Pros Sound quality is very good
Looks great and is extremely easy to set up
Simple remote control (has only 3 buttons--Power, Volume Up, Volume Down)
Cons Lack of ability to change settings on bass/treble
Summary This 'review' considers the Solo for what it is while addressing a couple of (I think, unrealistic) points made by other reviewers.Edit:
I can't imagine anyone saying that the Solo is difficult to hook-up. If a power cord and either one optic or two audio cables make for such 'difficulty,' the I don't know what would please those folks. Magical, thought-connected devices, perhaps? The Solo is VERY easy to hook up. Quite literally, a child could do it.
Sound quality (More on that in a bit.)--as well as enclosure and remote quality--is what you'd probably expect from Bose. I didn't expect a whole heckuva lot for this price. Seriously? Even at about $400 list, that's cheap in the home A/V world. Heck, a decent dock costs $199-$299. Again, I don't know why some are complaining about the price.
Overall sound quality is very good. As at least one other reviewer said, voice reproduction is excellent. Here's another example of some other reviewer's 'magical' thinking. Look at the design. It's one enclosure. If you're expecting deep, booming bass such as that from a subwoofer, you're simply expecting too much. Port design and engineering is largely where Bose excels; the Solo confirms this. My take? The lows are impressively and surprisingly 'rich.' Again, keep that in context. Overall sonic range is quite good, even when we're playing Pandora on the TV via a Roku 2XS. The Solo's sound is amazingly rich FOR a compact, single enclosure. I doubt that you'll get such richness from the typical, nearly-flat-panel soundbar unless it has a separate subwoofer--which I preferred to avoid. With the Solo, I was also shooting for less clutter.
Should you believe Bose marketing that the sound is room-filling? Again, look at the enclosure. From what I can see, there seem to be four, front-firing speakers, as is the case with most soundbars. The ported bass design of the system works very well. During dramatic explosions in a movie or lows of sountracks, put your fingers over the bass ports in the back. This thing's moving a lot of air--again, for its size. That's always a good sign. It does, in a way, 'fill the room' with sound, but there no way (again, without magic) to design a single enclosure that will miraculously make it seem as though sound is coming from behind you. Bose is not Hogwart's. Again--for what it is--the sound and DSP are really impressive.
Another reviewer pointed out that there should be a way to remotely and easily equalize the sound of JUST the Solo. There's not. So, to make such adjustments, you need to go into your TV's settings. Not by any means a horrible situation, just a bit clunky. Of course, if Bose were to build-in this capability, the Solo price would easily jump to $599+--and there are already some pretty good systems out there for that price. Such capability already exists in some entertainment sound systems. If you want that convenience and tuning ability, pay the price for the higher-end systems.
I'm in a situation in which I don't want to wire the sound system and my house for actual Surround. It's a lot of hassle that I don't want to deal with. Heck, my cat would find the speaker wiring and shred it in about four minutes. I don't want to have to mess with an amp. I don't want to have to mess with wireless rears. For me, the Solo made a lot of practical sense.
No regrets at all. Keep in mind that, unlike other reviewers who are impossible to please--and compare the about $400 Solo to systems costing twice that and more--I comfortably and confidently gave it 5 Stars for what it is.
If you want to use the optical connection, remember to do your research before purchase. This time and unfortunately, I didn't. While my Sharp Aquos supports a physical fiber connection, there's apparently a known incompatibility on the fiber side with the Solo. My Aquos and Solo don't play well together. From what I've read, there's some sort of copyright or patent issue between Sharp and Bose that prevents such optical cooperation. Sure, it'd be nice if both companies addressed this, but I can't legitimately minus a star for something that's also seems to be Sharp's fault. Oh, well; I hooked up the wired audio cables and--magically--it works just fine.
If you want a high-end, real Surround system, you're just not going to get it for about $400. For that money, however, the Solo is worth every penny. Is the Solo one box that does it all? No. It is, however, one quality setup that works exceedingly well for such a reasonable price. If you keep those things in mind, you won't be disappointed. If you want to simplify things instead of complicate them, again, you'll be quite pleased with your Solo purchase.
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Updated on Dec 13, 2013
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Pros Very good sound that is quick & easy to setup. Sturdy build quality with small convenient footprint.
Cons Non-Programmable unit & remote. No volume level indicator or auto-power on features. Slightly expensive considering some features lacking.
Summary The Solo nicely fits a niche form factor not met by most other sound bar offerings. I wanted to improve the basic sound quality of a Toshiba 37" LCD kept inside a large oak TV cabinet on an extendable swivel stand. I had been using a Sony sound bar to enhance the nearly nonexistent sound of a LCD TV. When the Sony bar bit the dust I went looking for another. The Solo seemed the perfect solution because I could put the Solo easily inside the cabinet on the swivel stand with the TV on top. Still at twice the price of other quality name sound bars I had reservations. finally decided I'd had good experiences with other Bose products, so I bit the bullet on the Solo.
Out of the box, the Solo is hefty and feels very solid. The top appears to be able to easily handle the 18 KG weight of my 37" LCD. Set up was quick & easy. Just connect the power cord and the included digital audio or analog RCA cable and you are ready to go... Nothing could be simpler. The base of my 37" LCD fits the foot print of the Solo perfectly with nothing hanging over. A very stable set up overall.
The sound quality was very clear and crisp from the first. It is far superior to both my old and most recently returned sound bars. Voices are very clear during dialog and newscasts. Background music or sound effects are more pronounced but not over-powering. I was expecting to hear a slightly booming bass effect like with my Bose Wave radio, but bass seems fairly controlled yet present. The base seems to come more alive with music and action sequences. You really do get the sense that the Solo is dynamically adjusting itself to the sound requirements of what is being watched. My wife noted it too. She raves about the realistic sound clarity. Still the Solo does not give a 5.1 or even a 2.1 surround sound experience. If that is what you are after, look elsewhere. However, to enjoy a HDTV with very good quality sound, the Solo delivers.
Basic operation is fairly straight forward. The Power and volume can only be controlled by remote. There is no on-screen volume level indicator. The TV cannot reflect the volume changes made on the Solo as with other sound bars. This is not a huge problem since I set the level to what is best for my ears. The Solo also powers down automatically after a few minutes of audio inactivity. However, it does not automatically power back up when the TV resumes sending an audio signal. So you have to find the remote to turn it on again. The lack of this feature is inconvenient.
The included remote is OK and works fine, but it's not programmable. It is small and easily misplaced. Programming and using one's regular TV remote is always better, like with the other sound bars I had. The Solo itself is not programmable to use other or learn existing remotes like the previous Sony bar I had. Instead, Bose Support says..."the Solo uses standard Bose IR codes that are offered in lots of cable set-top box remote controls along with other universal controllers." But Bose does not provide IR program codes with the Solo. This makes programming TV or other universal remotes inconvenient. Programming my remote to work with the Solo has been problematic. Both my DirecTV and Toshiba remotes do not list any Bose IR codes. So I had to use the "step-by-step" method of finding the right code. (Have an auto-searching remote would be better.) Once I found the code setting on each remote, only the power on/off worked. Neither remote will adjust the volume level for some reason. Bose tech support had no answer either and even acknowledged the problem with DirecTV remotes.
(Note: Bose does offer to sell you their very nice universal remote for $30. But for the price of the Solo, this should have been the remote that was included instead of the one provided, IMHO. I think Bose will get several returns on the Solo just based on remote control frustrations.)
Overall, I very much like the Solo sound quality and design. It does exactly what I wanted by providing very good sound quality to a HDTV with minimal fuss and clutter. Plus, it fits well in the area under my TV. For these reasons I rated it 3 out of 5 stars and would give a conditional buy recommendation. However, the Solo's not having an auto-sensing power-on feature, and not at least offering a convenient programmable option, drops its rating. Having these 2 additional features would push the rating to 5 stars with a strong buy recommendation that's well worth the $400 price. As it stands, we will see if I keep the Solo since I have another 75 days to decide and maybe other options can be found.
Pros Excellent sound for the price
Easy set up
Typical awesome Bose reproduction characteristics. Worthy of the brand.
Cons Powers itself down and does not turn on automatically. This would not matter if it powered down after a few hours, but, as it is, I think it powers down in minutes.
Summary Others have detailed the fact that you will get what you pay for with this unit. I'd say it is a bargain for the sound and size. Most impressive. I have owned, or now own, about 6 Bkse products, and this one produces the least volume of all but for the Sound Bar. At normal volumes it impresses. Do not expect loud from this unit, and do not think you can fill a big space, and you'll be very pleased.
I only which I could control the unit with an EQ and, if I could add just one feature it would be the ability to defeat he auto power-off entirely. No other Bose I've owned just shuts itself off and then stays that way until I hit a button.
And one more thing, Bose. Get your brand name into the autocorrect software any way you can, because you're not 'Bise' are you?
Pros great mid-range volume, it is amazing the quality.
Cons - even with 320kb/s songs you can't have it LOUD(its just asking it to do to much for 4 midrange speakers to do)
Summary opon opening the box for this, there is a note saying how bose uses the finest materials and such to deliver the highest quality sound, reading down on the same letter it talk about not having to much bass, because it not real basically. so you can forget your sort of dub step and hardcore electronic and others that use lots of deep constant bass. therefor this system is about the be there in the studio feel.
- even with 320kb/s songs you can't have it LOUD(its just asking it to do to much for 4 midrange speakers to do)
- if you can afford a $400+sound system, chances are you have a big tv, and limiting the base size is annoying, my tv base now over hangs on this black box by bout 10cm on each side and 5 on the front.
- would like the ability to fiddle with the treble and bass setting
- great mid-range volume, it is amazing the quality.
- 1 second set up, it couldn't be easier to set up and use
- fab quality sounds at low to mid volume.
if the bose solo where to be outstanding, it would need a subwoofer just to fill in the gaps the 4 speakers.
Pros GREAT SOUND QUALITY.
Perfect fit under the TV.
Great price for a Bose product.
Fiber Optic sound connection insures pure sound to the Solo so you here crystal clear pure digital sound
remote is very simple and compact use.
Cons I wish there was some kind of indication of sound level either on the box or to the TV.
Summary To summarize. AWESOME, GREAT, CLEAR, DIGITAL SOUND!!!
in a small box that lets the TV sit on top.