Review: Bose SoundTouch 300

Not good enough

Bose has banked on user-friendliness, but has unfortunately forgotten about the sound quality.

Karakter
Bose SoundTouch 300
We think
In typical Bose style, the soundbar is very user-friendly, and room correction can help in difficult environments.
The sound is too bad, and it lacks support for multiple streaming services.
Specifications
    • HDMI: 0 in/1 out (ARC)
    • Digital in: Optical
    • Network: Wi-Fi, ethernet
    • Wireless: SoundTouch, Bluetooth
    • Analogue in: No
    • Subwoofer: Peripherals (wireless)
    • W x H x D: 97.8 x 5.7 x 10.8 cm
    • Colour: Black
    • Other: ADAPTiQ room correction
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SoundTouch 300 is the latest addition to Bose’s multi-room family, an easy-to-use soundbar, where one can also purchase a wireless subwoofer if you want, and even supplement with wireless back speakers. But it also works well on its own.
The SoundTouch 300 has a HDMI output, but interestingly enough no corresponding input. This is because it has an audio return channel (ARC) and should therefore be connected to a corresponding ARC input on the TV. This speaks both ways, so one HDMI cable is all you need.
Connecting to the network is easily done with the SoundTouch mobile app, and there is a bit of magic surrounding the product on the whole. There is built-in support for Spotify Connect and Internet radio. For everything else (Tidal, Deezer, Apple Music, etc.), one needs to use Bluetooth. This is a rather scant offer.
It comes with a measurement microphone in the form of a headband, which you must wear while moving from place to place in the room and running the calibration. This is not scary, and the process is easy. Just follow the instructions from the voice coming out of the speakers.

Sound quality

With our Sony TV, we experienced the fact that the optical digital input had too much delay in sound, so the sound from the dialogue on the film didn’t match the lip movements of the actors. HDMI was therefore the only real connection for film.
Without room correction, the dialogue on film sounds boxed and unnatural, with a hump at the top of the chest voice region. It’s almost as if the actors have a bubble in their throat when they speak. After room correction, a lot of this is resolved, and the dialogue becomes clearer. The advantage of room correction is that a soundbar which initially sounds mediocre can quickly work better in a given room, than another soundbar that originally has better sound quality.
The soundbar still doesn’t sound very engaging. The sound is bigger and fuller than from the TV, but it doesn’t handle the bass very well on its own, and there isn’t much timbre here. You can amplify the bass, but then it masks too much of the dialogue. We keep it in the middle range.
Music in stereo suffers from the bass area masking the midrange, and female voices sound too woolly to engage. Music with a lot of dynamism and bass also soon begins to get on your nerves.
We also got hold of the subwoofer Acoustimass 300 to test it. This doubles the price and provides a more powerful bass experience, but it does not remove the tonal weakness of the soundbar, and Bose never becomes a threat to its rivals.

Conclusion

Bose SoundTouch 300 is very easy to connect and use. It also has automatic room correction, that reduces some of the room’s negative impact.
The sound quality itself is unfortunately nothing to get excited about, neither for film or for music, It sounds too closed in and woolly. Better than TV sound, but no more than that. The system also has limited support for streaming services.

Also in this test

Yamaha YSP-2700

Hissing sound

The biggest problem with this soundbar is a huge hole in the soundscape.

Many speaker drivers and advanced DSP allow one to get virtually true surround sound.
There is a large hole in the sound between the subwoofer and the soundbar. The soundbar gives us the consonants from vocals, while the subwoofer provides the vowels.

Bluesound Pulse Soundbar

The most accomplished

Bluesound’s soundbar costs a bit more, but pays off in the form of a much better experiences on both film and music.

Very powerful sound, even without a subwoofer, timbre balance is great and user-friendliness very good.
There could also be even more air at the top.

Sonos PlayBase

The TV's resting pad

Sonos’ new sound base PlayBase acts as a base for the TV. But did it arrive too late?

The sound is balanced, and the room correction fixes problems. Increased chassis volume accommodates subwoofers.
It lacks HDMI inputs, and the sound is not as engaging as the best sound bases.

Sony HT-NT5

Good compromise

This is designed to lie flat and point towards the ceiling, but nevertheless sounds good facing forward. It works pretty good.

The most successful flat soundbar we have heard. Sounds both natural and open, and has good usability.
The focus of the soundscape is better from the soundbar that play directly forward.

Samsung HW-MS660

Impressive balance

Samsung’s soundbar sounds just as well on music as it does for movies.

The sound is very clear and clean, Samsung is in the forefront when it comes to natural sound.
The bass can once in a while almost be too rich.

Yamaha YAS-306

Rather complete

If you are looking for an affordable option with multi-room, and do not want an extra bass crate, then this one is good.

A low price and good usability are a plus, and the soundbar provides a rich enough audio without a subwoofer.
Music in stereo lacks energy and life.

Philips HTL5160

Clear speech

The Philips soundbar does its job, with crystal clear dialogue and a fairly balanced sound.

The balance in the sound is fine, and the soundbar simulates surround sound quite well. Google Cast provides great usability for streaming.
We want more overtones, and the stereo perspective on the music should be wider.

Klipsch RSB-14

A lot of sound pressure, little else

Klipsch has the highest sound pressure in the test. But the soundbar disappoints on sound quality.

When it comes to sound pressure, Klipsch is in a separate class. The user-friendliness of the Play-Fi multi-room is very good.
The sound quality does not measure up.

Heos HomeCinema

User-friendly and tough

Heos has endowed this with user-friendliness, and here one also gets tough, rich sound for one’s money.

The usability is top notch, many streaming services are supported, and with subwoofer included, the price is very favourable.
It lacks some nuances in the overtones, especially for music in stereo.

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