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Q&A: I Have A Bose Acoustimass 10 System, What Receiver Should I Buy?

by August 17, 2014
The Bose Acoustimass 10 5.1 system.

The Bose Acoustimass 10 5.1 system.

Q: I have a Bose Acoustimass 10 system, and would like some advice for finding a suitable A/V receiver to match the specs of the Bose in terms of wattage and ohms.

A: Glancing at the specifications of the Bose Acoustimass 10, the system is stated to be compatible with A/V receivers and amplifiers rated from 10-200 watts per channel, and from 4 ohms to 8 ohms. Those familiar with amplifier ratings might note that this represents a very wide range; however, the takeaway here is that the Bose system can used with entry level receivers.

While that’s an easy enough answer, there’s an obvious follow on question: is there any benefit to buying a higher end A/V receiver for use with the Acoustimass 10? The answer here is a little more complicated. Generally speaking, costlier receivers come with more power, better quality components (i.e. DACs), and of course more features. Obviously if you want a receiver with bells and whistles like built in WiFi, you’ll need to spend more than bottom dollar. On the other hand, we wouldn’t suggest buying a high end AVR for the sake of additional power or qualitative advantages unless you actually plan on replacing your Bose speaker system with something of higher quality.

Denon AVR-S500BT

Priced at $249, the Denon AVR-S500BT is a solid entry level AVR, packing 70WPC of amplification, 5 HDMI inputs, and integrated Bluetooth.

While Bose Acoustimass and Lifestyle systems are popular solutions for folks who want their speakers to disappear into their living room, there are limitations inherent to the form factor. In terms of power handling and overall volume capability, a Bose cube simply can’t compete against a traditional two-way bookshelf speaker like an NHT SuperZero for example. While you might be able to connect the Acoustimass 10 to a 200W amplifier / receiver without worrying that the system will spontaneously burst into flame, the cubes simply won’t be able to make use of that kind of power. In terms of audio quality, we would again suggest that the Bose speakers are a limiting factor. The use of 2.5” drivers limits the cubes’ operating bandwidth and introduces various problems including cone breakup at higher frequencies. In this case, buying a receiver for an upgraded DAC is akin to throwing a gallon of water on a 100 acre forest fire: it won’t accomplish anything.


If you own a Bose Acoustimass system, the vagueness of the included specifications may leave you wondering what A/V receiver would be appropriate for your setup. While we would not dissuade you from spending a few extra dollars on desirable features, in this case we would advise against spending big bucks on a receiver to gain extra power or qualitative improvements. While the use of 2.5” drivers allows Bose to offer extremely small satellite speakers, this exacts a price in terms of power handling and fidelity. As such, our recommendation is simply to spend what’s needed for the features you desire, but nothing more. 


About the author:
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Steve Munz is a “different” addition to Audioholics’ stable of contributors in that he is neither an engineer like Gene, nor has he worked in the industry like Cliff. In fact, Steve’s day job is network administration and accounting.

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