3 Reasons Desktop Speakers Should Not Be Your First Choice

As you shop for new computer speakers, you may be tempted by the low costs and simplicity of compact desktop speaker sets. However, there are a few important downsides to desktop speakers you should know first.

In many cases, you’ll be happier saving up for – or downsizing to – alternative solutions like soundbars, audiophile headphones, or wall-mounted speaker sets instead. We’ll explore three key reasons why below, along with our top speaker recommendations.

1. They Consume Scarce Desktop Real Estate

The first challenge desktop speakers pose is gobbling up valuable space on your workspace. For example, a compact Logitech Z333 set still requires a 7.3 x 5.5 inch footprint per speaker. That quickly eats into mouse maneuvering or notebook writing space on smaller desks.

And that’s before factoring in elbow room for items like keyboards, phones, desk lamps, and beverage containers. The average computer desk depth is about 20 inches. Place a 24-inch monitor, full-size keyboard, and mouse – and there’sprecious little surface area left before we cram speakers in too.

Under-desk mounting provides an alternative, but at the cost of proper audio projection towards your ears. Desktop speakers really perform best positioned at flanking angles relative to your sitting position.

So if you work or game on any desk less spacious than a 6 foot long behemoth, small stereo setups inevitably cramp comfort.

2. Their Sound Quality is Inferior to the Alternatives

Another reason enthusiast upgraders eventually outgrow desktop speakers is their mediocre audio performance – especially in lower price tiers.

Brands like Logitech and Creative absolutely dominate the entry-level desktop speaker market. And there’s nothing wrong with the adequate, casual listening experience their products deliver.

But virtually none emphasize faithful, moving sound reproduction the way true home theater or audiophile speakers do. Key specs that matter, like:

  • Driver size: Sub-3 inch drivers struggle producing clean bass
  • Frequency response: Target curve should extend past 60Hz-20kHz human range
  • Total output:Daily computer use demands >80 dB, gaming >90 dB SPL

For example, Logitech’s beloved Z533 speakers utilize 4 inch drivers and boast just 67 watts RMS power. Their bass reaches only 70Hz and highs top out at 20kHz.

Z533 Frequency Response Chart

In comparison, my 8-inch bookshelf speakers at home flank my TV with 160 watts total power. Their published frequency response chart shows robust bass down to 42 Hz and crystal highs past 40 kHz.

That logarithmic top end really adds vital detail and sparkle! And indeed, switching between the two systems demonstrated clearly superior spaciousness and musicality on the living room setup.

So if immersive, high-fidelity sound matters most, desktop speakers invariably disappoint compared to the alternatives. Let’s talk about those!

3. Alternatives Often Deliver Better Value

The final nail in most desktop speakers’ coffin is their questionable value-to-performance ratio. As an example, AudioEngine’s acclaimed A2+ speakers retail around $250.

For that same money however, you could buy:

  • The Razer Leviathan V2 X soundbar (and a gaming mouse)
  • Sennheiser’s legendary open-back HD 650 audiophile headphones
  • A pair of mountable 5.25” Pyle speakers with hardware

Any of those solutions will likely satisfy more advanced listeners with fewer space-related headaches to boot.

Let‘s examine why they represent such stiff competition to desktop offerings:

Pyle 5.25" Wall/Ceiling Speakers

Pyle 5.25” Pro-Active Wall/Ceiling Speakers on Amazon

[Wall speaker photo]

First, consider these clever speaker pairs from Pyle Audio. They cost a reasonable $120 and include all mounting hardware required. Just drill a few holes and permanently clear desk space by fixing them to your walls or ceiling.

They utilize large 5.25” polypropylene drivers for full-bodied mid-range tones and dedicated bass radiators for surprisingly deep lows. Versatiletoo in connectivity options: stream wirelessly via Bluetooth or plugin directly through 3.5mm or RCA ports.

At this buyer-friendly price point, the Pyle wall speakers outclass any desktop kit sonically and free up precious square footage.

Razer Leviathan V2 X Gaming Soundbar

Place this Razer soundbar beneath your gaming monitor and immediately elevate immersion. Its slim form factor matches the width of most displays, serving as the ideal center channel for panoramic audio.

Razer Leviathan V2 X on Amazon

[Razer soundbar photo]

What’s exciting about the Leviathan V2 X lies inside: smooth 45Hz-20kHz frequency response from dual 2.5” drivers and two passive radiators. This compact system churns out room-filling cinematic sound belying its size.

Gamers will also go crazy for the fully customizable Chroma RGB lighting. With 16.8 million colors and dynamic effects to play with, your setup’s aesthetics won’t suffer either.

At just $200 retail, this modern soundbar over-delivers tremendous value – visually and sonically.

Sennheiser HD 650 Audiophile Headphones

Considered one of the greatest headphones ever made, the Sennheiser HD 650 set an open-back reference tuning other manufactures still struggle matching.

Sennheiser HD 650 on Amazon

[Sennheiser HD 650 photo]

Everything about these cans focuses on natural, fatigue-free sound. Their padded genuine leather headband distributes weight perfectly across the skull. Memory foam earcups seal outside noise without ever squeezing.

Once seated, the listening experience transports you. The highly dynamic drivers cover the full audible spectrum at peerless volumes. Many fans even prefer the HD 650 to modern $1,000+ headphone models!

If you desire sublime musical fidelity above all else, few choices compete with this legendary set under $400.

Let‘s Summarize the Downsides of Desktop Speakers

Reasons to AvoidExplanation
Space ConstraintsDesktop speakers require scarce surface area on often crowded computer desks
Audio QualityCompact speakers with small drivers struggle producing clean bass or enough volume
PricingMore affordable full speaker setups and headphones can match pricier desktop systems‘ performance

Hopefully the above gives you a helpful overview explaining why desktop speakers may not be the ideal choice for every – or really, many – computer audio needs these days!

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