Chances are you are familiar with Boston Acoustics. That’s because the company has been producing quality speakers for the home audio market for over 30 years and, more recently, has led innovations in mobile audio as well.
The firm’s reputation for quality products at a moderate price is well earned, but with so many specialty speaker makers and Internet-direct options exploding onto the scene over the last 10 years, it’s inevitable that the outfit’s popularity has suffered a bit. That may be changing soon, however, courtesy of the VS 344 loudspeaker, whose beautiful aesthetic and even more beautiful sound should have people buzzing over Boston again shortly.
By leveraging its expertise as a driver manufacturer and combining it with top-notch engineering, the manufacturer has managed to create a truly outstanding floor standing loudspeaker with an incredibly small footprint and a remarkably big sound. As part of its flagship series, the VS 344 represents the best of what Boston Acoustics has to offer and, as you’ll soon read, we think it’s pretty fantastic.
Out of the Box
The VS 344 comes packaged well enough to handle the rigors of today’s most unkind nationwide shippers. Though the outer box looked a bit worse for wear following its journey to our office, the speaker was adequately protected by molded EPE foam and, thus, blemish free. The highly reflective piano gloss lacquer and dark cherry wood end caps were further guarded by a thin plastic sheath akin to the sort of protection you remove from the windows of electronics or the glass of a wristwatch. When peeled back, the high quality of the speaker’s finish was evident, with its mirror-like surface free of haze or streaking – a testament to the quality of the cabinet’s manufacturing. A black grill-cloth spans the entire height of the speaker top to bottom and the front baffle curves elegantly back to an even thinner cabinet body, giving the VS 344 a very thin appearance in any room.
Features and Design
The magnetically shielded VS 344 loudspeaker measures 44 x 5-3/8 x 8-3/8” and weighs in at a respectable 35lbs. Each unit utilizes a 1” Super Wide Bandwidth tweeter to handle the high frequencies, a 4” OCCM (organic composite cone material) midrange driver and, for the bass department, four more 4” OCCM drivers. The speaker is rear ported to enhance bass response and bi-wire/bi-amp capable using the provided gold-plated binding posts. We’re still waiting to speak with Boston Acoustics for verification, but our bet is that the tweeter and midrange driver are in their own, sealed cabinet, leaving the remainder of the cabinet volume to the 4” bass drivers. According to Boston Acoustics’ website, the bass drivers are crossed over at 250 hz and the midrange driver at 2500 hz. The rated sensitivity of the speaker is 87 db SPL/ 2.8v/1m – a relatively low rating, considering that Boston Acoustics claims high sensitivity is one of the speaker’s notable attributes. However, as you’ll note from our performance evaluation, we had no problems test driving the VS 344.