Kanto Ora review: Big desktop sound from a small speaker package

These compact speakers deliver great desktop audio

Kanto Ora speakers on a desktop
(Image: © Future)

Tom's Guide Verdict

These small Kanto Ora computer speakers impress with their wide soundstage and detailed sound, but they produce limited bass and cost more than most.


  • +

    Wide soundstage

  • +

    Balanced and detailed sound

  • +

    Small footprint


  • -

    Lacks deep bass

  • -

    Extra for stands and subwoofer

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Kanto Ora: Specifications

Price: $349 / £299 / AU$699
Colors: Black
Configuration: 2.0 (stereo)
Drivers: 0.75-inch tweeters, 3-inch woofers
Power output: 50W RMS total
Inputs: Stereo RCAs, USB-C, Bluetooth 5.0
Output: RCA for subwoofer
Headphone jack: No
Size: 6.9 x 5.6 x 3.9 inches

These Kanto Ora speakers are designed to bring great audio to a desktop setup. They make a compelling upgrade over a laptop's built-in speakers, and are a great addition to boost the desktop experience along with multiple monitors and fancy keyboards. 

The compact design won’t take up a lot of space on a desk, but that could mean sonic compromises elsewhere. Despite their size though, I was impressed at the wide soundstage they delivered, which is almost as impressive as the amount of detail they produce.

But they aren’t perfect for everyone right out of the box. As a 2.0 (stereo) powered speaker setup, there's no dedicated subwoofer although one is available as an optional extra. That means that people who love deep bass — whether listening to music, watching an action flick or playing an immersive game — may miss some of the deep bass rumble they’re after.

Do the Kanto Ora desktop speakers make the grade to rank in our best computer speakers buying guide? Read on to find out.

Kanto Ora review: Price and availability

Kanto Ora right speaker on desktop

(Image credit: Future)
  • On sale now priced at $349 / £299 / AU$699
  • Desktop stands and sub cost extra

Kanto released the Ora speakers in October 2023. They sell for $349 / £299 / AU$699, but you can currently find them discounted to $299 at Amazon, Crutchfield and B&H Photo. They're available in black only. 

Kanto sells matching S2 and SE2 desktop stands priced at $29 and $39 respectively. The Kanto Sub8 is available in black or white options and costs $269.

Kanto Ora review: Design

Kanto Ora speaker on a table top stand

(Image credit: Future)
  • Compact size ideal for smaller desks
  • Built-in 50W Class D amp

The 6.9 x 5.6 x 3.9-inch speakers are a good size for most people’s desktops. You can find smaller speakers, but rarely with the sound quality that the Kanto Ora produce. 

Each speaker features a 0.75-inch tweeter and a 3-inch woofer, and there's a bass reflex port that look like a grab handle at the top of the rear of each cabinet.

The right speaker contains the built-in amplifier rated at 50W RMS total power output (25W per channel). The powered speaker connects to the passive speaker via the via the 4-pin speaker cable measuring 6 feet.

The Ora come in a matte black finish with a basic bookshelf-speaker rectangular shape. Overall, they have a polished feel to them and look well built, but aren’t designed to attract much attention visually.

Kanto Ora review: Controls and connectivity

Kanto Ora image showing back of speaker connectivity and bass reflex port

(Image credit: Future)
  • Bluetooth, stereo RCAs and USB-C input options
  • No EQ control

The right speaker includes the controls, inputs and output. A dial on the lower right of the right speaker controls the volume and you push it to change the input. A light on the lower left indicates which input is selected; it changes colors based on the selection. 

On the back of the right speaker, you’ll find USB-C and RCA inputs; the Ora doesn’t ship with a USB-C or RCA cable, however. The unit also supports Bluetooth 5.0.

The Ora includes a subwoofer output for a wired subwoofer. You don’t often see a sub output on speakers this small — and it’s something you may want to add if you love bass.

There’s no app or other way to adjust the sound of the speakers; you’ll need to make any tweaks at the source of the sound. 

Kanto Ora review: Sound quality

Kanto Ora speakers on a desktop

(Image credit: Future)
  • Nicely balanced sound and wide soundstage
  • Lacks bass punch with movies and games

I was surprised by the sound quality the Ora delivered. These speakers created a much wider sound than I imagined based on their size. And the details they revealed in my favorite songs made it feel like I was hearing them for the first time. 

The banjo on Beyonce’s “Texas Hold ‘Em” twanged crisply and it felt like I could hear the mallet hitting the bass drum, while her voice sounded natural. The distorted guitar and driving drums and bass on Brittany Howard’s “What Now” were all distinct in the mix. 

The Ora shines on songs featuring acoustic instruments. The piano and horns on audiophile-favorite “Aja” by Steely Dan felt as if they were in the room with me, while the finger-picked guitar on Fleetwood Mac’s “Never Going Back Again” was bright and lively. 

These speakers created a much wider sound than I imagined, and the details they revealed in my favorite songs made it feel like I was hearing them for the first time.

But if you’re a fan of bass, you may feel something is missing. The deep low-end on Killer Mike’s “Run” was mostly absent, and that was true of most hip-hop tracks. While watching movies, the wide sound translated well, but the system couldn’t produce a rumble during explosions; the same holds true when playing video games. 

There is a fix: add a wired subwoofer. That will increase the cost (and footprint) of the system, but could bring you the best of both worlds: detail and boom. 

The bass does improve when you turn the volume up, and the Ora can get plenty loud — probably louder than you need in an office. The bass also got slightly more prominent when I connected via USB-C instead of Bluetooth. 

Kanto Ora review: Verdict

If you enjoy a balanced sound and great sound quality, you’ll enjoy the Kanto Ora desktop speakers. Their size fits well on a desk and the sound they produce belies the size. The excellent detail they reveal makes listening a joy. 

The lack of bass may turn off some people, but that can be overcome with a wired subwoofer — if you have room for it. 

When it comes to the price, there are plenty of desktop speakers you can choose for less. I recommend the Audioengine A2+, which although they haven't been reviewed by Tom's Guide, they offer excellent sound in a similar size for $269. Alternatively, if you just want good sound at your desk, the long-running Bose Companion 2 are hard to beat at less than half price of the Kanto Ora. 

If you like the look and cherish sound quality, the Kanto Ora computer speakers won’t disappoint.

Michael Gowan
Freelance tech writer

Michael Gowan is a freelance technology journalist covering soundbars, TVs, and wireless speakers of all kinds of shapes and sizes for Tom’s Guide. He has written hundreds of product reviews, focusing on sound quality and value to help shoppers make informed buying decisions. Micheal has written about music and consumer technology for more than 25 years. His work has appeared in publications including CNN, Wired, Men’s Journal, PC World and Macworld. When Michael’s not reviewing speakers, he’s probably listening to one anyway.