Gaming speakers aren’t thought of as an important accessory in a gamer’s armor, but they should be. They just improve the overall gaming experience.
But like any other thing in gaming, all gaming speakers are not the same.
There are different types of gaming speakers out there and we’re gonna discuss them here. But before that, let me explain one thing: The number against a speaker model.
In general, speakers are rated by a number and you’ll often see that number against a model’s name. For example Creative A250 “2.1”.
So, what this number means?
Well, this number actually consists of 2 parts. The first number digit of that decimal represents the total number of satellite speakers, and the second number represents the number of sub-woofers in it.
Using this formula, 2.1 basically means a speaker system which has 2 satellite speakers in addition to 1 subwoofer
Best Gaming Speakers 2020
Things To Look For In A Gaming Speaker
Size Of Your Room
The first thing you need to look around while considering a speaker system is your gaming room. If your gaming setup is placed in a small room, then a 5.1 speaker system is not good for you. It'll take a large space as well as the sound it'll produce will be too much for your small-sized room.
In terms of controls, different manufacturers have adopted different policies. In some speakers, there aren’t any controls at all, you need to connect them with your PC, and change the volume through PC.
Some other manufacturers, however, provide you different controls on the speaker itself. Some even give you options to customize bass and treble according to your taste.
If you’re looking for speakers with controls, make sure these controls as easily accessible, and not be placed in awkward places like the backside of the subwoofer etc.
Regardless of what component they’re choosing, most of the gamers prefer performance over style. There exist some people, however, who choose style over everything.
In my opinion, you should pay more attention to the quality of a speaker, but it shouldn’t look bad either.
If you want to have good quality audio, then stop looking at the specs sheet. These are pretty much useless for the average consumer - at least in audio products market.
A good speaker is the one that produces a good balance between bass, midrange and treble frequencies, and provides detailed and rich sound.
The one area where most speakers suffer is in providing good quality bass. It’s because most speakers use small drivers that can’t produce low-frequencies (Bass).
To avoid this problem, some speakers produce upper-Bass frequencies. While this approach can create Bass, the sound quality can decrease. That’s why, if you’re into Heavy-Bass music, consider having speakers with large subwoofer.
Different Types of Speaker Setup
2.0 and 2.1 Channel Stereo Systems
2.0 Speakers are the ones which have a basic pair of stereo speakers to provide left and right channels of sound. If you include one separate subwoofer in the above system, it will become a 2.1 system.
There are many differences between 2.0 and 2.1 speaker system. First is the mechanism. In 2.0 systems, there are two left and right stereo speakers along with an amplifier accommodated in one of those two speakers.
A 2.1 System, on the other hand, has smaller left-right speakers (to produce high-end frequencies) and larger subwoofer (to produce low-end frequencies).
All these results in their sizes. 2.0 systems are generally compact and smaller in size, while the 2.1 Systems are preferred to produced low-end frequencies. A 2.1 System is also called a sub/sat system (short for Sub-woofer/satellite).
5.1 Speaker System
A 5.1 speaker system is a different setup than the above two setups because it consists of 5 satellite speakers and 1 subwoofer. Many people consider 5.1 systems as the true surround sound systems.
These systems consist of one front left-right speaker pair (to provide the main soundtrack information), one rear left-right speaker pair (for ambient sound), one central speaker (for dialog and main vocal) and one subwoofer.
These systems are expensive than the 2.0 and 2.1 systems but considered perfect for home theaters.
7.1 Speaker Setup
This is the most complete speaker setup right now in the market. It consists of 7 satellite speakers and a single subwoofer, which enables it to have the most diverse surround sound experience.
Since these speaker systems are too expensive for gaming, we haven’t included them in this review.
Common Features Found In A Computer Speaker
- Headphones Jack - Headphones jack is a very basic yet important feature of a speaker. It allows you to listen to music directly through your headphones. This feature can be really helpful in situations where you want to continue your gaming, but not disturb other people around you.
- Surround Sound - Surround sound is a technique which makes the listener think that the sound is coming from multiple directions. Since the 1990s, this feature has been common in speakers, especially in home theater systems.
Logitech Z906: Check Price On Amazon
Best 5.1 Gaming Speaker 2020
Logitech Z906 is one gaming speaker you surely need to have if you want to convert your gaming setup into a full-fledged home theater. It can help you in hearing everything happening in your game, like a character walking from behind etc, and that too with great detail and accuracy.
Like ProMedia from Klipsch, Z906 is a THX-certified speaker but it consists of 5 satellite speakers, instead of 2 in Promedia.
Speaking of its speakers, it worth mentioning that these speakers feel quite solid and have dust-prevention shield. That shield won't do wonders but will surely prevent a large amount of dust from getting in.
A real advantage, though, is that these speakers are wall-mountable. So you can place 'em anywhere on your room' walls. This thing can potentially save a lot of your room space.
Unlike its predecessor, Z906 doesn't have an LCD display for different stats. Instead, this one has a separate control unit with many orange-colored LEDs. One thing I didn't like in this control unit is the color of LED lights. The orange color is too bright for many gamers.
Not to forget about the fact that many people play games in the dark, where it can rather be distracting.
There's also a wireless remote that lets you control volume, power, mute and set inputs.
In a real-world environment, you most probably won't play it with max volume, such is its loudness level.
Its subwoofer alone delivers 165 watts of power, while for each of its 5 dynamic speakers, this power is 65 watts.
This makes the total power count to 500 watts. In some specific circumstances, however, this speaker system can deliver as much as 1000 watts of peak power.
That much power level is surely enough to create a type of ground-shaking, deep bass music, we all love in concerts. This is the also the reason why this system can be used with any music player, TV or even with recording devices, in addition to the regular PCs and gaming consoles.
Other than THX, this system is also Dolby and DTS certified, which makes surely makes it a surround sound system. There is a master volume control, which gives you control over the overall loudness of the system.
What I liked more is that you can also adjust the loudness of these speakers individually.
In previous speakers, Logitech had used its proprietary connections, not in this one. This system can use any standard speaker cable from the market.
Overall we were pretty happy after reviewing this. There isn't much fault you can find in this system. And then if you combined this with its low-price (as compared to other "home-theater" systems), I think it's a damn good deal.
Here's what ArmChairEmpire.com has to say about it: "If you want a true surround sound experience and have a capable sound card to pair it with, this is the speaker solution for you"
- Well built satellite speakers
- Wireless controller
- If you use the digital input, it converts them from basic stereo to 3d surround sound stereo.
- Loudness control for individual speakers
- Not too expensive
- Control unit's LED lights can be distracting for some people
- No HDMI inputs
Harman Kardon SoundSticks III: Check Price On Amazon
SoundSticks III is actually a newer version of the SoundSticks II speaker by the Harman Kardon.
It's a 2.1 computer speaker with a pretty strange design. No, seriously. At first glance, I didn't even know how to react.
It's because of its transparent plastic build, which makes it some sort of an ancient mysterious artifact, rather than a modern speaker. Due to this transparent design, everything inside this speaker system is visible, like drivers of each satellite speaker.
The braided cables that are used to connect the speakers with subwoofer are quite solid.
But here's bad news though. These cables are non-detachable, which means you cannot disconnect them completely from this system. Its also means that in case of any damage, you cannot replace it with any other cable. You'll have to get your whole unit repaired.
Another design-related flaw in this system is that the volume controls of both sub-woofers and speakers are separate. It would have been great if they were in the same place. Not to forget about the lack of any remote control for any volume adjustment.
Apart from a little distortion (at the max level), there isn't any particular flaw in its audio performance which is excellent otherwise.
According to PC Mag: "The Harman Kardon SoundSticks III is mainly a cosmetic upgrade of previous models, and a subtle one at that, but this 2.1-channel PC speaker set remains our Editors' Choice"
Klipsch ProMedia 2.1: Check Price On Amazon
Best Budget Gaming Speakers 2020
Ever since being released, the Promedia 2.1 by Klipsch have remained to be one of the better 2.1 speaker systems around, especially for desktop users. And this hasn’t been changed even after this system being more than 15 years old. And here’s why.
First, this system is one of the few in its category to be THX certified. THX-certified audio devices are the one which meets/exceeds the specifications by THX. It's an industry-level certification.
Although THX doesn’t publicize the factors they consider for an audio system, there’s a common agreement that these specs include things like maximum distortion level, sound-to-noise ratio etc.
That’s why THX-certified audio-equipments are considered as the cream of the crop among others.
Being a 2.1 speaker system means it has 3 satellite speakers.
Each of these satellites use Klipsch's own MicroTractrix horns which ensures these speakers to have proper clarity, no matter what the audio source is (from internet radio to CDs and MP3s, this thing will make any source sound good).
This overall clarity ensures that you can listen to teeny-tiny things happening in a game, such as someone whispering, or coming from behind, in the game.
On a technical side, these speakers can handle the frequencies from 31 Hz to 20 KHz.
What makes this system exceptional is that they sound more spacious than the regular 2.1 speaker systems, thanks again to the power these speakers gather. Another good thing is the separate subwoofer volume control.
This gives you full control over how much/less you want your bass, in any particular scenario.
All these things said, there are a couple of downsides in this system. First is that its build is entirely plastic, something many people don't like.
Second is the design. Since these speakers are very old, they don't feature the same fancy design commonly found in modern computer speakers.
Another thing you need to take care of is the power consumption. While sound drivers in the two satellite speakers only consume 35 watts each, it's the subwoofer that does the main damage by eating as much as 130 watts.
Yes, it's necessary for handling such low frequencies, but it still would be a concern for some people.