I need help with my first 2.1 speaker setup! 300$ budget and for my living room

(brace yourselves this is a long one, TL;DR available below)


Hey guys, I’ve posted on multiple speaker/home theater related subreddits and I’ve come to the conclusion that I should use this forum since I’ve been a fan of Zeos for a long time. I’ve been really sick of my TV speakers lately, they’ve been really bothering me a lot, they sound tin-y, heavily distorted (specially in the low frequencies), and all around bad, so I’ve been wanting to replace them with anew setup for my living room.

Like I’ve said I’ve posted before on other audio-related subreddits and the consensus was that I should go with speakers and a sub (2.1 setup) instead of a soundbar + sub combo which I was considering before (though there are some soundbar defenders out there).

What I’m after in the end is better sound quality, I don’t really care about WAF or it looking “sleek” or “modern”, my TV is mounted on a light oak stand so speakers would look really nice. I know some soundbars can simulate a 5.1 setup by “bouncing” sound off the ceiling and walls but I’ve heard that doesn’t work particularly well, and it’s even worse for me since I don’t have walls on both sides of the TV, so there’s nothing for sound to bounce off of. I’ll mainly use it for movie watching.

The reason why I’m not opting for a 5.1 home theater setup is that I literally have no space for the rear speakers, so it’s not worth it for me (also even if I had space I don’t have any outlets behind the couch, so how would I even power the rear speakers?).

My budget is around 300$ to 500$ (though that’s pushing it), I know, not the highest, which is why I came here lol, some subs can cost a lot so I’m not sure what to do about that. That’s also why I’m asking for help, maybe there are budget options for speakers I don’t know.

Preferably powered speakers since I’m not really looking for an amp/receiver, also the upside is that if I want I can also move the speakers to my bedroom and use them as makeshift studio monitors (I know that sounds like a horrible idea if you know anything about music production but that’s the best I can do for now lol).

Also I live in Brazil, but don’t think about currency exchange or anything, I’ve seen a lot of products here and the price that I can afford is usually around 350 US dollars (original USA MSRP), the only real problem is availability.

Most big brands are fine, JBL (they’re everywhere), Harman / Kardon, Yamaha, Klipsch, Edifier, Sennheiser, Pioneer, KEF, Dynaudio (though they’re expensive), Mackie, Vizio (sometimes), as well as most big manufacturers that make TVs (like Sony or Samsung), Bose is sometimes possible (though who the fuck would willingly recommend Bose?). Some brands though are impossible to get because of import/shipping costs, mainly Sonos (they’re overpriced anyway lol), Swan, Denon, Dayton Audio, and most unknown brands, Micca is also a no no (I’m so bummed about that D: ).

Don’t limit yourself to only the brands I’ve mentioned though, even the ones I said I might not be able to get, if it’s like the best speaker ever or something I might just able to make miracles happen I don’t fucking know.

I know this is a weird request but is it possible to plug in a sub directly to powered speakers? Do some of them have a sub out? Because otherwise I will have to buy a receiver right? Please enlighten me on this. I’m also afraid that if I buy tiny speakers (or desk speakers) they won’t “fill up the room” properly I’ll just end up with low volume and tininess (is that a word?).

TL;DR: 300$ to 500$ speakers + sub (2.1) setup for my living room (moderately sized room with huge openings on the sides), I want it loud, preferably powered speakers since I don’t want to buy an amp/receiver right now, I’ll use it mainly for movies with some very light music listening.

Thanks for reading and have a nice day :smiley:

Edit: Mainly grammar, added TL;DR.


I would say for the money and selection / frames mentioned.
You can get couple of powered monitors (with remote / works with TV volume) that does have optical / USB / BT / RCA / etc suitable inputs that you need.
No separate preamp is needed for volume control then.

There are good ones in the 300-500 range that probably will make the cut buuuuut… Then you would only have stereo sound, meaning 2 speakers.
That ain’t a bad thing and leaves options for actually good sub’s and more later.

But since you want subwoofer as well…list goes very short.
There was similar need on other topic and on there Edifier S350DB might be strong option in the 300 range. Edifier S360DB goes near the 500 mark.
Just thinking is there even other ones…?

My road would be to get two powered speaker for stereo listening (good as budget allows), that you can connect to needed inputs. Look for the sub option later.
Option to save more is always options as well.

Truth is powered in-room speakers is a small market. Most room-oriented speakers are passive. One exception is the Klipsch R-28PF, which Adorama is selling for 400USD used, but they don’t ship to Brazil. You could look at your local used market for it, though. Outside of that, you really may need to look at entry level passive speakers with an entry level receiver.

There should be lots of options for passive speakers in this price range. Getting towers would you get some bass punch without a sub. Jamming speakers, sub, and amplification into your budget will be really tough. The Dayton T652 speakers and a Sherwood RX-4105 stereo receiver would be a HUGE upgrade over your TV audio and come in ~280USD.

your budget is quite low, to be honest…you would be better to save up till you have at least twice that, or more if you can be patient. :slight_smile:

it’s not that there aren’t options…but they’re just going to or barely going to be sufficient for a full on room. unless you score a deal of something used.

The system I mentioned will fill the room with sound. And be LOUD. But you’re right it won’t be the highest fidelity. Still will crush TV speaker performance.

1 Like

If you want to boost audio for watching TV and movies then consider a soundbar. Audiophiles may laugh but the truth is that there are some very good sound bars out there and if you look around there’s always good deals and discounts available. Some of the Samsung models are excellent.

Klipsh RP150M + SMSL AD18 + 2 sets 6’ Micca speaker cable + Acoustic Audio PSW-12 = $600-ish

Forgo the sub for a while and see how much you really must have one…
Klipsh RP150M + SMSL AD18 + 1 set 6’ Micca speaker cable = just over $400

Kanto YU6 and skip the sub until you can save to get the Kanto Sub8 to go with it. They are right around 400.00. The Kantos are powered and have a lot of connection options including optical and even phono. I have a set of YU4s and love them. I use mine in near field, but definitely fill the dinning/kitchen area that they are in… which is fairly large. I can imagine the larger YU6s would be even better. They come in a variety of colors too.

I can vouch for the YU6, I’ve got em…though I’ve got their SUB8 as well, but that’s a very good start!

For a budget minded tv set-up: SMSL AD18 amplifier, JBL B15 (when on sale for <$110) or MICCA RB42 or Pioneer Sp-bs22 and a Bic America F12 sub. Fine budget minded setup i guarantee will satisfy for the money. I have something similar in my kitchen and the room is 16x20x9.
I’m pretty sure all of these are ZEOS approved, go back and watch his videos for more info.