The Sonos multiroom music platform offers the best-sounding speakers, supports the widest variety of streaming services, and is easy to set up and use. The PreSonus Eris E5 XT is a pretty nice, small pro studio monitor. Before you invest in noise-cancelling headphones, it’s important to understand what kinds of sounds they will and won’t block. The only noteworthy difference is that this set’s rear port “chuffs” on loud, deep bass notes, so it isn’t a great choice for hip-hop, EDM, or R&B music. The pieces in the Harman Kardon SoundSticks III system have a design that got them into the Museum of Modern Art’s collection, but all of our panelists thought this system sounded unbalanced compared with the Klipsch ProMedia 2.1 THX. The Mackie CR5-XBT computer speakers were the clear favorite in our blind listening tests. For gaming and movie watching, you may want more bass than most computer speakers can deliver, but you may not have the space on your desktop for a set of pro monitors. The answer to this problem is a system combining small speakers with a subwoofer, and the best of these we’ve found is the Klipsch ProMedia 2.1 THX system. Above 200 Hz, the Eris E3.5 BT’s frequency response stayed within ±5.9 dB on-axis, with a big peak in the midrange, but the response was much smoother off-axis. Want better-sounding audio from your TV? For example, a bassline that’s practically inaudible through laptop speakers sounds as full through a good pair of computer speakers as it would in your car. Average peak output at 1 meter on the CTA-2010 test was 107.5 dB in the mid-bass (40 to 63 Hz) and 70.8 dB in the low bass (20 to 31.5 Hz). So it’s great for editing podcasts, videos, and lighter music, but working on bass-heavy music requires adding a subwoofer. Of models priced below $300 per pair, we think the Kali Audio LP-6 is the best bet for most aspiring (or professional) music and video producers, or for audiophiles who demand clear, full-range sound. Since 1989, he has served as an editor or writer on audio-focused websites and magazines such as Home Theater, Sound & Vision, SoundStage, and JazzTimes. When you buy through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission. The Q Acoustics 3020i is the best bookshelf speaker because it sounds better and offers better build quality than anything else in its price range. The Xtreme 2 easily fills a large room (or a small parking lot) with satisfying sound, and its rugged, waterproof design makes it trunk-friendly. Details like the hand claps in Chick Corea’s ‘Armando’s Rhumba’ were the most distinct through this one.” Brent thought that the CR5-XBT pair had the clearest voice reproduction of any of the computer speakers, and that it was as satisfying to listen to as a good set of passive bookshelf speakers. AV receivers’ built-in room-correction systems automatically adjust audio to suit your room, but the results aren’t always pleasing. The Edifier R1700BT, Edifier R2000DB, and Edifier R980T all got mixed reactions from our panelists, with some liking the R2000DB in particular, but we think our picks sound better, and we’re not thrilled with Edifier’s tendency to put the controls on the back or side instead of on the front, where they’d be more convenient. Through six years and testing of more than 25 mics, the Blue Yeti is still the best USB microphone that’s an easy and noticeable upgrade over built-in mics. But it’s bulky and not very attractive. Average peak output of a pair of LP-6 units at 1 meter on the CTA-2010 test was 115.7 dB in the mid-bass (40 to 63 Hz) and 87.7 dB in the low bass (20 to 31.5 Hz). The Audioengine A1 speakers are tiny (6¼ by 4⅛ by 6 inches, HWD), with 3½-inch woofers, and the system includes a single analog input, a subwoofer output, and aptX HD Bluetooth. (Hint: Not as much as you might think.). Dialogue and acoustic instruments sounded clear and crisp, and the subwoofer effectively filled in the low end. The amplifiers and controls are built into one speaker, which connects to the other via speaker cable. There are many choices for high-end computer speakers, but the Klipsch R-15PM is definitely the most cost-effective. Get yourself one of the best computer speakers because solid speaker system for your computer is truly essential. Alexa and Google Assistant are ubiquitous, which isn’t a good thing when it comes to home decor. Wirecutter is a list of of the best gear and gadgets for people who want to save the time and stress of figuring out what to buy. Thanks to its 5-inch woofers (and apparently careful tuning), the CR5-XBT set was also the only one of the computer-speaker contenders that played the loud, deep bass of Kanye West’s “Love Lockdown” without distorting or producing port noise. No matter what kind of turntable and audio gear you have, it is possible to get them working together. In our measurements, the LP-6 showed an almost textbook-flat frequency response, which means it doesn’t alter the balance of bass to midrange to treble and also doesn’t add its own sonic character to the music. 4.3 out of 5 stars 2,801. If you’re looking to build a compact, affordable stereo system, we like the Fosi Audio BT20A mini stereo amplifier for its combination of power and features. Of all the 2.1-channel systems we tested, the Klipsch ProMedia 2.1 THX had the best sound quality, about as full and balanced as that of the Mackie CR5-XBT but with deeper bass response. You can trust our veteran journalists, scientists, and experts to find the best stuff. Your Wireless Earbuds Are Trash (Eventually). Powered computer speakers are a great option for anyone who enjoys using their computer to listen to music, watch movies, play video games, or produce music, podcasts, or videos. Can a Good Soundbar Rival a True Surround-Sound System in a Blind Listening Test? Measured bass output was weak at just 93.5 dB from 40 to 63 Hz, which was 14 dB less than the result from the Mackie CR5-XBT and 0.4 dB less than that of the smaller Audioengine A1. He regularly gigs on double bass (and occasionally ukulele) with Los Angeles–area jazz groups. We show the frequency response results in the Measurements section below, and we outline the CTA-2010 results in the discussion for each model. Total Expert Score: 78/100 | Consumer Score: 85% give it 4 stars or higher. But even if you were to … Senior staff writer Brent Butterworth has been reviewing audio gear professionally since 1990, having worked as an editor or writer for SoundStage, Sound & Vision, Home Theater Review, Home Theater Magazine, and numerous other publications. This is a big difference, roughly comparable to moving halfway closer to the bass player of a band at a live outdoor gig. The StarTech BT2A is the best Bluetooth receiver for sending music wirelessly to an existing stereo or speaker system that lacks Bluetooth. Wireless earbuds are great, but their small batteries have a limited lifespan. You can easily correct the Eris E3.5 BT’s somewhat excessive treble (which both our ears and our measurements detected) by turning the treble control down by 3 or 4 dB, and of course you can adjust the sound to your taste or to suit the acoustics of your room. It’s not a hearing aid replacement, but the Sound World Solutions CS50+ is backed by independent research, has a long-lasting battery, and is comfortable. What Is Alexa (and What’s the Best Alexa Speaker)? Portable Bluetooth speakers are an easy and affordable way to bring music with you wherever you go. Start your vinyl music journey here with our picks for turntable, receiver, speakers, and more. Connected to a projector, our favorite computer speakers will typically play louder, sound better, and cost less than all-in-one speakers. He pitted large models against large models, small models against small models, and pro models against pro models, and then mixed up the contenders to see how models of different types compared. Finished … The Mackie CR5-XBT is our favorite computer speaker set because it sounds great, has a lot of convenient features, and fits on most desktops. In addition, the subwoofer level knob is on the sub itself, an inconvenient location. That said, as with any other speakers we’ve tried that have 3½-inch woofers, almost any listener will eventually uncover the Eris E3.5 BT’s bass limitations. Audiophile headphones focus on delivering the best sound quality, period. There’s no need to add an external amplifier or audio processor—you simply connect the speakers to your computer’s headphone jack or the output of a USB audio interface, and you’re ready to go. The Micca PB42X produced extreme port noise with deep bass notes, and a big midrange peak added an unappealing twang to the sound. By Brent Butterworth This post was done in partnership with Wirecutter. With average mid-bass output of 115.7 dB and low-bass output of 87.7 dB (both measured with a pair of speakers), the LP-6 had between 4 and 10 dB more bass output than the JBL 305P MkII, depending on the bass frequency. ARVICKA Computer Speaker, LED Accents USB Speaker Small Mighty Solid Wired Multimedia Speaker for PC Monitor Desktop Laptop Gaming Smartphones Tablets Projectors TVs, Black. A switch on this speaker lets you assign which speaker is left and which one is right—a great feature, as most computer speakers put the controls on the left-channel speaker, which may or may not be convenient or comfortable for your particular desk setup. The frequency response measurements for the ProMedia 2.1 THX (measured as a system, with the subwoofers and speakers combined) were not impressive, showing a large rise in the treble. Research (PDF) shows that listeners consistently prefer speakers that have a “flat” frequency response—producing all frequencies of sound at approximately even levels—and that maintain similar frequency response whether you’re sitting directly in front of them or slightly off to the side. Normally $100, you can buy a pair of these compact computer speakers for $60 on Amazon. Brent agreed, noting that the Eris E3.5 BT sounded “trebly but clear” and had a satisfyingly spacious sound. Compared with the LP-6, it offered a slightly clearer, more open midrange in our tests but less bass output. We did blind tests to find out. Right now, our top pick is the UE Wonderboom 2, a compact and rugged speaker … We generally liked the Logitech Z625, which delivered more bass than most of the speakers we tested, but its midrange and treble sounded a bit strident at times. This professional studio monitor offers clean sound with deep, powerful bass and extensive tuning options, but it’s quite large. Read full article Our pick. All of these inputs are live all the time, so you have no way to switch among them—if you have sources playing on multiple inputs (including Bluetooth), you’ll hear them all simultaneously. Logitech Z906. The ProMedia 2.1 THX system offers convenient front-mounted controls but has very limited input options and no Bluetooth support. (This should come as little surprise because the designer of the LP-6 is the former principal engineer of loudspeaker systems for JBL Professional.) Here’s the best audio and video gear, plus accessories, to improve your gaming enjoyment. 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