Best 6 Mid-Range PC Speakers in 2011
|Creative Inspire Speakers|
So, you clicked on a Web site that plays music, but it sounds like a kazoo band? That's because of the bottom-class speakers that shipped with your PC (or are built into your laptop). Obviously, it's time to move up to some mid-range speakers. (As for top-range speakers, we'll assume that, if you're a true audiophile, you've already spent your inheritance on a set, and won't need further guidance.)
We'll use the ratings calculated (and presented in English) by the Swedish site TestFreaks, which assigns FreakScore ratings to products based on averages of available on-line reviews, weighted by the expert status of the reviewers, and other factors. The results:
No. 1: Logitech Z305 – With a FreakScore rating of 9.5 out of 10, these speakers are built into a rectangular bar that cleverly hangs over the top back of your flat panel display or laptop screen. For road warriors this $50 product has a traveling case, and a storage compartment for the USB cord. In fact, that cord was the only beef that the reviewers had—it's not very long.
No. 2: Creative Inspire T3130 – Rated at 9.3, this set of speakers (a main enclosure with the subwoofer, two smaller satellite speakers, and a wired remote controller) retails for between $45 and $50. Reviewers said it produced excellent quality at all but the highest volume ranges. (Suggestion: turn it down.)
No. 3: Logitech Speaker Lapdesk N700 – This item (rated at 9.2) looks like a thick dinner tray with speakers built into either end. You put your laptop on top and plug it in appropriately. The speakers project out either side, producing much nicer results that the laptop's built-in speakers. The unit also cools your lap and the laptop itself with its fan. This lap of luxury will cost you about $70.
No. 4: Genius SP-HF1800A – Also rated at 9.2, this unit is a dual three-way system, meaning it consists of two 15-inch-high enclosures, each of which has three speakers in it, costing altogether about $55.
No. 5: Dell AY410 – Another unit rated at 9.2, it consists of a main subwoofer enclosure and two smaller satellite speakers on stylish stands, plus a wired remote controller. Dell's list price is $55.99.
No. 6: Logitech Z623 – TestFreaks' mid-range ratings only goes five deep, so for No. 6 we'll use the least expensive unit from its high-end ratings. Rated at 9.5, this item, like several others previously described, has a main subwoofer enclosure and two smaller satellite speakers. But they're bigger, and cost about $110.
Keep in mind that we are not talking about multi-speaker surround sound systems here, for home theater or high-end gaming. That's another world, and another price bracket.