Ask any real audiophile and they’ll tell you that not all sound systems are created equal, even when discussing the same brand. For example, you don’t get the exact same noise tech in a Bose-equipped Audi as you do in a Mazda, because there are levels to this.
That being said, Bose and Mazda go back a very long time, some 30 years to be precise. The two companies first started working together on the third-generation RX-7 back in 1991, with audio engineers focusing on providing the Mazda sports car with a “powerful bass and impactful sound.”
They eventually found a solution in Bose’s so-called Acoustic Wave Cannon system, featuring a 3.6-meter-long (11.8 feet) tube with a high-power woofer.
“The Acoustic Waveguide technology and the RX-7 made music effortless,” said Bose engineer Mike Rosen, who was involved in the project.
Another challenge for Bose was designing a sound system for the fourth-generation MX-5, which presented difficulties seen as how the car was a convertible. Eventually, they came up with an EQ switch that automatically adjusted the sound when the top was down, whereas the UltraNearfield speakers were positioned directly into the headrests for a more immersive listening experience. Another clever solution was the AudioPilot noise compensation tech, which continuously monitors the noise environment and adjusts the audio playback accordingly.
Today, modern Mazda models such as the 2019 Mazda3, feature woofers that have been moved from the door panels to the cowl side above the kick panel, which allows for bigger door pockets and an improved sound experience thanks to the bass being reflected by the floor, firewall and kick panel simultaneously. This corner-loading effect creates an impactful bass that is said to be neither overbearing nor prone to rattling, which is how you want it.
On a personal note, having reviewed several Mazda models equipped with Bose technology, from the CX-5 and CX-7 to various generations of the Mazda3 and Mazda6, I’ve always found the sound system to be extremely competent by non-premium carmaker levels. I wouldn’t go as far as to say the Mazda/Bose combo was the best in a particular price range, but it was up there with the best of them.