What are the Best Home Speakers Under $350


New member
Username: Buckweb

Post Number: 1
Registered: Nov-12
First off, let me start by telling you I know almost NOTHING about audio related products and have never owned anything more than an iHome. The absolute maximum I'm willing to spend on speakers is $300-$350. I listen to hip-hop, dubstep, (and country occasionally.) I would like the speakers to put out heavy bass and quite a bit of volume. The speakers are going to be solely used for music. I'm currently in college and will occasionally be using these speakers for parties in my house. The music will be played from my MacBook Pro.

I'm not sure what will be recommended but I've been looking on Amazon and have found a couple things that people have suggested. Below are the links:

I would really appreciate suggestions/help. Please include EVERYTHING you would recommend I purchase. Thanks!

Gold Member
Username: Magfan


Post Number: 2945
Registered: Oct-07
Short of just shotgunning a few near-meaningless recommendations...which would be what I like.....You should provide some more information and be willing to do some actual shopping.
You know, the in-person kind where you go to a store....listen and decide if you like what you hear. Add in a few qualifiers like 'why' or 'how much' and someone may be able to point you in a more constructive direction.
WHERE you listen is also sort of important. Large rooms require, generally, large speakers to get it loud. A dorm room or a bedroom can do with a more modest speaker and still get loud.
Than, there is the unspoken issue of amplifier. Speakers and amplifiers have a relationship and sometimes it clicks....other times it goes up in smoke.

High sensitivity speakers.....which are good at turning amplifier power into sound....will require less power. Real 'inefficient' speakers can soak up valuable budget by needing a more powerful amplifier.
I recommend the following:
First, figure out a budget for the whole enchilada. Amp....speakers...source....'other', which includes any cables or wires and potentially some accessories.
Second, go LISTEN to something. Almost anything will do as long as you take some notes. Try to find a dedicated stereo or home theater store. Even a Best / Magnolia would be OK. You could at least hear some B&W speakers...hopefully properly matched.

Platinum Member
Username: Jan_b_vigne

Dallas, TX

Post Number: 17521
Registered: May-04

Well, I have to admit to being confused by your post. In one instance you link to a complete (more or less) portable system with all you would need to make sound. Your links to the KEF speakers are just to speakers, no amp - and you will need an amp to drive the KEF's. Buying the KEF's would squeeze your budget pretty hard. Buying the Panasonic system would, more or less, be throwing your money away. Either system is not really well suited to your application desires. What you describe as your needs/desires for the system suggest neither the Panasonic nor the KEF's will withstand party level sound for more than the first two beers.

Given your admitted lack of knowledge about sound systems, I'm not inclined to provide the long explanation detailing why you need a particular type of system. Nor do I feel it would be beneficial to shorthand the technical details of how a system withstands what you intend for it. Bottom lined, party speakers need to withstand abuse and neither system you've looked at will do that for long. If you could find some used Cerwin Vega speakers at or around your price range, you could drive them with a small digital amp like this; wer-amplifier.html and have a rather inexpensive system that would do most of what you want.

My honest suggestion is that you rent some party type speakers on the occasions you want to have the police knocking on your door at 3AM. In the end, renting speakers more suited to parties will be cheaper than constantly replacing what you blow up otherwise. I've seen too many speakers - and amps - come in for repair after a party to think what you can afford will survive what you think they should do.

If you are going to be using your computer as the source player for this system, you can make a very simple and straight forward connection directly into a pair of self powered speakers. With self powered speakers the amplifier is contained within the speaker cabinet and there is reduced cost for the system since no additional cosmetics such as a chassis will be needed for a separate amplifier. Self powered speakers also tend to have a more technically correct match between speaker and amp which will be beneficial to anyone looking for loud volume and heavy bass which are the two values which stress most systems to the breaking point.

Given your stated tastes in music and the type of sound you are expecting - "I would like the speakers to put out heavy bass and quite a bit of volume" - you really should be spending about four times your top o'the line budget. That amount would allow you at least a few options which would withstand the abuse likely to be dealt out by someone with no realworld undertsanding of why they are about to blow up a system. What you are asking of the system just doesn't really happen at the $500 price range.

I keep stressing this idea of abuse and blowing up systems because that is what happens when someone who doesn't understand audio wants loud with lots o'bass but can't afford the equipment required to achieve those goals.

IMO my best recommendation for you would be head to a local music shop that sells instruments. Forget about "audio shops", they don't sell the type of sound you want or can afford. Any shop that sells drums and electric bass instruments will also have a selection of self powered speakers intended for the ametuer performer on a budget. They will also probably have a good selection of dj gear that would come close to doing what you want. Ask about self powered speakers and describe the type of sound you think you want. Buy the extended warranty because, unless you begin to understand the limits of your budget, you will be using it.

As leo suggests bigger rooms will require more from the system than will smaller rooms. Since bodies absorb quite a bit of sound, a larger room with twenty people in it will require far more from a system than will a smaller bedroom with only yourself to listen. Volume controls cannot be rotated to their limit without expecting the amplifier to be driven into distortion. You'll need to learn the limits of that volume control - where the system distorts - and put a limit on how far the vc can be advanced.

Placing your speakers into a corner will increase the apparent amount of bass from the system. Pulling them out into the middle of the room will reduce the apparent amount of bass from the system. Use the room's reflecting surfaces to your advantage. If you can place the speakers in a corner and at either floor or ceiling level, you will gain additional thump which will allow the amp to work a little less hard. Keep the tweeters aimed at your ears and not off into the rug or the ceiling lamp and you'll have reasonable sound for your budget.

Also ask the music shop about renting the equipment you would need for the type of party you would like to throw. Budget systems just do not deal well with parties. Any system sounds better working in your room than it does in someone else's repair shop.


New member
Username: Ornello

Post Number: 1
Registered: Dec-12
You said:

"The absolute maximum I'm willing to spend on speakers is $300-$350" and "I would like the speakers to put out heavy bass and quite a bit of volume."

As others have pointed out above, those two things are not really compatible at the price you mention, that is, unless you are willing to buy used equipment. I would suggest JBL-L100 (aka 'Century') speakers. They are around on e-bay and other places where used audio equipment is sold. Note that I am not endorsing these speakers unqualifiedly, but given the constraint of price, I can't think of anything better. There is also the issue of repairs, which will be likely given that you will be using them hard, and from that standpoint the JBL scores well. Many were sold and repairs are relatively easy. The JBL 4310 and 4311 pro models are almost identical to the Century, and again they are easy to find on the used market. You can't buy anything new as good as these speakers.

Also, you need a good amplifier that puts out at least 100 watts per channel (preferably 150). These speakers were designed to be driven hard and loud, and if you don't abuse them by using too weak of an amplifier, you should do fine.

Here is a completed sale on e-bay to show you what to look for:

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