A computer system comes with integrated speaker(s) but they are not enough to make the most of the audio experience. These built-in speakers are suitable for hearing alerts and beeps. Those who want to enjoy movies, games and music on the computer should rely on something more powerful. The most feasible solution is a set of USB speakers. It is a self-powered audio system that starts working when plugged into the computer’s audio output jack.
Today, you can find a wide variety of USB speakers in terms of quality and price. However, you don’t find sufficient opportunities to test the performance and quality of the speakers before purchasing them. Here, we offer useful tips to consider before buying a set of speakers for your desktop computer.
2.0 vs. 2.1: A 2.0 System
2.0 vs. 2.1: A two channels system, no subwoofer (2.0) consists of compact left and right speakers and the amplifier is placed inside one of the two speakers. On the other hand, a 2.1 system is a two channels system with a subwoofer and comprises of smaller left and right speakers known as satellites and a large amplifier which resides under the desk. The satellites produce higher frequencies while the amplifier produces lower ones. This system is referred to as sub/sat system or subwoofer/satellite system.
One of the major differences between these two types of usb speaker systems is regarding the bass performance and size. A 2.0 system usually occupies less space as there are only two small devices on the desk while a 2.1 system comes with a subwoofer or amplifier unit which takes up much space under the desk.
However, there is a benefit associated with the large amplifier unit. A 2.1 system is able to produce lower frequencies to provide a much more powerful bass as compared to small speaker systems without a subwoofer.
Studio monitors: A type of 2.0 speaker system, studio monitors are powered bookshelf speakers intended to be sued in production and recording studios. These systems are bulkier than regular 2.0 speakers and the satellites 2.1 systems use. However, the large size allows them host bigger woofers to provide much better bass performance without any need of a subwoofer.
Specs And Sound Quality
Manufacturer’s specifications on USB speakers should not be taken into consideration. There exists no standard methodology for testing USB speakers and vendors often enhance their specs making them all the way useless. Except few models, the numbers from vendors can’t be trusted to judge the system’s audio quality. It is advisable to rely on your ears instead. If it is not possible to test the system personally, you can read the reviews from different sources. The right USB speaker would offer a good combination of bass, treble and midrange frequencies and produce rich and full sound without losing detail.
Though it is easy to find a set of USB speakers offering satisfactory detail and frequencies, the challenging part is quality bass. Speakers using small drivers are not able to produce the lowest notes. Many vendors alter the speakers to produce major upper-bass frequencies while trying to create an illusion of bass performance. Such an approach, though exciting, can sometimes make the speakers boomy sounding and this trait can become fatigue with time. Choose speakers having large woofers if you like deep, controlled bass. On the other hand, you can consider USB speakers that omit the lowest frequencies to accurately sound others in the spectrum.
USB Speaker Inputs
Certain USB speakers feature a single audio connection and limit you to hearing only from your computer. If you desire to listen music from other sources, you should consider a system having extra inputs. Today, common speakers come with at least two audio inputs to let you connect iPhone, iPod or any other audio source. This way, if you want to listen to pandora music on your phone, the speakers can connect to the output.
The basic speaker systems do not feature controls. They just need to be connected to the computer and volume can be adjusted using the computer’s volume controls. Most of us would like systems with their own volume controls. There are speaker sets that let you adjust the treble and bass levels so that you can alter the output of audio to the environment you are in. If you find speakers with controls, you should also check that they are easy to access. These controls should be located on either side of the speaker or on a remote control or control pod and not on the back of the subwoofer.
Appearance Of USB Speaker
Though the appearance of the USB Speaker may not concern everybody, don’t forget that you have to look at them whenever you sit on the desk listening to music. This is why the appearance of the speakers should please you. But consider the fact that the speakers looking stylish and stunning in advertisements can turn out to be dust-catching and brittle in original. Something that appears to be excellent at the first sight can become tacky in some months or years of use.
USB Speaker Prices
The higher you pay for the set of USB Speakers, better the sound quality or number of features or both you get. This is true to a great extent. However, speakers and some other accessories are available at highly discounted prices. Don’t forget to check around and find out affordable speakers suiting your budget.
You can choose from a wide variety of USB speakers. It is advisable to choose as per your ears’ liking because it is your ears that you wish to please in the first place. You can buy a subwoofer if needed but they would not necessarily add to the music experience.