Back in the 80s, the Boston Acoustics' A-series speakers rapidly established a huge following among budget-conscious audio enthusiasts. My first set of speakers was the A40, and many of my friends in similar budgetary straits also owned speakers from the Boston A-series.

Boston's A-series was more of an updated version of the classic acoustic suspension speakers developed by the likes of AR and Advent, with a punchier sound more attuned to amplified instruments. The A-series had a simple formula -- detailed yet even-keeled highs, and a punchy, tight bass with decent neutrality in the midrange. In an era where conventional speaker shoppers chose between the roughly defined West Coast, New England, and British sounds, upstarts like Boston and Polk started blurring those lines right before the Canadian invasion helped do away with them for good.

Now, Boston Acoustics has brought back the A-series, more than 20 years after they got discontinued. Steve Guttenberg's CNET article indicates that these speakers show promise.

The little bookshelf model, the A 26 ($200 each), was sounding a lot bigger than I would have thought possible. For a speaker that measures just 13 inches by 8.25 inches by 10.5 inches, bass was punchy and deep, dynamics were wide open, and the treble was clear. Female vocals sounded especially natural.

But, here's the buzzkill ...

In the early 1980s the Boston Acoustics A 40 and A 60 were the go-to speakers for audiophiles on a tight budget. They were hugely popular, and there are still vast numbers of them in circulation.

Well, the smart folks at Boston Acoustics have brought the A Series back, but the new speakers don't share any technology with the original models.
And there's the crux of it. How does Boston call these speakers the A-series, when they share nothing in common with the original namesake? The fundamental difference is that they use a ported design. However, they do use a 1" soft dome tweeter, which is what most of the original A-series models used.

At the very least, I would hope that these newer models are closer to the "Boston sound" than the disastrous speaker lines they created in the 90s when they transitioned everything into ported boxes with metal dome tweeters (which sounded horrible). Where they are in the market, Boston needs to differentiate themselves somehow in a very crowded space. It will take more than just dusting off a model letter designation. I guess the proof will be in the listening ...