Bose? Oh Noes! - 2016 Mazda MX-5 Miata Convertible Long-Term Road Test Member, Administrator, Moderator Posts: 10,281
edited July 2016 in Mazda
imageBose? Oh Noes! - 2016 Mazda MX-5 Miata Convertible Long-Term Road Test

Our 2016 Mazda MX-5 Miata comes with a Bose audio system that includes headrest speakers. How's the sound quality? Not that great, as it turns out.

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  • legacygtlegacygt Member Posts: 599
    I had a CX-9 with the optional Bose system and found it disappointing. Nothing particularly wrong with it but it didn't sound like a premium system that you should have to pay extra for.
    I have a friend who worked at Bose who said that they love designing systems for cars. Compared to living rooms, cars have a certain set of challenges but the huge benefit of knowing exactly where the listeners will be sitting. Still, I could find nothing about my Mazda's Bose system that indicated any sort of customization for the vehicle. It just seemed like speakers in the same spots but with the Bose logo and a subwoofer under the floor in the cargo area. Not impressive.
  • adamb1adamb1 Cookeville, TNMember Posts: 122
    Same story with my '09 Mazda 6s GT. The sound system is just weak. If you are going to pay extra for a "premium system," it should at least be loud with enough bass to blur the rear view mirror.
  • hank39hank39 Tallahassee, FLMember Posts: 144
    Mazda/Bose stopped placing the Bose logo on the speaker grills? Where exactly are the headrest speakers? Are they embedded beneath the cloth?
  • slyons89slyons89 Member Posts: 11
    Interestingly I find the Bose system in my 2016 MX-5 to be lacking mid-range, but sufficient with bass and treble. I have more trouble with podcasts than with music at high speed. However, I do find the system to be sufficient overall. The bass is actually pretty punchy, you just have to be comfortable turning the system up loud. I'm talking volume setting 50 of 60 on the dial.

    The thing about the Bose systems is that the speakers are not made by Bose. Bose just provides the amplifier and the sound "profile"/equalization for the car, plus auto-leveling features. The speakers themselves are not higher quality than most other stock systems.

    The unfortunate thing is that the Bose amp runs at 2 ohms impedance, making replacing the speakers a pain because most aftermarket speakers are 4 ohm impedance, which would give significantly reduced volume.
  • kirkhilles1kirkhilles1 Member Posts: 863
    I have the Bose system in my 2000 Miata LS. I think the system provides more than enough volume with the top up. I guess I'm just the "stiff" here, but I'm not particularly fond of cranking up my stereo while the top is down. I do it from time to time, but I'm very sensitive to it as I get irritated when I can hear other people's systems blaring with their windows down. I don't think its right to complain that a system isn't loud enough so that the entire neighborhood can hear your music. That's just me though...
  • SadButTrueSadButTrue Santa Monica, CAMember Posts: 48
    edited July 2016
    hank39 said:

    Mazda/Bose stopped placing the Bose logo on the speaker grills? Where exactly are the headrest speakers? Are they embedded beneath the cloth?

    Yes and yes. I'm not sure if you can see the headrest speaker holes with the leather upholstery; I remember the first-gen Miatas had those holes in the headrests. Interesting that there are no Bose logos anywhere, isn't it? Maybe Bose requires a certain level of component quality if you want to use the logo.


    P.S. @kirkhilles1 I'm with you, I always turn the volume down when there are people around. The point for me isn't to attract attention. It's on the open road with the top down where I like to have that clarity and punch.
  • metalmaniametalmania Member Posts: 167
    +1 for another mediocre impression of Bose in a Mazda. I have the factory Bose system in my '04 Mazda6, and although it's Ok - decent even - there's nothing exceptionally rich to the sound quality - it doesn't really strike me as "premium". A friend of mine has a Bose system in his '04 Silverado that I think sounds better. I'd have to agree that at least what my car has is probably on the lower end of the Bose spectrum and just looks better in marketing as offering a name brand stereo.
  • bloodyrbloodyr Member Posts: 11
    I'm not sure how much crossover there is between car enthusiasts and AV enthusiast, but among the AV crowd Bose is pretty much considered the laughingstock of the industry (especially for home theater). It's not surprising that their car audio offerings are also mediocre, and my own experience with a Bose system in my Infiniti mirrors this sentiment. But hey, everybody recognizes the name so they get to charge big $$ for the 'upgrade'!
  • steverstever Guest Posts: 52,454
    No highs, no lows, that's ..., er marketing?
  • wheelmccoywheelmccoy Member Posts: 97
    Bose occupies the entry level upgrade. For a little more money, you get a slightly better system that also happens to skew toward bass. That made it a popular choice when I was in college. But as we grow older, earn more money, and our ears become more discerning, we learn one man's bass becomes another man's muddiness. I'm the kind of guy who likes to listen the engine, so stock speakers are fine. But if Mazda made a Signature MX-5, a higher end sound system should be an option.

    I just checked the FIAT 124 Spider options and they also spec the Bose system.
  • moparbadmoparbad Member Posts: 3,870
    For my enjoyment of this vehicle a radio is necessary while the Bose system is not. The sounds of the vehicle and the surrounding environment take precedent over listening to music while driving this type of vehicle. That being stated, being able to listen to music or your choice on a leisurely drive or a more spirited one has it's merits. I initially thought I had to have the high end Bose system just because I thought I wanted it. After being able to spend time in a Sport and then Grand Touring I realized the difference in sound quality was unimportant to me. I ended up with a NC Club Sport and I'm completely satisfied with the audio system. It get's the job done!
  • mlowery85mlowery85 Member Posts: 5
    I'm not sure why the myth that Bose puts their logo on speakers they do not make is so prevalent. If the car has a Bose system, all but the heat unit is manufactured by Bose. The ohm ratings for Bose systems should tell you that these are not just branded no-name parts.
  • joner800joner800 Member Posts: 80
    edited August 2016
    Had a fully loaded 6gts. The Bose system was equally weak (didn't sound bad, just wasn't loud enough). Also, I found the Bluetooth frustrating to use at highway speed; perhaps another symptom of the lackluster setup.
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