Graphics are an important part of any video game, but don’t forget about the power of sound. The right PC gaming speakers add a deeper layer of immersion. Music and movies on your computer are also enhanced by the right speakers, which can turn your PC into the equivalent of an entertainment center.
If you play multiplayer games, the right PC gaming speakers can provide a key advantage. Hear the footsteps of your opponents as they try to sneak up behind you. Communicate clearly with your teammates -- even during the chaos of battle. PC Gaming speakers can be the difference between victory and defeat.
Our complete guide below has everything you need to know about PC gaming speakers. We cover various features you might be interested in, top brands, what you can expect to pay and more.
Buyers Guide: PC Gaming Speakers
All speakers are not the same. Even speakers which look the same can have wildly specifications inside. Before you can select the features and specs which will best suit your needs, you first need to determine what those needs are. Be as specific as possible. The more time you spend here, the more money you can save when making a purchase.
Size and Power
Are you going to use these speakers at home or somewhere else? If the speakers are for office use, size and volume will likely be an issue. You’ll want speakers which are physically small enough for your work area. Also, high volume and deep bass are likely inappropriate for an office type of setting.
Most PC gaming is done in the confines of home, however. So deep bass and loud volumes aren’t as much of a concern. After all, isn’t blasting your game at times really a major reason to buy great gaming speakers in the first place?
Stereo, 2.1 or Surround Sound?
According to How Stuff Works, all speakers produce sound in the same basic way. An electromagnet, attached to a flexible cone, is pushed and pulled to create a range of tones. There are three basic speaker driver types:
Woofers – These large drivers produce the low tones
Mid-Range – These drivers produce middle frequencies
Tweeters – These small drivers produce the high frequencies
Stereo speakers have only a left and right speaker. This would be like the speakers built in to your computer already, or even the speakers inside your TV. Ever heard of “2.1” speakers? This is a common term for a setup where two stereo speakers are augmented by a subwoofer.
The next type of setup beyond this is Surround Sound. This is when anywhere from five to seven speakers, along with a subwoofer, are used to fill an area with sound. When there’s a noise in the game meant to be behind you, you’ll actually hear the sound coming from speakers in that direction. According to Technopedia, this effect is achieved by the use of multiple audio channels. A subwoofer covers deep bass sounds below 100HZ. Some PC surround sound setups use a subwoofer. Others simply let their woofers handle the low and mid-low tones.
The Case for Stereo Speakers
Surround sound is a great option for PC gaming. Games, especially first-person shooters, typically involve sounds coming from every direction in relation to the player. Another reason for choosing surround sound is if you use your PC to watch a lot of movies and TV shows.
But surround sound is hardly the only option for PC gaming. In fact, the vast majority of PC gaming rigs use stereo pairs. They’re usually cheaper and easier to set up than surround sound. Plus, many stereo speakers can mimic spatial-based sound very well even with just the two speakers.
With a PC, you’ll have a ton of sound control options located within the computer’s operating software. Many speakers will have external controls as well. Almost all PC speakers will have a physical volume knob of some type. If you have a subwoofer, there will likely be some controls for the bass levels. An external on/off button is also quite common.
PC gaming presents some interesting challenges in regards to external controls. In many cases, the speakers will be on a desk near you. This makes reaching over to adjust the volume knobs easy and simple.
Not all PC speakers are set up in this way, however. Some gamers – especially those with high-end speakers – want to fill up the room with sound. This means placing the speakers around the room for the best possible sound quality. If your speakers are placed out of arm’s reach, you’ll probably want to avoid models where you’ll need to adjust external volume controls often.
Many speakers offer remote control. Even if you primarily use the speakers for gaming, a remote control is useful when you want to listen to music while you’re not sitting directly in front of your PC.
Mounting and Placement
Most PC gamers will probably place their speakers on their desktop. But, again, this isn’t the only option available. Speakers can be mounted on the wall or even place on adjustable stands.
If you do place your speakers on your desktop, you’ll need to consider any effects that might have on the sound. An uneven, wobbly desk might vibrate obnoxiously, especially if low tones are playing at high volumes. This is a problem rather unique to PC gaming but also one which is usually fixed easily.
If you’re a veteran of PC gaming speakers, you might have just rolled your eyes a bit. Wireless gaming speakers used to be notoriously terrible. Today, they’re much better; in many cases, they’re no different in sound quality than wired. Of course, wireless speakers can also get a little pricey.
Wireless speakers work especially well if you have a gaming laptop and like to move around a small area often. Connection is often simple. Bluetooth is fully supported by the majority of PC speakers. Support for AirPlay and other WiFi standards is a little less common but can still be found among most major brands.
Our Picks: Best PC Gaming Speakers
Audioengine is a brand known for making high-end computer and bookshelf speakers. The Audioengine 5 was their flagship model, with the A5+ building upon that design while also adding interesting features such as dual audio inputs, enhanced thermal management and a remote control.
Connecting the speakers to your PC is done through your computer’s headphone jack or by paring with a USB DAC. There’s no software to install or settings to adjust. These speakers will work with practically any computer.
Excellent, full sound quality with Kevlar woofers and silk tweeters. Includes built-in power amplifiers and 50 watts per channel RMS
Modern, sophisticated design features a white exterior color and rounded corners.
Extremely easy set up. Seamlessly works with basically any type of computer including older models with headphone jacks. Also easy to use as a bookshelf speaker.
- Audioengine has a long-standing reputation for reliable, fast and friendly customer service.
The price is high. While you get a lot of speaker for your $400, you’re still spending quite a bit of money.
- Potential for damage. A handful of people reported that their speakers were damaged upon arrival. This isn’t reflective of the brand as much as the difficulties of shipping something as sophisticated as a speaker through the mail. Fortunately, Audioengine’s customer support can be trusted to help out their customers in this situation.
Genius SW-G2.1 2000 Gaming Speaker System (Best bang for your buck!)
All the bells and whistles, and then some! The Genius SW-G2.1 PC Gaming Speaker System is designed primarily for loud, exciting PC gaming. You’ll hear every explosion in crisp, clear detail. But this system isn’t just for audio. A blue LED light automatically syncs up with the bass, creating a cool “battle field” effect.
These speakers work for PC, laptops, tablets, Android devices and Apple devices. Setup is easy with the convenient RCA and 3.5mm inputs. Forty-five watts of RMS audio provide enough power to wake up your entire household. Yet the speakers weighh less than 10 pounds and their overall dimensions are only 9” by 9.” Powerful sound in a package compact enough to fit on practically any desktop.
Designed specifically for gaming. Sound levels and light display are geared towards deep bass and clear mid- and high- range tones. Dynamic lighting effects augment the gaming experience.
Versatile inputs make PC connection easy. Speakers have stereo RCA, 3.5mm primary and 3.5mm auxiliary inputs. They also have a 3.5mm headphone jack, 3.5mm microphone jack and 3.5mm line input jack for a TV.
- For all gaming system. These inputs allow you to connect the speakers directly to your TV. This means you can use these speakers for console gaming such as with your Xbox or PlayStation systems. Easy hookup means you can connect the speakers to new devices in seconds.
The blue light isn’t for everybody. If the idea of your speakers lighting up the room isn’t appealing, you might be paying for a feature which you’ll never use. Note that the light can be toggle on and off by the user.
Power cable is hardwired to back of control unit. While this doesn’t apply to anyone, certain desktop setups can be difficult to navigate. All other cables aside from the power cord can be disconnected at both ends.
- Lack of grills around the subwoofer means an increased chance of accidental damage. Be careful with your feet!
These speakers are a top seller on Amazon and there’s really no mystery as to why. Many, many customers note their high quality – especially for the price.
These are studio-quality speakers suitable for professional sound work such as sound editing and multimedia creation. But you don’t need to be a professional to instantly hear the crisp, clear sounds. These speakers have a full multimedia range of 80 Hz – 20 kHz. (Check out this guide from TeachMeAudio to learn about the range of sounds a person can hear.)
No two desktops are the same. Mackie understands this which is why these speakers have an exclusive speaker placement switch. You can place the volume knob on either speaker. Perfect for placement around monitors, cords and other desk-based blockades.
Powerful enough for a professional sound mixer. Affordable enough for the gamer who just wants to hear their game the way it was meant to sound.
Physical flexibility means you can set up and control the speakers however you like. Front-facing controls let you adjust the volume as well as turn the speakers on and off. Also lets you determine which speaker is right and which is left.
- Interacting with other devices is very easy. Auxiliary input lets you plug in headphones, smart phones and other media devices.
Some users report the bass is a bit underdeveloped. Other users report the bass is full and rich. This might be a difference simply in what each person was listening to, or the bass might actually not be as deep as it should be.
No wireless option. Although some users report that a simple Chromecast Audio device will easily give these speakers wireless capabilities.
- Speakers are made in China. While this seems to be a solid, well-made product some customers prefer American made whenever possible.
Not all PC gaming takes place on a desktop. The Razer Ferox mobile PC gaming speakers provide dynamic, crystal-clear audio on the go. Perfect for laptops and even mobile devices.
Sure, they may look a little odd but there’s a good reason why. The Ferox has 360 degree omni-directional sound. Create a full soundstage instantly as tones are distributed evenly throughout any small or medium-sized rooms.
Compact but powerful, this speaker system is relatively unique in the market. Not too many products market themselves exclusively to mobile and laptop gamers. But if you game “on the go” often, the Ferox is certainly worth consideration.
Lightweight and portable, the Ferox weighs less than eight ounces. Can easily fit into a laptop bag or backpack.
Charge the speakers off your computer’s USB port. Fully charged, the device will play audio for about eight hours.
Great for groups. Need to broadcast audio from your laptop to a group of people? This is an effective way to do so. Many business and student uses beyond gaming.
- High quality Razer product means these speakers can handle the everyday bumps mobility brings. Take them with you without worrying too much about accidental damage.
They’re loud. While obviously you want speakers which can blast out sounds when necessary, these speakers can be almost too loud at times. They create a lot more sound than their size suggests. Not really suitable for personal use in a crowded area.
Bass tones aren’t as rich compared to the mids and highs.
- The included cord, which connects the speakers to the device, is pretty short. The speakers will likely need to be on the same table as the device in order to work.
Don’t let the somewhat odd brand name through you off. These are serious PC gaming speakers that pack a lot of punch. The SP-011G offers many interesting features you might not expect in this price range.
The Hyper Bass and 3D technology create a spatial sound experience rivaled by five speaker surround setups. SYMARVTRY Patented tech powers the Hyber Bass system, which can really rattle your desk at top volumes.
Powered by the USB, these PC gaming speakers are only five and a half inches high and two and half inches deep. They’re fit right into just about any desktop. They’re also small enough to really be considered portable.
Unique features. SYMARVTRY Hyber Bass and NEXPHIL anti-noise technology are only available in Dragonwar products. You’ll get a lot of bass from a tiny package.
Great price. At around $30, these are quality speakers for practically any budget.
- Easy to install. Use either a USB port of a phono jack.
Light doesn’t turn off automatically. There’s a blue light which stays on even after you power down the PC. In order to turn off this light, you have to unplug the power cord from the back of the speaker.
- Short cord. The cord connecting the two speakers will stretch around standard-size dual monitors, but not much further.
All the recommended speakers above are worth your consideration. We tried to include a nice balance of speakers for a variety of situations. There is one product we recommend above all, however, and that’s the Genius SW-G2.1 2000 Gaming Speaker System.
These speakers are probably the best option for the largest pool of gamers. The SW-G2.1 is a refinement of an already proven model. While not the cheapest speakers on our list, they’re still under $100.
We’ll be the first to admit that the audio-syncing light probably isn’t for everybody. Fortunately, turning the light off is simple.
Overall, these speakers have a small desktop footprint but a dynamic sound with clear mid/high tones and deep bass. Plus, they can easily be used with consoles, too. These speakers are designed from the ground up with gaming in mind, which is why they’re our top recommendation.