Computer speakers are like icebergs. Look at the ad shots (example to your right), and you mostly see delicate spires dressed in fine fabrics, flanking iMacs, pointing to the heavens just like Plato did right before he pushed Aristotle down the School of Athens' stairs.
But it is below the desk that their true presence is felt: giant, unweildy subwoofers spilling wires and cords like a dreadlocked Hutt. The MM226 from Boston Acoustics is no exception. In fact, it seems to revel in it: there's no attempt to conceal its bulk with clever design. Instead just sits like a giant melting block of grey ice, woofing away happily, content with its corpulent state.
Of course, the topside speakers are very pretty, with exchangeable faceplates in Glacier, Rosebud, Onyx, Pearl Gray, Caramel, Chocolat, Silver and Chili Pepper. They're lovely, though they do cost a little extra (and actually live up to the silly names, inasmuch as they're mostly odd colors that might be hard to match to existing decor)
Anyway, all such things fade to irrelevance before the quality of the sound, and the MM226 was pleasant enough. The big woofer throws out plenty of bass, but the stereo pair is good enough to stay afloat on it. It belts out lots of volume without too much effort, and that's all it really needs to do. I couldn't imagine that music lovers would even look at something like this, so didn't worry about how danceable the cables were.
The wiring is simple, with a desktop volume module making physical control a snap–it also has microphone and headphone sockets, too. At $150, it's not too expensive, but pricier than cheapie models in its class.
Only one flaw really got on my nerves: the desktop volume control unit was sensitive to interference from my cordless phone, a Dect 6.0 model from Panasonic.