Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Powered (Active) Speakers with Remote

Boston Acoustics Soundware XS Digital Cinema
Samsung TVs have fixed audio out level that cannot be changed by remote control, so to have remote volume control of external speakers, you need to use:
  1. Receiver or home theater system with remote
  2. Soundbar with remote
  3. Powered (active) speaker system with remote
Option #3 is difficult, because there have been few good yet affordable powered (active) speaker systems with wireless remote, and most that previously existed have been discontinued (e.g., Creative I-Trigue L3800, Klipsch iFi, Onkyo HTX-22HDX). But, as of this writing, the Altec Lansing PT6021 (or similar SLS6221) is available on both Amazon and eBay. (Much more expensive options are the Audioengine 5+ and Bose CineMate Series II.)

Update 1: Unfortunately, the Altec Lansing PT6021 does not live up to its specs and is therefore not recommended:
  • AC hum is a problem, especially during soft passages, as acknowledged in the User's Guide: "Some low hum may be detected when your speaker system is powered on without an audio source playing, or when the volume is set at an extremely low level." (That's simply unacceptable.)
  • Sound quality is mediocre, lacking in clarity. 
Klipsch ProMedia 2.1
Update 2Boston Acoustics Soundware XS Digital Cinema is an excellent more expensive option, but can be found (currently) for as little as $180, making it a great bargain.

Note: If you don't need remote volume control, try to find a good used Klipsch ProMedia 2.1 system -- it's head and shoulders above other affordable powered 2.1 speaker systems: dazzlingly clear sound, smooth response with strong bass, and ample volume.


  1. John Navas, I don't know who you are or what you do but you just saved me alot of time by summarizing what I needed confirmed. I had just recently bought a Samsung LED TV and found out the HARD way that unlike my previous LG TV, as you stated "Samsung TVs have fixed audio out level that cannot be changed by remote control". Stupid I think, on Samsung's part but I'm not an audio electronics expert. I started looking for active/powered speakers with wireless remote volume control but all I can find was TV sound bars and the the Altec Lansing PT6021. After reading yours and other reviews plus remembering a previous disappointing Altec set I had for my computer, these are now off my list. Bose is to pricey for what they deliver and my budget. I'll be looking out for a good deal on Klipsch ProMedia 2.1 as you recommended. Until then, my search continues with the hope that someday soon some big speaker manufactor will realize the potential big sales of a powered, bookshelf sized speaker with remote control for many applications from computer/home audio to TV Home theater, etc.
    Thank you for your excellent Web publishings, I've got your site(s) bookmarked.

    Rui Belo

  2. Hi John;

    Rui again. In part thanks to your article helping me summarize my situation with my Samsung TV and the very limited number of quality powered speakers with remote options, I decided to continue my search. I am delighted to report that I found this;
    The reportedly superb Audioengine+ (A5+) powered speakers with remote control
    The Audioengine+ (A5plus) cost about $400 and judging from the reviews, I'm am sold and ordering a pair.