on June 19, 2013
Over the the last 3 months or so I have been trying to figure out what kind of audio to pair with my new Vizio 55" TV. I looked at soundbars, 5.1 systems and even contemplated just buying better speakers for receiver. My goal was and is respectable sound, simple operation and as little clutter as possible. I was leaning toward a soundbar but could not find the one I wanted and was just waiting for the right one. Then the BA Soundware XS popped up on the radar. Largely based on the Amazon reviews I ordered it and I am very happy with the result. There are a couple caveats though.
The first one is that you will have wires and cables to connect everything. I already had wiring in the wall so connecting the satellite speakers was fairly easy. All the Soundware connectors are simple and solid. I personally think that digital audio is the way to go and so I use an optical connection. I have my TV mounted on the wall and run the cables through the wall. I eyeballed the distances and figured a 10' optical cable would do it. What I can say is make sure you measure your distances carefully and account for the exact cable path between the connection point on your TV and the sub/amp unit. Draw it out on paper. Then go back and make sure that you got it right.
The other piece that takes a cable is the remote sensor. You will have to mount that so that you have a clear line of sight and then run the cable to the back of the sub/amp unit. I'm not sure how long the cable is but I am going to say 10'. This is another thing to consider in your placement calculations.The sensor is fairly large and not so pretty so think about placement.
Which brings me to my second caveat--the remote. Some reviewers have not been happy. I'm not sure what their issues were. I find that the supplied remote itself works very well. You have to get used to cycling through some things, like input selection, and using the color of the sensor lights to know where you have set it. But this is pretty simple since you don't really have a lot of choices.
Like most people I want to use only one remote. I did have some problems getting the Soundware XS to learn my remote. The most confusing thing at the start was that the sensor flashed green instead of orange per the documentation. You do have the follow the directions exactly. After a few failed attempts I did learn how to program my TV remote into the XS. So it really does work and once you go through the exercise you should be in good shape. As a side note I use the green button on my TV remote to cycle the inputs. There is one more thing to add on this. I found that switching back and forth between the XS remote and the TV remote caused them to get out of synch. By this I mean that the TV volume could say 100 and sound would still be low. To fix this I set the TV remote to 0 and then used the XS remote to reduce the "true" volume until it was inaudible. Then when I used the TV remote to control the volume it tracked the on-screen volume level.
The XS provides a lot of flexibility. It provides the digital optical connection, RCA analog inputs, a mini-jack input and blue tooth. I connected my Ipod via the mini-jack and was very pleased with the quality of the sound. I was much cleaner sound than I got from my old setup which was a Harman Kardon AVR20 hooked to an old Yamaha sub-woofer and two wall-mounted 3" satellite speakers.
I can't say that I tested the XS against any thing else, but it is hard to think I could get better sound for the money. I have a mid-sized room with a very high ceiling. The XS has plenty of power. The wiring is actually minimal. The sub unit is pretty small and unobtrusive and the speakers are also small and look very sleek. So aesthetically I am pleased with the outcome.
So thanks to all the other Amazon reviewers. I hope this one is helpful too.
on August 19, 2013
I have had Boston Acoustics speakers for more than 15 years. They are easily among the very best, and this compact system is no exception.
* Small speakers, easily mounted almost anywhere. Oddly, they're not designed to sit on a shelf (see cons, below).
* Excellent sound quality from 2 tiny speaker modules. Does have a floor-standing woofer cube.
* Hooks up via RCA red-white (right-left) cables or optical input to almost any HDTV or cable box. My DVR has optical outputs, so it just worked out of the box.
* Small volume control remote, but we don't have to touch it very often. This unit is installed in a bedroom where a loud volume is rarely needed. That said, it can get quite loud if you want it to.
* Tiny speaker modules are not designed to sit on a shelf, they need either a stand or to be mounted on a wall. I have 2 speaker stands, but they are almost too large for these 4" x 4" cubes. You would want to think about this before purchasing and installing.
* There's a remote-sensing module that has to be placed somewhere where it's visible to the remote. It does have cool green (or red) lights that flash when you change the volume, though.
on February 17, 2015
Bottom line: This is a fantastic sounding product!! This cinema xs 2.1 system isn't perfect, but given the tiny size of the cube speakers and baby sized 8" sealed subwoofer, this system is incredible. First, setup takes a bit of time as everything has to be wired and plugged into the back of the subwoofer. The sub is not wireless, it is actually the opposite as it is the source of power for the system. I used an optical cable out from my tv and am using my tv as the switcher, meaning everything else is plugged into my tv via hdmi. Basically, that way whatever I watch on tv produces sound from the boston xs system. I tested direct optical out from my bluray player to the xs 2.1 system, then optical out from the tv to the xs 2.1 system and the difference in sound on movies and music was imperceptible. It sounds great using the tv as a switcher via the optical cable. Bluetooth works well, although I don't use it much. Like any bluetooth enabled speaker system, the sound quality is degraded so I prefer streaming music from my bluray player, through the tv and out to the boston system for much better quality audio.
In terms of sound quality, this system belies its tiny sized speakers and subwoofer. In short, it absolutely rocks one of my living rooms! The cube speakers have several angled flat spots on back so placement is simple and you can angle them any way you want. I have them placed about 5 feet apart on an entertainment center a bit below ear level, as they angle up slightly the way I have them placed. The subwoofer is off center to the left of the entertainment center on the floor, about 8 inches from the wall. That way all the wires, cables, and cords are hidden behind the entertainment center. I programmed the control module to my Samsung plasma tv remote in about 2 minutes and works perfectly from anywhere in the room, even 12-15 feet away. I placed the control pod under the screen of my tv and used the included adhesive strip to stick it to the base stand. The cord is easy to bundle with the rest of the cords out from my tv so the control pod is not unsightly.
Sound from this system when tuned in properly is incredible. I have the subwoofer module set to about 1-2 o'clock on the volume level dial. The only other adjustment is a moive/music button on the tiny included Boston remote. I tried both, movie setting is far superior for all content, so I set it to movie mode and put the Boston remote in a drawer. There are no other sound adjustments, so setup in that regard is done in seconds. Tv sounds great - crisp clear dialogue, rich bass, clean midrange. Music sounds much better than expected - as good as a solid 2.1 system, better than most soundbars at any price, deep bass, rich mids and slightly bright crisp highs. Movies are the most impressive - deep and tight powerful bass, clean slightly forward dialogue, super accurate mids and highs. I initially watched Batman Dark Knight, Bond Quantum of Solace, and several others with powerful soundtracks and all sounded fantastic. Since, I have watched dozens of netflix streaming movies, amazon prime movies, etc and all sounded great. Dialogue is outstanding, bass is deep tight and powerful, and mids/highs are super accurate. The little subwoofer is really a gem, it is so accurate and deep despite its tiny size. Placement is important, but once you get it right the bass is excellent. The soundstage is so wide even with speakers only about 4-5 feet apart. Not surround sound of course, but very wide and enveloping sound. Overall, I'm so impressed with this system with its rich wide sound for all content. I appreciate how easy it is to use on a daily basis as it is controlled by my Samsung tv remote, turns on/off with the tv and mute and volume up/down are controlled by the tv remote. It couldn't be simpler once programmed to your tv remote. I got this on a lightning deal for under 130 bucks, so at that price is purely a steal. At 200-300, it still beats most if not all its soundbar competition. This system sounds so good it has convinced me that I couldn't put together my own 2.1 system for 3-4 times what I paid for this Boston xs 2.1 cinema system. If you can still find this system, it is worth every penny.
on June 21, 2013
The speakers are what you would ask for and more. Let's be frank. With a 2.1 system, you would not expect things like surround sound and virtual environment where you can hear a bullet whizzing past your ear. (But that would be kind of cool though!) But saying that, these speakers for the price I got, do the job well. I read some reviews of the speakers and agree that the mids are a little low and you can kind of make it out when listening to dramatic movie scenes in Movie mode and it becomes a little difficult to make out the dialogues over the background sound. A receiver could very well fix all that but the speakers other then that minor problem are great! I love watching movies and listening to music on these speakers and would say that they are as good (if not smetimes better) than the Bose GS 2 series that I was considering in their place. I would love to move to a 5.1 setup in the feature but love the setup I have with the 2.1 right now.
P.S. If someone has a setting to correct the Mids or some tweaks please let me know! :)
on December 9, 2014
I first heard the sound of these speakers at a friend's place and really became fan of it. So, I was quite clear in my mind that I have to get Boston Acoustics speakers only. On top of it, there are much more affordable then any other brand. Quality wise, they are more than awesome. The moment you take the smaller speakers in hand, you can feel the build quality which is really really good. Same goes for the main woofer which is heavy.
The smaller speakers have a sub-woofer inside them ! and that is why the sound of the smaller ones is really good. The bass of the main unit is really cool, more than my expectations. On loud volume too, the bass sounds and feels good. The combined unit really does provide the effect of an excellent home theater system. I am convinced that I did not spend $500 on a entry level home theater from any other top brand.
Besides, they look really sleek and cool. The black metal finish gives it an elegant look. Setting up is really easy. Bluetooth setup is easy too.
Overall, I am really excited about my purchase and would definitely recommend these speakers.
on November 28, 2014
I really wanted to like this set of speakers. I'm still not in love with sound bars and have always had good experiences with Boston Acoustics speakers in the past. I also was able to get this set as a lighting deal for ~$120.00 so I figured it would be a steal.
First off, I knew this wasn't a wireless set of speakers so it's not fair to knock them for having to be wired, but my god is it hard to make this set a "clean" install. The two satellite speakers need to each be plugged into the sub and the sub into the TV and power outlet. Okay, fair enough.
Now here comes the real downfall of this set. You then have to plug in the remote control sensing unit into the sub AND place it somewhere where you can see it from where you'd like to control the set. I saw this device before I ordered, I knew I would have to deal with it, but didn't really realize what a HUGE pain in the ass it would be to cleanly install it. It's much bigger than I thought it would be and it's hard to place how you want it to be oriented as the wire is relatively firm and hard to bend which makes it tough to angle properly.
To add insult to injury, my set came with a broken remote control sensing unit (it won't light up or respond to remote control inputs). I tried making sure the connections were tight, turning the sub off and on, etc. I'm sure that I could get a replacement, but this has now ruined my first impression of this set and quite frankly I'm almost glad this happened. For the record the box was fine and had no signs of damage, so I doubt this was done during shipping.
The only reason I am giving this two starts, is that the sound on it is quite good compared to some of the sound bars I've heard. Since I can't use the remote, I can't adjust volume or any of the settings, but from what I can tell sound quality wise this does have a lot of potential for the price.
Is it worth the maze of wires and potential quality control issues, that's up to you. For the price it is quite good sound quality wise and it does come with a 5 year warranty, but at the end of the day I've decided it's not for me. I'd be willing to try another unit of theirs if it didn't have that stupid remote sensing unit and was similarly priced, but as far as I can tell that product does not exist.
on October 18, 2014
Pretty amazed with this. I have a really nice setup in my living room, a full 7.1 get up. I needed something smaller for my office though. I looked at sound bars, but I was using this for my projector so I wanted smaller speaker to hide. The speakers are really heavy and great quality. The subwoofer hits all the lows. I really can't say anything negative with this. It sounds great.