The best computer speakers of 2016 are Audioengine’s A2+ Desktop Speakers. These speakers have excellent sound and are housed in hand-finished wood cabinets.
Computer speakers get a bad rap and, for the most part, the poor reputation is well deserved. The A2+ defy this stereotype with their rich timbre and hifi support. This is a cost-effective, compact option that sounds as good as many bookcase speakers.
The A2+ has a built-in 44/16 DAC, or digital analog converter. A DAC converts digital data into analog signal. Most computer speakers need a standalone DAC to play hi-fi files. The A2+ does need a standalone to play 24-bit tracks, but runs most other HDtracks without any issues.
I’ve read mixed reports on the bass. Some say they were a little let down by the lows on the speaker and needed a subwoofer. Others reported that the A2+ has a significant output below 50hz and did not require a subwoofer. Either way, the A2+’s bass is in the highest echelon of computer speakers.
In addition to the USB and RCA outputs, the A2+ has a 3.5mm mini-jack for connecting phones and mp3 players.
Currently, the A2+ is available in red, white, and black. All three options are in a beautifully finished wood and look great on a desk. They speakers weigh about 5lbs each and their dimensions are 4″ x 6″ x 5.75.”
The Audioengine A2+ Desktop Speakers are available on Amazon for about $250.
Another Option: M-Audio Studiophile Speakers
Another option is the M-Audio Studiophile AV 40 Active Studio Monitor Speakers. The speakers sound almost as good as the Audioengine’s A2+. They are bulkier speakers however — at 8.75 x 6 x 7.25 inches, they area almost too large for a desktop.
The M-Audio Studiophile AV 40 are available for about $160 on Amazon.
The Best Computer Speakers For Bass
For those interested in the computer speaker with the best bass, see Harman Kardon’s Soundsticks III. These speakers come equipped with a 6″ 20-watt downward-firing subwoofer with eight full-range transducers.
My old roommate had the the Soundsticks for over a year, and they fill the entire living room with a deep and pure sound that rivals larger, more expensive setups. They do suffer from some design flaws. They don’t have a headphone jack and there is no way to control the bass through the speakers. They cost $170.