Best Budget Computer Speakers Under $50
For Music Lovers Only…
Well, they’re the best I’ve ever purchased… But before I tell you more about the best budget computer speakers I’ve ever heard, let me tell you a bit about myself. Back in the early 1980s before mp3’s, before smartphones, before laptops, young urbane gents like myself spent disposable income (remember that) on stereo equipment. I was a bit of an audiophile back then and have owned some stereo equipment that only an enthusiast would love including the odd looking Transcriptors Hydraulic Reference Turntable shown below.
Well, the 1980’s are long gone and my income is no longer disposable. All of that old equipment was sold or given away as personal computers, software and smartphones became the technology of choice. Yet, I still appreciate hearing good sound reproduction.
Recently, I was browsing in my local thrift shop when I spotted a small pair of used Bose self-powered computer speakers in the electronics dept. Bose was something of a speaker manufacturing maverick ‘back in the day.’ Their legendary Bose 901 speakers were revered by many audiophiles. Bose was building high-quality stereo speakers when it really mattered back in the ’80s. But I digress. I picked up this tiny set of used Bose Companion 2 Series 2 computer speakers and was immediately impressed by their heft and build quality. I could tell that some serious thought had gone into the design of the bass porting and that it used quality drivers. The price was right, only $15.00, so I immediately purchased them without bothering to check if they work. I sensed that this would prove to be a very good buy.
The Bose Companion 2 Series 2 speakers have a single drive unit in each cabinet and a solitary control for volume. There are no bass and treble controls. Bose decides how much bass and treble you should have. They’re easy to hook up. Plug in one set of stereo cable jacks to connect the speakers, plug in the adapter to the wall outlet, plug in a cable to your computer headphone jack, that’s it. There’s no on/off switch, just volume. I navigate my Web browser to my favorite online music website and start streaming a favorite tune. I spent an afternoon listening to all types of music.
So, how do they sound? In a word, excellent! These speakers are the product of thoughtful audio engineering. When located on both sides of my PC monitor, they provide a convincing stereo sound stage with a surprising amount of very musical bass. The bass is musical in the sense that it sounds like the instruments used to create it, and not the thudding one-note bass of speakers designed for gamers who want to hear lots of explosions. These speakers are clearly designed to play music and play it well. The midrange has a sweetness to it that makes voices sound very natural and engaging. The highs are rolled off a bit and sound very natural with all types of music. Because the overall musical presentation is so refined and appealing you are immersed in the music, the best compliment you can give to any set of speakers.
Most computer speakers grab your attention with exaggerated treble and bass and are meant to impress gamers, not music lovers. The Bose Companion 2 Series 2 is meant to play music very well when you’re listening from a range of about one to ten feet. Beyond that range, the bass tends to weaken as is to be expected with speakers this size. Yet, the sound remains very musical and can fill a small room.
Right now I am listening to some vintage Oscar Peterson from an online streaming service as I write this post. Sounds so good. If you listen to music while sipping on a glass of wine rather than an energy drink… if your tastes in music have become a bit more refined with age… then these speakers are for you.
Where to buy these budget computer speakers
The Bose Companion 2 Series 2 were discontinued in 2016 but are worth searching out on eBay, where they are sold for approximately $35.00 (US) used. The Bose Companion 2 Series III is the replacement for this model. I think the Companion Series 2 has a more premium look. This is a superb buy for any music lover looking for a very capable set of budget computer speakers well under $50!