Best Computer Speakers

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Harman Kardon is one of the major players in consumer electronic speaker systems. Their Soundsticks III is visually stunning with its ultra-modern shape and transparent housing. The centerpiece of the system is a 20-Watt downward-firing subwoofer that delivers precise low frequency and midrange sound.

There are two satellite speaker units with a physically adjustable base that allows you to adjust the profile of the sound their 8 transducer speakers deliver. Combined they deliver a crisp 40 Watts of sound.

The Harman Kardon Soundsticks III has a stereo minijack output. This means you can take it away from your computer to play music from an MP3 player, portable CD player, or a similar device.

The RECCAZR MP2000 is a 2.0 channel speaker system that was designed to enhance the sound produced by a computer on a desktop with limited space. Each speaker housing only measures in at just 5.4 x 3.2 x .3.6-inches, yet they have a small 2.5-inch built-in subwoofer with a 4X diaphragm.

This gives it superior midrange clarity without having to invest in a subwoofer, which will inevitably eat up space under a small desk. The speakers are rated to produce up to 65 DB of sound, which is more than enough for a small office space or dorm room. All at a very friendly price point, with a one-year warranty, included in the purchase.

JBL is another giant in the consumer electronics industry. Their JBL Bar 5.1 was arguably designed to be used with a flat-screen TV just as much as a computer monitor. It’s exactly the sort of thing you want to be mounted on your wall for streaming movies from your computer.

The JBL Bar 5.1 soundbar can be mounted to a wall or positioned under a monitor. This system also comes with a 10-inch downward-firing subwoofer which delivers some powerful low tones with the kind of thump gamers and music enthusiasts prioritize. At each end of the primary soundbar, you will find two detachable wireless speakers that can be placed anywhere you want to replicate surround sound. They are rated to last up to 10 hours on a single charge.

It’s also worth noting that the JBL Bar 5.1 was designed to connect to 4K devices. It also has the ability to wirelessly stream music via a Bluetooth signal.

How We Picked

Like a lot of consumer electronics how you will use them most often will factor into the kind of features you prioritize in a computer speaker system. Still, there are some essential characteristics that always need to be addressed. So, we tried to start with these and then filter through the bells and whistles as needed.

Connectivity

You need to be able to efficiently connect to the computer speakers to use them at all. In the past, this was only in the form of RCA cables, which while they are still in play, are on the way to being outdated. Not to mention the fact that RCA cables inevitably leave you with some potentially ugly wires that might be unsightly, while also having a knack for tangling into other things on your desktop.

Today USB cables, firewire, and even wireless connectivity via Bluetooth are starting to take over. So, whenever possible, we tried to look out these features, or at least computer speaker systems that offered multiple connectivity options.

2.0 versus 2.1 or multi-channel

Once you have your basic connectivity options dialed in, the next step is to determine the number and type of speakers you want to use. With a lot of 2.0 computer speakers, you get a left and a right speaker to replicate some basic stereo sound. Though there are a few multi-channel systems that allow for peripheral speakers that can nearly replicate surround sound, for people who like to use their computer as a veritable small home theater.

When it comes to a 2.1 computer speaker system the .1 is essentially referring to a subwoofer or a woofer. These peripheral speakers need to be plugged into a secondary source of power in order to operate properly. Some of the small driver versions do well in the mid-range frequencies but don’t really have the “Thump” of a powerful subwoofer.

Most of the time you won’t really notice the difference if you are just streaming some soft Spanish guitar music or you are listening remotely during a business meeting. Where that deep, low-range frequency potential really matters is when you are watching movies or gaming.

Size and Power

Not everyone has an expansive desk or a large dedicated office all to themselves. So, while we tried to look for large, powerful systems that can deliver high-performance sound, we also kept an eye out for some smaller high-quality units. Afterall there are a lot of people with limited desk space that also appreciate a rich audio experience.

Added Extras, Bells and Whistles

Let’s be honest, a lot of computer speaker manufacturers know that their most likely customer is going to be a gamer or someone who games enough that they appreciate an immersive audio/visual experience. To that end, they make it a point to infuse special features, and accessories meant to tempt a gaming enthusiast to their product over the competition.

Of course, there is no one size fits all approach to these features. Still, we kept an eye out for bells and whistles that added to the experience without necessarily blowing up the price. This included things like an ergonomically designed wireless mouse, accent lighting, a subwoofer included in the purchase, or wireless satellite speakers to replicate surround sound.

Klipsch R-15PM Powered Monitor

Specs:

  • USB, RCA, or Phono line inputs
  • Bluetooth wireless connectivity available
  • IR remote included in the purchase
  • 3.5 mm mini-jack line
  • Compression driver
  • Expandable to include a subwoofer

The Klipsch R-15PM offers a wide range of connections. This includes an integrated phono pre-amp, as well as digital optical, analog RCA, USB inputs, and even Bluetooth wireless technology. your R-15PM is the best performing, most versatile monitor on the planet.

It also has individual ultra-low noise amplifiers that are specifically designed to maximize system performance while eliminating the need for additional external amplification. While this Klipsch R-15PM is set up for two-channel operation, this system can be set up to also work in tandem with a secondary subwoofer.

Klipsch R-15PM Powered Monitor remote

The IR remote is also a handy touch for times when you want to stream some music from your computer, while you work around the house. It also has features like dedicated source selection, and track controls to go along with the standard play-pause function.

Klipsch R-15PM Powered Monitor speaker

What We Liked

The multiple connection options and Bluetooth wireless connectivity ensures that whether you have an older computer or one that just came out of the box yesterday, that there’s an easy way to connect to these speakers. The fact that you can set it up as a 2.0 or a 2.1 with an expandable subwoofer is also some nice versatility that you don’t always find with some of the 2.0 competitors at this price range.

Overall

This is a great entry-level computer speaker system that still has the expandability to grow with you over time. There aren’t necessarily a lot of bells and whistles with this system, but you see that reflected in the friendly price tag.

Logitech G560 LIGHTSYNC PC Gaming Speakers with G502 Lightspeed Wireless Gaming Mouse

Logitech G560 LIGHTSYNC PC Gaming Speakers with G502 Lightspeed Wireless Gaming Mouse

Specs:

  • 240 Watts at peak power
  • DTS Ultra replicates the 3D sound
  • 2.1 with downfacing subwoofer
  • Lightsync technology for enhanced gaming effects
  • Comes with a Lightspeed Wireless mouse designed for gaming
  • A mouse that is weight adjustable

It’s no secret that many speaker manufacturers produce computer speakers that are specifically designed to appeal to gamers. The Logitech G560 wireless gaming mouse does just this with a 2.1 channel speaker system capable of producing up to 240 Watts of peak power. It’s also blended with a few special bells and whistles included in the initial purchase.

Logitech G560 LIGHTSYNC PC Gaming Speakers

The speakers use DTS Ultra which was specifically designed to worth the downward-firing subwoofer to replicate the 3D sound. It also has Lightsync technology, which uses a Hero 16K resolution sensor to producing light effects that very closely match the displayed image on the screen. This enhances the overall gameplay experience.

G502 Lightspeed Wireless Gaming Mouse

It’s also worth noting that the Logitech G560 also comes with a Lightspeed wireless gaming mouse. Not only was it designed for ergonomic control, but this wireless mouse also gives you the ability to adjust the weight, for the proper level of responsiveness.

Logitech G560 LIGHTSYNC PC Gaming Speakers with G502 Lightspeed Wireless Gaming Mouse

It also has other customizable controls that let you do things like changing the scrolling speed.