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Bose® Lifestyle® 38 system


1 Review

Item # 018LS38S4W

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Our take on the Bose® Lifestyle® 38 system

Pair the Bose Lifestyle® 38 Series IV DVD home entertainment system with an HDTV for crisp, clear video from your DVDs, video games, and high-def programs. This decor-friendly home theater system produces engaging surround sound from four of Bose's famous dual-cube speakers and a horizontally oriented center channel speaker. A separate hideaway Acoustimass® module delivers solid lows.

Pair the Bose Lifestyle® 38 Series IV DVD home entertainment system with an HDTV for crisp, clear video from your DVDs, video games, and high-def programs. This decor-friendly home theater system produces engaging surround sound from four of Bose's famous dual-cube speakers and a horizontally oriented center channel speaker. A separate hideaway Acoustimass® module delivers solid lows.

Store up to 200 hours of music
The Lifestyle® 38 system also includes the Bose uMusic® intelligent playback system, which lets you keep up to 200 hours of music organized and ready inside the system's stylish media center. Pop in a CD, hit the Store button, and the Lifestyle® 38 system identifies the disc and copies it into the media center. When you've built up a uMusic library of your favorite tunes, you can search it by song title, artist, album, or genre with a menu that displays on your TV. Or listen to a mix of stored music, and let this smart system learn your musical preferences. You can create up to nine different music presets. Choose presets for each member of your household, so that everyone has quick access to their favorite tunes. Or create presets for specific activities — dinner, exercise, parties, and more.

Simple, automatic setup
Bose's convenient ADAPTiQ® feature automatically tailors the system's sound to the size and shape of your specific room. Just put on the supplied headset equipped with built-in microphones, sit in five of your favorite spots, and the Lifestyle system adjusts its own speaker distance and delay settings. Now you're ready to experience your movie and music library with wraparound sound.

Crystal-clear images on your HDTV
The included VS-2 video enhancer lets you easily add more video components to your system, like a cable box and a game console. The VS-2 automatically upconverts all your video sources to the resolution that best matches your HDTV, even if you've got a state-of-the-art 1080p set. The powerful RF remote lets you control the Lifestyle® 38 system from anywhere in your home, and it can also operate your TV and other video components.

Product Highlights:

  • video-shielded horizontal center channel speaker
  • 4 video-shielded, swiveling dual-cube satellite speakers
  • Acoustimass® module
  • plays DVD-Video discs, DVD-Rs & DVD-RWs, CDs, audio CD-Rs and CD-RWs, and MP3 CDs
  • built-in Dolby® Digital and DTS® decoding for surround sound from DVDs and other sources
  • Bose Videostage® 5 steering circuitry for surround sound from VHS, stereo, and mono sources
  • automatic video upconversion via HDMI with resolution up to 1080p
  • selectable progressive-scan mode for smoother video with HD-compatible TVs (via the component video output)
  • uMusic® intelligent playback system stores up to 200 hours of music
  • ADAPTiQ® audio calibration system
  • Bose® link output allows music playback in other rooms using compatible Bose gear
  • 20 AM/20 FM presets
  • VS-2 video enhancer
  • 4 total A/V inputs (4 composite, 4 S-video, 3 component, and 2 HDMI)
  • inputs and switching for 4 audio sources (4 analog, 4 coaxial digital, 1 optical digital)
  • stereo analog output
  • digital outputs: 1 optical, 1 coaxial
  • universal RF remote operates other brands of video components
  • dimensions:
    • media center: 15-11/16"W x 3-13/16"H x 11-1/4"D
    • center channel: 6-1/16"W x 3-1/8"H x 4-1/16"D
    • satellite speakers: 3-1/8"W x 6-1/4"H x 4-1/16"D
    • bass module: 8-1/8"W x 13-1/8"H x 21-3/4"D
  • warranty: 1 year
  • Our 60-day money-back guarantee
  • designed for use with "Region 1" coded DVDs

What's in the Box:

  • White Acoustimass module
  • 4 White Dual-Cube speakers
  • White horizontal center channel speaker
  • Silver and black Media Center
  • Lifestyle VS-2 Video Enhancer
  • 2 AdaptiQ Setup Discs
  • Headset with attached 30' cord (has left and right RCA audio connectors)
  • White wireless remote control (RC38T1-27)
  • 4 "AAA" batteries
  • DCS91 Media Center power supply with attached 6' cord (Output: 33V/1.1A Max)
  • AM loop antenna with base
  • FM wire antenna
  • Two 8' AC power cords (for use with Media Center power supply and Acoustimass module)
  • 5.75' S-video cable
  • 6.25' Composite video cable (has an RCA composite video connector on each end)
  • 6' Stereo audio cable (has left and right RCA audio connectors on each end)
  • 6' VS-2 Cable (with Media Center plug and DC power plug on one end and S-Video/Composite (RCA)/Serial Data (stereo miniplug) and DC power connectors on the other end)
  • 6.75' Optical digital cable (with Toslink connectors on each end)
  • 6' HDMI cable
  • 20' Audio input cable ( 9-pin male connector on each end)
  • Three 20' white front speaker cables (each cable has a single RCA connector on one end and tinned wire on the other end)
  • Two 50' white surround speaker cables (each cable has a single RCA connector on one end and tinned wire on the other end)
  • TV on/off sensor with attached 6' cord (cord is terminated with a mono minijack connector)
  • 2 Self-adhesive Velcro mounting strips (for mounting TV on/off sensor)
  • IR emitter with attached 6' cord (cord is terminated with a mono minijack connector)
  • Self-adhesive foam pad (for mounting IR emitter)
  • 4 Self-adhesive rubber feet (for the Acoustimass module)
  • 4 Self-adhesive rubber feet (for center speaker)
  • Operating Guide (English/Spanish/French)
  • Installation Guide (English/Spanish/French)
  • Important Safety Instructions
  • Bose Product Registration and Warranty Information
  • End User License Agreement Notice sheet
  • AM antenna instructions
  • Quick Setup Guide
  • "Our Commitment To You" letter
  • List of worldwide Bose corporate contacts
  • uMusic System Guide

Bose® Lifestyle® 38 system Reviews

Average Customer Review(s):

(1 Review)

Great System

Joe from Poulsbo, WA on 9/10/2008

We bought the Bose Lifestyle 38 about a year ago, and it has been great, as well as easy to operate. The system was easy to install and has great sound in all conditions!! We recently added outdoor speakers and we had a problem with getting them to work. It turned out we needed a Bose remote to activate the outside speakers amp, which I did not know when I purchased the speakers and amp. Crutchfield apologized and sent me a discounted remote because were not told when we purchased the amp and speakers we would need the remote, great customer service!!




Hands-on research

Product Research

uMusic System
ADAPTiQ Audio Calibration System
Speaker System
Remote Control
Inputs and Outputs


Integrated System Design: The Bose Lifestyle 38 Series IV system consists of an elegantly-designed media center with the new VS-2 video enhancer, the Direct/Reflecting cube speaker arrays with a horizontal center channel speaker, and the Acoustimass module.

VS-2 Video Enhancer:The new VS-2 Video Enhancer provides HDMI connectivity from the Lifestyle media center. It has three video inputs and one output. Not only will the VS-2 convert any composite, S-Video, or component video input to HDMI, it will also up-scale all inputs to the highest level the TV can accept, up to 1080p. The VS-2 is Simplay HD certified to ensure compatibility between devices from different manufacturers. The VS-2 can be placed on a shelf or cabinet top, or wall-mounted using the two provided keyhole slots. Dimensions: Length: 15-11/16", Width: 4-3/4", Height: 1-5/8".

Media Center: The media center includes an AM/FM tuner and an integrated progressive scan DVD player which can also play CDs, CD-R/RWs, DVDs, DVD-R/RWs, Video CDs and MP3 CDs. The media center also includes the proprietary uMusic intelligent playback system that digitally stores up to 200 hours of music. The media center can be controlled by the supplied universal RF remote.

Disc Compatibility: The media center's DVD player will play the following discs:

  • Video DVDs (including those with DTS or Dolby Digital)
  • Video CDs
  • Audio CDs (including those with DTS)
  • CD-R, CD-RW, or CD-ROM
  • MP3 CDS (all tracks burned in a single/closed session, use of ISO9660 disc format, each file named with an".mp3" extension and no other periods, file tags no higher than ID3 (ID3v2))
  • SACD (if content is CD-compatible)

Surround Sound Decoding: The Media Center has built-in Dolby Digital and DTS decoders. For analog sources, Bose's Videostage 5 decoding circuitry (see below) is included.

Videostage 5 Decoding Circuitry: The Bose Videostage 5 decoding circuitry allows you to hear home theater surround sound from practically everything you listen to, including VHS tapes, stereo CDs, even mono TV programs.

Bose Link: Using optional Bose components, you can enjoy the same source at the same time in 14 different rooms, or two different sources at the same time in 14 different rooms. With the Bose link technology, you can have independent volume control in each room. The optional Bose link A cable is used to connect the system to a Bose SA-2 or SA-3 amplifier. The optional Bose link B cable allows you to connect a Bose 3-2-1 Series II system, the Lifestyle RoomMate powered speakers, or a Bose Wave radio/CD II. This technology can also be enabled without any room-to-room wiring with the purchase of the Bose link AL8 homewide wireless audio link.

On-Screen Settings Menu: The on-screen settings menu allows for simple and efficient system control.

Audio Settings: You can adjust the following audio settings:

  • Bass Compensation:You can adjust the bass between -14 and +14, or from -9 to +6 following ADAPTiQ calibration.

  • Treble Compensation: You can adjust the treble between -14 and +14, or from -9 to +6 following ADAPTiQ calibration.

  • Audio Processing:Standard Bose processing applies.

    • Movie EQ: automatically sets bass and treble compensation for the proper playback of movie sound tracks

    • Range Compression:range compression automatically adjusts the volume to allow you to hear soft sounds and to prevent you from being overwhelmed by a loud special effect, such as an explosion

    • Mono Decoding: automatically engages Bose Videostage decoding when a Dolby Digital bit stream indicates that it contains a mono program

  • Input Levels: You can set the input levels to -6, -3, Normal, +3 or +6 for the following sources:

    • TV Analog Input

    • TV Digital Input

    • VCR Analog Input

    • VCR Digital Input

    • CBL/SAT Analog Input

    • CBL/SAT Digital Input

    • AUX Analog Input

    • AUX Digital Input

  • ADAPTiQ: You can turn on or off, or erase previous ADAPTiQ settings.

  • Expansion Protocol: You can select Bose link to communicate with Bose link-compatible products in other rooms or select Legacy to communicate with Bose legacy products, such as Wave radios or Wave radio/CDs which pre-date Bose link compatibility.

  • CBL/SAT/VCR Audio:You can select Bose 5.1 if you want to hear the audio in Bose 5.1 surround, or TV Stereo if you want to hear the audio on the TV's speakers. (This option is available only if the TV-to-VS-2 connection is HDMI.)

2-3-5 Speakers: This feature allows you determine the number of speakers you want playing along with the Acoustimass module.

  • 2 Speakers: front left and right speakers

  • 3 Speakers: front left and right plus center channel speaker

  • 5 Speakers: all speakers playing

Video Black Level: This function adjusts the screen black level depending on your television. You can select between Normal or Extended.

TV On/Off Sensor: The TV on/off sensor works with the system to automatically turn on the TV, as needed, when a video source is selected. The TV sensor plugs into the back of the media center and then mounts to the back of your TV with the supplied Velcro strips.

Note: Front Projectors with a separate screen may not work with the sensor.

Multi-Angle Display:This function allows you to choose the viewing angle of scenes that were shot from a number of different angles.

Note: This function is limited to DVDs recorded with multiple camera angles.

Parental Control: This system allows you to set playback restrictions for DVDs using Parental Control. Parental Control allows you to restrict playback according to a predetermined level. You can select a Parental Control rating from 0-8, which is protected by a 4-digit password.

Station Presets: The built-in tuner allows you to store up to 20 AM and 20 FM stations. Once a station is stored in memory, you can select it using the remote control or the on-screen settings menu.

Sleep Timer: The sleep timer turns the system off after a set period of time. You can adjust the sleep timer from 10 to 90 minutes in 10-minute increments.

Display Brightness: The display on the Media Center can be adjusted to one of seven brightness levels.

Selectable Video Format: The system can output video in NTSC or PAL format.

TV Aspect Ratio: You can select the screen size between Normal (4:3) or Widescreen (16:9) depending on your TV's aspect ratio.

16:9 Reformat: This feature, when activated, reformats Widescreen DVD videos to fit a 4:3 TV screen automatically.

Headphone: For private listening, you can connect headphones to the jack, which is located on the right side of the media center.

Note: Connecting headphone mutes all main room speakers.

uMusic System

uMusic Intelligent Playback System: The proprietary uMusic Intelligent Playback System digitally stores up to 200 hours of music in the media center, freeing you from managing a cumbersome CD collection. As it stores and processes the tracks from your CDs, this system draws information about the tracks from internal music databases. This data includes the name of each track, performing artist, style of music (genre), and other meaningful information that helps characterize the music you enjoy. The uMusic system actually listens to your music and learns your preferences to select tracks based on what you like.

Storing Music: Storing music in the media center simply involves inserting a CD and hitting the Store button. While storing a CD, you can listen to the AM or FM radio tuner, other CD tracks that are already stored, or other sources connected to the system (an analog connection is required). You cannot listen to the CD that is being stored, or watch a DVD using the media center disc tray.

Note: The system is designed to store the tracks of regular CDs only. It will not store MP3 tracks or the contents of DVDs. Storing a CD takes approximately 5 minutes.

Presets: The uMusic system provides Presets 1 to 9 to provide each member of your household a private space for their personal listening preferences. By using an exclusive preset, each listener helps this intelligent system distinguish their individual reactions to what it plays.

Playback Options: When playing music stored in the uMusic system, you have access to the following playback options:

  • uMusic: selects the uMusic intelligent playback system mode for the stored source and overrides any previously selected modes
  • Library: lets you browse the entire library of stored music by genre, artist, album, or track.
  • Rating +/-: allows you to apply a negative (-) or positive (+) rating to the stored music playing. With a negative rating, the system logs your negative response and moves to another track immediately. With a positive rating, the system logs your response as positive and continues playing the track. You are likely to hear more music from that artist and album sooner than some others.
  • Encore: queues up and plays stored music that most closely matches the style of the current track
  • CD#: plays the tracks from a specific CD when it is pressed just before pressing the number keys for that stored CD
  • Playlist: plays all the tracks, if any, assigned to a playlist; can be used with additional play mode options, like Encore
  • Whole CD: skips from the track most recently playing to the first track on the CD of origin and plays that CD from beginning to end

ADAPTiQ Audio Calibration System

Overview: The Bose ADAPTiQ Audio Calibration System customizes the Lifestyle system to the size and shape of the room and the position of the listeners/viewers in the room. It contains a special headset that contains microphones instead of speakers and two audio calibration discs. Once the Lifestyle system has been properly connected, it will take about 20 minutes to complete the process. The calibration process consists of generating and analyzing sounds through the Lifestyle system, then allowing the software to self-adjust the system's parameters to give you optimum performance for your room and approximate seating positions.

Headset: The special headset supplied with the ADAPTiQ system has no speakers, but special microphones designed to be worn above the ears. It enables you to take acoustic measurements in your room during the custom equalization process. The headset has an adjustable headband (7.5"-9.5") and a 30' cord terminating in a pair of stereo male RCA plugs. These plug into the left and right AUX input on the rear panel of the Lifestyle system.

Setup Discs: The ADAPTiQ system contains two setup discs. Disc 1 verifies that your system's speakers are connected correctly and ensures complete performance from your Lifestyle system. Disc 2 leads you through the audio calibration process, which tailors the sound of your Lifestyle system for the acoustics of your listening area.

Future Applications: Moving your Lifestyle 38 Series IV system to another room, or significantly changing the arrangement of the existing room (relocate seating, furniture, speakers or the Acoustimass module) will change the acoustic environment of the listening area. When that occurs, you can repeat the process to customize the system for the new environment.

Speaker System

Speaker System Components: The Lifestyle 38 Series IV comes with a powerful six-piece speaker system which consists of the Acoustimass bass module, four Direct/Reflecting Cube speaker arrays, and a horizontal center channel speaker.

Acoustimass Module:The innovative Bose Acoustimass bass module works in concert with the small speakers to deliver the full range sound. The module delivers clear low-frequency sounds, even at the loudest levels. You can easily hide the module behind a curtain or chair without sacrificing sound quality. Even with the bass module hidden, all of the sound seems to come from the small cube speakers. The Acoustimass bass module is equipped with two 5-1/4" high-excursion paper cone woofers, each with foam surrounds.

Direct/Reflecting Cube Array Speakers: These cube speakers feature revolutionary Direct/Reflecting speaker technology to create an exceptionally wide soundstage in the listening area. Each speaker array has dual 2-1/2" "Twiddler" drivers. The speakers swivel left to right allowing you to reflect sound off your room's walls, as well as project it directly into the room. They provide a surround sound experience similar to what you'd get in a movie theater. Each speaker has a single 5mm threaded insert for optional Bose or universal wall brackets or stands.

Horizontal Center Channel Speaker: The horizontal center channel speaker delivers natural sounding dialog and vocals, while visually complimenting your flat panel TV screen. It utilizes the same 2-1/2" "Twiddler" drivers found in the dual cube speakers. The speaker has a single 5mm threaded insert for optional Bose or universal wall brackets or stands.

Remote Control

Multibrand RF Remote: The remote is pre-programmed to control this system and certain functions on other brands of TVs, VCRs, and cable/satellite receivers. In addition, the remote emits a powerful RF (radio frequency) signal, allowing you to operate your system from another room. The remote has a range of approximately 65 feet.

Control Integration: The Media Center and universal radio frequency (RF) remote combine to provide complete system control. A radio frequency receiver is built into the Media Center for exclusive communication with the Bose remote. The infrared (IR) control system includes an infrared receiver and an infrared transmitter, allowing the Media Center to retransmit operating commands from the radio frequency Bose remote to the infrared-based video components, such as a TV or cable box.

IR Emitter Cable: If a component does not respond to the Lifestyle system remote control commands, the IR signals may not be reaching it. The supplied IR emitter can be connected to establish a solid, stronger response.

Remote Control Switch Settings: Each Lifestyle remote control uses a house code that corresponds to the house code set by the media center, enabling the two to communicate. If another Lifestyle system nearby creates a conflict with your system, you can set a new house code in the media center and remote. The procedure involves generating a new house code in the media center and changing the DIP switches in the remote to correspond to the new media center code.

Inputs and Outputs

Media Center Rear Panel:

  • TV Sensor: minijack for use with supplied TV on/off sensor
  • IR Emitter: minijack for use with supplied IR emitter
  • Serial Data: minijack for use with supplied VS-2 cable
  • DC Power: DC jack for use with system power supply (connects to VS-2 cable)
  • Speakers:
    • Main: 8-pin jack that connects to the Acoustimass module using the supplied audio input cable
    • Bose Link: 8-pin jack that allows you to connect optional Bose components
  • AM Antenna: female mono sub-mini
  • FM Antenna: threaded 75-ohm F-connection
  • RC: female mono sub-mini for use with an optional antenna extender
  • Optical Input: standard Toslink digital input with a plastic cover
  • Optical Output: standard Toslink digital output with a plastic cover
  • Audio Output: left and right RCA audio jacks and a standard coaxial digital jack
  • Aux Input: left and right RCA audio jacks and a standard coaxial digital jack
  • CBL/SAT Input: left and right RCA audio jacks and a standard coaxial digital jack
  • VCR Input: left and right RCA audio jacks and a standard coaxial digital jack
  • TV Input: left and right RCA audio jacks and a standard coaxial digital jack
  • Video Inputs: RCA composite video jack and S-video jack
  • Video Outputs: RCA composite video jack and S-video jack (connects to supplied VS-2 cable)

Media Center Right Side:

  • Phones: stereo minijack headphone output

VS-2 Top Panel:

  • Video Inputs:
    • From AUX: composite, S-Video, and component video jacks
    • From CBL-SAT: HDMI, composite, S-Video, and component video jacks
    • From VCR: HDMI, composite, S-Video, and component video jacks
  • Video Outputs:
    • To TV: HDMI, composite, S-Video, and component video jacks

VS-2 Left Side:

  • DC Power:
    • In: DC jack for use with system power supply (connects to VS-2 cable)
    • Out: DC jack for use with system power supply (connects to VS-2 cable)
  • Media Center: serial data connector that connects to VS-2 cable

Acoustimass Module Rear Panel:

  • Speaker Outputs: 5 RCA jacks (front left, front right, center, surround left, and surround right)
  • Audio Input: 9-pin jack that connects to the Media Center using the supplied audio input cable
  • AC Power: for use with supplied AC power cord

Cube Array Speaker and Center Channel Speaker Terminals: The 4 satellite cube array speakers have a spring loaded clamp connector for use with the supplied speaker wire (tinned wire end), while the horizontal center channel speaker uses standard spring clip connections for the supplied speaker wire (tinned wire end).

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