If I used to be ever to outline a “Mount Everest of soundbars” it could be one with nice dialog, glorious streaming capabilities and high-quality music replay. The Sennheiser Ambeo Max is true there, but in addition comes with an insurmountable $2,500 price ticket. What in case you’re searching for one thing a bit nearer to Earth?

Enter the Bose Sensible Soundbar 600. This TV speaker options all of the issues most individuals care most about — glorious sound high quality, extensive format assist, even voice management — and it does so for a way more reasonably priced worth. It additionally provides HDMI connectivity and music streaming over Bluetooth and Wi-Fi.

Like

  • Compact
  • Wonderful sound high quality
  • Devoted top audio system

Do not Like

  • Not very dynamic
  • Bose ecosystem lags behind Sonos

It is a shut tussle, nevertheless, between the Bose 600 and the rival Sonos Beam, which provides the same function set for the same worth. In my e book the Sonos squeaks forward on account of its established multiroom ecosystem, a selection of voice assistants and its capability to sound finest with out a sub. That mentioned, in case you’re searching for a soundbar with glorious speech readability, “true” Dolby Atmos functionality, and a transparent improve path, the Bose Sensible Soundbar 600 actually is a one-stop-shop.

What’s it?

Bose Smart Soundbar 600 on a TV stand

Ty Pendlebury/CNET

The Bose Sensible Soundbar 600 is a follow-up to final yr’s Smart Soundbar 900, and whereas the brand new unit has made cuts to dimension and value, it performs lots of the identical duties. That’s, this can be a Dolby Atmos soundbar with an onboard voice assistant (Amazon Alexa) and music streaming.

At its sub-$500 worth, the Soundbar 600 is ready to provide one thing we have not seen exterior of Vizio’s vary — devoted Atmos top audio system. Rivals such because the Denon DHT-S217 and the Sonos Beam can decode Atmos however then use sign processing to simulate top. 

The soundbar is medium-sized at 27 inches lengthy and a TV IR-friendly 2.2 inches tall. The highest of the unit is 4.1 inches deep and options a few controls for the assistant and a big grill that hides the Dolby audio system. Along with these two upfiring transducers, the unit contains two angled fronts and a middle tweeter for dialog. Like many soundbars at this worth, the Bose bounces pontificate partitions and the ceiling to get an enormous soundstage that is not often doable with conventional loudspeakers.

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Ty Pendlebury/CNET

The 600’s bodily connectivity contains HDMI, optical, an IR set off and a subwoofer out. The unit additionally boasts Bluetooth and Wi-Fi — the latter of which lets it provide Chromecast, Apple AirPlay 2, Spotify Join and onboard Amazon Alexa built-in for voice management. Sadly there is not any Google Assistant choice, not like the Soundbar 900 or the Sonos Beam. It’s also possible to manipulate your music with the Bose Music app. 

The Bose Music multiroom lineup is not as complete as that of its rival Sonos, with solely 4 soundbars and two sensible audio system in the intervening time (plus peripherals like rears and subs). Sonos, however, has over a dozen merchandise accessible, and much more in case you rely those going again to the mid-2000s. Apparently, Bose provides an present subwoofer improve at the same $499 worth to the brand new Sonos Sub Mini.

The soundbar additionally contains Bose SimpleSync to pair it with appropriate Bose headphones and Bluetooth audio system.

Bose 600 remote

Ty Pendlebury/CNET

Lastly, the 600 comes with a easy, premium-feeling distant with some easy controls, although most individuals will turf it to make use of their very own TV or cable distant.

How does it sound?

Final yr I examined Bose’s competitor to the Sonos Arc, the Bose Sensible Soundbar 900, and located it to be a compelling various. It is no shock to me to search out that the step-down Soundbar 600 does the identical do-si-do with the Sonos Beam Gen 2. However how a lot of a distinction do the Bose’s devoted top audio system make?

I began with the Thanator Assaults scene from Avatar (at 26:54), utilizing the eARC output of a Vizio TV. I discovered that the Bose struggled a bit with the dynamics of this scene, however on the upside it managed a wonderful sense of the jungle ground with bugs buzzing round my listening room. The Bose swapped increase and bang for a large picture and crisp dialog, so this may very well be a superb contender for improving dialog on your TV

After I changed the Bose with the Sonos Beam Gen 2, I discovered the Sonos to be a greater performer from a house theater perspective. As an illustration, in Avatar when Jake touches the shell timber, they make a procession of deep thunk sounds, like one thing out of a Blue Man Group skit. The soundbar gave a extra satisfying wallop with the timber and the toes of the hammerhead titanotheres as they stomp across the forest. On this scene, the encompass soundtrack at instances appeared to come back from behind on the Sonos, whereas the Bose was solely extensive.

When it got here to top results, although, the Bose had the sting, and this was notably clear through the opening of Mad Max: Fury Street. I discovered that in comparison with the Sonos, the Bose supplied higher steering of the Atmos-enriched voices that open the film, and dialog was usually a bit clearer. As well as I discovered that by boosting the Bose’s bass management I used to be in a position to achieve again some (although not all) of the dynamics that had been lacking beforehand.

With music I discovered that each have been nice performers, particularly with the folks of Discipline of Flowers by Grand Salvo. The track is kind of dynamic and the Sonos was higher in a position to reveal that, however on the flip facet the Bose captured Paddy Mann’s emotive voice with even better readability. Each approaches labored properly, although rock followers will extra seemingly just like the Sonos for songs with much more punch. 

Returning briefly to Avatar, I wished to see how the addition of a sub — on this case the Bose Bass Module $499 — would assist the Soundbar 600. I had been dissatisfied by the Sonos Beam’s mix with the equal Sub Mini, and located it was nonetheless wanting on this scene, particularly compared to the Bass Module. The Bose sub supplied deeper, extra resonant bass on this scene, and was extra articulate with it.

With music — I attempted some rock this time (Shellac’s Did not We Deserve a Have a look at You the Approach You Actually Are) — I discovered that the sub transforms the soundbar right into a music dynamo. The Bose combo supplied higher dynamics and higher presence with Steve Albini’s vocals, plus a bit extra cymbals. The Sonos was additionally robust, however Albini’s vocal supply got here throughout as spookier, and fewer finely imaged. 

Must you purchase it?

Ever since Sonos started, opponents have tried to vogue their very own variations of the corporate’s audio system. Sure, the Bose Sensible Soundbar 600 is eerily just like the Sonos Beam in dimension, worth and functionality. But it is nonetheless in a position to provide a distinct spin with a greater improve path and a extra dialog-centric strategy. 

When you’re shopping for this soundbar it is solely doable that you just will not use the multiroom music options, and even arrange the Amazon voice assistant. That is OK, as a result of these are secondary concerns in comparison with its strengths — vocal readability and an enveloping soundstage. When you’re a music streamer or a Hollywood blockbuster fan, the Beam remains to be marginally higher, however in case you merely wish to make your TV, motion pictures and music clearer, the Bose 600 is a supremely assured soundbar.



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