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Subjective Listening Tests

High prices should mean high sound quality and I'm very sorry to report that I heard every FR flaw in spades. In a nutshell, the 7500's sounded rather thin, phasey and sloppy. Let me address one at time...

The thin sound arose from the weak midrange driver that had no highs whatsoever beyond 10KHz. This fundamentally changes certain sibilant instruments (like the female human voice) into something much smaller and more distorted. Cymbals were reduced to sounding very un-harmonic and always dull. Even the ubiquitous double barreled shotgun sound from Quake2 took on a tinny character. BA's marketing people must have just "made up" those ridiculous FR specs which included an HF extension guaranteed to 20KHz (-3dB).

Phasiness is the non-directive placement of the stereo sound stage. With only the front satellites active, simple single channel monaural tracks appeared to have the 1970's "stereo wide" effect applied to them. This was not a pleasing effect to endure for hours on end.

The sloppiness is directly attributed to the woofer. I suspect that little or no internal damping was used and/or that was combined with a high Q (loose) driver. While not as bad as other units I've ranted about in the past, the 6.5" driver loved to boom away like so many of those annoying modified autos that rumble down the street, shaking your rear view mirror as they pass.

I did fiddle briefly with the digital input. I used the digital out from the SBLive! and a classic Rotel RCD-855 stand alone CD player. Both sounded slightly better than the standard analog inputs. The surround quality wasn't tested as I have my doubt's about the endurance of the 5.1 standard since HDTV made its debut here in Ohio over a year ago. I'm not big on investing in potentially dying formats.

Conclusion

If you haven't figured out by now, I simply cannot recommend the BA7500's at this time. Especially when considering their high price, they require a complete redesign in my opinion. The two other reference systems I have on hand, one of $10K American (not Japanese) lineage, and the other, my still favorite Altec ACS-48's computer speakers, simply put to shame the Boston's. After a few minutes of discount web pricing, I was able to turn up an online price of about $240 and these don't impress me as being worth half as much. Sure, the BA's have the proverbial boatload of features, but I suspect that most TargetPC readers look for more than just gadgets.

Boston Acoustics needs to redesign the power supply, change the midrange drivers and tweak the subwoofer enclosure to reflect typical in-room computer configurations before the 7500's can rise to class-leading status. As for the UL safety issue, I sincerely hope it's in the works.

William Yaple
11/11/00

 





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