I used to work for Bose headquarters. No, they don’t have tone controls and they aren’t meant to be used as a component. They are meant to used like the Apple model where you plug it in and it just works. It maybe should be the other way around because Bose is a lot older than Apple. Wave radios are really just very high-priced clock radios meant for affluent people to plop on their counters and sound pretty good with little fuss.
That isn’t a criticism, it is exactly what they were designed for. They aren’t for audiophiles or people that like to play with big racks of components. Bose is a leader in sound research and makes some really high end equipment as well but the general user model is the same. They use psychoaccoustics rather than mass to get more sound than you should be able to from such a small package. The Wave is one of their older and most successful products that they use to fund research on the others (their R&D labs are incredibly impressive).
It may not be what you were expecting but it was free so you got it for the right price and they are made very well. Adjust your ideas of what it is actually for and you should be happy with it. They aren’t cheap new and they last a very long time.
I had this great idea: I would put it in the bathroom. It’s up at about 7 feet up. But it sounds like it’s putting out bass n drums or house music. It’s not the way other kinds of music need to be presented. I’m thinking this may be the most inappropriate use for it yet though because none of it’s good points come out when your’re in the shower.
My take on Bose is almost exactly the opposite - over emphasized lows, too much top and not enough in the middle - lots of modern music is also mixed in this way but it makes for odd sounding acoustic music.
So I would not be putting it somewhere in a corner, where the overblown bass will be even more boosted.
Bose tends to sound pretty good for the first 20 minutes, but somehow it gets kinda tiring, its relentless.
Is your bathroom tiled? A room without much absorption (e.g carpets) can be pretty horrible for sound systems. Could be the size of the room, poor acoustics, and position of the speaker are causing undesirable amplification of the bass. Try listening to it somewhere else to see if it is a problem with the speaker itself or how you are trying to use it.
I’ve owned earlier Wave radios. They had greatly boosted upper bass in order to impress people and compensate for the lack of low bass. It is indeed annoying on voices. There were no tone controls. But apparently apparently the latest version has a “mode” that reduces bass as you say, although they blame the boominess on “microphone selection, or by the boosting of low frequencies by some radio stations”:
You could try plugging the port tube in order to further reduce bass, but they might require disassembly to get past the speaker grille. (I think the 4 might have a port opening in the back, inside the unit.) And as said above, corner placement will increase bass. Nobody puts Bose-y in a corner. I would be wary of putting a radio in a bathroom, as it could be damaged by the moisture from showers. The safest bet for that application would be a waterproof Bluetooth speaker.
The recent Soundlink series of Bluetooth speakers have much better sound quality than the Wave Radios I’ve heard, much more clear and refined sound overall. (Trivia: one of the engineers from my favorite audiophile speaker company now works on these for Bose.) They do still have some bass and treble boost at low volumes, though. There’s a reason for this: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Loudness_compensation
Bose products retain their value well. Unless you specifically want to listen to radio, I would sell it and put the money toward one of their Soundlink/Soundtouch systems. They make them in various sizes, both portable units, and home systems that include Wi-Fi. Or, some other brand. There’s a German dude on Youtube who does reviews and measurements of Bluetooth speakers, and binaural sound samples meant to be listened to on high-quality headphones. He has some “best of” type videos with his recommendations.
I’ve been using my Wave since 1999/2000 when I received it as a gift.
I’m not looking for audiophile quality, just good radio. It works fine, I’d like better inputs but there wasn’t much iPod thinking going on 18 years ago.
So: Snazzy expensive audio device with no tone control. Great idea. How do I invest?
Wait a minute! They have a whole rap about their “research” into your audio needs? Well, they must really care a lot. Oh they made aspecial setting for non hip hop fans, called “talk radio.” That makes me feel just great!
I never touch the tone control on my other radio, but that’s because I like the sound, not because people*** just don’t need it***. Sorry I need to vent.
Maybe some external speakers would work, but that would be kind of a waste. I just want something in my bathroom that gets reception, and sounds decent.
I have more bad news. You can’t hook up external speakers to the Wave. Even if you cut it open and ran wires out of it, it wouldn’t sound right because it has built-in EQ curves designed to work with the built-in speakers.
You can’t unless you have a whole lot of money and business connections. Bose is one of the largest and most profitable private companies in the U.S. Dr. Bose was an active MIT professor in sound research as well as running the company until he died in 2013.
A lot of people love to rag on Bose but their products are real and usually very innovative. The consumer lines are only part of the company. Their aviation headsets are considered some of the best and they have very large military contracts for those and other products.
They aren’t a do-it-yourself company. What you see is what you get. You happened to inherit one of their (extremely popular) products that doesn’t happen to match your expectations but that doesn’t mean the product itself is bad.
I had other problems with Bose when it came to pricing and marketing as well as company culture but their products really are high quality as long as you choose the right one for the correct application. I wish we both could have invested back when I worked there in the early 2000’s because we could have probably retired by now. Audiophiles tend to hate their products but that is not who they are aimed at and the business results speak for themselves. It is like wondering why people really like iPhones instead of a hacked phone that runs a custom version of Linux that you have to build yourself.
A tone control may be theoretically possible but most people don’t want to deal with it or even know what it does. It wouldn’t work the same way as other systems either because the hardware and software that generates the sound is fundamentally different from tradition equipment.
I worked in Marketing but in the Customer Service IT branch designing software for the (large) call centers. We mainly sold Wave radios and accessories. As part of my job, I had to work the phones a couple times a year during peak times like the holidays to see what my side was actually doing for the call reps.
The answer to your question is simple. They are designed for Baby Boomers and affluent people in general. It is true that the Bose marketing machine is very powerful but it doesn’t change the fact that the vast majority of people line up to pay high prices to buy their products, especially Wave radios that they can give as gifts or just plop on their own counter, plug in and forget about.
A whole lot of people are repeat, very satisfied customers that want a newer generation of the one they already have. They are well built but they are also a status symbol to a large segment of the population with money. Wave radios have been around for decades now and are still going strong. I am not buying one myself but I had one for free on my desk at the time and liked it just great.
Bose also makes some of the best headsets (they effectively invented noise-cancelling technology) for consumers all the way to fighter pilots. They also do high-end automotive sound which is a lot harder than it seems because each system has to be tailored to the specific model in question and is usually just offered as a pricey option but a whole lot of people want that too.
I think that you are referring to tone controls built into the radio electronics, but if you connect a device with tone controls built in as a playback device, the radio reacts quite well to tone adjustments. I just tried it out with my phone (using Rocket Player and it’s equalizer) connected to my Bose radio auxiliary input. Not sure if something like that would work for the OP or someone who just wants to listen to radio, but it may make the Bose more useful if other music sources are used where that source has tone controls.
people who aren’t audio enthusiasts, and just want a small clock radio to listen to which sounds good to them.
that’s it. the bose wave radio/wave music systems appeal to a lot of people because they’re really compact and they reproduce enough of the audio bandwidth that people who own them are happy. they’re amazed at all of the “bass” from their waveradio without realizing it’s just a combination of a tiny bit of midbass from the waveguide/transmission line design and some “missing fundamental” tricks.
it won’t win any audiophile awards, and it’s not meant to. it’s meant to sound pleasing. and it does to the people who buy them.
I am so into my old panasonic boxes that I used for radio (and cassette recording once), that the sound of this makes me almost physically sick. It’s like so much signal I don’t want and so much missing. I feel like my attention is being hijacked and mugged.