Klipsch ProMedia 2.1 Delivers Sound You Can Feel

Lots of watts: Three-speaker system brings power and clarity--for a price

Turned all the way up, the Klipsch ProMedia 2.1 speaker system can make an audiophile sob--and induce neighbors to call and complain.

The ProMedia 2.1 system impressed us with crisp tweeting and thundering bass, even though it's half the size and total wattage--and has half the number of satellites--of its $299 sibling, the four-channel ProMedia 4.1 system.

With a hefty $180 price tag that rivals the cost of lower-end four-channel sets, Klipsch's ProMedia 2.1 speakers have the audio stamp of approval from the THX division of George Lucas's Lucasfilm. This system is a viable option if your sound card supports only two-channel output.

Identical in appearance to the 4.1's satellites, each of the 2.1 system's two 35-watt satellites (the 4.1 satellites are 60-watt) are about the size of a lunch box standing on its side. The 130-watt, 10-inch-cubed subwoofer is smaller than the 160-watt subwoofer of the 4.1 set.

At the base of the right speaker is a headphone jack for private listening. A useful auxiliary input lets you easily connect MP3 players, CD players, and other peripherals to take advantage of the ProMedia's booming output. We didn't like the fact that there's no on/off switch on the control panel, which forced us to reach behind the subwoofer to power down the speakers.

WATTS-A-MATTA YOU? Unless you've rocked your way through a few dozen heavy metal concerts sans earplugs, it's unlikely you'll need to crank this 200-watt system all the way up. Even when we set the speakers to half volume, our test room shook while we played MP3s and games. When we did push the system to its ear-bleeding, 110dB maximum, we noticed only minor interference in the form of colored ripples that splashed across the monitor. Once we moved the speakers about 6 inches from the monitor, the distortion disappeared.

It's difficult to convey the power and clarity of these speakers through words alone--they deliver sound that you can feel, not just hear.

Our main grievance with the ProMedia 2.1 system is the booming $180 price. If you're willing to spend the money for crisp, clear sound, you won't be disappointed.

By Joel Strauch, special to PCWorld.com

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