A Review of the Best Gaming Speakers & Budget Computer Speakers

Best Gaming Speakers

Without good sound, even the latest best games with the greatest graphics powered by the best graphics card money can buy falls a little flat. Yes, games need good graphics and a fast processor to keep that all important frame rate high and the game playing smoothly. BUT, sound is what makes the game immersive. That is why you need the best gaming speakers money can buy to make your gaming experience the best it can be.

Game designers and creators know this. That is why they spend thousands of dollars getting the sound in the game just right. The effects and music add atmosphere to the game. They polish and round off the effects of the game play and the visuals. Sound adds emotion, creates tension and excitement and makes the triumph of victory much, much more satisfactory.

None of this time and effort by the game creators matters if you do not have the best computer speakers as part of your setup. Your game will sound weak and your gaming experience will be unsatisfactory. You need the best PC speakers you can find to fix this problem and make your gaming experience all it is meant to be.

Gaming speakers come in many shapes, sizes and prices. We know you are looking for good computer speakers to improve your PC setup and so in this review we look at 2.1 speakers, 5.1 speakers, sound bar speakers, Bluetooth speakers.

01.

Bose Companion 2 Series III Multimedia Speakers

best overall ratingBose Companion 2 Series III

The Bose Companion 2 Series III Multimedia Speakers is a pair of desktop speakers that produce noise that feels like it comes from a surround sound system. The speakers connect to any source with a standard mini jack plug (so they will connect to your phone, tablet CD player, MP3 player, or even your TV if it has a standard headphone jack). If you have two sources connected to the speakers they will play both at the same time.

Compact and sleek, these speakers often feature in the top selection for computer speaker reviews. They are stylish and attractive and fit on a desktop without cluttering it up. The cable between the speakers is 6 ft long, allowing you to place them far apart for better stereo effect. The right hand side speaker has a large volume control knob with an indent to help you gauge the volume setting even in low light. We suggest you leave the volume set to maximum and adjust volume using the volume control on your PC. The right hand side one also has a headphone jack on it, allowing you to connect a headphone set to it instead of trying to get it plugged into your computer.

The Bose Companion 2 Series III Multimedia Speakers are easy to set up. Simply plug in the supplied AC adapter, use the supplied cable to connect to the line out (or headphone) jack of your source, arrange the speakers attractively on your desk and you are ready to go.

Bose made its name with proprietary circuitry that manipulates noise from a stereo source and makes it appear like you are using a full 5.1 surround sound system. This little desk speaker system makes full use of this technology and produces an astonishingly clear and wide soundstage. This means that they are not only in the running for best gaming speakers but also best music speakers and best cheap PC speakers!

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02.

Logitech Z906 5.1 Surround Sound Speaker System

premium choice ratingLogitech Z906 5.1

Logitech Z906 5.1 is for serious gamers that want the full immersive experience. It outputs a massive power. This means that you could use it for your console game play as well as your PC. This is the top of the line Logitech 5.1 range and definitely qualifies for the best 5.1 computer speakers’ category – and the best budget home theatre speakers on the market in 2017.

You get 6 speakers, a sub-woofer, a control centre and a remote control. They are all solid, heavy and well-built so can handle the volume that you can push through them. Like all 5.1 systems, setting up the Logitech Z906 5.1 takes a little time and planning. You need to lead wires from the control unit to the location of the speakers in the back corners of the room. It is always wise to take your time and lay these wires securely so that no one trips over them and hurts themselves or damages your system. The front and rear speakers are best placed at around 3 - 4 ft off the ground (about ear height when sitting). The sub-woofer should be front and centre – middle of your desk (or your TV if you are using it as a home theatre set) and at least 6” from the wall.

To get connected you plug devices into the appropriate connectors at the back of the module. There are 3.5mm jacks, RCA, six channel direct, digital coaxial and optical inputs which allow you to connect up to 6 devices simultaneously.

The control console allows you to set the volume individually for the front speakers, centre speaker, rear speaker and subwoofer. This helps you to define the soundstage for your room and get the sound just right for your sitting position. The console also makes it easy to switch between up to 6 connected devices at the touch of a button on the remote control. Go from gaming on your console to watching TV to chilling with Netflix all on the same sound system. The console also allows you to switch between 5.1 (3D) sound, 4.1 and 2.1 settings. The 2.1 setting is useful when your music just does not sound right on surround sound and you’d prefer a standard stereo output.

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03.

Cyber Acoustics 2.1 Computer Speaker with Subwoofer

great value ratingCA 2.1 Computer Speakers

This 2.1 system is designed to give great audio in a small space at an incredibly low price. This system cannot compete with a 5.1 system or be used to replace a home theatre system – but it will deliver bass rumbling, (small) room filling sound for gaming in your man cave, listening to your tunes whilst working or watching movies on your PC.

The system produces a peak output of 62 with 30 being standard and the sub-woofer booms in its acoustically designed wooden cabinet with enough bass to keep anyone happy.

The small, circular desktop control pod allows you to connect a headphone to the system (instead of scrabbling around for the jack on the computer). It also provides separate volume controls for the satellite speakers and the sub-woofer (so you can get the bass to speaker ratio just right). On top of that it acts as an on-off switch for the system, displays an LED so you can see system status and allows you to connect a second sound source to the system using a 3.5mm jack.

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04.

Razer Ferox Mobile PC Gaming Speakers

Razer Ferox Mobile

Razer is one of the best and biggest names in gaming and gaming laptops. They know that even their magnificent gaming machines can use a sound boost when gaming on the go. These speakers may be small but they deliver enough sound to keep a mobile gamer happy.

The built in 470 mAh battery is rated to give you sound for up to 8 hours and is easily recharged using the supplied USB cable. They produce very low output, but then you can’t toss any of those that over higher input into your backpack and use them wherever you are! The speakers are designed to produce sound in 360 degrees instead of the standard front-facing stereo output. This means that they don’t have to be placed facing in a specific direction to be heard. They work well in a small space and can be used with your favorite game – or your jams!

The speakers glow with a green light whilst in use and the light is also used to indicate battery status – it turns red when the batteries are low, glows blue when charged and flashes whilst charging.

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05.

Cyber Acoustics CA-5402 Platinum Series High Performance 5.1 Speaker System

CA-5402 Platinum

Designed for the desktop PC gamer, this CA-5402 Platinum Series High Performance 5.1 provides 5.1 surround sound at a price lower than high end stereo desktop speakers. It cannot compete with the sheer volume of bigger systems but it produces more than enough noise to make even the most hard core gamer happy.

Emphasizing the desktop centric design, the supplied cables only reach 4 ft which is perfect for a desktop computer setup. In the box you get the four satellite speakers, the centre one, the subwoofer unit and the circular desktop control pod. The control pod provides headphone output and also accepts a 3.5mm jack for a second input source. It also allows you to control the volume for the speakers and the subwoofer separately.

The subwoofer accepts three 3.5mm jack inputs for front rear and centre 5.1 surround sound sources. If your PC does not have these three outputs then we suggest you connect the line out on the PC to the auxiliary jack on the control pod.

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06.

Trust Gaming GXT 628 120 Watts 2.1 Gaming Speakers

rust Gaming GXT 628 120

The Trust Gaming GXT 628 is a 2.1 speaker system with pizazz. Besides delivering the best thumping base, the sub-woofer includes an illuminated, pulsating ring of blue LED light at the outer edge of its 7” driver.

The system includes the two satellite speakers, the sub-woofer and a control pod. The control pod has two 3.5mm jacks for connecting headphones and a second input source respectively. It allows you to control the overall volume of the system. There is a separate volume control knob on the side of the subwoofer for adjusting the bass. All connections are on the side (not back) of the subwoofer, which is useful because you don’t have to move it away from the wall to check or change your connections. Input is by 2 RCA plugs on the subwoofer or 3.5mm jack on the control pod.

These inputs mean that you can use the speakers to provide better audio for your console (Xbox 360, Playstation 3 and Wii) than your TV ever could on its own (that’s if you don’t already have a theatre sound system).

The Trust Gaming GXT 628 1 includes a smart power management feature that puts the speakers into a low power sleep mode when the system is not in use. Great for the environment – and for your pocket too as it means lower power use.

When in use the system produces a room filling sound and adds a powerful 7” bass driver in an acoustically designed wooden case.

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07.

Creative T50W Wireless Bluethooth 2.0 Speakers with NFC

Creative T50W Wireless Bluethooth 2.0

Why add NFC to wireless PC speakers? Well, most of you know that pairing Bluetooth devices are a not-difficult-but-irritatingly-tedious process. If your device (smartphone / tablet) has NFC built-in then just tap it on the speaker’s NFC receptor and pairing will take place without you having to do anything else! Cool, quick and easy!

The right hand speaker includes separate control knobs for bass, treble and overall volume as well as a power button, a button to initiate Bluetooth pairing and a 3.5 mm jack for connecting up a set of headphones. There is a 3.5mm jack at the back of it for connecting systems that do not have Bluetooth and Creative have considerately included a 3.5mm jack to RCA converter to allow even more connection options.

Each one has two woven glass fibre midrange drivers and a silk dome tweeter. The shiny piano-black case is wedge shaped (narrower at the back than the front) and includes a special bass port at the top to maximize the bass output of the speakers. The shiny black finish is contrasted by the yellow rims of the midrange drivers and the silver rim of the tweeters – creating an attractive overall appearance. The drivers are not covered by a grille and you can see the drivers move as the speaker generates sound.

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08.

Yamaha NS-SP1800BL 5.1-Channel Home Theater Speaker Set

Yamaha NS-SP1800BL 5.1-Channel

The Yamaha NS-SP1800BL 5.1 Channel Home Theater System will truly bring your gaming experience to a new level of enjoyment. If you want a night out at the movies but don’t want to leave the house then this is definitely the speaker system you need. The Acoustic Suspension Design, 4 2-way satellite speakers, and one 2-way dual woofer center speaker, as well as an Advanced YST subwoofer, is what you can expect to get in the box. The subwoofer features Half-Pipe port enclosure and a 8” reinforced multi-range driver with magnetic shielding with 50W built-in amplification bringing you great sound quality with very low distortion.

The Yamaha is easy to set up so you will be gaming, or watching those movies in no time. You get really exceptional surround sound quality, and because of the subwoofer you will not only hear the bass but feel it too. A real hardcore gamers dream come true.

The advanced YST technology not only will ensure that your speaker unit has perfect linear motion. The YST will ensure that you get the absolute best sound possible from your speakers with the highest levels of pressure.

The four satellite speakers, center speaker, and subwoofer are magnetically shielded. This is to prevent any interference with your TV when you place the speakers next to it. Add to this you have the added benefit of 4 non-skid pads for your speakers so they will not move once placed securely where you want them to be.

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09.

Razer Leviathan – Elite Gaming & Music Sound Bar

Razer Leviathan - Elite Sound Bar

Sound bars were created to solve the messy wiring problem and complex setup of 5.1 surround sound systems. They look sleek and attractive and sit directly under the screen so that the source matches the video source (in many stereo or surround sound setups if you are not sitting at the ‘sweet spot’ you will hear more of either the left speakers or right speakers).

The Razer Leviathan is designed for both the desktop PC market and the console gaming speaker market. It includes a single soundbar (compact at only 50cm long) with two 2.5” full range drivers and two 0.74” tweeter drivers. There is also a separate 5.25” driver subwoofer system that pumps the bass down into the floor for added amplification. The subwoofer puts out 30 Watts whilst the soundbar half of that per speaker pair.

Connectivity is through a 3.5mm jack, an optical connection or Bluetooth 4. The system includes NFC for easy Bluetooth pairing.

The Razer Leviathan includes advanced Dolby processing circuits for expanding any normal stereo input into virtual 5.1 surround sound. This means you hear the crunching footsteps of the guy creeping up behind you (in a game or a movie) from behind you, where the sound should be coming from!

The soundbar and the subwoofer are attractively designed and add to the visual appeal of your setup.

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10.

Bose Acoustimass 10 Series V Home Theater Speaker System

Bose Acoustimass 10 Series V

This is the only full 5.1 surround sound included in this review. It is overkill for a desktop gamer, but provides the ultimate sound for a console gamer setup (at a corresponding price).

The Bose Acoustimass 10 Series V System is designed to fill a large room with top quality 5.1 surround sound. The supplied cabling reflects this. In the box you get two rear speakers with 50 ft cables, two front speakers with 20ft cables, a centre one with a 20ft cable and a proprietary Bose Acoustimass subwoofer with a 20 ft input cable.

This set of speakers needs a receiver / amplifier to provide inputs and outputs. Obviously the type of the receiver will directly impact the performance of the speakers, but if you do have a good receiver then the audio from the Bose Acoustimass 10 Series V will blow you away!

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Buyers Guide Questions

Are Gaming Speakers Different from Standard Speakers?

Yes and no.

Let’s start at the very beginning: all speakers create noise by vibrating membranes that cause air to move at specific frequencies. If the membrane is small and vibrates at high speed it will generate a high pitched noise. A medium sized membrane will produce mid-range frequency and large membranes will produce deep, low-frequency sounds. In a speaker this membrane is stretched into a cone shape and can be made from various materials – from cloth to paper to fiberglass or even carbon-fibre or diamond.

The more exotic and difficult the material is to work with, the more expensive it becomes and the most exotic materials tend to be reserved for audiophiles who are prepared to pay over $20,000 for a single one!

The more powerful it is, the more air it can move and the greater the volume it can produce. A speaker’s power is measured in Watts. Its sensitivity (relates to the delicacy of sound it can produce) is called its impedance and is measured in Ohms. Almost all gaming speakers have similar sensitivity but they vary greatly in power and we will look at the importance of this a little later.

Speakers usually have four types of ‘drivers’ or ‘cones’. The smallest ones are called ‘tweeters’ and produce high notes by vibrating thin fabric stretched tight – some high end audiophile speakers have tweeters made from diamond! Next come the mid-range drivers, which are slightly larger and produce, you guessed it, noise in the middle of our hearing range. The largest standard drivers are called full range drivers and try to produce high frequency, mid-range and low frequency noise all by themselves. Finally you get the largest drivers called woofers which are designed to move large volumes of air at low frequencies to create bass.

They may contain one or many drivers. Obviously, one that contains a tweeter, mid-range driver and a woofer will more accurately create noise in all three sound ranges than the one with a single ‘full range’ driver that has to try and produce a very large range of audio all by itself. Including many drivers (especially a woofer) takes up a lot of space and results in a very large unit. Modern mid-range drivers can produce a good range of audio, especially if combined with a tweeter and a separate sub-woofer system, so woofers are not usually part of the smaller speakers used by gamers.

The fabric of the driver is moved by magnets – and the more powerful the speakers, the stronger the magnet must be. This is why it is important for speakers to be magnetically shielded so that they do not generate electromagnetic fields that can interfere with other electronics or even wipe out magnetic storage devices such as hard drives.

Now, back to the issue of power. The Watts rating links directly to how far the magnet can move the membrane. The further the membrane moves, the more air it moves and the louder the sound that is generated. Be careful when you read information about a speakers. Often the figure mentioned will be the maximum power a speaker can deliver. Speakers can only deliver that level of volume for a short period of time.

As you can imagine, moving the membrane to far can damage it – can cause it to tear or to become stretched. That is why a speaker that has been used at too high a volume for too long a time will start to buzz or hiss or crackle (the membrane is torn) or start to sound flat and muddy (the membrane is stretched).

What you do need to look for is the Watts RMS which tells you how much power the speaker can generate on a continual sustained level. Obviously a higher number here means that the speaker can generate more volume.

The casing that the drivers are placed in also has an impact on the quality. The casing echoes and amplifies the sound and a good wooden casing (especially for a sub-woofer) helps improve the quality significantly (one with a bad case or placed on a thin or unstable surface will cause the case or surface to vibrate and make the sound ‘fuzzy’).

Gamers usually are trying to fit a lot of noise into a small space, so gaming speakers are often smaller than speakers used in a living room.

Gamers also want a lot of bass from their speakers because game soundtracks use a lot of bass for effect (thuds, band, smashes, explosions and deep ominous music). So gaming speakers tend to emphasize bass more than say speakers designed for music would. Movies use bass in much the same way that games do, so gaming speakers can easily double as home theatre speakers.

Do Gaming Speakers come with Extra Features?

Not really, no. Extra features may include built in LED lighting, but more typically include a control pod or console of some sort that allows you to easily connect headphones and / or an additional audio source using 3.5mm jack plugs. This makes it easy for the speakers to be used to play music from your phone / tablet / CD player / MP3 player whilst still connected to your computer.

The difference in having gaming speakers is that you get the best audio for your game, normal PC speakers just don’t cut it when it comes to deep bass, which is necessary to really enjoy your gaming experience, and of course clarity of sound. So some gaming speakers will come with sub-woofers to enhance the base, and other features such as surround sound etc… however they are not much more than your standard speakers that you would use on your hi fi for instance. But they are worlds apart from your standard PC speakers.

How do you set up Gaming Speakers?

Most gaming speakers have a built-in amplifier and so need to be plugged into a power source. Most connect to your computer using a standard 3.5mm audio jack which plugs into the ‘line out’ socket on your computer (or the headphones socket if that is all that your computer has).

2.1 systems work fine with a single output from the computer. They produce normal stereo sound but have the added advantage of a sub-woofer to create a bass boost. They typically connect with a single 3.5mm jack or RCA connectors.

Some 5.1 surround sound systems need a minimum of three inputs (front, rear and centre) and before you buy such a system you should check that your PC has these three outputs. These systems will not work well with a laptop which typically only has a single 3.5mm line out socket. You can work around this by using cable splitters, but that will simply mean that the same audio come from all around you.

Real 5.1 surround sound means that sounds that are meant to be behind you only play from the rear speakers. Using cable splitters with a 5.1 surround sound systems defeats the purpose of the system and you’d be better off choosing a 2.1 system.

With 5.1 surround sound systems the input is usually connected to the sub-woofer – which is also connected to the mains power and supplies the connectors for the other speakers. You need to be careful when setting up the other speakers – especially the rear speakers – because you need to make sure that no one can trip over the cables and hurt themselves or damage your sound system.

So setting up your gaming speakers is as easy as can be. Once the system is set up and powered on then you can sit back and enjoy the vibes!

What Should you look for in Gaming Speakers?

The answer here depends on your setup. If you have a laptop and want to use speakers on the go then choose mobile speakers that include batteries. Or buy a set of standard desktop speakers that are small enough to fit into your bag. Size matters here, so smaller is better and you most likely will not have space for a sub-woofer.

If you have limited space but still want the bass that a sub-woofer offers then you should go for a 2.1 system. These systems have the standard two stereo speakers and a sub-woofer to give your games that extra depth. You need to ensure they will fit on top of your desk and do not clutter your area. Click here for our full reviews.

If you are lucky enough to game in a mid-sized room and have the budget then you should consider a 5.1 system. These systems put speakers to the left and right both ahead of and behind you. Then they add a centre one directly in front of you and a sub-woofer to maximize the bass sound of the whole system.

5.1 systems are the most complex to set up but the give the best gaming (and movie watching) experience of all. The first time that you hear the immersive sound and experience the ambient soundscape that places noise all around you will be such a thrill that you’ll never be able to go back to a stereo system again. A 5.1 system is also a distinct advantage in 1st person shooters because the audible cues help you determine if an enemy is trying to sneak up from the side or behind you.

Like with all systems, the maximum sustained volume a gaming speaker system can support is measures in Watts RMS. The ‘Peak Watts’ is usually significantly higher and tells you how much louder a sudden explosion will be – but this figure is the one you need to pay attention to. Obviously a higher figure means that the system can generate louder volume sound.

It is also important that you should be able to at least control the bass separately from the rest of the sound. Sub-woofers are powerful beasts and the bass they generate can easily overpower the sound from the rest of the speakers. They can also cause floors and windows to rattle and are most likely to upset neighbors / parents / siblings if they are too loud. Treat their volume setting with care and remember to respect those people around you too!

Check the number of drivers per speaker. Each one should at least have a tweeter and a mid-range driver to make sure that the noise produced is clear and not muddied. Also check the size of the magnet (if you can) on the sub-woofer. A big sub-woofer driver with a small magnet is likely to sound flat and muted, which is not something that you want to hear in the middle of frenzied battle.

Conclusion

The best gaming speakers enhance an essential part of the gaming experience that game designers spend hours and thousands of dollars to tweak and perfect. They offer you the gamer, the chance to really immerse yourself in the world of the game and often generate far more stirring emotional impact than the games visuals ever could do on their own. They make the gaming experience complete and fulfilling and leave you feeling much more satisfied than if you’d been playing to the accompaniment of the thin, tin-like quality of your computer or monitor’s built in speakers.

Not only that, gaming speakers accept a second input so can be used to play music, podcasts or audio books from your favorite sound generating device (phone, tablet, cd player, radio, MP3 player, etc.).

Unless you already have a system, there is simply no reason not to add that extra quality to your life, your gaming, your music and movie watching that you would get from buying and using the best system that’s just right for you. Check out those available for 2017 now on Amazon.

Bose Companion 2 Series III

Top Pick

The Bose Companion 2 Series III Multimedia Speakers combine great sound with compact, space saving design and enough portability to slip into your laptop bag when you need to hit the road. So it makes for the best travel speakers in 2017. They are stylishly attractive, offer multiple connectivity options and are reasonably priced to boot. With the proprietary Bose TrueSound technology they approximate a surround sound experience and deliver more than enough crystal clear sound to fill a small room and make your gaming experience a very happy and immersive one indeed.

Logitech Z906 5.1

Premium Choice

The Logitech Z906 5.1 is an absolute steal when you look at what you get for the price. Its powerful speakers will fill your living room with ease and it is the perfect companion to a home theatre system combined with console gaming at its finest.

It accepts 6 different inputs, allows you to switch between 5.1, 4.1 and 2.1 sound modes and allows you to control front, rear, centre and sub-woofer volumes independently. It is Dolby Digital, DTS and THX certified to provide awesome sound clarity. The speakers are small and attractive and come with 6ft cables. The setup is quick and easy.  The Logitech Z906 5.1 System is undeniably the best and pick of the bunch in this review and certainly supplies the most bang for the buck in 2017.

CA 2.1 Computer Speakers

Great Value

For those who do not need to be mobile and want the added rumble that a dedicate sub-woofer brings to the party, a 2.1 system is just the ticket. As far as 2.1 systems go, the Cyber Acoustics 2.1 Computer Speaker with Subwoofer is the best combination of price and value, which is why it gets our Great Value pick. It is one of the best speakers for computers at one of the lowest prices available.

It delivers more than enough output to fill your gaming crib, and adds a 5.25” acoustically tuned sub-woofer into the mix to give your games the deep throated rumbling bass roar they need to come alive and sweep you away into the action.

The convenient system control pod allows you to switch the system on and off; gives you separate controls for bass and speaker volume and provides you with 3.5mm jacks for connecting headphones or a secondary sound source.

We simply do not believe that it is possible to get better value than what the Cyber Acoustics 2.1 Computer Speaker with Subwoofer package offers you. It’s just what you need to take your gaming to the next level without breaking the bank. One of the best there is for 2017.

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