One of the best ways to upgrade a computer system is to install a set of PC speakers. Most PCs and laptops have built-in speakers but the audio quality is hardly worthy of any praise. While PCs are commonly used for work, most of us watch movies and play games on our computers too. How can you enjoy your gaming sesh with weak, inaudible audio? How can you enjoy your weekly movie marathon if you could hardly keep up with the dialogue? A great set of speakers is all you need to enjoy crystal clear sound.
Lucky for you, there are so many PC speakers available at any price point. Mid-range computer speakers under $200 typically come with 2 speakers and a subwoofer to mimic surround sound. By being selective in terms of the speakers to get, you can maximize your budget.
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Best Computer Speakers under $200
- Wide soundstage
- Excellent frequency response
- Great design
- Clear audio, no distortion
- Short cable that connects the speakers
- Bass delivery is a tad overpowering
The Logitech Z623 is the successor of fan favorite Z-2300, which has been discontinued. The Z623 is a 2.1 set of computer speakers that come with two speakers and a subwoofer with independent bass control. The design of the speakers is pretty basic and low key. The Z623 will look great in any computer setup because the design is seamless and compact. This system that delivers a massive 200 watt sound and powerful bass. This is a fantastic choice for bass heads who love to get work done with heavy music playing in the background!
The right speaker is where you’ll find all the controls, including the power button, volume, and bass knobs. Keep in mind that the right and left speakers are connected with a proprietary cable so setting this beast up might be limiting for some. We don’t mind the connected cables because we prefer setting the speakers side by side.
The cable in question is a VGA cable, which is not detachable. That means you have to take care of the cable throughout the Z623’s lifespan. All three speakers come with slip-proof rubber feet to keep them stable when set up.
Because the Z623 delivers THX-certified sound, you can bet that the audio quality is nothing short of spectacular. The highs are clean and crisp; the midrange is balanced and warm. Even when the volume is cranked all the way up, there no distortion that we could detect. The soundstage is expansive and the bass response is equally impressive.
The subwoofer puts out a powerful bass sound that goes perfectly with the clear highs. That said, cranking the bass control to max will cause the bass to overpower some frequencies so watch out!
Blown away by Logitech. I find that these speakers are absolutely worth the money. I have used them to listen to music, to play movies, and other miscellaneous audio related tasks on my computer. There is no doubt that these speakers are THX Certified because it felt like pretty close to being in a movie theater when it came to movies that made adequate use of the subwoofer.
The Z623 is a worthy successor to the popular Z-2300. The amazing audio quality paired with exceptional bass control brings life to your favorite tracks. The speakers are well built and they do a great job of putting out powerful sounds.
Klipsch ProMedia 2.1
- Durable design
- Powerful low-end audio
- Excellent volume
- Thunderous bass
- Slight distortion at higher frequency
- Boomy bass
The ProMedia 2.1 is a set of THX-certified computer speakers that dish out serious bass and volume. This is another computer set that will make a lot of bass heads happy. The set features two boxy speakers and a subwoofer. It doesn’t come with RCA connections at all or any adapter for that matter. This means you cannot hook the ProMedia 2.1 to the TV or a gaming console without getting a separate adapter.
What it lacks in RCA connections, it makes up for loud volume. Each of these components packs a serious punch, especially for movie watching and gaming. As far as design goes, the ProMedia 2.1 are well-built and understated. Is the set bulky? Yes, this is a common complaint among users. However, the size of the speakers does affect the volume of the ProMedia 2.1 in a positive way. The volume level is really up there!
The right speaker features the volume knobs and 3.5mm ports for audio devices and headphones. The control knobs are on the sensitive side so you have to be careful when adjusting the volume. You don’t want the thunderous bass the speakers pack to startle the neighbors. Setting up the ProMedia 2.1 is easy and trouble free. The ProMedia 2.1 doesn’t come with a power button so it just starts whenever you choose a track or when a video starts playing.
When it comes to audio delivery, you can trust the ProMedia 2.1 to deliver amazingly crystal sound. And the volume can get unbelievably loud. If you do crank the volume all the way up, there is slight distortion.
The ProMedia 2.1’s heavy digital signal processing capabilities offer high crossover frequency. The result? Powerful bass. The bass could sound a little overwhelming at times but only when the volume is set too high. The highs and mids are detailed and the low end is powerful. Our only gripe is that the distortion is quite noticeable at higher frequencies. Also, the bass sounds a little boomy at times.
These are the best computer speakers I have ever used or heard and I have heard quite a few. The balance on these is by far the best. They are clear, crisp, but smooth. The higher ranges are sweet without being piercing, which is a big one for me as the higher pitches tend to bother me if not well calibrated. The mid-tones are warm and strong and the bass is like Dove chocolate, rich and smooth.
With its thunderous bass and high volume, the ProMedia 2.1 is an easy pick among bass heads. It’s a no-frills set of computer speakers that puts emphasis on clear, crisp sounds. The ProMedia 2.1 may be boxy but the listening experience is fantastic.
Harman Kardon Soundsticks III
- Unique translucent design
- Balanced sound
- Pwerful audio
- Inconvenient power button placement
- No RCA input
- Slight buzzing at high volume
If this list is about looks alone, the Harman Kardon Soundsticks III speakers win hands down. The Soundsticks III is a 2.1 speaker system that features a stunning polycarbonate body. The translucent design and rounded shape make the Soundsticks III quite a looker!
As far as built quality goes, the polycarbonate material is quite durable. We think the speakers could survive a few bonks with ease. The Soundsticks III features silver-lined cable as well as touch sensitive controls. These little touches give the set a seamless and uniform design.
The right speaker has all the controls, including a lone 3.5 mm input for headphones. However, the power button is situated on the subwoofer. There is no RCA connector or adapter included in the set. Because the design of the speakers is compact, the Soundsticks III will take up little space on your desk.
The Soundsticks III delivers fantastic volume thanks to the 40-watt speakers. The audio quality is rich and clear. The subwoofer enhances the listening experience but it never overpowers the speakers. We feel that the subwoofer helped balance out the sound especially the highs. The combined eight full-range transducers deliver powerful highs and clear mids.
The placement of the power button is a little awkward. But that’s because we’re so used to regular speakers with the power button on the right side speaker. We wish the set comes with an RCA input though, that would’ve made the Soundsticks III even more versatile. We also noticed an audible buzzing sound whenever the speakers are set to the highest volume. The buzzing disappears when the volume is lowered. That said, the audio never sounds muddled, it’s always neutral and balanced.
The sound production is unlike any other computer speaker I’ve come across in this price range by a long shot. The sub is super tight, and can kick some serious ass. The advertised audio range has a low of 44 Hz on the “sub,” which is accurate enough, and plenty of power to get your head rattling in a smaller room. I haven’t found myself complaining about the bass at all, and I’m a serious basshead.
The Soundsticks III is one of the most stylish computer speakers you can get for under $200. But don’t let its obvious good looks fool you, the Soundsticks III is a highly capable computer speaker. It delivers terrific audio and pulls double duty as decor too!
Buying Tips When Shopping Around for Computer Speakers under $200
Compatibility and Versatility
PC speakers are specifically designed to improve the audio delivery of personal computers. However, there are some models that connect to any type of entertainment devices. These devices include a tablet or laptop, smartphone, gaming consoles, and TVs. A versatile speaker system is great for those who are planning to use the speakers to give other entertainment devices an audio boost. However, if you have no plans of hooking the speakers to other devices apart from your PC, you’ll be fine with a basic PC speaker system with no RCA connection.
How you’re planning to use the computer speakers will help determine what type of PC speakers you need. If you prefer watching movies on your computer, go for speaker systems that offer surround sound. If you’re only using the speakers for work, you might not appreciate the added audio boost that surround sound provides. Basically, speakers with surround sound or subwoofer are best for music listening, gaming, and movie watching on PC.
Did you know that your own PC setup affects the audio delivery of the PC speakers? That’s why a 5-piece PC speakers set might not always be a great choice if your PC setup is on the modest side. Audio coming from different angles helps mimic surround sound. However, placement of the speakers requires optimal distance for better sound. Unless your PC setup is complex, a 2 to 3 piece PC speakers should do for simple audio needs. Our recommended speaker sets are comprised of 2 to 3 components, mainly two speakers and a subwoofer.
Who doesn’t want freebies and extra accessories? Free accessories do not really enhance the audio quality of the speakers but they make operation convenient and easy. For instance, a remote control works great for remote operation. It’s not an essential but it’s a great thing to have for free.
Always take a manufacturer’s’ specifications with a grain of salt, some brands tend to exaggerate the specs of a PC speaker. When shopping around, always check the frequency response of the PC speakers. Use your ears to determine the sound clarity of the speakers. There should be a good balance between the upper, midrange, treble, and bass frequencies. The audio quality should be full, rich, and dynamic.
2.0 or 2.1 Speaker Systems: What’s The Difference?
Two of the most popular types of PC speakers are 2.0 and 2.1 systems. Let’s find out which of these systems are suitable for your needs:
2.0 PC Speakers
2.0 is a system comprised of two channels, two speakers, and a subwoofer. The amplifier of the speaker is usually built into one of the speakers. This system takes less space because there’s no subwoofer. A 2.0 system delivers great audio quality but bass delivery isn’t as rich or dynamic. However, the system’s audio clarity is superior to 2.1 systems because there’s no distortion caused by the punchy bass. This system is best used for casual music listening or working.
2.1 PC Speakers
A 2.1 system is comprised of two channels, two speakers called satellites and a subwoofer. The satellites are used to handle high frequencies while the subwoofer amplifies sound. A 2.1 system is bulkier than a 2.0 system but the bass delivery is exceptional. Unlike a 2.0 system, a 2.1 system can reproduce lower frequencies and deliver powerful bass. This system is best used for movie watching and gaming.