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Headsets are great for gaming, but sometimes you want more sound from your desktop experience if you’re listening to music or looking for immersive. Desktop speakers are a great way to fulfill your audiophilia without the discomfort of wearing headsets for several hours.
Computer speakers are have gotten better in the past decade, and you no longer have to rely on tinny, raspy speakers if you want to fill your room with sound.
Best Desktop Speakers Reviewed
In 2018, there are more options for desktop speakers than you’d think. The competition has grown rapidly in the last five years as more connectivity options and better audio technology has been created.
We’ve shortlisted the 7 best computer speakers you can buy right now based on their performance, build, and sound. To help you with your purchase, there’s also a buyer’s guide after the reviews enlisting the important factors you need to consider.
Our Top Pick
With the Sound BlasterX Kratos S5 2.1, you get what you see, the best mid-ranger that you can lay your eyes on. It focuses on gamers with its RGB lights with Aurora Reactive Lighting System which you can set to match your gaming system’s RGB setting.
Now Sound Blaster is a very familiar name in the computer audio world if you were born in the early 90’s you must have seen this brand’s speakers in computer systems. I still remember seeing the name on the speakers attached to my uncle’s Pentium 1 with Windows 95 running in the background. These were the best option for a computer user back in the day because they provided great sound quality.
The Sound BlasterX Kratos S5 2.1 just carries on the tradition of providing the best sound quality even to this day.
The BlasterX line of audio products by Sound Blaster is focused on the gaming-focused audio experience. The Kratos S5 2.1 comes with a wooden body woofer for decreasing resonance, so you get the sound clarity you require from your speakers. The satellites are also made of wood for the same reason, to give a perfect sound crisp sound quality.
It comes with a handy audio control pod that allows you to access the volume at your convenience. The control pod also allows you to connect other audio devices such as headphones and microphone.
You can also connect these speakers with your computer system via USB to get 24-bit/96kHz resolution playback. With BlasterX Acoustic Engine, you can get an immersive surround sound for that extra oomph. Not only that the RGB lights on the speakers can be customized to your needs. Whether you want it to match your gaming system’s RGB lights or just want to see rainbow lighting, you can do that with the 16 million colors LED lighting.
All in all, we are very pleased with this product’s performance and pleasing visual aesthetics, the Kratos S5 2.1 is a product of quality.
Best Budget Option
When you cannot afford high-end speakers, you have to settle for an affordable option, but you should not compromise on quality, and Cyber Acoustics CA-3602FFP gives you the best quality regardless of its affordability.
The first thing you will find attractive in the Cyber Acoustics CA-3602FFP speakers is the modern design, the speakers look really good. They are supported by an external 5.2” wood cabinet woofer that gives you a rich music experience.
They are attached to a control pod to which you can plug in your audio devices. It has a headphone audio jack, an auxiliary jack for connecting your computers, TV, tablets, and phones too. You can also find a power indicator on the control pod to see whether they are switched off or on.
But looks are not the first thing you find in speaker systems when you are purchasing speakers you are doing it for great sound, and the Cyber Acoustics CA-3602FFP provides you with that as well.
The two satellite speakers give a crisp sound and clean stereo separation, that way you can clearly know the direction of footsteps in CS:GO. This also makes it an ideal speaker system for listening to music, however, the budget cut does mean you will not get the perfect sound from games or music.
But regardless, as we said above it far exceeds the expectations that we might have from looking at its low price tag.
Audioengine A2+ is our favorite computer speakers, but they still demand a high price. If you’re unwilling to spend so much, the Logitech Z623 is a great budget alternative. These speakers are, in our opinion, the best option for less than $150.
Logitech Z623’s powerful subwoofer that comes with these speakers is boomy and packs a real punch. The amount of air moved by the subwoofer can easily be controlled to suit your preferences. The natural mids and highs are balanced perfectly as they are, allowing you to dial in enough bass through the subwoofer to suit your needs.
With one RCA connection and two 3.5mm jacks, you have the ability to listen to up to three devices. There aren’t as many connections in these Logitech speakers as there are in our top pick, but given the big price difference, this is expected.
Two alternate models of the Z623 Logitech computer speakers exist: one with a Bluetooth adapter and one with an optical input. You don’t get all inputs in any single model though.
- Great sound for the price
- Powerful subwoofer
- Great value
- Lack connectivity options
You should get your money back if owning the Harman Kardon Soundsticks III doesn’t make heads turn. Design wise, these are perhaps the most incredible speakers for the computer out there.
The unique glass look is both retro and futuristic. It pays homage to the old-school amplification tubes of old times yet maintains sleek, futuristic minimalism that works well any décor or computer. There’s a white light that radiates from the subwoofer while it’s on, illuminating the see-through structure for more jazzy visuals.
But the Harman Kardon Soundsticks aren’t just all looks. The sound from these speakers are just as good as the eye candy they provide. Mids and highs are clear and balanced thanks to the satellite speakers, and the adjustable subwoofer mixes in powerful lows to give the sound fullness and breadth.
All this comes with Bluetooth connectivity, offering great functionality. These computer speakers don’t have a headphone jack though, and even though we love the LED lights, they can’t be turned off.
There’s a lot to love about the Harman Kardon Soundsticks III. With more controls, they would’ve easily topped our list as the best speakers available right now.
- Jaw dropping design
- Excellent sound quality
- Lots of bass power thanks to the subwoofer
- Good price point
- Lacks connectivity options
Logitech caters to all kinds of audience, whether you are a gamer or use the computer for work, they offer a wide range of technology for everyone. This speaker aimed to please gamers, who have RGB lit rigs. They not only provide a smooth sound experience but also are visually pleasing as well.
The Logitech G560 LIGHTSYNC might be the company’s first attempt at dabbling with RGB lighting in a speaker. The LIGHTSYNC technology is not just for name there, it actually syncs the RGB lights to the game you are playing, meaning if you are having an intense cop chase in GTA V, you can actually see the speakers change the lighting to that of a police siren.
That is just the base of the RGB power this speaker offers as you can connect these speakers to the Logitech software, which allows you to create custom RGB profiles for the games you want. Not only that you can map the speakers to change colors according to the screen of the game. Map it to 4 zones of your screen to get the colors in those area light up in the RGB backlight of the speakers. These RGB lights also read the music you are listening to as well, so the LIGHTSYNC is not only limited to games only.
Logitech does not skim the sound quality in the G560 LIGHTSYNC as the woofer and the speakers both provide some intense sound experience. With 240 Watt of powerful sound you can get all the fun of hearing your games like never before.
Withstanding the test of time, the Klipsch ProMedia 2.1 desktop speakers have been around since the year 2000. Yet you’ll be hard-pressed to find a top computer speakers list without these bad boys listed among them.
There’s a simple reason for that: they’re just really good. The ProMedia 2.1 speakers are THX-certified, and this isn’t just a branding tag for show-off purposes. They deliver an incredible home theater quality sound at a great price.
This makes them not only great desktop speakers but also incredible for watching movies, gaming, and more. Their versatility is their best selling point, and that’s why many still go for these speakers even in 2018.
The lows are thunderous yet clear, with the mids and highs having the right amount of presence to never make any sound coming from these speakers muddy. The speakers have a frequency range from 31Hz to 20kHz which is a bit narrower than what you’d expect, but the intensity of the bass and the overall balance is excellent, resulting in great sound reproduction.
These speakers are a bit old so you shouldn’t expect state-of-the-art connectivity options. Their major selling point is their reliability and sound quality that can rival home theater systems, and for that, it’s hard not to include them in this list.
Razer’s Nommo speakers are better known among hardcore gamers because of their crazy bass, psychedelic razer chroma lighting, and an insane price tag.
The Leviathan strips the bling and gives more basic and, in our opinion, a convenient offering than the Nommo. It claims to be a soundbar, but there’s more to this discreetly designed set of desktop speakers than the main bar.
Using multiple drives and Dolby’s Pro Logic II technology, the Leviathan can provide 5.1 stereo sound in a regular desktop speakers configuration. Of course, a lot of this is simulated and can never replace true 5.1, but the inconvenience of setting up a 5.1 system with your computer is eliminated with the Leviathan.
Movies and games benefit most from this simulated surround sound, becoming more immersive. Music sounds larger as if it’s occupying the entire room. The sound quality of the Leviathan gaming speakers remains fantastic for games and movies.
However, add in some bass-heavy music and you may begin to faint. The bass is at times overwhelming as the subwoofer is too powerful and uncontrolled. This can drown the high end even in movies and games during action-packed scenes.
The connectivity options available with the Razer Leviathan are great though. You get Bluetooth connectivity that is extremely convenient, and more analog methods like a 3.5mm jack and optical are also available. We do wish it had USB connectivity too though.
- Discreet and small
- Great surround sound simulation
- Bluetooth connectivity
- Overwhelming bass
Desktop Speakers Buyer’s Guide
Like with any other audio equipment you buy, the sound quality should be the biggest factor when you’re searching for desktop speakers.
The sound quality doesn’t have to replicate your ultra-high-end headphones or home theater – it just has to be balanced so everything is clear. The audio quality of the speakers is generally graded based on how they respond to and replicate different frequencies.
Most low-quality speakers are too raspy and thin, unable to move enough air to give the big booming bass everyone covets. Others are so bass-obsessed that it becomes outright muddy.
You want speakers that cover the audible frequency range of sound in a way that is balanced. Almost all desktop speakers will prioritize when frequency range (Highs, mids, and lows) over the other, but you want to make sure none of them stands out.
Too many highs will make the audio sound brittle, raspy, and hurt your years. Heavy mid emphasis will make the sound honky. Too much bass will make it muddy, with the details indiscernible. Try to go for speakers that have a balanced sound.
Desktop speakers that come with an adjustable subwoofer are great because they let you dial in the right amount of bass to balance the sound out. Even if the speaker set of your choice doesn’t have a subwoofer, it might have enough power to be bass-heavy, so make sure you read the reviews and, if possible, hear it for yourself.
Connectivity is important if you’ll use your desktop speakers for multiple devices. All desktop speakers come with the basic 3.5mm jack that every computer supports. However, if you’ll connect your smartphone or other devices regularly to your speakers, you’ll want one that supports Bluetooth connectivity.
A rarer connectivity option offered by some brands is USB connectivity. This allows a cleaner, higher quality digital signal from to be sent to the speaker. Many other brands use USB ports for charging purposes rather than an input method.
Speakers are about function more than aesthetics, but it never hurts to have one that looks stunning and matches your décor. Desktop speaker brands have upped their game when it comes to aesthetics now, and you can get some stunning speakers that not only look great but also have a fantastic sound. There’s a reason we’ve listed the likes of the Edifier Luna 25 and Harman Kardon Soundsticks III.
Why aren’t there any 5.1 desktop speakers on this list?
There’s a simple reason: 5.1 surround sound speakers aren’t preferred for desktops. This is because setting them up with a computer is an absolute chore.
Almost no laptop has the required jacks for surround sound audio. Desktop computers with good motherboards do support 5.1 (and even 7.1) speakers, but even so, setting up such speakers is an arduous task. You will need to run elaborate wires and put speakers in each corner of the room to get the true surround sound system.
Most desktop users aren’t looking for such a complicated and elaborate setup. 5.1 and 7.1 surround sound speakers are best as home theater systems instead of as desktop speakers.
Can I use bookshelf speakers as computer speakers?
If you have bookshelf speakers that happen to be already sitting on your desktop, then sure, why not. Otherwise, they’re simply too big and too bulky to use as desktop speakers. All desktop speakers have built-in amplifiers in them which reduces the space they take. They are also smaller and designed specifically for computers.
Bookshelf speakers are designed for ear candy and listening to music. They have a separate amplification system with elaborate controls. While they can be substitutes, they’re often very expensive and don’t offer the same connectivity options as dedicated desktop speakers.
What’s the difference between 2.0 and 2.1?
2.0 refers to the left and right channels. Often, 2.0 speakers are also simply termed as stereo speakers. 2.1 speakers refer to speakers with a subwoofer. The subwoofer itself only covers a limited range, mainly the bass frequencies, offloading those frequencies away from the smaller two (left and right) drivers.
Can I use desktop speakers for music production?
While no one would stop you from using desktop speakers to listen to the tracks you create, it is generally a poor way to go one about doing so. The music in desktop and regular speakers is “colored” – the bass, mids, and/or highs are all adjusted to give a pleasing sound.
This sound is not always the accurate representation of what you’re producing. For this reason, music producers and audio engineers use active or passive monitor speakers. Monitor speakers have a flat EQ that is specifically designed to replicate the exact sound that you are trying to produce.