TL;DR – These are the Best Computer Speakers:
1. Audioengine A2+
Best Computer Speakers
The Audioengine A2+ speakers are a stylish and refined pair. They operate in 2.0 stereo, but with their 64Hz to 22,000Hz frequency response range and 60W combined output, you may not find yourself needing to rely on a dedicated subwoofer to get a rich sound experience out of these. That said, these speakers do have the necessary output to add a sub into the setup if you wish.
These speakers will let you connect with a variety of devices, so you won’t need a bunch of adapters cluttering your desk. You can connect them to your computer via micro USB while a 3.5mm AUX port and stereo RCA ports offer analog inputs. And, thanks to a built-in DAC, you don’t have to put anything else between your audio source and the speakers. You don’t even have to put a cable between the source and speakers, as you can connect to them over Bluetooth with support for AAC and aptX codecs.
2. Logitech Z407 Speaker System
Best Budget Computer Speakers
When you grab a set of speakers, whether they be budget options or from the premium end of the spectrum, the last thing you want is to feel like you’re missing out on something. The Logitech Z407 feels like a total package that doesn’t leave much on the table. This is a straightforward 2.1-channel speaker system, ensuring you get some stereo separation for immersion in games and other media while also getting the full-fat oomph of a dedicated subwoofer. This system also offers a total power output of 40W RMS and 80W peak, ensuring you can sustain high levels and fill up your room with sound.
The Logitech Z407 speaker system uses the subwoofer as a hub with the two satellite speakers wired off of it. You can hook the subwoofer up your PC over a USB cable, or to just about any other device over a 3.5mm aux cable. And, if you want to connect to even more devices, you’ve got the option of Bluetooth as well. This system also includes a wireless control dial to let you switch between input sources, control playback, and dial the volume up or down.
3. Creative Pebble V2
Best Ultra Cheap Computer Speakers
The fact that you might not want to spend a load of money on a simple pair of speakers doesn’t mean you have to settle for a lackluster set. Creative’s Pebble V2 speakers offer a simple and affordable option that simply look great. This pair of speakers offer up stereo sound and pump out a maximum of 16W when you kick them into high-gain mode. Despite being a single pair of two-inch drivers, they can also muster a frequency response range from 100Hz to 17kHz.
The Pebble V2 speakers connect to a wide variety of devices over a standard 3.5mm audio capable, but they’re powered by USB-C. So, you can easily connect them and power them right off of a modern laptop. To get the most sound out of them, you’ll just need to ensure they’re plugged into a USB port or wall charger that can deliver 10W of power.
4. Mackie CR5-XBT Multimedia Monitors
Best Stereo Speakers for PCs
If you want to partner your PC with a powerful pair of bookshelf speakers, this stereo set from Mackie is just the ticket. The Mackie CR5-XBT speakers are made for multimedia monitoring, so you’ll get powerful and precise sound with a response range from 50Hz up to 20,000Hz. Whether you want to crank tunes or make your own tunes, you’ll find plenty of oomph in these speakers on account of their 80W of power, although you won’t be able to link them with a subwoofer to rumble at even lower frequencies.
This set of speakers features a 0.75-inch tweeter and a 5-inch woofer in each cabinet for more precise sound on the high and low ends than you’d get out of a basic, single-driver unit. These speakers have a 3.5mm jack you can use to connect directly to your PC or DAC, but they have an extra feature in store. The “BT” in the name is there to indicate Bluetooth support, so you’ll be getting the option to play audio wirelessly from a wide variety of sources, whether that be your computer, a phone, or a media player.
5. Logitech Z906
Best Surround Sound Speakers for PCs
Subwoofers for PCs are one thing, but 5.1 surround sound systems designed for computers? As crazy as that might sound, they’re real and the Logitech Z906 5.1 Surround Sound Speaker System is the best one around. This product is basically a home entertainment system in a box as all the speakers come in a set and they’re all factory-tuned to create a dynamic soundstage. All you have to do is arrange the speakers, plug them in, and sit back as your PC games and movies come to life with truly directional audio.
6. Sound BlasterX Katana RGB Soundbar
Best Soundbar for PCs
Soundbars aren’t just for your home entertainment setup, they’re also making their way onto PC gaming desks. Creative calls its Sound BlasterX Katana RGB Soundbar (read our review) the first-ever “Under Monitor Audio System,” and it proves itself by generating an impressively massive soundstage despite being just two feet wide. Meanwhile, the included subwoofer ensures you won’t miss any of the bass or the low notes in your favorite music. Of course, there’s RGB, and this soundbar creates a visual feast thanks to its 49 programmable RGB lights. Unfortunately, it can’t create a Virtual 7.1 surround soundscape as well as a good gaming headset, but for most multimedia (gaming, music, and movies) there isn’t a better soundbar for PCs than this.
7. Logitech G560
Best RGB Computer Speakers
RGB has made its way into your PC, keyboard, mouse, monitor, and even your mousepad, so it seems natural that they would eventually come to computer speakers. The Logitech G560 (read our review) is arguably the best RGB computer speaker system. You can program it to display the usual slew of lighting patterns or inform you of things – such as flashing whenever you take damage in-game or turning red when your PC is redlining. Alternatively, you could use Logitech G560’s lights to extend your screen and imitate the most dominant colors appearing on your display. In terms of sound quality, the Logitech G560 is a little bass-heavy, but you’ll hear clean highs and present mids.
8. PreSonus Eris 4.5BT
Best Bluetooth Computer Speakers
PreSonus has brought a new generation of great studio speakers that boast Bluetooth support with the Eris 4.5BT. These speakers offer up sizable 4.5-inch woofers to pump out serious sound while 1-inch, silk-dome tweeters handle the crisp, high-end audio. Each speaker in the pair can pump out 25 watts. As studio monitors, you can count on these speakers to deliver accurate sound.
You’ll be able to connect a wide variety of sound sources to the Eris 4.5BT. For one, you get the option of a Bluetooth 5.0 connection, letting you easily pair computers, phones, and tablets without any wires to the speakers. You also can connect via a 3.5mm audio cable, RCA cables, or quarter-inch cables. And, if you later want to upgrade your setup, you can pair these speakers with a subwoofer for even more sound.
9. JBL LSR305P MkII Studio Monitors
Best Audio Editing Computer Speakers
Studio monitors designed for music and sound mixing can cost thousands of dollars, but a pair of JBL LSR305P MkII’s can do the same job for just $300. Each speaker has its own pair of built-in amps for both the tweeter and the woofer. Since they have five-inch woofers, they’re larger than your typical desktop stereo speakers. These monitors are highly customizable with separate volume dials on each speaker, a per-connection input sensitivity switch, a boundary EQ, and trim on high and low frequencies that can be adjusted independently by ±2 decibel intervals.
The only things you won’t find here are a headphone jack, an aux-in, or Bluetooth connectivity. Be careful when purchasing though, they’re sold as single speaker units, so you’ll want to pick up two to complete a stereo setup. If the price looks too good to be true, it might be because it’s for only one speaker.
What to Look for in a Computer Speaker
Below we explain why desktop speakers offer better sound than your monitor or gaming headset. We’ve also broken down a few of the finer points of how speakers actually work and how to set them up.
The speaker components that go into gaming laptops, monitors, and headsets are simply going to be smaller than any dedicated speaker. They have to fit into tighter spaces and be unobtrusive too. Those small speaker drivers – called tweeters – are only able to accurately reproduce higher sound frequencies, which is why they produce a sound that seems like it’s missing something. As drivers increase in size, they gain the ability to better play lower frequencies while losing the ability to better play higher frequencies.
Putting a larger driver – a woofer – together with a tweeter in one speaker is called a two-way design, and it’s the most common configuration in computers speakers these days. That’s what we’re looking at here.
The two-way speaker design does a good job of covering the frequency range of human hearing, generally acknowledged as 20Hz-20kHz, but doesn’t get quite down to the very low end. With music, you don’t need to worry too much about hitting the 20Hz lower threshold, but if you’re watching movies or playing games with a lot of bass, you might want to consider speakers that include a subwoofer, although it will take up extra space under your desk.
You’ll also want your speakers to be powered, meaning they have an amplifier built-in (usually found inside one of the speakers) and will need to be plugged in. The audio signal coming from your computer needs to be amplified before it’s sent out through the speaker drivers to your ears.
It’s possible to buy an external amplifier and hook up a pair of passive speakers (these are speakers that do not have an integrated amplifier) – though, none of these speakers on the list are passive and they’re becoming increasingly rare – but that ends up taking up more space. Some desktop speakers have a switch that allows you to change the channel output of the powered speaker to either left or right. Being able to assign this can help clean up cable clutter on your desk and lets you place the powered speaker closer to the outlet.
There are a few more options to keep an eye out for and they can make life a bit easier. Having a headphone jack on the front of the speaker can be very convenient when you want to quickly plug in your headphones and not deal with reassigning outputs in your OS. A front-mounted aux-in is an easy way to attach a music source like your phone. Bluetooth functionality is another way some speakers will allow you to attach additional sources.
Whew! With that crash-course out of the way, I hope you’ve gotten a better sense of the best computer speakers on the market and you’ve found the right one for your system
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Kevin Lee is IGN’s Hardware and Roundups Editor. Follow him on Twitter @baggingspam
Mark Knapp is a regular contributor to IGN and an irregular Tweeter on Twitter @Techn0Mark