Best Satellite Speaker- Top 7 Picks and Buying Guide

With the advancement of technology, unrealistic and unnatural sound is a thing of the past. More and more people are using satellite speakers in their living space to enhance their home entertainment experience. Satellite speakers are small stereo speakers, and they are commonly used as part of 5.1/7.1 surround sound systems. You can also buy them separately to add to your existing surround system.

Due to its compact size, the best satellite speaker can fit in limited living spaces without having to remove some furniture.  Satellite speakers are ideally used rear speakers, but they can also be used as front, left, right, and center speakers too. Also, their small size allows you to set them on a bookshelf, table, and even as wall mounts.

While they are great for mid and high frequencies, satellite speakers tend to struggle with the lower frequencies. However, adding a powered subwoofer will ensure that all the lower frequencies are redirected to the subwoofer, thus enhancing your speakers' performance.

Comparison Table for the Best Satellite Speakers 2019

Name

Size (H x W x D) Inches

Wired/Wireless

Our Rating

Price

Polk Audio FXI A4 [Overall best]

7.4 x 12 x 11.4

Wired

5 x 11 x 4.2

Wired

5.5 x 11 x 10.2

Wired

Acoustic Audio AA321B [Budget Choice]

4.5 x 3.5 x 3.5

Wired

6.9 x 8.7 x 2.6

Wireless

7 x 6.7 x 5.7

Wired

3.2 x 4.2 x 6.3

Wired

Satellite speakers are a recent innovation; hence, it can get tricky when selecting the best satellite speaker for your audio needs and budget. During our selection, we focused on the most important features from sound quality, build quality, functionality to their design. We have also included a buying guide so that you know what to look for when shopping.

1. Polk Audio FXI A4 Overall Best in 2019

The FXI A4 is engineered with Polk's proprietary patented Dynamic Balance technology, a design that helps to eliminate resonances and distortion so that you only hear the good sounds. Besides, these bipole speakers feature two cleverly designed tweeters, positioned 45° from each other to ensure a perfect mix of direct and indirect sound.  This will result in an engulfing surround sound that keeps you immersed in the movie action.

Feature and Benefits of Polk Audio FXI A4

  • All MDF construction: Polk Audio FXI A4 all MDF construction and spectacular asymmetric cabinet bracing is designed to reduce internal vibrations and eliminate resonance points that can compromise performance. With this, your listening/movie watching experience will be improved immensely. Also, the drivers and tweeters are aimed in different directions for a more realistic, diffuse surround sound.
  • Bipole/Dipole operation: Although these speakers are ideally bipolar, the bipole/dipole switch allows you to place the speakers on the rear or on the sides of your surround sound system; both positions will get you great results.  When the speakers are placed behind the listening area, you can set then on bipole operation for a distinct, directional sound. The dipole mode, on the other hand, will create a more diffusing sound field, and this requires that you position the speakers on the sides.
  • Timbre-matched speakers: Just like other Polk loudspeakers, the FXI A4 is timbre-matched to match any Polk Audio sound system or other multi-channel music systems. This requires the speakers to be constructed with the same components for a seamless blending of effects between speakers in the Polk Audio home theatre system or the multi-channel systems.
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    Premium components: The Polk Audio FXI A4 is equipped with premium components which include two 1" silk dome tweeters, a neodymium magnet, 5.25" polymer dynamic balance woofer as well as a heat sink at the back of the magnet.  With these features, this pair of surround speakers delivers whole-house sound without consuming much power. The impedance is rated at 8 ohms for enhanced sound clarity.

What we liked

  • Great for watching movies.
  • Installation is straightforward.
  • The speaker features premium components.
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    The Ferro-fluid cooling mechanism ensures a lifetime of reliable sound.
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    Spectacular finish the blend with modern home decor.

What we didn’t like

  • The sound is not audiophile quality.
  • Not ideal for listening to music.

Our Verdict: The Polk FXI A4 is specially made for both great looks and sound. It brings an advanced off-center design to deliver a performance that exceeds everyone's expectations. Add the FXi A4 to your home theatre and enjoy bass that you truly hear as well as feel.

2. Bose 161

Bose 161 is a versatile satellite speaker ideal for use in wall-mount or bookshelf applications. The speaker design features precisely positioned drivers that provide a broad, consistent sound field for music and movies. In addition, the automatic protection circuitry prevents the speaker driver from being overdriven, thus enhancing the speaker's reliability without interfering with your listening area. Also, Bose 161 wall brackets offer you a range of placement options.

Features and Benefits of Bose 161

  • Versatile satellite speakers: Whether placed on a bookshelf or mounted on a wall for surround sound, Bose 161 speaker setup is designed to deliver balanced and spacious sound rivaling much larger home stereo speakers. These speakers are a versatile option for both music and movies, and they are ideal for the front, rear, or surround speakers in a component home theatre system.
  • Articulated Array speaker design: Most conventional speakers radiate sound in a single direction. Bose 161, however, uses stereo everywhere technology and articulated array driver positioning to provide balanced and consistent sound throughout the listening area. This will create life-like audio throughout the room instead of a single sweet spot. In addition, custom brackets are included to increase placement choices.
  • Magnetic shielding: Magnetic shielding allows you to use your speakers in close proximity to your TV without interfering with the video display. Bose 161 is magnetically shielded to ensure that the audio and video stay consistently high-quality. And when combined with center channel speaker, Bose 161 speaker system is capable of cinema-like sound, allowing you to enjoy Bose sound from your movies.
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    Automatic protection circuitry: Bose's 2.5-inch Twiddler drivers use proprietary technology to keep the drivers from being overdriven, thus increasing the performance of your speakers to that you'd expected from much larger speakers. The automatic protection circuitry generates more air allowing you to enjoy rich, low-frequency sound from the speakers. Also, the impedance is 4-8 ohms, which helps to ensure that the audio is not distorted.

What we liked

  • The speakers are great for indoor and outdoor use.
  • Bose 161 offers balanced, spacious sound.
  • Well-tuned drivers for improved listening experience.
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    The custom brackets allow easy installation on any wall.
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    These speakers are engineered with industry-leading cutting-edge technologies.

What we didn’t like

  • The bass sound feels inadequate.
  • The overall design is not appealing.

Our verdict- Bose 161 offers exceptional performance in a design that will easily blend into your décor. These speakers reproduce sound over a large area with a fullness you'd expected from large speakers. Besides, you can set them horizontally on a table, bookshelf, and almost anywhere in the room.

3. Fluance SXBP2

Fluance SXBP2 is another surround speaker pair with premium components that ensure serious performance and natural sound. The SXBP2 trapezoidal configuration is designed for placement beside or behind the listener, which is perfect for 5.1/6.1/7.1 surround setups. Also, Fluance SXBP2 utilizes bipolar radiation, which provides a convincing soundstage and surround imaging for a thrilling movie theatre experience.

Features and Benefits of Fluance SXBP2

  • Bipolar surround sound design: The SXBP2 is designed with the bipolar surround sound configuration to create a 3D soundstage. The soundstage is achieved by placing two complete full-range speakers on opposite sides of your cabinet. This results in an engulfing surround sound that fills your room. Besides, these speakers can be placed behind or beside the listener to give off a more powerful sound.
  • Neodymium tweeters for thrilling highs: In addition to the bipolar design, SXBP2's neodymium tweeters will have your head rotating and enhance your enjoyment from your favorite soundtracks. With these tweeters, you'll feel every scream or stampede in the movies serving as a ticket to an engaging indoor movie theatre experience. Also, the frequency response is 130 Hz – 20k Hz, which means more detailed audio.
  • Richness in the midrange: With the dual four-inch midrange drivers, you'll get to hear all the sound effects for an enhanced cinema experience. The drivers will replicate the soundstage as well as reinforce tone and notes from your favorite films, thus giving you a movie theatre experience that you have always dreamed of. And with a power handling of 20 - 100 Watts RMS, the SXBP2 will offer you the most dependable sound quality.
  • Trapezoidal Configuration: The Fluance SXBP2 features a trapezoidal configuration, which is an ideal shape for multi-directional surround sound. Besides, these satellite speakers are made with audio-grade MDF wood cabinetry, which helps to reduce resonance, thus delivering rich and superb sound even at high volume levels. Also, its expertly crafted black ash wood finish is a perfect match for most décor.

What we liked

  • Reproduces natural sound with incredible clarity even at high volume levels.
  • Classic finishing to blend in any décor.
  • The use of high-quality components ensures serious performance and seamless timbre.
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    The SXBP2 delivers excellent surround imaging for quality entertainment.
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    The trapezoidal configuration helps to reduce resonance.

What we didn’t like

  • These speakers are a bit bulky.
  • It is inactive below 130 kHz.

Our Verdict- Fluance SXBP2 is one of the least expensive satellite speakers to utilize bipolar radiation for realistic soundstage. The pair provides vibrant sound performance at every volume level, making it the best satellite speaker for overall home entertainment.

4. Acoustic Audio AA321B

Acoustic Audio AA321B are the perfect speakers for any application. They are designed with heavy-duty ABS construction, and they can be used with any stereo system. In addition, these multi-purpose speakers pack 200 Watts Max Power per speaker, providing a decent sound and a full range of functionality. The purchase includes mounting brackets to allow for stress-free installation in any location.

Features and Benefits of Acoustic Audio AA321B

  • Powerful, compact, and built to last: These multi-purpose speakers deliver 200 Watts Peak Power per speaker and have full-range sound and 2-way functionality.  They are also compactly designed with durable, heavy-duty ABS cabinets to ensure that your speakers will last for years. At 3.5" high, the Acoustic Audio AA321B can fit onto any bookshelf and can be easily integrated into any home theatre system.
  • Simple design and straightforward installation: Acoustic Audio AA321B gives you a choice between a white or black finish in a simple smooth design that can be incorporated into any location. Also, these speakers provide quick release spring loaded wire terminals, which make the process of connecting the speaker to the existing sound system hassle-free. Besides, the speakers can be tucked into the smallest spaces as well as high up places without compromising sound quality.
  • Swivel wall attachment: Each speaker comes with a swivel wall attachment and four wall screws to help you attach your speakers in the ideal location. You'll be required to screw the attachment in the location of your choice using the custom insert of the speaker. You can then swivel the speaker up, down, left, or right until you achieve the desired sound quality.
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    Full range Polypropylene woofer: The AA321 boasts of compact yet powerful 2.5" polypropylene woofer with Butyl rubber surrounds for durability. This makes the AA321B perfect for surround sounds, bookshelf speakers, home theatre, kitchens, car audio, and multiple room systems. Besides, the cabinets are made of heavy-duty ABS construction and fully sealed, which not only makes these speakers durable but also a great addition to your home décor.

What we liked

  • This multi-purpose speaker is incredibly lightweight.
  • It features sealed cabinets and quick release spring.
  • Sleek design that features anti-scratch material
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    The black finish adds elegance in any room while staying appealing for an extended period.
  • It includes full information and mounting brackets.

Cons

  • The bass quality could be improved.
  • The brackets are somewhat difficult to adjust.
  • It lacks an output for mixing purposes.

Our Verdict: The Acoustic Audio AA321B provides a smooth and anti-wear design that can be incorporated into any space without disrupting the existing style or sound quality. With the full range sound and 2-way functionality, the AA321B is an excellent addition to any surround sound system.

5. Rugged Rukus Xtreme

Eton's Rugged Rukus Xtreme is all about huge, crystal clear audio to satisfy any audiophile. Featuring an internal lithium battery, Rukus Xtreme will keep the music going for hours. In addition, you can stream music from your smartphone, computer, or tablet using the advanced Bluetooth 4.0 that uses AVRCP to control the tunes from your device non-stop.

Features and Benefits of Rugged Rukus Xtreme

  • High-efficiency solar charging panel: The Rukus Xtreme comes with a built-in 5300mAh rechargeable lithium battery that enables it to deliver up to 8 hours of continuous operation. The battery can be recharged by the high-efficiency solar panel, usually in less than 5 hours. Also, you can use the included USB cable to charge your speaker using your computer. The USB port also allows you to charge other portable devices even when you are running Rukus on battery power.
  • Exceptional sound quality: Eton's Rukus Xtreme features digital signal processing, bass extending passive radiator, and 2.1 internal channels, which enable is to deliver rich, well-rounded sound for that low-end boom. Also, it provides a frequency range of 150 Hz – 18 kHz to ensure that the bass does not distort even at higher volumes. Although you can not necessarily rely on it for classical and instrumental music, it is more than sufficient for bass and loud tone lovers.
  • Rugged and IPX4 splashproof: This compact speaker has an IPX4 rating, so it is ideal for use near water or in the rain. It is also designed for convenient portability with its rugged and all-terrain design. In addition, it features a rubberized frame for durability and easy carry handle. The power and audio ports are also well constructed and completely sealed. So whether you are relaxing at the beach or just catching up on your favorite series, Rugged Rukus Xtreme will provide the soundtrack.
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    Bluetooth 4.0 with AVRCP: Rukus Xtreme wireless Bluetooth 4.0 system will enable you to stream all your favorite music from any Bluetooth enabled device. The Bluetooth is AVRCP enabled, allowing you to control tunes from your devices easily. There is also an aux-in for non-Bluetooth devices. There is also a microphone for speakerphone use, Blue LED 'Bluetooth-on' indicator, Red LED' charging' indicator, and loops for strapping to backpack.

What we liked

  • IPX4 rating hence splash-resistant.
  • USB port for charging mobile devices.Unique rugged, rubberized design makes with inbuilt handle.
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    The Battery backup keeps you going when the power goes off.
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    It allows you to stream music from any Bluetooth enabled device.

Cons

  • Limited battery life.
  • Inconsistent performance when adjusting the volume.
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    The maximum volume is not impressive.

Our Verdict: Rukus Xtreme is supper loud, supper rugged to rock your world all day long. Its all-terrain design is durable and ready for anything-indoors and out. Besides, it is small enough to fit in one hand and splash-proof for use near water or when you are caught in the rain.

6. Leviton AESS5-WH

Leviton AESS5-WH is a 2-way magnetically shielded satellite speaker, which means that you can place your speaker close to your TV and other electronic devices. Unlike other satellite speakers, the AESS5-WH is sold individually, and it comes with an architectural grade adjustable mounting bracket to get you started. The color of the speaker is white, and it is ideal for 6.1 or 7.1 surround sound systems.

Features and Benefits of Leviton AESS5-WH

  • Architectural-grade mounting bracket: Leviton AESS5-WH comes with a uniquely designed mounting bracket that is easily adjusted to fit different positions. The bracket is swiveled to the left, right, up, or down until an optimum listening position is achieved. Also, the design is compatible with the 6.1/7.1 surround system, EQ models, as well as many different speakers.  This makes them an ideal choice for those looking for additional speakers to an existing home audio setup.
  • Built quality: When it comes to the build quality, the speakers come with a 0.5" tweeter and a high output woofer for decent highs and impactful bass. These features will ensure that you will hear all the dialogue in the movie.  Usually sold individually, the AESS5 is magnetically shielded so that you can use it close to the television without interfering with the video display.
  • 2-way design: Boasting of a 2-way design, the AESS5-WH is powered by JBL, and it comes in white color. The speaker has an extender at the back to help with positioning and angling, guaranteeing a high output as you entertain your guests and family. However, Leviton AESS5-WH is not wireless, meaning you will have to do some cable management when attaching them to the ceiling or walls.
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    Classic audio wiring topologyThis mini surround speaker also features classic audio wiring topology that is used to connect the speakers directly to receiver terminals, thus delivering smooth and accurate sound in a large area. Although the bass is not good, it is a great option to upgrade your surround sound, and it will blend with your home décor.

What we liked

  • Magnetically shielded satellite speaker.
  • It delivers excellent and accurate surround sound.
  • It includes an adjustable mounting bracket.
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    It is reasonably priced.
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    Compact yet solid right from the start.

What we didn’t like

  • You might need a subwoofer to supplement the bass.
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    It does not come in a pair.

Our verdict- The Leviton AESS5-WH is a satellite speaker that feels very solid right from the box, and it is worth every penny. It delivers smooth, accurate sound throughout the listening area although you might need a separate subwoofer is you want more oomph in its bass performance.

7. Pure Resonance Audio MC2.5B

With its high-quality audio and compact size, Pure Resonance Audio MC2.5B delivers large sound from speakers such size making perfect for whole-house audio. Besides, this mini cube speaker creates an exceptionally wide soundstage for both home theatre and music applications, bringing your entertainment experience to a whole new level. The package includes brackets with mounting hardware for clean installation in any room.

Features and Benefits of Pure Resonance Audio MC2.5B

  • Excellent audio performance: Pure resonance audio MC2.5B –mini cube features two cubes, each with 2.5" driver with a rubber surround for protection. These compact speakers are covered with a metal grille, and they are capable of delivering 60 Watts RMS Power. The small package is suited for both music and home theatre applications, including satellites, surround sound, small stereo speakers, and whole-house audio.
  • Dual-pivoting array: Apart from the adjustable mounting brackets, this mini cube speaker features a dual-pivoting array that allows you to aim each of the speakers precisely for the best audio experience. This revolutionary cube speaker technology enables the speakers to deliver fuller sound from such a small package, and they are an ideal choice places where space is limited.
  • Adjustable wall mount brackets: The package includes adjustable wall mounting brackets, which allows for easy installation in any room without being overly intrusive to your décor. The brackets are filled with nylon for durability and reduced resonance. Besides, the speakers' cables can be routed through the wall for a neat installation. Also, the brackets are designed to allow for both horizontal and vertical positioning of the speakers.
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    Magnetically shielded speakers: These multi-purpose home entertainment satellite speakers are magnetically shielded for use near monitors of TV. This will help to ensure the speakers will deliver exceptional audio performance for unrivaled intelligibility. However, we recommend subwoofer if you are looking for a full-range bass sound.

What we liked

  • They have a minimal footprint, and they can be stacked.
  • Exceptional 5.1 channel performance.
  • Metal grills are included.
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    It is magnetically shielded for use near monitors.
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    Adjustable mounting brackets for easy installation.

What we didn’t like

  • Average performance in a larger room.
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    The speaker does not include cables, so you have to buy them separately.

Our verdict- Pure Resonance Audio MC2.5B has a tiny footprint, which makes it perfect for audio installation in cafes, bars, reception areas, and other areas where space is limited. Also, you can stack the speakers on top of one another, which ensures a more powerful performance.

Satellite Speakers Buying Guide

We believe that you have now made up your mind on which satellite speaker that is going to fit your needs. If not, this guide is a summary of important information that will help you go about choosing the right satellite speaker as explained below;

i. Frequency response

A wider frequency response delivers more notes, and it determines how much detailed the sound will be. On average, the frequency should range between 120 Hz-20 kHz for the speaker to be able to pinpoint the highs and the lows. As such, if you need more detailed sound, consider a satellite speaker with wider frequency response. However, speakers with a very high frequency tend to be inaudible.

ii. Sensitivity

Sensitivity is the measure of how loud the speaker can get, and it is measured in decibels (dB). The best satellite speaker will have a sensitivity of above 85 dB if you need it to get ultra-loud- especially in larger rooms.  Also, the sensitivity rating required will depend on the amount of power applied. For low powered sound systems, you will need the satellite speaker to have a higher sensitivity to make up for the low power. High powered audio systems, on the other hand, requires speakers with a low sensitivity rating.

iii. Connectivity

Bluetooth is one of the best ways to connect your satellite speakers with other devices as it establishes a stable wireless connection. Bluetooth allows you to stream music from other Bluetooth enabled devices directly as long as they are within the connection range.

Apart from Bluetooth, you choose one with aux port, which will allow you to use a cable to connect with other devices. The quality of the audio is going to be affected by the quality of the cable.  In addition, you can customize the length of the cable to your preference. You can also use an RCA cable to connect your satellite speakers to a stereo. That way, you can gain access to multiple connections methods, including Bluetooth and aux.

iv. Design and Build quality

Satellite speakers come in spectacular cube, block, or rectangular design. Some, however, deviate from these shapes by rocking a rugged, trapezoidal, or even a transparent look. When it comes to the build quality, the speaker should be housed in a durable plastic casing to protect the components inside. The drivers and tweeters should be made of sturdy metals to ensure that they will not wear down over time. In addition, most speakers will have a built-in EQ to enable you to tune audio to your preferences, depending on what you are listening to.

v. The size of the speakers

Although satellite speakers are ideally small, the location of the speakers is going to determine the size of the speakers.  If you are going to use the speaker or speaker set in a small to medium-sized room, then consider a model with moderate volume levels. However, if your living space is relatively large, then you'll need a model that can deliver more volume.

Frequently Asked Questions and Answers

Question 1: Do satellite speakers mean wireless speakers?

Answer: No. Wireless speakers are not necessarily satellite speakers, although most satellite speakers are wireless.  Wired speakers will have the upper hand when it comes to sound quality, but if you are willing to sacrifice sound over the design, you can always go for a wireless surround sound system.

Question 2: Can you use satellite speakers without a subwoofer?

Answer: Yes. The best way to use satellite speakers without a subwoofer is by having a set of larger bookshelf or floorstanding speakers as the front speakers and satellite speakers at the rear for a big home theatre sound. However, the best solution to get more low-frequency punch is by pairing your satellite speakers with a good subwoofer.

Question 3: 5.1 or 7.1?

Answer: A 5.1 surround system is composed of five small speakers and a subwoofer. The 7.1 setup, on the other hand, will have an extra two speakers. The latter will obviously provide a better performance, but it will be pricier. The 5.1 setup is usually sufficient, but if you want to push the sound to the limit, then go for a 7.1 setup.

Question 4: Can a satellite speaker be used in a car?

Answer: Yes. Any small, loudspeaker can be used as a satellite speaker. As such, you can replace your small 3.5" or 4" car speakers with a set of satellite speakers. However, it may not be a good idea to use dedicated satellite speakers in a car as they are best suited for surround sound.

Question 5: Where should I place my satellite speakers?

Answer: The best position to place your satellite speakers in a surround sound system is on the left and right of your listening area. Also, you should angle them directly towards your sitting position as much as possible.  However, if it is not possible to place them on the sides, you can opt to put them behind the listening position facing forward.

Conclusion

A satellite speaker is designed to complement a home theatre surround sound by reproducing high-quality surround sound. Just like other speakers, they come with tweeters and drivers to provide full-range sound.  Our pick for the best satellite speaker is Polk Audio FXI A4, for, among other reasons, its seamless speaker-to-speaker effects blending in multi-channel systems.  Also, the selectable bipole/dipole will allow you to configure it to your 5.1 system making FXI A4 one of the best 5.1 speakers. It can also be wired to 7.1 systems. Overall this is a great speaker for home theatre, and it is nothing less of full fidelity and high performance.

David M Foster
 

David M Foster is an award-winning sound engineer with over 13 years in the sound industry. He now works as a freelance sound engineer. He uses his insider knowledge and vast experience of the industry to shed more light on sound systems. He is a family man and the head content at Speakerchampion. Learn more about us.

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