Back in the late 1970s, I bought a pair of Bose 901 Series 3 stereo speakers for my hi-fi system. These were not just great speakers - they were simply mindblowing. My friends made special trips to my place, bringing their friends just to hear the amazing performance of these groundbreaking speakers. Unfortunately the speakers were damaged beyond repair and I disposed of them.
So when I built my new house, I obviously decided to eventually get a really nice hi-fi going again, but technology had changed and now it was surround sound that was the in-thing, along with DVDs and high-definition television. So I planned ahead and when I was building, apart from wiring my house for computer networking and television to every room, I put speaker wire into the ceilings of my lounge room and master bedroom, ready for whichever 5.1 surround sound speaker system I would eventually purchase. This little bit of foresight really paid off in an enormous way.
Anyway, I bought furniture, appliances and all sorts of things for the house and the sound systems took a backseat to the more important acquisitions, so a solid nine years went by. But I finally decided that I really had to finish off my house and the last step was to acquire and install a good home theatre system. So I went to many hi-fi stores, tested many sound systems and although some of them were pretty good, I eventually wound up at a home show where the Bose V35 sound system was being demonstrated.
My reaction to what I heard from the Bose V35 that day was brain-snapping. I had not heard such crystal-clear highs or such tight bass coming out of any home theatre system that I had auditioned and I was determined that this was the system to get - nothing else would do. So I enquired as to the price and I nearly fainted. The Bose V35 was one dollar short of $5000, however this included the very fancy control console, universal programmable remote control and the built-in amplifier. After pricing other high-quality home theatre speaker systems and factoring in the cost of a good amplifier, remote control and other bits and pieces, the Bose V35, wasn't that much more. However, I had to buy two of them, which was a bit of a killer to my bank balance.
So I forked out the money and two big boxes arrived at my house. I decided to install the first system in my master bedroom. This is where my foresight in embedding speaker wires really paid off, because when I marked out the five sites for the roof-mounted jewel speakers, sure enough, the cables were right there. So I installed the speakers, wired up a panel with five RCA sockets behind my entertainment unit and connected them to the subwoofer that contained the amplifier, hooked it all up and switched it on.
After going through the fancy setup procedure that was indicated on my TV screen, I finally had it right. So I put on a DVD of the Eagles - Hell Freezes Over - and put up the volume and sat back to hear it. To say that it blew my mind would be the understatement of the year. It was like being in the room with this famous band. Right there and then, I realised that I might have blown a lot of money on the two Bose V35 systems, but they were worth every penny and I would never regret doing this.
Installing the roof-mounted speakers for the second Bose V35 in my living room was fraught with danger. Installing them in the master bedroom was quite simple because I actually climbed into the roof and poked the connecting cables through the holes I had drilled for them. So even though I knew where I had laid those cables, I was still able to ensure that I could get at them from the other side of the ceiling.
I didn't have the luxury of eyeballing where I had installed the speaker cables in the ceiling of my living room, because the master bedroom was right above it and I had no access, except for drilling holes in the ceiling where I thought the cables would be. I knew where they should be, but after nine years, anything could have happened in the cavity, so I was filled with trepidation.
But I had a fantasic tool that I had purchased quite a while back from Aldi - a borescope inspection camera. This amazing device is literally a tiny colour camera and LED light on a gooseneck attached to a handgrip with a LCD screen and allows me to poke it into small holes and see what is inside places where I have no access. This was a lifesaver and allowed me to see the speaker cables inside. the ceiling cavity and fish them out.
I decided to affix the roof-mounted speakers to the ceiling using Clipsal 2000 Series blank wallplates, because that meant that I could cut a hole in each position and even get my hand inside to grab the wires. This was really the only way that I could be guaranteed some access. The wallplates look like little pedestals for the speakers and I figured that they would look very smart - and fortunately they do look fabulous in this installation.
So I removed the blank wallplate behind the entertainment unit and fished out the five speaker leads, soldered the RCA connectors to them and clipped them to the special wallplate that I had for that purpose, making it a really neat job, just as I did for the installation in my master bedroom. I connected all the cables to the subwoofer and went through the setup procedure. Then I put on that Eagles DVD again and as before, it blew me away.
All I can really say is that no other home theatre speaker system that I have ever heard comes close to the Bose V35. The sound is clear, the bass is the tightest I have ever heard, not intrusive - just right. It's such a pleasure to watch a good HD quality movie on a good TV set and hear the sound as if I sitting in the best cinema. It's that good. Lying in my bed or loafing around on my lounge watching and hearing this magnificent setup is worth every cent I spent on it.
Bose makes a cheaper version of this system called the V25. It's very good, but there is a marked difference in the sound, so I recommend that if you are looking at getting the best, spend the extra money and get the V35. Don't waste your time looking at anything else, because I don't think there is any home theatre sound system that comes close to the Bose V35 and believe me, I have checked out a lot of them.
If you are going to build a house, plan ahead for all your electrical and electronic needs. Before the wall and ceiling materials are affixed and the frame is exposed, it's just too easy to run all the cables around the house, but once those wall and ceiling claddings are installed, it will be hell, or even impossible to run cables, especially in multi-story houses.
So make sure you plan where you are going to have your Internet and entertainment systems located and ensure that they are more than adequately cabled. your entertainment unit and television and run speaker cables from behind that position up to the five points in the roof where you would mount a surround sound speaker system - in the scheme of things when building a house and laying it before the walls and ceilings are installed is very easy. Try doing that in a multi-storey house after it is finished and it will either be hell to do or simply impossible.
So think ahead if you are building a house and run all the cables you need BEFORE the walls and ceiling material is installed, for instance: