Review: Boston Acoustics VS 336 Loudspeaker
Industrial design and performance allow it to hold its own next to fancy flat panels.
Boston Acoustics has positioned itself as a value-minded, performance-oriented manufacturer of loudspeakers.
The company recently introduced the VS line, its latest effort to grow within the loudspeaker category.
Headlining the VS loudspeaker line is the VS 336 floorstanding loudspeaker, which Boston Acoustics has engineered to set a new performance benchmark in a consumer landscape that wants style and substance.
I initially listened to some two-channel holiday music from the Trans Siberian Orchestra, Mariah Carey and Bing Crosby to establish a reference point for the speaker’s performance. Once I got a feel for the speaker’s sound, I ran them for approximately 40 hours to allow the VS 336s to break in.
- Frequency response: 35Hz to 35kHz
- Power handling: 10-150 watts
- Sensitivity: 87dB
- Impedance: 8 ohms
- Driver array: three 6.5-inch woofers, one 4.5-inch midrange, and one 1-inch tweeter
- Dimensions (H x W x D): 46 1/16th inches x 9 7/8 inches x 12 13/16 inches
The VS 336s sounded big and dynamic with some top-end tinniness that colored the timbre of cymbals and the high E and B strings on guitars.
Most of the edginess on the top end disappeared after the speakers broke in. I verified what I had heard with content from Dave Matthews, Stevie Ray Vaughn and Fleetwood Mac on CD, “Tinkerbell” and Rush “Snakes and Arrows Live” on Blu-ray, and a smattering of HDTV broadcasts.
The VS 336’s performance was pretty consistent with only slight variances that depended on the accompanying electronics and positioning adjustments made while using the speakers in three different systems.
The speakers produced a wide soundstage that should fill most rooms. The VS 336s produced a deep image with a lot of midrange detail that was highlighted on songs like “Landslide” and “Silver Springs” in which I could hear Mick Fleetwood’s drums in the center of the soundstage with layers of backing vocals, guitars and bass spaced within the musical image in layers.
The edginess materialized into a “forwardness” that I could detect in the upper bass region. This “forwardness” could be best described as an increased emphasis on the bass guitar and percussion instruments like mounted tom and snare drums. The forwardness became more prominent as the audio climbed up the octave ladder.
Listening to surround sound seemed to lessen the affect of the “forwardness” and with the help of my system’s subwoofer, the VS 336’s solid low-end capabilities were extended without sounding unnatural.
The VS 336 has a nice combination of industrial design and performance and will more than hold its own next to a fancy flat-panel TV. With its dynamic, soundstage and resolution capabilities, the VS 336 is a nice way for loyal Boston Acoustics fans to step into a higher performing product.
MSRP: $3,400 per pair
Bob is an audio enthusiast who has written about consumer electronics for various publications within Massachusetts before joining the staff of CE Pro in 2000. Bob is THX Level I certified, and he's also taken classes from the Imaging Science Foundation (ISF) and Home Acoustics Alliance (HAA). Bob also serves as the technology editor for CE Pro's sister publication Commercial Integrator. In addition, he's studied guitar and music theory at Sarrin Music Studios in Wakefield, Mass., and he also studies Kyokushin karate at 5 Dragons in Haverhill, Mass. Have a suggestion or a topic you want to read more about? Email Robert at [email protected]
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