Bose SoundTouch 10 Review
For the second time in a row, I noticed an interesting phenomenon in an audio equipment test about Bose: While a product from an overarching device category sets standards, other devices with a similar purpose are a small disappointment in several respects.
Both in-ear headphones, Bose QC 20 with noise-canceling, showed what is possible in a mini-pack of maxi-performance. The larger and more expensive QC 35 headphones, on the other hand, are not a revelation.
The Bluetooth speaker test 2022 is similar. Again, the Bose SoundLink Mini II rocks the house with the richest sound in the smallest, most mobile package. And the Bose Sound Touch 10 Music System is by no means bad but has a few clear limitations or constraints.
It starts with the fact that you need a power source here; there is no battery. This speaker runs counter to our category. In addition, the main connection here is WLAN; Bluetooth is only advertised as an additional component.
So what is this device doing in our test? Very simple: SoundLink and SoundTouch are identical in terms of intended use. They came to replace all the thick boxes of the past as the main loudspeaker at home.
Second, they’re still mobile in their way, and the wifi thing is an interesting aspect of wireless connectivity that we don’t want to keep from you.
And thirdly, we were simply curious as to whether the size here could still pack a shovel in terms of sound.
Bose is best for making the most of a minimal amount of space, as I said with the headphones. As soon as more space is available in the device, the designers become lazy.
However, don’t get me wrong, the Bose SoundTouch 10 system itself is a blast and almost (!) as good as the SoundLink speaker. So the only question is whether you want to accept compromises compared to SoundLink but use other advantages.
- Very high-quality processing
- Very elegant design
- Controls and connections are self-explanatory and sufficient
- Remote control
- Wifi for direct streaming
- App control
- Requires electricity
- App control
- No phone function
The Bose SoundTouch 10 at a glance
We should say that the Bose is only a touch more expensive than the SoundLink. So, in the end, the price shouldn’t play a role in your decision.
For the money, you get a black or white cube (we chose black), which at 1.3 kilograms doesn’t exactly call for mobility but distributes this weight pleasantly and, above all, stably.
You also get a whole arsenal of functions and accessories that cannot be found with exclusive Bluetooth speakers:
- Remote control
- Direct access to Spotify and Deezer
- Six presets for different music source access
- Country adapter for the obligatory mains plug
- AUX input
- App control
The issue of the obligatory power supply initially led to small debates for us – especially concerning SoundLink. The tenor was always that the mobility of the SoundLink is somehow better than such a power supply. But you have to fight that yourself.
A fine touch is a remote control, which puts the fixed location into perspective again. All the buttons on the box are mirrored here, along with a few additional functions for forward/back and play/pause.
Of course, there is nothing to complain about with the SoundTouch 10 box; Bose has never had this problem.
On the top is the on/off touch switch, a button for switching between Bluetooth and AUX, volume up/down, and the six buttons that you can assign to a specific streaming service, music folder, etc., via the app.
So, speaking of the app, the SoundTouch app is also mandatory if you want to connect the device via wifi and use its entire range of functions. But, of course, Bluetooth also works without it. This gives you freedom of choice at the same time but puts a technical hurdle or a small constraint on the main connectivity that I’m rarely enthusiastic about. But that’s just my opinion.
Incidentally, the SoundTouch 10 is part of an entire cosmos of devices, with each Bose product being designed for different room sizes. Consequently, the SoundTouch 20 version is intended for “normal-sized rooms” (whatever that means); the SoundTouch 30 provides sound for even larger floor plans.
I see app control or the compulsion to do so as double-edged. The biggest counter-argument, at least from our Bluetooth speaker point of view, is the necessary proximity to a socket. The fact that you can’t make calls directly with this box doesn’t bother me, but it could annoy others.
Establish the connection
Pairing via Bluetooth is as easy as ever, even I noticed with all devices, the box takes quite a long time until it comes to potte and is found.
The WLAN connectivity is not a problem in itself; it just involves a bit of work and looking for the WLAN key. The app is quite simple; even if I agree with the numerous reviewers, clarity looks different.
This also means that you fumble for a while until the box plays exactly what you want from it via WLAN. But once you’ve created a preset (if you don’t get out of nerves beforehand), all you have to do is press the button on the device or the remote control.
But we certainly agree that you can also make it unnecessarily complicated; after all, at the end of the day, it is an output device and is only of limited use as a command center without a display and a reasonable app user interface.
We have added an audio sample to each Bluetooth speaker test so that you can get an idea of the sound. Of course, it should be noted here that the quality depends very much on where you play the example. We took the recording outside, so you can also hear ambient noise.
I’m not quite sure how to phrase the soundcheck without sounding overly disappointed or ultimately turning you away from the SoundTouch because that’s not right. At least if you don’t know the SoundLink Mini II.
Let’s start with sound propagation. As a classic block loudspeaker, our test candidate only has a direct sound outlet on the front.
This amounts to a directional sound, but Bose again manages to increase the radius with good materials. But behind the box, it gets much duller. But there is hardly anyone behind the box with this device.
The second important point that I always listen to first with Bose is the freedom from distortion or brilliance in the ultra-loud and ultra-quiet state. The SoundTouch 10 doesn’t disappoint here either. And, of course, a bass rolls out of the speakers here, which can easily cause ventricular fibrillation (in a positive sense).
Everything’s super chic so far, hooray Bose. Out of curiosity, I tried the SoundTouch twice in two days, once while doing sports, once with pricked ears during the test.
I only mention this because, at first, I thought my ears were broken. But no, despite the brilliance and bass, the SoundTouch 10 speaker exudes clear “small box” effects. But they have a quality of their own:
- The sound almost doesn’t lack spatiality, even if my ear localizes itself as if there were no tomorrow. You can find out more about this in the Bluetooth speaker guide.
- But if you stand in the sweet spot and close your eyes, you also feel something of a barrier between you and the sound. Or, to put it another way, you don’t achieve the feeling of source or bodylessness that you have with the SoundLink and many other devices in the test.
- The less basic bass a recording has, the feeling becomes stronger and more compressed. SoundLink was able to overcome all of this with ease.
But that doesn’t change anything about the rather sticky basic structure, which typical equalizer presets such as “rock” or “pop” can’t tackle either.
James Blake – “Limit To Your Love “
(Electro; Feature: Crass, dominating bass line)
- Without equalizer: Pretty good, even if the “small box” effect is particularly noticeable in the middle of the sound.
- With equalizer: The whole thing “flickers,” and the voice doesn’t remain stable either.
Vivaldi – “Spring”
(Classic; Feature: It feels like it only consists of mids and extreme highs)
- I didn’t expect without equalizer: An extreme “small box” effect that I didn’t expect.
- With equalizer: Clear demarcation in mids, lows, and highs, but muddy, even if the harpsichord (?) finally comes into its own.
The Bates – “Billie Jean “
(“Pop”-Punk; Trait: Poor mastering, rattling instruments)
- Without equalizer- “small box” effect, even if the sound is full overall.
- With equalizer – Much more present, even if incorporeality is not achieved.
I think you can now understand why I and the SoundTouch 10 box don’t become friends. Although typical Bose advantages such as delicious BASS and snuggly brilliance are there, the nasty cardboards of the “small box” effect make things mad for me.
Conclusion on the Bose SoundTouch 10 Music System
My colleague Susann had that Bose SoundTouch 10 Music System called the “bad Bose” and was blown away by the sound. This is an excellent example of how ears are trimmed differently and how differently each perceives sound.
I’m disappointed with the sound, which lacks a lot in space, presence, and bodilessness despite its clear Bose frame. However, the SoundLink loudspeaker shows how this is done better without a permanent power supply.
In return, you have a much more stable and feature-rich WLAN connection at the start; enjoy direct streaming and other gimmicks that I don’t miss with my Bose at home.
I know my judgment is a little unfair and ignoring the real power of the SoundTouch 10 system. But, as an old sound dictator, I don’t care about that, and here I can find them, for example, JBL Flip 3 better.