Tech

Top 15 Best Computer Speakers of 2017

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Whether you use a laptop, a desktop, or even a tablet, you deserve a good pair of computer speakers to use along with it.

Speakers are essential if you work from a desk or play PC games, as they can turn your desk into a functional home theater when you need to let off some steam. But finding the right computer speakers for you isn’t easy.

First off, there are numerous speaker configurations. The most common speaker configuration is 2.1, but those who live in multistory apartments often prefer to stick with two bookshelf style speakers. Some sound enthusiasts even opt for 5.1 or 7.1 surround sound in their home office.

There are also factors like desk footprint, controls, Bluetooth capability, and of course, sound. We’ve done the dirty work of researching and testing the top brands of PC speakers to identify the best options for anyone.

Thankfully, quality computer speaker setups don’t cost nearly as much those designed for full-size home theaters. Read on below to learn about some of our favorite picks.


1. Audioengine A2+

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(Amazon)

The Audioengine A2+ is a powered 2.0 speaker system made to work best with computers, despite sporting the durability of studio monitors and the form factor of bookshelf speakers.

These speakers have a very small desk footprint, especially considering they do not come with a subwoofer, and even without a separate sub produce a full range of sound.

Although they are pricey compared to traditional 2.1 computer speaker setups, they are a solid value as an in-between product that touches on high-end audiophile quality.

In addition to its analog 3.5mm and RCA inputs, these speakers also have a USB DAC (digital audio converter), which sounds great. The rear placement of the volume knob is an unfortunate design flaw, but one that can be easily overlooked because of its sound.

With only a pair of 2.75-inch subwoofers and 3/4-inch silk dome tweeters, one might not expect much volume from these 60 Watt A2+ speakers, but they deliver a surprising amount of volume.

They get far louder than their size should allow, but will ultimately be drowned out by the din of a large party. They do, however, create an enormous soundstage with far-stretching stereo sound.

Their frequency range of 65Hz-22kHz makes for a sharp and clear high end sound as well as a punchy low end sound. Bass is somewhat lacking because of the size, but considering this, is overall balanced and clear.

Its sound is particularly impressive considering that these speakers do not perform any digital signal processing, which other speakers use to give their cans an artificial boost in bass frequencies.

DSP can ultimately improve a speaker’s sound, but more pure, unbiased sound makes for a more authentic listening experience. Plus, if you are hoping to get more bass sound out of these speakers, you can use the analog out ports to connect a subwoofer like the Polk Audio PSW10 and complete the 2.1 setup.

Despite not coming with a subwoofer, these speakers achieve audiophile quality sound at an enormous value. As long as you don’t mind saving the sub for a later upgrade, the A2+ is an outstanding pick.

Price: $249.00

Buy the Audioengine A2+ here.


Pros:

  • Bright, balanced sound without digital signal processing
  • Very small desktopfootprint
  • Supports integration of a subwoofer

Cons:

  • Somewhat lacking in bass
  • High price tag
  • Inconvenient volume knob placement

Find more Audioengine A2+ information and reviews here.


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2. Harman Kardon Soundsticks III 2.1

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(Amazon)

The Harman Kardon Soundsticks III 2.1 speakers are an absolutely beautiful pair of speakers that delivers equally beautiful sound.

The stunning and durable transparent polycarbonate material and modern, rounded shape are so well designed, that their preceding model is a part of the permanent collection at New York City’s Museum of Modern Art.

Everything about this pair of speakers is quality, down to its thick silver-lined cable and touch-sensitive controls on the right speaker. Also on the right speaker is a 3.5mm jack as its lone input, neglecting to add an RCA connector or adapter.

The angle-adjustable satellite speakers can be articulated upwards to direct sound, and take up very little desk space for the sound they pack. The power button is placed on the subwoofer, which is inconvenient, but helps preserve the unique style of these speakers.

These 40 Watt speakers deliver great volume, but more importantly produce an incredibly rich sound. Its frequency range is 44Hz – 20kHz, which provides for nice extension from its 6-inch downward-facing subwoofer. The sub isn’t too overpowering, and balances nicely with the speaker’s high end.

Its satellite speakers have a combined eight full-range 1-inch transducers, which weave together rich highs and clear mids. There is little frequency muddling or crossover, further enhancing the neutrality of the sound.

These beautiful, compact speakers can be even more useful too, as they also come in a Bluetooth compatible version. This version is at a rather steep price increase for this one extra feature, but if you are getting these for a laptop or have a large library of music on your phone, it can be an worthwhile addition to these fantastic speakers.

Price: $169.95 (19 percent off MSRP)

Buy the Harman Kardon Soundsticks III 2.1 here.


Pros:

  • Beautiful transparent design
  • Full, balanced sound
  • Small footprint

Cons:

  • Power button inconveniently placed on subwoofer
  • No RCA input
  • Subwoofer buzzes at full volume

Find more Harman Kardon Soundsticks III 2.1 information and reviews here.


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3. Logitech Z623

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(Amazon)

Though the now discontinued Z-2300 speakers are the true fan favorite from Logitech, its sparse availability have led Logitech to create a successor model, the Z623 speakers.

True, there is still a chance you can find a used Z-2300 model in good condition online, but a new pair of Z623s will deliver a nearly identical sound for about the same price.

This 2.1 system is attractive and compact, while still being able to deliver a massive 200 Watt sound with independent bass control for the subwoofer. The power button, volume knob, and bass knob are found on the right speaker, which is connected to the left with an unfortunately proprietary cable.

This cable looks like a VGA cable, but is impossible to replace through Logitech, so take care not to damage it. Aside from this, the form factor for these speakers is spot on, and the speaker material resists vibration even when the speakers are at their loudest.

All three speakers also have gripping rubber feet and a small overall footprint. Its RCA and 3.5mm inputs are easily accessible on the side of the right speaker.

The THX-certified sound from this speaker is phenomenal, with clean high notes and a warm mid-range out of the satellite speakers.

Even at very high volumes, they suffer from little to no harmonic distortion. The speakers also offer solid soundstaging, with more stereo separation than you might expect out of a pair of desktop speakers.

The 7-inch driver on its subwoofer puts out a rich bass sound, which nicely complements the clear high end. The bass can overpower some frequencies if it is turned up too high, but the independent control knob makes it easy to ensure the sub is complementing and not outdoing the song itself.

Mysteriously, Logitech does not list specs for this speaker’s frequency response or signal-to-noise ratio, making a mechanical comparison difficult without hearing the speakers.

I have not compared the sound of the Z-2300 with the Z623 side-by-side, but they are presumably similar minus the Z-2300’s slightly larger 8-inch subwoofer.

Sure, the larger speaker will always offer a better frequency response, but the Z623 trades this off for a more compact design without heavily compromising clarity of sound.

Price: $99.99 (16 percent off MSRP)

Buy the Logitech Z623 here.


Pros:

  • Exceptional soundstaging and frequency response
  • Small footprint
  • Capable of loud 200 Watt output

Cons:

  • Proprietary speaker connection wire is inconvenient
  • Slightly outperformed by discontinued Z-2300 speakers
  • Short cables limit placement

Find more Logitech Z623 information and reviews here.


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4. Grace Digital GDI-BTSP201

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(Amazon)

Grace Digital’s GDI-BTSP201/208 are an attractive pair of high fidelity bookshelf speakers that masquerade as computer speakers. They have a leather-like stitched polyurethane covering, and are available in black or white (the model numbers are different but the specs are the same).

Source, play/pause, track skip, and volume controls are conveniently placed on the top of the left speaker. However, a USB charge-out port and power button are more inconveniently placed on the back of the speaker.

There is also has an RCA port in the back, which comes with an RCA-to-3.5mm adapter. However, the most convenient way to listen to these speakers is through Bluetooth 4.0. Wireless.

These speakers can connect to your computer and phone wirelessly, which allows them to be placed anywhere in the room, rather than confining them to your desk.

Likewise, it is incredibly simple to switch devices, so you can use these speakers for a desktop, laptop, and tablet (just not all at once, obviously). One flaw of the Bluetooth connection is that the speakers automatically disconnect if no audio is played after 10 minutes, which can be troublesome for some styles of use.

Speaking to the sound of these Grace Digital speakers, these 36 Watt speakers absolutely dominated the expectations I set for them. They can deliver an impressive frequency range of 50Hz – 20kHz, which given their small size, is outstanding.

Considering that each speaker only has a 1-inch tweeter drive, and a 3.5-inch woofer drive unit, so the sound won’t be enough to beat out a large crowd.

Regardless, the onboard bass is solid thanks to the bass reflex tunnel in the back, though not as low as one could get with a larger subwoofer.

Still, the mids and highs are crisp and clear, revealing musical complexities and generally brightening tracks with a full sound.

At higher volume levels, the highs can be a bit harsh, but you will still be satisfied with this speaker at just a quarter volume. Grace Digital’s Bluetooth speakers have some quirks, but are all in all defined by their fantastic quality.

Price: $119.99 (52 percent off MSRP)

Buy the Grace Digital GDI-BTSP201 here.


Pros:

  • Bluetooth 4.0 makes for diverse listening options
  • Great volume and frequency range for their size
  • USB charge-out port

Cons:

  • No connection for subwoofer
  • Speakers shut off after 10 minutes of idle time
  • Power button inconveniently placed

Find more Grace Digital GDI-BTSP201 information and reviews here.


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5. Klipsch ProMedia 2.1

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(Klipsch)

Klipsch’s ProMedia 2.1 speakers are a bulky and boisterous pair of speakers that get serious about volume and bass. They aren’t the smallest speakers out there, nor is the sound isn’t the most accurately equalized, but Klipsch’ hefty speakers pack a serious punch for loud music, movies, gaming.

The speakers are stylish and durable, and my own pair has looked great on my different desks for the last six years. The right speaker houses the conveniently placed, yet touchy volume knobs, plus easy to access 3.5mm ports for audio devices and headphones.

Note that RCA connections or any included adapter are absent on this speaker. The wires to plug the satellites into the sub are long, which make positioning these speakers easy, but the wire is also quite thin. Because of how touchy the knobs can be, these speakers are sorely missing a power button.

When it comes to sound, these THX-certified 200 Watt monsters sound crystal clear and get unbelievably loud. At their highest volume, they do start to distort, but this is because of some unique sound modifications.

These speakers employ what Klipsch calls “digital-hybrid-amplifier-driven” sound, which is just a really complicated way of saying heavy digital signal processing.

This combined with the unusually high crossover frequency for the speaker’s 3-inch long-throw subwoofer means that this speaker can sometimes sound almost too bassy.

Although the Promedia speakers already sport a solid 31Hz – 20 kHz frequency range, these speakers play like they exceed that, with incredibly deeps lows that are rich and booming.

That makes this speaker an easy pick for bassheads, but again, some may be off-put by it, as even at the lowest bass setting, the subwoofer is active.

Highs and mids are present, but obviously has the show stolen from them somewhat by the low-end. Each speaker has a tweeter and mid-range driver, but the tweeters seem to be a bit of a high point, whereas the mid-range sound falls a little flat.

The overall sound is rich, though, and makes for an incredible listening experience, especially when you just want to crank things up.

Price: $149.99

Buy the Klipsch ProMedia 2.1 here.


Pros:

  • Incredible volume
  • Sturdy and durable
  • Powerful low-end sound

Cons:

  • Touchy control knobs
  • Strange crossover frequency for the subwoofer
  • Distorts at highest frequency

Find more Klipsch ProMedia 2.1 information and reviews here.


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6. Bose Companion 5 Multimedia Speaker System

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(Amazon)

Bose is sometimes treated like a punching bag for other speaker companies because of their high price tags and elitist fanbase, but many of their speakers hold up to the praise they’ve earned from diehard Bose fans.

The Companion 5 speakers have been around for over a decade, and to this date, remain a top contender for the best desktop audio solution. They are fairly pricey at $400, but if you are looking for a well-rounded sound from your speakers, you won’t be disappointed.

Music through the Companion 5 sounds clear and accurate, with twinkling highs, present mids, and a pounding deep bass. But the sound signature of the Companion 5 speakers is not the most accurate, as it is ultimately geared toward multimedia use, ensuring that movies and videogames sound good as well.

This is achieved with an active EQ setting, which dynamically balances the sound’s frequencies to keep them in balance with the speakers’ natural output. Another perk of active EQ is that the speakers can get incredibly loud without any distortion.

The exception to this is if you turn the bass compensation knob past the default of 50%, which easily overpowers the midrange in music. Added bass compensation is nice for movies and gaming, but for purely listening to music, you will want to turn it down a notch.

To that point, the sub on this speaker is a powerhouse. It is absolutely massive to match, but its bulbous size is somewhat redeemed by the small footprint of the satellite speakers.

The satellite speakers sound vibrant and spacious. They offer virtual 5.1 surround sound that create a very authentic sound stage. They sit atop durable stands, which really helps in aiming and projecting the sound throughout your work space.

If any part of the sound will fall short for you, its the mids, but you will only notice something missing if you are listening for the most minute details. Otherwise, the Companion 5 has enough fun stuff going on with its sound that you won’t mind.

The speakers do require a USB connection to power its active EQ and TrueSpace engines, but they do include an awesome control pod that allows you to plug in headphones or an aux device, plus adjust volume and mute.

With respect to its shortcomings, the Companion 5 is a fantastic speaker set, as long as you aren’t trying to make the most of your money. If you are, then pass on Bose and consider some of the lesser known names on this list.

Price: $399.00

Buy the Bose Companion 5 Multimedia Speaker System here.


Pros:

  • Active EQ offers versatile listening
  • Virtual 5.1 surround sound
  • High max volume

Cons:

  • High price tag
  • Requires a USB connection for advanced features
  • Midrange can get muddled by bass

Find more Bose Companion 5 Multimedia Speaker System information and reviews here.


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7. Arion Legacy Deep Sonar 550

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(Amazon)

The Arion Legacy 550 from Deep Sonar is a stylish and powerful set of 2.1 computer speakers that delivers a fully loaded audio experience for under $100. Every element of this speaker from build quality, to sound, to control scheme is designed for a great user experience, and that’s exactly what you get with these speakers.

The Arion Legacy 550’s casings are made from wood that feels lighter than standard MDF, but doesn’t rattle or diminish the audio at all. The two satellites and subwoofer all have a nice metal grill with a stylish blue trim.

The only part that doesn’t feel high quality are the wires that connect the speakers, which are pretty flimsy. Thankfully, they are detachable and can be replaced. The sub houses two RCA inputs, and the package come with an HDMI audio adapter that connects to your TV to output audio from you Xbox One or PlayStation 4.

The Arion Legacy 550 comes with one of the nicest desktop control boxes that I have ever used. This control station has a power button, an input switch, EQ and volume knobs, a microphone jack, a USB port, and a headphone jack.

When it comes to audio, these speakers are surprisingly impressive. The 86 Watt unit has just enough power for a sufficient max volume, and the frequency response is even and clear.

The satellite speakers delicately divvy up the sound spectrum between its tweeters, and woofers. The subwoofer, however, can occasionally muddle the midrange if you don’t use the EQ knobs to tweak the crossover for the treble and bass.

At its best, the dual four in subwoofer cones round out the sound with a deep and punchy low end. But its easy for the sub to go over the top, which actually works fine if you are watching Netflix or doing a dungeon raid, but doesn’t lend too well to your favorite classic rock album.

Though they are less well known company, Deep Sonar offers some impressive computer audio equipment at a great value. The 550s may not be the nicest speakers out there, but they deliver a great experience for the price.

Upgrading to the massive Ario Legacy Deep Sonar 750 gets you a more precise and powerful output, but you likely won’t need to.

Price: $112.87 (6 percent off MSRP)

Buy the Arion Legacy Deep Sonar 550 here.


Pros:

  • Deep low end
  • Control panel offers EQ knobs, USB, and mic input
  • Dual inputs with an easy toggle switch

Cons:

  • Mids are somewhat drowned out
  • Included cables are fragile
  • LEDs can be overly bright

Find more Arion Legacy Deep Sonar 550 information and reviews here.


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8. Creative GigaWorks T40 Series II 2.0 Multimedia Speaker System

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(Amazon)

Creative has some nice 2.1 speaker options like the T4W Bluetooth speakers, but the Creative speaker set that really stands out is actually a 2.0 system.

Despite the fact that the GigaWorks T40 Series II does not have a subwoofer, these two tall satellite speakers deliver the full range of sound expected of high fidelity audio playback.

if you’re looking for the deepest low-end sound from your PC audio, then this will be an obvious setback. But if you prefer a nice sounding system that is a little more space conscious, the T40 speakers are a great pick.

In terms of appearance, they are kind of like a hybrid between computer speakers and bookshelf speakers. The three-driver configuration with woven fiberglass cones looks very classy from the front.

The plastic casing runs deep behind this front plate, which provides the speakers with much needed space for air displacement. Each speaker also has a bass port at the top, which further enhances the low end. Creative calls this BasXPort technology, though it is nothing new to speaker design.

As for how they actually sound, the T40 speakers are clear and accurate. While they obviously makes some sacrifices in the low end, these speakers have superior imaging capabilities, which is something that matters a lot when you are sitting only two to three feet from your audio source.

The mids and high-mids are a strong point to the sound, providing crystal clear detail to your favorite tracks. The highest frequencies can be a bit bright depending on what kind of music you listen to, but this is easily fixable with the EQ knobs on the right speaker.

The dome tweeters really bring out snares, cymbals, and other percussion hits, but the overall sound still has a nice sense of balance. Still, the low end performance of the T40 must be addressed.

Because of the physics of sound, the bass extension from these desktop speakers is never going to match that of a full-sized subwoofer. But the midrange cones do a decent job of recreating punchy low end. That is, until you get to higher volume levels.

When you push these speakers to their max volume, the bass becomes sloppy, though still plenty present. This means that you get more of that airy boomy sound, and less of the tight bass details that the discerning listener wants.

One more shortcoming is that the power saving system can be a hassle if you listen to music very quietly. If your audio is too quiet to hit the power threshold, your speakers might mistakenly turn off in the middle of a track.

Aside from this and a lack of bass, there really isn’t that much else to worry about with this setup. These tall desktop speakers are a fraction of the price of most bookshelf speakers, but these sound just as good. If a 2.0 system fits your sound and space needs, then the T40 speakers are a great option.

Jim from JimsReviewRoom shares his thoughts on the newest iteration of these speakers, the T50W, in the video below. Aside from some added (but not necessarily needed) wireless functionality, the two are basically the same.

Price: $149.99

Buy the Creative GigaWorks T40 Series II 2.0 Multimedia Speaker System here.


Pros:

  • Small footprint without a subwoofer
  • Clear and versatile midrange
  • Precise EQ and volume control

Cons:

  • Bass is sloppy at high volumes
  • Power saving feature can be annoying

Find more Creative GigaWorks T40 Series II 2.0 Multimedia Speaker System information and reviews here.


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9. Altec Lansing VS4621 Octane 7

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(Amazon)

At just under $70, the VS4621 Octane 7 is the most expensive in Altec Lansing’s line of desktop speakers, and that alone can be a bit scary. But despite their budget price, these Altec speakers offer a fairly decent sound in a compact package.

The first thing you’ll notice about the Octane 7 speakers is that they have a very peculiar form factor. Each satellite speaker has a tower of tweeters, with a conical base below. The right speaker has a volume knob (which doubles as power switch), plus treble and bass knobs for fine-tuning EQ.

But the reason that these speakers are so strangely shaped is that they each house a downward-firing midrange speaker, which acts as the sonic glue to the highs and lows of the audio. The mids and highs are neatly separated, with highs resting crisply on top of a warmer mid section.

The six and a half-inch subwoofer packs a serious punch, and will eat away at the detail in your midrange if you don’t turn it down a bit. For some recording, the subwoofer crossover felt excessive, eating away at the low-mids.

The speakers can get quite loud, but the subwoofer distorts if it is EQ’d up above 50% volume. Overall, clarity is what you might expect from the price.

You wouldn’t know it by looking at their strangely-designed products, but Altec Lansing has a lot of experience providing great home audio setups. The build quality on the Octane 7 is quite durable, so if you are happy with this modest 28 Watt package, it can last you quite a long time.

Price: $68.33

Buy the Altec Lansing VS4621 Octane 7 here.


Pros:

  • Downward-firing woofers provide a nice mid range
  • Good sound separation
  • Compact and durable

Cons:

  • distorts at higher volumes
  • Weird subwoofer crossover frequency

Find more Altec Lansing VS4621 Octane 7 information and reviews here.



10. Mackie CR3 Creative Reference Multimedia Monitors

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(Amazon)

If you’ve noticed a recurrent complaint towards most 2.1 sound systems, it’s that having a massive subwoofer beneath your desk doesn’t always make for the most balanced sound. In fact, the problem with low-quality PC speakers is not that they are lacking bass, but rather that they are drowning in it.

This is where monitor speakers come into play. Monitor speakers step away from that deep “theater sound” which takes away from that midrange frequency. The Mackie CR3s instead focus on delivering accurate and uncolored sound.

This pair of monitors has one powered speaker which houses RCA and 3.5mm inputs in the back, plus a power/volume knob and front aux and headphone jacks. The powered speaker can be set as the left or right speaker with the flip of a switch.

With consideration to their price, these speakers have an impressive level of detail. The sound gives a lens of clarity to intricacies like mic placement, and chord voicings, which is something you might not get from more generic speaker styles.

The three-inch subwoofers built into the speaker boxes deliver just the right amount of bass. The speakers even come with acoustic isolation pads, which absorb extra bass frequencies that would normally rumble through your desk.

This leaves the mids and highs to sit in balance. Vocals and lead instruments cut through the mix without taking up any of the upper sound space reserved for cymbal crashes and snares. The speakers also have solid sound staging, offering a wide look at where various instruments sit in the mix.

Though these speakers claim to be multimedia monitors and reference monitors, it simply doesn’t make sense to be both. The whole point of a monitor sound is to let the mix of your music shine through. This is a concept that doesn’t translate when you are watching a YouTube video or playing a Steam game.

But if music is your main passion, these speakers will suit your needs excellently. They are accurate, while still being fun to listen to. They would even suffice for a home studio-type setup. All these factors combined make the CR3s a winner.

Price: $79.99 (19 percent off MSRP)

Buy the Mackie CR3 Creative Reference Multimedia Monitors here.


Pros:

  • Clear and accurate studio sound
  • Acoustic isolation pads minimize desk rumble
  • Solid sound stage

Cons:

  • Movies and games will sound flat
  • No input to add a sub if desired

Find more Mackie CR3 Creative Reference Multimedia Monitors information and reviews here.


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11. Logitech Z906 Surround Sound Speakers

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(Amazon)

Logitech’s Z906 surround sound speakers are a bit of a hybrid between living room home theater speakers and standard desktop speakers.

The whole 5.1 setup has a left, right, and center channel, plus two rear L R channels, for an immersive 360 degree sound. You will likely to have to mount the two rear speakers elsewhere in the room with their included keyhole mounts to get the effect, but it is well worth the setup.

In terms of form factor, the speakers all have a reasonable footprint on your desk, although you may have trouble placing the center speaker and control panel, since they just slightly taller than most monitor stands, and won’t fit easily under your monitor.

As for build quality, the Z906 feels durable and weighty, but the plastic casing sadly pales in comparison to the metal design of its now discontinued predecessor, the Z-5500. Yes, this is a recurring theme with Logitech gear.

This speaker’s control console allows you to toggle between different sources, different speaker configurations, and control the volume. You also get a simple remote to make these adjustments from around the room.

Thankfully, Logitech does not cut corners in the sound department, as this system’s THX-certified sound is surprisingly powerful in any application.

It sounds full and powerful when playing audio from a movie’s action sequence, yet has the refinement to reveal nuances in soft music.

Whatever you use them for, the Z906’s versatile satellite and center channel speakers offer a clear high-end and nice, rich midrange.

The speakers are capable of reading Dolby Digital and DTS encoded audio, and can otherwise create simulated 3D sound in its place.

If you use your computer to watch movies or play videogames, you will be blown away by the sound staging of full surround sound.

The eight-inch subwoofer provides deep low-end, and also houses six different audio inputs. The bass is punchy, and with 500 Watts of power behind it, is one of the most powerful subs on the list. It can shake smaller rooms without issue.

You won’t always benefit from having the center and rear speakers since not all audio is formatted for surround sound, but if you are an avid consumer of media, you will find a way to justify these amazing 5.1 speakers.

Price: $308.21

Buy the Logitech Z906 here.


Pros:

  • Rich surround sound audio
  • Deep and balanced 500 Watt sub
  • Helpful control console

Cons:

  • High price tag
  • So-so build quality
  • Extra speakers require extra cable management

Find more Logitech Z906 information and reviews here.


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12. AmazonBasics A100 USB Powered Computer Speakers

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(Amazon)

When you’ve gotten to AmazonBasics audio equipment, you know you’re scraping the bottom of the barrel. But even if that’s all you have budgeted for sound, it’s still the most significant departure from integrated audio you’ll get for under $20.

These compact plastic speakers are USB powered, which means they can be packed alongside your laptop for portable listening without tying yourself down to the nearest power outlet.

The left speaker has a volume knob that doubles as a power switch, and you’ll be pleased with how loud these speakers can get.

Their max volume level easily outdoes that of laptop speakers, but it still isn’t enough to provide a music bed for more than a handful of people.

As for how they sound, the A100s are one of the most pleasant sounding of the small speaker sets out there. Due to their small size, they won’t have a notable dynamic range, nor will they have anything resembling a sound stage.

What they do have, however, is as much clarity as you could ask for, and a sound that doesn’t get fuzzier as you increase the volume. For the price, they’re good enough for me.

If you are wanting to enjoy some detail in your music without spending a lot, you are almost better off going with a pair of headphones, but these basic desktop speakers provide a more comfortable option for when you are working at your computer.

Price: $13.99

Buy the AmazonBasics A100 USB Powered Computer Speakers here.


Pros:

  • USB powered for laptop portability
  • Decent sound and max volume
  • Compact and durable

Cons:

  • Lacking in clarity
  • Weak stereo panning

Find more AmazonBasics A100 USB Powered Computer Speakers information and reviews here.


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13. Genius SW-G2.1 2000

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(Amazon)

As you might be able to tell from the glowing blue scorpion on the subwoofer, Genius is a company that makes gaming gear. But is this angular, LED-laden speaker design a winner for the casual user? Absolutely.

The speakers themselves are made from a nice MDF material, and have a pretty manageable footprint on your desktop.

These speakers have their own control console, which offers your easy access to volume, bass EQ, output toggling, standby mode, a mic input, a headphone jack, and an aux input. The box is a little chunky and requires its own power source, but it is still appreciated.

The satellite speakers are a lot smaller, and free of controls themselves. They do have keyhole mounts in the back, which allows you to mount them to a wall for even more space on your desk.

They deliver the mid and high frequency sounds, and do a fine job at it. The mids are detailed and present, but the highs can feel a little subdued by the other frequencies, particularly the sub.

The six and a half-inch subwoofer pounds out basslines without issue, delivering clear and rich audio. The sub can be independently tweaked from the control console, which is much needed as gaming-oriented devices tend to overdo the low-end.

To that effect, these speakers are fantastic for gaming and movies, as the big low end really drives immersion. For regular music-listening, though, you will want to tweak the sound just a bit.

The max volume is just a little lower than other speakers in this price range, but you are more likely to want clarity instead, unless you plan on throwing a house party soon. And if you are, why wasn’t I invited?

Price: $69.99

Buy the Genius SW-G2.1 2000 here.


Pros:

  • Deep and rich bass
  • Compact and durable
  • Convenient (but chunky) control console

Cons:

  • Highs are somewhat muffled
  • Speaker membranes are unprotected
  • Slightly lower max volume

Find more Genius SW-G2.1 2000 information and reviews here.


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14. GOgroove BassPULSE Computer Speaker System

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(Amazon)

Though these speakers come from a company that isn’t well-established in the audio world, the BassPULSE speakers from GOgroove deliver some surprisingly good audio.

The main appeal of these speakers, however, is their colored accent LEDs. They are available in red, green, or blue. The accents zig and zag along the subwoofer and two satellite speakers, and can be toggled on or off with the press of an easily accessible button.

Cooler yet, if you use the bass EQ controller beneath the volume knob to push the bass past 80%, the LEDs pulse with to the beat of your music. This is implemented in a somewhat gimmicky way though, as the lights don’t really vary as hard as you might expect.

Otherwise, the 3.5 mm jack and headphones are easy to reach, and the footprint of the speakers is quite small. The speakers are made of an acrylic plastic of so-so quality, but the speakers do make up for it in sound.

Given the price of these speakers, they aren’t likely to blow you away with their quality. However, they do a fine job for a basic set of speakers.

The side-firing bass has a lot of presence, especially when turned up with the bass EQ. However, when you do crank the bass up, it starts to get a little more boomy. Additionally, the mids start to sound a little more boxed in by the lows and highs.

The high-end sounds flow crisply from the two satellite speakers, and are accurate and clear. They do start to get a little more harsh as you reach towards the fairly low max volume, but all things considered, they deliver a great sound quality for the price.

If you are looking for a quality pair of budget speakers with some LED flair, the GOgroove BassPULSE is a great choice.

Price: $49.99

Buy the GOgroove BassPULSE Computer Speaker System here.


Pros:

  • Stylish LED accents pulse with bass
  • Clear and balanced sound
  • Low price tag

Cons:

  • Bass EQ can drown out mids
  • Made with low quality plastic
  • Low max volume

Find more GOgroove BassPULSE Computer Speaker System information and reviews here.


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15. Cyber Acoustics CA-3602FFP

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(Amazon)

For those wanting a full 2.1 setup at a budget price, the CA-3602FFP from Cyber Acoustics is a serviceable option. Cyber Acoustics has made a number of budget 2.1 systems, but the 3602 seems to represent the best bang for your buck out of their selection.

The satellite speakers are small and compact, and have a decent little control console with a headphone jack, aux port, plus volume and power controls. Their casing is so-so quality, but not enough to feel fragile or weak.

The speakers have a decent level of clarity, though have a rather unbalanced sound. The highs and high-mids are my favorite part of the sound, as they are spacious and clear.

This gives the mids plenty of room to flourish, but these speakers suffer from a weird crossover frequency that puts too much emphasis on the subwoofer. At five and a quarter inches, this subwoofer cone can struggle to keep up with all of the low-end sounds it is expected to drive.

This means that the bass, though loud and present, is a little muddy on recordings with lots of low-mids. This is less of an issue when you are listening to movie or game audio, but will be a pest to those who want to enjoy crystal clear music.

For a 30 Watt system, they can get pretty loud without suffering distortion, but a high ceiling or large room will eat up this volume quite a bit.

There isn’t much more to say about these straight to business speakers. If this is about as much as you are willing to spend, you aren’t likely to find something better sounding than the 3602.

Price: $39.99

Buy the Cyber Acoustics CA-3602FFP here.


Pros:

  • Low price tag
  • Clear and spacious highs
  • High max volume

Cons:

  • Subwoofer low-mids sound muddy
  • So-so build quality

Find more Cyber Acoustics CA-3602FFP information and reviews here.


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Heavy, Inc. is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by linking to Amazon. Our product recommendations are guided solely by our editors. We have no relationship with manufacturers.

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