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Boston Acoustics reinvents the budget audiophile speaker

Boston Acoustics dominated the budget audiophile speaker market in the 1980s, and now they're ready to do it again.

The Boston Acoustics A 360 tower speaker Boston Acoustics

In the early 1980s the Boston Acoustics A 40 and A 60 were the go-to speakers for audiophiles on a tight budget. They were hugely popular, and there are still vast numbers of them in circulation.

Well, the smart folks at Boston Acoustics have brought the A Series back, but the new speakers don't share any technology with the original models. The engineers have learned a lot over the decades, and that was immediately obvious when I heard some of the new A Series speakers earlier this week.

The little bookshelf model, the A 26 ($200 each), was sounding a lot bigger than I would have thought possible. For a speaker that measures just 13 inches by 8.25 inches by 10.5 inches, bass was punchy and deep, dynamics were wide open, and the treble was clear. Female vocals sounded especially natural.

These speakers don't need the assistance of a subwoofer to sound full and rich, so they would be a great fit for two-channel home theaters or hi-fi use. I also heard the A 360 towers ($400 each), which produced more and deeper bass, and played louder, but the same sound signature was evident over both speakers.

The A Series also includes a smaller tower, the A 250 ($300 each); two smaller bookshelf models, the A 25 ($150 each) and the A 23 ($140 each); and the A 225C center-channel speaker ($250). A 5.1-channel satellite-subwoofer package, the A 2310 ($900), completes the line.

Build quality is exceptional for speakers in this price class, and the cabinets' high-gloss, scratch-resistant finishes with textured top panels and magnetically attached grilles looked great. Vertical and horizontal internal braces reduce cabinet resonances for enhanced audio quality, and all the speakers feature newly developed ceramic and glass fiber polymer woofer cones that allow for higher speed, reduced distortion, and improved sensitivity.

The crossover components in all A Series models incorporate low-loss film capacitors, and low-distortion laminated silicon steel cores for the inductors in all critical areas, and five-way gold-plated binding posts. The speakers also use a single 1-inch Kortec soft-dome tweeter.

Two new powered subwoofers, the 300-watt ASW 650 and the 150-watt ASW 250 ($350), are also available.