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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Focus on the sound
Most of the reviews and the sales pitch for this item - are the internet radio and wifi music streaming.

The reason you should buy this is for the sound. I would have paid 1000 for this. The engineers who designed this must have been geniuses. I've never understood the obsession with stereo - I never liked a piece of music more, for hearing the drums slightly...
Published 1 month ago by STUART K WILSON

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40 of 44 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Good sound quality, but flawed and lacking in features
The SoundTouch 20 is clearly Bose's attempt to move into the home music streamer market that is dominated by Sonos. I've been using a Sonos system in my home for many years now, so was interested to see how Bose shapes up in comparison.

First impressions are good - this product is clearly aimed at the Sonos Play:5 - it's pretty much identical in size and...
Published 5 months ago by S. P. Long


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40 of 44 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Good sound quality, but flawed and lacking in features, 18 Jan 2014
By 
S. P. Long "Simon Long" (Cambridge) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)    (VINE VOICE)    (REAL NAME)   
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
The SoundTouch 20 is clearly Bose's attempt to move into the home music streamer market that is dominated by Sonos. I've been using a Sonos system in my home for many years now, so was interested to see how Bose shapes up in comparison.

First impressions are good - this product is clearly aimed at the Sonos Play:5 - it's pretty much identical in size and styling, down to the bass port on the back that doubles as a carrying handle. Setting it up was reasonably straightforward - you have to download a Mac or PC application from the Bose website, which then walks you through connecting to your wifi network and linking to your music library (either in iTunes or Windows Media Player). I wasn't pleased that you can't actually set the system up without sending Bose your full postal address and email address as well - surely unnecessary? (Edit - a couple of weeks later, you discover why this was needed - so Bose can send you junk mail both by email and post, with no option when you register to opt out from such unsolicited mailings...) Worryingly, the system seems to use data stored on Bose's servers to manage your system in terms of connecting tablets and controllers - again, this ought not to be necessary.

Anyway, I got the system up and running in ten minutes or so - not quite as quick as installing a Sonos zone, but not bad. I then played some music from my iTunes library using the iPad controller app (another free download - a bit sluggish compared to the Sonos equivalent, but usable enough), and it was all reasonably easy and intuitive. The sound quality is very good - Bose do major on producing a lot of bass from small boxes, and this is no exception. The bass is a bit one-note (as you'd expect from a tuned port) and sometimes swamps the treble; it does sound a bit less than lifelike at times, but overall, it makes a very pleasant sound, and I'd rate it as better than the Sonos Play:5 in that respect. It's loud enough to fill a medium size room with no obvious distortion - it's not hi-fi, but is actually quite pleasant to listen to nonetheless. However, unlike Sonos, there are no bass or treble controls to tweak it to your taste - a slightly worrying omission.

So far so good. Unfortunately, it goes downhill from here. First off, as soon as a track finished and the next started, I realised that the SoundTouch doesn't do gapless playback. Forget listening to "The Dark Side Of The Moon" as Pink Floyd intended; you'll get a second's gap between each track. It even fades in the first half-second or so of every track it plays; if a track starts suddenly with a loud note, it's very obvious that the Bose cuts off the start. This is unacceptable on a media player in 2014 - this sort of issue was fixed on every other mainstream player years ago.

As you delve further into the SoundTouch, more evidence of just how behind the current state-of-the-art this product is. No support for lossless formats, for example. If you've got Apple Lossless files in your iTunes library, the Bose won't play them. It does MP3 and AAC - that's it.

And files need to be in iTunes or Windows Media Player, and your PC or Mac needs to be on with the relevant server running. No ability to access a generic UPnP server like Twonky, or to store files on a NAS box - hugely wasteful of electricity in forcing you to run a PC all the time.

The most baffling omission is support for streaming services like Spotify. Sonos offers a huge choice of online services integrated with the system - Bose offers none. If you are paying a Spotify subscription, you'd hope to be able to listen to your music via a box like this - but there's no support for it.

The SoundTouch is a huge disappointment. Bose are clearly gunning for Sonos, and they do beat them on sound quality - however, they fall down badly in every other area. It is possible that all the issues above will be fixed in future firmware releases - but Sonos users get all this (and more) right now. Given this, it is very hard to see why anyone would buy the SoundTouch over the (pretty much identically-priced) Sonos Play:5.

In another year or so, Bose might have improved the software on the SoundTouch to the point where it becomes a credible alternative to Sonos. But for now, this is the equivalent of a music streamer from 10 years ago - an unfinished product that is years behind the market. What a wasted opportunity.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Focus on the sound, 31 May 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Most of the reviews and the sales pitch for this item - are the internet radio and wifi music streaming.

The reason you should buy this is for the sound. I would have paid 1000 for this. The engineers who designed this must have been geniuses. I've never understood the obsession with stereo - I never liked a piece of music more, for hearing the drums slightly to the left of centre, and the lead guitarist to the right. What this machine does, is delivers the music through mono speakers but in a manner much like the 3d photography used in the matrix films back in 1999. What I mean is - you can hear everything in the sound - with such depth, its like HD or 4K TV, when you've been used to a CRT. You're left feeling that somehow the music was slowed down, because you noticed so much more. I was listening to one song, and I'm sure the chords played were slightly "flatter" than I had hear previously - but strangely as a result - it was more in tune. Some folks mentioned the bass being prominent. My perspective, is that everything becomes more prominent and there is infinitely more definition to the sound - in fact it's like the band is in the room with you. You can almost feel the vocalists breath on the back of your neck. The Bose renders the sound with incredible passion, and a saxophone solo in one song literally felt like I was in the middle of a warm breeze - absolutely spine tingling. With music and sound like this - I have zero interest in commenting on the app (its all ultra simple to setup). This is like the old days, when you put on a record and literally couldn't move till it was finished. For me - this has reminded me to pay attention to a music collection that I'd grown increasingly disinterested in - through the normal listening channels of digitally downloaded / stored music. Absolutely superb
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Great AirPlay speaker, but don‘t buy on the strength of the other features alone., 2 Mar 2014
By 
D. Moss (London, UK) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
If you only want an AirPlay speaker, it is possible to use this product without using any of the Bose software, without connecting it to your computer and without creating a SoundTouch account. But you would't know that from the documentation provided with the product. If you buy this, go to the Bose website and download the manual from there, which documents the alternate setup method.

I wanted to try out the iOS app and maybe setup some streaming radio stations on the preset buttons, but you can only use it with a SoundTouch account. You can only create a SoundTouch account by installing the Mac or PC software. Ugh.

I can understand why Bose may have chosen to do this as they intend for you to use their software to stream your music, but as someone intending to primarily use AirPlay it would be nice to be able to create an account on the iOS app or their website so that I can make use of the other features (which at the moment is just streaming radio).

I installed the software on a Mac and it is very clear that Bose has no interest in writing Mac software, which looks and feels like it was made under protest by developers who regard the Mac with disdain. In fact it appears they went to significant extra effort to infuriate Mac users by not following any Mac platform conventions at all. Luckily once you have created an account, you can delete it.

The iOS app is ok. Same ugly interface and a bit clunky, but it does the job for setting radio presets. There are lots of features coming soon, but I wouldn’t buy this based on promises of potential features. As it stands, this is a great AirPlay speaker, but that is all it is capable of being at the moment.

Hardware = 5 stars
Mac software = 0 stars
iOS software = 3 stars
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Quality, 4 Jun 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Just what you would expect from Bose.
incredibly simple to set up. Exceptional sound quality from such a small unit. ease of use.
Will add more units round the house now I know it does what is says on the tin effortlessly.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars So easy to set up - Brilliant Sound - FANTASTIC, 18 Jan 2014
By 
Doug "Doug" (York, England) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
I could not be more impressed.

Let me tell you why.

First of all setting it up.

You go to the Bose website (they tell you the address)

Download an app which takes you through the different stages of setting the system up.

The SoundTouch during this set up updated its firmware as well.

You create a Bose account and then tell it to index your iTunes library. (I am a Mac user and all my music is in an iTunes library, some in the cloud, some on the computer)

Then you are away - the whole process took 23 minutes (I timed it)

I then downloaded the app for my iPhone and signed into my new Bose account and took control of the SoundTouch!

Then of course I discovered the fabulous Bose sound, which is superb in depth and clarity. Superb.

Things I love

The sound is wonderful, awesomely wonderful.
The Unit looks good and displays the name of the radio station or song you are listening to
The presets are easy to set, a playlist on one, an internet radio station on the other.

Things I would like to see added... dream list

Only music is indexed, not podcasts.
Only music is indexed not TV shows and films
If it was a battery powered unit you could take it round the house

Otherwise I am delighted with the ease of setup and with the awesome sound quality.

Thoroughly recommended.

- - -

Added a few days later

- - -

I am very impressed that Bose have now sent two emails checking that all is OK and offering a free technical support number of required. Excellent customer service!
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good sound quality, portable and good value for Bose, 14 Feb 2014
By 
Paul S Ell (NI, UK) - See all my reviews
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Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Bose SoundTouch Portable Wi-Fi Music System (Electronics)
A step beyond Bose Bluetooth speakers in that this displays preset radio stations being played - such as 'Radio 4'. Fully portable with at least a three hour battery life. Works with Android and iOS but rather better with the latter as it's Airplay compatible. This not only allows you access to your iTunes library but means you can stream Spotify to the Bose System - even the free version with adverts. This the choice of music is more or less limitless. Sound quality is very good and it's a smart sleek device.

Downsides, well set up is easy but a bit fiddly involving downloading software to a PC/Mac prior to connecting the SoundTouch, connecting it using a USB cable, and downloading Apps for Android and iOS for your devices. Takes 15 minutes or so assuming you're IT literate. Also the display could have displayed more about what's being played. Perhaps more significantly, and why I've dropped a star, is that for this portable battery version of the SoundTouch system the battery life is a bit disappointing. It may be able to play music continuously for 10 hours but despite and auto turn-off mode does not seem to retain a charge well over several days when not in use. There's a danger, therefore, that you won't use it for a few days and when you do find the battery flat.

Nonetheless I've set it up for two Sony Android phones and an iPad Air. In particular Airplay seems very reliable indeed. I've had problems with streaming in the past but not with this device.

Overall some limitations bur at this price, with the sound quality, and internet radio and Spotify via an iPad I'd recommended. And the unit looks good. However, I'll update the review once I have a better grasp of the battery life as for the portable SoundTouch this is pretty critical for potential buyers!
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13 of 17 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Unusable, 28 Dec 2013
I've just spent 20 days forcing myself to make my Soundtouch 20 work. Despite being a savvy user of all things digital, it just doesn't!! For 20 days I've had to reconnect to my laptop a million times, reset and play with my wireless connection, even so, I wasn't able to play music for a solid 10 minutes at any time. I grew to hate it, even my 6-year old calls it rubish. Took it back after trying absolutely everything ans establishing my wifi was either good/excellent, therefore it was all Bose issues. Got a Sonos 5, installed it in 10 minutes, easy as it can be and been playing it since without a single problem, exactly in the same spot. For a company that prides itself for their research and development, you have really disappointed, Bose. Shame on you!
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6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Android users stay away of this product!, 11 Feb 2014
If you, like many out there, don't use an Apple product this music system is not for you. I have just purchased one last Saturday, and after a few days trying to make it play music from my music library on my Android phone (a tablet will have the same issue) I decided to call Bose technical support, and to my surprise the Customer Service Rep told me that this product isn't designed for Android systems, and the only way to play my music is to always have my computer on. I don't consider this a viable option as it defeats the whole practicality of the product.
I want to get home and as soon as I am through the door I want to get my music playing without the hustle of having to get my laptop running.
The sound quality is superb but it stops there. I will be taking it back to the shop.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Very nice!, 24 Jan 2014
I read all the reviews on the Soundtouch and Sonos with much interest. I was somewhat put off by them to extent that I had almost given up on buying anything at all. I contacted by local Bose Dealer and asked for the "risk free trial" offered by Bose (website and Bose stores only). To give them their dues they agreed that if I wasn't happy with it, I could return it for a full refund.

It took me literally twenty minutes to set it up. It found my iTunes library and the room was filled with a rich smooth sound that has made Bose legendary. I have never felt the compunction to write a review before. I guess I've never been so compelled before. Admittedly, I've only had it for a few days but:

1) It has played without "dropping out" or loosing the signal for hours. I have re positioned it several times to see if I could make it drop out. It hasn't. I have had two computers and an iPad on the internet at the same time (one playing a movie) thinking it might lag or drop out. It didn't. And, my internet speed isn't great at all.

2) The tone is fantastic. I remember, years ago when I was into Hifi, tone controls were reserved for the cheaper end of the market because high end components didn't need them. The Soundtouch is no different (although I acknowledge that this is a subjective thing).

3) There are no gaps between songs on the albums I have; it plays Dream Theater "Live at the Budokan" seamlessly. It does support seamless playback.

4) It plays my Lossless format no problem.

5) NAS support to come.

In a nutshell, unless things change dramatically, I won't be returning it for a refund.
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1.0 out of 5 stars About as portable as the average 3 bed semi, 19 Jun 2014
Very disappointed with the Sound touch Wi-Fi. What Bose fail to tell you is that if you move it from one Wi-Fi network to another, like when I took it to a friends BBQ. you have to take a laptop with you so that you can cancel it's connection and establish the new one. Unbelievably, when you get home again you have to reconnect the laptop, cancel the previous connection and set the unit up on your home network again!! I was easier just taking my laptop and a set of good PC speakers. I noticed that BOSE now refer to it as the Sound-Wave Loudspeaker. The got that right but next time I won't spend 375 on a loudspeaker. I used to be a real BOSE fan!!
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