The new home audio range by Bose includes the SoundTouch 10, 20 and 30 speakers, SoundTouch 120 and 130 sound bars, Lifestyle SoundTouch 535 5.1ch. home theatre, and the updated Wave SoundTouch music system.
Bose has unveiled its new range of connected home audio products, today. The new range includes three home audio speakers – SoundTouch 10, 20 and 30, two sound bars with variable table and wall mounts – SoundTouch 120 and 130, a home theatre unit – Lifestyle SoundTouch 535 – with re-designed jewel case speakers and Acoustimass woofer, and an updated model of the Wave speaker – the Wave SoundTouch. The new range by Bose comes in light of a growing range of connected products, supporting multi-speaker audio redistribution, connected interfaces via Bluetooth, and WiFi.
The new devices can be integrated together via the Bose SoundTouch app (available on Android, iOS and web), which synchronises with the speakers to show native tracks playing, worldwide radio stations, and the number of speakers in the house, available for stereo connectivity. And with the entire package, comes the trademark rich timbre of Bose’s home audio range.
So, what did Bose do, to revamp the SoundTouch series, and make it stand out? Bose has not gone for competing in terms of price, or providing all-in-one speakers that act as portable chargers, recorders, and all the new features that speakers of today have on offer. To begin with, the SoundTouch home audio system is easy to set up. Purchase SoundTouch products and pair them with the app via Bluetooth, and the app keeps creating a library of devices that you own. Connect via WiFi, and depending on the strength of your router, you are ready to stream audio tracks across multiple speakers spread around multiple rooms. To add to connectivity, the console at the heart of the Lifestyle SoundTouch 535 has four HDMI ports and two USB, and comes packaged with an additional unit that adds WiFi/Bluetooth support to the home theatre system.
The SoundTouch family, thus, is one compact unit – working independently as different audio sources, and as one unit too, going beyond the 5.1 channel home theatre system’s surround audio output. For instance, you can connect the home theatre system with the SoundTouch 130 sound bar, and strategically place the SoundTouch 10, 20 and/or 30 across your room (depending on its geometry), stepping beyond the standard surround stereo configuration.
None of these units are portable, and need power sources to run. Bose’s sole focus this time is to deliver the perfect audio for your home. For portable purposes, the faith lies with the SoundLink lineup, led by the Bose SoundLink III. While the SoundLink does not add support for multiple uses, Bose likes to keep it that way. Let speakers do what they are really meant to, that being the mantra. No hassle of charging your speakers every day, no extra wires and ports ruining the suave façade that the SoundTouch devices boldly present, and the front-firing speaker units accompanied with Bose’s patented Phase Detect technology, to enhance soundstage.
The Phase Detect technology is built into the sound bars, to widen the range of audio output. The unidirectional output is not narrow, although it is not absolute. Shift from the mean position of the sound bars by more than 40 degrees, and you will distinctly notice the singular direction of the sound bars’ audio output. It is here, that the SoundTouch family makes sense. You can, for instance, place a SoundTouch 20 directly opposite the sound bar, and the soundstage enhances distinctly, by a considerable margin.
The SoundTouch 10, 20, 30, and the Wave SoundTouch all have informative LED displays. The Wave SoundTouch uses a separate connectivity plate, so you can choose to avoid wireless connectivity if you happen to trust your auxiliary input cable, and not go for the wireless connectivity environment. A negative aspect here is Bose’s refusal to sell the connectivity plate, separately. Hence, if you purchase the new Wave sound system, and later decide to upgrade it with SoundTouch connectivity, you will need to purchase an entirely new unit. This, in a way, somewhat discourages the SoundTouch environment, and prospective buyers who might later wish to upgrade, but Bose might change the decision later, if demand for the new ecosystem picks up.
Bose’s focus, with the SoundTouch range, is entirely on creating a connected audio environment, to take your home theatre system further. The focus is on the material of build (there is a fine texture on either side of the control panel on the SoundTouch 10, 20 and 30, which complements the austerity of the matte black finish), the architecture of the speaker’s builds (the new jewel case on the Lifestyle 535’s speakers have packed in the dual-direction, externally separate speakers into one unit, with two speaker units angled at 45 degrees), and the experience of good, wholesome audio. The SoundTouch ecosystem is a necessary addition to the growing range of wirelessly connected homes, and portability is not the end of the game.
From what Bose has presented today, the end of the game is still centered around what a device is actually supposed to do. For Bose, speakers should deliver stellar audio quality, and you should hear every speck of a pin’s drop. For everything else, there are portable power banks and audio recorders.