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These days when you see a gamer in action, either in person or on your favorite streaming site, chances are they’re wearing giant, over-the-entire-ear headphones. And while headphones have their own benefits and offer an encapsulating experience, speakers still provide an entire immersion that headphones can’t quite compete with. Add in a powerful subwoofer, and your gameplay becomes a true sonic experience.
Gaming Speakers vs. Headphones
There are a number of reasons why gaming speakers could be better than headphones. First off, speakers have larger drivers and subwoofers, which can be a total game changer when it comes to accurately noticing every nuance and hearing your game the way the designers intended. Instead of (literally) just getting your head in the game, a set of speakers is way more immersive, surrounding you with the experience and letting you physically feel the booming lows of every gunshot and crackling highs of explosions. Speakers expand the area of sound exponentially, allowing your entire room to be enveloped into the game, not just a tight little sound-box that stops at the end of your ears.
What Are the Best Speakers and Subwoofers For Gaming?
There are many different speaker sets out there, but it’s preferable to go with one that’s got a woofer. A dedicated separate subwoofer is what brings the bass, while the speakers have tweeters that handle the highs. It’s possible to get a subwoofer-less set and save some cash, but you’ll also find that it lacks some serious low-end. While some speakers have a small built-in woofer inside, and it’ll save a bit of space at your setup, it’s just not the same as a standalone sub unit.
Plus if you like to crank it up to 11, pay attention to the mean power, or root mean square (RMS). It’s a measure of audio quality, and lets you know the limit of how much your speaker can handle before the sound starts to distort. RMS doesn’t necessarily mean better sound quality though, it’s simply a measure of how much output the speaker can handle without cracking up. Power is measured more in watts, and audio systems for gaming like these will typically be under 100w.
Bluetooth capability is available on some units as well, and even though wire-free is the most convenient and least messy, the sound quality suffers a bit compared to the old-school optical and RCA setup. Some models even have a wired separate control unit too, which is super handy, and not only lets you adjust the basics like volume and bass without feeling around for knobs in back, but also features an AUX input to play music from your favorite mobile device.
We’ve selected our four favorite gaming speaker systems with subwoofers that can help bring not just bass, but more overall enjoyment and immersion to your next gaming session.
1. Creative Pebble Plus 2.1 Desktop Speakers
This mighty little set produces a surprisingly crisp sound for its size, doubling the amount of bass of its previous generation and still being completely powered by USB.
The down-firing 4″ standalone subwoofer thunders out bass with significant depth and clarity. Pair that with the two speakers, which have 2″ mid-range drivers angled upwards at 45° that sets your ears as the center point, and you’ve got great sound every time.
Though it’s not included, there’s even an option to increase the RMS output with an AC plug, for those looking to get loud.
2. Cyber Acoustics Bluetooth Speakers
The Cyber Acoustics’ clean design contrasts black and white with a cool, color changing LED glow.
The system is small enough that it fits just fine in a dorm room or on a desk, while delivering the full spectrum of sound from the dual 2″ speakers.
Everything can easily be controlled right on the sub unit such as volume, treble, bass, and the lights. A flippable power button boots the system up, and thanks to the AUX cord input this can easily be used with phones, tablets and game consoles too. But if you choose to go wireless, Bluetooth is built-in as an option as well.
3. Ineo Wooden 2.1 Gaming/PC Speakers
With a retro-modern design and an extremely simple setup, this system delivers solid sounding lows with clear mids and highs that gets plenty loud before it starts getting muddy.
The standalone subwoofer and its 5.25″ low frequency speaker uses its X-Based Technology to thump out a decent sounding bass. The two satellite speakers feature a wooden-cased construction, with a 3″ driver inside. This’ll work with your laptop too, enhancing the audio for music, movies, and especially games.
The separate control box puts everything you need to adjust within reach, like bass and treble, and the glowing LED ring around the volume knob lets you find it quickly in low light.
4. Cyber Acoustics 2.1 Subwoofer Speaker System
Shiny and stylish, these flat panel satellite speakers are slim with a sleek design, and crank out crisp mids and highs angled right at your ears. The 4″, side-firing poly carbon subwoofer brings the bass thanks to its Power Pro Series driver, and is adjustable too – something you may not find on many other woofers.
Setup is incredibly easy, and the external control unit is both handy and practical. Not just for adjusting power and volume, but it also features both a headphone and an auxiliary jack. No need to reach in back of the unit or your PC to fumble around for the input — just plug in and start playing.