What Makes Bose SoundTouch 10 x 2 Great?
This is the story of how the modestly priced Bose SoundTouch music system made our 2017 Rate Your Sound Top 20 Wireless Speaker List.
Keep in mind, this particular Bose system is competing with best of class luxury priced systems from Devialet, KEF, Dynaudio and other high-end loudspeaker companies.
If the idea of having a $350 music system can compete with products that cost thousands of dollars read on.
To begin with, this privately owned company based in Framingham, Massachusetts has been in the audio business for over fifty years.
Bose SoundTouch 10 Bundle Colors
Bose SoundTouch 10 Wireless x 2
Built-in Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, 3.5 mm aux mini-jack
3.3 x 5.6 x 8.3 inches
2 Remote Controls and SoundTouch app
Founded in 1964 by Dr Amar Bose this $3.5 billion company designs and manufactures commercial and home audio products with a strong emphasis on psychoacoustics and superb industrial design.
The just mentioned psychoacoustics stuff is the study of how we perceive sound, and covers a wide range of topics, many of which include why the way we experience speakers and other stereo components doesn’t always match up with what the measurements might suggest.
Dr Bose hoped create chaos and confusion in the audiophile community and challenged at the core of it, which is speaker design.
How do Bose SoundTouch presets work? [Video]
The Bose 901
In 1968 audiophiles and music lovers will tell you this research led to the hallmark Bose 901 loudspeaker that lead to the company's dramatic growth in the seventies.
Although the 901’s were only the size of bookshelf speakers they delivered awesomely spacious sound, which made many other systems sound anemic in comparison.
This fantastically open sound was because most of the drivers in the Bose 901 faced the rear wall, and most of the sound the listener heard was reflected from the walls of the room rather than heard directly from the speaker.
This was to accurately simulate how music was typically heard at a live performance, and so to provide a more realistic listening experience than other more conventional speakers. Still in production today, the Bose 901 speaker is now in its sixth iteration!
The Bose Wave
Although it looked like a tabletop radio the next extraordinary Bose product was the Wave Music System™. Dr Bose wanted to recreate the sound of a much larger system in a small enclosure and achieved full, clear stereo sound by guiding air through two 26” folded waveguides.
The end result which was essentially a very high fidelity tabletop music system and it delivered amazing sound quality for its relatively compact size and sold like hot cakes.
Today Bose is currently most well known for their noise canceling headphones and a variety of small 2.0 and 2.1 and 5.0 music and home entertainment speakers – many of them wireless.
Bose and Audiophiles
From the beginning, it has been Bose’s philosophy that a product should deliver the best possible listening experience. However, Bose’s interpretation of that goal has often differed from that of hard-core audiophiles.
We’d be remiss if we didn’t mention the love-hate relationship between audiophiles and Bose products.
Bose designs their products to sound good to a wide variety of listeners, rather than to deliver the best test measurements.
For example, many tiny Bose speakers use various “psychoacoustic tricks” to make you think you hear lots of low bass, even though their true low bass performance is limited by their small size.
As Bose became a dominant player, many audiophiles disliked their products because of this sort of trickery, but most non-audiophiles are quite pleased with the end result. That many Bose products seem to sound better than you would believe possible for their compact size and performance ratings.
Today any self respecting wireless systems uses all these tricks in abandon. So, I think we should thank Dr Bose and not worry as much about specs but more about what we hear.
Along the way, Bose has also earned a well-deserved reputation for excellent industrial design and a really superb user experience.
Bose products are very well made, easy to setup and use, work exactly as they’re supposed to, and usually deliver years of consistently excellent performance. In short, Bose products just work, and you probably won’t even have to read the manual or call some support line to help you figure out how.
Control music in every room with Bose SoundTouch [Video]
Bose SoundTouch Review: Sometimes Simple Really is Better
Here at Rateyoursound, we’ve reviewed some truly impressive high end wireless speakers, many of them with awesome sound, and lots of advanced features. So the first question we ask when reviewing a new speaker set is this:
Does the Bose SoundTouch 10 really fit in with that group of premium high-tech wireless audio systems?
We think it does. The two SoundTouch speakers are not very big but they sound pretty darned good.
They may not be quite as impressive sounding as some of the expensive models with bigger drivers and expensive tweeters.
Just like those luxury priced systems Bose does offer all the fancy user friendly features and doing it as well or better than the most expensive systems we recommend.
Simply stated, the dual remote controls, soft-touch keys on the devices, and a brilliant Bluetooth control app for your touch device are best of class.
Bose have blessed the SoundTouch 10 with a feature which we like to call: “It Just Works”.
They have leveraged great industrial design, excellent audio engineering, and a detailed understanding of user interfaces and control systems, to deliver a neat little product that sounds good, is easy to set up and use, and won’t break the bank.
What’s Better Than One Great Mini Speaker?
How About Two Great Mini speakers?
Unlike some of its more expensive competitors, the Bose SoundTouch 10 is a monaural speaker. While it accepts a stereo input, a single SoundTouch 10 doesn’t play in stereo.
But… we aren’t reviewing the SoundTouch 10; we’re reviewing the SoundTouch 10 x 2, which is a SET of two Bose SoundTouch 10 units.
The sales literature describes this as a starter kit for multiroom audio, and of course you can put each one in a separate room if you like.
However, here at Rateyoursound, we’ve discovered that, thanks to a recent software update, you can also configure a pair of SoundTouch 10 units as a stereo pair.
We’re not quite sure why they don’t make a bigger deal out of that… we think it changes everything. Bose doesn’t talk about this much - but you can find details if you search Google for “SoundTouch 10 stereo pairing”.
The Bose SoundTouch 10 x 2 sells for way under $500. That gets you TWO SoundTouch 10 units (and two remote controls to go with them).
You can use them in two separate rooms, and get decent quality background music, or you can configure them as a stereo pair, and get pretty darned good sound in a reasonably large living room or den.
This makes the Bose SoundTouch 10 x 2 the best low cost alternative to more expensive Sonos system.
Controls and Operation are Simple and Straightforward
As with most Bose products, operation of the SoundTouch 10 is simple, straightforward and Bose really does integrate everything for you. Across the front face are the LED indicator lights.
You operate the speaker with set of properly sized soft-touch buttons correctly located on the top of the cabinet. In addition you’ll find the same setup on the two above average remote controls, or use the superb control app.
As with most Bose products, the user interface itself is very intuitive and simple to use. For example, there are six preset buttons, each of which can be set to your favorite streaming source, or even your favorite song.
Simply shortcuts let you press a button to select that preset, or hold a button down for two seconds to program that button to whatever is currently playing. This sounds trivial, but lots of other devices are a lot more complicated to configure; Bose got it right.
Your Audio Sources and Streaming Services are Abundant
The Bose SoundTouch 10 directly supports a variety of streaming services, including Spotify, Pandora, iHeartRadio, SiriusXM, and Amazon Music, and can connect directly to a wide variety of Internet Radio stations (Bose can access over 20,000 stations).
You can stream music to the SoundTouch 10 via Bluetooth from your phone, or any other Bluetooth enabled device, and the SoundTouch 10 can access music from iTunes on your computer, or a network attached storage drive on your local network. The SoundTouch 10 also has a local Aux input where you can directly connect your stereo or portable audio player (more on that below).
Stream music at home: SoundTouch Wi-Fi music systems from Bose [Video]
The Bose SoundTouch App is One of the Best
The Bose SoundTouch App is used to configure your SoundTouch 10 (and your other Bose SoundTouch devices). The App is available for Apple and Android phones, and for Apple and Windows computers.
Once your SoundTouch 10 is configured, you can access most functions from the control panel on top of the unit, or from its remote control; however, you will have to install the App somewhere to do the initial setup.
The App enables you to configure your presets, and what services you wish to access, and is used to control features like synchronizing SoundTouch devices in multiple rooms, and configure stereo pairs.
The Bose 10 Tech Specs
The Bose SoundTouch 10 expects to be plugged into an AC outlet, accepts anywhere between 100 VAC and 240 VAC, at 50/60 Hz, and draws a maximum of about 30 watts. The power cable plugs right into the unit, so there’s no annoying wall wart to worry about.
The Bose SoundTouch 10 is about 8-1/2” high, less than 6” wide, and about 3-1/2” deep. The SoundTouch 10 weighs just under three pounds, and comes in White and Silver/Gray.
Bose just doesn’t provide a lot of hardware specifications for the SoundTouch 10 and we have no desire bust one open.
They don’t market specs like their competitors and figure you should be more interested in how it sounds than in the specs.
However, we do know that it uses a single high-excursion 2.5” full-range driver tweaked to perfection.
Bose App More control for all your music [Video]
What’s the Downside?
We really liked the Bose SoundTouch 10 x 2 for what it is, but there are a few limitations you need to be aware of:
The SoundTouch 10 sounds good. In fact, for a box the size of a thick hardcover book, it sounds amazingly good. However, it is still limited to the output it can deliver from a single (very nice) 2.5” speaker.
A pair of SoundTouch 10’s really will fill a typical room with nice sounding music, and sound especially nice with vocals and music with a lot of midrange bass punch, but they aren’t going to rattle the walls.
They sound great for something in their size and price range, but if you’ve got your heart set on audiophile quality music, then you might want to look elsewhere.
No Aux input in stereo
At the moment, while you can configure two SoundTouch 10’s to work as a stereo pair, that feature doesn’t work with the Aux input. This means that you can’t connect your stereo to one SoundTouch 10 and have it play through a pair of them in stereo.
Bose has promised this as a feature upgrade and they have a good record of delivering on promised updates.
Rating: It’s a Great Audio Deal
As a pair we think the Bose SoundTouch 10 x 2 is one of the greatest deals around. Our take is it’s an entire Sonos type of system at a truly low price.
One Bose 10 x 2 Starter Pack gets you two independent speakers, two remote controls. Add in the Bose SoundTouch app and it really open up the ways you can use this system in your home.
The SoundTouch App also pairs the speakers so you are listening to true stereo on the desktop or in the living room and the systems multiroom skills really shined during our testing and worked as well as any available. We rate these as among the best wireless speakers we have reviewed.