10 Best Powered Speakers in 2020 – Reviews

Few powered speakers match Bose’s Companion 2 Series III Multimedia Speakers in terms of sound quality and audio performance. This is because they are designed to give you the clearest sound at any volume level without compromising on audio fidelity and connectivity. Thanks to their aux output, you can easily connect them to any device including iPhones, iPods, and other audio devices. Built from heavy-duty components, they boast a sturdy volume control knob and a headphone jack on the front of the right speaker. Ideal for Mac and Windows operating systems, these speakers are durable, compact in size, and great for your desktop.

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Powered Speakers Buying Guide

You need to understand right from the get-go that you’re not going to find a high-end set of powered speakers without first taking the time to understand what they’re all about. We say this because many people do not fully understand the benefits of powered (active) speakers and how much more responsive they are when compared to unpowered (passive) models. Not only are these speakers easier to set up but they are also more versatile in nature, accommodating, and guaranteed to deliver optimal output regardless of the source of the signal. In order to get what you’re looking for, take the time to consider your setup and what speakers you think would work best with it.

Wired vs Wireless

It needs to be said that wired connections are rock solid from a technological standpoint. Although there have been clear breakthroughs in recent years in regards to wireless technologies and wireless connectivity, it still pays to have a wired sound system for practical reasons. That said, wireless setups are a bit more convenient on account of their flexibility. Not just that but wireless speakers also make it easier for you to move them around the house when needed.

Loudness

Even though compact speakers are cute and highly accommodating by nature, they generally produce a weaker output overall. In truth, you’re going to need a pair of large speakers if you really want to fill a room acoustically, and we’re not talking about your average block speakers. On a related note, compact speakers, even the ones that are properly fitted for the acoustics of a regular room, tend to underperform when you take them outside for obvious reasons.

Near-field Speakers

We refer to near-field speakers as those speakers that are specially designed for individual listeners. This means that there are speakers which, despite their size, tend to work best when in the near proximity of the listener. When seated in the right spot, you experience a detailed and intimate experience that you simply will not get with regular speakers. That said, these speakers aren’t usually designed to ‘fill the room’ sort of speak but rather to provide a pleasurable experience to whoever is seated near them.

The Bi-amplification Issue

Bear in mind that not all speakers are designed to work well in tandem with others. In fact, some are specifically designed for a certain type of sound system. When we talk about bi-amplification, we refer to the capacity of a set of speakers to divide the audio signal into two frequency ranges, which allows the sound system to match the speakers in great detail. In this regard, powered speakers that are fit for bi-amplification systems tend to do well as part of home theatre setups.

What To Consider

  • Size & Number Of Speakers – Being able to generalize just how much space you need to properly fill a room acoustically is a skill not many people possess. And yet, this is essential for when you’re trying to set up a decent sound system. While smaller rooms tend to require just a couple of powered speakers, a large room will require at least three for a decent surround sound setup or even four if you’re trying to build a home theatre system. You also need to keep in mind that the number of people present in a room can greatly affect the quality and loudness of the output on account of the sound being absorbed by everyone in the room.
  • Power Requirements – Exactly how much power you need for a decent power speaker setup tends to vary depending on the input and available space. For a regular-sized room, you’re going to need around 300 to 600-watts for a pleasant experience. Many manufacturers recommend that you employ an amp that delivers equal or double the IEC power rating of the loudspeaker, which is something you also need to consider in regards to whether a setup can damage your sound system or speakers. On a related note, we should point out that underpowered amps tend to damage the speakers more than overpowered ones.
  • Subwoofer – By adding a subwoofer to any system involving powered speakers, you are adding a rich and vibrant element to the experience. In many ways, a good subwoofer can make a small space sound worse if it’s not properly configured, so perhaps you could go without one if your setup is inside a smaller room. In any other way, however, a good subwoofer is bound to make the whole setup sound better by virtue of the extra bass it delivers. Try to remember that larger speakers do not compensate for the absence of a good subwoofer, nor can you expect them to account for the odd positioning of your speakers within the setup.

Intelligent Speaker System

Not many people realize this but modern speakers can generally recognize the input and will optimize their output according to the device you connect them to. In fact, some will even recognize whether you have arranged the speakers vertically or horizontally and adapt accordingly. Interestingly enough, some such speakers are equipped with built-in features that can provide feedback suppression, network capabilities, and even remote-controlled functionality. In the end, it usually comes down to whether you have the right setup and if you are using the right connectors.

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