PC speakers review

We tested 16 speaker systems to see which gives the best boom for your buck.
 
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03.Product profiles

Harman Kardon Soundsticks II

Price: $299 Harman kardon soundsticks

Good points

  • Best performer for sound quality in 2.1 and overall.
  • Touch-sensitive playback controls.
  • Great stereo image.

Bad points

  • Relatively expensive.

Edifier Multimedia Speaker S2.1M (S330)

Price: $180 Edifier mutilmedia speaker

Good points

  • Remote control (wired).
  • Auxiliary-in connection.
  • Wall mountable speakers.

Bad points

  • Small volume range, the maximum level is relatively quiet.

Logitech X-530

Price: $150 Logitech

Good points

  • Best performer for sound quality in 5.1.
  • Two-year warranty.
  • Wall mountable speakers.

Bad points

  • Ease of use only OK.

Altec Lansing VS4121

Price: $149 Altec lansing

Good points

  • Best for ease of use.

Bad points

  • Better for games and DVD films than music.
  • Can sound muffled, slightly unnatural.

Altec Lansing FX4021

Price: $189 Altec lansing

Good points

  • Remote control (wired).
  • Auxiliary-in connection.
  • Wall mountable speakers.

Bad points

  • Worst power consumption in standby mode.
  • Average stereo image.

Logitech Z-2300

Price: $300 Logitech

Good points

  • Two-year warranty.
  • Remote control (wired).

Bad points

  • Expensive.
  • Lack of clarity in the higher frequencies.

Edifier M2600 Multimedia Speaker

Price: $180 Edifier

Good points

  • Remote control.
  • Auxiliary-in connection.
  • Performs well with music.

Bad points

  • Centre channel during films can sound tinny with vocals and dialogue.

Cyber Acoustics Amplified Speaker System CA-3892

Price: $130 Cyber acoustics

Good points

  • Auxiliary-in connection.
  • Good stereo image.

Bad points

  • Bass too heavy with 'out-of-the-box’ settings on the subwoofer. Needs tweaking for best results.

Creative Inspire T6100

Price: $125 Creative inspire

Good points

  • Wall mountable speakers.

Bad points

  • Subwoofer rattled under heavy load during sound quality tests.
  • High power consumption when in use.

Creative GigaWorks T40

Price: $135 Creative gigaworks

Good points

  • Best performer for sound quality in 2.0.
  • Connection for MP3 player via Creative Docking station.
  • Good stereo image and localisation.

Bad points

  • Requires some tweaking 'out-of-the-box' for best results.

Bose Companion 2 Series II

Price: $149 Bose companion

Good points

  • Auxiliary-in connection.
  • Dual input connections for connection to a PC and MP3 player.

Bad points

  • Poor quality at high volume levels.

Edifier M1550 Multimedia Speaker

Price: $85 Edifier

Good points

  • Remote control (wired).
  • Cheapest system tested.

Bad points

  • System sounds small and lacks power.

Cyber Acoustics 5.1 Amplified Speaker System CA-5001

Price: $180 Cyber acoustics

Good points

  • Wall mountable speakers.

Bad points

  • High power consumption.
  • Poor low bass responsiveness.

JBL On Tour XT portable

Price: $238 JBL on tour

Good points

  • Remote control and auxillary connection.
  • Dual power source (mains and batteries).
  • Low standby power consumption.

Bad points

  • Poor stereo image.
  • Lowest ease of use score.

Yamaha NX-A01

Price: $130 Yamaha

Good points

  • Small, portable design.
  • Low standby power consumption.
  • Good overall sound quality.

Bad points

  • Under-powered.

Sony Travel Speakers SRS-T57

Price: $120 Sony travel speakers

Good points

  • Dual power source (mains power and batteries).

Bad points

  • Poor sound quality.
  • Small and boxy, audio distorts too easily.
 

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