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The Companion 5 Multimedia Speaker System from Bose is a 2.1 channel speaker system with a 5.25-inch Acoustimass subwoofer that connects to and is driven by your Mac via USB 2.0. The satellite speakers come pre-assembled on their stands and are powered by 2-inch drivers A wired control pod is included to let you control the volume; the control pod also has inputs for headphones and Aux in.
The Companion 5 looks high-end with its black design (with silver trim) and small footprint (at least for the speakers themselves). It sounds great, and it's easy to hide the bulky Acoustimass subwoofer. The virtual 5.1 is impressive, though such technology can't really replace a true 5.1 surround sound system. Still, the Bose come as close as any speaker set-up I've ever tried -- and they take up much less room than a real 5.1 surround sound system.
Virtual surround sound speakers work by adjusting the loudness and the arrival time and direction of the sounds coming from your audio system to create the illusion that you're surrounded by additional speakers placed around the room. If I understand it correctly, the Bose system works by directing a strong beam of sound to reflect off the walls of a room, so that you hear the reflection at a higher level than the sound directly from the loudspeaker.
The Companion 5 sounds great with DVDs, CDs and games. Fire up The Matrix and you'll appreciate the rumble of the bass. Though the satellites lack just a bit in the mid-high frequencies, overall, the speaker system is up to audiophile standards with its rich, clear sound.
The Bose speakers aren't for everyone. At 400 bucks, they're definitely a luxury item. However, if you have the moolah to spend, you'll get remarkable audio in a small, powerful package.
Macsimum news: 8 out of 10.