Where can I find attractive powered speakers?
December 16, 2009 10:13 AM   Subscribe

Does anyone know of any attractive powered speakers? Ones that look like they belong on a bookshelf and not next to a PC?

I'm looking for speakers to put in my living room that I would beam music to through an Airport Express. It could be one speaker or a pair, but they should be powered and stand-alone—I don't have room for a "system" with a separate amplifier. I don't need a radio, CD player, or iPod dock—just a power switch, a volume knob, and one audio input jack. The only powered speakers I'm finding are designed for use with a computer and are, in my opinion, unforgivably ugly—at least for use outside a computer workstation. I'm hoping to find something simple and modern with straight, clean lines—possibly a cousin to this Tivoli or this GenevaSound radio or the wooden-cased (non-powered) speakers our parents had in the 70s.

With everyone doing so much from their computers these days, it seems like these ought to exist! Have you come across any? Any ideas are appreciated!
posted by bryanlacksfocus to Home & Garden (14 answers total) 14 users marked this as a favorite
The finest looking, I think, are the Minipods by Scandyna.
posted by Admiral Haddock at 10:21 AM on December 16, 2009

Best answer: I like the looks of the Audioengine A2. Simple powered speakers with an input and volume control.
posted by zsazsa at 10:28 AM on December 16, 2009

Is Bose too ugly for you? Because their speakers sound like a hug from God.
posted by oinopaponton at 10:32 AM on December 16, 2009 [1 favorite]

Audioengine makes some awesome speakers in terms of sound, which we think look fine, and to which you can sling music.
posted by bearwife at 10:33 AM on December 16, 2009

I have had a pair of KRK Rokit RP5 studio monitors on my desk for a couple of years, and like them so much I've just ordered a second pair. They look sharp and sound great; nothing chintzy about them. The "G2" version is newer and has upgraded electronics, but you'll probably find the cleaner lines of the pre-G2 version more appealing.
posted by Mars Saxman at 10:41 AM on December 16, 2009

Harman/Kardon SoundSticks II
posted by Mwongozi at 10:53 AM on December 16, 2009

The Axiom Audio "Audiobyte" speakers are a stand alone system with one input, 55wpc amplifier, and come in various standard finishes. For 15% more, you can get them finished in 'real wood veneer' with different stain options / finishes, etc.

They look rather like regular stereo speakers rather than things you'd sit next to a computer monitor.

posted by csmason at 11:16 AM on December 16, 2009

There are a lot of professional and semi-professional active loudspeakers. Thomann has a range of active full-range speakers or even high-end studio monitors. The JBL Control One would be a classic example that you often seen in bars hanging from the ceiling, too. Most of them should be available in all kinds of countries.
posted by oxit at 11:19 AM on December 16, 2009 [1 favorite]

I ordered one of these tiny amps so I could use my nice-looking, non-powered speakers with my computer. Sonic Impact T-Amp It has the power switch, volume knob and audio input that you asked for, but you can use normal non-computer speakers.
posted by lsemel at 12:02 PM on December 16, 2009

Lots of options.
posted by spasm at 4:55 PM on December 16, 2009

Best answer: I recommended an earlier version of these Swan speakers in an old Ask post. Still love mine, they look and sound amazing.
posted by white_devil at 6:05 PM on December 16, 2009

I have these Swans, which I think are quite attractive. Highly reviewed/recommended as well.
posted by MeowForMangoes at 6:52 PM on December 16, 2009

You could look at powered monitors designed for (home) studios, as some other people have mentioned. It's worth noting that, unlike conventional home stereo speakers, these are designed to have very flat responses. In practice, this means that the monitors will have much greater clarity, but in general sound less pleasant.

As a side note, I find that listening to lower quality mp3s on my monitors is a nauseating experience. I can hear the compression artifacts almost instantly.
posted by yeoldefortran at 6:01 AM on December 17, 2009

Response by poster: Thanks, everyone. These are way better options than I was finding. (I guess "active" was the word I was missing.) I'm not instantly in love with any of these, so I'll happily welcome any other suggestions. Thanks!
posted by bryanlacksfocus at 7:54 AM on December 17, 2009

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