“Fill your room with sound, not speakers” is what Bose says. In order to avoid the clutter of having too many speakers, soundbars seem to be a thing. Modern soundbars are capable of offering virtual surround sound experience with phased array technology. The Bose SoundTouch 130 is a wireless sound system that comes with a soundbar and a Acoustimass bass unit. Together they are capable of bringing any room to life with amazing quality sound. Is it really worth buying? Let’s find out.
There are four major things that come inside the package when you buy SoundTouch 130. The soundbar, Acoustimass, wireless adapter and a control console. You will also be getting a remote control and a bunch of cables for powering up and feeding audio.
The Bose SoundTouch 130 is identical to the Bose Cinemate 130. The soundbar is really long, measuring up to a 37 inches in length in comparison to its younger brother, the SoundTouch 120. Its weight is quite well balanced with the center of gravity being somewhere in the middle indicating a symmetrical speaker positioning inside. The Bose websites show six drivers sitting inside. Three in the middle, two on the either ends and one that radiates towards the bottom. There are two phase guides on either sides that help achieve beam formation resulting in a virtual surround sound effect. The Bose SoundTouch 120 on the other hand has five drivers placed at positions aided by the TrueSpace technology.
Acoustimass Bass Unit
Along with the soundbar you get the Bose Acoustimass which is a chunky box that produces the low tones; well not exactly. The Bose Acoustimass works on waveguide technology that combines the sound generated by three different speakers. These speakers never really produce the low tones but our brain is tricked into believing that we are listening the low, bass tones. This happens because of the clever waveguide combining technique that combines the harmonics produced by the speaker drivers inside the Acoustimass. You can go check this Patent document if you want to know more about this technology. The Acoustimass being wireless, it can be placed anywhere in 30 feet range of the soundbar and the Wireless adapter.
Bose SoundTouch 130 Control Console
The control console has four HDMI inputs and anyone can be selected at a time using the SoundTouch app or the IR remote control. The HDMI ports do make it easier to switch between sources. You also get a 3.5mm headphone jack, stereo input from RCA cables, coaxial input and optical input as well. In addition to that, there is a 3.5mm microphone input jack as well which is used for calibration. The console unit has the capability of a 4K video pass through, which means it will extract audio from a 4K stream and simply pass the video signal to the TV. Not every sound system can do this.
The Acoustimass and the soundbar are what you get with the Cinemate 130. The Wireless adapter is the third thing that makes Cinemate a SoundTouch. The wireless adapter will allow you to stream internet radio stations directly by connecting to your home Wifi network. You can use your remote control or the SoundTouch app to switch to your favourite radio station. The wireless adapter will connect to your console unit and pass on the audio to your soundbar as well as the Acoustimass unit, all without cables. If you prefer to use an Ethernet cable, that will also work flawlessly.
Bose SoundTouch 130 Placement
Instead of using metallic body, the SoundTouch 130 has good quality plastic construction. The SoundTouch 130 comes with FlexMount technology which allows the user to place the speaker on the table or mount it on the wall. Whatever orientation it is, the soundbar adjusts the performance to give the best sound output and the speaker grill which gives the front as well as the top increases the elegance in this situation. Whereas the SoundTouch 120 comes with a simple fixed orientation wall mount.
You need to let the soundbar know what kind of room it is going to pump sound in. And you do that with the help of calibration headset, which is basically an array of microphones. The calibration headset will provide feedback to the console unit which will calculate the echo, sound volume and so on. The console unit takes action to fix the reverb and adjust the sound volume to the optimal level with help of the beam steering technology which basically works by manipulating the phase of the audio output. The entire ADAPTiQ calibration process will take around 10 minutes, but it is well worth the time taken.
After calibration process, you won’t need to fiddle with the settings any more. The sound feels to be quite balanced and natural. You can pump up the volume a lot and still experience no distortion. The soundbar and the acoustimass are well capable of filling a medium sized room with good level of sound. A normal TV speaker won’t sound so good, but after installing a Bose SoundTouch 130, the listening experience will be worlds apart. Clarity in dialogues, enhancement in the minor sound details and the depth of sound, all become very apparent.
The sound stage is quite large. The Phaseguide technology combined with the speaker array inside the soundbar will grant a three dimensional listening experience. Almost like surround sound although it is not exactly an alternative.
Acoustimass Bass Unit underpowered
The Acoustimass Bass Unit sounds quite deep and is sure enough to make itself noticeable no matter where it is placed in the room. The punchiness in the bass is a little underpowered and is unable to shake the floor a one would want. If you are a basshead, you would definitely notice it’s shortcomings and prefer to have a real sub woofer. The reason for it being underpowered lies in the way it produces those lower tones. For general usage, the Acoustimass produces just enough bass, but then again, bass needs vary from person to person. Make sure you try the system at a local store before purchasing.
Bose Soundtouch 130 verdict
The Bose SoundTouch 130 has a great combination of sleek design and the latest technology. That goes hand in hand to fit appropriately anywhere in your room, delivering a top notch listening experience. Although it does come at a greater cost of nearly $1499, just like most other Bose products, the sound quality and the engineering innovation are enough to justify the cost. The Bose SoundTouch 130 is basically a Cinemate 130 with a wireless adapter. If you already own a Cinemate 130, all you have to do is buy the wireless adapter.
The SoundTouch 130 isn’t an alternative to a multi-speaker surround sound system. The Cinemate 520 is what you may want to look at since, it has all the features of the SoundTouch 130 and it gives you five satellite speaker units that deliver true surround sound instead of a Soundbar.