Developing a loudspeaker to recreate the way music sounds and behaves in a concert hall posed numerous challenges to Bose® engineers.
"It seems so simple and obvious today," recalls John Wawrzonek, an engineer during the project, "but doing what's never done before is the biggest obstacle."
While testing the original 2201 speakers, Bose engineers first began to understand why the ratio of reflected to direct sound is so important to live music. Their experiments revealed it was the spatial characteristics of the concert hall that gave music its live quality. To get the same effect from a loudspeaker, they'd have to emulate those characteristics.
Thorough experimentation ensued, and in 1967 a pair of pentagon-shaped enclosures, each with nine drivers, emerged from the lab. But it was their unusual configuration —eight drivers pointing to the rear and only one to the front—that was the breakthrough.
The team had learned that a desired ratio of reflected to direct sound was about eight or nine to one. Because the majority of its drivers faced the rear to reflect sound off the walls, this unconventional speaker system delivered sound similar to that of a live performance. Years of research was finally realized with the launch of the 901® Direct/Reflecting® speaker.
How we've continued to apply the learning »