Pair of Bluetooth speakers. Strong wireless connection. Effortless to set up and play. Loud, yet crystal-clear audio. Compatible with all Bluetooth devices. Available in 4 stylish finishes.
Audioengine speakers look great and sound better, but these computer speakers are expensive.
360-degree sound. Subwoofer delivers booming audio. Utilizes 2 RCA inputs. Integrated headphone jack. Excellent value.
There is no Wi-Fi or Bluetooth option, so you need to check if your devices are compatible before you buy.
Two paired Bluetooth speakers. Easy to switch between audio sources. Powerful and balanced audio quality. Motion-activated and backlit controls on front of speakers. Modern design.
The speakers will automatically fall into standby mode after 20 minutes of “inactivity,” but will instantly wake up if you wave your hand in front of them.
Pair of powerful and clear computer speakers for a premium gaming experience. High level of bass output. Features bass and volume knobs. Customizable lighting with millions of colors. Headphone jack.
The Nommo Chroma sounds amazing and puts on a stellar light show, but it’s a pricy pair of speakers.
Top-tier Bose quality and distortion-free audio. Pair of speakers. Headphone jack and volume knob. Extremely easy to set up. Auxiliary input can connect a second device. Great value for the price.
If you don’t appreciate the simplicity of wired connectivity, look elsewhere for Wi-Fi or Bluetooth computer speakers.
In the early days of computers, sound quality wasn’t a huge concern. Prior to the invention of streaming music, consumers were lucky to find laptop or desktop computers with speakers that sounded even halfway decent. But a lot has changed since then. Now we use web-connected devices for all kinds of audio, ranging from high-fidelity music to TV shows in multichannel surround sound, and having a good set of computer speakers makes a big difference when it comes to enjoying digital content.
Luckily, the computer speaker market has blossomed in the digital age, taking advantage of advancements in sound engineering and connectivity to perform better than ever before. Whether you need a modest pair of speakers to play music while you work at your desk or a pair that will level up your next party, there are plenty of good, affordable options available, and BestReviews can point you in the right direction.
Read on for everything you need to know about computer speakers. Discover the models and features that make the most sense for your lifestyle – and get ready for your devices to sound better than ever before.
Most sets of computer speakers can do a lot more than make your music sound great. Here are the best features you’ll find when comparing different models.
Bluetooth: Many computer speakers include Bluetooth functionality, so you can wirelessly connect your smartphone and stream your personal music through them. If you need versatile speakers that will work with both your computer and your phone, get a set that includes Bluetooth.
External subwoofer: Subwoofers are great for bringing out the bass in your music, TV shows, and movies – they’re basically a separate box that sits on the floor and handles all of the audio’s bass. If you love big, booming bass in your music and movies, pick a set of computer speakers with a subwoofer (just remember that subwoofers can be a little bulky, so you’ll need to figure out where to put it).
Multiple inputs: Some computer speakers have multiple ports to physically connect additional devices for playback. Even if your computer will be your main source of audio, having multiple input options can be incredibly convenient for connecting things like a virtual assistant or an MP3 player.
Headphone jack: Although the days of the 3.5mm auxiliary jack are numbered, there’s still a lot of value in being able to plug a set of wired headphones directly into a set of computer speakers for critical listening.
It’s easy to get lost when shopping for any kind of speakers. There are so many different types that it’s hard to know which ones are right for you. Computer speakers are fairly unique – if you know what to look for. Here are the main types of speakers you’re likely to see while you’re shopping.
Computer speakers typically come in sets of two small, rectangular speakers and a modest subwoofer. These are meant to be stationary and plugged directly into both your computer and an AC power outlet. Most importantly, computer speakers include amplifiers, so they’re designed to take an audio signal from a non-powered source (like a computer or smartphone) and amplify it.
Traditional speakers, like those you attach to a receiver, don’t include a power source, so they rely on an external device to power and amplify the sound. Most devices like smartphones, tablets, computers, or laptops provide an audio signal but don’t amplify it, so the only way to connect your devices to traditional speakers is by using an amplification source like a receiver in between.
Portable Bluetooth speakers are usually marketed to users of mobile devices but can be used with computers as well. Portable speakers connect to an audio source with Bluetooth and typically have a built-in battery so they can be taken anywhere. If you need a speaker that will go with you, consider picking up a Bluetooth speaker.
It’s easy to overpay for computer speakers, so as you’re looking at your options, keep these price ranges in mind. You can expect to pay from $30 to $300 for a pair.
Inexpensive: You’ll find competent speakers that are good enough for casual listening but won’t knock your socks off for $30 to $75. Speakers in this price range are fine for small offices or users who don’t need a lot of bass in their music. If you need speakers that will make your computer sound good but don’t need them to make it sound great, you can get a good value in this range.
Mid-range: You’ll find the best balance of price and quality in computer speakers in the $76 to $149 range. These are models that come with impressive subwoofers, include full sets of connectivity, and sound fantastic. Unless you have an exceptionally large room or want a designer brand, there’s no need to spend more than this to get a good deal.
Expensive: You’ll see luxury brands offering slick, modern-looking computer speakers for $150 to $300. Computer speakers in this price range will sound good enough to please any audiophile and offer every connectivity option available, but the improvements over less expensive competitors can be so slight that they’re not worth the investment.
Decide if you want to control your computer’s volume on the computer or the speakers. When you add a pair of speakers to your computer, there will be two places to control the volume – you can adjust the volume of the signal sent from your computer in your computer’s operating system, or you can adjust the volume of the sound coming from the speakers by turning the dial on the speakers. It’s easy to lose track of what’s controlling what, so we recommend leaving your computer audio at about 60% of full volume, so the speakers are always amplifying a consistent signal. You can then make adjustments from the speakers themselves.
Measure to see what length of cabling you’ll need before setting up your speakers. It’s easy to overestimate how much audio cable you’ll need, and extra cabling behind your computer will get messy quickly. Save yourself some untangling down the road by measuring how much audio cable you’ll need – the distance between your computer’s audio output port and where you plan on putting the speakers – and only use cables of that length.
Test speakers you’re comparing by using the same music sample. In order to do a fair comparison between different sets of speakers, it’s best to pick a song you know well and play it on both pairs. Once you hear how each handles the same audio, you can accurately judge the differences. Many audiophiles use Queen’s “Bohemian Rhapsody” to test speakers because of its sound spectrum. The band’s highest highs and lowest lows will quickly demonstrate the strengths and weaknesses of any speakers.
Q. Do computer speakers come with a remote control?
A. Some computer speakers include a remote control that enable you to adjust the volume from a distance. Remotes are far from a common feature, however, so if you need one, pay close attention to which models have one.
Q. Can I use a set of computer speakers with my TV?
A. It depends. If you want to send audio from your TV to a set of computer speakers, you’ll need a TV that outputs audio in a physical form factor that corresponds to one of the speakers’ inputs. For example, older TVs have red and white RCA output ports, and those can be connected with an RCA cable to computer speakers with RCA inputs. Similarly, some computer speakers have optical input ports that can connect to optical output ports on some TVs using an optical cable. If you’re thinking about using a set of computer speakers with your TV, investigate the audio output options available on the back or side of the TV to determine your needs.
Q. Which sounds better: audio over Bluetooth or audio over a 3.5mm cable?
A. Bluetooth audio has made some major improvements over the last decade, so much so that most listeners can’t tell the difference in quality between music streamed over Bluetooth versus music coming from a hardwired audio source (like plugging your computer in directly with a 3.5mm cable). Technically, a hardwired connection will almost always perform better than a wireless connectivity option like Bluetooth, but unless you’re listening to high-fidelity audio formats like FLAC or ALAC, it’s unlikely you’ll notice any difference.
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