Popularly known for its audio and video gadgets and devices, Bose’s Companion 2 Series III Multimedia Speaker system stands out as one of the very best the market has to offer right now. Delivering a premium quality, clear, and superior audio experience, these speakers utilize the aux input to help accentuate other audio sources like your phone, laptop, or iPad. Made from heavy-duty, sturdy materials, these speakers are durable, light in weight, and impressively compact in size. Including a headphone jack and volume controls cleverly positioned in the front of the speaker, the system features a 12V DC power input along with two 3.5mm jacks at the back for good measure. Overall, it is one of the best gaming speaker system money can buy.
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What To Look For In Gaming Speakers
Provided that you already have a good idea of what constitutes a decent gaming speaker system, you shouldn’t have too many problems finding a good one, not in this day and age. Given the galaxy of choices for peripherals nowadays, you are bound to find a reasonably functional sound system without even trying that hard. If you do, however, take the time to learn about what makes a good speaker system, then you are sure to not only find a good one but a fairly priced one to boot. That said, you do need to bear in mind that the market has been flooded with sub-par models in recent years and that you seriously need to do your homework before settling on a specific model.
The first thing you need to take into consideration when buying gaming speakers is the total output power. While it may not be indicative of their sound quality, RMS (watts RMS) does determine how loud the speakers are overall. This way, you get a good idea of how well the speakers will hold up at a high volume over extended periods of time. What’s interesting is that smaller speakers can definitely have a decent output power nowadays and that you shouldn’t go for size alone. On a related note, we should point out that a high RMS speaker system will also produce a clearer and distortion-free sound at high volume.
- The 5mm Connector – This is by far the most popular connector for regular sound systems and speakers, be them gaming oriented or not. This type of connection involves the classic 3.5mm jack that you will find in most stereos and sound systems. Needless to say, this is also one of the most reliable connection types and the most widespread out there. This is due to its analog, reliable format that doesn’t really have any serious limitations.
- Optical Cable – Perhaps not as widespread as 3.5mm connectors but optical cable versions do exist and they are generally used for Hi-Fi speakers and professional audio gear. Rare among desktop speakers, optical cable connectors are mostly used for high-end, professional sound systems but can also be used by state of the art gaming speakers as well. Bear in mind that these particular connectors are somehow more sensitive to shock and damage than traditional connectors.
- Bluetooth – There is also the option of Bluetooth connectivity for a specific range of sound systems. This type of connection is commonly reserved for short-range wireless devices. Due to its versatility, Bluetooth connections are the go-to choice of anyone who wishes to avoid cable clutter while increasing flexibility for a device. To some extent, this is also useful for top-shelf gaming consoles which also employ a wide range of wireless technologies.
The 2.0 vs 2.1 Issue
When shopping for speakers of any kind, you are bound to notice sooner or later that speaker systems are branded with a 2.0 or 2.1 rating. This refers to the channels + subwoofer arrangement of the system, wherein a 2.0 system has two speakers and no subwoofer while a 2.1 system comprises of two speakers and a subwoofer. In 2.0 systems, the amplifier is usually housed inside one of the speakers whereas in 2.1 versions the subwoofer is a separated fixture. If possible, you should definitely opt for a 2.1 setup over a 2.0 version because of the immersive sound quality and better bass.
With regards to sound quality, you generally have the choice to get a sound-bar system for the utmost in output fidelity. When it comes to gaming speakers, you want a set that will link the audio to the visuals on your screen for a more immersive gaming experience. With poor speakers, you get a sub-par, almost synthetic sound that is sure to take you out of the ‘zone’ when you’re having fun.
You should keep in mind that game sound effects can be quite stressful for the drivers of your speaker system, regardless of their nature. This is because most video games employ low-end frequencies for exciting effects and high-end frequencies for dialog and added suspense. As such, you should invest in a sound system with dual drivers to delegate the workload from mid to high via crossover circuitry in top-shelf devices.
Sometimes Less Is Better
While it may be tempting to get yourself the most powerful sound system out there, it may not help you much when playing games. Unlike listening to music, playing video games is all about the atmosphere and the immersion. It is for this reason that an overly powerful sound system that suffers from the occasional distortion or vibration can prove quite annoying in the long run. On the other hand, a low wattage yet sensible sound system is bound to deliver a more immersive feel as long as the output is fairly accurate and responsive.
Seeing how gaming speakers need to meet different standards than those intended for listening to music, you really shouldn’t judge them based on output power or any of the other traditional key points of a sound system. What you want instead is to pay close attention to the drivers, surround sound capabilities, connectivity, design, and adaptability. You do that and you are bound to find a decent set of gaming speakers in today’s market.