Lifestyle

Bose―Wired for Sound


Amar Bose

Peter Ogley, the general manager of audio for video at Bose, recounts the brand’s legendary founder Amar Bose, and how the tech-savvy engineer cracked the auditory code to create sounds with resounding impact from sleeky and elegant miniscule speakers which can be found in our homes

What would you do with $10,000? Hit the road? A new iPhone or perhaps a label purse? Some 52 years ago, a visionary Massachusetts Institute graduate built a company with that money which later evolved into a billion dollar global enterprise.

Amar Bose, the founder of international audio provider Bose Corporation, was an avid engineer and an audiophile who couldn’t have been pleased with the so-called high-end speaker systems back in the 1950s.

This prompted the tech pundit to start building his own acoustic devices. After spending years recording live performances in New York’s concert halls, he reached a career bottleneck as he failed to get a licence for his acoustic technology patterns from other audio manufacturers. The answer to his prayers was his MIT professor, who bet his savings to fund Bose to set up his own venture in 1964.

Since then, the Bose Corporation has made a lot of revolutionary breakthroughs, including the 901 speaker, 301 Direct/Reflecting speaker, Acoustimass 5 system, Bose Lifestyle systems, the Bose Nd woofer, the SoundDock digital music system for iPods, and being the first official Olympics sound system supplier.

Bose’s vision and attitude has helped propel the company’s growth and has made a lingering impact on the 9,000 Bose employees today. One admirer to his life’s work is Peter Ogley, general manager for the audio for video group at Bose Corporation.


Peter Ogley, General Manager of Audio for Video 

“Dr. Bose had the inquisitive mind of wanting to understand how the specifications work and how it produces the right audio; he started to research what we called ‘psycho-acoustics’, which connects the human ear to the brain when perceiving sound, versus how it’s measured in a laboratory,” says Ogley, a Bose veteran for 22 years.

Even today, a big chunk of revenue is ploughed into research every year.

“Psycho-acoustics invented a way of listening to sound in a live environment, using a dummy head nicknamed Morgan, to put microphones in the dummy gears and take thousands of measurement of different spaces with real instruments playing to measure the difference.”

This method is still influencing how the Bose team produces today, he continues.

“Walls, ceilings, curtains, carpet all affect the sound dramatically. Understanding that how each room behaves differently is critical. We measure our products in a real environment, with microphones in dummy gears; we make sure the unique specification in our labs is actually true while at home.”

Over the past few years, we have witnessed an upward trend in streaming music services and wireless speakers. While new smart gadgets are geared towards dropping the physical hook, such as the iPhone7’s sound system, more and more audio equipment manufacturers are building products that can collaborate with many kinds of devices, leveraging Bluetooth and wireless connections.

In the US, total revenue for cordless headphones exceeded wired headphones for the first time in June this year.

 

"We’ve just got into a whole new age of wireless headphones.

We have the real opportunity to not compromise on the audio quality

while building on the benefits of wireless."

 

Last month, Bose announced the birth of the SoundTouch 300 soundbar, a wireless luxury home entertainment system designed for staying-in, and outfitted with Bluetooth and Wi-Fi that enables music streaming services.

“We added Bluetooth to Wi-Fi in our new system so users can stream anything instantly. And because it doubles as a wireless music system and home theatre system, users can experience it whether they’re listening to their playlists or enjoying Netflix.”

To appeal to Millennials, the audio giant is set to launch a range of sporting wireless products in the next six months, including headphones, a product range that is popular among the younger generation.

“We’ve just got into a whole new age of wireless headphones. While customers are enjoying the freedom of wirelessness, we have the real opportunity to not compromise on the audio quality while building on the benefits of wireless.

“Changing technology will mean more wireless and smart products that connect to the internet in the next three years. We are trying to incorporate all of these things as this is where customers want us to go.

“Mobile and constant on-the-go lifestyle devices really suit our headphone and portable speaker range.”

For Bose it is all about design and an elegant look – something consumers are looking for today.

“In terms of design, we don’t want to compromise on performance, and performance is always the key tenant to our design. We try to make the performance as easy to live with as possible.

“We’ve always striven to make our speakers and sound systems small and unobtrusive so it doesn’t compromise on living spaces to get great sound. We always aim to produce high impact sound from a very small device.

“Also key in our design are simplicity and timelessness. They are linked. We are very keen on the use of the experience to be able to get to the entertainment as simple as possible, which is reflected in the physical design of our products as well.

“We adopt simple lines in our products, classic looks; things that we think are timeless. Customers that buy Bose for the first time keep on buying for years.”

A crucial link between Bose’s elegantly miniscule machines and consumers is a “product geek”, at least that’s what Ogley describes himself.

Perhaps nobody in Bose could be more familiar with the notions and roots of the company as he is, after 22 years with the brand, working his way up from account manager in 1994.

“I love the products in general,” he says.

“At Bose, we launch something that we all want to buy. The motivation to keep doing the best and trying to create value to the company is huge.

“At Bose we always talk about delivering the ultimate sound, and we are always pushing the boundaries on that.

“For the past 52 years, Bose has held very true to being an outstanding audio company. I can imagine we’ll still be known for the same thing in the future.”