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How To Choose the Right Speaker System for Computer?

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Choosing speakers for a personal computer is a very difficult task for the user. First, due to the presence of a huge number of models in a particular price range: they can differ, sometimes significantly, in their external design, but at the same time have the same technical characteristics, dozens of brands, and sometimes completely opposite reviews from real users or from reviews of various publications.

Let’s figure out together what the user needs, what functions he may never use, what characteristics to look at and which ones to ignore. Perhaps this will help you choose the speakers for your PC yourself.

A simple path involves choosing from your favorite brands for a specific budget, but we will go the hard way – we will sift out what we don’t need from a huge selection and choose what we really need from the remaining models.

Primary criteria when choosing acoustics

Let’s decide right away – we will choose a universal option for a home computer: listen to music and watch movies, play games, and chat. The choice of specialized acoustics, for example, gaming or for recording and mixing music, as well as powerful systems for discos or home theaters, are the topics of separate voluminous articles.

First, we will weed out the simplest solutions, the so-called office options, and USB speakers for laptops. The first option is needed so that the sound is just there, the maximum is for chatting; the second is to make the sound a little louder than the laptop’s built-in speaker can give. They are clearly not suitable as all speakers for all occasions.

We also filter out audiophile options – it’s expensive, not everyone needs it, and not every ear will notice the nuances of the sound. Let’s leave them for the aesthete fans.

Set format

As a rule, a set of speakers consists of several pieces, it is indicated by two numbers: the first indicates the number of satellites, and the second indicates the presence of a subwoofer.

Since we are talking about PC speakers, the 7.1, 5.1, or 4.1 format is not suitable for us – it is difficult to place them around the workplace, and the room is limited. Such multi-channel acoustics will be required to equip a home theater or a specialized gaming place.

In our case, the choice will be for a set of 2.0 or 2.1 – these are the most suitable and versatile options for a home PC.

A set with a separate subwoofer saves space on the desktop: as a rule, the satellites are small, and the subwoofer can be placed under the table on the floor.

Power and volume

Often, users put an equal sign between the power value and the maximum volume of the speakers. But this is not entirely true. The power parameter tells us only about the mechanical reliability of the acoustics – how much the dynamic head can withstand when a signal of the specified power is applied. This speaks volumes only indirectly.

For it (loudness), the characteristics of the amplifier installed in active speakers are more important.

Also, power is measured according to different standards:

  • RMS (Root Mean Squared) – measured by applying a 1000 Hz signal to certain harmonic distortions, for example, 1% at best, at worst – up to 10%; with such distortions, it will be simply impossible to listen to the speakers at high volume due to unnecessary wheezing and overtones.
  • Because of this, 20W speakers can sound louder and clearer than 30W speakers, which you simply can’t listen to at more than 70% of maximum volume, while still sounding quieter and more expensive.
  • PMPO (Peak Music Power Output) – the so-called “Chinese power”s is the peak power that the speakers can withstand with a short-term load of 100-250 Hz without taking into account non-linear distortions. Such acoustics may indicate a power of several thousand watts, which has nothing to do with volume or sound quality.

Speakers and their number

One of the best options would be two-way systems – with two speakers: a tweeter and a midrange. If we add to them a separate subwoofer or a phase inverter circuit directly in the 2.0 speakers, then we will get an almost perfect picture in terms of frequency characteristics. 

But that doesn’t mean single-speaker speakers shouldn’t be considered. Good quality drivers can successfully reproduce a wide frequency range.

Three-way speakers produce good sound by covering the largest range of reproducible frequencies. But such a system requires a large volume of the case, which under normal conditions is simply inconvenient to install on a computer desk.

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