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Good graphics may make a game. However, total immersion requires excellent audio too.
Sounds make half of our sensory experience. It communicates meaning in more ways than sight can. This importance is replicated in games. Sound is used for setting a level’s atmosphere. It’s used to serve as positional cues. It makes players feel the sadness, intensity, or horror of a games’ scenes.
Most games today are visual spectacles. But these visuals come with great sound design. It’s not surprising that any gamer wants a good speaker system. Put simply; they are looking for a system that can deliver both a great sound and atmosphere.
Built-in speakers from a TV or laptop usually fall short. They aren’t designed to keep up with most games’ sound design. You can settle for your headphones’ simulated surround sound. But the experience just isn’t as good as the real deal.
Thankfully, there is a great variety of speakers available in the market. You just need to figure out what’s best for your needs. This guide helps you ask the right questions. You can better choose the best speakers for your gaming setup.
Do you need a subwoofer? How powerful do you want it to be? How comprehensive do you want your speakers to be?
A subwoofer is usually a boxy speaker. It reproduces low-frequency sounds. These are the sounds that are less than 200 Hertz (Hz). It handles the bass and guttural drum beats in speakers. It can be more costly. But it’ll give you a richer and fuller sound. Subwoofers complement the higher and mid-range sounds that satellite speakers provide.
Speaker systems work in channels. The 2.0 system is made up of two channels. These channels output to two speakers. These are placed on the system’s left and right. Next is the subwoofer/satellite (sub/sat) or 2.1 system. It consists of one subwoofer and two other channels. The two smaller speakers are called satellites. These are placed on the left and right sides of a setup.
The 5.1 system is also called a surround sound system. It has one subwoofer and five other channels. These speakers are located in the center, front left and right, and rear left and right. The more channels, the more immersed you are because your setup can have sounds coming from different directions.
A 7.1 system also exists. It has one subwoofer and seven channels. It adds a pair of left and right speakers to the sides of the 5.1 setups. Most games are only designed for a 5.1 surround system, though. So you won’t need a 7.1 for a gaming setup. Instead, consider getting the 7.1 for a home theater.
The presence of a subwoofer creates powerful vibrations. You’ll not only hear the explosions in your game. You’ll also actually feel it.
As in most equipment, there are powerful ones. There are also less powerful ones. This is also true with subwoofers. A higher wattage in a subwoofer means more power. This high wattage allows it to play louder volumes. Higher wattage also means more intensity. More importantly, it allows for clear, low-frequency sounds. That’s right, no distortion or incomprehensible noise.
Powerful subwoofers don’t always have to be at maximum volume to be precise and explosive. So don’t worry about upsetting your neighbors all the time.
Not too keen on getting a subwoofer? Don’t worry. 2.0 speakers can still provide low-frequency sounds. And in some impeccable ones, good quality at that. How do you find some impressive 2.0 speakers? Ask about a speaker’s drivers when you shop.
Drivers are the round elements inside the speakers. They’re responsible for making the sound from our speakers. Some people call it the actual speakers. These drivers are housed inside a speaker case. This is also known as the enclosure. They are cone- or dome-like structures. They also have a round surface area. This area creates sounds by moving back and forth.
Drivers are as varied as speakers get. But you only need to know three different types to make sense of them. First is the tweeter driver. It’s designed for high-frequency and treble sounds. These sounds are above 2000 Hz. Second is the midrange driver. It’s for sounds in the midrange of 200 to 2000 Hz. And last is the woofer driver. It handles bass or low-frequency sounds.
Good speakers will have well-designed drivers. These drivers work together to produce a full sound spectrum.
Do you want the best sound from 2.0 speakers? Find a three-way speaker. Three-way speakers will have a woofer, tweeter, and midrange driver in the same enclosure.
Next, consider the size of the drivers. A bigger diameter means it’s designed for lower frequencies. Thus, your woofer is the largest driver. The tweeter driver is the smallest. There are various size combinations of drivers in speakers. Each of them results in different sound qualities. Most times, only audiophiles can distinguish these tiny nuances.
It wouldn’t hurt to do a soundcheck before buying. Listen if you like a particular speaker’s balance.
Assess where you plan to place your speaker system. How much desk or floor space do you have for a speakers’ footprints? Your answer will help you decide between a 2.0, 2.1, 5.1, or 7.1 system.
The first number in the speaker system corresponds to the number of channels or speakers. The second number corresponds to the subwoofer. So a 2.0 or stereo system requires less space than a 2.1. And the 2.1 requires less space than the more complicated 5.1 system.
You probably won’t be able to get the same quality of a 5.1 with a 2.0. However, there’s no point in buying a 5.1 system if you’re putting them in a small room. You’ll be tripping on tangled wires. Neighbors will be pounding on your door. And they’ll be yelling at you to keep it down.
Some speakers come with wall mounts and hooks. These make installation easier. And you don’t have to worry about speakers taking all of your desk space.
Soundbar speakers are also a great option. They can fit in the space below your monitor.
Perfect for those who want more power without sacrificing desk space.
That said, there are many great 2.0 and 2.1 systems. So don’t worry about missing out on the 5.1.
Will you connect your speakers to PC? to a console? Do you want to use it on your home entertainment system?
Not all speakers are made equal. Different speakers have different audio input options. Are you planning to use it for your gaming desktop or console? You need an optical cable, RCA, or 3.5 mm. Are you planning to put your speakers in an entertainment room? You need maximum connectivity. Think HDMI and Bluetooth.
Most speakers have the option of connecting via Bluetooth. Great if you want to listen to songs while chilling. This isn’t a must for gamers, though. Wireless connectivity can be laggy or unreliable. Other speakers also offer USB ports for input.
Whatever you’re using it for, don’t buy any speaker system without checking its connectivity options.
What speaker system does your PC or console support?
Are you hooking it to a PC? Check your sound card and motherboard before making a purchase. Old desktop systems might not have the right software. Those won’t support surround sound systems.
Are you planning to get a 5.1 system? You might need to upgrade some of your computer hardware.
Are you planning on hooking your speakers to a console? Check the audio options still. Make sure to optimize it. Follow the speaker setup you’re installing.
How much control of the lows or the highs do you want? At what distance do you want to control these?
Can’t hear the dialogue amidst all the background noise? Is the bass too loud? Are your ears dying from the gunshots? Are the explosions causing concern from your neighbors? Consider the amount of volume control you need.
Some speakers have independent volume control. It separates the subwoofer control from other components. You can balance the high and low ends to your level of comfort. High-end speaker systems offer a variety of volume controls. These include bass adjustments, treble, and fade.
Others don’t have the same feature. You’d have to navigate the audio settings of your PC or console offers. This isn’t a problem for most people. Still, consider the volume controls of the speakers you’re getting.
Do you want to adjust audio settings from the comforts of a couch? If yes, then find speakers that have a remote control or downloadable app.
Do you want RGB lights to go with your speakers?
RGB lights are just red, green, and blue lights. These lights turn on and off in different intensities. That creates different hues. If done right, these lights can add to your gaming experience. It’s better if they’re synced to your game. The lights can make your screen seem larger. Sunsets and gunshots will extend to your gaming room’s walls.
Want to hit two birds with one stone? Consider speakers that come with RGB lights. Get an upgrade for both visual and auditory cues.
Is aesthetic important to you?
What matters is the inside, not the outside. However, some speakers look sleek and futuristic. Those are undeniably cool to have. Look for thoughtfully-designed speakers. See what appeals to your taste. Check if it matches your gaming setup’s overall look. You wouldn’t want clashing designs.
This isn’t a concern if you’re getting a surround sound. You’ll barely get to see the speakers. But for a soundbar or satellites on your desk? It’ll be more prominent.
Best get a feel of the material finish. Is it metallic? Maybe plastic? Perhaps clear? Especially if you’re working with speakers at close proximity. Make sure it’s something you’re comfortable with.
Design is quite important for speakers. Their function can influence the design. The size and shape of the drivers are crucial. It determines what sounds it can make. Even the material of an enclosure affects sound quality.
So consider the design of the speakers. Think of the aesthetic value it adds to your setup. Just make sure it’s a design you love.
How much are you spending on your speakers?
Speakers come in a variety of prices. You’ll get a wide variety of options. It all depends on your budget range.
Usually, we don’t expect much from equipment at low prices. But you’d be surprised. There’s even great value with speakers below $30. There will be trade-offs, of course. Thankfully, manufacturers have provided various budget options for gamers. So getting a speaker update won’t hurt your wallet much.
It’s easier if you’re ready to splurge. The most expensive speaker systems start at $400 to $500. Those speakers come with the best features and most power.
Don’t worry, though. There’s always a best-value speaker in every price range. You just have to know which ones they are.
Best 2.0 below $100
- Weight: 1.0 kg (right) 0.8 kg (left)
- Size: 7.5 x 5.9 x 3.1 in (left and right)
- Connectivity 3.5 mm
- Power: approx. 15-20 watts
Are you worried about space and budget, but you still want a decent upgrade for your desk setup? Look no further than the Bose Companion 2 Series III. The Companion is perfect for desk setups with little space. This is largely due to its small footprint.
It’s a very lightweight and compact set of speakers. They’re very easy to move around. It’s also convenient for connecting to a laptop or desktop.
Don’t let the small exterior and price fool you. The Companion 2 Series III is powerful. Its power output is around 15-20 watts. It easily beats its peers in the same price range.
It has no subwoofer, though. However, it can still produce fairly accurate lows. Moreover, its angled speakers are designed for near-field listening. You’re not harshly bombarded by loud sounds.
For control, you can easily adjust the volume via the knob. This knob is on the right speaker. Right next to the knob is a mini-audio jack. It’s useful for when you feel like using your headphones. This is particularly savvy too. You won’t need to keep unplugging audio jacks from your laptop or desktop.
There’s one more downside in the Companion. It lacks Bluetooth connectivity. This makes it an unwise choice for wireless gamers.
Overall, the Companion is a decent upgrade. It beats most standard TV or laptop speakers — all that for a great, affordable price.
Best 2.1 below $100
- Weight: 258g (left sat) 361g (right sat) 1.56kg (sub)
- Size: 2.83 x 5.79 x 3.11 in (satellites) 7.20 x 8.86 x 7.48 in (sub)
- Connectivity 3.5 mm
- Power: 9 watts
Do you have a limited budget? But you want that bass kick? That only a subwoofer can provide? The Creative A250 provides those heart-pumping beats and volume. All at a very affordable price.
Yes, you read it right. This is a 2.1 system for $29. Its price is the best thing about the A250. Despite its affordability, this set of speakers is anything but cheap.
The A250 is astonishingly loud, given its size. But it’s not just loud. The sounds it produces are satisfyingly clear and accurate, especially when compared to its peers in the same price range. Its subwoofer can punch. It adds extra dimensions to in-game sounds. These sounds that would otherwise fall flat with built-in speakers.
The right speaker houses the built-in volume control. You can easily adjust this while you’re at your desk. However, it fails to provide independent bass control. This is a minor trade-off. The A250 is great if you want a subwoofer on a tight budget.
Edifier E25 Luna Eclipse HD
Best 2.0 speakers below $250
- Weight: 1.5 kg
- Size: 8.2 x 7 x 2.5 in
- Connectivity Bluetooth, Optical, 3.5 mm
- Power: 75 watts
Are you looking to shell out more than $150? Do you want a 2.0 that provides both function and aesthetics?
The Edifier E25 is our pick for the best 2.0 speakers in the $150-$250 price range. The E25 is priced at $184. It’s outstanding in terms of design, sound, and connectivity. It’s not far from the Bose Companion. We recommend this if you can shell out a bit more cash.
The E25 Luna Eclipse’s design lives up to its name. It’s shaped like a moon crescent with a metallic finish. It will certainly add aesthetic value to your space.
It’s not all looks, though. It’s designed to enhance the sound output of different frequencies. There are two passive radiators. These are placed on each speaker. They enhance the speaker’s bass sounds. It also has a 3.5-inch driver for mid-range sounds and a ¾-inch dome-shaped tweeter. These are all included in one small package.
It also offers a variety of connectivity options. It supports Bluetooth and aux input. The E25 is an easy choice. It suits a desktop setup or a small entertainment system.
There’s no space for a volume knob in the E25. This is due to its sleek and futuristic design. Instead, touch-capacitive keys are included. Those are on the right speaker for volume control. You won’t need to bother using it so much, though, because the E25 comes with a useful remote control. It’s also Bluetooth compatible. You can simply control it from whichever device it’s connected to.
There are only minor flaws to be found. It has a slightly forward treble. But this will only bother audiophiles. The sound doesn’t affect gameplay. Meanwhile, the remote control just isn’t in the same material as the speakers. It’s like it doesn’t belong in this setup.
Overall, the E25 is a win on almost all fronts. It provides the power and compatibility enough to run an entertainment system. Plus, it won’t eat up a ton of space.
Harman Kardon Soundsticks III
Best 2.1 speaker below $250
- Weight: 0.7 kg (satellites) 2.2 kg (sub)
- Size: 2 x 10 in (satellites) 9.19 x 10.19 in (sub)
- Connectivity 3.5 mm, Bluetooth
- Power: 55 watts
Is sound your utmost concern in a speaker? Are you looking for one that costs around $200? The Harman Kardon Soundsticks III is a great option for you.
In terms of sound, the Soundsticks III offers a lot. It houses four drivers in each speaker and a large subwoofer. This system gives your in-game sounds the attention it deserves. You will hear some distortion at maximum volume. Otherwise, the audio is excellent.
The Soundstick’s quality brings you to audio heaven. But people aren’t as keen to buy it. Why? Its appearance makes people doubt it. The speaker is made of transparent plastic. All its drivers and cables are clearly seen from the outside. Some have described it as almost jellyfish-like. Some say it’s simply alien. It’s a unique look. But it’s not for everyone.
Another concerning feature of the Soundsticks III is its volume control. The controls of the speakers and subwoofers aren’t in the same place. Want to adjust your bass? You’d have to reach down or walk to wherever your subwoofer is. This isn’t something everyone’s willing to do, especially if you’re in the middle of an intense level. In addition, the system lacks a remote control.
Overall, the Soundsticks III is the best choice for great audio quality. But be ready for the lack of a functioning remote control. And make sure its alien design suits you.
Best Soundbar below $250
- Weight: 2kg (soundbar) 2.35kg (sub)
- Size: 19.7 x 3 x 2.8 in
- Connectivity: Optical, 3.5 mm, Bluetooth, NFC
- Power: 60 watts
Do you have very limited space on your desk? Do you still want a sound range similar to a 5.1? The Leviathan is your best bet.
The Leviathan lives up to its name. It packs large and powerful sounds from its unknown depths.
Yes, it’s just a soundbar. It’ll fit in the space below your monitor. So how can it produce such sounds? The Dolby Logic Pro II codec. This codec transforms any audio input into a simulated 5.1 surround sound. Another component that makes it powerful is its 5.25-inch driver. This driver allows the Leviathan to push rich bass-heavy sounds. Surprisingly, there are no traces of distortion even at maximum volume.
The Leviathan isn’t any more lacking in terms of connectivity options too. It’s Bluetooth-ready and NFC-enabled. It also offers an optical cable and 3.5 mm options. You can directly connect it to your Xbox or PS4. This saves you fewer wires to handle. And it brings easier management in your setup.
Those looking for control will find many lacking in the Leviathan, though. It has no volume level indicator, remote, or mobile app.
The simulated surround sound might not sit well with everyone, especially if they’re used to the real deal. Audiophiles will notice the lack of distinct left and right speakers.
Willing to overlook that it’s not a real 5.1 system? Leviathan is best for you. It’ll give you the immersive gaming experience you’ve always wanted. And it won’t cost as much space and money of a real 5.1 setup.
Best RGB lights below $250
- Weight: 1.79 kg (satellites) 5.5 kg (sub)
- Size: 5.8 x 6.5 x 4.6 in (satellites) 15.9 x 10 x 8.1 in (sub)
- Connectivity: USB, 3.5 mm, Bluetooth
- Power: 120 watts
This 2.1 system has a vertically-oriented subwoofer. There are also two rounded satellite speakers — those light up in both the front and rear. The rear light illuminates even the wall behind your desk. You can fully appreciate the light even when you’re busy gaming.
The G560 has a special lighting feature that sets it apart. That is its screen sampler. The screen sampler is adaptive. The lighting effect will update based on what’s happening on your screen. So it’s not just aesthetic. The lights are purposeful too. For example, they can signal eerie situations when needed.
The G560 excels in RGB lighting but lacks in sound quality, especially compared to competitors in the same price range. It’s not bad quality, though. It’s just not as good as the others.
It also has no independent knob for volume and bass control. It might be more difficult to hear dialogue over loud background sounds.
Choose the Logitech G560 if you appreciate great RGB lighting. Have a clear wall at the back for the light sync. If you’re fine without the RGB, go for Harman Kardon Soundsticks III instead. That has a similar price but with better audio.
Razer Nommo Pro
Best 2.1 speaker beyond $250
- Weight: 12.5 kg
- Size: 10.5 x 5.1 in (satellites) 15.4 x 10.6 in (sub)
- Connectivity 3.5 mm, USB, Bluetooth, Optical
- Power: Unknown
The Razer Nommo Pro is expensive but well worth considering. This speaker set can tick off all the boxes in your audio wishlist.
The Nommo Pro features Dolby Virtual Surround Sound. The result is stunning. It adds a whole new level of immersive experience. For example, when you’re playing survival horror games. It’s necessary to identify the source of footsteps or whispers. Doing so can ultimately mean life or death. The Nommo Pro offers that fidelity and more.
It supports four inputs: Bluetooth, 3.5 mm, USB, and optical. There’s also a convenient dial control. It allows you to switch sources with a simple button. One second, you’re listening to music on your phone. The next, you’re doing covert operations on your console.
The system also comes with an easy-to-use app. It allows you to control volume levels and settings remotely. You can tweak the lighting patterns or equalizers easily. All from the convenience of your phone through Nommo Pro. Or from your desktop through Razer Synapse.
Intense gamers will find one feature to appreciate. That is the speakers’ rubberized bottom. Don’t worry about game sessions shifting your speakers. The Nommo Pro will stay in place.
The Razer Nommo Pro is a complete package. It has the functionality, connectivity, control, and sound of any gamer needs. If you have space and budget, it’s a no-brainer.
Best 5.1 speaker beyond $250
- Weight: 16.6 kg
- Size: various (5.1)
- Connectivity: 3.5 mm, RCA, Bluetooth, optical
- Power: 500 watts
It’s good if you have a hefty budget. However, you should still spend it on a quality deal. Consider looking at the Logitech Z906. It’s a 5.1 speaker system that easily defeats other expensive competitors.
The Logitech Z906 can convert any room into a home theater. It’s a Dolby Digital surround sound speaker system. You’ll hear game sounds the way they were designed to be heard. The Z906’s subwoofer’s bass is ground-shattering. Z906 delivers such deep, rich bass due to its 500-watt power.
Its speaker design might not have much ingenuity. But it’s worth mentioning that these are covered in a dust-protection shield. The Z906 is made to last.
Don’t have much space to spare for a 5.1 system? The Z906 can still do the job. These speakers are wall-mountable too.
You’ll find no control issues in this system. It comes with a master volume control. That allows you to control the overall loudness of the system. You can also tweak the loudness of each speaker individually. There’s also a wireless remote control included. It’s for adjusting volume control, power, mute, and set inputs.
The speaker supports connectivity through Bluetooth, RCA, optical, and 3.5 mm. Surprisingly though, there’s no HDMI input or output. Those are needed connectivity option for home theater speaker systems.
There’s another feature that might not appeal to gamers. The orange LED in the system’s control unit. It’s a bright color. That might distract from your gameplay. It could also conflict with your RGB light setup.
However, the lighting and lack of HDMI connectivity can be easily overlooked. The Z906 is an outstanding 5.1 that won’t break the bank.
That’s our list of best speakers from each system and budget. Use the questions that we raised. These will help you decide on your gaming speaker. Only you can answer what’s best suited to your needs and preferences.
So don’t wait any longer. Get your best gaming speaker. Experience the full visual and surround sound experience now. The best games deserve the best audio, after all.