Bose have always done things a little differently, and to no surprise they've kept this tradition when they decided to build their latest generation of audio systems. Here we review the CineMate130 system built around Bose's high-end soundbar, offering surround sound with some interesting additions.
Bose classifies the CineMate 130 as a ‘Home Theater System’, which includes a soundbar, a wireless Acoustimass module, a control console and a remote control. CineMate 130 utilizes the best soundbar model from Bose and the only system above this one is the Lifestyle 135 Series III, but belonging to the prestigious Lifestyle series it costs almost twice as much.
Premium Home Theater System
The CineMate 130 system is delivered in a pretty large box, containing the soundbar, a subwoofer, a control console and some accessories. The subwoofer is 11.3 x 7.6 x 14.8 inches (H x W x D), and Bose states that the soundbar (4.9" x 36.8" x 2.4") fits visually with TVs of 37 inches or more. The design is simple and plain, and the soundbar basically looks like a really long brick.
The cabinet of the soundbar is finished in high-gloss black, and the front and top are covered with a solid metal grille in the same color. The underside is just about plain apart from the input for the control console and the connector for the detachable power cord.
The reason why the soundbar has a grille not only on the front but also on the top is due to the patented FlexMount technology. This means that if it´s placed on a stand or bench, the front of the soundbar is facing the listener and when mounted on a wall the top side is directed towards the listener. The FlexMount technology automatically detects and adjusts the functionality accordingly, and Bose have made sure that in terms of aesthetics, everything look nice with the Bose logo on the front and the top.
The second part of the system is the Acoustimass module, which is what Bose choose to call the separate subwoofer. It has compact dimensions, wireless connectivity, and finding a good placement in the room will not pose any significant problem.
Like with most products from Bose, technical data is scarce. We were able to figure out that the soundbar is equipped with five transducers and one passive radiator using PhaseGuide technology, while the Acoustimass module is equipped with a single driver unit and a PhaseGuide passive radiator, and a built-in power amplifier with unknown specifications.
Besides the soundbar and subwoofer, the third essential part of the CineMate 130 system is the control console, which looks a lot like a set-top box. The console features a simple design and a complete absence of controls on the front panel where you only find a dot-matrix display. The lines of the console are softened a bit by the rounded edges and slightly convex upper side, and the combination of high-gloss and matte black surfaces gives it modern but discreet appearance.
On the back of the console there are four HDMI inputs for connecting various audio and video sources, and one HDMI output for connection to a TV. There is also one analog RCA and two digital audio inputs (coaxial and optical), a 9-pin port for connecting the soundbar and another 9-pin port for connecting additional Bose devices (Bose link). On the right side is a 3.5 mm mini-jack output for headphones, and a microphone input for the automatic calibration.
Setup and Sound Quality
Thanks to the comprehensible and illustrated instructions, set up of the CineMate 130 is easy even for a complete beginner, and the wireless subwoofer with a range of thirty feet doesn´t hurt either. Add to this a 15' cable to connect the soundbar to the control console, which should be more than enough.
In addition to the speakers and control unit, Bose supplies a HDMI cable and adhesive rubber pads for use under the devices, so everything you need to start using the CineMate 130 system is included in the packaging box. A full-size, high-quality remote control is also included, and instead of using cheap imitations of precious materials, Bose opted for a solid and high-quality plastic construction.
After placing the speakers in the best possible position in our listening room we started to calibrate the system using the ADAPTiQ audio calibration system. Now, Bose has opted for a different solution in terms of determining the sweetspot because the calibration microphone is not mounted on a stand as you would normally do, instead it is placed on a headband that is placed on the head of the listener. This obviously means that the listener must sit still in the place where they intend to watch movies and listen to music, but we kind of like this method. As the name suggests, ADAPTiQ adjusts the sound and provides optimal playback in rooms of irregular shape, and the process includes the measurement and adjustment of the five most important parameters, and takes about 10 minutes.
The different parts of the system, in combination with the advanced calibration, results in a very good sounding system. Surround sound material is characterized by a very good channel separation and three-dimensional effects, and the soundstage is large and fills the entire room.
The soundbar proved to be very lenient in terms of positioning, and in most of the positions we tried it provided great sound and proper imaging. Dialogues are clear and intelligible, and power is sufficient for most of the occassions we tested it with, making us certain that CineMate 130 will satisfy demanding multi-channel listeners.
Music in stereo also sounds great, and CineMate 130 offers a big, powerful and pleasant sound with refined details, and is able to cope with demanding music material. The soundstage is wide, and the Acoustimass module provides deep and powerful, yet delicate, bass. The tones are precise with enough detail, a warm character, and the sound does not become fatiguing even during very long and loud listening sessions.
In terms of functionality, it should be noted that the CineMate 130 supports 4K UHD (24/30fps) passthrough, making it relatively future-proof, and the additional Wi-Fi module allows you to connect wirelessly to the local network and stream music from the internet, your computer, smartphone or tablet. However, the fact that you have to purchase the Wi-Fi module separately is a minus considering that you can get far less expensive systems that allow streaming music over the network these days.
Like most of Bose’s products, CineMate 130 is a great mix of lifestyle design and quality sound, and in this respect the price is quite fair. It is worth noting that the CineMate 520 5.1 system has the same price as the 130 system, has the same functions and features, but instead of using a soundbar it includes five satellite speakers. We assume the 520 system will be more interesting to those that want ‘proper’ 5.1 sound and have a separate room for watching movies and don´t mind all the cables, while the CineMate 130 will be the first choice for customers who want a more discreet setup, whithout compromising the sound quality.
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- IN ThE bOX
- Our best-performing CineMate soundbar (37”) reproduces clear, spacious sound
- Wireless Acoustimass module can be placed out of sight in your room
- Small control console with 4 HDMI® inputs, display for source selection
- Flexmount® technology ensures optimal performance whether soundbar is placed on table or wall mounted
- Wireless music streaming — Internet radio, music services (Spotify®, Pandora®, others) and your own music library with the optional SoundTouch™ adapter. Can be part of a whole-home music network
- Universal remote controls system and most connected components
- Soundbar speaker:4.9" H x 36.8" W x 2.4" D (7.8 lbs)
- Acoustimass® module:11.3" H x 7.6" W x 14.8" D (13.8 lbs)
- Control console:2.5" H x 12.3" W x 8.2" D (3.28 lbs)
- Remote:8.8" H x 2.1" W x 1.2" D
- Power supply: Dual voltage 100-240
- Wireless range of Acoustimass module: Up to 30 ft
- Shipping weight: 44 lbs (20 kg)
Console rear panel
- 4 HDMI® inputs
- Coaxial audio input (digital)
- Optical audio input (digital)
- R-L audio input (analog)
- 1 HDMI output (to TV)
Console side panel
- 3.5 mm connection (for headphones/analog audio)
- CineMate 130 soundbar speaker
- Wireless Acoustimass module
- Control console
- Universal remote control
- HDMI cable