Best Gaming Speakers for 2020: PICKS FOR ANY BUDGET
Have you ever got your ass stomped in a competitive FPS just because you couldn't hear your enemy's movements? All due to your speaker's crappy sound.
Have you sat down to play your favourite RPG just to have your immersion broken because of the flat, tinny sound coming out of your PC speakers?
Of course, you can get yourself a pair of gaming headphones and continue about your day. However, there are times when you just want to sit down with a controller and enjoy an hour or two (or ten) of Witcher III.
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Last Updated: March 1, 2020
By Barry Allen: This article has been updated to reflect the most accurate information regarding best gaming speakers available for those who are interested in upping their sound quality in games. The best 5 available have changed, and information has been added to assist individuals in finding the best gaming speakers currently available on the market. The FAQ has also been updated.
|Logitech G560 LIGHTSYNC PC Gaming Speakers||Rating:||View Latest Deal →|
|Razer Nommo Chroma||Rating:95||View Latest Deal →|
|Creative Labs GigaWorks T20 Series speakers for pc gaming||Rating:||View Latest Deal →|
|Razer Leviathan: Dolby 5.1 soundbar||Rating:||View Latest Deal →|
|Bose Companion 2 Series III||Rating:||View Latest Deal →|
Buyer’s Guide On How To Pick The Best Gaming Speakers
You might be thinking - why don't I get a set of bargain bin speakers and be done with it?
You can go that way no problem. But, you'd just be butchering any future prospects of immersion in your favourite game.
This is why it's essential to get a speaker set that is specifically designed for gaming. Not only will they ensure you will have the best possible gaming experience, but they will look cool too.
More on the looks factor later in the article. First, let's find out what makes gaming speakers different than regular, cheap computer speakers under 50$.
What Makes Gaming Speakers Different To Standard Speakers?
To the best way to answer this question is to start from the basics and go from there.
Speakers move air at specific frequencies by vibrating the membranes. The smaller the membrane is, the higher-pitched the sound will be. The bigger the membrane is, the lower-pitched the sound will be.
The membranes can be made out of a range of different materials, ranging from cardboard to diamond. The more-exotic the material, the crisper the sound will be. However, this also means a higher price.
The best gaming speaker will have membranes that are built out of high-quality fabric. Regular computer speakers under $100 will have the membranes constructed out of cheap cardboard.
Regular computer speaker's membranes often produce a muted, flat sound that just isn't cut for gaming. This is why you should always choose a model designed explicitly for gaming since it will feature membranes that can produce sound in a wide frequency range.
Of course, the quality of the membrane is not the most crucial factor in a gaming speaker. The number and type of membranes are also vital (more on that later).
Let's move on to the magnets since they're the ones that move the membranes. The stronger the magnets, the more powerful the speakers.
Most gaming speakers feature strong magnets. This is why you have to look for a model that features appropriate shielding, so it doesn't interfere with other electronics.
The power of the speaker is measured in Watts, which is directly linked to how far the magnet can move the membrane. Most regular computer speakers don't go over 60 Watts, while some gaming speakers will even go above 200 Watts!
Don't let the number of Watts fool you, though. Commonly, the speaker's power is referred to its maximum power output which can be delivered only for a short period. This is why you should look for the speaker's Watts RMS, which represents the amount of power it can generate on a continual level.
Moving on - It's not all about the speaker's drivers . The casings are also important.
Especially if you want to feel like the aliens you're blasting off are in your room. This is why it's essential to get a gaming speaker setup that features wooden housing (at least for the subwoofer). Not only does wood amplify the sound, but it also gives it a more natural color.
As a gamer, you will want your speakers to have a lot of bass since most sound effects are quite bass-heavy. You will also want to get a compact model, so you have enough room for your mouse and keyboard on your desk.
I'll touch on the importance of size a bit later in the article. First, we have to go over the question of how much bass do you actually need.
Bass or Low Bass?
Some gaming sound systems feature subwoofers. While they look spectacular, they are rarely utilized to their full capacity. First of all, you probably have neighbors. Secondly, gaming with bass turned up to 11 quickly gets tiring.
This is why it’s essential to factor in bass quality and the technologies behind it before making the final decision.
You can go for a set that doesn’t come with a subwoofer, but you’ll be losing a lot in immersion and sound color. Gun sounds effects will suffer the most. Killing demons with a super shotgun in Doom 2016 feels incredibly flat without a subwoofer.
This is why you should always go for a gaming speaker set that features a subwoofer. Ideally, you’d want the subwoofer to have a wooden housing because it will greatly improve the sound quality and give it more colour.
Just having a sound system with a subwoofer isn’t enough. Placement is also incredibly important.
I really like to immerse myself in games and if the sound is off I get annoyed. So, I spent hours finding the best angle for the satellites and the subwoofer. I placed the subwoofer in different parts of my room so I get the best possible experience.
I realize you might not have the time, nor the will, to find the best possible location for your gaming speakers which you can try out a couple of common configurations:
You can place the subwoofer on the ground and keep the satellites on the desk. This is the most common type of setup and one of the most effective ones. You will get all the mid and high frequencies delivered directly to your ears while the subwoofer will provide the ever-important rumble from beneath.
You can place the entire set below the desk. This isn’t ideal. The sound will be a bit muted and flat because it will reverb a lot between your legs and the table.
You can place the entire set on the desk. This also isn’t ideal because the subwoofer will vibrate your desk and impact your precision.
The frequency range of most computer speakers can be between 80hz and 20Khz.
For most of you, these numbers might not mean much. However, there is a great number of games where vocals and instrumentals are essential to the experience.
I was recently playing Homeworld: Remastered Edition which is incredibly immersive. However, if I didn’t have a decent set of 2.1 speakers I wouldn’t feel like a space fleet commander because I couldn’t enjoy the incredible soundtrack and the sounds of combat and radio chatter.
If you want to ensure you have the most immersive experience you will have to go for a model that has a high-frequency range. Thankfully, this feature is becoming more important amongst gamers.
Most manufacturers are adapting their gaming speakers towards more professional-grade technologies. This is why you should go through the specs thoroughly and read the customer reviews.
Connection Type: Wired or Wireless
Not all gaming speakers come with Bluetooth connectivity feature. In fact, most models come with the old-school 3.5mm jack. There are even some models that also feature a TOSLINK connection, but those are incredibly rare and very expensive.
I recommend you think about which type of connection is the most convenient for you.
If you're going to use them with your desktop gaming rig, I recommend you pick a set that has 3.5mm connectivity.
However, if you're going to use the speakers with your other devices such as TVs, phones and tablets, you should go for a set with Bluetooth connectivity.
If you have a flat screen TV in your gaming room, you should go for a Bluetooth gaming speaker set.
Well, most TVs these days have a terrible sound quality because they're too thin for the speakers to reverberate.
It all boils down to personal preference. I recommend you get a set that is the most convenient for you.
Size and Additional Features
Size is one of the most overlooked features of PC gaming speakers.
I know we all love the look of massive speakers, but not everyone has enough space to accommodate them.
When it comes to gaming PCs and laptops, desk space is already scarce. This is why gaming speakers come in many shapes and sizes. Today you can find everything from compact sets that are smaller than a computer mouse, to oversized sets with a huge woofer.
The days of crowded computer desks are long gone. All major brands now advocate minimalist design that is more suited for modern living environments. This is a good thing because most of our desk space is already taken up by the monitor setup and the mouse and keyboard.
This is why most best-rated gaming speakers are not too big and not too small. The overall size of the set is dependant on the size of the subwoofer.
The subwoofer is, in most cases, the part that requires more space than all of the satellites combined. I recommend you go for the size that'll fit on your desk.
When it comes to other accessories, there are two things to consider. If you don't want to reach behind your desk to plug in your headphones, I recommend you buy a model that has a headphone jack.
The second thing you should consider is RGB lighting. I know it's completely unnecessary, but it gives the speakers that pro-gamer look.
If anything else it creates excellent ambient light. This feature is entirely up to you.
5 Best Gaming Speakers of 2020/20
Now that you know how to pick the best gaming speaker, you can take a look at my selection. I’ve reviewed speakers from all price points and levels of popularity. So, let’s jump right into it!
1. Logitech G560 LIGHTSYNC PC Gaming Speakers
The absolute winner amongst gaming speakers hailes from gaming peripheral titan, Logitech. The G560 Lightsync speakers will help you experience games on a whole new level.
Most would argue RGB lighting is a gimmick that offers no improvement in gaming performance. However, Logitech's G560 Lightsync gaming speakers RGB feature is everything but a gimmick.
The cone-shaped satellites feature twelve high-powered RGB LEDs that pulse and blink in sync with what's going on on the screen.
You will experience immersion like never before. The satellites will flash when you get hit and pulse red when you're at low health.
It is impressive how much can you feel like you're in the game with the proper implementation of RGB.
Although lighting is a huge factor when it comes to immersion factor, audio quality is why we're here.
The 220-Watt G560 features Dolby's DTS:X surround technology. While I'm not a big fan of virtual surround sound, I'm happy to report it works perfectly with these speakers.
The audio is crisp and incredibly precise. It will make you feel like you're truly in a room with a 7.1 surround sound. I had no problems pinpointing from where I was being shot at in Apex Legends.
The subwoofer is also incredible. I placed it under the desk and was pleasantly surprised at how much oomph it gave to the gun sounds.
The Logitech G560 Lightsync speakers take the top of my list because they not only provide superb sound but also increase the immersion with the RGB sync. You will definitely feel more immersed than with other speakers. I definitely improved my gaming performance because I finally got more aware of my health level.
2. Razer Nommo Chroma
If it wasn’t for the RGB lighting on the G560, Razer’s Nommo Chroma speakers would take the first place.
Razer has a legendary reputation amongst gamers for building high-end gaming computers and peripherals. The Nommo Chroma is an excellent example of Razer's dedication to bringing the gamers the absolute best in technology.
The Razer Nommo Chroma gaming speakers are built out of smooth black plastic and feature a sleek design most gamers can appreciate.
The subtle RGB lighting in the base of the satellites give it an additional cool factor and ensure you feel like a hardcore gamer. You can also customize the RGB lighting to your heart's content with the companion app.
Unfortunately, a couple of times the RGB went crazy on me. Plugging the USB out and then back in fixed that problem. I don’t know what caused this issue, but my bet is on the companion app.
The Nommo Chroma speakers aren't too large standing just about 9-inches tall and are 6-inches in length. This is just perfect and will easily fit on almost any desk configuration. Their tube shape will undoubtedly give your gaming setup a more minimalistic feel.
The sound quality of the Razer Nommo Chroma is just as impeccable as the design.
Although they're lacking certification from Dolby and THX, they still produce incredibly crisp sound.
The somewhat tiny drivers can produce a high-frequency range and can give you the feeling like you're getting a sound from much bigger speakers.
The rear-facing woofers are nothing short of amazing. I've played some WoW classic with these speakers and was pleasantly surprised by the rumble they produced, especially when I turned up the bass knob.
The only issue I have with the performance of these speakers is their somewhat low power output. When turned up to the max, they are hardly louder than a TV without a soundbar.
The Razer Nommo Chroma are excellent gaming speakers - they won't give you the same amount of immersion as the Logitech G560 speakers, but they are certainly close.
They will still give you an edge over others since you'll be able to hear every little sound in the game.
3. Creative Labs GigaWorks T20 Series speakers for pc gaming
Our Rating: 85/100
Creative T20's have been on the market for nearly ten years, and since then, they were revised only once. Even after the revision, they remain as one of the most popular options for budgets under $100.
The GigaWorks T20 series speakers feature removable grilles. When attached, they perfectly blend in the background.
With the grilles off, the gold-coloured cones and glossy-black fascias stand out, giving you the feel of audiophile quality you'd expect from a $500 sound system.
The subtle glow around the power/volume knob is a great touch. It gives just enough ambient lighting for those days when you want to close the blinds and play your favourite game until the colours on the screen start melting.
Internally, the majority of the housing is empty space to allow for the bass frequencies to resonate. Unfortunately, this results in a thuddy bass response that sounds unnatural in certain situations.
At normal volume levels, the T20 sounds like a speaker sat way over its price point. The sound is surprisingly crisp and clear with excellent stereo separation.
Unfortunately, the illusion is quickly dispelled the second you turn up the volume. Low frequencies in games like Apex Legends cause strong vibrations through the housing, and the overly bright response from the tweeter drivers gets a little annoying after a while.
Thankfully you can quickly rectify this issue by playing around with the Bass and Treble controls on the T20's front panel.
The Creative Labs GigaWorks T20 Series II speakers are an excellent solution for a gamer on a budget. They give you the feel of a much more expensive gaming speaker set, that is if you fine-tune them.
4. Razer Leviathan: Dolby 5.1 soundbar
Our Rating: 90/100
When you think of a soundbar, you don’t associate them with gaming, rather you associate them with TVs. However, Razor’s Leviathan soundbar/subwoofer combo proves soundbars can be an excellent audio solution for PC gaming.
The Leviathan soundbar was Razers first non-headphone sound device. And I have to admit that they really delivered. Let's find out why!
The design of Razer Leviathan soundbar is minimalistic yet incredibly stylish. It doesn't scream gamer gear, but it positively oozes with a high-quality feel.
The front of the soundbar features a plain black grill with a white Razer logo in the middle. No RGB lighting, no volume knobs sticking out. It is made to sit below your monitor and not draw too much attention to itself.
The only light it produces is from the control panel, and it's subtle enough to keep your attention to the game.
The downward-facing subwoofer is just as subtle as the soundbar. It looks like a giant keyboard keycap, and I mean that in a good way. It perfectly fits the gamer aesthetic.
The Razer Leviathan soundbar is powerful enough to fill out an ample living room with clear, and crisp sound.
The sound clarity of this sound system at max volume is nothing short of wondrous. Thanks to Dolby's 5.1 virtual surround sound, I was able to pinpoint my enemies movements in RS: Siege accurately.
The only rattle I experienced was when I was playing Warhammer: Vermintide II when the Chaos Spawn started rushing at my team. Even then it was as short as Chaos Spawn's lifespan when attacking my fully decked out teammates.
The subwoofer is a beast. It will shake your life if you let it. It will shake so much it will make you feel like you're in your fantasy battlefield, and I mean that in a literal sense.
The soundbar can connect through both Bluetooth and AUX. This brings us to my source of frustration. If you use Bluetooth connection, get ready to frantically refresh your device list because soundbar decided to go invisible.
On top of that, it will turn off after 20 minutes of inactivity, forcing you to repeat the dreaded syncing cycle.
The Razer Leviathan 5.1 is worth every penny. If you want to feel like you're in the fantasy battleground of your choice, look no further. The sound is incredibly crisp, and the subwoofer will give you a mild case of PTSD if you turn it up in Call of Duty.
However, be ready for connection issues. The Bluetooth on the Leviathan isn’t up to standard for a brand like Razer.
5. Bose Companion 2 Series III
Our Rating: 80/100
Bose is a household name amongst audiophiles. And in recent years they gained quite the popularity amongst gamers. The Companion 2 Series III is their most affordable speaker set, and it's incredibly popular for those on a budget. Let's see why!
Although they're quite light, the Companion 2 speakers are quite powerful. Unfortunately, loudness and audio quality are two different things.
These speakers are quite powerful and can deliver a wide range of frequencies. However, they emphasize lower frequencies a bit too much for my taste. I played a couple of matches of Call of Duty: Black Ops 4, and while the sound wasn't bad, it was a bit muted. These speakers are more suited for playing RPGs like WoW or Mass Effect.
When I played a couple of music tracks, the sound was quite warm, but a bit muted just like in games. I wouldn't recommend listening to metal or jazz with these speakers, but if you're a fan of trap these speakers are the right choice for you.
The Bose Companion 2 Series III speakers won't immerse you in your favourite game. Still, they're certainly an upgrade from anything you would get bundled with your PC.
Although they don't provide the clearest and most crisp sound in the world, they really excel in games where ambient sounds are most important. So, if you're an avid WoW player or like to lose yourself in the vast space of Elite: Dangerous, this speaker set is for you.