Primarily, to distinguished audio engineers and musicians, Bose gear performs poorly and is a bad representation of the sound. It simply does not reproduce music the way the musician meant it to. Professional measurements will agree with high-end
Bose heavily markets itself as the best to uninformed consumers and a large percentage of Bose users have no experience testing or using other high end audio equipment. You can get much better audio gear for the same price or cheaper, however, you have to do a little digging to find it.
Bose has the ability to make quality products and chooses not to. Bose has plenty of capital, engineers, test facilities, manufacturing, everything. If management wanted, Bose could make excellent, high-quality gear. Instead, they make garbage and sell it at the highest possible margin.
Bose designs their audio to sound larger than life and exaggerated. If you took a black and white painting and colored over it in neon paint, of course, it will stand out, but it’s not the real thing. Combine that with the goal of making stuff that is meant to fit into peoples lifestyle and you have a piece of audio equipment that isn’t that great. You see Bose ads in the top of magazines, touting their scientific prowess and put their systems is specifically designed kiosks that don’t allow fair comparisons to other gear and now you have gotten the general public to buy into their superiority
Before a consumer has experience with a proper hi-fi system, a Bose system sounds pretty impressive. However, after years of listening to good hi-fi systems, you go back to a Bose and everything sounds messed up. Unfortunately, the general public doesn’t have years of listening to good hi-fi systems so, to their ears, Bose systems sound larger than life.
Answered by Luke Eichinger from Trainiac
Here’s the secret about Bose: everyone loves them because they’re aggressively inoffensive. They modify the sound in a number of ways to deliver a sound that nobody will call bad. I’ve heard that Bose uses focus groups to evaluate the sound of their headphones. I find they’re great for specialized listening applications like workout headphones, noise-cancelling headphones and car audio. But when you want to hear music as it was intended to be heard, Bose products aren’t the best choice. Some audiophiles universally hate Bose– I’m not one of them– but as far as real, high-quality audio goes, Bose isn’t in that game.
So to answer the question: they focus group the sound signature, they modify the sound so that it’s more pleasing to most people, and they market the hell out of their products.
Answered by Mike Incavo, Producer at Lithium Creative Services