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Klipsch and Bose are two of the world’s leading manufacturers of speakers and other audio equipment. These two eponymously named American companies are built on the ingenuity and spark of their founders and continue to be at the cutting edge of their fields. 

It’s no surprise that if you’re looking for premium audio equipment for home or personal use, you will look to these brands for the best products on the market. If you’re wondering whether Klipsch or Bose, is better, this article will compare these two home audio brands to help you evaluate which company will meet your needs. 

Klipsch vs. Bose: A Side-by-Side Comparison

Klipsch Audio TechnologiesBose
What is it?Manufacturer of speakers and home and personal audio products Manufacturer of speakers and home and personal audio products 
LocationIndianapolis, Indiana, U.S.Framingham, Massachusetts, U.S.
Primary UseElectroacoustic transduction to produce soundElectroacoustic transduction to produce sound
Initial Release1946 (the Klipschorn)1966 (the Bose 2201)
Influential DevelopersPaul Wilbur KlipschAmar Bose, Y. W. Lee
Technologies InfluencedLoudspeakers
Hi-Fi and stereo systems
Wireless audio 
Home audio
Home theater audio
Headphones
Earphones
Earbuds
Loudspeakers
Hi-Fi and stereo systems
Wireless audio 
Home audio
Home theater audio
Headphones
Earphones
Earbuds

What is Klipsch?

Klipsch is an American company that develops, designs, and manufactures loudspeakers, and home and personal audio solutions. It was founded in Hope, Arkansas over 75 years ago, and has earned a reputation for producing premium speakers, with an exceptional degree of engineering, craftsmanship, and audio fidelity. 

The company and its eccentric, but brilliant founder, Paul W. Klipsch, are noted for their cultural impact, in particular, a plain-speaking, no-nonsense approach to innovation, productivity, and audio quality. Klipsch’s audio expertise and commercial growth have centered on its patented horn-loaded speaker technology which delivers the following benefits:

  • High speaker sensitivity: Speaker sensitivity or efficiency measures the amount of sound output of a speaker with 1 watt of power input. This means that the speakers require less input power for amplification. 
  • Low modulation distortion: Modulation distortion is an audio phenomenon that is caused by signals of different frequencies being mixed together at non-harmonic frequencies. Paul Klipsch, the founder of Klipsch Speakers, developed his speakers to minimize this distortion for a better listening experience. 
  • Wide dynamic range: The dynamic range of an audio recording is the difference between the loudest and softest sounds. Klipsch speakers were developed to faithfully reproduce audio across this wide range for authentic audio. 
  • Controlled directivity: The sound that is projected from the speaker is directed and shaped to ensure that there isn’t an overemphasis of the bass, mid-range, or treble.
  • Controlled frequency response: The speaker is designed to deliver sound without unnatural highs or lows due to frequency bias, further enhancing the accuracy of audio reproduction. 

The History of Klipsch

Klipsch’s commercial history is intertwined with the life and accomplishments of its founder, Paul W. Klipsch. Klipsch invented his first speaker in a tin shed in Hope, Arkansas in 1945. This unusual speaker became known as the Klipschorn® speaker. He built his speaker with the objective of enjoying live music in his living room and housed the Klipschorn in a custom-designed cabinet. 

By the late 1940s, the Klipschorn had been patented, refined, and had entered production. People who listened to the speaker marveled at the authentic sound quality. The company was first called Klipsch & Associates and has been credited with ushering in the Hi-Fi era.

Klipsch was a prolific inventor, publishing research papers and securing patents for his speakers. Some of his most famous designs, including La Scala, Belle Klipsch, and Shorthorn, are still in production today.

In 1984, Paul W. Klipsch’s work has been recognized with induction into the Audio Hall of Fame. Other honors included induction into the Engineering and Science Hall of Fame (1997), and the Consumer Electronics Hall of Fame (2004). In 2011, Klipsch was sold to Audiovox, a U.S. consumer electronics company. 

klipsch speaker system
Klipsch speakers are known for their remarkable audio quality, but they’re a bit on the larger side.

©Julia Shauerman/Shutterstock.com

Professional and Consumer Audio Solutions by Klipsch

Klisch continues to produce high-end speakers and audio equipment with multiple product lines that are used for professional, home, and personal audio. Here are some of their leading products that are usually purchased via specialist dealers and distributors: 

Speakers

Klipsch is a market leader in innovative speaker technology with speaker designs and audio solutions for home theater systems, floor-standing speakers, and on-wall and bookshelf speakers. Klipsch also produces a Heritage Collection of room speakers which are built using vintage Klipsch designs as inspiration. 

Klipsch R-51PM Powered Bluetooth Speaker
$328.00
  • Powered monitor
  • Bluetooth wireless technology
  • Phono/line analog (with switch and ground screw terminal)
  • 3.5 millimeter analog Mini jack
  • USB digital
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Klipsch R-41M Powerful Detailed Bookshelf Home Speaker Set of 2 Black
$139.99
  • Single 4" spun-copper IMG woofer
  • 1" aluminum LTS tweeter mated to a 90x90 square Tractrix Horn
  • 68 hertz - 21 kilohertz +/- 3dB; Nominal impedance - 8 ohms; Compatible crossover frequency – 1,730 hertz
  • Sensitivity 90dB
  • 200 watts power handling
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Soundbars

Klipsch manufactures sound bars and wireless subwoofers using the most advanced audio technology for outstanding surround sound.

Klipsch Cinema 600 Sound Bar 3.1 Home Theater System with HDMI-ARC for Easy Set-Up, Black
$449.00
  • 45 inches 3.1 Soundbar With 10 inches Wireless Subwoofer
  • Best-In-Class 600W Peak Power
  • HDMI-ARC: Single Cable, Single Remote Control
  • 5.1 Decoding for Virtualized Surround Sound
  • Powerful audio performance with deep, theater-like sub-bass and crisp high-end definition
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Headphones 

You can also buy premium wired and wireless headphones from Klipsch, including Bluetooth earphones that have been developed in conjunction with McLaren.

Klipsch Reference On-Ear II Headphones (White)
$96.28
  • Package Dimensions: 0.8 L x 39.4 H x 0.8 W (inches)
  • Package Weight : 0.51 pounds
  • Country of Origin : China
  • Connectivity technology: Wireless
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Klipsch T5 II True Wireless Bluetooth 5.0 Earphones in Gunmetal with Transparency Mode, Beamforming Mics, Best Fitting Ear Tips, and 32 Hours of Battery Life in a Slim Charging Case
$127.07
  • Note : If the size of the earbud tips does not match the size of your ear canals or the headset is not worn properly in your ears, you may not obtain the correct sound qualities or call performance....
  • LEGENDARY KLIPSCH SOUND - The same advanced acoustic engineering and industrial design from our legendary home theater speakers provide the performance, voice and design for the T5 II Series...
  • PATENTED OVAL EAR TIPS – Our earphones include 6 pairs of soft, oval, silicon, patented contour ear tips that are designed to reduce ear fatigue, provide the ultimate comfort and an excellent seal...
  • HIGH CLARITY DYNAMIC DRIVER – Engineered to deliver powerful performances from the smallest package, our dynamic driver combines high output, neutral sound and deep bass extension.
  • BATTERY LIFE + CHARGING CASE - The earphones provide 8 hours of battery life on a single charge and up to 24 additional hours with the charging case. The slim, pocket-friendly brushed metal battery...
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Professional audio solutions

Klipsch’s exceptional audio expertise has led to many commercial relationships over the years. Their professional speakers are routinely used in theaters and movie theaters like the BM Theater in Hollywood and some IMAX cinemas. Custom Klipsch speakers are used for HardRock cafes around the world. 

Klipsch has also pioneered in-ear audio technology, including contour ear gels. Since 2020, Klipsch has developed team headsets for the McLaren Formula 1 racing team. 

What is Bose?

Bose is an American company that has become one of the world’s leading audio equipment manufacturers. It was founded in 1964 by Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) professor, Amar Bose, who made MIT the majority shareholder of the company. 

Bose has amassed extensive patents, trademarks, and brands which have made it a company with multi-billion dollar revenue. It is best known for its premium home audio solutions, including speakers and contemporary wireless headphones. 

The Principles of Bose Sound

Amar Bose, an eminent electrical engineer, applied his expertise to audio technology after having a disappointing listening experience with a high-end stereo system. His investigation of how sound is transmitted and received by the ear informed the principles of Bose sound.

  • Psychoacoustics: Amar Bose realized that there are some sounds, even within the normal auditory range, that the human brain does not hear. Bose developed the field of psychoacoustics, the study of sound perception, based on this phenomenon. 
  • The benefits of reflected sound: Bose also focused on the dynamics of sound in enclosed spaces. In particular, he developed audio solutions that maximized reflected sound, rather than prioritizing direct output like competitor speakers.
  • Noise cancellation: Bose was led to develop noise-canceling technology after a flight where engine noise disturbed his listening to music on headphones. He immediately began to design a noise-cancellation solution. Bose noise cancellation technology works by decoding the frequency and amplitude of the unwanted soundwaves and delivering an anti-wave to neutralize it. 
  • Miniaturization: Bose audio speakers were developed to be as small and discreet as possible while delivering exceptional sound quality. The Bose 901 speaker system reflects these principles. The company’s focus on miniaturization also aided the development of headphones and earphones.
  • Waveguides: Bose also developed proprietary waveguides to shape and optimize sound waves. Waveguides are still used in their speakers. 

The History of Bose

Bose was founded in 1964 by Amar Bose, an electrical engineer of Indian and American origin. From an early age, he showed inventive and entrepreneurial traits, fixing model trains and radios for cash as a boy.

In the 1950s, Bose graduated from Abington Senior High School in Pennsylvania and headed to MIT to study electrical engineering. He completed prestigious internships and scholarships in the Netherlands and India, returning to complete a Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering at MIT and become an associate professor.

In 1956, Bose purchased an expensive sound system and was disappointed that it could not recreate the sound quality of a live performance. This opened the door to his research into acoustics and the development of a stereo loudspeaker with additional electrical and audio patents. His speaker design led to the launch of Bose, supported by an angel investment from his thesis professor, Yuk-Wing Lee.

Bose grew into a multi-billion dollar company, with Amar Bose being one of the world’s richest men. The company employs over 12,000 people globally. It was never made public, a deliberate decision by Bose to be able to fund novel and risky research long-term. Amar Bose donated all of his shares to MIT in 2011 on the condition that they are never sold. Bose continues to have a close relationship with MIT and is based in Framingham, Massachusetts. 

Bose QuietComfort 35 vs. Bose QuietComfort 45
Bose has a wide array of products available now, all without compromising on the sound quality that started it all.

©Patrik Carlberg/Shutterstock.com

Professional and Consumer Audio Solutions by Bose

Though Amar Bose died in 2013, his legacy continues with the innovation and refinement of Bose products. Bose speakers are extremely expensive and only available through a network of specialist distributors and retailers. The customers who buy them deem Bose audio equipment worth the money. Below are some of the company’s headline products.

Headphones

Bose has been an innovator of headphone technology for a long time and offers a range of wired and wireless designs. They offer overhead and in-ear designs as well as aviation headsets for professional use.

Bose QuietComfort 45 Bluetooth Wireless Noise Cancelling Headphones - Triple Black
$329.00
  • Noise cancelling wireless headphones – The perfect balance of quiet, comfort, and sound. Bose uses tiny mics to measure, compare, and react to outside noise, cancelling it with opposite signals....
  • High-fidelity audio – The TriPort acoustic architecture offers depth and fullness. Volume-optimized Active EQ maintains balanced performance at any volume, so bass stays consistent when turned down...
  • Quiet and Aware Modes – Choose Quiet Mode for full noise cancelling, or Aware Mode to bring the outside into the around ear headphones and hear your environment and your music at the same time.
  • Personalize your audio. Adjustable EQ allows you to set the bass, mid-range, and treble levels to your personal preferences or select one of several preset options.
  • Up to 24 hours battery life – Enjoy 24 hours of battery life from a single charge. A quick 15-minute charge offers 3 hours when you’re on the go, or plug in the included audio cable to listen for...
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Earbuds

Bose’s market-leading noise cancellation and miniaturization technology is put to work with its premium wireless earbuds. The earbuds can be custom-tuned and equalized and deliver up to 6-hours of playback. The buds also feature ear tips and stability bands that can be custom fit to your ear. 

NEW Bose QuietComfort Earbuds II, Wireless, Bluetooth, World’s Best Noise Cancelling In-Ear Headphones with Personalized Noise Cancellation & Sound, Triple Black
$299.00
  • INTRODUCING QUIETCOMFORT EARBUDS II: These new wireless, bluetooth, noise cancelling earbuds from Bose weren’t designed with a one-size-fits-all approach. These next-generation wireless earbuds are...
  • BOSE World’s Best NOISE CANCELLING EARBUDS: QuietComfort Earbuds II intelligently personalize the noise cancellation and sound performance to your ears, so you can enjoy deep, immersive sound and...
  • BOSE COMFORTABILITY: To ensure your wireless earbuds feel comfortable and stay put no matter what you’re doing, QC Earbuds II come with a Bose Fit Kit. The convenient Fit Kit includes three pairs of...
  • WIRELESS & EASY TO USE: Use the simple touch interface on the wireless earbuds to control everything. This convenient interface frees your hands so you can stay focused on whatever you’re doing....
  • LONG LASTING BATTERY: Stay absorbed in the music you love for up to 6 hours. When not in use, store your Bose QuietComfort Earbuds II in the portable charging case -- it’s small enough to fit in...
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01/29/2023 09:36 pm GMT

Speakers 

Bose produces an expansive range of speakers which all function according to principles developed by Amar Bose. Speaker solutions include portable Bluetooth speakers, speakers for home audio and cinema, and PA and computer solutions.

Bose Surround Speakers, Black
$349.00
  • The smallest speakers designed by Bose so the focus can remain on your home entertainment not your speakers
  • Designed to bring music movies and TV to life with full immersive surround sound
  • Simply plug the adapters into a power source and wirelessly connect the receivers to the sound bar to enjoy your entertainment in minutes
  • Compatible with Bose sound bar 500 Bose sound bar 700 and Sound Touch 300 sound bar
  • Standing less than 4 inch tall Both bass modules have a wireless range of 30 feet
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01/30/2023 03:16 pm GMT
Bose Companion 2 Series III Multimedia Speakers - for PC (with 3.5mm AUX & PC Input) Black
$149.00
  • High quality audio performance, with clear sound at any volume. Use the auxiliary input to bring Bose performance to another audio source such as your iPhone or iPad. Upgrade your sound and your...
  • Play an additional device just connect to the auxiliary input
  • Volume controlheadphone jack on front of the right speaker
  • Operating compatibility: Mac, Windows XP
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Audio sunglasses

Bose continues to innovate its popular audio sunglasses which deliver high-quality Bluetooth sound alongside stylish frame design. Bose first dropped these sunglasses in 2019. They feature proprietary Bose Open Audio technology and an integrated microphone for hands-free calls and conferencing. 

Bose Frames Tenor, Smart Glasses, Bluetooth Audio Sunglasses, with Open Ear Headphones, Rectangular, Black, 55 mm
$249.00
  • Redesigned for luxury — Thoughtfully refined and strikingly elegant, the latest Bose sunglasses blend enhanced features and designs for an elevated way to listen
  • Rectangular Bluetooth sunglasses — Finished in High-Gloss Black, Bose Frames Tenor style flaunts a refined square frame, a distinctive keyhole bridge, and ultramodern materials. Lens Width: 55 mm ;...
  • Bose Open Ear audio sunglasses — Hear lifelike audio while others hear practically nothing. It’s an experience that leaves you free to engage with the world, all while discreetly listening to...
  • Polarized lenses — These music sunglasses include shatter- and scratch-resistant polarized lenses to reduce glare, enhance visibility, and block 99% UVA/B rays. And you can add your prescription...
  • Improved battery life — Rechargeable bluetooth sunglasses with up to 5.5 hours of continuous listening per charge. Bose music sunglasses fully charge in 1 hour.
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Sleep solutions

Bose has developed an in-ear proprietary sleep solution. Bose Sleepbuds uses noise cancellation and low-level auditory stimulation to help people get to sleep and stay asleep. The Sleepbuds comes with a proprietary app so users can select different sounds to use with their buds.

Bose Sleepbuds II - Sleep Technology Clinically Proven to Help You Fall Asleep Faster, Sleep Better with Relaxing and Soothing Sleep Sounds
$249.00
  • Sleepbuds, not headphones: Designed for sleep, Sleepbuds may look like tiny headphones, but they don’t stream music or podcasts, instead they deliver relaxing and noise-masking sounds to help you...
  • Product Note : If the size of the earbud tips does not match the size of your ear canals or the headset is not worn properly in your ears, you may not obtain the correct sound qualities or call...
  • User-tested: Bose sleep technology is clinically proven to help you fall asleep faster
  • A better solution for sleep: Sleepbuds use innovative noise masking technology – not noise cancelling; Bose engineered masking sounds combine with the noise-blocking design of the buds to cover...
  • Simple app: Sleepbuds play only original content from the Bose Sleep app; Access the sound library’s 50 specially curated sounds, download your favorites to the earbuds, control the volume, and...
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01/30/2023 03:06 pm GMT

What’s the Difference Between Klipsch and Bose?

Klipsch and Bose are two of the biggest speaker manufacturers of the 20th century. These American companies have more similarities than differences, but there are some important things to know if you are trying to decide which brand is better.

Klipsch and Bose differ in how their speakers engineer sound. Klipsch excels at direct sound output over a wide range of frequencies, with large cabinet speakers being a key feature of its vintage design. Bose takes a completely different approach, favoring reflected sound that uses the walls and hard objects in the environment to enhance the listing experience. 

Amar Bose continually sought to reduce the size of his speakers, which remain smaller than the classic Klipschorn designs. 

An important note is that Klipsch is no longer in the hands of its founder, but has been sold to Voxx, who are marketing products under the Klipsch brand which may or may not be designed and built in line with the original Klipsch principles. 

Bose remains a private company with an extremely close relationship with MIT. This undoubtedly informs the drive and innovation of the company and its product development. 

Similarities and Differences

Similarities

  • Klipsch ad Bose are both American companies founded in the mid-20th century.
  • Both companies are named after their founders, Paul Wilbur Klipsch and Amar Bose, respectively.  
  • Paul Wilbur Klipsch and Amar Bose were both electrical engineers.
  • Both men invented and patented a speaker design that launched their business.
  • Paul Wilbur Klipsch and Amar Bose continually innovated their speaker designs and developed audio solutions to bring diverse products to market.
  • Klipsch and Bose manufacture speakers, home audio and theater solutions, headphones, and earphones.
  • Klipsch and Bose products are aimed at providing their customers with the most authentic listening experience.
  • Both investors were inducted into a range of Halls of Fame, with numerous honors during their lifetime. 

Differences

  • Bose has a unique and enduring relationship with MIT, the alma mater of its founder. 
  • Bose remains a private-held company with MIT as the majority shareholder.
  • Klipsch is now owned by Voxx, a U.S. consumer electronics company. 
  • The Klipschorn, Paul Klipsch’s first speaker has been in continuous production for seventy years.
  • Amar Bose’s first speaker, the 2201, consisted of 22 individual speakers, each facing different directions.
  • Klipsch speaker sound focuses on direct output, whereas Bose sound makes use of reflected sound waves.
  • Klipsch manufactured large cabinet loudspeakers, while Bose continuously sought to miniaturize his speakers. 
  • Paul Wilbur Klipsch believed that anything smaller than a Klipschorn would compromise sound quality.

Klipsch vs. Bose: Which One Is Better? Which One Should You Use?

Klipsch and Bose are two of the best speaker manufacturers in the world. Their patents and innovation have led to the development of new speaker technologies with a trickle-down effect that has impacted cheaper consumer products. Either of these brands would be a fantastic buy for a homeowner who wants to experience their audiovisual media with the very best sound quality. 

The one issue that currently separates the two companies is that Klipsch is now a subsidiary company. Though the current Klipsch products continue to be high-end, the ownership has changed Klipsch’s 70-year run of self-direction and innovation. Klipsch fans were already lamenting a deterioration in sound quality in favor of lower prices, and under Audiovox’s direction, the company may start to decline.

On the other hand, Bose has been carefully structured to avoid the company from losing its innovative streak. Part of Amar Bose’s handover of controlling shares to MIT included a stipulation that MIT’s shares are non-voting, effectively preventing the company from being sold. This means that Bose can continue to invest heavily in research and development, meaning that with Bose products, you are going to be getting speakers, headphones, or soundbars that are truly cutting-edge. 

Klipsch vs. Bose: 6 Must-Know Facts

  • Klipsch has its own Museum of Audio History, located in Hope, Arkansas. Entry to the museum is free.
  • In 2022, Bose completed a deal on a collaboration with Volkswagen to develop in-car audio for their new electric EX90.
  • Klipsch speakers were designed to be heirloom pieces that could be passed down from generation to generation. Original Kilpschorn speakers are extremely valuable, with 1950s speakers selling for upwards of $125,000.
  • Bose produces headsets for NFL coaches, with advanced noise-cancellation and hearing protection football coaches can use on the sidelines.
  • Klipsch also refurbishes and resells speakers as part of its drive towards a circular economy.
  • Before he died, Amar Bose was working on a novel electronic automobile suspension system that could cancel the jolts and bumps experienced by drivers in rough terrain.

Final Thoughts

It is clear that both Klipsch and Bose were mid-century businesses with passionate founders producing innovative products that were labors of love. However, in the millennium, the performance of both brands as businesses has largely determined their fortunes and freedom to stay innovative. 

Amar Bose’s move to keep Bose tied to his alma mater MIT was genius. This keeps the lifeblood of innovation flowing through the company, meaning that Bose products continue to create and lead markets. This makes Bose a discerning buy. 

As a subsidiary brand, Klipsch speakers may not be comparable to the original design, but they are still reliable. The long-term trajectory of the brand and whether or not its commitment to exceptional sound quality will remain is unknown.

Klipsch vs. Bose: Which is Better? FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions) 

What is a Kilpschorn?

The Klipschorn is the proprietary loudspeaker invented by Paul Wilbur Klipsch in 1946. It is notable for its large enclosure and three-way design with a woofer, squawker, and tweeter, that separately deliver the bass, midrange, and treble portions of a sound signal. The horn structure is compound and folded, to deliver sound accurately across the maximum frequency range.

The Klipschorn has an extremely high-efficiency design, meaning relatively little input power is required to generate a big sound. Klipschorn even use walls to further amplify their sound. Paul Klipsch demonstrated that the Klipschorn was capable of reproducing concert hall dynamics with as little as 1 watt of power.

What is a soundbar?

Soundbars are loudspeakers that have a wide, thin cabinet. Their shape makes it possible to mount them beneath a television or other screen, to provide a more realistic audio experience than the display device can provide.

These sophisticated speakers comprise multiple speakers that are enclosed in a single cabinet, in contrast to having individual Left, Center, and Right speakers. The speakers are configured to deliver a surround-sound effect, often in concert with a separate subwoofer for enhanced sound quality.

Do wireless earbuds have risks or negative effects?

Wireless earbuds are extremely convenient but not entirely risk-free. Acknowledged negative effects of wireless earbuds include:

  • Allergic reactions
  • Ear infections
  • Hearing damage and loss
  • Tinnitus
  • Headaches 
  • Disorientations 
  • Pain from physical pressure on the ears
  • Side effects from exposure to electromagnetic frequencies (EMF) and a theoretical risk of developing or accelerating cancer

Microwave radiation from wireless devices has been associated with wide-ranging symptoms including depression/anxiety, cold and flu symptoms, sleep disruption, and sub-fertility.

What is Hi-Fi?

Hi-Fi stands for high fidelity, a form of sound reproduction that has realistic sound quality with little noise or distortion, unlike earlier or cheaper audio equipment. This audio technology was initially developed by Bell Labs in the 1930s and championed by audio manufacturers like Klipsch, RCA, and Bose. The quality and caliber of Hi-Fi equipment, including speakers, are esteemed by audiophiles who want high-quality sound reproduction.

Does Bose offer scholarships, research grants, or other funding?

Bose funds The Professor Amar G. Bose Research Grant Program to fund original research of  MIT faculty in any of the five schools of the Institute. Bose is looking for ideas that are novel, risky, and may not be able to get funding elsewhere. 

Applicants can submit their idea in writing to the Bose Fellows to potentially gain grant funding for up to three years of research with a budget of up to $500K.

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