Minimus 7 - Classic Speakers From Radio Shack
If you're a lifelong Radio Shack fan like me, this time of year used to mean one thing to you... the "dads and grads" sale at Radio Shack. The main product I was usually looking for was the stalwart Minimus 7 bookshelf speakers - a perennial favorite at Radio Shack for nearly 30 years. In the spring you could get them for 50% off, making your buy-in for a good basic set of mini speakers somewhere in the $30 range - a difficult deal to duplicate today.
The basic model folks remember is probably the steel cased version, though over the years there were wooden cabinets, and even a sheilded "AV" variety when they started to carry the "Optimus" house brand. They are surprisingly good speakers, especially considering the size and price. Sadly Radio Shack doesn't carry them anymore. For a little while, they sold the Minimus 7 under the RCA brand, but they've been gone for some years. They still offer other low-cost bookshelf speakers, but they're not the same. Your best bet to find an authentic pair these days is Ebay.
Minimus speakers were ideal as part of a second stereo system in a bedroom or office, or as part of a surround sound setup. I paired them with a subwoofer I got from a Radio Shack outlet store for $20, and had a very nice satellite system for years. The Minimus 7 became the target of modders trying to coax even better sound out of these bargain speakers. You can find pre-made upgrade kits on Ebay.
It's not that the world is devoid of cheap speakers, the problem is simply that they often don't sound very good. There are all those little devices that people hook iPods up to, but sadly the speakers don't really move much air. Hard to get excited about music that sounds like that. It's always best to shop with your ears when buying speakers, but finding a place that will let you test speakers before you buy is getting more and more rare. I haven't found a common speaker that duplicates the price/performance ratio of the reliable Minimus 7. Despite their mini size, Minimus 7 speakers always packed a surprising punch without being a financial knockout.