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Best Computer Speakers

Best Computer Speakers

Harman Kardon is one of the major players in consumer electronic speaker systems. Their Soundsticks III is visually stunning with its ultra-modern shape and transparent housing. The centerpiece of the system is a 20-Watt downward-firing subwoofer that delivers precise low frequency and midrange sound.

There are two satellite speaker units with a physically adjustable base that allows you to adjust the profile of the sound their 8 transducer speakers deliver. Combined they deliver a crisp 40 Watts of sound.

The Harman Kardon Soundsticks III has a stereo minijack output. This means you can take it away from your computer to play music from an MP3 player, portable CD player, or a similar device.

The RECCAZR MP2000 is a 2.0 channel speaker system that was designed to enhance the sound produced by a computer on a desktop with limited space. Each speaker housing only measures in at just 5.4 x 3.2 x .3.6-inches, yet they have a small 2.5-inch built-in subwoofer with a 4X diaphragm.

This gives it superior midrange clarity without having to invest in a subwoofer, which will inevitably eat up space under a small desk. The speakers are rated to produce up to 65 DB of sound, which is more than enough for a small office space or dorm room. All at a very friendly price point, with a one-year warranty, included in the purchase.

JBL is another giant in the consumer electronics industry. Their JBL Bar 5.1 was arguably designed to be used with a flat-screen TV just as much as a computer monitor. It’s exactly the sort of thing you want to be mounted on your wall for streaming movies from your computer.

The JBL Bar 5.1 soundbar can be mounted to a wall or positioned under a monitor. This system also comes with a 10-inch downward-firing subwoofer which delivers some powerful low tones with the kind of thump gamers and music enthusiasts prioritize. At each end of the primary soundbar, you will find two detachable wireless speakers that can be placed anywhere you want to replicate surround sound. They are rated to last up to 10 hours on a single charge.

It’s also worth noting that the JBL Bar 5.1 was designed to connect to 4K devices. It also has the ability to wirelessly stream music via a Bluetooth signal.

How We Picked

Like a lot of consumer electronics how you will use them most often will factor into the kind of features you prioritize in a computer speaker system. Still, there are some essential characteristics that always need to be addressed. So, we tried to start with these and then filter through the bells and whistles as needed.

Connectivity

You need to be able to efficiently connect to the computer speakers to use them at all. In the past, this was only in the form of RCA cables, which while they are still in play, are on the way to being outdated. Not to mention the fact that RCA cables inevitably leave you with some potentially ugly wires that might be unsightly, while also having a knack for tangling into other things on your desktop.

Today USB cables, firewire, and even wireless connectivity via Bluetooth are starting to take over. So, whenever possible, we tried to look out these features, or at least computer speaker systems that offered multiple connectivity options.

2.0 versus 2.1 or multi-channel

Once you have your basic connectivity options dialed in, the next step is to determine the number and type of speakers you want to use. With a lot of 2.0 computer speakers, you get a left and a right speaker to replicate some basic stereo sound. Though there are a few multi-channel systems that allow for peripheral speakers that can nearly replicate surround sound, for people who like to use their computer as a veritable small home theater.

When it comes to a 2.1 computer speaker system the .1 is essentially referring to a subwoofer or a woofer. These peripheral speakers need to be plugged into a secondary source of power in order to operate properly. Some of the small driver versions do well in the mid-range frequencies but don’t really have the “Thump” of a powerful subwoofer.

Most of the time you won’t really notice the difference if you are just streaming some soft Spanish guitar music or you are listening remotely during a business meeting. Where that deep, low-range frequency potential really matters is when you are watching movies or gaming.

Size and Power

Not everyone has an expansive desk or a large dedicated office all to themselves. So, while we tried to look for large, powerful systems that can deliver high-performance sound, we also kept an eye out for some smaller high-quality units. Afterall there are a lot of people with limited desk space that also appreciate a rich audio experience.

Added Extras, Bells and Whistles

Let’s be honest, a lot of computer speaker manufacturers know that their most likely customer is going to be a gamer or someone who games enough that they appreciate an immersive audio/visual experience. To that end, they make it a point to infuse special features, and accessories meant to tempt a gaming enthusiast to their product over the competition.

Of course, there is no one size fits all approach to these features. Still, we kept an eye out for bells and whistles that added to the experience without necessarily blowing up the price. This included things like an ergonomically designed wireless mouse, accent lighting, a subwoofer included in the purchase, or wireless satellite speakers to replicate surround sound.

Klipsch R-15PM Powered Monitor

Klipsch R-15PM Powered Monitor

Klipsch R-15PM Powered Monitor

Specs:

  • USB, RCA, or Phono line inputs
  • Bluetooth wireless connectivity available
  • IR remote included in the purchase
  • 3.5 mm mini-jack line
  • Compression driver
  • Expandable to include a subwoofer

The Klipsch R-15PM offers a wide range of connections. This includes an integrated phono pre-amp, as well as digital optical, analog RCA, USB inputs, and even Bluetooth wireless technology. your R-15PM is the best performing, most versatile monitor on the planet.

It also has individual ultra-low noise amplifiers that are specifically designed to maximize system performance while eliminating the need for additional external amplification. While this Klipsch R-15PM is set up for two-channel operation, this system can be set up to also work in tandem with a secondary subwoofer.

Klipsch R-15PM Powered Monitor remote

Klipsch R-15PM Powered Monitor remote

The IR remote is also a handy touch for times when you want to stream some music from your computer, while you work around the house. It also has features like dedicated source selection, and track controls to go along with the standard play-pause function.

Klipsch R-15PM Powered Monitor speaker

Klipsch R-15PM Powered Monitor speaker

What We Liked

The multiple connection options and Bluetooth wireless connectivity ensures that whether you have an older computer or one that just came out of the box yesterday, that there’s an easy way to connect to these speakers. The fact that you can set it up as a 2.0 or a 2.1 with an expandable subwoofer is also some nice versatility that you don’t always find with some of the 2.0 competitors at this price range.

Overall

This is a great entry-level computer speaker system that still has the expandability to grow with you over time. There aren’t necessarily a lot of bells and whistles with this system, but you see that reflected in the friendly price tag.

Logitech G560 LIGHTSYNC PC Gaming Speakers with G502 Lightspeed Wireless Gaming Mouse

Logitech G560 LIGHTSYNC PC Gaming Speakers with G502 Lightspeed Wireless Gaming Mouse

Logitech G560 LIGHTSYNC PC Gaming Speakers with G502 Lightspeed Wireless Gaming Mouse

Specs:

  • 240 Watts at peak power
  • DTS Ultra replicates the 3D sound
  • 2.1 with downfacing subwoofer
  • Lightsync technology for enhanced gaming effects
  • Comes with a Lightspeed Wireless mouse designed for gaming
  • A mouse that is weight adjustable

It’s no secret that many speaker manufacturers produce computer speakers that are specifically designed to appeal to gamers. The Logitech G560 wireless gaming mouse does just this with a 2.1 channel speaker system capable of producing up to 240 Watts of peak power. It’s also blended with a few special bells and whistles included in the initial purchase.

Logitech G560 LIGHTSYNC PC Gaming Speakers

Logitech G560 LIGHTSYNC PC Gaming Speakers

The speakers use DTS Ultra which was specifically designed to worth the downward-firing subwoofer to replicate the 3D sound. It also has Lightsync technology, which uses a Hero 16K resolution sensor to producing light effects that very closely match the displayed image on the screen. This enhances the overall gameplay experience.

G502 Lightspeed Wireless Gaming Mouse

G502 Lightspeed Wireless Gaming Mouse

It’s also worth noting that the Logitech G560 also comes with a Lightspeed wireless gaming mouse. Not only was it designed for ergonomic control, but this wireless mouse also gives you the ability to adjust the weight, for the proper level of responsiveness.

Logitech G560 LIGHTSYNC PC Gaming Speakers with G502 Lightspeed Wireless Gaming Mouse

Logitech G560 LIGHTSYNC PC Gaming Speakers with G502 Lightspeed Wireless Gaming Mouse

It also has other customizable controls that let you do things like changing the scrolling speed.

What We Liked

The fact that this 2.1 computer speaker system comes with added bells and whistles like the Lightsync technology and the customizable, ergonomic Lightspeed mouse, help maximize it for gamers who truly want an immersive experience.

At the same time, the DTS ultra with downward-firing subwoofer also translates into a great depth of 3D sound.

Overall

The Logitech G560 was certainly designed with features meant to appeal to gamers. If you are a gamer looking for an immersive experience, you should certainly consider putting this computer speaker system near the top of your list.

Still, these computer speakers with their added bells and whistles can appeal to more than just people who love online gaming. The Lightsync technology with the Hero 16K resolution sensor and the DTS Ultra 3D sound can play just as well for times when you want to get wrapped up in an action movie.

Sound BlasterX Katana Multi-Channel Surround Gaming and Entertainment Soundbar

Sound BlasterX Katana Multi-Channel Surround Gaming and Entertainment Soundbar

Sound BlasterX Katana Multi-Channel Surround Gaming and Entertainment Soundbar

Specs:

  • Dolby Digital 5.1 Decoder
  • Slim 60 mm profile
  • 24-bit high-resolution DAC
  • Multiple connectivity options
  • Bluetooth wireless connectivity available
  • Includes a subwoofer accessory
  • 5 speakers built into the soundbar
  • Aurora reactive RGB programmable lighting

Many gamers have to deal with limited space on their desktop. Which can be a real hassle when you want to add a computer speaker system. The Sound BlasterX Katana attempts to answer this problem with its sleek under-monitor soundbar with accessory subwoofer.

Entertainment Soundbar and remote

Entertainment Soundbar and remote

It offers multiple connectivity options including wireless Bluetooth. A multi-core DSP controls the five speakers inside the soundbar itself. This includes tweeters and mid-bass speakers. There is also a secondary subwoofer that is powered by a 24-bit audio engine.

Sound BlasterX Katana Entertainment Soundbar

Sound BlasterX Katana Entertainment Soundbar

The Sound BlasterX Katana also comes with a dedicated IR remote. Though you can also control it via an easy-to-install desktop app.

Sound BlasterX Katana Multi-Channel Surround Gaming and Entertainment Soundbar

Sound BlasterX Katana Multi-Channel Surround Gaming and Entertainment Soundbar

The soundbar also has Aurora Reactive RGB programmable lighting, which helps enhance the natural ambiance, without having to compete with the visual images on the screen.

What We Liked

The sleek size of the Sound BlasterX Katana is perfect for gamers and movie enthusiasts who have limited desk space. It only measures in at 23 inches wide, by 4 inches deep, and less than 3 inches high.

The Aurora Reactive, Programmable RGB lighting is also a nice touch, which makes this soundbar handy for watching movies and gaming.

Overall

If you are looking for computer speakers to heighten your gaming and movie-watching experience, without making too big of a dent in your budget, then the Sound BlasterX Katana probably deserves to be on your radar. Especially if you are dealing with limited real estate on your desktop!

JBL Bar 5.1 4K Ultra HD 5.1-Channel Soundbar with True Wireless Surround Speakers

JBL Bar 5.1 4K Ultra HD 5.1-Channel Soundbar with True Wireless Surround Speakers

JBL Bar 5.1 4K Ultra HD 5.1-Channel Soundbar with True Wireless Surround Speakers

Specs:

  • 510 total watts
  • Soundbar with two detachable speakers
  • 10 hours of wireless run time on a single charge
  • 4K HDMI ports
  • Dolby Digital with Dolby Pro Logic II and DTS
  • Downward firing subwoofer
  • Wireless music streaming via a Bluetooth signal

JBL is one of the major players in home electronics and speakers. The JBL Bar 5.1 was designed to be used with a flat-screen TV or a computer monitor.

JBL Bar 5.1 4K Ultra HD 5.1-Channel Soundbar

JBL Bar 5.1 4K Ultra HD 5.1-Channel Soundbar

The primary soundbar can be anchored to a wall or positioned under a monitor, with a 10-inch downward-firing subwoofer centered under it. At the ends of the primary soundbar, you will find two small wireless speakers that can be detached and placed to replicate a surround sound effect. The speakers can even last up to 10 hours on a single charge. All told the system is rated for up to 510 watts.

JBL Bar 5.1 4K Ultra HD 5.1-Channel True Wireless Surround Speakers

JBL Bar 5.1 4K Ultra HD 5.1-Channel True Wireless Surround Speakers

This speaker system was designed to easily connect to 4K devices and includes a feature that lets you wirelessly stream music via a Bluetooth connection.

JBL Bar 5.1 4K Ultra HD 5.1-Channel Soundbar with True Wireless Surround Speakers

JBL Bar 5.1 4K Ultra HD 5.1-Channel Soundbar with True Wireless Surround Speakers

When it comes to sound quality the JBL Bar 5.1 has Dolby Digital, with Dolby Pro Logic II and DTS.

What We Liked

The detachable wireless speakers are a nice touch for replicating Dolby surround sound when you want it or simply leaving them put when you don’t.

The fact that you can also stream music through this soundbar is also a nice touch for times when you want to listen to your favorite tunes while you work around the house.

At the same time, you shouldn’t overlook the 4K HDMI input, which lets you connect this soundbar to a flatscreen TV, laptop, or a computer monitor.

Overall

Admittedly the JBL Bar 5.1 is meant just as much to connect to a flatscreen TV as it is a computer speaker system. Yet you get the feeling that JBL designed this to also appeal to gamers and people who stream music through their laptop, who sometimes want to watch it on their TV screen.

RECCAZR MP2000 Computer Speakers with Surround Sound

RECCAZR MP2000 Computer Speakers with Surround Sound

RECCAZR MP2000 Computer Speakers with Surround Sound

Specs:

  • 2.0 channel
  • A USB connection to the computer
  • 2.5-inch built-in subwoofer with 4X diaphragm
  • 65 DB volume
  • Small Body at 5.4 x 3.2 x .3.6-inches
  • 1 Year warranty

The RECCAZR MP2000 Computer Speakers 2.0 channel were designed for the kind of person whose laptop or desktop computer lacks sound or has poor sound quality, yet still needs to mind a tight budget.

RECCAZR MP2000 Computer Speakers with Surround Sound

RECCAZR MP2000 Computer Speakers with Surround Sound

These speakers are also very small measuring in at just 5.4 x 3.2 x .3.6-inches, which makes them a great option for a desk with limited space.

RECCAZR MP2000 Computer Speakers with Surround Sound

RECCAZR MP2000 Computer Speakers with Surround Sound

The speakers include a small 2.5-inch built-in subwoofer with a 4X diaphragm. While it will certainly never compete with the boom and thump of a large, down-firing subwoofer, it does non-the-less produce more-rich low tones than most standard computer speakers. They are rated to produce up to 65 DB of sound, which is about as much as you want for computer speakers in a dorm room or small office setting.

What We Liked

These 2.0 channel small speakers come with a 2.5-inch subwoofer and 4X diaphragm, which gives it more sound quality in the 65 DB range than you find with most other small computer speakers in this price range.

The fact that there is a 1-year warranty included in the original purchase is also nice. It speaks to Reccazr’s belief in its quality design and components. If you want more protection, there are some online retailers who offer a very affordable 3-year protection plan.

Overall

These aren’t the kind of computer speakers that are going to blow you away with a thump of resounding bass or stunningly crisp high tones. Instead, they are affordably priced, well designed, and will give you superior audio quality compared to similar size and priced competitors.

Creative Stage MR 8360 2.1 Channel Under-Monitor Soundbar with Subwoofer

Creative Stage MR 8360 2.1 Channel Under-Monitor Soundbar with Subwoofer

Creative Stage MR 8360 2.1 Channel Under-Monitor Soundbar with Subwoofer

Specs:

  • 2.1 channel soundbar
  • 160 Watts at peak power
  • 40-Watt long-throw subwoofer
  • Wireless Bluetooth, 3. 5mm aux-in, optical audio input
  • USB input for MP3 or thumb drive
  • Wall mount kit included in the purchase
  • Includes a remote control

A soundbar paired with a subwoofer has become increasingly popular in recent years. This gives you the ability to enhance the sound your computer produces through the high and midrange speakers of the soundbar, without taking up a lot of desktop space. While the subwoofer provides a little extra thump and low-frequency sounds while being conveniently tucked away.

Creative Stage MR 8360 2.1 Channel Under-Monitor Soundbar

Creative Stage MR 8360 2.1 Channel Under-Monitor Soundbar

The Creative Stage MR 8360 answers this niche with a 2.1 channel soundbar that is rated to a peak of 160 watts. It’s then paired with a long throw 40-watt subwoofer, which tends to project low tones into the room better than a down-firing subwoofer, which brings a little more “Thump.”

Creative Stage MR 8360 2.1 Channel Under-Monitor Soundbar with Subwoofer

Creative Stage MR 8360 2.1 Channel Under-Monitor Soundbar with Subwoofer

This computer speaker system offers a wide range of connectivity options including Wireless Bluetooth, 3. 5mm aux-in, optical audio input. There is also a USB port for connecting to your computer or to accommodate an MP3 player or thumb drive. Creative Stage also includes a wall mounting kit and remote control in the initial purchase.

What We Liked

The ability to pair the 160-watt soundbar with a 40-watt long-throw subwoofer both saves space on the desktop without having to sacrifice sound quality. If you really are hurting for square inches on your desk, you can always use the included mounting kit to attach it to a wall or some other type of fixture.

Overall

This is a nice little unit for the price, and it’s tailored to appeal to people who are limited on desktop space, yet don’t want to sacrifice sound quality. Though there are a few minor complaints.

The long-throw subwoofer does handle low-frequency audio nicely and projects it, but if you are looking for “Thump” or “Boom” that you are going to feel in the floor, it’s not there. At the same time, the power cord is annoyingly short. So, you might need to invest in a small extension cord.

Creative T100 2.0 Compact Hi-Fi Desktop Speakers

Creative T100 2.0 Compact Hi-Fi Desktop Speakers

Creative T100 2.0 Compact Hi-Fi Desktop Speakers

Specs:

  • 2.0 channel
  • 40 Watts per speaker total of 80 Watts
  • Bluetooth wireless connectivity
  • 3.5mm AUX-in, Optical-in physical connections
  • Proprietary BasXPort for enhanced bass
  • EQ presets for different applications

For a 2.0 channel computer speaker system, the Creative T100 has more than a fair amount of low-frequency bass. This is due in large part to their proprietary BasXPort, which was designed to enhance low-frequency sound in a relatively small speaker housing.

Creative T100 2.0 Compact Hi-Fi Desktop Speakers inputs

Creative T100 2.0 Compact Hi-Fi Desktop Speakers inputs

It comes with multiple connection options including .5mm AUX-in, Optical-in physical connections as well as Bluetooth wireless connectivity. Each of the two computer speakers included in the purchase produces 40 watts for a combined total of 80 Watts of peak power. This gives the Creative T100 more than enough volume for a private or home office space.

One place where the Creative T100 makes itself distinct is in the EQ with audio presets. This lets you change the dynamics of the sound it produces to optimize it for movies, music, concert, and gaming modes. You can then further tweak the bass and treble to your personal preference.

What We Liked

There’s a lot of sound quality for the small size and price of the Creative T100. Especially for its ability to produce quality low tone bass through their BasXPort, without employing a separate subwoofer.

At the same time, the EQ presets are very handy for those times when you might want to stream some music, but quickly switch over to gaming mode in hopes of beating the next level before you have to run out the door.

Overall

If you are short on desktop space, yet you’re not really enthused by the idea of a soundbar, or you don’t want to bang your knees into a subwoofer under your desk, then the Creative T100 computer speakers might be just right for you.

There’s more than enough volume to let you enjoy your favorite music or immerse yourself in a game, along with a surprising amount of low-frequency audio capability for a system that has no true subwoofer.

Harman Kardon Soundsticks III 2.1 Channel Multimedia Speaker System with Subwoofer

Harman Kardon Soundsticks III 2.1 Channel Multimedia Speaker System with Subwoofer

Harman Kardon Soundsticks III 2.1 Channel Multimedia Speaker System with Subwoofer

Specs:

  • 2.1 channel speaker system
  • 20-Watt Downward firing subwoofer
  • 40-Watt speakers
  • Adjustable base
  • Transparent speaker covers and housing
  • Touch controls
  • Multiple connection options

Harman Kardon is one of the long-standing giants in consumer electronics, with roots going back to their earliest sound systems in 1954. If you think their Soundsticks III looks like a work of art at first glance, you would be right.

Harman Kardon Soundsticks III 2.1 Channel Multimedia Speaker System with Subwoofer

Harman Kardon Soundsticks III 2.1 Channel Multimedia Speaker System with Subwoofer

In fact, the Soundsticks II version that it’s based on is featured as a permanent exhibit in New York City’s Museum of Modern Art. This is thanks in part to the visually stunning organic shape and transparent housing.

Harman Kardon Soundsticks III 2.1 Channel Multimedia Speaker close-up

Harman Kardon Soundsticks III 2.1 Channel Multimedia Speaker close-up

It has a 20-Watt downward-firing subwoofer that delivers precise low-frequency sound. The two satellite speaker units have an adjustable base that allows you to physically adjust the profile of the sound their 8 transducer speakers deliver.

Harman Kardon Soundsticks III close-up

Harman Kardon Soundsticks III close-up

The Harman Kardon Soundsticks III is compatible with a variety of connections via a stereo minijack output. This allows you to also play music from an MP3 player, or portable CD player as well as your standard computer connection.

What We Liked

Right off the bat, the visual aesthetics of the Harman Kardon Soundsticks III is a conversation starter in-and-of-itself. The fact that you can physically adjust the base of the satellite speakers is also a nice touch for times when you might want to set them on opposing shelves. This way you can direct the sound for optimum effect.

The stereo minijack is also a thoughtful feature that lets you connect just about any device. You could theoretically take the Harman Kardon Soundsticks III away from the computer and plugin in the laundry room. Connect your MP3 player and listen to your favorite tunes while you fold and iron.

Overall

You aren’t going to get a lot of “Thump” out of the 20-Watt down riding subwoofer, but it still put out an impressive amount of bass and mid-range frequencies. Beyond that, this is a high-quality unit for the money. Even if you do happen to blow out a speaker a few years down the line, the Harman Kardon Soundsticks III was designed to easily replace them.

Buyers Guide

There are some computers, like Macs and many modern-day laptops that come with built-in speakers. While the basic quality of these audio devices has improved drastically from where they were just a decade ago, they still tend to leave most people wishing for something with a little better sound quality. Not to mention control over the audio dynamics.

Originally computer speakers were little more than simple audio devices that gave you alert beeps and dings. Maybe they added a little bit of extra reality to the cartoon paperclip tapping at the screen every time you made a blithering typo.

As computer software and hardware evolved, speakers started becoming more important for adding a sense of reality to games or letting you talk to a family member via a rudimentary webcam portal. In time, the demand for on-demand and streaming music started to gain traction. This led to a wide range of audio equipment manufacturers trying to flood the market with inexpensive or even over-priced computer speakers.

It’s gotten to the point now where more and more people are using their PC as a personal entertainment device for gaming, music, and watching movies. Not to mention the staggering number of home-office workers who need to Skype or attend meetings remotely, and simply hate listening to garbled audio coming out of a tiny monitor-mounted speaker.

Finding your way through the available field of options can be more than just a little bit confusing. The last thing you want to do is invest too much in so-called “Premium” PC speakers that leave you underwhelmed. While there are some inexpensive computer speaker packages out there that deliver above their price point, they can also have some frustrating features or a limited lifespan.

Key Features To Look For In Computer Speakers

The features that will top your priority list might vary a little depending on the things you use your PC for the most. If you’re a gamer, or you use your PC as a veritable entertainment system for streaming movies, you might prioritize things like multi-channel speaker systems and surround sound. If you use your PC for joining in on remote meetings the ability to pick up the midrange frequencies of a human voice with clarity might suddenly top the list.

The Benefits Of Multi-Channel Computer Speakers

Right off the bat, two-channel or multi-channel speaker systems tend to be very popular. This allows you to do things like listen to music in stereo or even to connect a subwoofer.

A system that is set up for stereo will is usually noted as being 2.0. It essentially means that there are two speakers, left and right that are directly connected to the computer itself to support two speakers but will not support a subwoofer.

If you see the computer speaker package noted as 2.1 it indicates that it can support the left and right speaker channel as well as a subwoofer or another type of satellite speaker. In a setup like this, the subwoofer usually needs to be plugged into a separate power source.

It’s also worth noting that a 2.1 system usually allows you greater control of how the speaker system is tuned. Subwoofers tend to be very popular with people who want to use their computer speakers to listen to music or watching movies. Of course, placement can also be an issue. You generally want a subwoofer to be centralized to the listener. This often means that it eats up space under your desk.

Studio monitors are also very popular with 2.0 computer speaker systems. They tend to be slightly small speakers that you can tuck into a bookshelf. Depending on how you set it up, they can mimic a surround sound effect. You just won’t have the rich, booming bass that comes with a 2.1 system’s subwoofer.

When assessing the quality of a subwoofer one of the key indicators is to look at the driver size. In general, small drivers simply can’t produce the same depth of low-frequency sound. There are some computer speaker manufacturers who are well aware of this and they will tune a subwoofer with a small driver for superior performance toward the upper range of the bass. This can give you some rich mid-range sound quality, but you won’t really nice the “Thump” or “Boom” that you expect from a powerful subwoofer.

Wattage

The overall wattage of a speaker system will often translate into greater volume output. Some manufacturers will give you a general total wattage requirement. Though if you are looking at a 2.1 computer speaker system with a subwoofer, then you might want to also investigate the separate wattage of the subwoofer.

Even the most powerful computer speaker systems rarely have enough wattage draw to throw a circuit breaker on their own. Still, you might want to take a look at your breaker panel and then take a tally of everything that’s plugged into that breaker.

If you already have a flat-screen TV or some other type of high wattage appliance plugged into the same circuit breaker as the outlet you’re planning on using plugging the speakers into, you should check the amperage rating of that breaker. Most household breakers are either 15 Amp rated or 20 Amp rated. In terms of wattage, this translates into a 1,800 watt capacity for a 15 Amp circuit breaker and 2,400 watts for a 20 Amp circuit breaker.

The Type Of Input

Twenty years ago, RCA In and Out cables were pretty much your only option. They remained popular for years because they were easy to use. You plugged red into red, and white into white. Eventually, they evolved to include yellow for companion video audio signals.

Today different devices prefer alternative inputs. This could include things like USB, VGA, NFC, Firewire and even things like HDMI. Even something like a simple audio jack can be used to connect an MP3 player, iPod or iPhone to the computer or directly to the speaker system. So, before you invest in a premium computer speaker system, make sure you understand the type of connections it supports as well as the connections that are available on your desktop or laptop computer.

Connectivity

There are some computer speaker manufacturers who recognize the hassle of pairing ports with connections. Not to mention that there are simply some people who don’t want to disguise ugly wires. If this sounds like you, then you might want to consider a speaker system that offers wireless connectivity via a Bluetooth signal.

Audio Controls

Early computer speakers gave you little control over the output beyond the ability to adjust the volume. Today there are still some basic, inexpensive computer systems that are still this simplistic. If you are on a tight budget and you just need a little more volume to the audio your computer produces, you might be satisfied with a pair of these.

A step up from these basic speakers you will find systems that let you independently adjust things like bass and treble. Yet another step up from here you will find systems with more fine-tune controls or even settings for different functions. This might include a preset for movies, another for music, and a general-purpose setting.

There are many computer speaker systems that also come with a remote control. This is nice if you want to use it for home audio or to add audio quality to your home theatre. Then you can sit back and listen at a distance, while still having control over your audio experience, without having to sit at your desk.

Overall Appearance

The basic appearance of the speakers and how they match your existing décor can be a factor. Beyond simple things like black, white and organic tones, the shape and even things like an LCD or LED display might influence your choice of one system over another

Price

With a lot of consumer electronics, you see some degree of the old adage “You get what you pay for!” This holds true with the computer speaker market in a broad sense, that you will generally see a smaller price tag with a basic low-end unit, and the price will start to go up as you add things like subwoofers and special features.

Just don’t fall into the trap of thinking that a more expensive unit is always the best unit. With a careful eye, you might be surprised to find a computer speaker system that meets 90% of your needs at a fraction of the price of a so-called “High End” or “Premium” unit.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: What Is A Sound Bar?

A: A soundbar is a type of wide, yet low speaker array that is increasingly popular with flatscreen televisions that might be a little bit underpowered. They’re also handy in homes and apartments that have an in-wall or in-window air conditioner unit that can sometimes compete with the television speakers.

Of course, it didn’t take speaker manufacturers long to figure out that they could position soundbars to accommodate desktop and laptop computers. A lot of times, the easiest way to connect them is via a Bluetooth signal, but there are some that will use more traditional wire connections.

They tend to have a central position, which doesn’t really make them an ideal option if you are looking to create some type of surround sound effect. They also don’t have much of a bass range, and while you might get some midrange frequency, you will never get the “Thump” of a low-range subwoofer.

Q: What Is The Difference Between A Long Throw and Downward Firing Subwoofer?

A: A long throw speaker, or in this case a long-throw subwoofer faces the listener to provide directive sound. It usually carries well beyond the intended range for a seemingly whole-room effect.

When it comes to a down-firing speaker or subwoofer the speaker’s driver coil is pointed downward. The cone then vibrates and sound is imparted as well as refracted. This tends to produce more “Thump” or “Boom” when it comes to low bass tones.

Q: What Are EQ Presets?

A: Some computer speakers give you the ability to fine-tune the treble, bass, and other sound dynamics. If you aren’t experienced with tuning speakers trying to set them up for music rather than a skype conference call, or movie, it can be a bit of a guessing game. A computer speaker system that comes with EQ presets allows you to optimize the audio dynamics for things like movies, music, concerts, and gaming with the single press of a button.

Conclusion

There are some important questions to consider when you first start shopping for a computer speaker system. Like a lot of consumer electronics how you will most often use them, and the physical constraints of your available space will factor into the priorities that raise to the top of your list.

2.0 versus 2.1 debate is often a good place to start. If you have limited space under your desk then you might want to gravitate toward a 2.0 system without a subwoofer. While you won’t have as much thump, there are still many desktop speakers that produce a surprising level of mid-range bass.

By the same token, a small or otherwise crowded desktop is often starving for enough square inched to accommodate a pair of speakers. In a scenario like this, you might want to think about adding a soundbar under the monitor.
Using your available space to narrow down your options lets you turn your attention to other special features. Things like a preset EQ let you quickly switch your audio dynamics to optimize the sound output for gaming, movies, or just listening to some background music while you finish up writing a paper.

Of course, a healthy portion of this niche is focused on catering to the needs of gamers who want immersive sound. This might also include things like enhanced lighting, fine-tune EQ capabilities, and even a special device like a wireless gaming mouse included in the package.

Even if you do fall in love with a computer speaker system that seems to be positioned for gamers doesn’t make it a deal-breaker. Gamers tend to have high-quality demands which means the system has a lot of broad range appeal. Not to mention that sometimes things like enhanced RGB lighting features can also fit nicely when watching a movie, or just jamming to your favorite tunes.

Product Boxes: Last updated on 2020-03-05 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

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