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Finding the Right Computer Speakers

For many activities on a desktop computer, it's either helpful or necessary to have good audio. While headphones are certainly an option, there are plenty of scenarios where they're unsuitable or not as useful as computer speakers. Altec Lansing is one brand that features a line of computer speakers among their other audio equipment.

What Speakers Can be Part of a Computer Sound System?

PC speaker systems typically incorporate a variation and number of the following devices, including:

  • Satellite Speakers: Providing the majority of the audio, satellite speakers typically feature full-range drivers, incorporating the treble and bass frequencies generated by tweeters, midrange and woofer drivers. With their compact design, spacing out the satellite speakers allows you to enjoy surround sound at your computer desk.
  • Subwoofer: Building on the rest of the multimedia speaker system for your computer, front-firing sub-woofers help by generating the deepest bass notes below the range of a regular woofer. General subwoofers produce frequencies between 20 and 200 Hz.

What Are Some Setup Details of PC Speaker Systems?

Finding the right multimedia speaker system for your computer means considering how it will be setup. Important factors for this can be:

  • Channel Types: Depending on the number of speakers the system uses, a setup may use a 2.1 or 5.1 channel system. 5.1, like 5.1 Dolby Digital, is a standard for home surround sound, stereos, and other systems, as it features enough channels to create a full surround sound experience.
  • Connection Type: The setup of your audio system will either involve wired connections between all the speakers or a wireless alternative, like Bluetooth. Naturally, wired connections come with some restrictions as to how far apart they can be arranged.
  • Computer Connection: To hook speakers like the up to the computer, it typically requires a 3.5 mini phone stereo cable connected into the computer's color-coded audio out port.

What Are Some Speaker Factors Worth Knowing?

Like many sorts of electronics, speaker systems are often described with a lot of technical terms and numbers. Some can make a big deal when deciding, such as:

  • Nominal and Max Output Power: The output of a speaker is measured in watts, which is a measure of power. The terms nominal and max output power refer to the long term and short term output power a speaker can safely manage. For amplifiers, nominal power is also known as RMS.
  • Frequency Response: Displayed a range of numbers in Hz to kHz, the frequency response indicates how consistent the volume remains from low notes to the high ones. The range is usually close to the human hearing range of 20 Hz to 20 kHz, and the variation of the volume is shown in decibels.