Don't Judge a Speaker by its Size
By Kenny Yeo
Audiophiles on the lookout for something that sounds and looks good should be no strangers to the brand Bose. Founded in 1964 by a MIT electrical engineer of the same name, their mantra is to provide users with the very best in audio quality. Having said that, they understand that desktop and notebook users who take their listening seriously, have not had many options to choose from. Thus, they slogged hard and long in their labs and have presented us with this - the Computer MusicMonitor, a pair of small footprint speakers that is not only pleasing on the eye, but also on the ears.
Pretty Little Thing
The first thing about the Computer MusicMonitor that strikes us is its size. Calling them small would be an understatement. To put it more accurately, they are tiny. With dimensions of 12.2 x 6.5 x 12.3 (cm), they are about the size of a large coffee cup, which is good news for those with cluttered work desks. Additionally, we also think that the Computer MusicMonitor is rather handsome-looking. The casing, made out of aluminum, has an elegant and classy metallic silver finish, which we suspect, was designed by Bose designers who use MacBook Pros.
It's not Always About Size
Despite its size, the Bose still managed to impress us. Granted, the bass is not as deep and punchy as we would have liked, but they are mightily impressive coming from such small speakers. The laws of physics dictate that to produce low frequency sounds, you need to move more air, and to do that requires more space. Knowing this, it's quite astounding to hear what Bose has achieved here with the exceptionally small Computer MusicMonitor. Furthermore, cranking the volume up, even near to its maximum, resulted in very little distortion. This is achieved by something Bose calls "dual internal opposing passive radiators", which works by cancelling out the vibrations caused by the other.
But where the Computer MusicMonitor really excels, however, is clarity. Turning them on for the first time, we can't help but notice how crystal clear and distinct vocals on tracks were. This can be easily appreciated when we put on KT Tunstall's "Acoustic Extravangaza" album. That said, the speakers also fared well on more complex rock and pop tracks. We put on some Steve Vai and "Tender Surrender" never sounded better.
The Computer MusicMonitor were also equally adept at handling games and movies, though its lack of a subwoofer meant that explosions sounded somewhat subdued. Ultimately, these speakers are still more suited for listening to music, as long as you don't have the need for strong bass.
Overall, the Computer MusicMonitor is an excellent performer. Bass was always going to be a problem with small speakers, but the Bose managed rather admirably. The only thing that stopped us from giving our full recommendation is its rather astronomical price-tag of S$699. Don't get us wrong though, these speakers are really top notch, but for that much money, we just expected more. However, if you are lucky enough to have buckets of cash lying around, and don't mind the slightly weak bass notes, then the Bose Computer MusicMonitor is probably as good as it gets.