Bose has long and very successfully exploited the theme of small but powerful satellites and the proprietary subwoofer Acoustimass to create a compact but spectacular home theater. It’s time to get acquainted with the modern solution in the form of a soundbar, which you can optionally complete with a low-frequency module and even wireless rear speakers.
So, the hero of our test is the sound bar SoundTouch 300. Column for a very large $ 699. It comes in black and looks like a typical Bose product – strictly but elegantly. Tinted glass, perforated metal grill, weight 5 kg – everything looks solid. Glass attracts fingerprints, but complete with the device is a very convenient remote control, which I literally did not want to release from my hands. Usually the soundbars are equipped with a remote control with a minimum of buttons. In Bose, it’s a solid remote control, made of rubberized plastic. It reminded me of the remote control of modern smart TV. In general – it is convenient.
- Cable connection kit
- ADAPTiQ system for sound settings
- Remote Control
The soundbar is ideally combined with a TV diagonal from 40 inches and above.
And I also have to say that the device belongs to the SoundTouch family, which says that it is part of the proprietary multi-room Bose system and can be controlled from an application on a smartphone / tablet. So it is unlikely that someone will often have to touch the body of the device.
Bose does not post on its website a description of the design of the soundbars itself, but on YouTube you can find a video, which shows very unusual “insides” of the device. The ST300 is equipped with a separate tweeter, mounted strictly in the center of the front panel and framed by two midrange drivers on each side.
A thin white “strip”, divided into two parts, is PhaseGuide.
And on the edges are very interesting speakers, which Bose called PhaseGuide. This is a long flat driver, divided into three sections and visually similar to electrostatic. For the first time Bose applied this technology in 2010 in a solution called VideoWave, which combined TV and surround sound. Then Bose finalized the technology and began to install it in soundbars. Its task is to get surround sound in the absence of rear speakers. This is achieved through specially directed drivers and DSP processing of the audio signal.
The soundbar on the perimeter is covered with a metal grill, on top – glass
The case is equipped with two balanced bass reflex ports on the rear panel, closer to the edges of the soundbar. Moreover, the port itself is rather cunning (it resembles a simplified acoustic labyrinth) and is called Quiet Port. From the name it follows that in addition to strengthening low-frequency support, the engineers had to get rid of the noise of air coming out of the port of the bass reflex (and, accordingly, distortion).
Output of the phase-inverter – Quiet Port
The SoundTouch 300 is very modern and supports everything that is supposed to be a decent soundbar. It has a DTS decoder (Dolby Digital, of course, too), and support for a return audio channel, and a 4K signal (with HDCP 2.2).However, the inputs for external sources are not enough – only one HDMI. For example, if you connect Apple TV, then the PlayStation can not be connected (or only via optics). You should expect that the audio signal will go from the TV, it’s good that most modern TVs support ARC. The device has a built-in Bluetooth-receiver, which allows you to broadcast an audio stream from gadgets. You can connect to it in the usual way or in a fast way – via NFC.
All connectors are recessed in their niches, enough space, easy to connect.
The soundbar connects to the network in the most reliable way – via Ethernet cable (however, there is also Wi-Fi). Optionally, you can add to the system a special low-frequency module Acoustimass 300 (the price is $ 699). This is a very powerful wireless subwoofer, I’ll tell you about its contribution to the reproduction of multichannel tracks a little later.
These small speakers are really very compact, it’s a pity that they are not available in white color.
And one more accessory for home theater – wireless rear speakers Virtually Invisible 300, which you will need to buy separately for $ 300. They are very compact, about the size of a pack of cigarettes. They are easily placed on the wall. However, it is worth considering, despite the fact that the speakers are wireless, the outlet for the power supply is mandatory.
ADAPTIC – Room adaptation system
Using the proprietary ADAPTIQ audio calibration program is a necessary part of the procedures if you are installing the Bose system. The company had it already when AV receiver manufacturers advised the user to use a tape measure and preferably a sound level meter in order to adjust the delays and loudness of each channel. The system continues to evolve, of course, it is built into the SoundTouch 300 and must be used.
The design is simple and ingenious – the microphones are built into the headband of the “headphones”.
Of course, we will need a microphone for tuning, and the Bose’s engineers solved the problem brilliantly – they made a headband (in the form of overhead headphones) with built-in microphones. You do not need to think where to point the microphone and what to put under it, so it was at the level of the ears, as in the traditional calibration of AV receivers. ADAPTIQ produces a series of test pulse signals and “white noise”, estimating the response of the room and making corrections to the audio signal being played as a result. I have known this system for a long time, its effectiveness does not cause any doubts – even in very difficult from the acoustic point of view rooms the result is very, very impressive.
Bose SoundTouch Multiroom
As I wrote, the soundbar belongs to the SoundTouch series, which means it can work in the same multi-room environment with other components of this system from Bose. To do this, you need to connect the ST300 to the network wired or wirelessly and install the application on your smartphone or tablet. After installation, you will need to register or remember the login and password, because the application stores configuration settings, favorites, etc. and synchronizes them with your account.
The five indicators on the front panel show the current status of the SoundTouch 300
The application has a fairly standard functionality – you can assign the desired zone, and then transfer the audio streams of Internet radio stations, including Deezer services, to the desired zone, to play files from the NAS. You can run the same audio stream in all zones and arrange a party.
There are six presets initially, but the buttons in the settings can be reassigned to other stations with a single tap – very convenient.
Remote rather big, but very handy and comfortable
Importantly, you can also control the soundbar functions with the application, turn on / off the rear and the low-frequency module.
If you already own Bose devices, you probably know that it is performed to the highest quality standards. The elegant appearance of the soundbar is emphasized by a thick tempered glass on the top panel. The speaker is as durable as an aluminum bar of similar dimensions, although it looks, of course, much better. Thick glass on the top panel also protects the column from accidental damage.
The same can be said about the metal grill. Most soundbar have a grid made of plastic, which not only looks cheap, but very short-lived. Dents and scratches quickly appear on plastic grilles, which can not be said for metal, which means that your soundbar will retain its external appeal for a long time. Therefore, such a grid guarantees you a long pleasure from owning a sound bar, perfectly performing all its basic functions.
Obviously, the quality of the SoundTouch 300 was given paramount importance. This is one of those devices that is designed for the longest use. This once again proves that Bose does not save on materials and technologies, releasing devices that are pleasant to use. The remote control also looks very solid, its buttons operate quickly and clearly, and it does not seem that they will ever break. As a result, the SoundTouch 300 is a very well-made soundbar, a pleasant impression which is preserved even after the most careful study.
The soundbar uses all of the most advanced technology Bose. This is PhaseGuide, which sets the speakers at special angles for optimal coverage. In fact, the sound fills the room, the technology allows you to get 5.1 effects. Of course, the main task of PhaseGuide is to create a high-quality sound field for the “wow effect”. Soundbare copes with this task confidently. The concept also fits in accessories – it’s easy to increase the volume and push the sofa away from the big TV even further with the help of a subwoofer and “rear”. By the way, the soundbar has support for 4k resolution (60 fps), I know that many people care about this question.
Here is a video in which you can see the soundbar in a cut.
In the video you can see QuietPort, the air ducts inside the ST 300 case, the QuietPort ports are on the back of the left and right. The technology gives depth, allows to avoid distortions, simply makes the sound special.
As I said, the soundbar is good with low frequencies. The sound is very nice even without a subwoofer. You will wrinkle from explosions and from recharging, creeps from the clanking of the bolt, and when you go inside the tank you can hear every movement of the track. Very very cool.
Soundbar supports all the proprietary Bose technologies. This is both improved speech intelligibility and bass level adjustment. When watching a movie in the evening, you can adjust the soundbar in such a way that you will not interfere with your home – you can watch movies, serials without headphones, you can hear voices, but not explosions.
Listening to three configurations
At first the soundbar was switched on without additional “equipment” – the subwoofer and the rear did not participate in what was happening on the screen. And on the screen was a very famous scene of the race on the highway from the “Deadpool”. SoundTouch 300 confidently voiced 20 square meters, where the testing took place, moreover, surprised by a wide sound stage. It really went outside the frame, and it seemed that there were also installed side effect speakers on the sides (this is due to PhaseGuide technology). The detail seemed to me excellent: the process of shedding car glass was so realistic, as if a glass was broken two meters from the listener. The sound is biting, spectacular even without a subwoofer. This is very unusual for soundbars, but nevertheless Bose’s engineers managed to get a very balanced sound from a fairly compact body.
The subwoofer AcoustiMass 300 in all its glory. The speaker is pointing up on the divider, which is already covered with glass – in the same style as the soundbar
I add a subwoofer and get a completely different scale. The scene is gaining weight, the effectivity of what is happening on the screen increases at times. It must be understood, of course, that in spite of the fact that Acoustimass is effective, it does not achieve ultra-low frequencies. Moreover, although without a subwoofer it is possible to watch even modern action movies by watching the same scene of “Deadpool” or the scene of an attack on the convoy in “Avatar”, you realize that you still have to shell out to watch a steep movie – a completely different level of impressions .
Bose retained the optical input for those who have a TV without ARC support.
We connect the rear channels, and the sound scene around is closed – all 360 degrees surround the listener. The only thing, it seemed to me that the rear should still not be very far from the listener, you should not place them under the ceiling (I had to reconcile myself with such an arrangement in the test system). ADAPTIQ does not cope with the correction in such critical conditions, the rear hemisphere is slightly quieter than the frontal one. But in any case, I liked it, quite a decent result for such a compact size. Bose engineers really did a good job, it’s a pity that the company itself does not talk much about the technologies implemented in these devices, arguing it with patents and original ideas that they do not want to disclose.
A complete set of multi-channel system from Bose, but you can collect it in parts.
Now a little about stereo sound. It does not surprise as much as it does in the field of cinema, but at the same time calm, intelligent music plays well. The sound scene is clear, detailed. In general, if you do not try to listen to heavy metal and not wait for something special from the energetic rock compositions, the result is quite decent. In this case, do not forget that the SoundTouch 300 is very noticeable in a room of 20 m², even at half the volume. But there are no annoying distortions, which is typical of many other devices at high volume.
In general, the soundbar is very good when watching a movie. Yes, the whole set costs a lot – more than $ 2000. On the other hand, those who prefer comedies and melodramas do not need to buy a subwoofer, because in such films only the voice range and the volume of sound are important, they will only need one SoundTouch 300.
The SoundTouch 300 fits well with the Loewe TVs. Although in this case it is more a coincidence
You need to know that a high-tech device can not cost cheap, but if you are a supporter of quality branded things – the device from Bose will not disappoint you. If the soundbar is not required and you just want to effectively watch movies, it may be worth looking for the options for separate full-fledged systems.
- Effective and surround sound even without the sub and rear channels
- Original technologies
- Modern functional
- ADAPTIQ Equalization System
- High cost of optional subwoofer
Bose SoundTouch 300 Specification
- Embedded decoders: Dolby Digital, DTS
- Inputs: 1 HDMI, 1 optical, 1 Ethernet, Bluetooth
- Outputs: 1 HDMI (ARC) Options: Wireless subwoofer and surround back speakers
- Dimensions: 978x58x108 mm
- Weight: 4.7 kg