Speaker Setup Recommendations Under $200

Hi MPUers, I’m in the process of upgrading my apartment bedroom (15x18 ft) with a speaker setup. My main goal is to have a system that provides great sound for background music during the day and can also enhance my movie-watching experience. Here are my key requirements:

  1. Budget: Ideally under $200.
  2. Compatibility: Must work well with both Apple and Android ecosystems. I switch between devices and would like seamless connectivity.
  3. Connectivity: Bluetooth + wired + wifi (if possible)
  4. Privacy Concerns: I’m not interested in smart speakers with built-in voice assistants (like Siri or Google Assistant) as I’m concerned about privacy and don’t want the device listening in.

Any recommendations that meet these criteria?

You didn’t mention how many speakers you want, so I’m not sure my recommendation will help, but I’d highly recommend you look at Sonos. To save money, perhaps you can find some used sets or maybe Ikea’s Sonos speakers as they can sometimes be a little less expensive.

Other than pushing your price limit depending on how many you need, Sonos checks all of your boxes perfectly. Just about every room in our house has some kind of Sonos setup in it and we love it — truly great!


Pushing or blowing out of the water? :stuck_out_tongue:

Maybe if you can find some used ones, but otherwise you could get just one of their cheapest speakers new on that budget. I love my Sonos stuff, but for a decent set up, especially for TV/movies, it will cost a lot more than OP is budgeting.

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Hard for me to know, because I don’t know the size of the system they wanted.

Also for what it’s worth, Sonos is the gold standard…if it were me, I’d save up for that instead of compromising. Or I’d be on the hunt on FB Marketplace or similar.

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That’s not an easy price point to hit with all the features you’re after, but I’ll offer my recommendation, which is the relatively new and surprisingly brilliant Kanto Ora. I think they come in at about $100 over your budget. I would consider them well worth saving for.

They’re tiny, active bookshelf-style speakers with USB & Bluetooth connectivity that sound fantastic and have the option of adding a subwoofer down the road if you decide you want some extra low-end heft.

You can kind of go one of two ways with this: look for a consumer appliance type speaker, like Sonos, Bose, etc. Or you can aim at entry-level hi-fi, which is where the Kanto Ora and other good alternatives like the Audioengine A2+ sit.

Sonos is the default recommendation, and a good one, but if you’re going to grab used Sonos speakers I’d caution against any that run on their older S1 software platform. A pair of old Play:1s can be updated to run on the S2 platform and would give you an overall good experience. They have hardware versions with no smart assistant. I’ve seen them on used marketplaces within your budget. However, the older Sonos speakers do not have Bluetooth.

Sonos is also a great choice if you expect to add more speakers in the future that you want to be able to chain together. If you’re interested in easily playing the same music in your office, your living room, your kitchen, etc. then Sonos is a good bet. Other whole-home consumer audio platforms exist and trade advantages/disadvantages against Sonos, but this is one of those cases where if you don’t particularly care about audio and just want something that’s ubiquitous, simple, and (mostly) does what it says on the tin: Sonos is safe.

One potential gotcha to be aware of with Sonos standalone speakers: they don’t make good computer or TV speakers. There’s no way of connecting them permanently to a Mac that won’t have significant latency unless you have a Sonos soundbar in the mix. Even a physical connection via the line-in port. This is because the signal has to run through Sonos’ DSP first. Their soundbars are designed to be the “heart” of a zero-latency A/V system. For the standalone speakers, the Bluetooth and AirPlay connections are fine—but obviously that connection has to be re-established periodically.

If it were me, and I was buying purely to have a great audio experience at my desk without breaking the bank (or the desk), I’d buy the Ora every time. If I didn’t care about computer connectivity and just wanted a whole-home audio system, Sonos is great. I own a pair of Era 100s and a Move 2 and I love them for what they are and accept them for what they aren’t.


I have these on both my PCs and I really like them for computer speakers. They are great speakers for the size and sound decent enough for music (A5+ are much better though). I think they lack a bit of punch for TV/movies, or for more bass heavy music. It depends on how picky OP is though. I have seen people here say HomePod Mini’s are great for music and movies and that seems crazy to me, but not every one has the same standards.

I still use an old Play 3 (single speaker) and it works, but it is missing a lot of the features the modern speakers have, like AirPlay. I would definitely not get any of the older speakers, even for cheap. Unless of course you just want to use them with the Sonos App and nothing else.

I tried HomePod minis for a while, but they were never great. I currently play music from an old Mac mini directly cabled to a full-size stereo receiver with Sony bookshelf speakers in two rooms of a small house.

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I don’t know if someone has already recommended these but the Swan OS-10 are are supposed to sound fantastic for their meager price. And look they’re on sale


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Would these work?
Edifier r1280t

I don’t have them but have seen a few positive reviews.