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Boston Acoustics Reflection Series RS 326 Floorstanding Loudspeakers First Look

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Boston Acoustics Reflection Series RS 326

Boston Acoustics Reflection Series RS 326

Summary

  • Product Name: Reflection Series RS 326 Speakers
  • Manufacturer: Boston Acoustics
  • Review Date: October 17, 2010 01:30
  • MSRP: $999.99/each
  • First Impression: Pretty Cool
  • Buy Now
  • Frequency Range (+-3dB): 38Hz – 26kHz
  • Recommended Amplifier: 10 – 250 Watts
  • Sensitivity: 89 dB SPL/2.8V/m
  • Nominal Impedance: 8 ohms
  • Crossover Frequency: 3700 Hz, 600 Hz
  • Bass Driver: Dual 6-1/2" (165mm) FCCM
  • Midrange Driver: 3-1/2" (89mm) FCCM
  • High-Frequency Driver: 1" (25mm) Extended Wide Bandwidth
  • Elegant, scratch resistant high gloss black lacquer finish
  • Magnetic grille minimizes acoustical interference for an improved soundstage
  • MagnaGuard video shielding
  • Dual gold plated five-way binding posts permit bi-wiring or bi-amping
  • Dimensions (H x W x D): 44-1/16 x 10-1/2 x 12 -5/16” (1118.5 x 266 x 312mm)
  • Weight: 47 lbs (21.3kg)

Executive Overview

We visited Boston Acoustics a while back when they were announcing a few new product lines. One thing we took away from the experience was Boston's commitment to design integrity. While other manufacturers outsource drivers and cabinets, Boston not only models all their drivers in-house but they can build them as well. Add to that their in-house anechoic chamber, the Snell manufacturing facilities next door, and multiple listening rooms, and you can rest assured that they are designing, modeling, prototyping, and testing their speakers themselves. When they release a new flagship speaker product, this is doubly true.

The Reflection Series is the "middle of the line" series from Boston Acoustics. The Classic line would be considered their entry-level or value line with the Vista line being the high end. The Reflection Series is meant to take a bit from both at a price maybe a bit high for the average consumer but well within the scope of what an enthusiast is willing to pay.

The new flagship of the Reflection Series is the RS 326 floorstanding loudspeakers. These 47 pound speakers come in a scratch-resistant gloss black finish with thin profile magnetic grills. The base consists of a wider plinth to stabilize the 44" x 10.5" x 12.25" speaker. The fronts look to be a duller black though that might be a bit of an optical illusion. The grills cover from the entire front of the speaker anyhow. According to Boston:

...the super-shallow grilles use an invisible magnetic attachment and create a seamless alignment with the baffle plane, significantly reducing unwanted sonic barriers. The resulting sound is equally pristine with the grilles on or off.

rs-326_driversThe drivers consist of a 1" Extended Wide Bandwidth tweeter, a single 3.5" midrange, and two 6.5" woofers. The midrange and woofers are constructed out of a Fiber Ceramic Copolymer Material (FCCM) and have aluminum phase plugs. These drivers are all proprietary to Boston and are designed with linearity in mind to maintain the purest audio as possible. The drivers are all magnetically shielded for use near CRT displays or magnetic drives.

The RS 326's are boxy looking but their high gloss finish should help them stand out. The back of the speaker features dual pairs of gold plated binding posts for buy-wire or bi-amping. They are rated for a 38Hz – 26kHz (can't have an "Extended" tweeter if it only goes to 20Hz can you?) frequency response with 3dB of variation. This is a fairly impressive spec considering the size and price of the speaker. At $2000 a pair (technically $1999.98), you should be able to use the RS 326s for most any music without a sub. While the speakers are rated 8 ohm nominal, and 89 dB sensitive and should play nice with most receivers, we're betting a little extra amplification wouldn't hurt one bit.

Conclusion

Should you be interested in the new Boston Reflection Series RS 326 floorstanding speakers? The fact is that they are in a very competitive price point. The ~$2000 a pair category is full of people that have stepped up from their first (and maybe second) set of speakers and are ready to get serious. Even in an up economy (which we are definitely not in), that's a chunk of change. While you might get away with marketing hype, name recognition, and an interesting design aesthetic at lower price points, people willing to shell out $2k are really looking (mostly) for one thing - performance. They'll forgive a lot but not poor performance. Luckily, Boston Acoustics has the know-how and equipment to make sure that their reputation for performance stays intact. With dealers all over, if you're looking to spend that kind of money, you'd be remiss not to at least give them a listen.

For more information, please visit www.bostonacoustics.com.

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About the author:

As Associate Editor at Audioholics, Tom promises to the best of his ability to give each review the same amount of attention, consideration, and thoughtfulness as possible and keep his writings free from undue bias and preconceptions. Any indication, either internally or from another, that bias has entered into his review will be immediately investigated. Substantiation of mistakes or bias will be immediately corrected regardless of personal stake, feelings, or ego.

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Recent Forum Posts:

Seth=L posts on October 20, 2010 14:34
Slee_Stack, post: 759755
I recently picked up a pair of RS334 towers. They have surprisingly impressive bass response. I've never experienced the amount of low end that comes out of slim towers such as these.

On the opposite end, the treble can also overwhelm at times. Lesser quality sources (high bit rate mp3) sound particularly shrill on my Bostons.

Anyway, I suspect the RS326 are similar sounding, but with even more low end output. I honestly don't think the RS series needs more ‘low’ over what the 334's provide.

I suppose for dedicated 2ch listening, the 326's may add a touch of value, but otherwise, I'd recommend the cheaper 334's for those interested in Boston.

For the right price (not retail) I think the RS line is a middle of the pack speaker. I liken them to NHTs in many ways.

If slim tower, solid low-end performance is tops on your list, they deserve a listen.
You should grace us with your presense more often.
tomd51 posts on October 20, 2010 13:48
I'm interested to see (and hear) how the new ‘Reflection’ series line compares to the VR series that I fell in love with years ago and to this day can be still impressed with. Something about the clarity from the VR tweeter really appeals to my listening tastes.

I just hope they stay away from that ‘Horizon’ series garbage they came out with some time ago. They were an affront to the Boston Acoustics nomenclature… -TD
sholling posts on October 18, 2010 00:41
I've owned 2 generations of Boston VR series towers and really enjoyed them.
zieglj01 posts on October 17, 2010 22:13
Boston is getting more serious about their speakers.
Slee_Stack posts on October 17, 2010 21:44
I recently picked up a pair of RS334 towers. They have surprisingly impressive bass response. I've never experienced the amount of low end that comes out of slim towers such as these.

On the opposite end, the treble can also overwhelm at times. Lesser quality sources (high bit rate mp3) sound particularly shrill on my Bostons.

Anyway, I suspect the RS326 are similar sounding, but with even more low end output. I honestly don't think the RS series needs more ‘low’ over what the 334's provide.

I suppose for dedicated 2ch listening, the 326's may add a touch of value, but otherwise, I'd recommend the cheaper 334's for those interested in Boston.

For the right price (not retail) I think the RS line is a middle of the pack speaker. I liken them to NHTs in many ways.

If slim tower, solid low-end performance is tops on your list, they deserve a listen.
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