Computer Speakers Guide
Computer Speakers 101
Types of Computer Speakers
2.0 Computer Speakers
2.1 Computer Speakers
Surround Sound Computer Speakers
Wireless Computer Speakers
Computer Speaker Buying Tips:
• 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.
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.
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-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.
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:
• 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