Converting Proprietary Bose Link Connectors to Standard RCAs

Discussion in 'The Projects Forum' started by Spades45, Apr 26, 2015.

  1. Spades45

    Thread Starter New Member

    Oct 7, 2014
    5
    0
    my parents have a Bose lifestyle 5.1 all inclusive system. i want to replace only the AV receiver in the system, keeping the speakers and hopefully subwoofer. the problem is since they've bought into the bose ecosystem, everything is proprietary.

    the receiver connects to the subwoofer - and only the subwoofer, it doesn't connect to the speakers directly - by a proprietary "Bose Link" cable. it's actually just a Mini DIN 9-pin connector, with a nonstandard pinout and a $60 pricetag. each speaker is wired to the subwoofer through a two-wire cable that ends in a generic RCA plug which plugs into the subwoofer, and then their signals go through the proprietary bose cable to the receiver.

    what i want to do is hack off those RCA plugs and then plug the speaker wire directly into a new receiver. is this possible? the negative of the speaker wire should be connected to the outer ring part of the RCA plug, and the positive should be connected to the center pin, so it should be pretty easy to remove the plugs and label the wire + and - myself and run that to the new receiver. copper is copper, so this should work at least in theory, no?

    and if this is true, then the same should be possible of the sub and its bose link connector. i found a diagram online that says the RCA signal and ground should be pins 3 and 4, or 5 and 9. i can get a multimeter on amazon for under 20 bucks, can i somehow connect that to the bose link connector wiring while the system is powered on, and find the sub pos and neg with the multimeter?

    or can i just use a 3.5mm to RCA cable to output music from my phone and test it by connecting the copper from the bose link cable directly to the RCA output? i know the center pin of RCA should go to pos, and outer ring should go to neg. to find pos and neg i can try switching the copper cable from pin to pin and back and forth from RCA ground and pin. shouldn't take too long, but does this risk damaging the sub? especially since it won't be through a crossover, will the sub be trying to produce high frequency sound and blow itself up? or will it just not make noise since it'll be going through the puny headphone amp of my phone?

    thanks in advance.
     
  2. lmarklar

    New Member

    Apr 23, 2015
    24
    3
    I don't know much about Bose systems in particular. But if I was designing a proprietary audio system using a custom connector, I would send the audio in a digital format to the sub woofer and have it decoded / amplified and sent out from there. I'm pretty sure that Bose speakers have quite a bit of signal processing going on due to their unique designs. You might be better off selling the system complete and buying speakers designed to be run from a normal amp. Once you hack the cables it starts getting harder to sell them for their value and I'd bet you'll be disappointed in the sound quality without the Bose signal processing.
     
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  3. Spades45

    Thread Starter New Member

    Oct 7, 2014
    5
    0
    if that's the case, then i would have to replace the subwoofer but not the other speakers right? since the digital output would go through the bose link cable to the subwoofer, get processed and then sent out as analog to the speakers.

    if i'm stuck with it i'm stuck with it, but it's worth trying. i'm not selling the whole system because the surround sound is already wired with cables running through the walls and whatnot- and i don't want to do that again.

    worst case scenario, i can just solder a new RCA plug on the end and go back to debating the cost of a complete new system. i've been meaning to learn to solder anyway.

    it should work though, right? i don't know much about electrical wiring but it seems logical to me.
     
  4. lmarklar

    New Member

    Apr 23, 2015
    24
    3
    If they were normal speakers, yes it would work. The problem you are going to run into is again, signal processing.

    "The Lifestyle system (speakers and acoustimass module) are not designed to separate out the speakers from the rest of the system. The speakers need the feed from the acoustimass module. He says u can TRY and use the speakers with another receiver, but no guarantees it will work or how long the speakers will last."

    Found that on another forum. In the same thread a guy said he put a yamaha receiver on some Lifestyle speakers and they just didn't sound right.

    Replacing the entire system wouldn't be bad, you would not have to re-run wires through walls /ceiling ect. Just replace the speakers, if the wiring is hard connected... You can always tie a new speaker line to the ones you are pulling and have it fish through as you pull the old speaker wire out (I left kite string in my walls after I fished the wiring, just in case I wanted to add more wiring or replace it someday).

    If you are set on replacing the Bose receiver, give it a shot, you can always replace the speakers later! But I doubt you will be able to drive the sub direct, you will probably have to replace that at a minimum.
     
    Spades45 likes this.
  5. mrzopo

    New Member

    Jan 14, 2016
    1
    1
    Hi Spades, I've got the same problem and had exact same idea as you for some time. How did you go about it? Did you manage to hook your own receiver to the Acoustimass? My acoustimass is probably one of the oldest and worst using an RJ-45 telephone-style audio input.
     
    Last edited: Jan 14, 2016
    Spades45 likes this.
  6. Kermit2

    AAC Fanatic!

    Feb 5, 2010
    3,789
    945
    I have had the privilege of working on bose equipment, or was it a curse. (Damn conformal coating)
    The audio going into the speaker is actually a modulated ultra high audio signal. The scope display is not a dancing sinewave but something identical to a scope view of a modulated rf power envelope. Clamshell like shapes on a string that shrink and swell to the music.
     
  7. Spades45

    Thread Starter New Member

    Oct 7, 2014
    5
    0
    Purchased a standard subwoofer and AV receiver, hacked off the RCA plugs on the Bose speakers and connected them to the receiver and everything works perfectly! Plus I made $100 selling the old Bose sub and receiver on craigslist.

    I can confirm there is no weird distortion or adverse effects. Sound quality is improved due to the new sub. Replacing the receiver saved me a lot of headache thanks to HDMI among other things.
     
    Last edited: Jan 21, 2016
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