Acoustic Reference BS-300 (and others)

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Acoustic Reference speakers sold by Global Audio Network are not related in anyway to Acoustic Energy or any other reputable speaker manufacturers. They are specially made speakers designed to give the impression of being expensive.

Value of BS-300

I would imagine a similar argument follows for other Global Audio Network speakers.

I paid between 100-200 for the speakers. Others have paid 100 minimum, some 300 +. Looking at the minimum they are not going to be worth any more than 100, because 'Global Audio Network' obviously want to make some profit in any sale.

They actually sound too bad at first listening. So how have they achieved this? Well I talked to Richer Sounds (A reputable Hi-Fi chain where I normally would buy Hi-Fi). They say said that the drive units have a tendency to 'go'. Their 'design' solution is obvious; - cheap drive units that sound good but are fragile (and hence cheap). In reality it's not hard to make speakers. Making them well, so they sound good is, that's why you can pay 1000+ for carefully designed speakers.

So if you're stuck with them, the first bit of advice is don't drive them very hard. They might last IF you treat them with GREAT care. They certainly won't be as durable as genuine Hi-Fi and I can't see 'Global Audio Network' accepting warranty claims.

To be fair the designer of these speakers is obviously quite talented to produce the speakers with the materials used. But they are worth no more 100 at the most.

Why the Acoustic Reference Speakers aren't Genuine Hi-Fi worth 900+

Point Reason
No serial Numbers (either on packaging or speakers) It is illegal to sell Hi-Fi products in the UK without a serial number. Period. Global Audio Network might pick up on this. So watch out. Future products may have Serial numbers.
900? Not Bi-wire-able? Any speaker over 150 is almost certainly going to be bi-wire-able (meaning you can run two runs of speaker cable to each speaker for better sound). The guys may go on about gold binding posts, but on 900 speakers there should either be two lots or something other than standard binding posts.
The larger speakers have Tone controls built in! Hum? Any Hi-Fi speaker worth 900+ doesn't need tone controls (level controls - possibly, read on). Amps and speakers at that price are well sorted out enough not to need adjustments in tone. Audio monitors for studios wouldn't need them any way
They say they are Digital Ready! (on the label as well) Rubbish. If the speakers took Digital signals they would have a co-axial or optical fibre input. The speakers don't. Why you would want to run a digital signal to a speaker designed for Hi-Fi or Audio Monitor beats me anyway. Digital ready means sweet FA in this case.
They have a 'An amplifier' onboard, either
  • Passive
  • Active
  • Some other term
    They got me to put my finger in the bass port to feel the above device. Sounds bad!
  • What you were actually touching is part of the cross-over. Most speakers have these. They divide the audio signals up. One lot (high frequencies) go to the tweeter (small cone) and the other lot (Low frequencies) go to the bass cone (large cone). You can put together a cross-over from Maplin for under 5 as they are simply a capacitance and resistance in a circuit.
    IF the speakers were amplified you would need a power source to provide power for the amplification. Speakers such as B&W DMTM 605 S2 have amplifiers. On these you see a level control (not simply a tone control), power cable socket, phase controls and other set up controls. No such thing on the Acoustic monitors
    4 Ohm Nominal Impendence It says that on the label Some Hi-Fi speakers have a impendence (or load) of 4ohm. Most have an impendence between 6-8 ohm or above. 4 ohm is typical for car speakers. Meaning the cones used are quite likely Car radio speakers not Hi-Fi.
    Ferro Fluid tweeter So what?! Any decent Hi-Fi speaker has a soft dome Ferro-fluid tweeter. You don't need to spend 900 on speakers to get them.
    They have bass ports in the back So what?! My 30 Midi system has bass ports. For 900 you would expect more than a simple tube. I.E. B&W speakers have specially sculpted ports that fashion the air-flow as it leaves. You would expect something similar for 900.
    We got given too many in the Warehouse. We're flogging them 'cause the boss won't notice Any company selling 900 + speakers wouldn't simply let a few pairs go missing. The delivery guys would know this as well; speakers go missing - they get fired. Reputable companies have things called Audits and records. And If they really did have too many would it be worth the risk of selling for just say 1/3 of the price. The law takes fraud very seriously, especially when you boss isn't pleased...
    They look good Not hard to do with modern technology and computers. If a firm produced the logos and labels it probably thought the speakers were a legitimate product.
    The shop on the phone quoted me a price of 900+ Global Audio Network has someone there, just for your call. The place is not a 'Hi-Fi' shop or audio dealer. Simply somewhere that they have set up to give out the information they want you to hear (and at the time, lets face it, what you want to hear). They may quote a 'Recommended Retail Price' of 900, but the speakers aren't worth that.
    They are not sold from Hi-Fi dealers Any reputable speaker maker would soon put a stop to anyone selling their products from the back of a van. You get expensive speakers from Hi-Fi dealers who don't change their phone number more than 3 times a year...
    You have been deceived 'Global Audio Network' work outside the law.


    Point Reason
    Frequency Response If the response was what it claimed on the label, then fair enough, not bad. I have no reason to believe the correctness of the quoted 50 Hz - 22500 kHz though.
    Sound Quality Okay. They don't sound too bad, perhaps comparable to a *** What Hi-Fi rating at most. But I bet any decent speaker from a legitimate company for about 100 would be far better. Plus there would be no reliability worries.
    From General listening, I can say;-
  • Bass response is certainly there. The speakers do sound a little boomy though.
  • Treble response, as you would expect from a soft dome tweeter is good. But they can sound strained easily as soon as the music gets complicated.
  • Stereo imaging is nothing exceptional
  • In summary

  • If you paid about 100, you did okay if you forget about potential reliability worries
  • If you paid 300 or more, then - sorry you've been had
  • The are certainly worth nothing like 900+

    What can I get for 100/200/300 from a proper Hi-Fi shop?

  • Mission 702e floor-standers (normally 200, shop about and you will get them at 100)
    What Hi-Fi? ***** - "Outstanding product for the money and up there with the best budget floorstanders"
  • B&W 601 S3. German marvels. 300. What Hi-Fi? says "Open sounding and Musical these are great all rounders and an excellent buy" *****
  • KEF Cresta 1 100 What Hi-Fi? ***** "Superb speakers with EXCELLENT sound and as much as a star product as their big brothers"
  • I wonder what What Hi-Fi? would say about Acoustic Reference BS-300's?

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