Boston Acoustics Reflection RS 260 Speaker System
Between VS and CS
In this brutal economy, it takes more than a good resume to keep you afloat. Boston Acoustics has a legendary audiophile pedigree that dates from its birth in 1979 as an independent brand. In this environment, it probably matters more that Boston is part of the D&M Holdings family, along with Snell Acoustics, McIntosh, Denon, Marantz, and Escient. This positioning has already borne fruit with pairings of Denon A/V receivers and Boston speaker packages, including the distinctive bell-shaped VS Series speakers, which I showered with well-deserved superlatives when I reviewed them last year. You really can’t go wrong with a set of VS speakers and one of Denon’s upper-end A/V receivers.
When Boston Acoustics started operating under the aegis of D&M, it didn’t emphasize its audiophile roots at first. Its re-emergence as an audiophile brand came with the VS Series. Now Boston is building on that experience with the new Reflection Series. It’s a bit more affordable than the VS, but it’s still a step up from the Classic Series. The largest VS monitor sells for $700, while the largest RS monitor is $400, and the largest CS monitor is $129. So the RS series occupies the middle ground.
Boston Rolls Its Own
The Reflection Series includes, from top to bottom: the RS 334, a floorstander with quadruple 4-inch woofers, $700/each; the RS 244C, a center speaker also with quadruple 4-inch woofers, $500; the RS 260, reviewed here, a two-way design with a 6.5-inch woofer, $400/each; the RS 223 LCR, with dual 3.5-inch woofers, $400/each; and the RS 230, with one 3.5-inch woofer, $250/each. The floorstander and center with quadruple 4-inch woofers presumably would complement each other well, as would the two 3.5-inch models, although Boston says the entire series is timbre-matched. In any case, this review takes on a fully matched set of the 6.5-inch RS 260 plus the RPS 1000 subwoofer ($900). This is a favorite configuration of mine because it ensures seamless panning from side to side and front to back.
Unlike the VS Series, the RS doesn’t go in for unusual cabinet shapes. The RS 260 has the proportions and size of a classic monitor. (That’s our term—Boston uses the old-fashioned “bookshelf.”) Rounded edges give it a deluxe appearance, an effect that the lustrous Gloss Black finish heightens. The speakers are packed in soft drawstring bags, and they come with white gloves so your fingerprints won’t mar the shiny surfaces. In the back is a slot-shaped port whose main function, as with all ports, is to contribute to the bass response. However, as a probably unintentional side benefit, its shape and location make it a convenient carrying handle. I could pick up two speakers at once without the slightest awkwardness.
Like many manufacturers, Boston Acoustics likes to turn product features into fancy proper nouns. In some cases, this pride is justified by a concentration on fundamentals. For instance, rather than buy off-the-shelf parts, the company designed the RS drivers and had them manufactured at a licensed Asian factory. The woofer is Fiber Ceramic Copolymer Material (FCCM), a composite of fiber and ceramic materials impregnated in a proprietary copolymer. The woofers in both the monitor and the sub benefit from Deep Channel Design (DCD), which improves the woofers’ excursion. In other words, they can move back and forth further.