2.1 channel speakers may not be as impressive as a full surround sound system but with the right audio decoding abilities, it can elevate your viewing and gaming experience.
Many 2.1 speakers are mediocre, so make sure your money is spent on ones that will blow you away. Our experts have compiled a comprehensive list of the best 2.1 speakers to help you out.
Reviews of the Best 2.1 Speakers
1. Klipsch ProMedia 2.1 Computer Speaker System
This 3-piece computer speaker system comes with a digital amplifier to expand the soundstage. Each speaker comes with a miniature Klipsch Tractrix Horn to produce accurate and precise sound each time.
Just in case you want to keep the sound down and experience your glorious victories without disturbing anyone, the amplifier comes with a headphone jack and a mini plug input.
The Klipsch ProMedia gives users a lot of versatility by being compatible with most household audio devices including your computer to bring you the best sound. You can enjoy crystal clear sonic precision from dual horn-loaded satellite speakers and a frequency range of 35 Hz to 20 kHz.
2. Creative Pebble Plus 2.1 USB-Powered Desktop Speakers
One of our experts’ favorites for design and price, the Creative Pebble Plus 2.1 desktop speakers will improve your overall sound and match seamlessly with your interiors. Take your pick of black or white with different finishes and accents.
This is also one of the 3-piece speaker systems we have on the list that comes with rear satellite speakers and a subwoofer. Whether you are gaming or listening to music, the downward firing subwoofer will deliver the bass tones that radiate from your table.
The mid-range drivers are angled towards you at 45 degrees, making these small circular speakers perform just as well as other wireless speakers and bookshelf speakers.
3. Harman Kardon Soundsticks iii 2.1 Speaker System
The Harman Kardon Soundsticks iii 2.1 speaker system takes the gold medal in innovative design. The transparent housing of the subwoofer and satellite speakers give you a look into the technology used to deliver the best audio quality.
While these 2.1 speakers are a little pricier compared to Vizio M21D-H8R, there is a good reason as they are not only works of art, but also exceptional sonic elevation tools. The eight transducers can fill rooms of most sizes with enveloping sound. The subwoofer is also down-firing.
You can control the angle of the rear satellite speakers and connect the 2.1 speakers to your media device to bring surround sound.
4. Logitech Z623 400 Watt Home Speaker System
These Logitech Z623 speakers are THX certified to be one of the best 2.1 speakers on the market today. You can expect an immersive experience for the most realistic sound from THX certified speakers.
The Logitech Z623 doesn’t disappoint in terms of power output with 400 watts peak power. The RCA and 3.5mm headphone jack connection hooks up the Logitech Z623 to most media devices.
Unlike the 2.0 system of Samsung SWA-8500S, Logitech Z623 has 2 satellite speakers and a subwoofer and it is compatible with home theater systems, computer systems and even your gaming consoles.
5. Cyber Acoustics CA-3602FFP 2.1 Speaker Sound System
The Cyber Acoustics CA 3602FFP series brings volume control and sound adjustments to a whole new level with a control pod. Rather than a remote control, the control pod allows users to set the speaker system easily.
The Cyber Acoustics satellite speakers have two dedicated drivers that belt out the sound. Even if it is not the standard system for a true surround sound like Onkyo HT-S3900, once you paired the Cyber Acoustics with the subwoofer, you can enjoy the best sound quality from this set of speakers. The left and right speakers feature a contemporary design that complements your computer or TV.
To put your mind at ease, Cyber Acoustics offers a one-year hassle-free quality guarantee.
2.1 Speakers Buyer’s Guide
In this part of the review, our audio team will go more in-depth about what to look for in a pair of speakers for the optimal audio experience. What system features are needed to elevate the bass level? This question and more will be answered here in our best 2.1 speakers guide.
Design and Build
The design of your two speakers and subwoofer sound system is not only about the appearance, but also the convenience of use, user-friendliness and positioning. 2.1 speakers can often double as computer speakers. The ones that can also be placed on your desktop will have a smaller footprint.
Although the size can affect how the speakers sound, it’s the technology embedded inside and the bass and treble quality that are responsible for balanced sound. Consider the placement of your speaker and the purpose. Are you going to hook it up to your home system or do you intend to move it around from device to device?
If you plan on enhancing the audio from your computer speakers, the size of the subwoofer and satellites will matter. Make sure the system you choose can fit into the location and the positioning of the wired connections are easy to access.
Are the speakers and subwoofer down, up or side-firing? If you have side-firing speakers, it’s important to make sure there are no obstructions in the firing line. If anything gets in the way of the drivers, it can significantly muffle the sound from your best 2.1 speaker and affect the sound quality.
Do the speakers have one driver or a couple that are dedicated to each part of the sound spectrum? Your left and right speaker can be 2 or 3 way, which means separate drivers for highs and lows or highs, mid-range and lows respectively. A 3-way system will be much more precise in terms of sound relays because the mid-range driver will take care of what the 2-way speakers cannot.
Think about how you want to control the speaker system. You want the volume control and on/off button to be conveniently located for easy access.
The best speaker systems will not compromise the build for sound quality, they are meant to delight your ears. There is no way you would worry about how to stop your speakers from buzzing every now and then. You should still be able to enjoy heavy bass from your 2.1 channel speakers and subwoofer and have housing made from the best materials such as aluminum.
Also, consider the number of channels. A 2.1 speaker system is much better than a 2.0 system because it comes with an external sub. However, our experts remind you that a 2.1 system can also have a sub outfitted within one of the components. A built-in sub is a great way to save space, but because of the smaller size, the bass enhancement is much less obvious than the alternative.
For true surround sound, you need at least a 5.1 system , but that’s not to say 2.1 speakers can’t satisfy your audio craving. Just pay attention to the size, the direction of the drivers and added features to boost the sound quality.
Speaking of sound quality, it brings us to the next section of our 2.1 speaker guide. The bass is important in any audio device. You need to make sure your system features a powerful subwoofer for impeccable audio. For example, a 5 inch subwoofer will be less powerful than one of a larger size. A 2.1 system will come with a subwoofer for sure, because the 1 in 2.1 channels refers to how many subwoofers there are.
However, the size of the components isn’t the only thing you should consider when thinking about your audio quality. The RMS power and peak power will also affect the audio of your speaker system, but our experts will go into more detail about that later.
Other factors that affect the sound quality which our experts have mentioned before include which direction your speaker systems fire in, how many dedicated drivers there are, and technologies.
Take Klipsch for example. They have the coveted Tractrix Horn Technology, which enhances the accuracy of your bass, mid-range and high tones. If your system is THX certified like the Logitech Z623 system, then you can bet on the best sound speaker systems can offer with just 2.1 channels.
The placement of the 2.1 speakers will also affect the sound quality. If you have wireless speakers, the flexibility of placement will give you more options to find the listening sweet spot. Even if your speakers are not wireless, you should play around with the positioning to figure out the best setup.
Since the subwoofer is responsible for the lows, our experts suggest placing your 5 inch subwoofer or larger ones under the table, next to you, under your seat or behind you. The lower the position and the closer it is to you, the better.
The power rating of a speaker system will affect the bass and other sonic frequencies. A speaker system will have two different power ratings — the peak and RMS power. The peak is always more advertised by manufacturers because it’s always higher and more impressive. However, our team says to pay more attention to the RMS power.
The RMS power is much more realistic as it refers to the amount of power your 2.1 speakers can produce consistently over a long period. The peak, on the other hand, is the opposite. It refers to the wattage your 2.1 speakers can reach in short bursts. This figure is not sustainable and will cause damage to your system if played at this power rating over a long period.
Let’s take the Logitech Z623 for example. The Logitech Z623 has a peak output of 400 watts, which is very impressive for a system of its size, but the RMS is only half that. Don’t be fooled by the peak output and think your speakers can sustain that level of power.
What types of connections does your 2.1 system offer? Make sure the wired connections are compatible with all your devices. The most common wired connections seen in any basic speakers like the Bose Companion 2 Series III which can also be present in 2.1 systems are the 3.5mm jack, also known as the headphone jack, and RCA cables.
A headphone jack will allow you to connect your earphones or headset to the device so you can enjoy elevated sound without disturbing those around you.
Bluetooth audio is also available in certain models but having the wireless option could hike up the price of your system. The length of the cables that come with your system will affect the placement. Give yourself more flexibility by opting for longer cables for more give.
Some 2.1 speaker systems can come with USB ports for charging, playback and connecting to other devices. Since most media devices will support USB ports and cables, our experts highly recommend ones that have them for the compatibility rating.
A wireless setup is very convenient, but wired connections offer more stability. Conversely, more cables means a messier setup and potential tripping hazard if you place your speaker or subwoofer on the ground. If you have wired speakers at home, and opt for a clutter free setup, you can make wired speakers into wireless easily.
An extra feature that our experts find to be very convenient when elevating your bass is some sort of remote control. For example, the Cyber Acoustics series has a control pod for easy settings and adjustments. The bass and volume levels of your device can be easily controlled and customized for your experience.
The technology offered in these speaker systems are also considered extra features. For example, having Tractrix Horn Technology will put the Klipsch ProMedia 2.1 speakers above all other ones on the market. This technology enhances the bass and precision of the system.
Some speakers are even compatible with virtual assistants for hands-free voice control. These systems can also be integrated into your Smarthome setup and are very easy to navigate. However, you might need to purchase a Google Assistant or Amazon Alexa device to enjoy this feature.
An innovative design or shape and different color options are also extra features you can look for to find the best system. The high-end KEF LS50 Wireless II, for example, is available in carbon black, titanium grey and in mineral white. Logitech devices as well as other ones on our list can come in many different finishes, shapes and sizes. Of course, the Harman Kardon SoundSticks iii take the cake for ground-breaking industrial design.
Our experts have experienced consumer returns that stem from a difficult setup. That’s why our team prizes an easy and straightforward setup process almost more so than the design of a speaker system.
You want the setup of your Logitech, Klipsch or Harman Kardon speakers to be as easy as possible to hook up. The subwoofer for bass is most likely wireless, but even if it is wired, the connection should be clearly labeled on the back.
The satellite speakers can be wired or wireless. Wireless pairing is as simple as turning on both devices, putting them in Bluetooth pairing mode, and connecting them to each other. If you have wired speakers, the headphone jack or RCA cable connections should be plug and play.
Look at what comes with your purchase. The user manual should be included with any reputable 2.1 speakers or even other well-known 2.1 soundbars like TCL Alto 6+. It should guide you through the installation and setup process with each step clearly written out.
Make sure everything you need is also included in the box. Ideally, you want to go from unboxing to enjoying enhanced bass and surround sound in a matter of minutes. This means you will need the cables, all the components, user manual, remote or control pod and mounting kit if applicable.
How much will your new 2.1 system cost? The better the bass and audio soundstage you expect, the more money you need to be prepared to pay.
Our team does contest that your money is usually put to good use with reputable brands, but don’t focus on big names because there are often lesser known brands that have amazing products with heavy bass. The options on our top list will surprise you with its efficiency, performance and audio delivery.
If you want a system that has extra features or more advanced technologies, then that will also increase the price of your products. For example, wireless compatibility and the ability to deliver precise audio with professional technologies are all factors that can boost the price.
Even the design and appearance of the speaker system can affect the cost. The Harman Kardon Soundsticks iii is an excellent example of cost and appearance correlation. Many people may think it’s worth it to pay a premium for speakers that made it into MOMA for its innovative design, while others believe that the look of a speaker system is besides the point.
You don’t necessarily need to have such a pioneering design to justify the extra cost, because even small tower speakers can affect the price. Tower speakers aren’t anything new, but they can house separate drivers that are dedicated to each section of the sound spectrum to bring forth more balanced and dynamic sound.
It doesn’t matter what you choose, just be aware that the price will most often reflect extra features and capabilities of your 2.1 speakers.
Are 2.1 Speakers good?
Yes, 2.1 speakers are good. What determines if speakers are good are your specific wants and requirements. For enhanced bass and surround sound, 2.1 speakers are good if they also feature helpful audio technologies. Even if they don’t, the left and right speakers plus a subwoofer can be a great addition to smaller rooms or used as computer speakers.
How do I choose a good 2.1 speaker?
You can choose a good 2.1 speaker by identifying your needs. A 2.1 speaker has a subwoofer and two satellite left and right speakers. This setup is sufficient for boosting surround sound and enhancing bass. Look for ones with a sturdy build, compatible connections, an easy setup, and hopefully with added audio technologies.
Our Top Pick For 2.1 Speakers: Klipsch ProMedia 2.1 Computer Speaker System
Our experts have agreed that the Klipsch Promedia 2.1 system takes the crown for best 2.1 speakers. They are highly compatible for your home media devices or as computer speakers. These speakers possess the exclusive Klipsch Tractrix Horn Technology, which allows them to maximize power output and sonic precision.
The sound from the ProMedia is unmatched by other computer speakers in terms of expansiveness, thanks to the 200-watt digital amplifier embedded in the system. With a frequency response range between 35 Hz to 20 kHz, the ProMedia can successfully deliver all the notes audible to human ears and more.