Top positive review
171 people found this helpful
on November 22, 2011
The Companion 20s are one of the best computer speaker systems I've ever tested, and represent a true bargain at this price. Of course, without a subwoofer they don't provide the extra deep bass to satisfy hip hop lovers, but for all other material, they're completely enjoyable.
As you'll read elsewhere, they fill a good sized room with sound. I'm more impressed with how good they sound at low volume.
There's no need for a loudness button. They sound so detailed and unusually punchy at low and medium levels that I don't feel the urge to crank them. When I do turn the volume wheel up, they remain clean and very, very loud.
There is a point where the laws of physics kick in and the Companions begin to exhibit speaker compression, cabinet noise, rear port chuffing, loss of treble detail. I just can't imagine the need to push the volume that hard, they get plenty loud before
these artifacts appear.
Any extreme design like this is going to exhibit limitations and give up an advantage or two to more conventional speaker boxes. Next to a good pair of Usher, Polk or Paradigm bookshelves, those inherent flaws begin to show through. They also don't compare favorably with studio monitors like Tannoy 501As or Yamaha HS50Ms. Any of these larger, heavier, and much more expensive speakers will exhibit warmer and richer midrange, more transparency, and more nuance with complex instruments like grand piano.
Yet none of these alternative speakers
-Weigh a pound and a half each and sit perfectly next to a desktop or laptop.
-Sound as pleasant at low volume as high.
-Develop a believable stereo image sitting a foot or so apart on your desktop, and a foot or so from your face.
-Are uniformly enjoyable with a wide range of music, games, movies, and computer based material.
-Offer surprising performance from such a tiny source.
Hard to imagine a more versatile, portable, attractive, powerful, or beautifully designed product.
5 big stars, and then some.
UPDATE 3/2014 These Companions still look and perform like new. A lot of new speakers have come and gone, but those Companions are still a bargain and Best Buy in their price range and for their application.