Powered speakers for a 30 yr old

My 30 yr old son has been visiting and has been loving listening to music here. He enjoys playing and listening to music but has nothing to listen on bigger than a phone back home. He has a small apartment, and his tastes do run to techno.

I was thinking that a pair of self-contained powered bookshelf speakers might be a good gift? At first I thought Muso2 or Sonos . . . but I think that a pair of speakers vs a Muso-style ‘one box’ might be preferable. And I’m probably not going to buy him a sub just because I want him to be responsible alone if it annoys his neighbors below.

Any ideas for “decent” powered speakers? I’m thinking probably Airplay2 will be his main source, although a dedicated app that pairs with Spotify etc. would be nice too (a la Naim and Sonos). The idea is to be able to run it all from an iPhone.

Have you thought about a used UnitiQute and some inexpensive bookshelf speakers? I’m sure you could pick something like this up for less than the cost of a new Muso or Sonos, and I’m also sure it would sound better too. Doesn’t have the ultimate convenience factor of an all in one speaker, but provides more scope for future upgrades and could get him hooked on ‘proper’ hifi.

Ive not yet set up my UnitiQute2 in our new home and would give it and my dynaudios to him, but I know him; he does not want to be saddled with so much “stuff.” He has truly embraced a minimalist lifestyle and I have no idea where he got that from!

We’ve got a couple of pairs of Ruark MR1’s in our house and I’m always surprised how good they are when I sit and listen to them. I think they’re a steal at £350.

One of my kids has plugged their bedroom TV into them as well and they’re much better than the built in speakers.

mu-so Qb?

The OP said he preferred a pair of speakers vs an “all in one”

Sorry, I guess I was too quick …

Sonos One are very flexible: can be used solo, in a stereo pair or as part of a wireless surround. A pair of Sonos One SL would be all wireless, supports AirPlay2 and can be split to two single speakers if desired. (The SL does not have any voice command capability.)

B&W have the Formation range which looks to mimic the Sonos ranges but at a B&W level, and appropriately higher prices, the Formation Duo being top of the range I believe.

That said, the Sonos app is first rate and includes integration to a wealth of services including Apple Music, a unique integration.

(Spotify only allow for Spotify Connect, which Sonos supports as well.)

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Im really thinking that Sonos Five is a good compromise for him. I agree that their software is really great and it’s very flexible. He can add their sub if he wants. Seems great value for money.


Back when there was also a Three in their range, I demoed the One, Three and Five. The Three came last for me by a long way. The Five was impressive; it really came alive at a certain volume and can fill a large space. The One was surprisingly good and was/is very capable of filling space in its own right, but the Five being larger had a better response. I still have a couple of Ones dotted around for casual listening.

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How generous is Daddy feeling? An Atom HE + active Acoustic Energy AE1s would make a really nice Chrissy present. He could add 'phones if he wanted to listen loud without disturbing the neighbours. If the Atom exceeds the price cap or is unavailable, perhaps a BlueSound Node instead of the Atom?


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I’d second the Sonos Five in this situation. If he’s looking for a minimalist setup, ease of functionality and solid SQ this is a great option. A Five did me for many years and worked really well with lots of geographical moves. At the age of 30 the last thing I wanted were separates and a pair of speakers and stands. And if you’re feeling generous you can buy him a pair :slight_smile:

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At that price level I would also consider Dynaudio Focus 20s. No Atom, no speaker cables, just a pair of speakers with all the electronics built in.

We run a pair of Sonos smart speakers in our kitchen diner area / it’s actually the kids they have one each and I just steal them and run them as a stereo pair when we have people over and want background tunes - works great and because they are portable we take one with us when I head over the in-laws or up to our beach house etc…

Another cheap ish light touch option would be a bluesound powenode and passive bookshelves

Obviously it’s not the last word in fidelity but it’s sounds pretty good and is super flexible….

If they want more than a one box glorified boombox like the Muso (not knocking them, I have 2 Qbs), I’d suggest the KEF LS50 Wireless active speakers. Just speakers. No boxes. Proper entry level hifi.


Not quite what you mentioned, but I’ve always had a soft spot for the B&W Zeppelin

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