by Paul Sanders
Entertainment and gaming PCs benefit from having powerful, low-distortion computer speakers. Computer speaker systems won't put out the kind of sound you'll get from full-size home theater speakers, but they will definitely upgrade your experience playing games or watching movies when compared to standard factory speakers. Here are a few basic features to watch out for when comparing computer speakers for entertainment purposes.
Desktop controls: Not all computer speakers include a separate remote or desktop controller, but they make adjusting sound levels and controlling volume a lot easier. Look for computer speakers with a wireless or infrared remote control. Failing that, a wired desktop controller will give you easy access to speaker controls.
Surround sound: Many video games -- as well as most DVDs and Blu-ray movies -- are encoded with surround sound, which requires a multi-speaker system. Surround sound systems are ideal for playing movies on home theater PCs, but they can also act as computer gaming speakers. Computer speaker systems can come equipped with anywhere from two to seven speakers: 2.1 computer speakers will feature the left and right speakers, plus a subwoofer, but 5.1 computer speakers will feature the subwoofer, four satellite speakers and one center-channel computer speaker. The 7.1 systems add two additional left and right speakers. Consider your entertainment space and match it with a multi-speaker system that makes sense for the space's size and seating arrangement.
Wireless speaker systems: Wireless computer speakers are ideal when you have limited desk space, especially if you're using multiple surround sound speakers. Running speaker wire to all of those satellites creates a lot of clutter and may not be ideal for your computer setup. Even if the only wireless computer speakers in your setup are the rear channels, you'll have significantly less trouble during setup.
Multiple inputs: Powerful computer speakers will work great for your MP3 player, game console and other audio devices, too. A computer speaker system with multiple audio inputs (either a 3.5-mm jack or RCA cables) can be the center of your entire entertainment system.
Mountable satellite speakers: A 2.1 computer speaker system will probably fit easily on a mid-sized computer desk, but anything larger will start to crowd your space. Before you buy, consider where you'll be placing your computer speakers and whether or not you will need to mount one on a ceiling or wall. If so, speakers with mounting brackets will be ideal for you.