"Top-of-the line quality for top- of-the line price"4.5 starson by MarcPBcup
Pros: crisp sound, USB interface, surround emulation
Cons: Pricey, Control pod could be better, Acoustimass unit is not "hideaway-able", could be louder
Summary: I got these computer speakers as a birthday gift after having them on my list for two years. As an acoustical engineer, I can say that the Bose crew did their research on this model. If you set the speakers up in the configuration as per the instruction manual, the sound field is very wide and crisp. However, the "hideaway" bass speaker is actually quite chunky and will be difficult for most people to actually hide. And the satellite speakers are quite attached to their (slightly awkward) 6" tall stands and don't allow for wall mounting. So expect to see some wires.
I'm not going to delve into the sound. If you've heard Bose, you know it's crisp, clean and even. You can pump the bass if that's your style, but don't expect to use this system for MC'ing/dance parties/other loud functions because it just isn't that loud. The surround emulation is very good, but make sure you have a DVD decoder with 5.1 decoding otherwise you won't get the full effect! (Try NVidia Purevideo)
My favorite part of this system is the USB connection. It completely bypasses the need for a high-end sound card, so you can use this with your laptop and it still sounds fantastic! You'll need a 3.5 to 3.5 mm cable to play an ipod or CD player, but it sounds just as good as the USB connection.
My least favorite part about the system is the control pod. The "tap" surface sometimes requires several taps to activate, and you can't mount it sideways. I wish instead of muting the system with a tap, you could customize it to skip to the next track on your playlist (or whatever you choose). However, the circular volume is beautifully articulated and the pod is heavy enough to stay in one place even on a mildly slanted keyboard tray.
Overall, these expensive speakers are worth their weight in the sound quality alone. If they were slightly more customizable, I might give them a 10. P.S.- these speakers are $50 off at Bose outlet stores!