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Last updated: June 20, 2020

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Whether you want them for listening to music, watching movies, or playing state of the art video games, good quality computer speakers are a must. However, there are a range of speakers currently available on the market, making it difficult to know which is the best for you. But of course that’s why you’re here – we can help!

When looking for the best PC speakers in 2019, there are a few important factors to consider. Do you want wireless or are you not fussed if you need to plug it into your PC? Are you looking for an all-rounder, or does it need to suit a specific purpose? There are a number of considerations, so we’ll go through each in detail.

Key Facts

  • High power speakers don’t necessary mean they are high quality in general. There are realistically very few situations in which you are going to need more than 20 watts of power. Other aspects, including frequency ranges, are a better indication of texture and sound quality.
  • You can find high-quality wireless computer speakers, but you need to check they are compatible with the applicable codecs. You should decide whether convenience and usability or sound quality is your priority, and let this guide your decision.
  • If you want to be able to watch movies, you’ll need 5.1 computer speakers. These are generally very high-quality thanks to their surround sound. Not all 5.1 speakers are compatible with all computers, but adapters are also available

The best computer speakers on the Canadian Market

Until recently, there was a fairly limited range of computer speakers on the market in Canada. However, this range has increased exponentially in the last fifteen years, thanks to multiple technological advances such as improvements to connectivity. Following are the five best computer speakers of 2019 to suit different budgets and uses.

Connectland  – USB Stereo Speaker Sound Bar

These stereo speakers, which are designed to be mounted to a desktop or laptop, are powered by USB using an AUX output. This means they are simply connected to any computer. The AUX connection comes with the standard 3.5mm jack. Just plug them into any USB port and the speakers are ready to go.

For the price point these speakers have quite an impressive frequency range (between 100 and 20,000 Hz), meaning you get very good sound quality from them. They also come with 2.5 w RMS magnetic shielding. These USB speakers can either be used separately, or combined into a single sound bar, allowing you a nice degree of customization.

Logitech – Z213 Multimedia Speakers

Logitech has been making laptop and computer accessories for years and their speakers are well-respected. The Z213 Multimedia Speakers come with an adjustable bass control knob that lets you customize your speakers’ biggest sound, so you can control how much base you get based on what you are watching, listening to, or playing. The inclined design is so that the sound is projected straight into your ears, meaning smaller speakers, which take up less desk space, still get the job done.

The plug-and-play setup of these speakers means that you simply connect them to anything that has a 3.5mm output (on either windows or mac devices). What’s more, the handheld control setup allows you to conveniently turn the speakers on and off, adjust volume, and connect a headset for more private listening.

EARISE – Q8 Stereo Computer Speakers With Subwoofer

EARISE’s Q8 Stereo Computer Speakers give you 2.1 stereo sound, which, if you have yet to experience 2.0 stereo sound, is quite a noticeable leap in quality. Each set comes in a variety of colours, and includes 2 treble and 1 bass unit, giving you a great range of frequency. These computer speakers also give you a nice amount of manual control over the bass and treble. They also come with an independent power switch, and a dial for volume adjustment.

These are USB-powered speakers and use the standard 3.55 AUX output. The great part is that they come in such a wide range of colours, so you can always choose a product that best suits your current setup and decoration scheme. They have a 2 and 4 OHM impedance in the bass and stereo speakers, respectively. The combined frequency range is between 30Hz to 20Khz. These speakers are adjustable enough to be used all over the home, and loud enough to function well outdoors.

Bose – Companion 2 Series III Multimedia Speakers

Bose is well-known for its high quality audio performance, and its unparalleled craftsmanship. Their Companion 2 Series III Multimedia Speakers are no different, giving you clear sound at any volume for every single listening experience. Whether you want something of unbeatable quality for gaming, music, or videos, these speakers are not going to disappoint. The auxiliary input also allows you to connect an additional device any time you like.

These speakers are compatible with both mac and windows computers and laptops, so you always have great sound, no matter your setup. The unique digital sound processing give you crystal clear, full-bodied sound at whatever volume you are listening at. You will be amazed at how much you have been missing after you first connect your new Bose Companion 2 Series III Multimedia Speakers.

ELEGIANT – Portable USB Speakers

ELEGIANT’s Portable USB Speakers are great because they work with nearly every single device you are likely to own. Anything that comes with a standard 3.5mm headphone jack can be instantly connected to these surprisingly good portable speakers. With the USB plug-and-play setup, there are no batteries or power cord required. The speakers are also designed with space economy in mind, meaning that you get great quality without having to sacrifice a ton of desk space.

These speakers come with full magnetic shielding, ensuring that your computer monitor and other surrounding devices are always well protected. They also give you easy control over volume and power, so you are never fumbling to control your settings. A great product to travel with, or to take with you on the go, ELEGIANT’s Portable USB Speakers are a great price-quality compromise.

Shopping Guide: Everything you should know about computer speakers

For audiophiles, good sound quality is essential. Also for ordinary mortals. Buying the right computer speakers can greatly enhance your experience. But in order to be able to enjoy your favourite video games and movies with the optimal sound quality, first you need to know the most important things about computer speakers.

asian musician, producer or mixer in sound studio

Computer speakers are ideal for sound and music lovers.
(Source: Kzenon: 20180011/ 123rf.com)

What are computer speakers exactly?

Computer speakers are laptop and desktop accessories that are made to enhance the sound quality of your device, relative to the built-in audio capabilities. They tend to be made with gamers and gaming in mind, making video games more immersive and rich. If your computer or laptops built-in audio isn’t enough, you will likely wants computer speakers.

Having said that, many computer speakers have additional features because they are not only suitable for gaming. Some models, particularly those with 5.1 surround sound, are perfect for watching movies or TV series.

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Those with wide ranges in frequency are great for listening to music. As you can see, the possibilities are endless!

What types of PC speakers are there?

Which model of computer speakers you choose depends on various factors. This is not only the price. You have to consider what you want to use the computer speakers for. The space you have available is also important, as depending on the model you’ll need to fit one or more parts. There different types of computer speakers: 2.0, 2.1 and 5.1 sound.

Each of these types has distinct advantages and disadvantages, which determine the sound quality and the situations they’re best suited for. Logitech Z323 speakers are a great example of 2.1 computer speakers.

You can see more in this YouTube video from Bise HD:

2.0: These have two speakers in a set, are good quality and particularly versatile. They do not include a subwoofer. They are generally the cheapest speakers, and the best speakers for clean, high-quality sound with a rich texture. Usually, they’ll allow you to turn up the bass and some models will even allow you to plug in a subwoofer if you would like.

2.1: These are two speakers and a subwoofer. They are designed to produce bass sounds with great clarity and high quality. They take up more space than 2.0 computer speakers and if they are not balanced properly there can be sound distortion. Though they are more expensive than 2.0 computer speakers, there are budget models available.

5.1: These are the type of speakers that movie fans and gamers should choose. They consist of a set of several speakers: four surround speakers, a central speaker and a subwoofer. There are also 7.1 computer speakers available. As a general rule, they are more expensive than 2.0 or 2.1models. They also usually need a fair amount of space to install and the best 5.1 speakers need a high-quality computer to work well.

What is impedance in computer speakers?

Computer speakers are complicated devices, and the market is very large. There are a range of factors which impact overall performance. One of the most critical is a computer speaker’s impedance. Impedance is measured in ohms and it indicates a speakers resistance to the electrical current that passes through its many components and resisters.

A lower impedance means the current can more easily pass through the speaker, whether a computer speaker or another type.  This, in turn, means that the sound produced will be closer to the original sound. Be careful, however, because if the impedance of your speaker is higher than that of the device which is emitting the sound, you will hear nothing at all.

Pc speaker and amplifier on table with display monitor

When buying computer speakers, it is important that you check their compatibility with your devices.
(Source: Jitjong: 100119042/ 123rf.com)

What is the range in frequency for computer speakers?

According to the National Physical Laboratory (NPL) in the United States advises “the general range of hearing for young people is 20Hz

[the lowest frequency] and 20kHz [the highest frequency]”. Bass sounds range from 10Hz to 256Hz, mid-range sounds from 256Hz to 2000Hz and the treble from 2000Hz to 20,000Hz or 20kHz.

The best computer speakers take these frequencies into account. Any speaker capable of reproducing minimum frequencies of 18Hz and maximum frequencies of 20,000Hz is of high quality. Looking at the range of frequencies is useful when choosing between a speaker more focused on treble, bass or a balance between the two.

What is sensitivity in computer speakers?

A speaker’s sensitivity relates to the maximum sound intensity, which is to say, the level of acoustic pressure on your ear it is capable of producing. This aspect is measured in decibels (dB) and it is essentially the maximum volume the speaker can generate. 140dB is the maximum sound the human ear can tolerate until it becomes painful, therefore speakers are usually limited to 100dB.

This directly linked to the level of power. This is expressed in RMS and shows the maximum dB a speaker can produce before the sound becomes distorted. Exceeding this can severely damage your speakers. This is explained in more detail in the following video.

The best computer speakers use a series of filters which distribute the different sound waves, from low, medium and high frequencies thanks to different drivers which process each frequency range. To get technical, these are: woofer (bass), mid-range and tweeters (treble).

You can have three-way speakers, where it has a driver for each range of frequency. The alternative is a two-way speaker which uses a tweeter, and a mid-range speaker for medium and low frequencies. The more drivers, the better the quality of sound across all frequencies.

Shopping Criteria

According to online tech publication Tech Radar, “Like any piece of computer accessory, finding the best computer speakers isn’t quite as easy as you’d think.” When you are shopping around for speakers, the sheer number of options might seem overwhelming. That’s why we’ve developed this section to guide through the process of processing computer speakers.

Wired or wireless

Good computer speakers can be wireless or wired. More and more users are opting for the former because they are more movable. However, Bluetooth speakers also have a higher price-tag for the same level of quality. This, however, in no way means there aren’t great wireless options out there which offer you great value for your money.

Additionally, when looking at Bluetooth computer speakers you need to take their technical capacity into account. That is to say, that they are compatible with the right codecs for your computer. Broadly speaking there are three types of codecs, and you should choose a model with the desired sound quality as well as being compatible in terms of codecs.

Close-up of a minimalist workspace with a desktop computer and speakers on a white desk in a modern home office interior. Real photo.

Close-up of a minimalist workspace with a desktop computer and There are computer speakers with modern and elegant designs.
(Source: Białasiewicz: 108021990/ 123rf.com)

Bluetooth speaker codecs

SBC: Compatible with A2DP Bluetooth speakers. The SBC codec is compatible with MP3 and AAC formats when marked accordingly. The audio presents a bitrate of 320 kbps (great for streaming music). It is capable of transmitting sample rates of 44.1 kHz and the audio is generally good quality, although inconsistent in budget models.

APTX: Superior level of encoding for audio. Capable of processing more information and has several alternatives (APTX LL and APTX HD). Available in PC speakers and high-end Bluetooth headphones, ideal if your audio requirements are more than simply playing music.

AAC: Similar to SBC. The difference lies, mainly, in superior sound quality. More appropriate for speakers than headphones. It has become popular thanks to the Apple iTunes platform.

Compatibility

Generally speaking, quality computer speakers are compatible with all types of computers. Some will be labelled as compatible with the latest versions of Windows or other operating systems. This does not necessarily mean, however, that they will not work with older versions, although sometimes this is the case.

When it comes to 5.1 sound speakers, you need to be very careful. This type of speakers are not usually designed to use with a PC. However, they are perfect if you love to watch movies on your computer or are looking for surround sound for any kind of multimedia content. Be sure to research thoroughly before making your purchase.

Power and quality

People are naturally gravitate towards speakers that claim to have more power than other speakers, or even the most power on the market. However, power without adequate control is effectively useless. In fact, manufacturers can often promote power ratings as a way of masking other short-comings. High power is not necessarily synonymous with quality.

It is, of course, difficult to know if a speaker is of good quality without testing it. Even quality brands can be disappointing in this respect. However, when choosing a reputable brand with at least 20 watts you can be more or less assured of decent quality. This kind of computer speakers will fill virtually any room with great sound.

Connectivity

If you like old school technology, you wouldn’t be blamed if you though wired computer speakers were the superior way to go. However, not all wired speakers are created equal. There are different types of cables, each with their pros and cons. Regardless, the first step is to check your compatibility. Otherwise, you risk buying something which is essentially useless!

3.5mm Aux outputs are the most common. More complex speakers may need up to three AUX ports. There are also RCA outputs, which are not designed for computers but can be used with adapters.

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Did you know that USB is often more economical and also helps reduce energy consumption?

Use

What you want to use them for will determine which are the best computer speakers for you. Do you watch movies on your PC? Then maybe you should go for a 5.1 or a medium to high range 2.1 system. Are you a gamer? You’ll probably be happy with medium to high range 2.0 or 2.1 speakers.

If you simply want to listen to music with a more or less decent sound, you can choose a budget 2.0 speaker. Additionally, think about how important sound quality is to you. If clarity of sound is very important to you, look for 2.1 speakers with a range of frequencies. On the other hand, if you want to be able to customise your sound, you will want speakers with different equalisers.

Summary

The best computer speakers do not have to break the bank. However, whether you are looking for a budget option, or something high-end, it is important to do your research. Not all speakers are suited to all uses. For example, different types of computer speakers (2.0, 2.1 and 5.1) have noticeable differences in sound.

Additionally, you need to decide if you want speakers that are designed for playing music, watching movies or gaming. Once you’ve made this decision, assess each option according to the various criteria we’ve covered in this article, such as power, impedance and frequency ranges.

If you have enjoyed this article and have found it useful, do not hesitate to leave a comment or share it on social media!

(Source of featured image: Białasiewicz: 107096337/ 123rf.com)

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