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maxxjr
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2.1 *small* speaker system recommendation

I want to add a small stereo system to my office at home. I generally want this to be small and unobtrusive. I think that something like a "2.1" speaker system is the approach to take. I can hide a small sub somewhere, and then have smaller satellite speakers on a book case.

In trying to research this type of setup on-line, I keep running into computer speaker systems. If there is a really good computer speaker system to consider, let me know.

Otherwise, I am looking for recommendations on both speakers, sub, and a small stereo amp.

The Bose Acoustimass system is one example that physically meets the need, but I have read mixed reviews. (I haven't listened to one, yet)

Ariel Bitran
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Audioengines and Audiostream

I've never met someone who hasn't liked the AudioEngines, and apparently they pack penty of bass wallop on their own.

also, be sure to visit audiostream.com where Michael Lavorgna reviews a bunch of desktop systems.

jackfish
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Could you be specific as to the size of the 2.1 units

that would be acceptable? What will be your source? Budget?

I certainly wouldn't buy the Bose without listening to other options.

My first thoughts without knowing all your requirements:

Emotiva mini-X a-100 amplifier $220

Totem Mite bookshelf speakers $725/pair

Hsu STF-2 subwoofer $350

bierfeldt
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I faced the same issue

My wife insists on small speakers but wants great sound.  I have demo'd dozens of bookshelf speakers, listened to the BOSE system and what I am lisiting below  are the smallest, great sounding speakers I have been able to find.  These are all Home Theatre lines but they all do a great job with audio as well. 

Sunfire HRS SATs are 5.5" x 8".  The sub that matches that line, the HRS8 is a 10" cube.  This is an audio sub, it is not a home theatre sub.  It is very refined, lots of detail and not boomy.  If you want booming bass, this is not for you despite the fact it is 1000w.  I own the HRS's and they are in a 7.1 system but I reguarly listen to audio in 2.1 and am extremely pleased with the quality. 

Sunfire makes a nicer speaker called the CRM-2 that is a touch larger at 8.25" high.  It is a great sounding ribbon speaker.  Very warm, very detailed.  You could match it with that same HRS sub.  When I demo'd these I wished I could afford them over the HRS's but couldn't do it in 7.1. 

The only issue with Sunfires is that they are extremely inneficient and require a lot of power to generate volume.  The HRSs list at $900 a pair and the CRM-2 list at $1600 or $1700 a pair. 

For something a little less expensive, B&W H-1s' are great sounding for the money.  I have these in a 2.1 system in my living room.  They are 4.5" x 9.8", priced at $500 a pair, are easily wall mounted and can be turned horizontally if height is a bigger issue that width. They are much more efficient than the Sunfires.  The sound is not as detailed as the Sunfires, but the price is not as high. 

Other options: 

Polk makes this Blackstone series that sounds good, not great.  I have the model line that preceeded Blackstone.  Detail is good but not in the same class as the B&Ws or the Sunfires and are only nominally smaller than the others.  Also, compared the the B&Ws and the Sunfires, I find the Polks to be bright but they are only like $300 a pair.  Def Tech has a satelite that also sounds good, not great.  Maybe a little less bright than the Polks but $400 a pair.  They are similar in size. 

If you need something smaller than these, computer speakers might be the way to go. 

maxxjr
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The bookshelf is ~12 inches

The bookshelf is ~12 inches deep, ~12 inches high.  So I guess that would be max, although I would prefer smaller.  Again, "unobtrusive" is the goal.

Budget...not sure...hundreds to maybe $1500.  

maxxjr
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Looking at the Emotiva mini-X

Looking at the Emotiva mini-X A-100...it looks like my audio source would need a separate output to the sub, or I would need to feed the audio first into something like the Emotiva USP-1 (which does not have a digital input...not sure if that is an issue for me).

Is this the setup with Emotiva, Sub, and bookshelf speakers?

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