Bose Good Soundbar 900
“The Good Soundbar 900 provides Dolby Atmos for under $100 extra, making it an outstanding alternative for a single-speaker residence theater sound system.”
- Elegant design
- Good Dolby Atmos results
- Wonderful music high quality
- Useful TV voice management
- Non-public listening headphone sync
- Just one HDMI port
- Fundamental, non-backlit distant
- Restricted assist for Android
When Bose debuted its $799 Good Soundbar 700 within the final half of 2018, it in all probability ought to have included Dolby Atmos, the extremely immersive encompass sound format getting used to reinforce each films and music. It didn’t, and that gave perennial competitor Sonos a chance to swoop in with its personal Dolby Atmos soundbar, the Sonos Arc, which debuted in 2020 for a similar worth because the non-Atmos Good Soundbar 700.
However Bose has lastly hopped on the Atmos bandwagon with its $899 Good Soundbar 900. Is it value the additional $100? Let’s discover out.
Holes within the glass
Simon Cohen / Digital Traits
In case you suppose the Good Soundbar 900 seems to be acquainted, you’re not dreaming. It’s a useless ringer for the Good Soundbar 700, proper right down to the stylish (but simply smudged) glass prime. The largest distinction is the matching set of racetrack-like oval holes on both finish of the glass sheet. These openings are for the additional up-firing drivers, which assist the soundbar ship the peak results which have turn into synonymous with Dolby Atmos.
The drivers are angled upward in order that they’ll bounce particular sounds off of your ceiling and again right down to your listening place. So although the 900 is impressively quick (2.29 inches tall) and will simply sit underneath most big-screen TVs, don’t put it there. It must be out within the open to benefit from these up-firing drivers.
In its black guise, the 900 just about disappears into the background, however if you would like your soundbar to make a visible assertion in addition to an audible one, it’s additionally obtainable in white.
One port too few
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You’ll be able to join the Good Soundbar 900 to your TV with an HDMI cable or an optical cable, and Bose contains each within the field. In case you use the optical cable, you received’t be capable to ship a Dolby Atmos sign to the soundbar even when your TV helps it. Atmos is just too bandwidth-hungry for an optical connection — it requires the fatter pipe of HDMI. This isn’t to say that the 900 received’t ship extremely immersive sound when utilizing optical — it can nonetheless sound nice because of the corporate’s TrueSpace expertise — you simply can’t get the total Atmos expertise with out HDMI.
The Good Soundbar 900 delivers superbly clear, room-filling sound.
Talking of HDMI, the 900 has only one HDMI port, which it makes use of to obtain audio out of your TV and to ship management directions again to the TV. For most individuals, that’s going to be a small annoyance, because it forces you to surrender one among your TV’s HDMI ports, and doesn’t give you a alternative. Relying on the variety of HDMI units you’ve gotten and the variety of inputs in your TV, it would even necessitate shopping for an HDMI swap.
However for the audio purists on the market with older TVs, it creates one other problem. In case your TV doesn’t assist HDMI eARC (that’s most TVs which can be older than two years), there’s simply no method to ship the highest-quality audio sign that the 900 is able to dealing with, particularly 24-bit, lossless Dolby Atmos in Dolby TrueHD.
With different Dolby Atmos soundbars, just like the Sony HT-A7000, you may join a Blu-ray participant or streaming media machine to one of many soundbar’s HDMI inputs, thus bypassing your TV’s HDMI ARC limitations by sending the audio on to the soundbar whereas the video is handed by means of to your TV.
The Good Soundbar 900 isn’t the one Atmos soundbar with this limitation. The Sonos Arc additionally has only a single HDMI port.
Don’t lose the distant
Simon Cohen / Digital Traits
Whereas it’s true which you could management all the Good Soundbar 900’s options from the Bose Music app (extra on that in a second), the included distant needs to be saved useful if for no different motive than there are not any controls constructed into the soundbar itself. The one controls that Bose contains on that easy glass floor are for sensible speaker capabilities (microphone mute, motion button). For quantity, mute, play/pause, and different capabilities, you’ll want the distant or the app.
Unusually, Bose determined to equip the Soundbar 900 with one among its fundamental, non-backlit infrared remotes, whereas the Soundbar 700 comes with a a lot fancier, backlit Bluetooth common distant. After I requested Bose why it did this, I used to be advised that the Voice4Video function (which I talk about under) is seen as a alternative for a lot of the common distant’s options.
You’ll want an app for that
In principle, you need to use the Good Soundbar 900 with simply the included distant management, however you’d be lacking out on quite a bit. The Bose Music app (for iOS and Android) walks you thru the setup course of, together with getting the soundbar related to your house’s Wi-Fi, calibrating the sound utilizing the included AdaptIQ microphone, and establishing both Google Assistant or Amazon Alexa if you wish to allow the 900’s sensible speaker capabilities. Getting the soundbar related to Wi-Fi is a prerequisite if you wish to make the most of any of the natively supported music streaming providers, Spotify Join, or Apple AirPlay 2.
Throughout the app, you’ll additionally discover all the deeper settings, like changes for bass, treble, and top channels, in addition to the dialogue enhancement mode. None of those may be managed utilizing the distant. The app can be the one method to affirm that the soundbar is receiving and taking part in Dolby Atmos.
Simon Cohen / Digital Traits
Whether or not you’re taking part in 5.1, Dolby Atmos, or a typical 2-channel stereo combine, the Good Soundbar 900 delivers superbly clear, room-filling sound. In typical Bose vogue, the sound signature tends to intensify the midranges and excessive frequencies out of the field. For music, it provides vocals a crisp, high-energy sound, however it’s additionally best for TV dialogue.
There’s loads of bass obtainable, too. However as I discussed above, you’ll have to dig into the Bose Music app to maximise the speaker’s low-end capabilities, because it’s fairly tame while you first set it up. I additionally advocate boosting the peak channel settings. Even with my basement’s comparatively low, 7.5-foot ceiling top, I discovered I wanted the additional punch to get essentially the most out of these up-firing top drivers.
It’s not onerous to persuade your self that there are further encompass audio system within the room.
It takes some tweaking, however after you have the settings dialed in, the Good Soundbar 900 creates a convincing Dolby Atmos dome of sound. All of my go-to Atmos check films like Mad Max: Fury Street, Ford V. Ferrari, and Avengers: Infinity Conflict sounded thrilling. You’ll be able to undoubtedly hear the added dimension offered by the peak channels, however as with the non-Atmos Good Soundbar 700, it’s the unimaginable width of the 900’s soundstage that you just discover most. Sit useless heart and it’s not onerous to persuade your self that there are further encompass audio system within the room.
That is the place evaluating the 900 to the Sonos Arc will get fascinating. From a purely Dolby Atmos standpoint, the Arc does a greater job with top results, and its considerably larger enclosure produces deeper, extra resonant bass. However the Good Soundbar 900 is healthier at creating an general encompass sound expertise, and it additionally provides higher readability, particularly for dialogue.
In terms of music, each soundbars impress, however as soon as once more, every has its personal strengths. The Arc produces a hotter bass response, however it might probably’t fairly match the Soundbar 900’s readability within the higher ranges. Due to the 900’s wider soundstage, I feel Bose has the sting for music, however this may probably come down to private desire.
It’s value noting that as a result of the Soundbar 900 helps AirPlay 2 however not Chromecast, Android customers have fewer high-quality music streaming choices. All the streaming providers supported natively within the Bose Music app (Spotify, Amazon Music, Pandora, TuneIn, Deezer, iHeart Radio, and SiriusXM) will stream over Wi-Fi. If these providers assist hi-res or lossless audio (and you’ve got entry to that tier of content material), you need to get the very best audio high quality. However when you use Apple Music, Tidal, YouTube Music, or one of many many providers that aren’t within the Bose Music app, you’ll be restricted to Bluetooth, utilizing both the SBC or AAC codecs.
Apple machine house owners get extra freedom of alternative. Utilizing AirPlay 2, just about any music app can stream over Wi-Fi in as much as 16-bit/48kHz lossless high quality from an iPhone to the Soundbar 900, and from there, any grouped audio system may also be capable to play alongside.
This pales compared to the massive array of providers supported by Sonos. The Bose Music app additionally doesn’t have the power to look all your providers from a single interface, or create a vast variety of favourite playlists and stations — you’re restricted to only six.
‘Alexa, channel 33’
Your TV or streaming machine could have Chromecast built-in, however the Bose Good Soundbar 900 doesn’t. Simon Cohen / Digital Traits
In case you select Amazon Alexa as your voice assistant, Bose provides a intelligent Alexa-only method to management your TV and cable set-top field with voice instructions. It’s referred to as Voice4Video, and also you configure it throughout the Bose Music app. As soon as the soundbar has appropriately recognized your TV, your cable field, and your native cable supplier, you’ll be capable to flip your TV on and off and soar to particular channels utilizing your voice.
It’s hardly one thing you want, but when it’s one thing you need, you’ll be glad to know it really works very well. I solely encountered a number of events the place I needed to repeat a TV-based voice command.
Bose Good Soundbar 900 (left) and Sonos Arc. Simon Cohen / Digital Traits
One of many perks of getting a Wi-Fi-connected speaker is having the ability to do multiroom audio. That’s the place you may play a distinct supply of music on every speaker or have all your audio system taking part in the identical music in excellent sync or divvy up your house into speaker teams, every doing their very own factor.
With the Good Soundbar 900, you may create a whole-home audio resolution with different Bose wi-fi audio system, Bluetooth audio system, and headphones — a really versatile set of choices. These grouped audio system can play any supply the first speaker has entry to, whether or not it’s Bluetooth, the Bose Music built-in streaming providers, AirPlay 2, or your TV’s sound. Managing these speaker teams isn’t fairly as versatile, nonetheless.
In case your group incorporates solely Bose Wi-Fi audio system, just like the Bose House Speaker 500 or Bose Good Soundbar 300, you may edit the group, simply including and eradicating audio system as you see match. However teams that comprise SimpleSync Bluetooth merchandise just like the QuietComfort 45, can’t be edited — you should finish them and create a brand new group with the units you need.
Bose could not supply the identical stage of music management as Sonos, however its multiroom management is superb.
Shhh … the youngsters are sleeping
In case you occur to personal a set of Bose Bluetooth headphones, just like the newly launched QuietComfort 45 or the Noise Cancelling Headphones 700, you may pair them to the Soundbar 900 utilizing Bose’s SimpleSync expertise. Most soundbars supply Bluetooth as a method to stream music out of your phone to the speaker, however only a few allow you to do that in reverse — from the soundbar to a set of headphones — and it’s a useful function.
The Bose Good Soundbar 700 was already a fantastic speaker for films and music. It solely lacked Dolby Atmos. Now that the Good Soundbar 900 is right here, and provides that lacking part for under $100 extra, it’s an outstanding alternative for a single-speaker residence theater sound system.
Is there a greater different?
At this worth, there’s actually just one different to the: The Sonos Arc. They’re the identical worth, and run neck and neck on many options. Each give you a alternative of Google or Amazon voice assistants, each connect with music streaming providers, each can be utilized as part of a whole-home wi-fi audio setup, and each use only a single HDMI eARC port for TV connectivity.
The Arc, because of Sonos’ excellent software program, is the higher alternative for whole-home audio and management over your music. It additionally produces deeper bass and barely extra noticeable Dolby Atmos top results. However you may’t join a set of headphones for personal listening, the high-frequency readability isn’t nearly as good as on the Bose, it doesn’t include its personal distant, and it doesn’t allow you to management your TV with Alexa. It’s additionally significantly larger and bulkier than the Soundbar 900.
Yet one more consideration: Bose provides you extra inexpensive choices for including a subwoofer and wi-fi encompass audio system. You’ll be able to add these to the Soundbar 900 for as little as $798. To do the identical with the Sonos Arc requires a minimal of $1,147 — although you’re getting a a lot higher-quality set of audio system from Sonos.
How lengthy will it final?
Bose could not supply software program updates for the Good Soundbar 900 endlessly, however I see no motive why it shouldn’t give you glorious efficiency for so long as you determine to personal it. Bose merchandise include a one-year guarantee.
Do you have to purchase it?
Sure, until you already personal different merchandise made by Sonos, by which case the Arc is a extra logical alternative.