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Bose recalls over 1 million ancient subwoofers due to potential fire hazard

Bose recalls over 1 million ancient subwoofers due to potential fire hazard

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Affected bass modules were sold between 1994 and 2007 at a slew of big-box retailers. Bose is offering repairs or a discount toward its current home theater products.

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A photo of Bose’s Acoustimass bass module.
If you’ve got a large Bose bass module like the one above in your home somewhere, pay attention.
Image: Bose

Ordinarily, a recall about products sold way back in the early 2000s probably wouldn’t catch our attention. But this particular recall is about Bose, and people tend to hold onto Bose gear for a long, long time. Plus, we’re dealing with speakers — and good old “dumb” speakers can last for decades. So it’s worth calling attention to the fact that Bose is recalling over 1 million bass modules that were part of the company’s Acoustimass, Lifestyle, and Companion home theater systems.

The recall website says these systems were sold at “Bose stores, Best Buy, Circuit City, Sam’s Club, Sears, and other electronics stores nationwide, and online at Bose.com from January 1994 through April 2007 for between $220 and $2,200.” Circuit City? This really takes me back. And damn, those Bose home-theater-in-a-box kits used to be expensive.

A photo of Bose’s recalled bass modules.
Image: Bose

There’s a wide range of bass modules from various systems included in this recall. You can see all the relevant product names on the Consumer Product Safety Commission site, but Bose has also published a useful page for identifying whether you’ve got affected hardware. If you own anything from the company that looks like either module above (in either black or white), you’ll want to unplug it and look for the product name and serial number to confirm that it’s an at-risk unit.

Here’s a random YouTube unboxing I found where you get a good look at one of the bass modules and a sense of its size at the 5:30 mark.

According to the CPSC, Bose has “received 21 reports worldwide of the bass modules igniting or melting, including three incidents of fires resulting in property damage to carpeting, an entertainment cabinet, and to materials surrounding the bass box.” Damaged property is never fun, but at least there haven’t been any reported injuries stemming from this issue.

This isn’t Bose’s first voluntary recall pertaining to bass modules; the company issued one in 2012 over a potential fire hazard when those products were used with high-voltage outlets outside the United States. This time around, the CPSC says Bose is willing to repair affected modules — but it’s also offering a 40 percent discount “on a replacement product.” The Verge has reached out to Bose for more specifics on which products in its modern home theater portfolio are eligible for that savings.