Whether to listen to music, watch movies, or enjoy the cutting edge in video games, good quality computer speakers are a must. However, there are a range of speakers currently available on the market, making it difficult to know which is the best for you. But of course that’s why you’re here – we can help!
When looking for the best PC speakers in 2019, there are a few important factors to consider. Do you want wireless or are you not fussed if you need to plug it into your PC? Are you looking for an all-rounder, or does it need to suit a specific purpose? There are a number of considerations, so we’ll go through each in detail.
- 1 Key Facts
- 2 Ranking: The best computer speakers on the Australian market
- 3 Shopping Guide: Everything you should know about computer speakers
- 4 Shopping Criteria
- 5 Summary
- High power speakers don’t necessarily translate to high quality. There are few situations where you’ll need more than 20 watts of power. Aspects such as frequency ranges are an indication of sound quality and texture.
- You can find high-quality wireless computer speakers, but you need to check they are compatible with the applicable codecs. You should decide whether convenience and usability or sound quality is your priority, and let this guide your decision.
- If you want to be able to watch movies, you’ll need 5.1 computer speakers. These are generally very high-quality thanks to their surround sound. Not all 5.1 speakers are compatible with all computers, but adapters are also available
Ranking: The best computer speakers on the Australian market
Until recently, there was a fairly limited range of computer speakers on the market in Australia. However, this range has increased exponentially in the last fifteen years, thanks to multiple technological advances such as improvements to connectivity. Following are the five best computer speakers of 2019 to suit different budgets and uses.
No. 1: Connectland USB Stereo Speaker Sound Bar[amazon box=”B0035FE4T0″ description_items=”0″]
These stereo speakers are USB powered with an AUX output, which means they can be easily connected to your desktop PC or laptop. The AUX connection is the standard 3.5mm stereo jack, and you plug into any USB port to power the speakers themselves.
The speakers have a decent frequency range of 100 Hz to 20K Hz, meaning they will give a reasonable sound quality. They are also 2.5 w RMS magnetically shielded. The speakers can be set up separately or merged into one sound bar, giving you great flexibility in your set up.
No. 2: Tomot Computer Speakers with subwoofer[amazon box=”B078QMRJ7C” description_items=”0″]
These compact computer speakers deliver some serious sound. With a built-in four loudspeaker diaphragm and superwoofer, the provide heavy bass and clear, rich and powerful sound. This is despite their compact size which will fit easily on your computer desk.
They are USB powered and work with a 3.5mm AUX stereo jack so are compatible with any computer, as well as tablets, smartphones, kindle and MP3/MP4 devices. They also feature an anti-interference design to eliminate static.
No. 3: EARISE Q8 Stereo Computer Speakers with subwoofer[amazon box=”B01NCJ2AU9″ description_items=”0″]
The 2.1 stereo computer speakers from EARISE deliver a higher quality of sound compared to 2.0 stereo devices. The set includes two treble and one bass units, for great frequency coverage. You have good control of your sound thanks to the controls which allow you to adjust treble and bass levels, as well as an independent power switch and volume adjustment.
These speakers are USB powered and with a standard 3.5mm AUX cable output. They come in a range of colours, including black, white, yellow and red, so you can choose the model which best suits your décor and your tastes. These speakers have 2 OHM and 4 OHM impedance in the bass and stereo speakers respectively, and combined frequency range of 30Hz to 20KHz.
No. 4: USHONK USB Mini Speaker[amazon box=”B075M7FHM1″ description_items=”0″]
If you’re looking for something truly compact, check out this mini speaker from USHONK. Measuring less than 8cm by 5cm, this speaker can be discreetly positioned on your cramped desk. Its small size also makes it very portable, meaning you can take with you on business trips or while travelling, to use with your laptop or notebook.
Despite its small size, this mini speaker delivers rich stereo sound and good volume, connecting to your desktop PC or laptop with a 3.5mm AUX cable. It is powered through a USB connection.
No. 5: ELEGIANT Computer Sound Bar[amazon box=”B07HG4SC32″ description_items=”0″]
Rather than a traditional two or multiple unit set of speakers, this unit from ELEGIANT comes in one long “sound bar”. This type of speaker is ideal for placing on your desk underneath your monitor for immersive sound. These speakers are USB powered with a standard 3.5mm AUX audio output.
This model features a sleek aluminium design with coloured LED lights which alternate between red, green and blue. The case has a ABS varnish for extra durability and long-lasting wear. It also has a microphone input and headphone output, making it ideal for gamers.
Shopping Guide: Everything you should know about computer speakers
For audiophiles, good sound quality is essential. Also for ordinary mortals. Buying the right computer speakers can greatly enhance your experience. But in order to be able to enjoy your favourite video games and movies with the optimal sound quality, first you need to know the most important things about computer speakers.
What are computer speakers exactly?
Computer speakers are computer accessories designed to improve the sound quality of a laptop or desktop computer. They are usually designed for gamers. They let you enjoy a better experience, and be completely immersed in games. They are also an alternative to using the computer’s default speakers.
Having said that, many computer speakers have additional features because they are not only suitable for gaming. Some models, particularly those with 5.1 surround sound, are perfect for watching movies or TV series.
What types of PC speakers are there?
Which model of computer speakers you choose depends on various factors. This is not only the price. You have to consider what you want to use the computer speakers for. The space you have available is also important, as depending on the model you’ll need to fit one or more parts. There different types of computer speakers: 2.0, 2.1 and 5.1 sound.
Each of these types has distinct advantages and disadvantages, which determine the sound quality and the situations they’re best suited for. Logitech Z323 speakers are a great example of 2.1 computer speakers.
You can see more in this YouTube video from Bise HD:
2.0: These have two speakers in a set, are good quality and particularly versatile. They do not include a subwoofer. They are generally the cheapest speakers, and the best speakers for clean, high-quality sound with a rich texture. Usually, they’ll allow you to turn up the bass and some models will even allow you to plug in a subwoofer if you would like.
2.1: These are two speakers and a subwoofer. They are designed to produce bass sounds with great clarity and high quality. They take up more space than 2.0 computer speakers and if they are not balanced properly there can be sound distortion. Though they are more expensive than 2.0 computer speakers, there are budget models available.
5.1: These are the type of speakers that movie fans and gamers should choose. They consist of a set of several speakers: four surround speakers, a central speaker and a subwoofer. There are also 7.1 computer speakers available. As a general rule, they are more expensive than 2.0 or 2.1models. They also usually need a fair amount of space to install and the best 5.1 speakers need a high-quality computer to work well.
What is impedance in computer speakers?
The world of computer speakers is complicated, and there are many factors which can affect performance. One aspect, in particular, is impedance. Impedance is an aspect that is measured in ohms and indicates the resistance to the electrical current which passes through the speaker.
A lower impedance means the current can more easily pass through the speaker, whether a computer speaker or another type. This, in turn, means that the sound produced will be closer to the original sound. Be careful, however, because if the impedance of your speaker is higher than that of the device which is emitting the sound, you will hear nothing at all.
What is the range in frequency for computer speakers?
According to the National Physical Laboratory (NPL) in the United States advises “the general range of hearing for young people is 20Hz [the lowest frequency] and 20kHz [the highest frequency]”. Bass sounds range from 10Hz to 256Hz, mid-range sounds from 256Hz to 2000Hz and the treble from 2000Hz to 20,000Hz or 20kHz.
The best computer speakers take these frequencies into account. Any speaker capable of reproducing minimum frequencies of 18Hz and maximum frequencies of 20,000Hz is of high quality. Looking at the range of frequencies is useful when choosing between a speaker more focused on treble, bass or a balance between the two.
What is sensitivity in computer speakers?
Sensitivity in computer speakers indicates the maximum intensity of sound, that is the acoustic pressure on your ear, it can produce. It is measured in decibels (dB) and it is essentially the maximum volume the speaker can generate. 140dB is the maximum sound the human ear can tolerate until it becomes painful, therefore speakers are usually limited to 100dB.
This directly linked to the level of power. This is expressed in RMS and shows the maximum dB a speaker can produce before the sound becomes distorted. Exceeding this can severely damage your speakers. This is explained in more detail in the following video.
The best computer speakers use a series of filters which distribute the different sound waves, from low, medium and high frequencies thanks to different drivers which process each frequency range. To get technical, these are: woofer (bass), mid-range and tweeters (treble).
You can have three-way speakers, where it has a driver for each range of frequency. The alternative is a two-way speaker which uses a tweeter, and a mid-range speaker for medium and low frequencies. The more drivers, the better the quality of sound across all frequencies.
According to online tech publication Tech Radar, “Like any piece of computer accessory, finding the best computer speakers isn’t quite as easy as you’d think.” When trying to choose the best computer speakers you may struggle to make the right decision. That’s why we’ve developed this section to guide through the process of processing computer speakers.
- Wired or wireless
- Power and sound quality
Wired or wireless
Good computer speakers can be wireless or wired. More and more users are opting for the former because they are more movable. However, Bluetooth speakers also have a higher price-tag for the same level of quality. This does not mean that there are not some wireless options which offer good value for money.
Additionally, when looking at Bluetooth computer speakers you need to take their technical capacity into account. That is to say, that they are compatible with the right codecs for your computer. Broadly speaking there are three types of codecs, and you should choose a model with the desired sound quality as well as being compatible in terms of codecs.
Bluetooth speaker codecs
SBC: Compatible with A2DP Bluetooth speakers. The SBC codec is compatible with MP3 and AAC formats when marked accordingly. The audio presents a bitrate of 320 kbps (great for streaming music). It is capable of transmitting sample rates of 44.1 kHz and the audio is generally good quality, although inconsistent in budget models.
APTX: Superior level of encoding for audio. Capable of processing more information and has several alternatives (APTX LL and APTX HD). Available in PC speakers and high-end Bluetooth headphones, ideal if your audio requirements are more than simply playing music.
AAC: Similar to SBC. The difference lies, mainly, in superior sound quality. More appropriate for speakers than headphones. It has become popular thanks to the Apple iTunes platform.
Generally speaking, quality computer speakers are compatible with all types of computers. Some will be labelled as compatible with the latest versions of Windows or other operating systems. This does not necessarily mean, however, that they will not work with older versions, although sometimes this is the case.
When it comes to 5.1 sound speakers, you need to be very careful. This type of speakers are not usually designed to use with a PC. However, they are perfect if you love to watch movies on your computer or are looking for surround sound for any kind of multimedia content. Be sure to research thoroughly before making your purchase.
Power and quality
It is natural to be drawn to the speakers which advertise themselves as having the most power. However, power without control is effectively useless. In fact, manufacturers can often promote power ratings as a way of masking other short-comings. High power is not necessarily synonymous with quality.
It is, of course, difficult to know if a speaker is of good quality without testing it. Even quality brands can be disappointing in this respect. However, when choosing a reputable brand with at least 20 watts you can be more or less assured of decent quality. This kind of computer speakers will fill virtually any room with great sound.
If you’re a bit old school, you couldn’t be blamed for thinking that wired computer speakers are always the best. However, not all wired speakers are born equal. There are different types of cables, each with their pros and cons. Regardless, the first step is to check your compatibility. Otherwise, you risk buying something which is essentially useless!
3.5mm Aux outputs are the most common. More complex speakers may need up to three AUX ports. There are also RCA outputs, which are not designed for computers but can be used with adapters.
What you want to use them for will determine which are the best computer speakers for you. Do you watch movies on your PC? Then maybe you should go for a 5.1 or a medium to high range 2.1 system. Are you a gamer? You’ll probably be happy with medium to high range 2.0 or 2.1 speakers.
If you simply want to listen to music with a more or less decent sound, you can choose a budget 2.0 speaker. Additionally, think about how important sound quality is to you. If clarity of sound is very important to you, look for 2.1 speakers with a range of frequencies. On the other hand, if you want to be able to customise your sound, you will want speakers with different equalisers.
The best computer speakers do not have to break the bank. However, whether you are looking for a budget option, or something high-end, it is important to do your research. Not all speakers are suited to all uses. For example, different types of computer speakers (2.0, 2.1 and 5.1) have noticeable differences in sound.
Additionally, you need to decide if you want speakers that are designed for playing music, watching movies or gaming. Once you’ve made this decision, assess each option according to the various criteria we’ve covered in this article, such as power, impedance and frequency ranges.
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(Source of featured image: Białasiewicz: 107096337/ 123rf.com)