Bose 901 Series 1 & 2 versus KEF 104/2's and 105/3's

I've been enjoying my 5 channel Sealed Box Bose 901's for almost 2 years. I was recently gifted 4 KEF 105/3's & 2 104/2's from a friend. The Speakers are on the whole in good shape. I've assembled one pair of perfectly working 105'3's from the four. The other two 105/3 need the Uni-Q midrange replaced and I blew out one of the Simply Speakers replacement Tweeters (no longer available). The remaining 4 Cavity COupled Woofers are in various states

I'd replaced the Ferrofluid in both 104/2 Tweeters and the foam Donuts on all four 8" Woofers.

My 901 impressions in our 28' x 17' Living Room in our Apartment (moving to a real house in a few months) are :

  • Bose 901's work best when the main front L & R Speakers are 2' in front of the Wall and very very far away form room boundary walls thereby eliminating Boomy Bass. There is little of the "reflecting effect" and more omnidirectional when placed along the long wall in the room 12' apart
  • Using miniDSP instead of the old Analog Bose EQ's (which I'd personally rebuilt) gave the best results
  • All highs, sweet mids, and Bass down to must be Bose !
  • Always wanted a pair since I was a kid and it's been a long ($$$) strange trip indeed
  • Great Speakers when setup correctly

My KEF 105/3 &  impressions in our 28' x 17' Living Room in our Apartment are :

  • The 105/3's have a great Upper Bass/Midrange/Treble balance and extension. The Cavity Coupled 8" Woofers in larger Bandpass enclosures have prodigious amounts of clean detailed Bass. No Subwoofers need apply !
  • 104/2's by contrast are a bit more mellowed regarding Tonal Balance. Treble Extension/Vocal Sibilances can be subdued at times but when required. The highs are there when called upon. One of their Woofers has a lazy voice coil, nut works well
  • Bass is more "polite" than the 105/3's. But like the highs. when called upon, they kick in !
  • replicating the KUBE curve in miniDSP on both 104/2 and 105/3 Cavity Coupled Woofers did the trick. Very Deep Bass that over powers

My future plans when we do get a home are to run the 105/3's as my FR, LR, RS, & LS. One of the 104/2's will be the Center Channel. The other one will be for parts (maybe). I'm also thinking to Stack the 105/3's with the top 105/3 mounted upside down on top of the main 105/3. I'll remove the damaged Uni-Q Drivers on the top 105/3's. This way only one Tweeter, one midrange, but four midbass Drivers and four 8" Cavity Couples Woofers per side. The remaining 104/2's would then be my rear surrounds. Four 901's would hang from the ceiling for Dolby Atmos and two Ohm Walsh 2000's that were also gifted to me would be my side surrounds (movies/concerts only).
OK What's the question? Or just sharing. Sounds like you have plenty to keep yourself busy.. A lot of gifts for sure..

One thing I can say for Bose 901 v 1. That is one of the toughest speakers ever made.

We used two pairs, hanging (to clear a dance floor) and 2 HUGE 300 pound bass bin. The shop where they were set up would get to jumping, during a party. Pretty good actually. 20 x 30 with 14 foot lids. Late 70s

When I "listened" to music though, Infinity QLS 2s and my Mac gear.  The occasional, Phase Linear, when it would quit blowing up, long enough to work for a while, was in the mix, too.

Then I got serious, started making my own cabinets and tinkering again like when I was in HS.. 130 + pairs and close to 50 years, later..  :-)

Enjoy yourself.

Just wanted to get some opinions/idea's from other KEF and 901 owners. I am having a lot of fun with them.

Those are great stories oldhvymec.

Bose 901s were used in a,lot of discos back in the 70s .I guess before Bose started selling pro equipment. 
I had 901 series 3 and always thought they lacked true highs vocals always sounded like they were recorded in a cardboard box. You could get some rumbling bass but not clean distinct notes. They also did not project and stage instruments in space like other speakers.
I installed 2 pair of Bose 901 in Alahambras Saloon in the Fall River area in 1976 and drove them with 2 huge Bozak power amps. The amps were over 100 pounds each.  I hung the speakers from the ceiling.  At a insanely loud volume, I could lift all the ceiling tiles near the speakers.  Fun times back then. 
i currently have 2 pairs of 901 series 2. i have them hanging from the ceiling in the 'super bose system' position. 2 up front 2 on the sides. i have a mcintosh mc602 amp powering them. boy they sure go loud! i'm happy with mine! many knock 'bose' but that's ok!
I have 3 pair of Panasonic Thrusters I’ll gift you, to match the 901s!

Then report back! DSP should help!
I first the 901's back in the 70's they were set up in a room at pacific stereo in berkely by a bose factory rep and they sounded great. I have heard others and still sounded pretty good but did not have the soundstage they had with the factory setup so it seems they are sensitive to placement due to the direct reflecting design.
I had the 901vI and R105/3 and found the first uniq design to lack midbass necessary to fill out male vocals. Eddie Vetter sounded like he was singing falsetto. Still I endured those speakers 25 years trying to get them to sound as they did in the showroom. The bose were fun.
I own a pair of 901 IV. Yes they are loud yes they sound the same no matter where you are sitting or standing in the room. I tried as hard as I could to make them work in my reference system but there was always something missing. I moved them all over the room I played with the factory eq I even added a parametric eq to try and dial them in but again there was just something missing. What it was is even thought Bose will not list sensitivity they are very inefficient drivers. They need a ton of power to drive them correctly. When I had them hooked up to my sansui 9090 ( this amp doubled as a welding tool when not playing music) they rocked but my 60 watt class A they are dead. I even changed over to my 301’s on the class A amp and they blew the 901’s away. Right now my 901’s are boxed up and hoping to sell them for a get them out of here price. They are great party speakers but have no place in a serious Or even moderate reference system. Enjoy them for what they are but you can never make them what they aren’t.
Bose tech is very old school. A 1970s Ferrari 308 can be beat by a SUV now. I know I have owned both. There are bookshelf speakers for a few hundred dollars that can blow the 901s away. I would sell the 901s and come up to something better unless you are trying to fill a lot of space with distorted music. Also like other people have said you need an arc welder to drive them which uses a lot of power and causes a ton of heat in the room. Buy Bucharest s300 with a subwoofer And you will be in heaven. If you want to fill the room without needing the welder go with the Ohm speakers that are designed to be close to the wall. I am not trying to be mean or negative, but as you have heard these speakers are a proverbial rabbit hole that can get expensive. Like turning a Honda Civic into a Porsche. 
I sold plenty of Bose 901 when in retail, back in the mid-to-late 70s.  Bose marketing worked well and many customers loved those things.  And for those who wanted them but could not afford them, they would often resort to the Bose 301.  After hours we would sometimes remain at the store and party for a while in "the high-end room", powering up the 901s with an SAE amp or a Phase Linear amp (if it wouldn't blow up...which they so often did).  With the 901 hanging from the ceiling we could get them, literally, rocking back and forth.  Yes, they went very loud and provided fun for those party times.  But for serious high-fidelity, they were never part of the equation.  We had a saying; "no highs, no lows, must be Bose".  But hey, if that is the sound that you enjoy, all the better to you.  It's all about your own musical tastes and enjoyment.

To the 901 Haters (you've obviously seen the New Record Day & Thomas & Stereo Video's), you obviously haven't heard a pair of the Series 1 or 2 Bose 901's (their best IMHO) setup properly with a Custom miniDSP curve dialed in for the room.

Other than that, I've enjoyed reading the trips down memory lane form all of you.