Boston Acoustics Horizon MCS 130 review: Boston Acoustics Horizon MCS 130

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CNET Editors' Rating

3 stars Good
  • Overall: 6.5
  • Design: 7.0
  • Features: 7.0
  • Performance: 6.0
Review Date:
Updated on:

The Good Distinctively styled 5.1 surround speaker system; 200 watt, 10-inch powered subwoofer; relatively compact size; optional grilles available in eight colors.

The Bad Subwoofer looks like an overturned wastebasket; the recessed connectors are somewhat difficult to access.

The Bottom Line If you like the swappable speaker grilles--and can find the system at a discount--the Boston Acoustics MCS 130 is a worthy surround speaker package.

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Boston Acoustics may be one of the oldest American speaker companies, but the company is trying to reinvent its brand with some nontraditional product options. Take the Horizon MCS 130 surround sound speaker package. It's one of several "Personal Options Plan" products the company introduced in 2007. So instead of just choosing between black (onyx) or silver (mist), the MCS 130 lets you choose from six other sets of snap-on grilles--glacier (light blue), rosebud (pink), pearl gray, chocolate (brown), chili pepper (red), and caramel (tan). The grilles are available for $20 to $28 each--buy as many as you'd like to match the decor of your room, or go crazy and mix and match. The system itself lists for $800, but it can be found online for half that.

The MCS 130 system comes with three LCR (left/center/right) satellite speakers for the front, a pair of smaller matching surround speakers, and a subwoofer. The satelites are all small enough to be unobtrusive. The LCRs measure 13.8 inches tall by 5 inches wide by 4.1 inches deep, and can be used in either a horizontal or vertical orientation. They weigh 5.5 pounds each. The surround speakers are a bit smaller: they're 8.9 inches by 5 inches by 4 inches, and weigh 3 pounds. The subwoofer, which looks like an overturned wastepaper basket, isn't exactly small--the 16.5-inch square is 13.8 inches high, and tapers to a trapezoidal shape (the top is smaller than the base). Its 31.2-pound weight feels fairly solid.

The LCR speakers feature the classic woofer/tweeter/woofer arrangement with newly designed dual 3.5-inch drivers and a 1-inch soft dome tweeter. The molded cabinet combines subtle curves and a distinctive flared "lip" around the edge of the front baffle. Around back you'll find a sturdy bolt-on "foot" that supports the speaker when it's placed on a shelf or stand, or take the foot off and mount the speakers on the wall using the keyhole slots. There's also a pair of molded-in bass-enhancing ports on the back panel.

The smaller surround speaker uses just a single 3.5-inch mid-bass driver and the same 1-inch tweeter as the LCR speaker. It also has the foot and keyhole slots. One gripe: all of the satellites' recessed plastic binding posts are somewhat difficult to access; that won't be a problem with banana plugs, but threading bare wire or spades into the recessed connectors can be a minor hassle.

If you're running a 6.1 or 7.1 channel system, additional LCR and surround speakers are available for $130, and $90 MSRPs, respectively. Likewise, if you want to save some cash, you could downgrade to the Boston Acoustics MCS 100, which uses smaller satellite speakers all around. (That said, recent price breaks make it more affordable to stick with the MCS 130 at many retailers.)

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Where to Buy

Boston Acoustics Horizon MCS130 (midnight/onyx)

Part Number: MCS130 Released: Sep. 15, 2007

Pricing is currently unavailable.

Quick Specifications See All

  • Release date Sep. 15, 2007
  • Color midnight
  • Speaker System Type home theater speaker system
  • Nominal (RMS) Output Power 200 Watt
  • Amplification Type active subwoofer, passive satellites
  • Connectivity Technology wired
  • Type Speaker system
  • Speaker System Configuration 5.1-channel
About The Author

Ex-movie theater projectionist Steve Guttenberg has also worked as a high-end audio salesman, and as a record producer. Steve currently reviews audio products for CNET and works as a freelance writer for Home Theater, Inner Fidelity, Tone Audio, and Stereophile.