Kuala Lumpur International AV ShowAV
April 18, 2013

Boston Acoustics ASW250 sub-woofer: Just right for mid-level systems

By Dick Tan

Home cinema fans looking to augment or improve the level of bass coming from their current home theatre set-up will do well to prowl the five floors of the coming KL International AV Show 2013. Subwoofers aplenty will be on offer and you might specifically want to give Boston Acoustics' mid-sized wonder, the ASW250 a serious going over.

Part of the current Boston Acoustics A Series the ASW250 is an active bass plumber featuring a downward-firing 10″ ceramic glass-fibre woofer in an enclosure measuring 372 x 357 x 415mm. It is also fairly heavy, weighing in at about 15kg. Retail price is RM1,750.00

Providing the drive is a built-in 100 watts RMS power amplifier that Boston Acoustics claims is able to take low bass reproduction capability of the ASW250 down to 35Hz.

Pundits should note that Boston Acoustics also offers another 10″ active sub in the A Series inventory – the higher-end ASW650 which retails for RM2,250. The difference? Apart from a similar looking and similarly-sized enclosure the ASW650 comes with a much more potent 300 watts RMS power amplifier but unlike the ASW250 features a forward-firing driver. Possibly because of its more powerful built-in amplifier Boston Acoustics is able to claim a more extended bass response of down to 28 hertz for the ASW650 .

My personal thoughts is that there will undoubtedly be some cause for confusion and hesitation among purchasers especially when it involves a RM500 difference.

The ASW650 would have been better served had it offered a similar quality 12″ woofer instead of the 10″ it comes with. At least the difference between it and the ASW250 would have been that much more palpable and distinct!

In use the ASW250 is simple enough to set up. Connections at the rear is rudimentary for a sub but adequate. In addition to a power on/off switch and the controls for volume, crossover frequencies and phase, a trio of phono type sockets allows connection from an AV receiver /processor. One of the inputs is marked LFE which when used disables the crossover network in the ASW250. Crossover frequency selection in this case is achieved in the AVR/processor.

One of the greatest effects on bass performance is placement, so be sure to experiment to achieve the optimum bass slam, control and extension. Optimum performance of the ASW250 in my system is at the inner side of my main left speaker approximately a foot from the rear wall and 2½ feet from the side. Room dimensions are 13' x 25'.

At this position the ASW250 delivered a well-controlled and tight bass slam. It was able to deliver not only a good perceived bass extension but was able to go fairly loud though not quite as near the prodigious level that my reference SVS is capable of. That's understandable for the SVS PB12 Plus is an entirely different animal. It is simply bigger and better and yes, it also costs much more.

The Boston Acoustics ASW250 is targeted at a slightly different market sector where decent performance is prerequisite of a given cost.

In this respect, in AV systems of entry and mid-level cost the ASW250 performed admirably.

The more costly ASW650 may, at least on paper, offer certain performance advantages but its price may be a mitigating factor. My recommendation would be to opt for two ASW250. It will of course jack up the final cost but the advantage of improved volume, a flexible and more accurate bass loading and extension would be significant and worth the extra cash outlay.

Boston Acoustics products will be on display/demo at the coming KL International AV Show 2013, July 05-07, JW Marriott Hotel, Kuala Lumpur.

For further information contact: Woo Kee Hong Trading Sdn Bhd Tel: 03 79548088