Average sound yet elegant design speakers
Dec 19, 2009 (Updated Dec 29, 2009)
Review by denniskly
Rated a Very Helpful Review
Pros:good bass, 2 pair of inputs, elegant look
Cons:weak power, a bit pricey
The Bottom Line:
Recommended to buy, esp if you can get a deal of 30% off retail price. Do not buy if you like loud music or are into gaming.
Christmas is coming, so I’m looking for a pair of pc speakers to reward myself. I know that pc music is not of high quality, even if the music is played by a DVD/CD player, so I’m not very critical on sound quality and pay more attention to the look and other features.
Recommend this product?
- Look: Bose is famous for elegant designs and it’s true with Companion 2. The two speakers are 7.5 by 3.2 by 5.8 inches, angled slightly upward. There is only one volume knob on the right speaker. In all, they look simple, neat and yet stylish, exactly what you expect from Bose. Holding one on my hand I feel a solid block, heavy enough to be stable on a desk(some cheap speakers are very light and are easily moved by a slightest touch).
- Design and features: the speakers are said to be magnetically shielded but I don’t think this feature matters since the shield is only good against the old bulky CRT monitors. LCD monitors that most people are using nowadays don't need shielding.
The back of right speaker has the power socket, the connector to the left speaker and 2 sets of RCA inputs. You can connect 2 sources to these RCA inputs and they are mixed. I like this arangement. I can connect, say, my laptop output to one RCA pair(with the supplied ¼ in to RCA cord) and my MP3 player to the other pair. This way I don’t have to unplug the current device when I want to connect another to the system.
There is only one knob and this knob is for volume adjustment only(knob on most other systems performs dual functions of volume control and power switch). There is no knob for tone adjustment that you often see in a system at this price range(Bose claims that the tone balance is done automatically).
Also lacking are the power switch and the power LED light. This may be quite annoyning because you don't know if the power is on or off. If you want to turn it off you must switch off the power to the adapter. This may be inconvenient but it forces you to save energy(in most other speakers, even if you power off the speakers, the adapter still consumes energy because the power to the speakers is cut off, not the one to the adapter).
The headphone input is placed in front, below the volume knob. I think this is a clever placement. Many speakers have headphone input at the back and this arrangement makes it a chore to connect the headphone.
- Sound: some reviews compare the sound of a 2-speaker system to one with sub-woofer. This is not fair. A system with sub-woofer always sounds better in the bass range because it has a separate sub-woofer to handle the bass. The reason why I buy a 2-speaker system is because I don’t like the mess of cords that come with a system with sub-woofer, or I don’t have a space for a sub-woofer. That’s said, let’s compare apple to apple.
The Companion 2 is surprisingly good on bass. I listened to “Every breath you take”. The bass is pretty strong and each note is rounded and clear, not muddy as the one I often hear in a cheap speakers. TO judge vocals I listened to a couple of more songs and felt that the vocals were just average.
Then I put a Violin Recital CD of Michiko Kamiya. The high frequencies are just average to my ears. Listen to several songs I found that in general the instruments are not clearly distinguished.
When I cranked up the volume, the speakers seem to lack the power. Cranking the button to highest level just produces medium sound. I searched the manual for the information of speakers power but didn't find it. I think the power is too low that the manufacturer don't want to print.
So, overall I think the sound quality is just average(note that judgment on sound quality is VERY subjective, so you need to listen for yourself. My brother-in-law once used to complain about the lack of high frequency in his stereo system but later he admitted that, because of his age, his ears no longer were as sensitive to high frequencies as they once were).
In summary, I think Bose Companion 2 is a good buy. The sound quality is average, but combined with the look, the design and especially taking into account the fact that computer music sources (like MP3, Youtube etc…) are not the best either, I'm still happy with it. I’d give it a 4 stars if the price is $70 instead of $99.
Recommendation? Yes, I do recommend these speakers except:
If you're into gaming you need lots of bass, these speakers are not for you.
You like hard rock music or you like to intimidate your neighbor with loud music: definitely nix this one
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