Bose Computer MusicMonitor (silver) review:

Bose Computer MusicMonitor (silver)

The only real connection is a single 3.5mm stereo input. There's also a connector for the small external power supply, and a jack to connect the wire that's hardwired into the left speaker. Annoyingly, there's no headphone jack.

The MusicMonitor speakers utilize two small passive radiators in each speaker, which are aligned to cancel out each other's vibrations and enhance the bass, despite the system's small size. Indeed, you can see them through the vertical slots that run straight through the rear of each speaker from side to side.

We connected the Bose Computer MusicMonitors to our desktop PC and put them through the wringer on music, movies, and games. The Buena Vista Social Club CD sounded pretty sweet and the Cuban rhythms had a nice feel. The music's big bass came through with more gusto than we expected. Even better, the stereo imaging was good enough to make us forget about the speaker's tiny size. Sticking with the Cuban theme, next we tried Marc Ribot's Y Los Cubanos Postizos CD for its more electric, harder edged flavor. The MusicMonitor speakers held their own, so we compared them with the much larger yet far cheaper Creative GigaWorks T40 speakers. The bigger speaker didn't produce that much more bass, but the definition was better, treble detail was superior, and it could even play a bit louder. Whether it was because of the side-vented passive radiators, the ability to have both speakers set as far as six feet apart (the length of the hardwired connecting cord), or a combination of the two, stereo imaging seemed impressively wide.

Moving onto DVDs with Serenity, the larger speaker gained ground. When we turned down the speakers to a late-night listening volume, the MusicMonitor sounded fine. However, nudging the volume up, the sound felt cramped and harsh. Here, the GigaWorks T40's size advantage was more obvious. On the gaming front--we fired up Unreal Tournament 3-- the MusicMonitor did a little better, but it still lacked the overall power of the larger speakers.

If you're sold on Bose but want some alternatives, check out the bargain Bose Companion 2 Series II ($100) or the company's two 2.1 (subwoofer included) offerings: the $400 Bose Companion 5 and the $249 Bose Companion 3 Series II.

Editors' Note: This review has been changed from its original version to correct several details relating to the features of the MusicMonitor, which were originally--and incorrectly--confused with that of the entry-level Bose PC speaker, the Companion 2 Series II.

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