I spend a lot of time at the computer, surfing, writing, editing, and I like to listen to music from my rather extensive library, all of which is also stored on the computer. I had a set of speakers, Harmon Kardon, holdovers from my old Dell desk top, which served well enough — I thought. Then I started thinking maybe I should upgrade, and started looking at speaker systems, but nothing clicked. Then one day I walked into Best Buy to pick up a replacement USB cable for my MP3 player, and spotted the Bose Companion 2 speakers. The price was reasonable, they were small and easy to deal with, so I bought them.
The features on this set are pretty standard. The box touts the TrueSpace stereo signal processing — “adds spaciousness” it says — and the ported cabinet design, which helps the low tones. The system does have dual inputs, so I can hook it up to my computer and my MP3 player — with an extra audio cable. It boasts a separate headphone jack and a front volume control. The design is nice and clean, and they’re a reasonable size: 7½ inches high, just over 3 inches wide, and 6 inches deep.
Set-up was pretty simple, although it necessitated another trip to Best Buy for an extension for the audio cable. The manufacturer apparently thinks everyone is going to have their speakers set up right on top of the computer; consequently, the audio input cable is only about three feet long. I don’t have it set up that way, since I work on my laptop on a separate small desk to the side of my regular desk, with no room for speakers right there. Annoying, but not a killer.
So, how do they sound? I realized right off the bat that I was hearing things in the music I hadn’t heard in ages, if ever. Not only are the bass tones better than the old Harmon Kardons, but the mid-range, as well — fuller, richer, clearer, and there’s no loss of clarity in the high registers. I’m also getting a lot more from the soundtracks of anime and movies, both on DVD and streaming. (Those Japanese voice actors, many of whom already have good, rich voices, are coming through even richer. And there are sound effects in some of them I’ve never heard before.) I specifically got this set because it did not include a separate subwoofer — I’m long past the age where I get a thrill from having my diaphragm vibrated by an outside source, and the bass on these speakers is enough for the music I listen to. (Somehow, a subwoofer for a Beethoven string quartet or a Javanese gendhing strikes me as a bit much. And I didn’t need another box to find a place for on my already crowded desk.) Stereo separation is not remarkable, but that’s more a function of the way the music was recorded or the playback via my computer than the speakers themselves. The sound does fill the room, though — even when I’m not at the computer, I get it loud and clear. (Just tried it with a Kodo album — excellent sound reproduction, all the way from that monster drum they use to the flutes, and enough separation to make “stereo” credible.)
The only downsides so far are that short input cable and the fact that balancing the volume controls on the computer and the speakers took a bit of juggling — and depending on the source, I still sometimes have to go back and forth with it. Otherwise, I’m very happy with these.