While most retailers struggle to make ends meet, homegrown company Atlas Sound & Vision bucks the trend, by unveiling a fresh suite of Bose Home Audio systems and a gorgeous new showroom. So we swung by their swanky new Flagship Store at Millenia Walk and met up with Mr Sherwin Siregar, Atlas’ dynamic CEO. There, we were quickly introduced to some of the industry’s most cutting-edge audio technologies by Bose, namely – the Bose Lifestyle 650 Home Theatre, Bose SoundTouch 300 sound bar, and their range of SoundTouch wireless speakers designed for every corner of our homes!
The new systems are a radical pivot away from traditional Bose products. They now feature a more polished industrial design, making use of fetching design elements like glass and aluminium. They’re so sleek, they feel right at home in an art gallery (or my living room)!
We were first treated to the new space-saving Bose Lifestyle 650 Home Theatre. (RRP: S$7399) It consists of radical technologies like 4 tiny OmniJewel satellite speakers which output 360 degrees of sound. (They are so tiny that you can fit them in your jeans pocket) It also comes with a skinny center channel sound bar, a Control Receiver and a subwoofer that Bose had christened the Acoustimass 300. The rear discrete channels and subwoofer are connected to the receiver wirelessly, making it easier for anyone to install this 5.1 Home Theatre. Sounds great! But, does it sound great?
Vijay (the presenter) played us a short scene from Planet of the Apes, and this is what I experienced. The new OmniJewel speakers managed to envelop us seamlessly with rainfall and thunder, evoking a tension that was violently pierced by Caesar’s battlecry. We gripped the edge of our seats as the hooves of a hundred deers rumbled through the forest, faithfully replicated by the Acoustimass 300 subwoofer. Using QuietPort technology, the AM300 is able to reproduce tight, muscular bass while being much smaller than other subwoofers.
Okay, so we’re sold on the 650’s performance for movies, but what about for music? Vijay then pulled out an iPad and fired up the Bose SoundTouch app (IOS/Android/PC/Mac), which can be used to play your favourite songs from Spotify, internet radio, or your NAS server. He picked ‘Gravity’ by John Mayer (a song I am thoroughly familiar with) and that sounded detailed and balanced, with good hefty bass.
If our concern was that the system will not sound as good in our homes (as in the showroom), that was quickly put to rest. Vijay assured us that no matter the size and shape of our room, the Lifestyle 650 will be able to adjust itself to fit its unique acoustics, using Bose AdaptIQ audio calibration technology.
Next, we were showed how the Lifestyle 650 could be networked to home routers, so that we can stream the same music to other speakers in multiple rooms. Pulling out that same app, Vijay proceeded to get speakers all around the store to join in – including a weatherproof speaker, nestled in what looks like a garden!
Impressive, but I wish someone had warned us about the witchcraft that came next!
The SoundTouch 300 sound bar (S$1399) is designed as a simple alternative to the more sophisticated 650. However, here you’ll have more flexibility in designing your sound system. Like the Sonos PlayBar, one can start off with just the sound bar, then add a subwoofer (AM300 – $1399), and eventually, Virtually Invisible speakers (S$599) for rear discrete channels. SoundTouch 300 also comes installed with AdaptIQ audio calibration and SoundTouch Wireless Streaming technology. It does not have a Control Receiver though, meaning that you’ll have to connect most of your sources to the TV instead.
Still, the complete SoundTouch 300 system was impressive! While enjoying a short scene from ‘Pacific Rim’, frantic dialogue from the main characters sounded crystal clear, contrasting against the sheer destructive force of a ‘Kaiju’ (this hideous beast bigger than MBS) smashing its talons through the roof – replicating such a sheer sense of space and height!
The soundbar conceals a pair of speakers known only as ‘PhaseGuide Radiators’. They look every bit like the handheld metal detectors you see in airports, but their purpose is to create sound all around you without the need for actual rear channel speakers. While making this point, the presenter took out a PhaseGuide Radiator unit and proceeded to beam sound to our left and right! What sorcery is this thing! And the sound bar has two of them!
But not everybody needs a cutting-edge sound bar in every room. For more casual listeners, the SoundTouch range of compact speakers are easy to set up and stream music to. There’s the SoundTouch 10 for smaller spaces (S$399), the SoundTouch 20 (S$699) for medium sized rooms, and the SoundTouch 30 (S$999) – engineered for large spaces with a powerful subwoofer inside. The Wave SoundTouch Music System is for everyone (S$1199), being a complete SoundTouch system with a CD player built right in – so no one gets left out at home!
Best of all, it is possible to assign dedicated presets to your favourite Spotify playlists, and call it up at a touch of a button! This is something we wished Sonos would have, the option to use the speakers without the app.
All SoundTouch systems support Bluetooth and popular streaming services like Spotify, Deezer and Amazon Music. You can also broadcast whatever you’re playing over Bluetooth to other Bose SoundTouch speakers at home – a flexibility that some popular music streamers are not known for.
It wasn’t just the new Atlas Showroom. I came to see what Bose had in store and went away impressed. Bose had come so far from simply playing catch-up, creating compelling products that bring the fight to brands like Sonos and Yamaha (MusicCast). It remains to be seen whether Bose will dominate this space, but one thing’s for sure – their products are on the right track, one that leads straight into our homes.
You may visit the new Atlas Flagship showroom at: 9 Raffles Boulevard, Millenia Walk #01-34