Surround Sound Speaker Systems
- Written by Brian Alvarez
- Published on 10 October 2011
Design and Set up of the Boston Acoustics A Series Home Theater Speakers
All 6 speakers arrived in the gloss black finish (white has just been made available, and can only be purchased directly from bostonacoustics.com). The design focuses on gloss side and front panels (with the center channel only having gloss side panels) with a matte leatherette material wrapped from the drivers through to the top plate. The drivers (minus the tweeter) are a blueish white. The whole look is sleek if the magnetically attached grills are left on. Unfortunately the grills are far from being acoustically inert. There's a marked improvement in both imaging and treble detail with the grills removed. Grills off, the center and A25 surround speakers work well aesthetically, the A360 looks just too much like a big black box. Having seen pictures of the gloss white finish, the contrast of the black vinyl and drivers make the A 360 towers considerably more appealing.
Construction is what you would expect for the price. The cabinets are rigid but not overly braced or damped. Fit and finish isn't superb. There is only so much that can be done at this price level. They're no worse than competitors speakers. The A 360 speakers are tall speakers. Unusually so for this price range.
All speakers are rear ported, the subwoofer is front ported. The towers, center, and surround speakers are fitted with single speaker posts that accept bare wire, spades and banana plugs (protective red and black caps need to be removed in order to use banana plugs).
The A 25 bookshelf/surround speakers have a keyhole for wall mounting, but do not include a bung to seal the port if you should choose to mount them this way. In practice they don't produce enough bass for this be an issue, especially crossed over at 80hz or higher.
The A 360 main speakers have fixed rear feet with two adjustable front feet. There are provisions for the provided spikes for use on carpets. I chose not to use the spikes on my hardwood floors as the A 360 is a very tall speaker and I wanted to avoid raising the soundstage even higher.
The A 225C center channel has no tilt mechanism in the way of adjustable feet or pads.
The center channel sounds best pointed directly at ear level. I used Audio-Technical AT6099 Hybrid Insulators at the front to rake the speaker upwards.
My only concern with the design of the speakers centers on packaging. The center, surround and subwoofer are all double boxed with ample foam coverage. While all those boxes sustained external damage in shipping to me, the speakers inside were unhurt and the boxes could be re-used in the future. The A 360 boxes being significantly larger, not double boxed, and with a minimum of foam did not fare so well.
The speakers were cosmetically dinged from transit and one of the rear feet was sheared off. Boston replaced the foot almost immediately (and would do so for consumers as well) and offered to send replacement speakers (again, an offer that would be extended to regular customers). If purchased online or via mail-order I would insist on having the floorstanding speakers double boxed by the shipper.