The Patents of… Amar Bose

The Patents of… Amar Bose

Dr. Amar G. Bose, founder of the Bose Corporation.
Chitose Suzuki | AP

Featured image by Chitose Suzuki | AP

When it comes to the titans of audio technology, Amar Bose stands amongst the greats. His pioneering work at Bose Corporation has left an indelible mark on the world of sound. From groundbreaking loudspeaker systems to noise-cancelling headphones, Bose’s patents have reshaped how we experience audio. Here, we present the top five patents that encapsulate his genius and enduring influence on the industry. This list is subjective, and the patents were selected from a list of 29, as shown here. Each patent number in this article links to its respective page on, where you can find all the relevant information and additional images.

1. Direct/Reflecting Speaker System (Bose 901)

Patent Number: RE31228
Filed: November 30, 1979
Date of Patent: May 3, 1983

The Bose 901 is a hallmark in audio engineering, recognized for its innovative use of direct and reflecting sound. This patent outlines a loudspeaker system designed to create an immersive, concert-like experience within the home. The system utilizes eight rear-facing speakers on angled panels and one forward-facing speaker to achieve an 8:1 ratio of reflected to direct sound. This unique configuration ensures a uniform radiated power response across the audio frequency range, effectively replicating the acoustic environment of a live performance. The design’s emphasis on reflected sound was revolutionary, significantly enhancing the depth and spaciousness of audio playback. This system was not only a commercial success but also a technological marvel, laying the groundwork for future advancements in speaker design. It marked a departure from traditional speaker setups, focusing on how listeners perceive sound in real-world environments, rather than in controlled, anechoic chambers.

2. Noise-Cancelling Headphones

Patent Number: 4494074
Filed: April 28, 1982
Date of Patent: January 15, 1985

This patent is the cornerstone of Bose’s iconic noise-cancelling headphones. It details a feedback system where a microphone inside the ear cup picks up ambient noise and generates an inverse sound wave to cancel it out, drastically reducing background noise and enhancing audio clarity. This active noise cancellation technology was groundbreaking, setting a new standard for personal audio devices and becoming a must-have for frequent travelers and audiophiles. The development of this technology was driven by extensive research into how to counteract unwanted sound frequencies without compromising the quality of the audio being played. This patent’s innovation lies in its ability to create a serene listening environment in even the most chaotic surroundings, such as airplane cabins or busy streets. The precision and effectiveness of this noise-cancelling system have led to its widespread adoption in various forms, influencing the design and functionality of headphones across the industry.

3. Vehicle Sound System

Patent Number: 4282605
Filed: October 5, 1979
Date of Patent: August 4, 1981

A significant advancement in automotive audio, this patent describes a vehicle sound system that integrates power amplifiers with loudspeakers at four remote locations within a vehicle, connected by optical fibers. This setup minimizes electrical noise and distortion, providing high-fidelity sound even in the challenging acoustic environment of a car. The system uses an LED or diode laser to convert electrical signals into light, which is then transmitted to phototransistors that convert it back into electrical signals for amplification and playback. This approach not only reduces interference but also allows for more flexible placement of speakers within the vehicle. The integration of optical fibers represents a leap forward in reducing the susceptibility of audio systems to electromagnetic interference, a common issue in vehicles due to various electronic components. This technology underscored Bose’s commitment to delivering exceptional audio quality in all settings, extending their influence into the automotive industry.

4. Acoustic Waveguide Speaker Technology

Patent Number: 4628528
Filed: September 29, 1982
Date of Patent: December 9, 1986

Acoustic waveguide technology is a cornerstone of many Bose speaker systems. This patent outlines a design where a loudspeaker driver is connected to a pair of acoustic waveguides, one of which is one-third the length of the other. These waveguides help distribute sound energy uniformly across a wide frequency range, including the bass region. An integrated notch filter ensures that the frequency response remains smooth and free from distortion at lower frequencies. This innovation allows for compact speaker designs that do not compromise on sound quality, providing deep, rich bass without requiring large enclosures. The use of waveguides improves efficiency by guiding sound waves through carefully designed paths, minimizing energy loss and maximizing output. This technology exemplifies Bose’s philosophy of blending engineering precision with practical application, resulting in products that deliver superior performance in real-world listening environments.

5. Dynamic Equalizing Circuit

Patent Number: 4490843
Filed: June 14, 1982
Date of Patent: December 25, 1984

Dynamic equalization is essential for achieving balanced audio across different volume levels. This patent describes an automatic dynamic equalization circuit that adjusts the frequency response of an audio system to maintain clarity and balance at any volume. The circuit includes a potentiometer and an active resonator, which work together to boost bass frequencies at lower volumes and reduce boominess. This ensures that the audio remains consistent and natural-sounding, whether played softly or loudly. The design addresses the human ear’s varying sensitivity to different frequencies at different sound levels, based on the Fletcher-Munson curves. By providing tailored frequency boosts and cuts, the system enhances the listening experience without introducing unwanted coloration or distortion. This innovation is a testament to Bose’s commitment to high-fidelity sound, making it a fundamental feature in many of their audio products.

While this top five list highlights pivotal contributions to audio technology, it’s subjective and might not reflect everyone’s preferences. We encourage you to explore his full range of patents and decide for yourself which innovations stand out. You can visit Amar G. Bose’s patents to delve deeper into his groundbreaking work.

2024 PMA Magazine. All rights reserved.

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