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The Best Computer Speakers 2019

It’s time to ditch that wimpy headset.

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You have a screaming fast gaming PC, a beautiful adaptive-sync monitor, and a macro’d-out gaming keyboard and gaming mouse. But when you start up your favorite game, the thin and tinny sound from the monitor’s speakers is just…blah. You could use a gaming headset of course, but sometimes you want to really feel the bass of your weapons from big, heavy drivers instead of the tiny ones in your headset. If this is you, then it’s time to add some computer speakers to your gaming setup.

These computer speakers aren’t just the dinky, beige ones you find at Staples, nope what I’m talking about here are speakers larger than your head, designed to fill a room with the boom of your shotgun and the cries of your vanquished enemies. Some of these computer speakers also come with an attached sub-woofer, which will shake your gaming desk with every in-game trigger pull. You’ll even find the best soundbars for PCs here. There’s a ton of different computer speakers out there, and we’ve selected the very best that will work with a variety of setups and budgets.

TL;DR – These are the Best Computer Speakers:

Best Computer Speakers – Audioengine A2+

Keeping your desktop uncluttered is a constant challenge – at least for me, anyway – and having a pair of large speakers take up a good deal of that space isn’t always conducive to a clear workspace. On that note, the Audioengine A2+ speakers are solidly built and compact, while delivering some great, sparkling sound. The sound is excellent, especially for the size of the drivers, but if you’re craving a bit more bass, there’s an output to connect to a separate sub. This set of speakers connects with PCs over a USB connection, which includes a built-in DAC. An eighth-inch plug will also let you use your favorite headset with this sound system.

Best Budget Computer Speakers – Logitech Z313 Speaker System

If you’re looking for a cheap solution that sounds great, the Logitech Z313 is the way to go. The setup and controls are extremely easy to understand. Just plug the eighth-inch cable into the audio-out on your computer and use the hardwired remote to turn it on and control the volume. There’s a headphone jack on the remote as well. There aren’t any additional features on the Z313, but it does include a subwoofer, which provides a substantial amount of bass. The mid range is a bit lacking and the highs can sound a bit harsh when you turn the volume up, but this set’s low cost makes it an incredible value.

Best Stereo Speakers for PCs – Mackie CR3 Multimedia Monitors

The CR3 monitors offer especially good sound in the vocal midrange and the high end is nice and open. But as the sound creeps down towards the lower frequency limit of 80Hz, it can get a bit bloated. There are two inputs on the back side – both a balanced quarter-inch and an unbalanced RCA – and an aux-in and headphone jack on the front. A switch on the back allows the powered speaker to be placed on either the right or left. Unfortunately, you can’t add a subwoofer for lower bass extension though.

Best Surround Sound Speakers for PCs – Logitech Z906

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.

Best Soundbar for PCs – Sound BlasterX Katana RGB Soundbar

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 programable 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.

Best RGB Computer Speakers – Logitech G560

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.

Best Bluetooth Computer Speakers – PreSonus Ceres 4.5BT

On Walmart

PreSonus has been a prominent name in the studio world for the last couple decades, mainly producing audio interfaces and software, but they have a great selection of speaker monitors as well. The Ceres 4.5BT has a quarter-inch balanced input and an unbalanced RCA input along with the ability to connect a device through Bluetooth. Meanwhile, hardline connections include a headphone jack, an aux-in, a volume knob, and a power switch for easy accessibility. PreSonus’ studio roots show through two acoustic tuning knobs on the back, which fine tunes high and low frequencies by ±6 decibels. And if you need some extra low end, there’s also a balanced quarter-inch sub output.

Best Audio Editing Computer Speakers – JBL LSR305 Studio Monitors

Studio monitors designed for music and sound mixing can cost thousands of dollars, but a pair of JBL LSR305’s can do the same job for just under $400. 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 everything else listed here (7.28 x 9.88 x 11.75 inches; W x D x H). These monitors are highly customizable with separate volume dials on each speaker, a per-connection input sensitivity switch, 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, as they’re sometimes sold as a single speaker. 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 monitors, laptops, 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 sound that seems like it’s missing something. As drivers get larger 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.

Logitech G560

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.

If you’re watching movies or playing games with a lot of bass you might want to consider speakers that include a subwoofer

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

Kevin Lee is IGN’s Hardware and Roundups Editor. Follow him on Twitter @baggingspam

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