What to Look for When Buying PC Speakers

Computer speakers are one of those PC accessories that are almost essential and you can spend anywhere from $10.00 to $1,000.00 for quality PC speakers depending on your budget. In today’s post, we’ll go over some of the things to keep in mind when choosing a sound system for your computer.

I enjoy listening to music and because my computer is the main source of my digital music collection, a decent speaker system is essential. I’ve gone down the road of spending more than I should on speakers, I’ve gone the too cheap route, and I’ve also bought mid-range speakers. Here are a few tips and other guidelines I learned about PC speakers.

Expensive isn’t always the best

At one point I spent quite a bit of money on a 2.1 PC speaker setup, which of course means two speakers and a subwoofer. The specific speakers I bought were Klipsch ProMedia 2.1 PC speakers with THX certification. At the time of purchase, these particular computer speakers were considered top of the line and cost several hundred dollars (almost $300.00!).

Klipsch ProMedia

Before buying these Klipsch THX speakers, I had read a lot of online reviews and many websites listed them as premium quality speakers. This was not the case for me. When purchasing the speakers, I noticed that they were of course quite beautiful. However, the subwoofer was not noticeably “THX” great, and the bass it produced was quite rattling at high volumes. In addition, the satellite speakers produced quite nice sound.

These particular speakers didn’t take long to completely stop functioning. However, I was able to exchange them for a replacement. The replacement did the same and eventually died in less than a year.

This isn’t to say these aren’t great speakers. Many online reviews state that these speakers do produce high-quality audio, but I just wouldn’t recommend them.

If you go cheap, you get what you pay for

As mentioned in the opening paragraph, I also went the cheap route. When the old Dell speakers that came with my parents’ computer broke, they asked me to find new speakers. They didn’t listen to music on the PC, but needed simple speakers that would play the Windows warning sounds and the occasional audio or YouTube video.

For this I went ultra cheap and bought some Logitech S120 speakers which are $10.00 multimedia speakers with no subwoofer.

Logitech S120

These speakers aren’t even four or five stars from most websites, but again, they’re $10.00 speakers, which ended up being an excellent choice for what my parents use them for. At fairly high volume levels, these things sound awful; and there’s not too much bass for them.

The treble and mids are decent though, and for playing Windows alerts and basic online audio, they’re fine. My parents don’t like loud music, so these speakers ended up being a good purchase. I’ve dropped them, they’ve been dropped several times and fell to the floor, but they still work fine. Plus, if they break at some point, replacing them will just cost another $10.00. These inexpensive speakers ended up being a better purchase and more durable than the Klipsch THX Audio Certified speakers mentioned above.

The middle price range

The speakers I currently own are also my favorite computer speakers I’ve bought to date. They were moderately priced, have proven to be durable and produce a reasonable sound.

I bought the JBL Creature II speakers a few years ago and they still sound great.

JBL Creature II

These speakers, which I bought for about $120.00, look like they were cut from a different fabric, which I liked because they looked unique.

The bass on the Creature II system is decent, but it’s the whole ensemble that made this a great purchase for me. The two satellite speakers seem almost too simple and the subwoofer is pointed downwards, but no compromise has been made on audio. I will mention that the Klipsch speakers may have produced more accurate bass at low to mid volumes, but these produce a more thumping bass and the highs and mids match the much more expensive THX system.

These JBL Creature speakers are not perfect. The controls for the satellite speakers are a bit funky, as they use some touch/tap sensitive volume controls. So when dirt gets into the volume controls, sometimes they don’t respond perfectly.

However, I got angry and kicked the subwoofer, threw the speakers and grabbed my foot on the cord, causing the whole speaker setup to crumble. They still produce great audio to this day and for the price I think they are a great deal.

What are the best PC speakers?

So, what are the best PC speakers? For me, the JBL Creature II speakers were a good choice. For others looking for simple PC speakers to play PC audio, a $10.00 pair of Logitech speakers may suffice. The Klipsch speakers mentioned above are the highest rated by tech experts, the highest rated by consumers, and the most expensive, but to me they just weren’t durable and weren’t worth the price tag, nor was the replacement set.

Aside from my rumblings, you might want some straightforward advice when shopping for a PC audio system. Here are a few tips…

Go with massive consumer reviews, not what the tech enthusiasts tell you.

If a particular PC speaker sold over 1,000 units in the past quarter and received a 5-star average from consumers, there’s a good chance it’s a great buy. Many technical review websites may be affiliated with a particular product, so they get money to recommend the product to you.

If your budget is under $50.00…

or you just don’t want to spend more than $50.00 on computer speakers, consider going for a quality, simple two-speaker system. Sure, you could probably buy a total 5.1 sound system with four satellite speakers, a center speaker, and a subwoofer for under $50.00, but it would probably be from a cheap, unproven brand. A better option might be to use the money to purchase a quality set of speakers consisting of a standard left and right that will last.

Here are some reputable brands of computer speakers:

  • Logitech
  • JBL
  • Altec Lansing
  • Harmon Kardon
  • Bose

What should you pay attention to when choosing modern computer speakers?

  • Multiple audio input interfaces (optimal for use with different devices)
  • Bluetooth connectivity (play music wirelessly from your smartphone or tablet!)
  • Dedicated volume and bass controls (bass can be disruptive to neighbors so you can level the audio and still play loud music)
  • Engineering.

These are better:

Bose companion

then this:

Eagle speakers

Functionality and device compatibility

You may want to consider whether the speaker is compatible with more than just a PC. There may be times when you want to play music from your smartphone, tablet or even television.

Don’t spend a lot of money on PC speakers…

Unless you have the budget or the money to burn. Speakers are less future-proof than most tech products, but there will still be a better or renewed version of the speaker you have next year.

Consider portability and adaptability

You may want to create a perfect setup for your PC room now, but next year you could move to another place, home, etc. Sometimes portability and adaptability are things to consider.

Logitech Mini Boombox

More speakers isn’t always better

While a 5 speaker PC audio setup can ensure you get surround sound, it may not be the best audio experience. Noise coming from different angles is fine, but also requires optimal distance and speaker placement. Keep in mind the room you’ll be placing the speakers in, as a high-quality 2.1, left and right plus subwoofer setup can produce a better sound for a given room, and it’s less complicated to set up.

Think of the accessories

Most of the extras or accessories that come with PC speakers have nothing to do with the actual sound quality, but sometimes it is useful to have a remote control for your speakers or other accessories.

Consider usage

Computers are versatile, so you can use your PC speakers to listen to music, watch Netflix, watch movies online, or even play games. For example, you may not want full surround sound when watching a YouTube clip, but you may want surround sound when watching Netflix. Choose a PC speaker setup that’s versatile and multi-purpose.

More wattage does not always equal more volume

In many cases that is the case, but as Bose has proven, engineering, construction and other design factors are also important to consider when choosing high-quality PC speakers.

Test before you buy

Everyone has their own audio preferences in terms of highs, mids and bass. People also have preferences for music genres. So it may be wise to try out any speaker system you are considering buying beforehand. Places like BestBuy and Frys have a lot of popular PC speakers.

These are just a few considerations and tips for choosing quality PC computer speakers. Thanks for stopping by the site for today’s post. If I missed anything or if any of our site visitors or subscribers have additional tips related to PC speakers, feel free to leave a comment. Enjoying!

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