I am certainly no expert in this area, and was impressed by store set-ups of the Bose systems. I worked with an engineer for several years that had a sideline business building high end speaker systems, and he showed me some Bose speakers he had opened up to compare with what he was building. I had to agree, the little speakers in the mini boxes looked CHEAP! Held that and the speakers he was using in near the same size and there was no comparison. His were twice as heavy, and the cones were far more rugged and looked as if they would outlast the Bose ones 4:1.
He also said that if you hooked the Bose speakers to a normal amplifier, they would not sound as good as most other speakers anywhere near the price range, and that the Bose amp specifically over drives certain frequencies to make the sound appear stronger, but that the levels are not realistic compared to the original sound source.
Still, they still sounded good to me! Guess my ears are prone to accepting overdriving of certain frequencies as great.
Maybe that is Bose's strategy, don't worry about "accurate" reproduction, but instead concentrate on what the majority of people feel is "apparently" better.
I used to fly a lot, and the Bose pilot's headphones are to kill for! Flying piston engined general aviation aircraft is a NOISY proposition at best, the Bose units pretty much kill all the noise and let the comm stuff through clear as a bell. I could not afford them, and only used a pair on one flight, but if I had kept flying they would have been on my "must obtain" list.