In the past, the speaker experts at Bose have always excelled as a manufacturer of high-quality compact speaker for desktop use. As I’m currently on the lookout for new PC speakers, I decided to check out the Companion 20’s, and although I expect an increase in sound quality compared to my current (and outdated) computer speakers, I want to see (and hopefully hear) if they are worth the $249.95 they’re asking for before I reach for my wallet.
The fact that there are now many very good sounding speaker systems for use on a desk is well known. But Bose wouldn´t be Bose if good sound was the only requirement for a new product. So the diligent engineers from Framingham, Massachusetts set out to develop the Companion 20, a compact, perfect sounding stereo set, that works without a subwoofer, have stylish looks, is easy to install and operate and also provides some additional features.
Easy installation, setup and maximum ease of use has always been on the top of Bose's priority list. This is definitely evident in the Companion 20, which can be installed without using the accompanying instruction manual within minutes. The two speakers are simply connected with the supplied cables, with one between the speakers and one between the right speaker and the mini-jack audio output on the computer. Finally, the small, round, easy-to-use control pad (or puck?) is then connected via USB cable to the right speaker. All you need to do now is to tell your computer to send the audio to the mini-jack / headphone output, and you´re done.
Sound Quality & Listening Experience
Ok, the two neat little speakers are now placed on either side of my monitor and the Control Pad is within reach. My favorite media player is open and showing my favorites list, giving me plenty of musical options for the Companion 20’s. I start off with some classical music first as I want to know how they handle the spatial and tonal balance of a full orchestra and small ensembles. After a few movements, it quickly becomes clear that Bose has not gone overboard frequency-wise, but sounds full-bodied and relatively powerful, and the two-piece multimedia speaker system sounds way bigger and spacious than I expected.
Moving on to more intimate music by my favorite singer/songwriters, and I´m struck by the detailed and very atmospheric voice reproduction and the way the Companions paint a sound stage with excellent presentation and separation of the different instruments, which results in a lifelike picture of the venue where the recording took place. Voices are perfectly placed in the acoustic center of the room while each instrument has its place in the overall ensemble, and it stays there no matter how busy it gets.
Songs from Infected Mushroom’s ‘Vicious Delicious‘ is part of the second phase of my test, where my main focus is on bass reproduction and dynamic behavior. And here the Companion 20’s surpasses my expectations by far.
I´m now enjoying a powerful, almost bone dry, ultra-precise sound - something I previously could not imagine such a compact speaker system could do. The sound performance thrills me so much that I can´t help myself from turning up the volume to unreasonable levels. But that doesn´t faze the C20's. On the contrary, and even at a painfully high volume, the speakers plays with enthusiasm and a very high level of audio quality, and it does so with speed, agility and a full-grown bass that belies their relatively small size and stature. Don´t be surprised if your friends or colleagues start looking for a hidden subwoofer under your desk when you listen to the Companion 20.
To conjure up such an abysmal bass from compact speakers like these, Bose uses a proprietary and patented technology. This mainly consists of an innovative port design that takes advantage of and makes the most of the small driver and the air it pushes, producing an impressively deep bass as a result.
With the Companion 20, Bose has once again outdone themselves and created a desktop speaker system that sounds excellent and comes in a useful and comprehensive package and utilizes an innovative operating concept. The trick is that this system does not need any additional subwoofer, but it sounds like one is hiding under the desk. This makes it easier for me to claim it to be one of the best 2.0 computer speaker systems in the world. My search for new computer speakers is over.
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- Proprietary TrueSpace® stereo digital processing circuitry creates a wide two-channel soundstage engineered specifically for listening at your computer.
- Versatile control pod features rotational volume control, single-touch mute, headphone jack and connection for a second audio source, such as an MP3 player or a tablet.
- Advanced port design and driver deliver powerful low-note performance and full, natural sound that fills the room.
- Proprietary integrated signal processing delivers lifelike performance at almost any volume level.
- Active electronic equalization balances low, mid and high frequencies for more natural tone and clarity.
Two 2.75 inch (70 mm) high excursion, wide-range transducers
Speakers: 8.6"H x 3.5"W x 4.4"D (22.0 cm x 9.0 cm x 15.0 cm) Control pod: 2.5"D x 1.125"H (6.3 cm x 2.8 cm)
One speaker, unpacked: 2.5 lb (1.1 kg) Control pod: 0.5 lb (0.2 kg)