Bose brings authentic-sounding Dolby Atmos to a premium soundbar.
A slimline soundbar available in black and arctic white, the Bose 900 sports a metal grill design that’s capped with upward and sideways firing speakers at each end, with a glass top finish completing a premium aesthetic.
5.8cm high, 104cm long and 10cm high, the 900 is sleek enough to fit beneath a TV but should be positioned in front to get the maximum effect from the upwards and sideways firing speakers. The top left of the soundbar has touch access to mute/unmute the internal microphone, and the included remote offers basic playback functions.
Set-up is simple using the Bose Music app, which will first perform any required software updates then guide you through a calibration process that optimises the acoustics according to the room’s layout, using Bose’s proprietary ADAPTiQ technology. The unit comes with a wired headset microphone for this purpose, which plugs into the back of the soundbar.
You are then required to sit in five different spots while the speakers beam test tones around the room – this provides a great first impression of the directional quality of the audio and the 3D soundscape that awaits, with sound bouncing from areas where there are clearly no physical speakers.
Settings can then be customised to suit your ears using the app’s EQ settings – choose the best levels for centre, height, bass and treble, as well as a dialogue booster. Play around with it until it sounds just right.
You can also select your favoured voice assistant during the set-up process – the 900 supports Alexa and Google Assistant, and also a very cool feature called Voice4Video, which will turn on the TV and switch it to a desired channel with a voice command. The powerful noise-rejecting mic can still detect your voice even when music or a movie is cranked up. Hands-free calls can be made from your phone’s contact list using Alexa, and there is a range of connection options to access your favourite tunes – Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, Apple Airplay 2, Chromecast and Spotify Connect.
Connection is via a single high-speed HDMI cable (included) plugged into the eARC port on a smart TV, or directly into a 4K Blu-ray player. If you play 4K and Blu-ray discs regularly and choose the eARC option, make sure the player is set to Bitstream in the audio set-up menu in order to enjoy Dolby Atmos.
The 900 has decoding for Dolby Atmos, Dolby Digital, Dolby True HD and Dolby Digital+ and will upmix audio formats like 2.0 and 5.1 to a 7-channel soundscape using Bose’s proprietary TrueSpace spatial processing, adding a vertical effect to non Atmos content. When everything is up and running, you can confirm the audio format being output by clicking on the source device that’s being played at the very bottom of the app screen.
A rigorous road test was performed with two of the go-to discs for audio excellence: Star Wars: A New Hope and Dario Argento’s Suspiria. Both sounded phenomenal, delivering an immersive, full and richly detailed soundscape with deep bass and subtle nuances highlighted in the sound design – every creak and strain of Princess Leia’s ship can be heard as the Imperial troops prepare to board, while the Star Destroyer’s entrance overhead makes for a great Atmos demo.
Bose’s PhaseGuide tech truly delivers a multidirectional experience that overcomes the challenge inherent in producing authentic-sounding Dolby Atmos from a soundbar. Music-wise, the 900 delivered a similarly robust and precise performance when playing some hard rock tracks from the Foo Fighters and classical selections.
The multidirectional quality also allows dialogue to precisely follow the subject’s position on screen, and the 900’s centre channel truly excels at producing crisp and clear dialogue, which can be drowned out in a cacophony of sound design or score on a lower end soundbar.
Packing nine speakers into its slender frame, the 900 is a powerhouse performer that can be easily paired with other Bluetooth speakers throughout the home, as well as the option to add peripherals like a Bose bass module and rear surround speakers to further expand the soundscape.
A premium smart soundbar that opens up the immersive world of Dolby Atmos, the Bose 900 delivers a remarkably multidirectional soundscape and comes very highly recommended.