Five Best Desktop Computer Speakers

Everyone rocks headphones on the go, but there's nothing like listening to music out loud. For those times, you need quality computer speakers. Whether it's pure audio quality, size and shape, or bang for buck, choosing the best speakers is a tricky affair. Here are five sets that won't disappoint.

Photo by William Hook.

M-Audio AV-40

M-Audio is pretty well known for providing superior sound quality in budget-friendly audio products, and the AV-40 two-speaker set is no exception. A bookshelf-style dual speaker model, the AV-40s feature RCA and TRS inputs on the rear for connections to your computer, game console, TV, mixer or even an amplifier. There's also a headphone and AUX-in jack on the front for other devices. The speakers themselves don't have a built-in amp, but they connect beautifully to existing models. The AV-40s are geared towards people who love bass in their music, especially DJs and electronic or hip-hop enthusiasts, but you don't have to stick with those genres to appreciate this budget-friendly audio powerhouse.

Bose Companion 2 Series II

It's not common for Bose to be on the budget end of a roundup, but this case is special. The Companion 2 Series II are aimed more at desktop users listening to music for entertainment, rather than audio professionals or people who plan to use their speakers to connect to multiple inputs. The set is a space-saving pair of desktop speakers that pump out some serious volume. Volume controls and a headphone jack on the front are easily accessible when you need them, and dual inputs on the rear let you connect your computer and another audio device at the same time.

Logitech Z2300/Logitech Z623

The Logitech Z2300 is a killer 2.1 stereo speaker set, but they're no longer available, having been succeeded by the Logitech Z623. The Z623s are also a great 2.1 stereo set, but the online consensus is that the Z623, while capable, may be a step down. The Z2300s are praised for their clean design, space-saving desktop speakers and control pod. Speaking of the subwoofer, the Z2300 subwoofer is one of the most powerful in a desktop set. The set also came with an adaptor so you could quickly connect game consoles and other devices to the AUX-in jack.

The Z623 that followed the Z2300s did away with the control pod in favour of on-speaker controls, but still sports an array of RCA and stereo connectors on the back that make it perfect for desktop computing or a space-saving home entertainment system.

Klipsch Promedia 2.1

The Klipsch Promedia 2.1 set features two desktop speakers and a subwoofer. It has been widely praised for its affordability and superior sound quality. Lifehacker's Whitson Gordon swears by this set, and he notes that it fits perfectly in that mid-range between simple desktop computer speakers and great audio quality you would expect from stereo gear. The desktop speakers are small but powerful, and the subwoofer fits comfortably under a desk where it offers amazing bass response and deep lows. Best of all, your money isn't spent on a system that only connects to a PC -- you can connect this speaker set to your TV, game console or another audio source.

Audioengine 5+

The Audioengine 5+ speaker series is well known and loved by audiophiles, music lovers and music producers. They're pricey, but a number of reviews point out that they offer the kind of high-quality sound you would normally expect from a speaker set twice or three times the price. If you have the cash to burn, you won't be disappointed by them. Don't let their simple looks deceive you -- they pack a lot of power, enough that you won't need a separate subwoofer or additional speakers in the setup. Since they're powered on their own, you won't even need an external amp for them. The 5+ system sports USB for your mobile device and dual inputs for music players, computers and other devices.


    So, you're forgetting one of the best contenders within that market, the B&W MM-1s! I've got a pair, they're amazing.
    One of the customers at a shop I worked at owned the MM-1s as a precursor to owning the 802Ds, if that's not saying that the MM-1s are good, something's wrong.

    The AudioEngine 5+ are bookshelf speakers, the A2's are more for desktop though both can be used for that purpose.

    Swan m50's are also a great budget set

    I noticed that all the speakers in the article are stereo. Why is there no love for surround sound setups? What I recommend is a set of Logitech Z906s or a set of X540s if you are on a budget.

      Z906? You haven't heard the z5500 that was replaced.

        Anyone else find it only a little weird that the title picture implies a set of X530s, but they're nowhere on this list?

    I'm still rocking my old Logitech Z5500 5.1 set, like 5+ years on and they still haven't released something better... have my computer next to my TV and it services both my PC and consoles (just pick the speakers up and move them around). I love it to bits.

      Yeah I'm using them as my home theatre's surround sound, they sound far better than many dedicated home theatre sets costing much more. Only thing is they're starting to show their age a bit now and one of the speakers is starting to crackle at high volume :( I wish Logitech would release a worthy successor, I'd buy it in a heart beat.

    I've got a pair of the original Bose MediaMate speakers from 2003. They are simply brilliant - for their size / power. I use SRS Audio Essentials these days, which also helps heaps.

    For less than the price of most of these products, I bought a pair of KEF floorstanding speakers off Ebay ($100) and a t-amp ($60) which would blow all of these out of the water for sound quality. The only reason I would ever go back to something like those computer speakers is if I was very tight on space.

    I've been wanting a pair of A5's for a long time... But cant justify getting them while my Z-5500's still work (even tho the sound difference is crazy).

    I need someone to come over and 'accidentally' break them, so i can justify the upgrade :P

      I purchased some A5's recently, even though I was hesitant at the price. When I looked at the box, worked my arms pumping iron for a week to lift them. Hooked 'em up and was instantly blown away by the amount of sound that pumped out, and the clarity! If these are within your budget, I couldnt recommend a better set of speakers. Only issue I have is with 3 x 27" monitors in portrait, these speaks dont fit on my desk. Bugger!

    I'm suprised the logitech speakers are in there yet the corsair speakers are not.

    It would be helpful if you gave some price indication for each speaker (I know actual prices may vary).

    Anything that takes toslink (optical in) and provides headphone out?

    quite happy with my mini rig :-)

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