Big and Tall: Boston Acoustic A200s

Boston Acoustic A200s

These are neat. I found them for sale not far from me and had to go take a look. I was impressed and they came home.

The A200s are huge 3-way speakers and measure 41″x21″x6″ – tall, wide and thin. The top of the Boston Acoustic A line, they were meant to be placed against walls, and the shallow and wide construction was said to aid in sound dispersion. I read somewhere that Boston made these as their ‘no compromise’ speaker. I have to agree from a construction standpoint, these are top-notch. The oak veneer is thick and well-made. The grilles are an attractive tan cloth, and on my pair, in perfect condition.

Boston Acoustic A200

The sound is great. These are 3-ways, with a 10″ woofer, 4″ mid and a SEAS tweeter, at least in my early model – later models had a proprietary dome tweeter. Rated at about 90db/w at one meter, these should be pretty efficient too.

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At first they went into my living room, where all these pictures were taken. They produced clear and honest sound. I was never extremely smitten with them, however. My conclusion was that they were too much speaker for the room – they were pretty close together on a narrow wall, and at lower volumes they didn’t seem to work too hard. At higher volumes they came alive however, pushing out increased bass and reaching up high. Eventually they went into storage – they were pretty but I was getting bored, and they were big. It wasn’t easy to move them around (they weigh 60lb apiece) so they stayed hidden.

I pulled them out to demo for a potential buyer in my basement, which is a much more ideal listening environment. We put on some symphonic music and stood back. They were much more enjoyable than I remembered – at standing height you’re facing the mids and tweeters and the low woofer placement makes for a big sound. The highs and mids were full, and with some watts the bass  reached down low and stayed accurate. I switched to a pair of Polk Monitor 7Cs in the room with me and it was as if I’d dropped a beach towel in front of the speakers. The 200s gained a reprieve.

I began to re-think the 200s, and impressed with their performance in my basement, considered swapping my Polk Monitor 7As out for my front surround HT speakers – these speakers are also my go-to for music listening in the basement. There is just enough room on either side of my projection screen to fit these in, and with their spotless veneer and tan grilles, fit in to the decor well.

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I bought some upgraded 5-way binding posts for the 200s to swap out the old-school screw posts currently on the back. When I pulled out the woofer on one of the speakers to take a look inside, I made an important discovery – replacement woofers!

!!!!!!

!!!!!

My ostensibly original Boston A200s were butchered!

!!!!

The surrounds on the Boston A line speakers all deteriorate and have to be replaced, and evidently one of the owners before me decided not to do a refoam and purchased replacement drivers from Parts-Express. I looked online and found the new drivers right away – GRS 10″ woofers, which are indeed available on Parts-Express. When I read their specs, I was struck that the efficiency of the new woofer is about 87db/watt, much lower than the stated 90db/watt of the A200 overall. Could this be why to my ears it takes a lot of power to ‘wake up’ these speakers – the woofers need more juice to perform? So one mystery was solved, but another dilemma was opened – should I try to bring these speakers back to original condition, leave as-is, or try to find a more suitable replacement woofer? Surfing the forums, it seems that a Dayton Classic 10″ woofer is almost a perfect drop-in replacement for the original. Some day I may take the plunge. However since I already like the sound of these and intend on using them paired with a subwoofer for HT and music duty anyway, I’m not in any hurry. And they do sound amazing as-is – when they have a few watts behind them the walls do shake!

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~ by silverfacestereo on December 27, 2012.

8 Responses to “Big and Tall: Boston Acoustic A200s”

  1. Hi,

    Did you ever get around to replacing the bass drivers? I have a set of these and I’m really interested in getting them to optimal.

    Thanks,
    Kerry

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    • I did replace the bass drivers. I wish I could say the difference was night and day – it wasn’t. The speakers go very low but they are not bass-driven, which means if you want big bumps and thumps they can deliver but you will have to crank them up. But with classical music they were excellent, reproducing the full orchestral range.

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  2. HI,I need new woofers for my Boston A200,what is a good replacement?? Thanks

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    • Hi! Are the woofers completely toast, or can they be refoamed? If they’re refoamable, there are plenty of kits out there. That’s the best way to go. Otherwise my research has found that a good new replacement is the Dayton Classic 10″ gold woofer from Parts Express. Another option you may want to try is a 10″ woofer from an Advent Legacy, Legacy II or Maestro speaker. I think they are almost the same woofer (I think they were all supplied by JVC).

      My first bet would be the Dayton – I think this is the one:
      http://www.parts-express.com/dayton-audio-dc250-8-10-classic-woofer–295-315

      Good luck!

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  3. Call Boston- they will send you a set of original paper woofers. Best $150 i ever spent!

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  4. i owned a pair good speaker switched back to series 1 by the way ba has other flagship speakers a400 1050’s actually it was the series 1 ba called there no compromise they have a smoother extended bass roll off since your into a woofer thing why not go on line or contact ba they may have the right woofer then youll have a pair of original a200’s isnt that what you paid for just my opinion its like a race car you have to match up eng tran and gears to get the performance your looking for i could go on one morr thing get in touch with mapleshadestore and beef up your inter connects cables you need good quality lined through your entire system food forr thought been doin this stuff over 40 years trust me….rob

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  5. Did you ever compare your A200’s with A400’s ? If so, what were your impressions ?

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  6. I’ve own a pair since new in 1979. Thought the base was sounding thin about 20 years ago and took off the covers to discover the foam disintegrated. I called Boston Acoustocs directly and they sold me a new pair (for no more than about $40 Cdn each back then) and shipped to a local Toronto dealer. When I went to pick them up, a factory rep was there and gave me test cd from the Boston hq. Took 5 minutes to replace them and speakers are good as new. I did replace one tweeter at some point as well.

    I’ve always loved the overall quality and sound of my Bostons and rarely heard others I liked as much, but agree with the original post that they need power to open up the base response so I added a Velodyne 12″ powered sub a couple of years ago and run the A200s through the sub crossover at around 70 hertz. The resulting dynamics, power, deep rich base and natural quality is amazing. Playing any of my kids over boosted hip hop can raise the roof with no distortion ever. I’m still impressed after owning them for nearly 40 years! The better the input quality, the better they sound.

    Still using my entire system (plus Denon DCD 670 CD player) I bought with the A200s. Apt Holman preamp, Yamaha M-4 power amp and B&O beogram 1602 with mm20en cartridge. Just keeps on ticking.

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