AT A GLANCE
Honest, subjectively accurate, full-range sound
Painless sub/sat blending
Won’t match ultimate volume level of larger, more costly systems
If your criterion is un-hyped reproduction, SVS’s Prime Satellite 5.1 system is as good as it gets for $1,000.
Good-sounding small speakers no longer impress me. After all, these days, pretty much anybody with a laptop and an Internet connection can design a small two-way that’s reasonably neutral. The tools are all online (many of them share/freeware), fine-performing drivers ranging from cheap ’n’ cheerful to exotic ’n’ expensive are readily available with complete Thiele-Small parameters, and MDF and veneer are plentiful down at Lowe’s. You don’t even need to know Ohm’s law; fluency in Windows or OSX and some basic woodworking skills are probably more useful.