With technology becoming more accessible everyone wants the best, and audio is one space where everyone expects no less than the best sound.To find the best 2.1 channel speakers we read through suggestions from India's top audiophiles on "The Indian Audiophile Forum", we then read through suggestions from some of the biggest technology websites in the world like TechRadar, PCMag, Whathifi?
Best 2.1 speakers India
Harman Kardon SoundSticks III
Rarely has there been a speaker that is as good to the ears as it is a treat for your eyes. Designed by Apple’s Chief Designer Sir Jony Ive, the Soundsticks III are not just great looking but are excellent in audio quality, especially with an amazing subwoofer performance.
Best 2.1 speakers India
Logitech Z625 THX
Despite the conventional design, the Logitech Z625 can belt out some amazing tunes at loud volume with thundering bass. The Z625’s are an update to the superb Logitech Z623.
Best 2.1 speakers India (Budget)
Creative SBS A-120 2.1 Channel
An impressive set of stereo speakers with a great focus on the low end performance and a budget price.
This is a really long post! Use these links to jump around.
Why Trust Us?
To find the best 2.1 channel speaker in the market we started by looking at suggestions on The Indian Audiophile Forum, a dedicated forum for India's top audiophiles. To add some more diversity to the mix we looked for suggestions from reputed technology websites like TechRadar, PCMag and Whathifi?
Finally, we surfed through Amazon and Flipkart and picked some of their best sellers.
How we selected?
Recommending an audio product can be a difficult task not because of the sheer volume of products in the market but because of the way the human ear is designed. Each person prefers their sound differently while most people love the bass-heavy sound a lot of audiophiles detest it. Similarly, many people like balanced sound while some prefer the brighter, treble-heavy sound. In short, it is difficult to suggest an audio product to a person without knowing their tastes and hence we always recommend people to listen to an audio product before making a purchase.
While selecting a product we usually look at specifications and try to pick one that offers the best experience and specifications for a price. This doesn't always work with audio and you should never buy an audio product simply by looking at the specifications as more often than not that doesn't translate into great sound. Another thing to note is audio certifications doesn't mean a better sounding product, it may have improved capability but it doesn't necessarily have better sound.So to find the best 2.1 channel speaker system we started by browsing through recommendations on The Indian Audiophile Forum, a dedicated forum for India's top audiophiles. After selecting a few picks from here we looked through some of the biggest technology websites like TechRadar, PCMag, Whathifi? for suggestions. Finally, we added the best sellers from Amazon and Flipkart.
Best 2.1 speakers India
Gorgeous, futuristic design
Loud sound with deep lows
Great audio quality
Decent price for the sound and design
Lacks remote control
The bass control knob is on the subunit
Only 1-year warranty
Design can be a tricky thing to master and with design trends ever changing it is very difficult to create a product that looks timeless. There are very few products that were designed way back in time and yet look beautiful like the timeless design of the Apple iMac or the slimness of the Motorola Razr, the quirkiness of the Citroen DS or just about every Dieter Rams-designed Braun product. Designing audio is even more difficult because you either make a good looking product or a good sounding one, but the audio product we are talking about today blends both harmoniously. Before you read anymore simply look a the photo of the Harman Kardon Soundsticks III, it's pretty isn't it? But can you believe that it was designed almost 20 years ago? It is also a permanent exhibit at the New York Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), now this is really strange as the basic definition of art is something that is not functional but the Soundsticks are brilliant, even at audio. Oh, and before we forget, the Soundsticks were designed by Apple Designer, Sir Jony Ive and were launched with the Apple iMac G3- hence the transparent design theme that mimics the iMac.
Rarely has an audio product looked so good that you will want to put it right in front of you, unlike any other speaker that you keep out of your sight. But it's not just about looks with the Soundsticks, they sound brilliant as well. As the name suggests this is a 2.1 channel speaker meaning you have two speakers and one subwoofer. You have eight full-range 1-inch transducers (four in each speaker) and one large six-inch downward firing subwoofer. They are all linked together with transparent wires as well so it looks discrete. PCmag simply called the audio quality as stellar with generous, well-defined low-end. With the bass set at its halfway point, they found the Knife's "Silent Shout" did not distort even at maximum volume. That statement is not something to be taken lightly as Silent Shout can humble most mid-range subwoofers.
Cnet too gave a crack at the Soundsticks III and were mighty impressed with the sound, they found almost no distortion even at loud volumes and nary a hiss or static noise between tracks. Cnet used the Soundsticks III in different scenarios of music, gameplay and movie watching and found that they were powerful enough in all three making it a very versatile speaker. However, we are pretty confident it will look completely out of place if paired with a gaming PC decked with RGB lights, something the people from the Victorian era would call "Blasphemous!!!"
There are some niggles as well, the lack of any wireless connectivity (there is a version that does have Bluetooth have it but with too many connection issues), you get standard 3.5mm connectivity but the cables are hardwired so use them carefully. Then there is the way you control the volume and bass which isn't the greatest in term of usability as the controls are placed on the unit itself which can be difficult to reach. Also, the volume controls are super sensitive capacitive touch ones that give no feedback or indication.
You get 1-year service with the product and you need to take it to the service center for any issues. A little more warranty wouldn't hurt given the price of the product.
Given the extra effort, it takes to make a transparent speaker system, the Harman Kardon Soundsticks III cost nearly Rs.17,000 but they are absolutely worth the price as they are far superior to Bluetooth speakers and the dedicated subwoofer means you get sound quality unlike anything in this price. Then there is the design of the speakers themselves that looks at home even on the planet Krypton.
Best 2.1 speakers India
Loud with great bass
Lacks in the treble region
Lots of inputs (Aux, RCA, Optical)
Lacks remote control
The Logitech Z625 is definitely no looker especially after we talked at a length about the HK Soundsticks. But let us address the elephant in the room first, the THX certification, what is it? is it going to give you a theatre like aural experience? To know more read our dedicated section at the end.
The Z625 is an upgraded version (some extra connectivity options) of the hugely popular Z623. The Z625 has the same arrangement and specifications of the speakers and subwoofer as the Z623. It, however, comes with an optical out along with the legacy RCA and Aux-in. The lack of Bluetooth will be missed but Logitech does make a Bluetooth adapter for their speakers which can be bought separately. You get a dedicated volume and bass level control knob on one of the speakers along with an aux input to connect your earphone for quiet listening.
The Logitech Z625 sounds amazing and it's not us whos saying it but Digit who found the bass was superb which they said produce window rattling lows. But the great thing was the control in the bass which according to them did not muddy the dialogues in movies. By now you know that this speaker is for Bassheads. Digit too found that it lacked a little in the highs, this was similar to what TechRadar found in the Z623 which they said needed to be a little brighter (needed more treble). Jim from Jimsreviewroom (Youtube channel) felt the speaker was perfect for movies due to its great stereo separation and reproducing the explosions and other effects faithfully. He felt the same about using them for gaming with the Subwoofer performing superbly.
Despite costing half of the HK Soundsticks, the Logitech Z625 is a great 2.1 speaker system and even comes with a 2-year warranty. Their bass-heavy sound and a lot of connectors make them a great speaker system for movies and gaming alike.
Best 2.1 speakers India (Budget)
Clear and Loud audio
Detachable volume control cable
Crackling at high volumes
No bass controller
The Creative SBS A-120 is a 2.1 channel speaker system with a ported subwoofer for just Rs.1599. That one statement should be enough for you to make a purchase decision. The Creative speaker's reason for buying is the bonkers price especially when you consider the quality of sound from it. Yes, we know you get Bluetooth speakers at this price but none of them are this loud or have a dedicated subwoofer like the Creative.
For connectivity, you get an aux in and a stereo port. It doesn't support Bluetooth, but we do not mean to nitpick about it. While you do get a wired remote which lets you control the volume, you have no bass level controller.
Most users found the speaker to be loud, clear and full of bass, especially for the price. However, once you are in the upper thresholds of the volume you can hear a lot of audio crackling. Some people suggested you keep the volume between 40-60% volume and keep the source volume high to compensate for the crackling.
Note: When researching about the Creative speaker we found many people complain that the speaker goes into standby even if you have music playing. This is not exactly an issue as Creative puts it, rather a compliance with ErP regulations. Under this, the speaker goes into power saving if it detects low power (low volume) from the source. To prevent this from happening you can turn up the volume on the source.
Creative offers 1-year of warranty on the product and you have to take it to a service center in case of any issues.For its price of only Rs.1599, the Creative SBS A-120 2.1 is a wonderful speaker that is loud, clear and has a lot of bass, in short, it is one of the best budget 2.1 channel speaker.
The Harman Kardon offers 1-year service with the Soundsticks III and you need to take it to the service center for any issues.
The Logitech Z625 comes with a 2-year warranty and you need to take the product to their service center to get it repaired in case of any issues.
Creative too offers 1-year of warranty on the product and you have to take it to a service center in case of any issues.
All three brands have service centres in major cities of India.
Who are our best picks for?
The Harman Kardon Soundsticks III is for people who do not want a discreet audio solution but one that they can display openly. Great looks aside the audio quality will also blow you with its loud and clear sound and good quality bass. This makes it great for Movies and Music alike.
The Logitech Z265 offers a lot of connectivity and powerful bass and sub-bass which makes it ideal to be used with movies, music as well as for games.
The Creative SBS A-120 2.1with its loud and bassy sound makes for a great budget speaker especially for your computer.
THX certifications: Does it make a difference?
“Tomlinson Holman’s experiment” or THX is a sound certification service created at the request of George Lucas who wanted all theatres to reproduce sound just like the sound engineer intended it to. This was right before the Star Wars: Return of the Jedi movie. But over the years THX split into an independent company and then has changed hands many times, from being owned by Creative and recently by Razer.
THX now is a certification for audio as well as video with many Audio-Video companies undergoing training from THX to understand how to correctly calibrate audio and video. This is actually quite effective as THX calibrators can actually bring visible change into displays as you see when we had a THX certified calibrator calibrate our Led TVs. Click here to know more.
But the THX logo that adorns the Logitech speaker that we featured isn't really a symbol of quality. The THX logo doesn't mean the 2.1 speakers will give you 5.1 channel theatre experience at home, this is because THX doesn't really apply any changes to the way the sound is like what Dolby and DTS do. THX is merely a certification program to check if the audio products meet the THX requirements which if noaudiophile.com is to be believed looks at just a speaker's ability to play 85dB with 20dB peaks or loudness in layman's terms. What's really strange is if an audio product does meet the THX certification, it cannot display the THX logo till the manufacturer actually pays THX a license fee. So do not pay much weight to the THX certification on such audio products, have a listen and pick them only if they are good. Also, there are a lot of great audio products that do not have THX certification but still recreate the great sound.
Think of THX in the same way as Hi-Res audio certification while Hi-Res is no certification of better audio quality but merely an approval of the devices ability to produce higher frequency sounds.
If you are in the market for a 2.1 channel speaker that you can proudly display in front of your big screen that can also playback loud and clear tunes then the Harman Soundstick III is a great pick for you.
The Logitech Z265 despite costing half the price of the Harman, sound great and come with a lot of connectivity options and make for a superb pick in the sub Rs.10,000 segment.
If however, you need to experience the 2.1 channel sound without spending a lot then the Creative SBS A-120 2.1 will surprise you with the quality of the sound and loudness despite being incredibly affordable.