Bose Lifestyle 600 & 650 Home Entertainment System Review

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Bose is a company that’s generally known for making compact, all in one audio systems. But when you get into the high-end home theater market, their business model doesn’t really work. If you want loud, encompassing sound, it would make sense that you’d need a set of large, dominant speakers to do the job.

Until recently, that has been the industry standard. But with the release of the Lifestyle 600 and 650 Home Entertainment Systems, Bose has changed the way we look at home theater systems. They’re not the first to release a compact 5.1 surround sound system. Just head down to your local store and you’ll have many different models to choose from. But in those circumstances, their compact size is not a result of engineering and design. It’s simply an example of manufactures using inexpensive components to make unbelievably cheap systems that never quite live up to your expectations.

Can Bose’s compact 5.1 systems compete with a properly tuned home theater, or is this simply an overpriced gimmick? Let’s take a look.

First Looks

The Lifestyle 600 and Lifestyle 650 have a lot of similarities. They’re composed of three main components: the console, the wireless bass module, and the remote speakers. The receiver is the hub of the entire system. It takes all of your inputs, whether they’re 4k video sources or your computer, and acts as a middle man between them and the television. You can change inputs, channels, and control every aspect of the sound from the included remote. The wireless bass module is the same impressive Bose Acoustimass 300 Bass Module, but that’s where the similarities end.

Bose Lifestyle 600

With the 600 you receive five separate speakers. You’ve got three for the front: left, right, and a center channel. In the rear you have your two satellite speakers. In the 600 series, the main speakers are the same models used in their previous top tier kit, the Lifestyle 535. But when you go with the 650 series, you get access to their brand new OmniJewel speakers. You get four identical modules for the front and rear satellites, plus a new extended center channel.

Bose Lifestyle 650

Speaker Design

If you’ve used any previous Bose products, you know that they are the experts of shoving big sound into a small package. The reason their systems are competitive with some of the larger premium audio gear is because of the advanced engineering that goes into these systems.


With the Jewel Cube speakers, used in the Lifestyle 600, they’ve already proven themselves in the marketplace. They actually contain two independent drivers inside of them. Unlike most audio systems which use a tweeter for the high notes and woofers for the low ones, these drivers are actually identical. While they both play the same frequencies, it’s the direction of the sound that’s different. If you were to open them up, you’d see that each of the drivers are tilted either to the left or to the right at roughly a 30-degree angle. With their advanced sound processing system, they can adjust the volumes of each direction to create the illusion that the sound is coming from somewhere in the middle of the room, rather than one of the individual speakers.

The OmniJewel speakers take this design a step further. Instead of the two focal points used in the Jewel Cube speakers, these speakers technically have unlimited focal points. How is this possible? Typical speakers work by pushing air. When the driver vibrates, it pushes these vibrations towards the listener. In order to be effective, you need to have the speaker pointed at you.

Bose Lifestyle 600 speakers

With the OmniJewel speakers, nothing is pointed at you. You’ll notice that there is a small grill around the center of each satellite. Behind the grill is a pocket of air that is sandwiched between the two drivers. When they move in unison, they both push air into the same empty space. This causes the air to compress and move away from the drivers in an even, 360-degree manner. If the movements between the two speakers are slightly different, this will cause the sound waves to be pushed in a specific direction. This allows the speaker to direct sound exactly where it’s supposed to go. This makes the Lifestyle 650 the first true 360 degree surround sound system.

Sound Quality

Now that you know how the speakers are supposed to work, the question is “how do they sound?” In one word: Surreal. Imagine the first time you upgraded from a stereo system to a surround system. At first, it seems incredible. Your ears aren’t used to hearing audio coming from so many different directions. But eventually, your ears get used to the effect and the magic fades.

Bose Lifestyle 650 speakers

Moving from a standard 5.1 system to the Bose Lifestyle 650 will bring you back to the first day you heard 5.1. The human ear is incredibly accurate at determining the direction a sound is coming from, and the Lifestyle 650 is the perfect way to demonstrate this. Comparatively, standard 5.1 systems feel like they are making more of a general suggestion towards the direction of the sound. But the Lifestyle 650 will help you pinpoint the exact location.

Separation in the 600 series is still noticeably better than your typical 5.1 system, but this depends on where you are sitting. The Jewel Cube speakers are not actually pushing the sound in a specific direction, they are just fooling your ears into thinking so with some creative engineering. If you’re sitting in the center of the room, you probably won’t notice a huge difference between the 650 and the 600. But when you’re not at the perfect focal point, that’s where the 650 really stands out.

Bose Lifestyle 650 speakers

Although positioning and separation are the primary benefits of the Lifestyle Series, don’t think that the pure audio quality is in any way inhibited. These tiny speakers are capable of very high volumes without even a hint of distortion or muddiness. You can expect crystal clear highs, detailed mids, and punchy lows. With this system, the clarity has come to a point where you no longer hear an “audio track”. Instead, you hear distinct elements. The sound of birds in the distance, traffic on the road, the rustling of clothing as characters move through a scene.

We’ve already covered the bass module in a separate review, but the subwoofer is among the best that we’ve ever encountered. If you’re considering this system, we highly recommend you check out our review here.



When you’re getting into audio equipment of this caliber, it’s not enough to have engineers design speakers that work well together. The size and shape of your room have a major factor on how well the speakers will perform. This is even more important with the Lifestyle 650 speakers, since they can project sound in any direction they choose. If the speakers unknowingly project sound into a wall, it will reflect and negatively impact the positioning.

Many home theaters alleviate this problem by having a technician come to your house and calibrate the audio system. When you’re spending this much on your home theater, a few hundred bucks for a professional calibration might not seem like a lot. But with the Bose Lifestyle system, the device will calibrate itself.


The system is called ADAPTiQ, and it’s brilliant in execution. The system includes a special pair of “headphones”. Although they’re called headphones, really they’re head-microphones. Instead of ear cups they have little plastic sleeves that sit just above your ears, each containing an incredibly sensitive microphone. You plug the headphones into the receiver, then sit in your favorite location in the room.

Wearing the headphones, you’ll need to sit in your favorite spot for about five to ten minutes. During this time, the speakers will play a variety of tones both from each speaker individually, then in different combinations. The process was a little odd, but as long as the speakers remain in the same place you will not need to perform a calibration again. This quick five-minute process saves you hundreds of dollars in technician fees, and the end result is a home theater that is perfectly tuned to the specific acoustics of your home.


Being the centerpiece of your home theater, the console needs to be able to connect with everything. For the time being, it appears to support every modern connection that is available.


For video, you have six separate HDMI ports that should allow you to connect every device you own. These ports support the latest HDCP standard, making them compatible with 4K content. You also have an audio pass-through connection. Although uncommon, this will soon be a required feature. Once 4k content hits the market, optical pass-through will not work due to the copy-protection system. It’s inclusion makes this console pretty much future proof.

For other audio sources you are given two optical in ports, one optical out, two digital coaxial in, RCA, and a 3.5mm headset plug.

Into streaming? Out of the box, the console supports Spotify, Deezer, Pandora, Amazon Music, iHeartRadio, and Sirius XM. You can control these services from your phone or through the included menus of the console. If you want audio off your mobile device, you can connect using WiFi for lossless streaming of Bluetooth for compatibility. Syncing your phone or tablet is incredibly easy thanks to the included NFC. After you’ve paired your phone for the first time, all you’ll have to do is tap the phone on the console to re-sync.


Final Thoughts

If you want the best audio system possible, we highly recommend the Bose Lifestyle series. Generally speaking, systems in this price tier are incredibly complex. But they’ve taken a complex problem and found a way to make it easy for consumers. Because it’s so easy to calibrate, you won’t be stuck with a highly specialized system that suddenly becomes inferior if you move it to another room or change the arrangement.

Which model should you choose, the 600 or the 650? This really depends on your usage scenario. If you’re often watching movies by yourself or with a partner, you probably won’t notice a huge difference between the two models. But if you’re often watching in a large group or entertaining, the 650’s true 360-degree sound projection is something that can be enjoyed by the entire room, and not just the person sitting in the center.

If you’re looking for a system that will primarily be used for music, this may not be the best choice. Music is almost exclusively recorded as a two channel stereo mix. Unless you’re listening to surround sound content, you won’t be able to take advantage of all the incredible features of the Lifestyle series.

But if you’re a serious movie buff who is unwilling to compromise on sound quality, the only choice you’ll need to make is whether you want the Lifestyle 600 or the Lifestyle 650.

25 thoughts on “Bose Lifestyle 600 & 650 Home Entertainment System Review”

  1. Nice review, The Lifestyle 650 provides a spacious, engaging, enveloping soundstage with beautiful musical delivery.
    After listening to several wireless sound systems, wireless ambients, surround bars, component speakers and multiroom systems, the mantra ‘its a sound bar, you can’t expect it to present like real surround’ finally played to it’s end.
    And then there is this 5.1 surround.., as convenient as a soundbar, tiny little jewel cube speakers are like the opposite of a tardis, *much* bigger on the outside and wireless other than power cord.

    seriously, for convenience and quality, future ready, here now this 650 series is sonically delicious.

  2. How does the new 600 series compare to the previous 535 system? The 535 system was originally a $3500.00 system and the new 600 system is $3000.00. Would really appreciate your input, thanks.

    • Owned the 535 Series III. The sub was woofy and satellite lacked treble
      Detail. The 600 uses the same satellites but the eq curve is drastically better. The 650 is the best with far better transient detail. You will find a lot of stupid reviews online. Bose took awhile to get the software issues resolved. Again the 650 with the Omni Jewel speakers is by far the best for movies. Also if you gave a crappy TV, the ARC may not be passing the high fidelity you would expect. Satellite providers with compressed audio also can make any system suck.

  3. The front speakers are directly connected to the module, the tears are WiFi, but still require mains power. The sub also is WiFi but requires power

  4. I am curious if you have had any feedback or insights regarding issues with video output. We have sound and no picture from PlayStation, Wii and a 4k bluray player on our Lifestyle 650. For a $4,000 product, my expectation was a simple install as with our soundtouch systems.

  5. Took me 2 hours on the phone with a very patient and helpful Bose tech to get my system properly set up. Setting up LG 4k BR player, DTV & LG 65SJ9500 didn’t seem beyond my skill set but the 650 evidently requires specific knowledge of what order we plug in HDMI cables so follow the UNIFY set up guidelines exactly as the read at start up. Needed to use optical cable to send TV (internet sourced) sound back to the Bose receiver. My current frustration though is Bose remote SHOULD be able to work as a decent universal remote for everything. This replaced my Bose VideoWave which was MUCH simpler and had a terrific remote control user interface that I really wish Bose would bring back.

  6. Not recommended to listen beyond 20 feet in bose
    650 has better surround effects than 600
    There is audible difference in surround sound effects of 600 and 650 even at best locations set by adaptiq

  7. I can’t tell much difference in sound quality between my 5 year old LifeStyle system and our new 650.
    What I can tell the difference in is the frustration in getting the remotes to work with a cable box and a Sony OLED TV not counting the other 3-4 devices. I have given up on the 650 remote. I now have a basket of remotes and several wasted hours of calls and emails with Bose support. Just when I get close to having to use just two remotes Bose or Sony makes an update and I’m back to square one, err three.
    And forget Logitech unless you want to start a career in Logitech programming; read the blogs!
    Bottom line: The 650 is a nice system but don’t count on using the remote.

  8. You can spend way less money than these Bose 650 system and get a superior sound quality as well. You can’t get full range sound from only two full range speakers. You need at least a separate tweeter and a mid range/mid bass driver to achieve a superior sound quality. Look at Paradigms compact 5.1home theater system. They use high quality drivers, not cheap full range drivers like Bose. Paradigm uses a dome tweeter and a high quality mid bass woofer driver to get way better sound quality. Bose has always been over priced for what you get in getting good superior sound.

  9. I got a Sony xbr9 2009 with 3 HDMI NO ARC will I be able to use it through the normal hdmi I got a v35 and the sound is awesome

  10. Today I spend a total of 12 hours setting up my new Bose 650 lifestyle. I got very unlucky and disappointed right in the beginning of the set up, the system would turn on and off every 2 minutes.
    I’m not very handy, I decided to call the Bose shop , they referred me to their technical support over the phone . The advice was very simple from the tech, unplug and replug the system.
    This did not help, they advise me to go replace the brain (center console)
    I went there , almost 2 hour round trip, got a new console and manage to set up the system.
    Finally I had sound. I tried to calibrate the sound with the headset they provide, didn’t work. I was disappointed, but didn’t think much of it, I played music on the system , via the Bluetooth.
    Out of curiosity I leaned my ear against all the speakers, to my surprise, one speaker wasn’t working. I swapped it to make sure was faulty , I had to go back to the Bose shop second time , and exchange it . All the Bose employees were phenomenal, very helpful.
    I went back , and tried to play the Xbox, it worked , the sounds was amazing.
    However I could not connect the Bose system to my TV, the sound just wouldn’t play.
    I tried for roughly 3 hours, everything I could think of.
    To realize at the end that Bose wasn’t compatible with my TV .
    Huge disappointment, luckily I had a second TV , and finally everything came together.
    I told my friends that I spend 4500$ on the sound system, they told me that I was nuts.
    However , when I hear that system play it’s truly music to my ear.
    It is so amazing words can’t describe, worth every penny.
    Regardless of my rough day, I still have to give Bose Lifestyle 650 , 5 stars .
    I love this type of technological achievements, congrats to the team that put this machine together.

  11. The new a Lifestyle systems had some issues with older TV’s before 2018. Turns out loosing my ARC connection was caused by my Apple 4K on a older high end Samsung TV. Switched it to my other Apple 3 ver.2 and no more issues.

  12. I have a lot of cd’s, If I have a CD player from Bose and another from Apple, can I plug it on the new 650 lifestyle?

  13. One thing to point out. As people age their hearing starts to fade.
    You can take a hearing test and and find in your 50’s you can longer hear high frequencies as you did 10 years ago. So you ay not be able to hear the differences in the 2 systems. We are also seeing wireless surround 5.1 systems being released this year. I see reviews with complaints about the speakers still needing a wired connection.
    Well it’s not magic and all these systems will either be wired to a console or outlet. I see no advantages with the front speakers being so called wireless. They will still need to be plugged into an outlet. But there is an advantage to having the rears wireless. No cable needed from front to back. I personally always hard wire my systems.
    I just did another side by side comparison with the 600 & 650.
    The soundstage is wider on the 650 and has more detail in its response. A scene with someone writing on a chalkboard was detailed and crystal clear. It was not anywhere near that on the 600. This can also translate to hearing dialogue better with the 650. At a $1,000 more the 650 is better. But the consumer needs to decide if it’s worth the extra cost.

  14. I have a lifestyle 600 and one of the front Jewel cube speaker has no sound. Where can I buy a replacement and what would be the price? Is it possible to repair the speaker?


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