Stereo PC Speakers, Compared

Key points

We test these products with music files and games. Of course, it is possible to use them for DVD viewing but you will be far better off with a 5.1 system. The quality of the sound reproduction is the main thing here. Highs, mid-tones and bass must all be vibrant and certainly not flat. Static noise must be minimal. We also look at the design, the settings and connectivity.

Stereo speakers with a subwoofer allow you to listen to music and play games without cluttering your desk.

Considering the number of audio files exchanged over the Net, it seems rather a good idea to invest in equipment that will make your music sound even better. In order to use 2.1 speakers all you need is a PC with a sound card and a stereo mini jack output, both of which are almost always included in any desktop or laptop computer.

Different standards
Manufacturers are always ready to drown you in watts . Beware however, as measuring methods differ from one company to another. It is therefore really difficult to compare the figures.

Speaker quality has improved greatly over the last few years, therefore you can find a product for any budget.

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  • Hamsterabed
    Um kinda short? why did you talk about using 2.1 speakers in the intro but only review 3 2.0 speakers. 2 of which you said were just big and little brothers of each other. You also talk about the importance to not rely on watts at all and to look at how they generate their numbers but in the rest of a article there is no reference to any sort of audio specifications (resistance and all that jazz). no range numbers this article is just throwing out some speakers an a quick little review of them with out any of their specs. I guess it would be a good article for someone who was looking at these particular speakers and their specs in front of them and said to them selves, "I wonder how these sound in practice" then they find a quick little blurb about them here that references a bit of their marketing lingo (what the cones are made of for the creatives)

    w/e review wasn't interesting for me being someone who is a wee bit interested in the actual working of sound...
    6
  • Luscious
    I wonder who these Digital Verses people are that give these half-@ass product comparisons and why Tom's keeps them on the payroll??? There is a total lack of content, barely any product-specific information and no focus on details. I know publishers have to adhere to a word limit when writing an article, but perhaps instead of going for the pretty pictures the focus should be on the quality of the content and length. You can review speakers all you want, but if you're going to do that get into the specs and compare RELEVANT factors like frequency response and power output - details that DO set one speaker apart from another. Yes, listening is subjective, but you don't need to be an audiophile to know that a great set of speakers will, just as an example, give you bass that is rich, full and free of distortion.

    If you really want to review and compare hardware, stop paying 8th graders to submit their homework - it's a waste of time, offers no help, and is of no use to the serious reader whatsoever.
    3
  • abbadon_34
    Wow, another crap ass "article" from Digital Review. No charts, no numbers, no specifications, only brief criticism of manufactures wattage rating yet no independent tests or even a simple discussion of RMS vs. Peak.

    These French articles make me long for the days of the German reviews, grammatically poor but technically cutting edge.
    7
  • zodiacfml
    amen brother, +1.
    0
  • nerdherd
    Dittos to the first
    0
  • nerdherd
    Interesting, I just found out that if you start to type something and then you log in it posts whatever you typed before logging in...but anyway, on topic:
    This is a lame excuse for a review. I don't know why this was even posted. I would actually be interested in a review on computer speakers as I would like to upgrade soon, but this is about as helpful as a Circuit City employee at the liquidation sale...let's try to bump up the quality a notch (actually probably several notches...)!
    1
  • Aoster87
    Wow, terrible article. I opened this thinking maybe my speakers of a few years, Logitech Z4i, would be up on here. The pros & cons on this article are a little basic, for lack of better words. One could easily come up with at least a full page for each speaker. Where's the THD posted? RMS / peak power? Thumbs down =/
    2
  • eklipz330
    omg this article has GOT to be a joke.

    -1 for tomshardware
    2
  • JMcEntegart
    eklipz330omg this article has GOT to be a joke.-1 for tomshardware


    This is Tom's Guide. Come on now, it's been long enough.

    Tom's Guide is consumer electronics and general computing stuff, Tom's Hardware is for enthusiasts.

    If that doesn't help, red and grey = Tom's Hardware, green and blue = Tom's Guide.
    0
  • Anonymous
    Doesn't matter if it's Tom's Hardware or Tom's Guide, it's still a worthless article. How hard can it be to AT LEAST quote the manufacturer specs for each set of speakers?
    You know input impedance, minimum/maximum frequency they can play at and at what dBs, power output, noise/signal ratio etc

    Really, worthless.
    1
  • eklipz330
    JMcEntegartThis is Tom's Guide. Come on now, it's been long enough. Tom's Guide is consumer electronics and general computing stuff, Tom's Hardware is for enthusiasts. If that doesn't help, red and grey = Tom's Hardware, green and blue = Tom's Guide.

    fine, minus one for tom. whoever he is
    0
  • smokinu
    The point that many people are driving at is this is not even a guide. Please do not use the same old excuse about tome guide vs toms hardware. A guide should have more information than this. No has really asked for you to throw out spacing of say a 5.1, 6.1 , 7.1 surround sound, or the difference in db levels and what not. What has been mentioned though is there is only 3 products here and 2 of them are basically identical from the same manufacturer. Anyone could throw out an opinon without even properrly reviewing the products. I had my 87 year old grandmother read this article and here is what she said.

    "Ok I read the article but it didnt tell me anything." "I could of read this on the box in the store"

    So this review is basically a slap in the face of the readers, producers of the product, and even Toms Guide itself.

    You should be ashamed of this garbage.

    Dont make excuses, just fix what seems to have broken here on Tom's Guide.
    1
  • Anonymous
    What a lame review. Typical lazyness from this site. I'll review for you people, since Tom's too busy "Working"...

    The new ones almost compare to the older ones in all essence. Not quite though. They are made cheaper and are NOT as good. 14 watts RMS a channel, but also VERY different in amplifier design. The amplifier is totally redesigned for this series two model. It uses the TPA3001D1 (sometimes referred to as TPA3001) and it is a 20-W mono bridge-tied load (BTL) class-D audio power amplifier. The older one uses two. That one fet is not heatsinked like the older ones and when pushed to the limit, overheats and shuts down. This is under extreme circumstances though. I drove a two ohm load each channel instead of the factory 6 ohm woofers. The power is not the same. The older ones were built with higher quality components around it and put out more power, the lower the resitance went. The power supply on this new set is 27 volts at 1.7 amps, compared to the 12 volt, 2.9 amp transformer. That's 45.9 watts imput compared to 34.8. It's more efficient using the incomming power but, doe'snt help the amp generate quite the same power the old ones did. Overall the new amp does it's job unless you pull it apart and torture test it. I did have it cut out though, only under EXTREME use. You'd kill yourself with the distortion before problems occure. Mabey if your enviorment was 100+ degree's...

    The speakers are the same, so you would think anyway. The woofer is a 6ohm midbass driver EXACTLY the same as before. The tweeter is revised, though. It's 4 ohms like the others, look the same from the front, but have a different magnet. The older ones seem to do more with the power given and sound cleaner to me. Just more accurate and sharper. I think these tweets are made cheaper. That's MY oppinion though.

    The new series two is nice, and if I did'nt know ant better, I'm but them I like the black, the new dials, and the light is around the volume knob instead of an L.E.D. on the face like before. It's nice looking. The only grudge is you can see the light through the woofer cone, but only when it's dark. I don't think most would notice.

    The port is oval, instead of round, and when testing it seems to be tuned higher than before. Around 70hz instead of 60hz. It sounds good though, but the new or old ones could'ent play that low anyway. 50hz and the output of the amp rolls off to nothing at around 20hz. These lil woofers and cabinets would'nt do it anyway if the amp sent signals that low.

    Personally I would look for the older set, it sounds better to me, but does'nt look as good. They dropped the quality some, and it shows. There's small details here and there that show to my very critical eye...

    I would rate a 9 still, because it's the BEST sounding 2.0 set you can find. I don't care wht you wanna spend. In this size these are #1. You can however get much better setups, but plan to shell out %500 bucks, and clear your desk, cuse you'll need the room.

    Your's truley, George Srisomsak
    1
  • jkhanlar
    I was looking for a recent review/guide on speakers since I am in the market to buy, however, I am not able to find any. Does anyone have any recommendations/suggestions for alternative sites to search since this review/guide utterly sucks?
    0
  • Anonymous
    Mr. Thomas Guide got a big ol' donkey dick.
    0
  • Anonymous
    Tom sounds like an ex employee of Gigaworks that was sacked once! The T40 Series II are just great Tom! Take that banana out of your ear and listen again with some nice music like a jazz piano trio or some great recorded fusion like the Yellowjackets. Tom!!
    0
  • psittacid
    The "too much midrange and not enough treble" nonsense just shows that someone has drunk the industry koolaid and pushes big sloppy bass and screechy treble because both are cheap to produce and sound good to the uninitiated until the headache settles in.

    Let's take up a collection and get whoever wrote this article some ears.
    0