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did a back-to-back listening comparison '17 LT stock vs. '17 Bose vs. '13 Bose

5852 Views 43 Replies 22 Participants Last post by  onevoice
I've been kicking some gen 2 tires and wanted to see whether the Bose is a must have.

The dealership had an LT and a Premier right next to each other. I took my iphone (with connecting USB) and a well-known song that had some dynamic range, some bass heavy sections, some singing, some higher treble notes.

The salesperson was busy, so he gave me the keys and told me to have fun comparing the sound systems. Even better! No pressure.

Let me share my impressions:

The stock (non-bose) was "better than expected" -- mainly because it had more low end than I thought it would without a subwoofer. Let me be clear that this does not mean "good"--it got muddy and distorted quickly.

The Bose, however, was "worse than expected"--I had read that many issues with the Gen 1 Bose were fixed in the Gen 2, but I think the Bose in my '13 is overall better, with some caveats.

The Gen 2 subwoofers are better placed and offer more "punch" than the '13 (and much more than the stock LT). The Bose would vibrate my seat--and offer "louder" sound at lower "volume" than required in the LT. In fact, the Bose system was absolutely "louder" overall.

My disappointment was the muddy sound. It was just not clear and wide, despite the lower end. I didn't have time to start investigating the system in depth to figure out why, I just used some fading and adjusting with the EQ to get a sense of its range. The '13 seems clearer to me.

Both the Bose and the stock suffered from "narrowing" of the sound--neither offered a wide, crisp sound--although the Bose was marginally better.

Bottom line -- the Bose did not reach "must have" territory for me and I would settle with a stock system and look at upgrades later if worth it. I just didn't think it was "good enough" to warrant the extra cost over the stock system--I would rather pay more aftermarket for a system I would really enjoy than "more" for a "less bad" system.

Funny thing is, getting back into my '13, I played the same song for comparison and found that it was crisper and clearer overall, but it didn't have as much low end punch (but I also have a heavy Volt mat in the back).

I know this is an issue that many people question and I just wanted to share my $0.02--it's obviously an issue of personal taste for everyone.
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There could be some variation car to car or between production runs. My 2014 bose was unbearably horrible (both "muddy" and vibration of panels from poor driver mounting techniques) until both the tweeters and front door speakers were changed, however the 2017 premier was night and day better oem (June '16 build).

Also, there may have been issues with the source, or that particular entertainment box.

Not trying to influence anyone, go try it yourself is always best. However, my experience was completely the opposite.

Cannot speak to the LT, when I can afford it (plus, I like all gadgets), I go by the old adage, "The best is plenty bad enough".
Until such time as "audiophiles" including their blogs, forums, magazines etc., start providing proper scientifically-based, double-blind studies using a number of listeners I just ignore them.
Wow, that comment was so insightful and helpful LOL! It wasn't like we were discussing the merits of Monster cable. And, neither one of us used the word Audiophile.

Actually, although we had opposite experiences, Gen 1 to Gen 2 audio impressions, I think the OP and I would probably both agree, it is ultimately up to what the individual prefers, no matter what their previous experience with sound systems. Therefore, a proper scientifically-based, double-blind study would be kind of irrelevant to a particular person's taste and impressions.

Do you have a VOLT (Gen 1 or Gen 2?) or BOLT? What do you think of the sound quality?
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