Computer Speakers Guide

Everyone likes to play music and watch movies on their computer. This computer speakers guide outlines your options and will help you choose the best system for the sound you want.

Computer Speakers 101

It's hard to beat listening to music on your home computer or taking it everywhere on your laptop, tablet or smartphone. But the experience is even better when you have proper computer speakers. A 2.1 computer speaker system, which has two speakers to handle the high frequencies and a subwoofer to reproduce the bass, is ideal for playing your favourite songs. And if you're a movie addict, you'll appreciate the enhanced audio provided by surround sound computer speakers. Ditch the cord and choose wireless computer speakers if you put a premium on mobility. Your options run the gamut, and the faster you connect your computer to the speakers you need, the more time you'll spend enjoying the audio you love.

Types of Computer Speakers


2.0 Computer Speakers

If you're in the market for basic computer speakers that will occupy minimal real estate on your desk, look no further than a 2.0speaker system. Designed to provide sound separation for a better listening experience, 2.0 systems consist of two speakers, a left and a right. The amplifier required to increase the sound volume and enhance its quality is located inside one of the speakers. Most 2.0 PC speakers have relatively small speaker drivers. This allows for a more compact design, but it also means the bass frequencies are less powerful than those produced by 2.1 computer speakers.

2.1 Computer Speakers

Like a 2.0 system, a 2.1 speaker system features a pair of satellite speakers that sits above your desk, but it also has a larger speaker-amplifier combo that goes underneath. In 2.1 systems, the satellite speakers are typically smaller than in 2.0 systems because they don't need to produce lower-frequency bass sounds. The audio spectrum is provided by the speaker down below, which is known as subwoofer. Choose 2.1 computer speakers if you want your system to produce a full, rich sound for listening to music or watching movies.

Surround Sound Computer Speakers

Surround sound can transform your home office or bedroom into a virtual movie theatre. Typical surround sound systems vary from 5.1 channel to 9.1 channel and higher. A 5.1 channel system starts with a pair of front satellite speakers and a subwoofer, similar to a 2.1 speaker system, and augments it with three additional speakers for an immersive sound effect. A centre channel speaker delivers dialogue, while two, rear satellite speakers produce ambient sounds that put you in the centre of the action. The higher the channel number, the more speakers the system contains for an even more intense movie experience.

Wireless Computer Speakers

In a few short years, wireless computer speakers have leaped to the mainstream — and for good reason. Many of us carry our music collections with us everywhere we go. Having a pair of wireless speakers on hand makes it easier to play our favourite songs out loud and share them with friends. Another advantage of wireless speakers is they do away with unsightly speaker wire. Nonetheless, for the sake of convenience, most wireless speakers have a wired input as well. When choosing wireless computer speakers, you need to consider not only the quality of the speakers, but also the type of wireless technology that's used. Your options include Bluetooth, Wi-Fi and Apple's Airplay.

Laptop Speakers

Laptops and tablets make excellent, portable media players for listening to music or watching movies on the go. Since the on-board speakers are typically underpowered, the trick is to pair your computing devices with external speakers that meet your sound requirements. Laptop speakers come in many shapes and sizes, from mini speakers to larger, more robust speakers. Before shopping, consider how you will use your laptop speakers. In general, you'll want speakers that are small enough to be easily transportable while still offering the power to blast your favourite songs in all their glory.

Computer Speaker Buying Tips:

• 2.0 speakers are adequate for regular computer use
• 2.1 systems have a subwoofer and are better for listening to music
• Surround sound speakers offer immersive sound for watching movies and gaming
• If portability is important to you, choose wireless speakers
• If you intend to connect your speakers to multiple devices, look for extra sound inputs
• Speakers with on-board controls can make it easier for you to adjust the volume and bass/treble

Computer Speaker Features

Manufacturers' Specifications +

When you're shopping for speakers, beware of manufacturers' specifications regarding sound quality. While some specs may be helpful, there isn't a standard testing methodology for rating speakers. This opens the door to exaggeration and information that could mislead you in your purchase. Rather than relying solely on specs, spend some time online researching what reviewers and audiophiles are saying about the speakers you're considering.

Controls +

There are no controls on the most basic computer speakers. All volume adjustments and tweaks to the bass and treble levels must be made through your computer's hardware or software controls, or by using a remote control. For greater flexibility in fine tuning your system's audio output, choose speakers with on-board controls. In 2.0 and 2.1 computer speakers, controls are typically found on one of the satellite speakers, on the subwoofer or on both.

Auxiliary Input Ports +

PC speakers can have one, two or several audio-input jacks. The more the better. If a speaker system has just one input jack, you're pretty much limited to using it only with a single computer. But your family may have other devices, like smartphones and tablets, for playing music. To make it easier to use these devices with your computer speakers, look for models with multiple audio-input jacks.

USB Ports +

Some computer speakers receive their electrical power through a USB port, rather than a standard power cord or batteries. In these models, the USB cable delivers both the power to run the amp and the audio signal that determines the sound — meaning you have one less cord to deal with. USB ports are often used in portable computers to make their use more streamlined. However, USB ports don't supply a great deal of power, so USB-powered speakers are often smaller and won't produce sound quality equal to AC or battery speakers in a similar price range.

Studio Monitors +

Self-powered studio monitors are higher-end variations of 2.0 computer speakers. Studio monitors are small enough to sit on a shelf, but they're bulkier than basic 2.0 speakers due to their larger speaker drivers. Many music studios use studio monitors in professional sound production. Self-powered bookshelf speakers are similar to studio monitors, but they're aimed at home audiophiles rather than sound professionals. Choose bookshelf speakers if you're planning to use your PC for home music listening.

Bluetooth +

Wireless speakers are all the rage, and Bluetooth is one of the main wireless technologies used to cut the cord. Bluetooth comes installed in most laptops, tablets and smartphones, and it's becoming more prevalent in desktops. To listen to music on your Bluetooth-equipped wireless speakers, simply turn on your computer's Bluetooth signal and connect to the speakers. A downside of Bluetooth is that its signal range is limited to about 30 feet. Additionally, the sound quality of a Bluetooth speaker system is typically inferior to similar wired systems.

Wi-Fi +

Wi-Fi-enabled wireless speakers are an alternative to the Bluetooth variety. A big advantage of Wi-Fi technology over Bluetooth is that it offers faster data transmission. This makes it a good match with high-quality speakers. It means you stream your large, uncompressed music files and reproduce the sound at a premium quality level. Compared to Bluetooth, Wi-Fi also offers superior security and range or data transmission.

Appearance +

Depending on where you position your computer speakers, you could be seeing a lot of them. So if design's important to you, take time to shop for a pair that suits your personality and fits in with your decor. Consider shape, colour and also the material and texture of the speaker housing. Something that's a bit too shiny may start to look tacky and unwelcome on your desktop before too long.

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Computer Speaker Maintenance Tips:

• Regularly check the wiring for damage
• Keep away from direct sunlight
• Vacuum occasionally to remove dust
• Avoid liquid cleaners as they might damage the amplifiers
• Adequate ventilation will help increase your speakers' lifespan
This article is intended as general information. Always be sure to read and follow the label(s)/instruction(s) that accompany your product(s). Walmart will not be responsible for any injury or damage caused by this activity.



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