Sure, built-in speakers can get the job done. But when you’re watching a movie, jamming out to music, or playing video games, just “fine” isn’t going to cut it! You want that immersive surround sound that you can feel in your soul, right?
To experience your favorite media in all its glory, you’re going to need the best 2.1 speakers that money can buy!
- What are 2.1 Speakers?
- What to Look for in the Best 2.1 Speakers
- Our Picks for the Best 2.1 Speakers
- 1. Edifier S350DB (Best Quality)
- 2. Bose Companion 5 (Best for Sound System)
- 3. Logitech G560 (Best for PC)
- 4. Klipsch ProMedia (Best Bass 2.1 Speakers)
- 5. Logitech Z623 (Best THX 2.1 Speakers)
- 6. Logitech Z337 (Best for Bluetooth)
- 7. Cyber Acoustics (Best for Budget)
- 8. Harman Kardon (Most Unique Looking)
- 9. Edifier USA Prisma (Best Satellite 2.1 Speakers)
- Is a Subwoofer Necessary to Enjoy Music?
- Where is the Best Place to Put the Subwoofer?
- Can You Add More Speakers to a 2.1 System?
What are 2.1 Speakers?
Before we dive into the goods, what exactly are 2.1 speakers? If you’ve ever taken a moment to look at consumer audio gear, you’ve likely seen a string of numbers accompanying equipment. There are 2.1, 5.1, 7.1, 10.2, and more. What does it all mean?
To put it simply, these numbers reflect the separate audio channels of an external sound system. Most often, they’re associated with surround sound systems.
2.1 speakers are, arguably, one of the most straightforward setups. It’s a step up from “in the box” speakers. But, they’re not over the top! Thus, you can easily pair them to a TV, computer, or audio player.
The numbers represent the speaker arrangement. With 2.1 systems, you have two main speakers (2) and one subwoofer (0.1). The left and right speakers handle the left and right channels, respectively. Meanwhile, the subwoofer gives you that booming bass!
Are 2.1 Speakers Any Good?
We wouldn’t be writing this guide if we didn’t think they were worth the money!
The best 2.1 speakers are a great foundation. Look at them as the building blocks that cover the basics.
With external speakers, you can harness a lot more power to drive audio. You’re not relying on the capabilities of your integrated sound chips alone. Pair them with a good amp, and you can get the immersive sound you’re after.
Furthermore, 2.1 speakers provide a distinction between the channels. The audio information is spread, creating a bigger sound stage with more realism and fidelity. Overall, the audio just sounds better! Whether you’re listening to music or watching an action-packed movie, the results speak for themselves.
What to Look for in the Best 2.1 Speakers
2.1 speakers are a worthy investment that can up your audio game! But like anything else on the market, your speakers’ quality will make or break the experience.
Here are some of the most important things to consider in your search!
If you’re not tech-savvy, an easy setup is a must! As mentioned earlier, surround sound can get complicated very quickly. If you want to start enjoying better sound now, ditch all of the unnecessary extras!
Look for clean setups with only a few connections. Additional software to adjust the experience is fine if you have the know-how to put everything together. But if you don’t, keep things simple!
Also, pay attention to your connectivity needs. For example, choose speakers that match your amplifier if you have one. Plug-and-play speakers can also have USB ports, line-in jacks, Bluetooth, and more! Those features can expand your listening possibilities.
When it’s time to sit back and enjoy the music, a few extra features can come in handy.
We’re talking about remote controls, headphone jacks, built-in physical EQ, and the connectivity options we went over earlier.
You can also find style-focused speakers with LED lights and touch controls to complete your setup.
Remember that booming sound bite from movies back in the day? If you’re an avid movie-lover, that THX logo is a fond memory!
THX is a company that sets the standard for audio reproduction in cinemas and home theaters. THX certification is the “Gold Standard.” It means that the equipment went through rigorous testing to ensure that it can replicate sound at reference quality. The THX stamp of approval means that your speakers can playback sound as it was heard in the mixing studio.
Needless to say, always go with THX-certified gear when possible.
Our Picks for the Best 2.1 Speakers
Speakers are a dime a dozen. To save you the headache, we’ve rounded up some of the best 2.1 speakers to take your music, movie, and video-game experiences to the next level.
1. Edifier S350DB (Best Quality)
- 8-inch subwoofer
- Titanium tweeters
- Frequency response: 40Hz-20kHz
Here are some high-quality speakers that can liven up your sound setup! With a signature bookshelf-style design, they will fit right in with any arrangement. From TV surround sound to computer desks for gaming, these speakers will serve you well across the board.
In terms of sound, Edifier doesn’t disappoint. The titanium tweeters produce a crisp and clear sound. Meanwhile, the subwoofer provides that added boost to the lows.
The subwoofer is sporting a reflex port on the side. With proper placement, the port improves airflow and wave propagation to create a nice rumble.
The speakers have all the features you need for a modern audio setup. In addition to Bluetooth streaming, you have an integrated EQ and wireless remote for convenience!
- Huge bass sound
- Bluetooth wireless connectivity
- Convenient on-board EQ
- Sleek wireless remote
- Good sound quality
- No headphone jack
2. Bose Companion 5 (Best for Sound System)
- Integrated signal processing
- 8-foot speaker cables
- Frequency response: 20Hz-25kHz
You can’t go wrong with Bose! The Companion 5 speakers are a stylish option with plenty of versatility.
Right off the bat, these speakers are easy to set up. It’s a true plug-and-play system. There’s no need to install complicated software. Everything is already assembled and ready to go!
One cool feature is the control pod. It extends out from the speakers and as your adjustment and connection hub. It’s sporting touch controls, an easy-to-use volume knob, and a couple of handy connections.
Plug your headphones in for contained listening, or use an AUX cable for quick listening. The pedestal-style speakers can handle it all while delivering virtual surround sound you’ll love.
- Easy to set up
- Comes with stylish satellite stands
- Simulates virtual surround sound
- Sleek control pod
- Virtual features can get overbearing
3. Logitech G560 (Best for PC)
- 240 watts of peak power
- Simulated 3D audio
- Frequency response: 40Hz-18kHz
From Logitech are these PC-focused 2.1 speakers. While you can use it with other setups, gaming rigs are where these speakers really shine! That’s evident through some of Logitech’s extra features. For example, it has customizable RGB backlighting to illuminate the desk behind your monitor.
Aesthetics aside, these speakers have a lot to offer in the immerse audio department. It has DTS:X Ultra surround sound, which renders 3D audio. Despite having only two stereo speakers and a subwoofer, it can make directional sounds come to life and put you right in the middle of the action!
Of course, the speakers are great for music and videos, too. Thanks to the Logitech software, you can customize the listening experience to meet your exact needs.
- RGB lighting
- Fantastic audio quality
- Customizable listening experience
- Bluetooth connectivity
- Simple onboard controls
- Requires software download
4. Klipsch ProMedia (Best Bass 2.1 Speakers)
- 200-watt output
- Frequency response: 31Hz-20kHz
If booming bass is what you’re after, these speakers from Klipsch deliver! The THX-certified speakers deliver big sound in a surprisingly small package. They’re designed to work with computers, so they don’t take up a ton of room. Even the subwoofer is manageable, allowing you to place it under the desk or on a shelf.
Another thing we like about the speakers is the inclusion of MicroTractrix. The MicroTractrix horn is a piece of proprietary directional technology. It allows you to create a wide soundstage that covers the entire listening area.
As a result, your music sounds true-to-life, while on-screen action feels more immersive and realistic. This isn’t some feature you have to fiddle with. All you have to do is position the speakers correctly!
- Strong bass
- Small footprint
- Onboard controls
- Isolating stands
- Cables are on the shorter side
5. Logitech Z623 (Best THX 2.1 Speakers)
- 400-watt peak output
- THX branded
- Frequency response: 31Hz-20kHz
Here’s another set of Logitech speakers worth checking out. Designed with flexible use in mind, you have a lot of connection options here. The back features a 3.5mm jack and RCA inputs. So, you can use it with your computer, game console, Blu-ray player, and more.
Unlike the other Logitech speakers, this set doesn’t have any complicated software to fiddle with. It’s a plug-and-play option that’s easy to set up.
Not only that, but physical control buttons on the right speaker let you make adjustments on the fly. Control the overall volume, bass output, and auxiliary connections without having to navigate the dark recesses of your entertainment cabinet!
- Easy to set up
- Versatile connections
- Great sound quality and bass
- Physical on-board controls
- It may be too big for some desk setups
6. Logitech Z337 (Best for Bluetooth)
- 80 watts peak power
- Fast Bluetooth switching
- Frequency response: 55Hz-20kHz
These sleek speakers are built for the modern wireless world! It seamlessly connects to virtually any device that’s Bluetooth enabled. Getting your devices paired is fast and painless.
A small pairing button on the control pod does quick work of connecting, so there’s no need to mess with settings or download complicated software.
Speaking of the control pod, this small accessory offers tons of versatility. Not only can you take control of the listening experience, but it features a headphone jack, too.
The one thing it’s lacking, however, is bass control. To beef up the bass, you’ll need to make adjustments to the physical knob on the subwoofer. While not the most convenient, it’s a small price to pay for the sleek design on the outward-facing gear.
- Wireless Bluetooth connectivity
- The wired satellite control pod
- Rich bass response
- Good overall sound quality
- Bluetooth range isn’t the strongest
7. Cyber Acoustics (Best for Budget)
- 18 watts peak power
- 4-inch subwoofer
- 2-inch drivers
- Frequency response: 160Hz-20kHz
You don’t have to break the bank to take advantage of 2.1 audio! These speakers from Cyber Acoustics are affordable and capable. They don’t have the best sound quality out of our top picks. But, they’re nothing to turn your nose up at.
Delivering the sound for the satellite speakers are 2-inch drivers. They can recreate a decent frequency spectrum. Despite the size, they manage to keep the sound warm and open at standard listening levels.
The larger, 4-inch subwoofer takes care of the low-end. It features an open port on the side to help resonate the bass frequencies and address any issues that might come from the small footprint.
- Ported subwoofer
- Feature-rich controller
- Decent sound quality
- Simple setup
- Low price tag
- Not the most powerful
8. Harman Kardon (Most Unique Looking)
- 10 watts RMS per channel
- Omnidirectional bass
- Frequency response: 44Hz-20kHz
Feast your eyes on these beauties! If you’re looking for speakers that stand out, this unit certainly fits the bill. Clad in clear plastic, the electronics underneath are on full display!
The speaker housings are fluid and take on a unique shape. They manage to look futuristic while calling back to the plastic-covered electronics of the past.
As for sound quality, the speakers are top-notch. Harman Kardon is one of the most respected consumer audio brands out there. The attention to detail is second-to-none.
Inside the satellite speakers, you can see multiple transducers. Four in each speaker accurately recreates audio. For the subwoofer, you have a downward-facing driver that kicks the bass in all directions.
- Distinct design
- Easy to set up
- Superb sound quality
- Discrete touch controls
- Not the most powerful
9. Edifier USA Prisma (Best Satellite 2.1 Speakers)
- 64 watts RMS
- Down-firing bass
- Frequency response: 60Hz-20kHz
Last, but not least, we have this sci-fi speaker set from Edifier. It, too, has a unique design. But, the most impressive feat of this unit is the sound quality.
The satellite speakers are top-notch and have some innovative technology to produce realistic sound. The left and right speakers handle the midrange very well. The highs are crisp, too. Silk dome tweeters provide rich audio while avoiding that “tinny” sound that often comes with speakers of this size.
The base unit is as effective as it is beautiful. Looks aside, the subwoofer has a down-firing driver. It’s one of the best 2.1 speakers for TV centers. The design ensures that the sound waves resonate with the floor below, creating a booming sound that reaches across the room.
- Minimalist design
- Touch controls
- Easy Bluetooth connectivity
- Comes with a wireless remote
- High-quality audio across the spectrum
- The sound may be too flat for some preferences
Is a Subwoofer Necessary to Enjoy Music?
If you were to listen to the audio coming out of a subwoofer alone, it wouldn’t sound like music at all! But once you blend it in with the surrounding satellite speakers, your music can come to life!
Subwoofers usually cover frequencies between 20 and 200 Hz. Some can go even lower. It’s a subtle frequency band, but it can make all the difference.
That’s where all of those subtle nuances of lower instruments live. It’s where you’ll hear the boom of the kick drum or the full-bodied resonance of a grand piano.
Eliminating those lower tones can make your music sound tinny and light. With a subwoofer, you can hear everything. It replicates the instruments well and makes you feel like you’re in the room with performers!
Where is the Best Place to Put the Subwoofer?
The proper placement is key for the subwoofer. With the best 2.1 speakers for TV setups, placement is a breeze! Just put it below the television in front of you.
In this position, the frequencies can easily propagate to you. With other setups, such as a music center or computer, you may have to get a bit more creative.
Some recommend placing it in the corner of the room. You can take advantage of reflections and make the output sound stronger. That said, avoid placing it too close to a flat wall. You may inadvertently create standing waves, which make the sound harsh and muddled.
Leave plenty of room around the subwoofer so that the waves can move freely. You also want to make sure that it’s within earshot! While subwoofers are nondirectional, it still needs to be close to your listening position.
Finding the right spot can take some trial and error. Try a few different places on the floor until you get the best boom!
Can You Add More Speakers to a 2.1 System?
However, you can’t just add speakers willy nilly. You have to plan strategically and work in the confines of your amplifier or computer sound card.
Some systems only have enough channels and crossover capabilities to accommodate three components (the two speakers and the sub.)
In that case, you would need to upgrade your amplifier to take full advantage of the additional speakers. Otherwise, you run the risk of overloading or not hearing some sound information.
Furthermore, you have to ensure that you’re utilizing audio with enough encoded channels. Luckily, that’s not too difficult these days! The standard for Blu-Ray formats is eight channels.
All that said, 2.1 speakers are fully capable of being a part of a growing system! Surround sound is complex. With the right gear, you can add to the speakers later and make your setup even better.
Upgrading to 2.1 speakers can change the way you enjoy your favorite media. They can unlock subtle details that bring your music collection, movie, or video game to life.
Any of these speakers are a step up from “in-the-box” systems. But if we had to pick our favorite, it would be the Edifier S350DB 2.1 speakers. This system is the clear winner across the board!
Compared to the speakers from Logitech, Cyber Acoustics, and even Harman Kardon, there’s no competition when it comes to sound quality.
It may be larger than some of the desk-focused units, but that’s what makes the sound quality so great. You’re getting a massive 8-inch subwoofer that resonates clearly. The satellite speakers are great, too.
Thanks to the titanium dome tweeter, everything sounds crisp and immersive. Pair that with Bluetooth connectivity, and these speakers trump all of the other options.
They may not have an integrated headphone jack, but these speakers sound so good that you won’t want to use them anyway!
Give them a shot and hear the difference they can make. You’ll never look back!