Best gaming speakers 2016
Even after you build the perfect gaming PC and buy the best gaming mechanical keyboard, your work isn’t done until you get optimal sound for your setup! Playing the latest video games with crappy speakers would be like driving a Ferrari with only one gear.
So what should you do? Gaming headphones certainly have their uses. They’re great for when you don’t want to disturb others in your home by helping to keep the noise to a minimum, but compared to a set of quality gaming speakers they just don’t feel the same. Here’s a list of the biggest advantages of gaming speakers over headphones –
- It’s better to feel the sound. While headsets have come a long way in the past decade, you still can’t emulate the sound quality and feeling you get in your body from a subwoofer and 5-speaker surround sound. Being able to truly feel those explosions in your video games and movies is a lot more fun than just wearing loud headphones.
- Gaming speakers are a smarter investment. If you’re going to spend some serious money on audio equipment for your computer, doesn’t it make more sense to go with the more versitle product? While you headset may be great for personal use, they’re of no use when you have friends over and you have to choose between hearing your game or being able to talk to your friends. Gaming speakers allow everyone to hear what’s going on and still talk to eachother. Also, most gaming speakers can be hooked up to a TV for home entertainment purposes.
- Speakers are more durable. How many times have you had a headset die on your because the cables take too much abuse, or one side of the headphones die, or the ear pads start flaking from sweat and irritation?
- Less likely to cause hearing loss. When you’re wearing a headset, it’s all too easy to crank the volume up too high and cause serious damage to your hearing. With speakers, you’re much less likely to get to that level because the speakers aren’t directly on your ears. Also without being isolated from the outside world, you’ll be more likely to catch when you have the volume too high.
- Comfort. Wearing a heavy gaming headset just simply isn’t comfortable. Especially if you live in a warmer climate, the last thing you want to do is close off your ears and get sweaty.
Choosing the Right Gaming Speakers
Now that you’re ready to commit to some gaming speakers, let’s take a look at what sets one set of speakers apart from the other.
How many speakers?
This is the first question you need to answer in order to narrow down your search. You’ll probably either want a 5.1 surround sound system, or a 2.1 sound system. These mean either 5 speakers and 1 subwoofer, or 2 speakers and 1 subwoofer.
You need to consider the size and layout of your room as well as your budget when deciding on which one is right for you. A 2.1 system will be easiest to setup and cheaper, but you might prefer the 5.1 system for a more immersive experience. To get the most out of your 5.1 speakers, check out this guide from Dolby.
5.1 surround sound systems typically have 3 front speakers (left, right, and center) and two rear speakers (left and right).
How much power?
Simply put, when it comes to your speakers the rated Watts = power = maximum volume. Most 2.1 speaker systems have at least 40 Watts of power which will be plenty loud for you to use at your desk. If you plan on having the speakers pull double-duty and fill your living room while you watch a movie from the couch, you may find that you need more power in the 70W+ range.
Ease of Use
You want a sound system that’s a breeze to use, not something that will require you to crawl down under your desk to change inputs, connect a mic, or volume levels. Look for speaker systems that have multiple inputs that you can easily switch between, easy-access volume knobs and bass control, and places where you could easily plugin an awesome gaming mic or headset should you need to.
Best 2.1 Gaming Speakers
The Corsair Gaming Audio Series SP2500 speakers are our top choice for the best overall 2.1 gaming speakers! Featuring a 8″ subwoofer and massive 232 Watts of power, this is a true “buy it for life” speaker system that should be the last set of speakers you ever need.
A ton of amazing digital engineering went into these speakers to give it the sophistication to deliver the best audio experience regardless if you’re playing a game or watching a movie.
The convenient desktop control lets you power on and off, change the volume, and adjust audio modes to get the best experience for you. It has 3 inputs and the desktop controller allows you to switch between them all seamlessly.
These speakers also have an awesome “Late Night” mode that can move the bass output from the subwoofer to the speakers, which will still give you great audio quality while allowing other people in the house to sleep peacefully without hearing the bass through the walls.
Best Cheap Gaming Speakers
If you’re looking for the best cheap gaming speakers, then look no further than these Cyber Acoustics CA-3602FFP speakers. With a 5.25 inch subwoofer and 30 Watts of power, these speakers won’t blow you aware with volume but they sound fantastic and can’t be beat for the money.
One really convenient feature of the CA-3602 speakers is the desktop control pod. This small pod sits on your desk and allows you to easily control volume, bass level, and on/off of the speaker set. The pod also has a headset jack, so you can easily connect a set of headphones if you need to.
This unit only has one auxiliary-in, which is on the control pod. This means you’ll need to run a cable from the back of your desktop (or other audio source – TV, laptop, smartphone, etc) to the control pod which could bother people who like to hide all their wires.
Best 5.1 Surround Sound Gaming Speakers
The Logitech Z906 speaker system is the top of the line speaker product Logitech offers, and it offers a lot of great features for those looking for the best surround sound experience.
The Z906 offers thunderous bass and cinema-quality sound that can connect up to 6 audio devices at a time! Perfect if you’re planning on using these speakers with a multiple different computers or TVs.
The control pod lets you easily control the power, volume, switch inputs, mute, attach an AUX-in cable, attach headphones, or adjust the sound level of any of the 5.1 speakers. Another great reason to buy the Z906 for multimedia use is the remote control, which will let you change the power, input, volume, and change the individual speaker levels all from without leaving your seat!
Best Cheap 5.1 Surround Sound Gaming Speakers
If you want surround sound at your desk without breaking the bank, then the Logitech Z506 is the way to go. It doesn’t offer the convenience or power that the Z906 does – the Z506 has 75 watts versus 500 watts for the Z906, and there’s no control pod or remote control for the Z506.
What the Z506 does offer is great surround sound at an incredibly low price. On the front right speaker you can control the power and volume of the speakers as well as plug in a headset. There’s a separate knob to control the bass levels on the back of the subwoofer.
Make sure you have all the correct cables when purchasing, you might need this RCA to 3.5mm cable to hook it up to your PC and it’s better safe than sorry!