Whatever you’re doing on your computer can be enhanced by better sound. An often-overlooked element of any PC setup, good speakers elevate music and movies, add immersion to games, and bring clarity to calls. Only with the best PC speakers (or the best headphones) can you hear every instrument or pinpoint the exact location of that gunfire.
After extensive testing over several weeks, we put a handful of popular options through their paces, and we’re convinced the Audioengine A2+ (available at Amazon) are the best PC speakers for most people thanks to their simple setup, great connectivity, and excellent sound. We've also highlighted some alternatives from top to bottom so you can find the perfect sonic companion for your PC.
These are the best computer speakers we've tested, ranked in order:
- Audioengine A2+
- Logitech G560 Lightsync
- Edifier R1280DB
- Harman Kardon Aura Studio 3
- Logitech Z906
- Logitech Z407
- Creative Stage V2
- Creative SBS E2900
They may be small, but the Audioengine A2+ speakers feel reassuringly solid and well-made. The elegant design and matte satin black finish blend in easily on any desktop, or you can opt to stand out with a glossy red or white exterior. The left speaker has a volume dial that also clicks on the power and there’s a pairing button for Bluetooth connections, but no remote is included. There’s no separate subwoofer, either, though there is an output should you want to add one. The cabling is good quality and generous enough to allow for a sit-stand desk.
We were instantly blown away by the power and punch of these speakers. Tested second to last, the jump in class was immediately obvious. Strong stereo separation makes for good positional sound in games. Voices come through loud and clear, whether it’s in-game chat, a movie, or a video call. But it’s with music that the Audioengine A2+ shows their quality and superiority.
There’s a real depth and accuracy to the sound with a rich clarity from low mids through to the higher registers. They may lack a little extra depth in the bass, but they produce a finely balanced and impactful sound, and you always have the option of adding a subwoofer. There’s also no digital signal processing (DSP) here, which can dampen things and is present on most of the other speakers on our list.
Connectivity is versatile with USB, dual analog inputs, and support for Bluetooth 5.0. It’s quick and easy to connect wirelessly and support for aptX and AAC codecs (a rarity in PC speakers) ensures high-quality audio when streaming.
There are no superfluous extras; the Audioengine A2+ focus on delivering excellent sound in a compact, unfussy package that’s perfectly sized for the desktop. The only obvious omission is a remote control, but that won’t trouble most people. One issue we did encounter was a major jump in volume when switching between sources, so that’s something to watch out for.
Ultimately, the Audioengine A2+ are the best compact PC speakers we’ve tested and produce the highest quality sound regardless of the source. What else could you ask for?
This attractively-priced 2.1 speaker system comprises a pair of capsule-shaped satellite speakers and a subwoofer. The speakers are plastic, but they look quite good and can be propped vertically or horizontally on your desk, so they should fit most spaces easily. The boxy subwoofer will likely sit on the floor, but sadly the cabling is too short to comfortably use with a sit-stand desk.
There are no physical controls on the speakers, but there’s an unusual dial remote instead. It’s like a big wireless volume knob that you can also tap to play or pause, and skip forward or back through tracks. It takes two supplied AAA batteries and some time to get used to.
While the subwoofer provides a good thump of bass it stops short of that deep rumble in your gut. The mids are reasonably rich and the treble is crisp, though there’s a lack of definition at times. The audio quality of any content suffers at higher volumes with some distortion creeping in, but considering the price, the Z407 produce an impressively well-balanced sound. There’s no virtual surround sound mode which limits positional sense in gaming, and you don’t get that visceral bass from explosions that take immersion to the next level.
Connectivity is decent with a Micro USB port, a 3.5mm aux port, and support for Bluetooth 4.1. You tap a button under the remote to connect to Bluetooth and it’s easy to pair a phone or a laptop. You will want to opt for a wired connection if you can because there’s limited codec support which means limited bitrate and consequently limited sound quality when streaming. The SBC codec is comparable to CD quality.
For all their weaknesses, the Logitech Z407 offer astoundingly good value for the money and pack in all the features you’re likely to want in a basic set of PC speakers. If you’re using a monitor speaker or an old set of mini speakers, this system is a significant upgrade in terms of sound quality and volume. If you want better computer speakers, you’ll have to save up because we can’t find any at this price.
How We Tested
Hey, I’m Simon Hill, a freelance technology journalist with more than a decade of writing experience covering consumer technology. I spend hours every day at my PC for work and play. I prefer not to wear headphones all the time, so a great set of PC speakers is important to me. I have frequent meetings, listen to music, watch TV shows and movies, and spend long hours gaming, so I need speakers that can graciously handle a variety of tasks.
All of the PC speakers in our guide have been through an in-depth set of tests. Our ranking system incorporates things like the ease of setup, the design and cabling, the connectivity options, the ease of pairing (where relevant), and the on-speaker and remote controls. Most importantly all the computer speakers are thoroughly tested for sound quality using a varied playlist of music, movies, and TV shows. We play a variety of games paying special attention to positional sound, dialogue clarity, and special effects. We also test the speakers out with both in-game chat and audio or video calls.
Beyond core functionality and audio quality, we delve into any special features on offer. We also consider aesthetics, build quality and design, and price relative to performance. Every set of computer speakers is extensively scored using a weighted rubric, so we can arrive at our final ranking.
What to Know About Computer Speakers
There’s nothing to separate PC speakers from most regular powered speakers, but there are a few important things to consider before you buy.
You’ll, of course, always want to shoot for the best sound quality that your budget affords, though that can be tricky to work out. Consider what you’ll primarily be using the speakers for and make sure they offer the balance of deep bass, rich treble, and clear vocals you crave. Location is important, too, as a booming subwoofer or very loud maximum volume might not be a good idea in a small apartment or shared space.
Design and Cables
The size and design of your chosen PC speakers are important if you want to ensure they fit in with your setup. Some speakers are simply too large for the average computer desk. If you go with a subwoofer or surround sound system, think about the practicalities of cabling.
Most PC speakers plug directly into the back of your computer, but there are many different connection types, and some speakers support wireless connectivity, too. Check what your soundcard supports before you buy. The combination of a wired connection for your computer and a Bluetooth connection for your phone or laptop can be very handy.
Audiophiles can spend as much as they like in the pursuit of better sound, but we figure most people will have a limited budget for computer speakers. The speakers we test generally range from under $100 to around $300, with most falling on the lower end of that range
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