Computer Speakers Buying Guide

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Computer Speakers Buying Guide

Computer speakers give buyers the ability to listen to music and videos on their laptop or desktop. Even though these devices already have built-in speakers, buyers can benefit from a separate sound system, which typically offers greater performance. However, with so many computer speaker systems available, choosing the right one requires some research. Buyers need to consider a myriad of factors including their budget and how they will use the speakers, as products range in price from readily affordable to extremely expensive. The desired use for speakers also determines how much buyers are willing to spend to get the system that is best for their needs.

When purchasing computer speakers, buyers should consider the sound format, whether stereo or surround sound, and the compatibility with the computer. Computer speakers are available in both wired and wireless varieties. Additional features, such as extra ports, on-speaker controls, and a remote control enhance the functionality of the speakers. Computer speakers can be bought from electronics shops, department stores and online at eBay. eBay is an online marketplace that has a great selection of computers, tablets, and networking equipment, including computer speakers.

Understanding Sound Formats

There are three basic sound formats for computer speakers. They are defined as 2 channel sound, or stereo; 2.1 channel sound; and 5.1 or 7.1 channel sound, or surround sound.

2 Channel Systems

Stereo sound uses two channels of audio, left and right. It is the type of sound created by most televisions and radios. Stereo systems have just two speakers, one of which holds the amplifier. They tend to have limited bass response because they are small. Stereo speakers are good for listening to music, or for anyone who just needs a simple sound system. These models are often amongst the cheapest available. For audiophiles, there are also studio monitor speakers, which are much larger and deliver better performance. However, they also can come with a heavy price tag.

2.1 Channel Systems

A 2.1-channel system is similar to a stereo system, but it adds a dedicated subwoofer for improved bass response. The speakers in a 2.1 channel system are some of the smallest available because the subwoofer handles the low-frequency effects. However, these systems also require the owner to make room to place the subwoofer, which can vary in size. A 2.1 channel system is good for people who are serious about bass performance in music. It is also good for the casual gamer or someone who watches films.

5.1 or 7.1 Channel Systems

Surround sound systems come in a variety of forms, but by far the most common are 5.1 and 7.1 channel systems. Surround sound refers to the audio effect that occurs when speakers are placed correctly around the user, surrounding him or her in an immersive sound field that has directional effects. The features of 5.1 and 7.1 systems are outlined in the table below.

5.1 Channel Systems

7.1 Channel Systems

1 centre channel speaker

1 centre channel speaker

2 mains that can serve as stereo

2 mains that can serve as stereo

1 subwoofer

1 subwoofer

2 surround speakers

4 surround speakers

For true surround sound, the speakers are placed at the back of the room behind and to either side of the listener. In a 5.1 channel system, the two surrounds are placed at an angle between 90 and 110 degrees from the centre of the listening space. A 7.1 channel system adds two more rear surround speakers, placing them at an angle between 135 and 150 degrees from the centre of the listening space. In some surround sound systems, the two main speakers can also serve as simple stereo speakers, which can be useful in music listening if the user does not mind adjusting the set-up.

Surround sound systems are great for watching a film or playing computer games. However, they do take up a great amount of space because there are five to seven speakers plus a subwoofer, and the computer needs to be equipped to support the system. They are also some of the most expensive systems.

Factors to Consider when Buying Computer Speakers

Computer speakers vary in price and the features that they offer. Before making a purchase, buyers should consider these factors.

Price of Computer Speakers

Speaker prices can vary widely. Buyers may be able to find excellent deals that bring down the price so that can get a high quality product. More expensive systems typically outperform lower priced ones, but within the same general price range, a higher cost does not always equate to better performance. Extra features can add to the cost of speakers, as can a well known brand name. When choosing speakers, set a budget and prioritise what factors are most important. Do some research into the products to learn more about what other buyers say about audio quality and performance.

Purpose of Computer Speakers

It is also important to know what the speakers will be used for. Gaming and film enthusiasts are more likely to require surround sound speakers, while listeners to music may be better served by stereo speakers. Some buyers may want portable speakers to use with a laptop. So, buyers need to be able to pinpoint the speakers that best meet their needs.

Speaker and Computer Compatibility

There are two factors to consider when assessing whether a speaker system is compatible with a computer: the sound card in the computer and the connections offered by the speakers. Buyers need to verify that their computer supports a speaker system on both counts.

Sound Cards and Speakers

Almost all computers have some sort of audio capabilities, which come from two sources: an integrated sound card on the motherboard or a discrete sound card. As with their graphics counterparts, discrete sound cards generally offer better performance than integrated ones. Laptops are often limited to integrated sound, but buyers can upgrade the device with an external sound controller, which usually relies on a USB or FireWire interface.

In any case, the on-board audio is likely to be equipped to support standard stereo speakers and possibly some 2.1 channel set-ups. However, unless the computer is a newer high-end model, a more advanced sound card may be required for a surround sound system. A good quality sound card is essential to getting good performance from any computer speakers.

Computer Connections

Some speakers are designed with USB connections to link to a computer. These often have extra features because of the USB interface, but if the USB ports on a computer are limited, a dedicated audio interface may be more desirable. Stereo systems require nothing more than a 3.5 mm mini-jack, which is also used to connect headphones; surround sound systems require several ports.

In addition, there are two kinds of interfaces for surround sound systems: digital and analogue. Analogue is universally compatible, but speakers that use a digital interface require the computer to have an S/PDIF connection. However, the digital interface does provide higher quality sound.

Wireless Computer Speakers

Wireless computer speakers have finally closed the gap in quality that in the past made them more a choice of convenience rather than anything else. They use a variety of technologies to receive audio signals, but two of the most common are infrared and Bluetooth. Infrared speakers are not susceptible to interference, but they do require a clear line of sight to receive a signal. Bluetooth is a great option because it allows for two-way communication between the devices. This means that the speakers can control which track plays or even the radio station, without needing to touch the computer. However, expect to pay a bit more for a wireless system.

Extra Features of Computer Speakers

After deciding what kind of speakers they want, buyers should look at the extra features. One of the most important is the additional interface that the speakers offer. Some high-end models may support multiple connections so that a pair of computer speakers can connect not only to the computer, but to other audio devices, including a DVD or Blu-ray player, gaming system, smartphone, or media player. On-speaker controls should at least include volume, but bass and treble controls allow for easier fine tuning. They should also be easy to reach. Finally, consider a remote control for the speakers for the ultimate convenience.

How to Buy Computer Speakers on eBay

Shopping for computer speakers on eBay is as easy as entering keywords, such as "computer speakers&" into the search box on the home page. You can be as general or specific as you like. If you are looking for a specific product try keywords with brands, such as "Logitech computer speakers&" or specifications, such as "5.1 channel computer speakers&". eBay finds all of the listings that match your search query, which you can filter by product category and a variety of other features.

Tips for Shopping on eBay

Many people research a product before buying. Equally important to shopping on eBay is researching the seller. Check the seller's feedback history to see what previous buyers have said about their experiences. You can learn more about how feedback works by visiting the eBay Help Centre.. In addition to researching sellers you should take a moment to register for an eBay account, which is essential for the checkout process. However, signing into your account while browsing has several advantages, including allowing you to monitor products you are interested in, creating wish lists, and creating lists of sellers.


Computer speakers are a great way to enhance a computer, whether the user wants to listen to music, play games, or watch films. There are three choices for the sound format: stereo, 2.1 channel, and surround sound. The first is great for music and anyone needing a basic system, the second is a good all round system for anyone who wants deep bass in music or enough power to make a game or film's soundtrack sound good, and the third is best for film buffs and gamers.

When purchasing computer speakers, buyers need to consider their budget and how they plan to use the speakers. Shoppers also need to make sure that the speakers are compatible with their computer by checking their sound card and the connections on the speakers. Another factor to consider is whether the speakers are wired or wireless. Wireless offers greater convenience and the quality has finally begun to rival that of wired speakers. Finally, look for extra features that make the system even easier to use, such as multiple connections, on-speaker controls, and a remote control. Whatever kind of computer speakers buyers want, they can find them on eBay easily.

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