I reviewed the fantastic Bose Soundtouch 300 Soundbar a year ago, while it is an expensive investment it is one of the best soundbars on the market. It also has one significant selling point over many competing brands; you can expand the system with both surround sound speakers and a subwoofer. Soundbars are a great alternative to traditional 5.1 systems with a dedicated left right and central rear unit as it allows a much cleaner installation unfortunately many soundbars don't have upgrade paths and this is what makes the Bose system so great.
I thought the Soudtouch was that good I decided to buy it for our main living room and recently I have expanded it with the Virtually Invisible 300 surround speakers.
At £300 these cost half the original cost of the Soundtouch and unlike other wireless surround speakers I have used in the past, these are independent of each other rather than having both surround speakers wired up to a single wireless box.
Build & Design
Each speaker measures 9.55 cm H x 8.32 cm W x 8.49 cm D and weighs 0.54 kg which is small enough to fit in my hand. Beyond the petite dimensions, they are nothing special to look being a small black Bose, they fit in with the design of the soundbar, and being so small they should be hardly noticeable on your wall.
When you open up the packaging you will notice the biggest downside to have to independent miniature surround speakers is that the power brick is massive and they come with a huge line of cable. While this is unavoidable to some extent, it does make the “Virtually Invisible” speakers challenging to install cleanly. There does not appear to be a great deal of weight to the power brick so I suspect this could have been made smaller. It would also be nice to have an option to have the speakers to connect to one central rear unit rather than the mess of 2 separate units.
The speaker cables are a bit awkward too, they are very long, much longer than needed in my case, so there is a lot of excess to hide. One end of the cable is sealed in a proprietary connector that plugs into the wireless power brick, and then the other end appears to be a normal looking cable which you then screw into a terminal block that inserts into the speaker. If you are daring, you could shorten the speaker cable one end, but I don’t trust myself not to mess it up. I don’t see why standard cable could not be provided and each end then screwed into a terminal block. It is not the end of the world, and I find that this is quite common with a lot of all in one system.
If you want to mount the speakers somewhere, you will need a Bose wall mount which is not particularly cheap. There is a rail that runs down the rear, and this is how it mounts to the wall. I have found a couple of third-party options but nothing that looks great.
You will need to consult the instructions to set the speakers up, it is not difficult at all, but without any form of on-screen displays from the soundbar, you need to press buttons on the remote in a certain way to pair them up. It would be nice if future versions of the speaker or just an app update, would allow everything to be managed via the app or onscreen display.
Once set up everything works seamlessly and I experienced no issues with loss of connection. Out of the box the speakers are not particularly loud, and this is a common complaint online, but Bose has updated the app quite a while ago to allow you to adjust the volume of the rears. Knowing that they were entirely I turned the volume up to full, and when we watched Thor Ragnarok, my girlfriend complained hearing the voices from the main soundbar were being drowned out by the surrounds, so I had to dial down the volume a little. Our speakers are located quite close to where we sit, but I think the volume settings should allow anyone to achieve a decent surround volume regardless of your room size and set-up.
Once we had the sound levels set up correctly the speakers worked great, they provide an excellent level of surround sound and really help bring movies to life. The audio quality seems to be excellent, I didn’t notice any issues with distortion or tinniness. There is not a great deal of bass from them, but this is to be expected as the central unit, and the optional subwoofer handle this.
These are the only option to add surround sound to the Bose Soundtouch 300 Soundbar and once set up they perform very well. This is also one of the few soundbars on the market that offer an option for true 5.1 audio, so based on these facts the Virtually Invisible 300 speakers are fantastic.
That being said, at £300 I feel they are quite expensive for what they are, and the full system would cost £1700 which is a huge investment. If you don’t mind a more intrusive setup a traditional AV receiver plus speakers would work out much cheaper. However, it is one of the only 5.1 soundbar systems on the market, and it is less expensive than Sonos while also offering HDMI ARC, so if you want a easy install discrete 5.1 system, I would say this is currently the best option on the market.
Bose Virtually Invisible 300 Wireless Rear Surround Speakers
Product Name: Bose Virtually Invisible 300 Wireless Rear Surround Speakers
Offer price: 299
Build and Design - 80%
Performance - 85%
Price - 70%