A quality computer speaker system is required to enhance the listening pleasure of those who use their computer for music, movies, or gaming. Fortunately there are many excellent computer speakers to choose from depending upon personal needs and budget. After scouring reviews at PCMag, Cnet, CrunchGear and Amazon, the following are our picks for the best computer speakers. And the best part is that each system comes in at under $200.00.
Logitech Z623 Computer Speakers
Logitech has a long-standing reputation for making mid-range, quality computer speakers at an affordable price. The Logitech Z623 computer speaker system was one of PCMag’s Best of the Year products for 2010. It features a sleek, efficient design ideal for desktop listening. THX-certified, the 2.1 system offers 200 total watts of power with a 130 watt subwoofer and 2 35W satellite speakers as well as convenient inputs for multiple devices including computers, iPods, DVD players, and gaming consoles.
Pros: Sound quality is commended by reviewers at PCMag, CrunchGear, and Amazon. Clarity and power are unrivaled at this price range. Subwoofer presents a powerful bass that can be easily adjusted by the on-speaker nob. No buzzing at high volume. RCA and 3.5 mm inputs provide simple transfer between devices. THX certified.
Cons: There is no remote control, which may not be an issue if it’s being used in a desktop computer setting. Subwoofer is on the large side at 11.9 by 11.1 by 10.4 inches, so space would be a consideration. The cables aren’t removable, which means they can’t be switched out and one reviewer commented they could be a little longer. THX certified does not mean you’re going to get movie theater surround sound quality.
The LogitechZ632 computer speaker system retails for $149.99, but is currently on sale at Amazon for $136.99
Harman Kardon Soundsticks III Computer Speakers
The Harman Kardon Soundsticks III may look futuristic, but actually have now become a classic, praised design in the multimedia speaker arena. They also hold a permanent exhibit at New York City’s Museum of Modern Art. The third generation system was redesigned for 2010. Features on this 2.1 sound system include 8 full-range transducers powered by a 10-watt amplifier in each speaker and 1 low-frequency, down-firing subwoofer powered by a 20-watt amplifier for bass. The system connects to 3.5 mm stereo devices such as computers and Mp3s.
Pros: The Harman Kardon Soundsticks received editor’s choice on both PCMag and Cnet for excellent sound performance and unique, aesthetic design. The frequency response range of 44Hz to 20KHz offers crisp definition for all forums: music, movies, and gaming. Power switch built in to the volume control on the subwoofer makes for energy efficiency. Satellite speakers can be angled to personal preference. You can own a piece of art and pop culture.
Cons: Missing from this system is a remote control and a headphone jack. Cables cannot be replaced. The volume control does not feature a visual display of volume level.
Klipsch ProMedia 2.1 Wireless Computer Speakers
The Klipsch ProMedia delivers exemplary, award-winning sound quality with the uber-convenience of a wireless computer speaker system. The USB wireless transmitter can stream audio from your computer to the speaker system from up to 30 feet away. Features a 2.4 GHz wireless signal and a total wattage of 120 watts between the 2 satellite speakers and subwoofer.
Pros: No pesky wires to clutter up the space. According to the review by PCMag, this system “packs so much power you’ll rarely raise the volume beyond half-way”. Perfect sound quality for music, movies, and games. Using Apple’s Remote Application, iPhone customers can wirelessly access iTunes on their computer. Black cloth grilles are removable. It’s also THX certified.
Cons: No remote control. Power switch is inconveniently located on the subwoofer. Not 100% wireless- satellite speakers are connected via wire to the subwoofer, which cannot be switched out. The wireless signal can sometimes be interrupted.
Cyber Acoustics CA-3602 Computer Speakers
This 2.1, 3-piece speaker system from Cyber Acoustics is our budget pick for a computer speaker set-up. There aren’t many tech reviews on this model, but the user reviews are outstanding with 109 5 star reviews on Amazon and 168 5 star reviews on Wize. Cyber Acoustics has been putting out quality, affordable audio equipment since the 80s. This system includes 2 satellite speakers, a subwoofer, a separate desktop control pod for volume, power, and bass, and a cradle for your Mp3.
Pros: The price: with an MSRP of $54.99, the CA-3602 may not be the cheapest computer speaker, but it will deliver a more powerful sound than other discount speaker systems. The low-end bass sound has been rated as excellent. The desktop control is convenient and features an LED light when turned on and also contains a headphone jack. A good choice as a basic computer speaker.
Cons: Many users commented on the bass being too much, which lends to a lack of a decent mid-range sound. May not be the best choice for music listening. Speakers aren’t protected by a covering.
The Cyber Acoustics CA-3602 is currently on sale on Amazon for $37.23.
JBL Duet III Computer Speakers
Tight on space? The JBL Duet III computer speakers are perfect for a small desktop setting or for your laptop. They are simple to set up and offer versatility with an AC adapter and a 3.5mm jack to plug into a Mac, Mp3, PC, or CD player. The 2 satellite speakers put out 10 watts each of power. There’s no subwoofer here, but the Duet IIIs are slightly larger than the predecessor, the Duet II, and therefore provide a bit more bass, though still not as powerful as a 2.1 system.
Pros: The design is both aesthetically pleasing and convenient for work space. Both Cnet and PCMag recommend these computer speakers for decent sound quality at modest volume levels. These would be good in a work environment. Speakers connect to each other with a standard RCA plug. The price is reasonable at the Amazon sale price of around $100.00.
Cons: Not for bass lovers or those who are looking for loads of power. There isn’t an auxiliary input to plug in a second device as most of the other computer speakers offer. The price on JBL’s website is a bit hefty at $149.95.
The JBL Duet III computer speakers are currently on sale at Amazon for $107.98.
Audioengine 2 Multi-Media Computer Speakers
Audioengine has successfully married compact size with superior sound and convenient features for a high quality computer speaker. Perfect for those who want a comparable subwoofer sound without the subwoofer, features on the Audioengine 2 include 2 audio inputs for both RCA and mini-jack, AC adapter, 15 watts of power per speaker with the left speaker housing power amps, Kevlar woofers and silk tweeters, and an auto-sleep power saving mode.
Pros: Compact design fits well for a computer set-up. Superior sound clarity as reviewed by Cnet, PCMag and Amazon customers who have given these computer speakers an average 4.5 star rating. Music and movies can be played at high volumes with no buzzing or distortion. Speakers are housed in hand-built wood cabinets to help amplify the bass. Versatile to use with computers, Mp3s, dvd and cd players, game consoles, and some televisions.
Cons: The price is $199.00, which some may find pricey for a 2 speaker system. The volume control is inconveniently located on the back of the speaker and doesn’t come with a remote control. PCMag thought the bass was slightly lacking compared with a subwoofer system.
The Audioengine 2 computer speakers are on sale at Amazon for $199.00.
M-Audio Studiophile AV 40 Powered Computer Speakers
Size does matter in the case of the M-Audio Studiophile AV 40 computer speakers. Six inches wide and a depth of 7.25, the M-Audios are larger than other computer speakers and pack a powerful punch with 20 watts per speaker, 4-inch polypropylene-coated woofers and 3/4-inch tweeters. Other features include RCA inputs on both speakers, a 3.5 mm jack, a headphone jack, and an integrated bass boost switch.
Pros: Excellent sound quality and ample low end bass levels for those who listen to music or watch movies on their computer. The editor’s review at Cnet says “they sounded bigger, delivered more bass, and played louder than the other PC speakers we had on hand”. Contain nice features like the bass boost and multiple inputs for versatility.
Cons: Though there’s no subwoofer to make room for, these speakers will still take up considerable space on your desktop. They also weigh 14 pounds each so if you’re looking for portability, say in conjunction with a laptop or switching between devices, then these are not the ones.
The M-Audio Studiophile AV 40 computer speakers are currently on sale at Amazon for $149.00.