Review: Boston Acoustics SoundWare XS

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Designed to be the perfect system for parents, friends, children, and even your bedroom, the SoundWare XS is looking to impress.


Dec. 09, 2009 — by Audioholics.com

Boston Acoustics is attempting to out-cube the masters of cube with its SoundWare XS 5.1 System.

At a very reasonable $500, the system comes complete with five cubes, a subwoofer, and a very innovative design and mounting system. Designed to be the perfect system for parents, friends, children, and even your bedroom, the SoundWare XS is looking to impress.

Build, Versatility
The speakers may be small, but they have a very interesting design. While they look like cubes, they are engineered to be very versatile. The speaker can be set on any side that has a variety of angles. You can use these angles to aim the speaker when it is sitting on a shelf. Since the 0.5-inch dome tweeter is mounted coaxially with the 2.5-inch woofer, you just have to make sure the speaker is pointed in the right direction and not worry about which way is up.

Boston Acoustics has included not just one mounting option, but two. The first thing you’ll do is install a pivoting ball mount to the back of the speaker. Then you mate that to either a nearly flush keyhole mount for wall/ceiling applications or a straddle mount for corners. This gives you a huge range of mounting options and much more than you’d expect at this price point. The speakers all mount very close to the wall so it presents a very clean look (though you’re still going to see the wires poking out from behind).

The cubes feel sturdy for their size (just about a 3.5-inch cube) with a plastic housing and a metal grille. They weigh in at only one pound each. The sub is very small at about 12 inches tall. The bottom sports conical plastic feet that should be fine on carpet, but rubber tips would have been preferred for hardwood.

There is a downfiring 8-inch driver and a downfiring port (near the front). The back of the sub sports a 100 watt plate amp with RCA line in, variable crossover and volume knobs, and a phase switch. The crossover ranges from 60 Hz to 180Hz. I was surprised to see a removable power cord, which will help users with longer power cord runs.

My only real gripe with the system is that it could really use Boston’s wireless technology for the subwoofer. I know this would increase the price of the system, but I can’t help but think it would be worth it and probably be a major selling point. It would have been nice to see that included or at least offered as an add-on.

Setup
I paired the SoundWare XS 5.1 system with the Yamaha neoHD YMC-700 Media Controller. This was also paired with an Oppo DV-970HD universal DVD player and APC H10 Power Conditioner. All of this was set up in my master bedroom, which is neither acoustically treated nor is likely to be so anytime in the future.

I used the Yamaha to calibrate the speakers and verified the settings with my own measurements. The rear speakers were placed near the side walls (about 3 feet from either side of the king-size bed) and pointed inward. The center was positioned directly under the display (small enough not to interfere with the picture or IR receiver) with the mains about a foot off the display on either side. All of the speakers sat level on the cabinet.

Click here to read the entire review on Audioholics.com.


Product: Boston Acoustics SoundWare XS 5.1 System

Performance: 3.5 out of 5

Value: 4 out of 5

Price: $499.99

Pros:

  • Small
  • Versatile mounting system
  • Very nice sub for the size/price

Cons:

  • Can be fatiguing at higher volumes
  • Cubes demand high crossover point


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