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Boston Boosts Bass, Adds To Top-End

Boston Acoustics geared up for the fourth-quarter selling season by expanding its selection of home theater speaker systems and high-end Lynnfield speakers, introducing a quartet of powered subwoofers that drive down price and size, and enhancing the bass performance of Lynnfield towers equipped with powered subwoofers.

Shipments of most models began in October and will be followed by January CES introductions that will include a completely new indoor/ outdoor speaker line and a step-up electronics/speaker home theater package, which will complement an existing Dolby Digital package.

The company expanded its powered subwoofer selection to four models from three with the launch of the PowerVent series — which includes new amplifier designs that help drive down the size of three models by one-third, compared to their predecessors, with no loss in output, said product manager Steve Feinstein.

The three new models, whose suggested retails range from $299 to $699, also cost about one-quarter to two-thirds less than the predecessors, he said.

The fourth model in the series — the top-end $1,199-suggested-retail 10-inch PV1000 — is the company’s smallest powered subwoofer to date and is one of the industry’s few 1,000-watt subwoofers in its size class at 14.75 x 11.5 x 14.13 inches, he said. The PV1000 and the $699 12-inch 300-watt PV800 feature quasi-class-D amplifier technology, which combines a digital tracking power supply with class A/B outputs.

Like all four new subs, the 1000 and 800 also feature BassTrac distortion-monitoring circuitry, which monitors the level of the incoming audio signal and “ensures that the level doesn’t exceed the limits that would drive the amplifier into distortion,” Feinstein said. “It’s not a voltage limiter, but it feeds the signal into the available voltage window to preserve the clarity and fidelity of the original signal.”

To these technologies, the PV1000 adds a Radial Vent driver design that features a speaker basket with internal channels. Heat radiated from the voice coil to the basket is pumped out of the back of the basket through the channels so the speaker “can handle tremendous amounts of power yet operate safely,” Feinstein said. “That’s important in small subwoofers, which are inherently less efficient than bigger subwoofers, so you can get them to play loud.”

The amps in the 7-inch 65-watt PV400 and 10-inch 120-watt PV600 subs, feature BassTrac but no quasi-Class-D technology. Their respective enclosure sizes are 19.5 x 10 x 11 inches and 16.5 x 11.88 x 16.13, and they’re priced at $299 and $449, respectively.

All four are the company’s first with a crossover bypass for use with Dolby Digital receivers.

The PV1000 ships in November. The others are already available.

BassTrac technology also appears for the first time in the company’s top-end Lynnfield series. The VR965 and VR975 towers, which incorporate powered subwoofers, replace current towers with no change in price, size or number of drivers, but the new models add BassTrac and slightly more powerful amps to boost bass output by 4-5dB, said Feinstein. The prices are $1,000 and $1,600/pair, respectively.

To its Lynnfield line, Boston Acoustics also added bookshelf speakers for the first time in response to dealer requests. The VR-M50 at $700/pair and VR-M60 at $1,100/pair feature wood cabinets and the company’s best drive and crossover units, he said.

All told, the Lynnfield lines consists of four towers, the two bookshelf models, and a center channel.

Boston’s new home theater package is the $1,500 System 10k, which consists of five wall-mountable two-way aluminum-cabinet speakers, each with 5.25-inch woofer and 1-inch tweeter. Wall brackets are included. With a recommended $700 300-watt PV800 powered sub sold separately, the 10k can be used to create a $2,200 home theater speaker system.

The resulting system would join two home theater packages, both with powered sub included, at $699 and $999.