Daily Blog – Piero Gabucci – March 25, 2008: A VISIT WITH BOSTON ACOUSTICS.

I had a chance to visit with Boston Acoustics and see some of their new products. We are late with this report, but here it is anyway.

You knew Boston Acoustics had something special in mind when they unveiled a new slick logo replacing their longstanding conservative emblem as a symbol of things to come. Introducing three significant new concepts in the audio world, BA has developed in the last year or so some new and hip concepts. So come play!!

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 Responding to the current market of customizing and personalizing your gear, Boston Acoustics introduced their Personal Options Plan, or P.O.P. With this new “make it your own” concept, Boston Acoustics developed the first modestly priced and sized series called Horizon that allows the buyer to select from a number of off-the-shelf colors for grilles and for the speaker shells. An upscale series, called Vista (Horizon today, Vista tomorrow, get it?) is now available.

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The Horizon series is a youthful looking package that is complete from small bookshelf units to full size floorstanding speakers and subwoofers. Very nicely engineered, the bookshelf units, HS 40, 50, and 60 priced at $99.00, $129.00 and $150.00 each respectively can be stand or wall mounted, or literally sit on your shelf – the same for the larger LCR HS 225 at $249.00 each. The HS units are 2-way designs, rear-ported with 4 ½”, 5 ¼”, and 6 ½” drivers respectively. The LCR units each have dual 5 ¼” drivers.

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Floorstanding speakers with the HS 450 and 460 priced at $300.00 and $400.00 each continue the variable color theme. Subwoofers available include the down-firing wireless 150w powered unit HPS 8Wi at $399.95 and three larger front-firing (non-wireless) subs, the 10” 150w HPS 10SE at $299.99, 250w HPS 10HO at $399.99 and the 300w 12” HPS 12HO at $499.99.

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Along with Horizon, Boston Acoustics also jumped into the lifestyle products game by introducing the TVee™ Model Two – a small “bar” array stereo speaker meant to replace the often poor quality sound from the flat panel displays flying off the shelves. Not to be confused with the other surround bar packages out there, the TVee™ product is strictly 2-channel with an important twist – a wireless (don’t call it a subwoofer) woofer. At an affordable $399.00, the package sounded terrific and in keeping with the Play Smart™ concept, a variety of new trendy colors are available.

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“Smartly” designed, the TVee™ series product learns the commands from your own remote for volume and mute. It features 4- 2 ½” mid-base drivers and 2-1/2” dome tweeters. The system delivers a healthy 100 watts total power.

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Boston Acoustics also introduced in the Horizon line, the MCS (multi-channel series) with the 5.1-MCS 100 priced at $499.99 and 130 at $799.99. Consistent with their P.O.P. concept, this package is available in the same variety of colors, currently 8 for grilles and 2 shell colors. The LCR’s have 1” tweeters and multiple 3 ½” drivers with 5-way binding posts and the powered subwoofers are 8” (100w) and 10” (200w) for each series.

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Lastly SoundWare – a cubic flexible speaker designed for indoor/outdoor use at $99.99 each continues the play fun attitude BA has adopted. The 2-way unit features a 4 ½” driver along with a ¾” tweeter. Although the face is flat, each of the other surfaces have chamfered edges to allow corner, or wall-to-ceiling installations staying very tight to the surface.

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All in all, some very interesting product design and engineering from our friends at PEE-buddy, don’t-call-it Pea-body Massachusetts. Can’t wait to see Vista!

6 Responses to “Daily Blog – Piero Gabucci – March 25, 2008: A VISIT WITH BOSTON ACOUSTICS.”

  1. ovation Says:

    I’m a very satisfied owner of a VR-M set up (which they don’t make anymore). I have to say I’m somewhat underwhelmed by current Boston offerings as they appear to have gone in a direction away from the path the VR-M series was setting. When I put together my next setup, I will give the Bostons a listen, but I’m not sure it will be more than a perfunctory one (though I’ll be going to Festival Son et Image in Montreal this coming weekend and will look for their setup, if available).

    How would you compare the current offerings with the VR-M series?

  2. Piero Says:

    Well there are other dynamics at play here that ultimately have an effect on the path Boston Acoustics takes, specifically where it’s placed in the family of companies owned by D&M Holdings which owns not only Boston Acoustics but Denon, Marantz and McIntosh and others! More importantly D & M also owns Snell which of course has been positioned as the “high end” speaker brand (with all due respect to the other speaker manufacturers in the group) leaving Boston Acoustics to re-invent itself. When I reviewed the E-Series last year, I believed the line to be a superlative package and a natural progression for the likes of full-range speakers like the VR series which is a wonderful speaker. This new “lifestyle” switch for BA to “Play smart” is in my opinion their attempt to fit in. Having said that, these speakers don’t give the appearance of serious audio, but I was very surprised by their sound quality.

  3. ovation Says:

    My feeling is the VR-M had become too expensive to replace and, if improved, would have been more in the league of the entry level Snells I auditioned (but ultimately could not afford) when I bought the VR-Ms. Ah well, it’s a bit of an academic exercise as I am at least 2 years away from putting together another reasonable system (2 channel, this time) and I’m very happy with my current Bostons (I tend to keep speakers 10-15 years before “upgrading”, so they have a good 6-10 years left in them). I will give the ones you featured in your blog a listen this weekend (if they are at the show) as I want to be fair to a brand that has served me well. And who knows, if I’m sufficiently impressed, perhaps I’ll move up the timetable for a new system (though my roof probably says otherwise). Thanks for the response.

  4. George Leroy Tirebiter Says:

    Doesn’t anybody care what speakers sound like any more? If I see the term “lifesyle” applied to them one more time I’m going to puke. These are crap speakers that are made for people without ears. There are excellent speakers available that don’t cost any more than these. I thought this site cared about sound. Why are these being pushed?

  5. John Johnson Says:

    Piero isn’t “pushing” them. He is simply reporting on what Boston Acoustics showed at a press conference, and he is being polite. It’s up to the consumer to decide what is appropriate for their own purchases.

  6. Piero Says:

    Lifestyle just means they were designed to fit into decor for whatever that’s worth. Boston Acoustics has made some really good speakers in the past and we were invited to have a listen to this new series. My reaction was surprise, they sounded better than their appearance. George if you’ve heard these speakers and feel otherwise I’d like to know your opinion.

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