Originally posted by Sarkis:
Are you using MI or MII? I own the MI's and have always noticed a high-frequency rise on-axis and a drop off-axis. Every Bose tech support phone answerer responded with "hardly noticeable", yet the company was compelled to create an entirely new version of the MA12 (L1) to correct this. Hardly noticeable?
Sarkis, Yes, there is definitely some rise in the high frequencies on axis with the L1 Model I. For you, a discerning listener, it is clearly more than "hardly noticeable".
My guess is that our tech support and sales team was trying to present as balanced a view as they can. (I'm in engineering, not tech support, so I can't speak for them directly).
For the majority of folks who use the L1, the system is such an incredible improvement in dispersion pattern on the live stage that it just blew away the systems they had used before, and characteristics like you describe are viewed as a small part of the big picture.
I guess I'm agreeing with you that it is not possible to tell someone that an audio characteristic will be "barely noticeable" or even "incredibly obvious" to them, since the listener will make that judgement for themselves, based on their own skills and priorities.
Perhaps if they had said that "most users" find it barely noticeable, it would not have felt to you like they were trying to deny what your ears told you was true.
These types of interactions have been a source of frustration for me in dealing with Bose. A similar situation related to the quality of the B1 cable supplied with the system was finally resolved by the individual who makes aftermarket B1 cables. These cables need to be wired very specifically to avoid interference with the sensing technology over longer runs. No one at Bose has been willing to discuss this with me.
I'm happy to discuss this (although I know it's late). It's possible that you experienced a slight time delay between our engineering work and the information that got to tech support.
Here's what happened: We had received complaints of L1 sound dropping out intermittently, and as you can find on the forum (no secrets here!), we had a problem with the screws coming loose in the B1 cables, and immediately implemented strict manufacturing changes to fix the issue. I haven't searched, but I believe people have not had this problem any more with recent B1 cables.
When the issue with longer B1 cables came up, our first thought was that it could be the same loose connection problem.
If I remember right, Mark from Audiopile (who is definitely
one of our favorite people) had found that larger guage wires were less susceptible to the problem. Hilmar and I looked into it further to find the root cause, and found the rather subtle issue that, depending on the wire gauges and how the wires were paired in the cable, loud bass signals (in the speaker pair of wires) in extra long cables could capacitively couple into the sensing pair of wires. When it happened, the L1 "thought" you were changing your B1 configuration and would mute.
So we looked at capacitance per foot with different wire guages, and with twisted vs untwisted pairs in the same cable, and looked at our sensing algorithm, and did two things to solve the problem:
We had Mark at Audiopile send us some samples to our new spec, we checked them, and they worked well. This gave a method for our customers who needed a long B1 cable to get one that worked.
The second thing we did was redesign the L1 software so that it could "filter out" the effects of momentary crosstalk and not cause the problem. That way future L1's would not have the issue.
So, with Mark's help we found and implemented two solutions to make the extra long B1 cable work, a use of the system that affects only a relatively small number of our customers.
I returned a B1 because it was making noise and simply wanted to know what was wrong with it: no response. They replaced it: much appreciated, but why the secrecy?
I don't know what you arranged with your B1. Typically our phone tech support is not set up to repair customer's units and give them a report on the failure mode. We have to send a unit right to engineering to do that. This is more an issue of logistics rather than secrecy (goodness, what would we have to hide?) Your unit may have been sent to our remanufacturing plant in South Carolina, where it gets stored with other units, then when enough are collected they get looked at and remanufactured, if appropriate. We track types and quantities of failures, so we can take corrective action on any common ones. But we don't typically track them per user.
I have really enjoyed my Bose products. I have not enjoyed the politics involved with the sharing of information. Bose does a huge disservice to its products, its employees and its customers by allowing this "we know better" attitude to cast a shadow over its accomplishments.
Bose ain't perfect, but as far as I know we try to be as open as possible on this message forum, with private posts, and with our tech support. Many of our customers, including yourself, have benefitted from community support on this forum, response from design engineers on the forum, and the offer of personal emails from the engineering team here at Bose.
We are always open to suggestions on how to improve.