AV Peripherals and Systems Guide

Aural Showdown - 2.1 Multimedia Speakers Shootout

Aural Showdown - 2.1 Multimedia Speakers Shootout


Aural Rumble

Aural Rumble

If you've been a long and loyal reader of HardwareZone, then you might know that it has been eons since we last did a full fledged review of audio speakers. While we've actually brought you speaker articles every once in a while via our quick first-hand experience in our First Looks section, we haven't actually done a full fledged speaker review since the Altec Lansing 621 2.1 speaker system back in January 2003. Well, we're back today in full force with this high-end 2.1 multimedia speaker system shootout.

Incidentally, 2.1 speaker systems are perhaps still the popular choice of speaker configurations in households, and for good reason. For one, they offer the best compromise of space, price and performance. Multi-channel speakers systems such as 5.1 and 7.1 speaker systems are all fine and good if you have the money and space, but more than that, they are also painstaking to setup. First and foremost, positioning is of utmost importance, and so is the shape of the room if you hope to get the best out of your speakers. And do we need to remind you of all those unsightly wires trailing all about? Your wives/girlfriends/mums would definitely not be pleased. There are wireless versions but unfortunately, they are few and far and have their own limitations.

Hence, for the rest of us, a 2.1 speaker setup would suffice. It's far easier to setup, and for much less money, a decent set can equally still blow you away. As such, we pulled out all stops to bring you this shootout with seven of the very best 2.1 multimedia speaker systems you can find. If you are hunting for a good PC speaker system, this is one shootout you cannot afford to miss. With offerings from Altec Lansing, Bose, Creative, Edifier, Klipsch, Logitech and Razer, we've got some real heavyweight systems covered in this shootout.

Join us now as we introduce our candidates one by one, but first a quick look at their specifications.

Specifications of Speakers
Speaker Model / Specs Altec Lansing MX 5021 Bose Companion 5 Creative Gigaworks T3 Edifier S730 Klipsch ProMedia GMX A-2.1 Logitech Z-Cinema Razer Mako
Basic Specs
Satellites (per speaker) 1 x 1-inch tweeter

2 x 3-inch full-range driver
2 x 2-inch full-range driver 2 x 2-inch full-range driver 1 x 2-inch tweeter

1 x 3.5-inch midrange driver
1 x 0.75-inch tweeter

1 x 3-inch midrange driver
1 x 1-inch tweeter

2 x 3-inch midrange driver
N.A.
Subwoofer Driver 1 x 6.5-inch woofer 1 x 5.25-inch woofer 3 x 6.5-inch woofers 1 x 10-inch woofer 1 x 6.5-inch front firing 1 x 8-inch woofer N.A.
Power Output Satellite: 20W x 2

Subwoofer: 50W
N.A. Satellite: 15W x 2

Subwoofer: 50W
Satellite: 75W x 2

Subwoofer: 150W
Satellite: 14W x 2

Subwoofer: 50W
Satellite: 35W x 2

Subwoofer: 110W
Satellite: 50W x 2

Subwoofer: 200W
Surround Sound Capability - Yes
(TrueSpace surround)
- - - Yes
(SRS TruSurround HD)
Yes
(by virtue of speaker design)
Inputs / Outputs
3.5mm Headphones Jack Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
3.5mm Auxiliary Jack Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Digital Optical input - - - Yes - - -
Digital Coaxial input - - - Yes - - -
USB - Yes - - - Yes -
Dimensions H x W x D (in mm)
Satellites 132 x 63 x 260 225 x 147 x 97 93 x 76 x 149 N.A. N.A. 250 x 115 x 112 N.A.
Subwoofer 220 x 310 x 398 218 x 173 x 425 287 x 236 x 213 N.A. N.A. 292 x 290 x 414 N.A.

If you were hoping for more comparisons such as Acoustic Energy's Aego series and others, we did try our best to contact the appropriate distributors, but they didn't have a speaker unit available in time for this article.