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Buying Computer Speakers

Buying Computer Speakers

As computers have dramatically evolved, so have audio accessories. The latest computer speakers can transform a fun video game into an immersive experience or bring your favorite playlist to life with better quality than some stereos. Whether you’re looking for a compact set that can travel with your laptop or a five speaker kit for surround sound in a home office, the options are extensive. Here are some feature and types of speakers to consider when making a decision.

Why Buy Computer Speakers

Computer speakers are an essential accessory for enjoying the features on your computer, whether you’re surfing Internet videos or conducting a live video conference. The right speakers will enhance every minute you spend on your computer.

Multiple speakers create a more immersive experience, which is ideal for gamers or movie lovers who want to feel like they’re right in the middle of the action.

Speakers with bass control add new depth and adjustable power to streaming music.

If you produce your own music, podcasts or voiceovers, high-quality speakers are essential. Hearing the different layers allows you to properly mix and edit audio more effectively.

Features to consider when buying computer speakers

Audio channels

  • A system’s audio channels refer to the number of speakers that it has.
  • The first number indicates how many speakers are used in the system, while the second number, appearing after the dot, refers to the subwoofer channel. Common examples include 5.1, 22.2, and 7.1.



Size and Appearance

  • The size of your desk and office will help determine the best size for your speaker system. A laptop computer used in a small workspace may do best with two compact speakers, while a large desk or extensive office space can support five or more comfortably.
  • Modern models come in many sleek designs that can complement the appearance of your workspace. Many designs range from futuristic spheres to more traditional rectangular boxes.
  • Fun options like dancing water speakers can take computer audio to a new level, adding their own brand of entertainment to the mix.



Sound Quality

  • Try speakers in person when possible and test the sound quality using your own ears to judge the balance between treble, midrange and bass frequencies.
  • Large subwoofers are important if you want strong, high-quality bass.




  • Multiple audio input interfaces allow you to use the speakers with different devices.
  • A second input is essential if you want to occasionally connect an MP3 player, tablet, second computer or other device to your speakers.




  • If a speaker system has no controls, you’re confined to adjusting volume and other settings from your computer.
  • Dedicated controls such as separate speaker volume make it easier to adjust your sound system.
  • Bass and treble controls located directly on the speakers are ideal for fine-tuning your listening experience.



Types of Computer Speakers

Compact Desktop Speakers

Compact desktop speakers typically come in a single pair and are small enough to fit on any desktop.

  • Standard Number of Speakers: 2
  • Standard Height: 4-10 inches
  • Standard Width: 2-4 inches
  • Standard Depth: 2-5 inches
  • Standard Audio Channels: 2.0-2.1



Compact desktop speakers are best for…

Laptop users: If you have a laptop that moves around frequently, you’ll love the portability and ease of use that comes with compact desktop speakers. Plug the USB into any port on the side of the laptop and you can enjoy enhanced audio in seconds.


Shared work spaces: When you don’t have a dedicated work space of your own, you’re typically confined to a smaller space for your computer and accessories. Compact desktop speakers take up a minimal amount of space so you don’t have to worry about finding enough shelf or table space to set everything up.

Speakers with a Subwoofer

If you love the thumping sound of a strong bass, computer speakers with a subwoofer are an ideal combination.

  • Standard Number of Speakers: 2-5 with a subwoofer
  • Standard Audio Channels: 2.1 or 5.1



Speakers with a subwoofer are best for…

Music lovers: If you use your computer to listen to music, this set's subwoofer offers added depth to the experience. A system without a subwoofer, can leave your favorite tunes feeling a bit flat.


Casual gamers: If you enjoy casual gaming from time to time, a system with two speakers and a subwoofer is the perfect fit. You’ll get added intensity for your games with a minimal investment.

Surround Sound Speakers

If you want your computer to create an immersive environment around you, surround sound speakers put you in the center of a well-balanced symphony of sound.

  • Standard Number of Speakers: 5 and a subwoofer
  • Standard Audio Channels: 5.1



Surround sound speakers are best for…

Everyday gamers: If you want to truly transport yourself to another dimension as you play, surround sound speakers will give you the experience you’re after. They put you in the center of it all.


Musicians or audio editors: If you’re recording and editing your own music, podcasts or voiceovers, a surround sound system will give you better control. The added speakers can help you pick out finer nuances in the music.


Movie lovers: If you watch movies on your computer, you’ll want the sound to be on point. These speakers make movie-quality sound achievable, so you’ll get as close as possible to a theater experience.






Bottom Line

Computer speakers are available in a broad range of sizes, shapes and designs. This versatility means there’s a speaker system suited to every computer user. Whether you’re using your computer for surfing the web or doing some serious sound editing, you want speakers that produce clear, high-quality sound. For casual use, go with desktop speakers. However, if you require a bit more bass and immersion, surround sound devices or speakers with a subwoofer are the way to go.