Personal computer is not just a working tool, it is increasingly used for entertainment purposes now. You can watch movies and cartoons, play games, listen music and do a lot of interesting things, most of which are accompanied by the sound on the computer. Sound is one of the main components which help us to feel fully all beauty of the multimedia capabilities of the computer.
A good sound card and normal acoustic system (speakers) is required to ensure adequate sound characteristics. We will discuss tips on how to buy good speakers for your computer in this post.
What is a speaker?
Computer speaker is a sound transducer, which consists of one or more loudspeakers placed in a special case. Several speakers (at least two) make up the acoustic speakers system.
Main speaker and acoustic systems specifications:
1. Speaker types.
There are two speakers types: active and passive, depending on the availability of internal amplifier.
Active acoustic speakers have built-in internal sound amplifier that provides a sufficient level of sound without external amplifiers.
Passive speakers have no an amplifier, so they are used with external amplifiers.
Active and passive speakers can be distinguished by the one feature: active have their own power supply (power cord) and passive supplied from the device to which they are connected.
Active acoustic systems dominate the market of computer speakers at this time.
2. Speakers power.
Power and volume of sound depends on the power of speakers.
Speakers power depends on the power of the built-in amplifier in active speakers and on the transmitting device signal strength in passive speakers.
Power is measured in watts.
It is necessary to make distinguish between nominal, maximum and peak power.
Nominal speakers power is the power in which they will operate properly and produce sound without distortion.
Maximum power is the power at which speakers will work, but the sound quality may deteriorate (speakers will wheeze).
Peak power is the maximum power which system can sustain for a very short time and not be damaged.
Only nominal power is indicated for buyers mainly.
It should be noted that power figure is overstated sometimes, especially in cheap speakers. The indicated 20 Watt can fit 12-15 watts actually in such cases.
10-15 watts speakers power will be quite enough if you need little modern speakers for your PC or another player, for example, Mp3 player.
40 watts is recommended total power if you want medium speakers in standard room.
You can start with 80-100 watts power for a powerful sound system in the living room or gaming sound systems.
I have read somewhere that the most powerful speakers have 40,000 watts power. I think that the window glasses could crack from that sound.
3. Speakers sensitivity.
Sensitivity is the parameter that directly affects the possible sound volume.
Sensitivity is measured in decibels and indicates what sound pressure (how many decibels) can create a column at 1 meter with a power of 1 Watt.
If you will take two speakers with identical power but with different sensitivity, the more sensitive speaker will be louder.
Almost all speaker systems, which are designed for consumer use, have 84 – 120 decibels sensitivity. A good sensitivity is from 85-89 decibels.
4. Frequencies range.
Sound is a wave as we know. Each wave has its own vibration frequency which is measured in hertz. We can hear sound waves with a frequency from 16-20 Hertz to 20,000. Manufacturers of speakers are also oriented to these sound frequencies. Speakers with a wider frequencies range allow you to hear a wider range of sounds.
Multimedia loudspeakers of average quality can have a frequency range of 40 – 20,000 Hz. Frequency of premium speakers could be in the range of 20 – 35,000 Hz.
5. Number of bands.
Number of bands is actually the number of speakers.
All sounds are derived through one speaker in single-band speakers.
Two-band speakers have two built-in speakers, one with low frequencies sounds output and the second with mid and a high frequency sounds output.
Three-band speakers have three speakers, the first of which outputs low-frequency, the second – middle frequency, the third – high frequency sounds.
The higher number of bands helps to separate frequency ranges more clearly and therefore to receive a more colorful sound.
6. Case material.
Speakers are mostly made of plastic or wood. Plastic speakers have lower price, but they can have a various designs. However, wooden speakers have a higher sound quality.
7. Speaker system form factor.
Speakers, depending on the type, number of bands and audio channels are divided into:
– 2.0 System. These speaker systems consist of two single-band (two-band, two-band) speakers. This is the simplest type of stereo speakers and therefore the most common.
– 2.1 System. Two speakers and a subwoofer are included in this system. Speakers output high and medium frequency sounds, subwoofer outputs basses. The sound becomes more voluminous and realistic thanks to this frequency distribution. We can recommend 2.1 speakers for computer if you need a good stereo sound, but you don’t need lot speakers around you.
– 5.1 Systems. Two front, two rear, one center speaker (satellites) and subwoofer make up the speaker system 5.1. This is the standard kit for home theater. Such number of speakers allows reaching a high degree of sounds distribution, which helps to get a realistic stereo effect.
5.1 computer speakers also allow you to use PC as a micro-cinema. The distance between the speakers can be quite different, but you should follow the recommended placement: front satellite speakers must be in front of the listener, and the rear behind.
– 7.1 System. 7.1 systems differ from 5.1 systems by the presence of two additional rear speakers that provide greater realism. 7.1 Speakers are a new generation of speakers. It system provides the best speakers for gaming.
There are also systems 4.0, 4.1, 7.2, but they are not very common.
It should be noted that connection of 5.1 and 7.1 speakers to the computer is possible when its sound card supports this possibility.
Hopefully, after reading the article, you will know all the main speakers characteristics and you will buy a good acoustic speaker system for home or work PC.