Music is one of my greatest passions. I put myself through university by working for years at a record store in downtown Montreal, eventually becoming a buyer for a three-floored “Mega” store. Part of my job was to listen to all the new releases, months before they came out. It was a great job at the time, and eventually I moved on to writing to earn a living, however music is still a big part of my life. I have a huge library of music, both on CD and that I’ve (legally) downloaded, and I’m always blasting tunes while cleaning the house or preparing food for the family. But to enjoy the full extent of my music collection, I need both my CD player and a speaker system for my iPhone. So, I was happy to try out the new Bose Wave SoundTouch, because it lets me play my CDs, and it can connect with any device in the house that’s equipped with Bluetooth, or on your WiFi network. Plus, I’d seen all those commercials about the Bose systems, and I wanted to see … er, hear for myself if they were worth all the hype.
Out of The Box
The Bose Wave SoundTouch comes in two pieces, a flat base unit, and the system itself, which looks a little like an oversized clock radio. Also in the box are your usual power cables, plus a small remote control for the system. The Wave has a bit of a triangular shape, so it fits really well in the corner on a counter, but it is also not so large that I could see it on my mantle, as well.
I stuck it in my kitchen, though—which is open to the rest of the house—in the corner of a counter facing out towards the other rooms. It has a nice titanium silver finish, and stylish appeal that does make it look like a higher-end component. It also doesn’t have many physical buttons. The top and front of the Wave component features a touch-sensitive surface. So you can easily touch it to kick the system out of standby mode or snooze the alarm if you want just a few more minutes of sleep. Holding the touch pad for a couple of seconds resets the snoozed alarm. For anything else, you have to rely on the included remote control.
Setting up for Sound
After you unbox the unit and base, you have to manually place the Wave on top of the pedestal and then plug the whole thing in. You can then pair the Wave with any Bluetooth device or connect it to your computer over your WiFi network. To connect it to my iPhone, I downloaded the handy SoundTouch app and went through the motions to get my music to stream to the Wave. It didn’t seem to connect or see my phone on the first try, and then I got stuck in a menu, but after restarting the whole process again I found it then connected easily. You can use the same app to connect to your WiFi network, as well.
The Wave gives you plenty of options when it comes to playing music. It has an AM/FM tuner, so you can listen to your favourite radio stations … and clear as a bell, too. Another cool feature is the unit’s display also shows station and track information. So, no more having to Shazam songs you don’t know. The Wave also plays your standard CDs, as well as CDs that have been burned with MP3 files. Yes, I know CDs are quickly becoming a thing of the past, thanks to digital downloads, but hey, I don’t want to re-buy all my precious tunes on another format again … and don’t judge me, my parents still have an 8-Track. But the Bose Wave serves those whose music collection was purchased online, and thanks to the aforementioned Bluetooth and WiFi compatibility, can stream music from your phone, laptop or PC, as well. I tested out the system using CDs, Internet radio streamed from my phone, tunes streamed from multiple devices, and listening to the local top 40 radio station. You can also connect your DVD player to the unit using the auxiliary input, so it can be used as a home theatre speaker, too.
The Sound of Music
Oh, I like this. My CDs sound crisp and clear … and loud. The streaming from my phone is pretty good, too. Usually I put my iPhone in a speaker/dock system to play my digital music or to stream an online radio station. It’s not a cheap one, either, but when I crank it up, the sound does get a little tinny and flat. Not so with the Bose Wave SoundTouch. I can really turn up the volume and the sound pumping out is still sharp and clean. And, just like the infomercials say, the Bose can certainly fill a whole room (or in my case, rooms) with sound. It also picked up my local radio station super well, offering amazing clarity.
Unfortunately, I didn’t listen to the station for long, as there is only so much top 40 music I will endure, even for a review. But, after spending some time with this system, I can definitely say whatever format you feed it, comes out crystal clear and sounding full. The funny thing is my wife and I were standing right next to the system while preparing food in the kitchen—Internet radio blaring so loud the kids could clearly hear it upstairs—and yet we were able to have a conversation without really shouting. I have never even seen that as a reported feature, however we both commented on how the sound was perfect, and filled all of the house … and yet it didn’t overpower.
The Bottom Line
The Bose Wave SoundTouch is a versatile and compact speaker system that does indeed pack a lot of sonic punch into a little stylish package. It plays all your musical formats, and its app even lets you explore and find new music. It’s even got two alarm systems for couples who have different waking times, and the alarms can be customized so you can wake up to a beep, or radio station. And if you want an even bigger wall of sound, the SoundTouch system works with other Wave speakers so you can create a multi-room setup where you can have the same music playing throughout your house.
If you’re looking for an all-in-one, compact speaker system that treats your sounds right, the Bose Wave SoundTouch certainly does the trick. My only question after reviewing the unit is: “Can I keep it?”