BSA 44CF review

These BSAs are likeable, but they lack the all-round ability to challenge the class leaders Tested at £330.00

What Hi-Fi? Verdict

These BSAs are likeable, but they lack the all-round ability to challenge the class leaders


  • +

    Fast, detailed, well-integrated sound

  • +

    communicative presentation


  • -

    Lacks of bass weight and natural warmth

  • -

    poor cosmetics

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These BSAs look suspiciously like dedicated centre speakers from a home cinema set-up.

Take a close look and that's exactly what they are, as the horizontal orientation of the single-wired terminal panel proves. But that doesn't stop the 44CFs being used as a stereo pair, and that's how BSA supplied them.

Back in our Awards 2008 issue we reviewed the £330 4CF, which is essentially this speaker with just a single mid/bass driver. Since then, prices have been reduced, dropping the senior model to the same level.

How does the 44CF sound? Well, pretty much like its little brother. These are fast, communicative speakers that dig up a fair bit of detail. Listen to the likes of Nick Cave's Nocturama and these speakers leave the listener in no doubt as to the music's message.

Great integration and timing
Be it the chaos of Babe, I'm on Fire or the gentler Wonderful Life, the BSAs deliver it all without ambiguity. You can add great integration and crisp timing to the plus points, too.

Weaknesses? These are small, and they sound it. Bass, though taut, lacks reach and power, giving the presentation a forwardness that makes a close-to wall position essential.

We'd advise going for full bodied, weighty sounding kit, too, but that's hard to find at budget price-points.

The mid-market Marantzs, Yamahas and Arcams have this quality, but they tend to cost between £600-£800, which is the top end of kit we'd normally recommend for speakers at this level.

BSAs look poor in pairs
Other complaints centre on the 44CF's cosmetics: at this price point all the serious contenders look far more luxurious.

If BSA is serious about supplying these as stereo pairs, more effort has to be put into making the speakers appear to be dedicated stereo components. At the moment they look odd when used in pairs.

With greater bass authority these speakers would have won a four-star verdict. Despite all their strengths, we can't award them that.

What Hi-Fi?

What Hi-Fi?, founded in 1976, is the world's leading independent guide to buying and owning hi-fi and home entertainment products. Our comprehensive tests help you buy the very best for your money, with our advice sections giving you step-by-step information on how to get even more from your music and movies. Everything is tested by our dedicated team of in-house reviewers in our custom-built test rooms in London, Reading and Bath. Our coveted five-star rating and Awards are recognised all over the world as the ultimate seal of approval, so you can buy with absolute confidence.

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