Although more and more PC users these days opt for headphones, a good set of speakers for a desktop PC can really set you up for an immersive experience without the headgear.
So, let’s look at some different speaker options in this ‘top 5 speakers for a desktop PC’ guide!
How Do We Choose Speakers?
We’re going for a mix of well-priced and high-performance options, yet with picking just 5 it’s important to remember that this isn’t remotely an exhaustive list. We are hoping that even if you don’t go for one of these particular five speakers, you’ll at least know a little more about what to look for when buying your own!
Quick Science: Frequency Response and Fiddling with Numbers
So, when you look into professional speakers, a manufacturer who banks on their quality should give you some frequency response data so you know how the speaker can be expected to perform from a technical standpoint. For a very rough rule of thumb, the closer the frequency response curve looks to being smooth, the more accurate the speaker should perform at different frequencies.
To give a bit of quick context, here’s a handy example of multiple speaker responses with what happens to your sound if it’s not a smooth curve.
Now, what you need to notice is that the folks releasing the data can fiddle with the appearance of the curve a little bit depending on the ‘weighting’ that is used. I won’t go into why these things exist, as it involves a fair amount of math; all you need to know is what weighting has been applied, as this changes what a “perfect” frequency curve could look like:
Depending on which weighting is used (usually A, B, or C), you’ll see different scale readings listed (like dBA for A-weighted measurements, for example). For a quick rule of thumb, A-weighting is often used as the curve that best represents the natural hearing of the human ear, with C-weighting used for identifying peak noise levels.
So, with the (very) quick science lesson out of the way, let’s go through our top 5 speaker choices for a desktop PC!
Logical Increments Top 5 PC Speakers List
1) Logitech S150 USB Speakers ($30)
This our obligatory ‘budget pick,’ as a token set of conventional little computer-style speakers for the list. Generally speaking, only the absolute least sound-quality-sensitive users should go below the $30 price point of these speakers in seeking audio monitors. Even this set of USB-powered units will be noticeably weaker and rougher than the options below. Although they’re nothing fancy, these will do a good enough job for users who just want to be able to hear the occasional YouTube video or streamed show without headphones.
2) KEiiD PC Computer Speakers ($130)
You could think of this set as the big brother to our budget option above. This speaker set from KEiiD is still small enough to fit comfortably on most desks, and is still explicitly being marketed as as set of speakers for a computer. But with the bump up in price comes a definite bump in quality, from I/O options to available amplification to pure sound fidelity. Although not incredibly powerful in bass ranges, these will work well as a nice all-around set of speakers, and they even have some minimal built-in EQ control for music, movies and games. This set represents a reasonable middleground choice between underwhelming ‘PC speakers’ like the set above and ‘audiophile’ choices like the sets below.
To jump up into the start of the really solid, high-sound-accuracy setups, we’ve selected this popular 2.1 set from Edifier. One of the best parts of the design here is the inclusion of titanium dome tweeters, which allows for very efficient speakers (due to the rigid and lightweight material). To aid the small treble speakers, Edifier has opted for a dedicated subwoofer to provide reliable bass to match that reliable treble speaker performance.
With this set of wireless speakers from Klipsch, the sound quality will be crystal clear. The impressive wireless design is fast enough for there to be no noticeable latency when transmitting audio to each of the speakers—which should be expected, as we’re starting to get into the high-end price range. What’s more, if you want to, you can link this into other Klipsch speaker options for a multi-room or surround-system solution.
5) Focal Aria 906 Bookshelf Speakers ($1500)
Although this doesn’t even come close to the upper limits of speaker design as a whole, this is just about the best pair of bookshelf speakers you can get without going into super-bonkers pricing. Focal have given a lot of careful attention to the materials used in this design, which results in a very balanced sound for just about any size of room in a typical house. Not bad for a pair of speakers which are appropriate for accompanying a monitor on a desktop since they’re still only 40cm tall! So, they’re expensive, but you’re getting what you pay for here: a great set of speakers with little in the way of any compromises in performance. (Not that you would expect any less at this price!)
So, Uh, Those Are Not the Most Expensive?
Nope, not even close. Well, in fairness, there’s not a whole lot past the above speakers in a bookshelf style that work for a conventional PC desktop arrangement (though there are some; looking at you, Dynaudio, with your $3000 bookshelf speakers). After this point, you mostly get into larger and more elaborately designed speakers which will give more volume and depth of sound… and eventually, also mildly erotic-sounding names (like the Hart Audio D&W Aural Pleasure for a cool $5 million).
We are hoping that this ‘Top 5 speakers for a desktop PC’ guide can give you a little insight into what’s available on the market. Especially if you’re looking for a set of speakers to complement your PC setup!
Yet, do you agree with our picks at the different prices here? Is there a particular set somewhere in between that you think is being overlooked? Let us know in the comments below!