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Bose systems & True Confessions
Dave asked about why people were less than excited about the
I'm one of those who has posted about Bose - I didn't hate the
Bose system, I just found that in my specific car (1990-200) it was
a bit on the boomy/bassy side, with adequate midrange and almost
NO highs at all. For the first six months, it was great. Then I
started realizing that there were things I heard in my other cars I
didn't hear in the Bose system. Most of what was missing was in
the upper midrange and high end.
What really tipped me over was that the sensitivity absolutely
SUCKED. I mean, I have NEVER had worse reception from a radio
than that system. In truth, part of the problem may have been with
the antenna system, which I will address in a moment.
The symptoms that made me froth at the mouth were:
1) I happen to be a talk-radio listener (but I puke for Rush..) and i
found that the system was incapable of bringing in some AM
stations which were as little as 30 miles away.
2) The cross-talk was incredible. In many parts of the last town I
lived in, I could not listen to my favorite AM station because - and
this will be hard to believe - a local FM station bled over the AM
station so badly that it was absolutely unlistenable. I have never
figured out this problem, but it wasn't all the antenna system.
3) As an example of the above two problems, when I parked in the
parking structure near my office at Texas A&M, I could not listen to
the AM station three miles away because the FM bleed obliterated
it. What was worse, I had a $50 Radio Shack pocket radio which
would pick up the AM station BETTER than the car radio while
sitting inside the car in that parking spot!!!!
So - I may have had radio and antenna problems. Let's discuss
the stock antenna system.
The Audi/Bose system for the 1990 200 used a "diversity" antenna
approach. There is an FM antenna cast into the windshield (and
we know how well that worked for GM in the 70's, don't we, boys
and girls?...) and the defogger on the rear window also doubled as
a second FM antenna and the AM antenna. There were two radio
leads into the Bose radio. The idea was that the radio would
sample both signals and use the best one.
I checked the antennas - I checked the amplifiers - and the system
was absolutely AWFUL. So I sold the Bose radio. The
replacement (A Sony) did NOT have the problems with stations
bleeding over, and it was indeed more sensitive to AM broadcasts,
but the sound was not that good in adapting to the Bose speaker
system and the antennas were clearly totally inadequate.
So I installed a Hirschmann power antenna in the LR fender in the
same spot the 5K series uses. Piece of cake installation, provided
I was brave enough to drill a hole in that pearl white fender! Radio
reception immediately improved to what it should have been, and I
gladly abandoned the factory antenna system.
I recently completed the conversion by selling the Bose speakers
and amps and installing Polk speakers all around, with a JVC head
end on the system.
So - did the Bose radio cause all the problems??
a) Lack of upper end frequency reproduction: YES!
b) Crappy AM reception? Partially, not completely, as part of it
was an antenna design problem.
c) AM/FM bleed problems: YES!
So in general, I find that the Bose system in my specific
automobile could not performed as well as the one I installed, in
which I have a total of $456 cash invested. (Of course, we don't
count the labor at this point, do we??)
In hopes this may help someone else understand the issues I dealt
1958 Fiat 1200 Spyder "Transformabile"
1983 Datsun 280ZXT
1990 Audi 200