.