What are the best speakers for laptops
The best PC speakers under 50, 100 and up to 250 euros
Spotify, Netflix, Steam - these services are only really fun with good sound. But speakers, like those found in most notebooks and monitors, do not keep pace. Additional PC speakers are required to fully enjoy music, videos and games.
Even a small investment of 20 or 30 euros can significantly improve the sound experience. Speaker sets, which also include a subwoofer, cost from around 60 euros. The third loudspeaker provides bass and allows particularly deep tones.
As always, the more the budget increases, so do the options. In theory, there are no upper limits. But we'll end it at 250 euros, because good PC speakers don't have to cost more. Before we introduce you to individual devices, we will tell you what you should pay attention to when choosing.
Buying PC speakers: what to look for?
Most PC speakers are 2.0 systems. These are classic stereo systems with one loudspeaker each for the left and right sound channels. Usually you connect one of the speakers to the PC and a power source. The second speaker is connected to the first. The connection cable usually measures around 1.5 meters, which defines the maximum distance between the two speakers. With some systems you can install a longer cable, others rely on special plugs, which prevents the extension.
Because PC speakers should fit on the desk as much as possible, they are built more compactly. The volume of the housing is correspondingly limited, which leads to restrictions, particularly in the case of low frequencies. Manufacturers occasionally encounter this 2.1 systems. A subwoofer, i.e. a bass loudspeaker, joins the two stereo loudspeakers here. The subwoofer is placed under the table and can therefore be slightly larger. It typically takes on the reproduction of frequencies below 100 or 80 hearts. A good subwoofer pays off, especially when it comes to shots and explosions - they really crack. Caution: neighbors in densely populated areas usually hate subwoofers!
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Soundbars are a relatively new type of loudspeaker, especially for PCs. Here the speakers end up in a single housing that you place above or below the display. This often looks more harmonious than a 2.0 or 2.1 system, but it doesn't pay off in terms of sound. Rank at the top end of the price spectrum 5.1 speaker systemsconsisting of a total of five speakers and the subwoofer. This requires a lot of space as well as series, films and games with multi-channel sound.
Passable systems crack our price limit of 250 euros. That is why we leave them out of our purchase advice. We see portable Bluetooth speakers as a compromise. You can control many of them from your PC, either via Bluetooth short-range radio or via a 3.5mm jack connection. However, due to their small dimensions, these speakers do not offer a stereo image comparable to a 2.0 setup.
Connections: 3.5mm jack, cinch, digital or bluetooth
The more expensive the speakers, the higher the quality of the connection - we can anticipate that. In the cheapest systems you will find 3.5mm jack plugs, as they used to be for headsets on smartphones. Every PC known to us offers the right output and it can usually also be found on laptops. Significantly better are the red and white RCA plugs, commonly known as "Cinch". However, corresponding outputs on the PC are not often found. If this applies to your computer, you need an adapter from 3.5mm to Cinch.
More expensive speakers have their own sound adapter that you connect to your PC via USB. There are several advantages to this. The sound is transmitted digitally from the PC to the loudspeaker. The digital signal is only converted to analog in the loudspeaker. In addition, the manufacturer can adapt the sound to the loudspeaker construction. Both can benefit the sound quality. In addition, the internal sound adapter of your computer remains free for other tasks.
Sound adapters in speakers sometimes require driver software. But you have to adjust the audio settings so that the PC sends the sound to the external sound card in the speakers. Some PC speakers also offer a Bluetooth option in addition to the cable connection. We consider them less important. The cable you save to connect your PC and speakers doesn't really reduce the clutter under your desk. The wireless connection leads to delays in the sound output, which can be particularly noticeable in games and videos. Bluetooth is particularly interesting if you want to play music on the speakers from your mobile phone.
The cheapest PC speaker sets offer two speakers, a 3.5mm jack connection for audio transmission and a volume control. More expensive loudspeakers offer more, whereby the "more" differs significantly depending on the target group of the manufacturer:
- A higher budget creates scope for more sound quality. The simplest PC loudspeakers only represent a section of the frequency range that can be heard by humans (approx. 20 Hz to a maximum of 20 kHz). In the case of more expensive loudspeakers, high-quality components are often (but not always!) Used, which broaden the range of frequencies. In addition, in high-priced devices you will find a digital signal processor that adapts the frequency response to the characteristics of the loudspeaker. In this way, the limited loudspeaker volume can be used better, but at the expense of sound neutrality.
- Loudspeaker sets geared towards gamers offer LED lighting for the ambience with extensive setting options and adjustment of the effects to the game. This is of no use in terms of sound, but it can look great.
- "Traditional" audio manufacturers such as Bose can be paid for not only their brand names, but also for the higher quality workmanship, the more elaborate device design or an extended manufacturer guarantee.
Tips for shopping
The temptation is to judge the sound of individual devices. We could talk about a “wide stage”, “rich bass”, “unbelievable stereo image” and similar impressions. But we think this won't really help you. On the one hand, the sound of a loudspeaker depends on many factors that differ from listener to listener. Recording, signal chain, room acoustics and installation location are probably the most important.
On the other hand, good sound is also a very personal matter. Where one listener thinks they are in heaven, the other only hears muddy bass, dull mids and exaggerated highs. Therefore our tip: Think about which functions you need, what you enjoy and how much money you want to spend. Then order one of the devices presented by us on the following pages. In our opinion, all of them offer a lot of performance for the respective price. If you don't like a loudspeaker at all, then you can only send it back to us. Should you do further research online: Be very skeptical about the sound judgments of other buyers.
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