Boston Acoustics A40 loudspeaker
I was originally going to do a review comparing the Spectrum 108A ($200/pair) and the Boston Acoustics A40. On first listen, I was mightily impressed by the A40. But after Stereophile's Larry Archibald schlepped me out a pair of the 108As, I didn't much want to listen to the A40s. In all fairness, the A40s are probably the best $150/pair speakers and they are not bad in video installations, kids' systems, college dorm rooms, and the like. The problem is that the Spectrum 108A is a lot better for just 50 bucks more per pair. The A40's crossover may be the problem. It occurs at 3.5kHzand 3.5kHz is about where I hear the problems.
However, the A40s are often discounted to as little as $120/pair and the 108As tend to sell at list price. So if you're trying to put together a system on a reallyI rock-bottom budget, the Boston A40s could be just the right speakers at just the right price. Just remembeyou could do a lot worse for $120$150! In fact, I bought a pair of A40sfor my 15 year-old daughter.Sam Tellig
Alvin Gold wrote about the A40 in November 1986 (Vol.9 No.7):
Acoustic Research isn't the only US maker who successfully ship low-cost loudspeakers in the UK. Boston Acoustics manages to sell their A40 quite successfully as far as I can make out, and again this model seems to be pretty well in tune with British tastes in loudspeakers. The A40 makes no pretence at ladling out oodles of bass from its matchbox-like dimensions, nor is there any evidence of an attempt by the loudspeaker's designers to make it sound as smooth as possible, regardless of cost to the sound as a whole.
This isn't the case with other American designs, which seem to put all effort into a doomed attempt at going deeper in bass than the next. They're not doomed because the extra bass can't be hadit's always possible to get more bass. They're doomed because the cost in other areas tends to be severe. A boosted upper-bass region is one expedient for making a loudspeaker sound physically larger, but the effect is nearly always as obvious as it is amusical. Midrange resolution and sensitivity are almost always adversely affected as well.Alvin Gold