Even though sound can be run through a computer’s internal speaker system, most people prefer to purchase separate computer speakers because computer sound quality tends to be poor. The fact is, good speakers are the key to getting the best possible audio experience. You can put together the best CD or DVD player on the market, but if you don’t have the right speakers, you will be left unhappy. This is important because your speakers provide the interface between you and the digital world. Choosing the right set can make the difference between cramped, muddy audio and crystal-clear concert-hall sound. Having said that, expect to pay $200 to $250 for high quality computer audio. Of course, there are computer audio systems that cost more and some that cost less, but expect to pay that much to be really happy with the audio.
Normally, speakers are sold by the inch. A top of the line computer speaker system would be 5″ to 5.1″ speakers and a top of the line subwoofer. The subwoofer should offer decent bass without distortion. Phillips Acoustic Fusion 3310 at $200 is an excellent high end choice that will not break the bank. This set comes with one subwoofer and two speakers that give the wattage output of six speakers. It comes with a one year standard warranty. The entire system only weighs 3lbs. This set up will really make games come to life. The Klipsch ProMedia GMX A-2.1 is also recommended by those in the know. It has some nice features like a very modern design and bass adjustment knobs on the front, but it comes standard with 2″ speakers. If the manufacturer offers a warranty, they have not made it public knowledge. The set retails at $250. Orb speakers are the latest technology. Although the previously mentioned systems will provide high quality, orb or satellite speakers purchased through Anthony Gallo Acoustics are currently the creme de la creme. Subwoofers range from $400 to $700. Speakers range from $250 to $600. The sound quality is excellent! For everyone else, a descent, but less expensive alternative is 2″ speakers with a subwoofer. Bose is an old tried and true company that is still making exceptional products. The Bose Companion Multi-Media Speaker System at $100 offers “True Space” technology, which creates a full rich surround sound. They are an excellent economical choice.
Things to Keep in Mind
Buying ten speakers is easy. Deciding where to put the cabling for ten speakers is more difficult. Examine the desk and work space, making decisions about how much cabling the space can accommodate before setting out to the stereo store. Many speaker sets offer “Christmas Light” cabling with only one cable going to the electrical outlet.
Typically, name brand speakers are better. If you get generic no-brand speakers, you may end up with junk. What is worse, you may end up with speakers you cannot return when you discover the manufacture does not stand behind their products. The name brand doesn’t guarantee quality, but it’s a quick check to do to ensure a better chance at getting quality speakers.
When purchasing computer speakers for cubicles, skip the subwoofers. Even the best subwoofers tend to slightly vibrate the floor and walls, which can cause interoffice relations difficulties.
Something else to keep in mind, enabling sounds in Windows can be fun, but it could cause technical problems when old applications cannot handle multiple sounds playing at once.
One last note, remember that loud does not necessarily mean better. Do not be fooled by sales reps, who will try to impress you by blasting you out of the showroom. You may want to take some of the CDs that you commonly listen to with you to use for testing.