Computer power speakers: Best PC Speakers for 2023

Ruark Audio MR1 Mk2 review

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What Hi-Fi? Awards 2022 winner. An appealing pair of desktop speakers

By What Hi-Fi?

last updated

What Hi-Fi? Verdict

Gorgeous design and superb performance make these Ruark MR1 a desktop favourite


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    Stunningly musical sound

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    Subtle dynamics

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    Stylish, compact design

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    Streamlined features

  • No USB input

Why you can trust What Hi-Fi?
Our expert team reviews products in dedicated test rooms, to help you make the best choice for your budget. Find out more about how we test.

We loved the first Ruark Audio MR1 desktop speakers when they emerged in 2013. The retro looks, the intuitive design, the superb wireless sound – it was a winning combination that earned two successive What Hi-Fi? Awards.

But the MR1 were toppled from their perch by the KEF Egg, which won the two subsequent Best Desktop Speaker Awards.

So it was only a matter of time before Ruark Audio unveiled MR1 Mk2. And sure enough, Ruark Audio is back with a vengeance.

Gorgeous looks, streamlined design and features, sound quality that’s been improved in every way – the Ruark MR1 Mk2 shoot straight to the top of our favourites list.

  • Ruark Audio MR1 Mk2 (Grey) at Amazon for £349


We said the original Ruark MR1 were the closest any desktop wireless speaker had come to sounding like proper hi-fi, and that’s equally true of the new Mk2 version.

In fact, it’s even more so now, thanks to a clearer, more insightful and open sound than their predecessors. The new MR1 are wonderfully musical. The amount of subtlety conveyed is even greater than before, delivering rich detail and fluid dynamics on a whole new level.

There’s plenty of space between instruments in the airy soundstage, giving songs an expansive feel that makes the KEF Egg sound rather congested in comparison. The Ruarks breathe new life into whatever music you play through them.

The dominant bassline in SBTRKT’s Wildfire is taut, packs a punch and you can hear its deep, squelchy textures. The MR1 are agile and authoritative. They time well, too; the magnificent pomp of David Bowie’s Magic Dance blares through the speakers with plenty of energy and sparkle.

Voices in particular sound lovely. Bella Hardy’s The Driving of the Deer is delivered with the kind of effortless drive and insight we’d expect from decent hi-fi speakers. There’s a solidity underpinning the rich, warm midrange, and the elegance with which her lilting, nimble vocals are delivered is simply gorgeous.

The Mk2 sound lush and smooth while also being articulate. They convey the mood of songs faithfully, too – an impressive feat for wireless speakers.

Elliott Smith’s soft, whispered singing on Angeles will pull at your heartstrings, every nuance of his voice and the tactility of his guitar strumming laid bare through.

MORE: How to choose the right wireless speaker


The Ruark MR1 Mk2 are lovely to listen to, but their stylish retro looks are a huge part of the charm too.

The handcrafted wooden cabinets are beautifully made, the speakers are good to use, and they’re just the size to fit onto a bookshelf, TV stand or desk.

Ruark has been wise to keep its characteristic look, but it doesn’t rest on its laurels. Where possible, the design has been streamlined.

The most obvious update is the grey fabric covering the grilles – both for aesthetic and acoustic reasons. The cable connecting the left and right speakers is now slimmer and covered in braided fabric.


Less obvious, but far more useful, is the addition of an optical input that can support hi-res audio up to 24-bit/192kHz – a big update, and one that surpasses the KEF Egg’s 24-bit/96kHz limit. It also means you can use the new MR1 as TV speakers. The optical input joins a 3.5mm auxiliary input and a subwoofer output at the back of the main unit (ie. the right speaker, which houses all amplification and connections).

Ruark continues to apply hi-fi speaker principles with the MkII. From tuned crossovers to the use of A/B amplification – everything is aimed at delivering the best possible sound quality.

The cabinets (in rich walnut or a new soft grey finish) each house a 20mm tweeter and 75mm mid/bass, with small bass ports underneath each unit.

The rotary dial that sits on top of the main unit has been further refined. It’s nicer to use, turns smoothly and allows you to switch between inputs.

You no longer have to press down and hold to activate the Bluetooth pairing mode, either. The MR1 automatically start searching for a Bluetooth connection when switched to that source, so they’re quicker to play your music.

These little things make all the difference. Even the LEDs for each source (blue for Bluetooth, orange for aux, green for optical) have been subdued so they’re not too piercing in darkened rooms.

While you’re most probably going to be controlling playback and volume through your smartphone or laptop (or TV remote), you do get a tiny, slim remote in the box with basic functions like switching inputs. We wish this were classier in feel.

Other features include a smarter auto standby mode, an optional battery pack to make the MR1 portable, and the ability to use the main right speaker as a single mono speaker.

It’s a well-catered features list, although we wouldn’t mind seeing a USB input in a future version.


But any minor issues are overshadowed by the design and performance of these excellent speakers. The step up in performance in impressive, and the Ruark MR1 Mk2 manage to be even more appealing than before and regain their pole position on the Awards podium.

Quite simply, these are superb speakers of their type.

MORE: Best computer speakers

Ruark Audio MR1 Mk2: Price Comparison

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What Hi-Fi?, founded in 1976, is the world’s leading independent guide to buying and owning hi-fi and home entertainment products. Our comprehensive tests help you buy the very best for your money, with our advice sections giving you step-by-step information on how to get even more from your music and movies. Everything is tested by our dedicated team of in-house reviewers in our custom-built test rooms in London, Reading and Bath. Our coveted five-star rating and Awards are recognised all over the world as the ultimate seal of approval, so you can buy with absolute confidence.

Read more about how we test

Elac Debut ConneX DCB41 review: a neat, talented and compact hi-fi speakers system.

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A neat, affordable and talented entry into the speaker systems market
Tested at £529 / $595 / AU$900

(Image: © Future)

What Hi-Fi? Verdict

If you’re looking for a compact, good sounding but affordable hi-fi system, Elac’s Debut ConneX DCB41 might be perfect for you


Why you can trust What Hi-Fi?
Our expert team reviews products in dedicated test rooms, to help you make the best choice for your budget. Find out more about how we test.

Are you looking for a neat, good-sounding but affordable hi-fi system? If so, Elac’s Debut ConneX DCB41 might just be perfect for you. It is a powered set-up where one speaker contains all the electronics, including the 2 x 50 watts of amplification, while the other is a conventional passive design. 

Build & features

(Image credit: Future)

The two speakers are linked with a standard, supplied speaker cable. Unlike with pricer alternatives such as Triangle’s AIO Twin or the KEF LSX II, there aren’t any network streaming smarts included here, so you need to supply the source. This can be an aptX Bluetooth signal from your phone, or anything digital that directly connects through the USB (Type B), optical or HDMI inputs. That addition of HDMI ARC is a smart touch and opens up the ConneX to be used with TVs.

  • Elac Debut ConneX at Richer Sounds for £529

Analogue users haven’t been ignored either. There’s a single set of stereo RCAs that can be switched between being a line-level or a moving magnet phono input. In an ideal world, we would have liked a coax (digital) and maybe another analogue line-level input, but it is fair to say that Elac has covered most bases well.

Elac Debut ConneX DCB41 tech specs

(Image credit: Future)

Speaker type Powered speakers

Amplifier Power 2 x 50 watts

Tweeter 19mm soft dome 

Woofer 10cm Polypropylene

Inputs HDMI (ARC), USB (24-bit/96kHz), line/phono (switchable), optical, Bluetooth aptX 

Subwoofer output? Yes 

Dimensions (hwd) 25 x 14 x 20cm

Finishes Black Ash, Royal Blue, Walnut

We have a few complaints, though. The volume knob, which toggles through the inputs when pressed, is awkwardly positioned on the back panel. You could just use the supplied remote of course, but that’s not always conveniently to hand. Elsewhere, it would be nice to have some indication of volume level. At the moment there isn’t anything, which could lead to unpleasant surprises when swapping sources.

The Debut Connex DCB41 doesn’t take up much space. The individual units stand around a hand-span high, fitting into most places with ease. Build quality is pleasing, good and solid. These speakers would be right at home on a desktop, but can also work in a decently-sized room provided you don’t require party levels.

As befits a product of this type, the ConneX speakers don’t prove overly fussy about placement, though they do work best when given a little space to breathe and situated on a solid, low resonance support. Proper speaker stands would be ideal, of course, but we understand that such supports aren’t a practical solution for some.


(Image credit: Future)

These Elac are equipped with a small 10cm mid/bass unit and a 19mm soft dome tweeter. The low frequencies are tuned by a rear-firing slot reflex port, and stay pretty controlled even when placed relatively close to a rear wall and, just as commendably, when we boost the bass by using the XBass setting from the remote. This setting adds a welcome dose of weight to the sound, but can easily sound a little too obvious, so we end up leaving it off.

If you want to hear this system at its best use the digital inputs. Used this way it is a clear, balanced and insightful performer. There’s a good level of detail here and the ability to organise that information into a cohesive and musical whole. As we listen to a range of music from Sorrows Away by folk group The Unthanks to Tchaikovsky’s 1812 Overture, it becomes clear that this is a surprisingly capable performer. 

The overall presentation is controlled and even-handed in the manner of Elac’s award-winning Debut 2. 0 series of passive speakers. It isn’t the most thrilling of presentations – Triangle’s more expensive AIO Twin is a more energetic performer – but the understated way this system goes about its job is eminently likeable. This is a product that fades into the background, leaving the music to take the limelight.

This can only be done if there are no obvious areas of weakness, and that’s the case here. Nothing jars or distracts from the music being played. The Elacs’ presentation is nicely judged in the sense that it’s a little rounded to keep the system unfussy about recording quality, but not so much that better signals suffer. We happily switch between Bluetooth and the other digital inputs without issue, despite it being clear that the wireless link is the most limited sonically. 

Try the line-level analogue input and there is a small loss in transparency and openness, but the Elacs’ strengths are preserved. It remains informative and enjoyable. It is only when we come to the phono stage that we’re left a little disappointed. This phono stage is fine for occasional use, but sounds a little too opaque and lacking in dynamic expression to keep our interest for long. If vinyl replay is a priority, we would suggest budgeting for an outboard phono stage such as the Rega Fono Mini A2D.


(Image credit: Future)

We’re big fans of systems such as this. They’re neat, well-featured and the best of the breed represents excellent value. Given the Elac Debut ConneX DCB41’s aggressive pricing (£529 / $595 / AU$900), it earns a rich recommendation from us.


  • Sound 5
  • Build 4
  • Features 4


Read our review of the Triangle AIO Twin

Also consider the KEF LSX II

Read our Denon D-M41DAB review

These are the best all-in-one systems you can buy

Elac Debut ConneX: Price Comparison

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What Hi-Fi?, founded in 1976, is the world’s leading independent guide to buying and owning hi-fi and home entertainment products. Our comprehensive tests help you buy the very best for your money, with our advice sections giving you step-by-step information on how to get even more from your music and movies. Everything is tested by our dedicated team of in-house reviewers in our custom-built test rooms in London, Reading and Bath. Our coveted five-star rating and Awards are recognised all over the world as the ultimate seal of approval, so you can buy with absolute confidence.

Read more about how we test

How to connect speakers to a computer or laptop



November 7, 2022

Basic methods for different systems.

Compact wired speakers and large speakers typically connect to a PC via a 3.5mm mini-jack, HDMI or S/PDIF. For portable models, the Bluetooth wireless standard is most often used.

The connectors in the case and on the motherboard of a desktop computer are painted in different colors. This helps you quickly figure out where to connect the front speakers, subwoofer, microphone and other audio devices.

Notebook manufacturers do not highlight the outputs brightly, but use appropriate icons that show what the ports are for. Some laptops are equipped with a combo audio jack, which serves both for playback and for recording sound, depending on the connected device.

Let’s take a closer look at the four main ways to connect speakers to a computer.

How to connect wired speakers to a computer or laptop

Via mini jack

Photo: Freepik

When speakers are connected, the sound from them is usually output through a mini-jack interface, a 3.5 mm jack on the back or front of the computer. This connector is provided on most audio devices. On laptops, this port is located on the side of the case.

To connect an audio system, do the following:

  1. Turn off the computer and speakers.
  2. Find the speaker connector on the front or back of the desktop PC case or on the side of the laptop. On a full-sized computer, it is usually painted green. Next to it, there may also be a headphone icon or the Audio output label.
  3. Insert the speaker cable into the mini-jack.
  4. Start the computer, turn on the speakers and adjust the sound level as you like.

To connect a multichannel system through analog ports, the sequence is almost the same, but you need to connect several cables to the appropriate sockets. The red and white plugs are for the right and left speakers, respectively, the subwoofer is usually connected to the blue one. Additional columns can be linked using color codes.

Through digital ports

Photo: Ritupon Baishya / Unsplash

Advanced large audio systems are more often connected not through analog plugs, but through digital ports. The choice depends on the specific system and whether your computer has the appropriate output. Usually it is S/PDIF or HDMI. In the case of a desktop PC, the first option is likely to be better.

You need to act like this:

  1. Turn off the computer.
  2. Find a suitable port. In stationary PCs, it is usually located on the back of the case and signed accordingly; in laptops, look for it on the side of the device.
  3. Connect the audio system with the supplied cable.
  4. Turn on music – the sound should appear in the speakers. Then you need to further adjust it according to the attached instructions.

Via external sound interface

Photo: Stanley Li / Unsplash

For connoisseurs of high-quality sound, the capabilities of the audio card built into the PC will not be enough. It is worth choosing an external device with its own digital-to-analog converter. In such audio interfaces, there can be several options for audio output – via analog RCA, via XLR or via S / PDIF.

You can connect your device in just four steps:

  1. Turn off your computer and connect an external audio interface to it. In most cases, this will require a USB port. In expensive devices, communication can also be established via a network cable.
  2. Connect speakers to audio card via RCA, XLR or S/PDIF.
  3. Turn on the laptop or desktop PC. After that, the audio card should be automatically detected by the system. In some cases, you will have to install a driver that the device manufacturer offers to download from its website.
  4. Check how the sound is transmitted to the speakers after defining the interface.

How to connect Bluetooth speakers to a computer or laptop

Photo: Majid Rangraz / Unsplash

The standard way to connect wirelessly. Most laptops already have a built-in Bluetooth module. Newer desktop motherboards should also support this connection. If there is no such built-in capability, then you can purchase an external Bluetooth adapter and connect it via a USB port.

Connecting a portable speaker to a computer with any system is the same way:

  1. Turn on the speakers and activate Bluetooth.
  2. On the computer, go to the menu with Bluetooth devices in the system settings, activate the wireless connection and start searching for available gadgets.
  3. Select speakers from the offered list of devices. It should connect within a few seconds.
  4. Try to turn on music or video – the sound should play from the speakers.

Read also 🔊

  • How to connect wireless headphones to a TV
  • How to connect a gamepad to a PC
  • How to connect a camera to a computer
  • How to connect a portable speaker to a phone
  • How to connect wired and wireless headphones to a computer

How to choose speakers for your computer and not miscalculate 💻

Greetings! For me, the sound is far from last, I would even say that I pay special attention to this issue. And in this article I will tell you how to choose the right speakers for a computer or laptop for any budget. I’m sure it will be interesting for both me and you 🙂

First, I’ll talk a little about the general principles, then I’ll pay attention to specific price ranges and single out high-quality sound as a separate item. The article turned out to be rather big, but here is the juice.


Decide what you want to get

I will immediately indicate the possible Wishlist: background music, watch movies or play, listen to music/dance, enjoy listening to music. For a simple voice acting of a computer, the question of choosing speakers, as it were, is not worth it. Any will do, even the cheapest ones. In this case, attention is paid to the design, workmanship and, sometimes, the connection method.

By default, there is a 3.5” plug that can be plugged into any computer, laptop or phone, as well as a cord for a 220 volt outlet.

You can take USB speakers that are connected with a single USB cable and do not require 220V power. This can be handy for connecting to laptops. For comfortable watching movies or for immersing yourself in a gaming atmosphere, this option will no longer work, you need something more serious, more on that below.

There is an abyss between listening to music and enjoying listening. This is when you specifically sit down and turn on your favorite tracks, immerse yourself in the atmosphere, empathize with the musicians, experience deep emotions and the effect of presence. In this case, your choice is also influenced by style preferences. Virtually no multimedia system, namely the so-called “computer acoustics”, is used for such purposes.

What is acoustics for a computer

There are several types of speakers: 2.0, 2.1, 5.1 and projectors (soundbars).

The most common type is 2.0 . There is a stereo pair here, consisting of two identical speakers. This type is best suited for background accompaniment and listening to music. Each speaker reproduces low, medium and high frequencies.

Further, 2.1 is an option well suited for movies and games. There are two identical speakers (satellites) here, they play medium and high frequencies. A separate third speaker is designed only for low frequencies, it is called a subwoofer. I consider the 2.1 kits to be the best choice not only for movies and games, but also for the home in general with a limited budget and musical preferences such as rap, dance music and heavy metal.

And this is because even inexpensive 2.1 sets due to the subwoofer give deeper bass than 2.0 sets for the same or higher price. But they are not so versatile in terms of listening to music.

5.1 is an extended version of the 2.1 system, here 3 more speakers have been added: two rear and one center. This is the best option for movies and games. But consider if you can fit two speakers behind you and another in the middle in front. True, there are also 7.1 and even 7.2 sets, but this is already exotic 🙂

To connect the 5.1 kit, you need to be sure that your computer allows you to connect such a system, i.e. has 5.1 output. This can be found in the characteristics of the motherboard or sound card. This does not happen on laptops, you need to buy an expensive external sound card. Or, you need a laptop with a digital output and acoustics with a digital input.

The picture shows the back of the motherboard with S/PDIF digital output and 5-channel analog output. On many 5.1 motherboards, the output can be implemented as 3 sockets. In this case, you will not be able to connect the 5.1 system and audio recording sources to the rear panel at the same time.

The source of movie playback is also important. You can download the movie in both stereo and multi-channel sound. But when watching online, you will hear only stereo sound and the 5.1 system almost loses its meaning. Almost, this is because many systems have a Pro Logic mode or similar, which converts normal stereo to 5.1, but this is not full multi-channel sound. In general, consider this point too. Purely for listening to music 5.1 is not necessary, this is an extra overpayment of money. For the same price, you can get better 2.0 or 2.1 speakers.

Projectors (soundbars) – this is when there is a long column in which there are many speakers, a highly specialized expensive option. Suitable when there is only one place for installation. Soundbars are designed to provide surround sound without placing satellites around the room, often equipped with subwoofers.

“Little things” that you should pay attention to

In addition to the type of performance of acoustics and the quality of its sound, your choice will be influenced by design, ease of connection and use. I will not advise anything about the design, everyone likes their own. But I note that you will have to overpay for an unusual, artsy design. And almost certainly, speakers for the same price but with a conventional design will sound better.

In terms of ergonomics, pay attention to the location of the controls (knobs). The most inconvenient and common option is when the knobs are behind one of the speakers. It is more convenient when they are located in front or on the side. Sometimes the regulator is made in the form of a wired remote control. More expensive models already have a wireless remote control, but in practice it is rarely used, so still make sure that the controls on the speakers themselves are comfortable.

The worst case is when some functions are available ONLY from the console, such as tone or switching between inputs. Tone control, by the way, is not always or in a truncated version. It is better when you can separately adjust low and high frequencies. BUT, if there is no timbre, then you should not pass by. It is likely that even without it the sound is very balanced.

Almost all multimedia is active speakers, ie. when the amplifier is built into one of the speakers. But the most convenient option is when the power amplifier with regulators is made as an external unit. Then it can be placed closer, and acoustics put away. I note that the sound quality is not affected by whether the amplifier is built into the speaker or is executed as an external unit.

If there are several inputs, then you can connect a computer and, for example, a set-top box to such acoustics, and then switch between them without poking wires. More exotic speakers can be connected via Bluetooth, ie. without wires (relevant when choosing acoustics for a laptop).

An important characteristic of any system is its power in watts. The more, the louder, but does not mean at all that it is better. As a rule, for scoring one room 9-20 squares is enough 10-20W (5-10W per speaker). For discos and home theater, you can take at least 50, at least 100W, the main thing is that the neighbors do not knock on the batteries 🙂

Acoustics can be one, two and three-way. Single-way is when there is only one speaker that reproduces all frequencies. Two-way speakers have two speakers – one larger (low-midrange), the second smaller (high-frequency or “tweeter”). In three-way, respectively, there are three of them: low-frequency, mid-frequency and tweeter.

Advantage of 1-way over 2-way: better mids.

Advantage of 2-way over 1-way: clearer high frequencies.

The advantage of three-way over two-way: clearer mids and more bass.

A few words about popular manufacturers. Products from Logitech, Edifier, Microlab are considered to be of higher quality. The middle one is Sven and F&D. But Gemix, Genius and Trust make cheaper, but, nevertheless, acceptable options. But this is an average, and so, almost any manufacturer has both frankly cheap and top-end expensive products.

What kind of speakers are available in stores and how much do they cost?

What you can buy for $10

For symbolic money, you can take small speakers for background sound of the workplace. The choice will be based on the appearance, connection method and ergonomics of devices. Let’s move on 🙂

For 20-30$

Adding a little, and already for twenty “evergreens” you can count on single-way 2.0 speakers in a wooden case. And for thirty on the table you can put a folk workhorse – two-way wooden acoustics with a power of 18-20W per channel. Or 2.1 system for the same price, but with single-band satellites.

In principle, for background voice acting, rare watching movies / games and unpretentious listening to music, you can stop there, this is the best option not to spend a lot of money and get something that can be called sound 🙂

Sound up to $50

Nothing changes, except for the size and increased (about 25-40W) power. Among the 2.1 sets there are already two-way ones, but I would not pay much attention to this. The fact is that some cheap tweeters can spoil everything with a nasty ringing or sand in the sound. Single-way satellites in this category often sound just as good.

Speakers under $80

Increasing quality and power of 2.0 and 2.1 systems. A simple 5.1 acoustics with single-way satellites appears, which is perfect for watching movies at the monitor.

$100, it’s hot!

In principle, up to 100 killed raccoons, everything differs only in size, design and power, and you don’t need to bother much what to buy. For a hundred, you can already make applications for more or less high-quality sound in 2.0 format. Manufacturers use more impressive speakers, more complex crossover filters and well-thought-out cabinets. With regards to acoustics 2.1 / 5.1, here the power and dimensions are growing more and more.

Hi-Fi for $150

The so-called “initial Hi-Fi” high-fidelity sound reproduction equipment 🙂 Power increases to 50W. People’s favorites – Microlab Solo series speakers, etc., will please most people 🙂 You can listen to any modern styles of music. Models with two drivers (larger woofers) will produce more dynamic bass. Not the best option for classical and jazz due to weak mids. The Microlab Pro series of beauties give deeper bass, but less noticeable mids, work out heavy metal well.

Sven Royal series and 2-way Edifier speakers, of the same price category, are also made very high quality, the mids and highs are well worked out, but the bass can be less noticeable.

$200 and up

For that amount, look at 3-way systems like Edifier’s R2700 series. But 2.1 sets with massive two-way satellites will provide good sound not only in movies, but also when listening to music.

What you should not pay attention to

The characteristics always write a reproducible frequency range, for example 50-20000Hz. For multimedia, this has no semantic meaning, because. manufacturers do not indicate a possible deviation, in simple words they lie. Suitable only for comparing models from the same series of the same manufacturer.

For reference, the first digit, for example, 50, is the lower limit of the reproducible frequencies. The smaller it is, the softer the bass. 100Hz is the minimum, and 50 is cool, if they’re not lying 🙂 But usually when they write 50Hz, in reality it’s 100-150Hz.

The second digit is high frequencies. Less than 18000 Hz do not even write, and they are already enough for the eyes. Of course, the real characteristics are more modest than in the tables.

Signal to noise ratio, eg 86dB. The larger the number, the less noise. And here everyone lies, or rather, the figure is true in some conditions known to one manufacturer, so the characteristic does not matter.

Magnetic shielding – it is always there and only matters if the speakers will be next to the CRT TV. If not, then color streaks will appear on the screen.

Which speakers are better, tips for choosing

In expensive sets, you can find a digital input (decoder). As a rule, a digital connection gives better sound quality without the need to buy an expensive sound card. But on the motherboard or in the sound card there must be an appropriate digital output. As a rule, it is on all motherboards. But even if there is no special RCA-type socket on the rear panel, then it can be shamanized using an adapter that is inserted into the free space at the back of the system unit and connected to special pins on the motherboard.

In rare cases, speakers come without a protective grill (mesh). If there are children or animals at home, there is a risk of damage to the speakers. However, even if there are grills, then removing them you can notice a better sound. The fact is that the grills slightly distort the amplitude-frequency characteristic at medium and high frequencies.

Surely, when choosing speakers, you will stumble upon countless reviews and reviews. So, they must be read between the lines 🙂 What one person likes, another will just spit, and vice versa. Everyone has their own experience, different perception of sound, different musical preferences, different rooms. Of course, this does not mean that $5 farts can be the height of dreams for someone. But it’s quite normal when a 2.0 system for $100-150 is not impressive at all, and a 2.1 for $50 is what you need, eeee!!! 🙂 As they say, the taste and color …

When purchasing 2.1/5.1 systems, make sure you can place the subwoofer on the floor, preferably somewhere at your feet. In this case, the bass will be much more fundamental. If it will stand on the table, it is better to look towards 2.0.

There is such a thing as near and far field. The near one is when the speakers stand at a distance of up to 1 meter from the ears, roughly speaking on the table. The farthest is when you are sitting on the couch, and the acoustics are against the wall. So, almost all multimedia is designed for the near field, except for large three-way speakers, such as the Edifier R2700. If you put them on the table (near field), you will not be able to fully enjoy the sound, they need to be placed further, at least 1.5 meters from the ears.

The choice of speakers for your computer is always a compromise. Unfortunately, systems that provide deep bass fail at mid or high frequencies. And the handsome men, who play the middle and top with high quality, noticeably fall short of the bottom. In addition, the 2.1/5.1 manufacturers seem to have agreed and do not make box-level satellites 2.0.

But there is a way out. You can buy a subwoofer for the 2.0 kit and get a system with high-quality medium and high frequencies, as well as the presence of a soft bottom. Many models have a special output for connecting a subwoofer, or you can buy a 3.5” output splitter (splitter).

Pro Sound Cards

Also, to unlock the sound of $100+ speakers, you’ll need an internal PCI-e or external USB sound card. The fact is that the built-in audio codecs in motherboards and laptops have a mediocre output quality. If you have a system unit, then take a closer look at ASUS Xonar or Creative Sound Blaster and Audigy cards. Taking something cheaper than $ 50 does not make sense. And more expensive – only if you connect not multimedia, but real Hi-Fi or Hi-End.

Zvukovuha, in addition to improved sound quality, allows you to connect acoustics 5.1 / 7.1 and has digital outputs. External “sound cards” are more expensive, but there is no other alternative for a laptop. In principle, any from $ 60 will do.

Instead of a USB sound card, you can buy a USB-DAC – Digital to Analog Converter (DAC). It has no inputs, only an output, but if you need an input, then you can use the inputs built into the computer, no one takes them away. So, a DAC for the same money as a sound system will play better. You can buy this inexpensively, for example, in China on

Oh, yes, I almost forgot 🙂 If you are already getting a good source, then take care of high-quality phonograms. MP3 with a bitrate below 256K will no longer work.

Quality sound worth the money, or not?

Even the most expensive computer kits only touch the lower limit of what is called Hi-Fi. And then, there are already completely different prices. For example, everything separately: DAC, amplifier and speakers, each “element” of the sound path is $ 300-1000 and above ad infinitum. Notorious audiophiles even buy wires for 100 bucks per meter 🙂 That is, the real sound starts, roughly speaking, from 1000 American ones, whatever one may say.

By ear, the Hi-Fi system plays on a larger scale, details are clearly distinguishable, especially in complex compositions, the sound is not tied to speakers, does not fall into one heap, but a virtual stage is created on which each musician has his own place, you want to listen to music, and not just turn on the background. You start listening to genres that you didn’t pay attention to before.

On inexpensive acoustics, one gets the feeling that all music sounds somehow the same. On high-quality multimedia, almost the entire spectrum of audio frequencies is present, i.e. it will thump and poke, but in Hi-Fi the instruments are more natural, they begin not only to sound, but to come to life. Something like this 🙂 In general, the topic of high-quality sound is very specific, if only because 95% of people don’t think about it at all. From this it turned out that such a product costs a lot of money and is not popular.

But this has its own plus – you can get a good system 2 times cheaper. In connection with the growth of the dollar, all new equipment has risen many times in price and the price tags have become completely indecent. But, because the goods are not popular, then on ad sites they sell used equipment 2 or more times cheaper than a new one, not being strongly tied to the exchange rate. You can always find something decent. Fortunately, these are not phones or laptops, audio equipment almost never becomes morally obsolete. On the contrary, before it was done in good faith.