Which computer soundbars are best?
Sound is a vital aspect for computers, whether you enjoy playing the latest games or watching streaming content. There are plenty of options available for audio production on a PC, with the most popular being a great pair of headphones.
However, more users have started to include a soundbar in their setup. Where headphones provide you with a private listening experience, a soundbar is designed to fill the room with crystal-clear audio that can be shared with others. For the best experience, look no further than the Yamaha SR-C20A Compact Sound Bar.
What to know before you buy a computer soundbar
Any speaker system needs to connect to the audio source to provide sounds. Most soundbars are capable of Bluetooth connections, but it won’t be of much use if your computer doesn’t have a transmitter. Keep in mind what audio outputs your computer has, and whether you’ll need any additional components to use a soundbar.
Amount of channels
The clarity of your audio depends on several factors, but the most important here is the number of channels. If you only have two channels, you’ll get stereo audio. If you want a more immersive sound, you’d be better off looking for something that has at least three channels. At the higher end, 5.1 or 7.1 channels give you full surround sound.
Soundbar vs. sound base
The typical soundbar is a somewhat thin gadget that can be placed in front of your television or computer. It provides you with great overall audio and doesn’t require too much space. A sound base, on the other hand, is much wider and bigger than a soundbar. These are usually placed on the floor, and due to their size provide louder sound that can often be clearer. Keep in mind the quality you’re looking for and determine if a sound base might not be better.
What to look for in a quality computer soundbar
Soundbars aren’t too bulky, but they still require a good amount of space. This is why an active soundbar is the best option, especially when the real estate on your desk is limited. An active soundbar has a built-in amplifier, which eliminates the need for additional components.
A soundbar takes up less space than a full speaker system, but it still needs to be placed somewhere. Consider the location of the soundbar, and also keep in mind whether you’ll need to move it around. Will the soundbar be mounted on a wall? Will it be freestanding on your desk? Placing the device in the right spot can improve the quality, so look for a soundbar that can be moved if needed.
Ability to add more speakers
Most users are familiar with the single soundbar in front of a television or computer, but a good-quality soundbar allows you to add additional speakers to bring you closer to a home theatre system. This is also where the amount of channels and portability comes in. If you want to add speakers, you might want to move the whole system to a different spot.
How much you can expect to spend on a computer soundbar
The average price for a computer soundbar depends on the barn and its capabilities. Entry-level speakers with limited functions are sold for around $40-$50. More complex models retail for $90-$130.
Computer soundbar FAQ
What is Cinema Sound for a soundbar?
A. Some soundbars are sold with a feature called Cinema Sound. This aids in a better overall experience by replicating the audio from a movie theatre. There’s still some debate as to whether it’s useful, but it’s better to have the option than not.
Can you use a TV soundbar for your computer?
A. In some instances you can, if the soundbar and the computer have the same connection method, but it does come with a caveat: size. TV soundbars are often much larger than their computer-dedicated counterparts, and you might find that a hurdle.
What are the best computer soundbars to buy?
Top computer soundbar
What you need to know: The SR-C20A is a fantastic option that gives you powerful, room-filling sound.
What you’ll love: Yamaha is well-known for its speakers and music equipment, and this soundbar proves why. It has a built-in subwoofer, connects through Bluetooth, HDMI, optical and aux and provides virtual surround sound. As the name implies, it’s small enough to fit under your computer monitor but can also be mounted on a wall.
What you should consider: The soundbar isn’t compatible with voice assistants, unlike other models in the range.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
Top computer soundbar for the money
What you need to know: Neat and tidy, this is a compact solution to PC audio.
What you’ll love: If you’re looking for a space-saving option that delivers good sound, the Stereo SoundBar from Dell will do the trick. It ships with a mount so you can easily attach it to the bottom of your monitor. It’s easy to set up too, as it only requires a USB port to work.
What you should consider: The included bracket isn’t compatible with curved monitors.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
Worth checking out
What you need to know: This soundbar provides big bass and clear sound for gaming or streaming.
What you’ll love: Soundbars are usually small, but this model from Creative Stage comes with an added subwoofer for deeper bass than most. It connects to your computer or television through Bluetooth, optical or aux, and can also be mounted on a wall. It comes with a remote to change channels, the volume or settings. It produces 160W peak power, and the drivers have been tuned to enhance on-screen dialogue.
What you should consider: The soundbar doesn’t have a headphone pass-through, so you won’t be able to use a headset on the fly.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
Sign up here to receive the BestReviews weekly newsletter for useful advice on new products and noteworthy deals.
Charlie Fripp writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.
Copyright 2021 BestReviews, a Nexstar company. All rights reserved.