7 Types of Computer Speakers (With Pictures)

INTRODUCTION

SOUNDS OF CONFUSION

Welcome to a guide on the different types of computer speakers. Yes, it is confusing these days. There are speakers of all kinds of shapes, sizes, and functions. Just what are the various kinds of speakers, what are their differences, what are their advantages and disadvantages? Read on to find out!

 

 

 

SECTION A

TYPES OF SPEAKERS

Just what are the different designs of speakers? This section will walk you through some of the common ones that are available in the market.

 

1) MULTIMEDIA SPEAKERS

Description Otherwise also known as computer speakers, or 2.0 speakers… A common Joe that you will find everywhere.
Sound Quality  Varies on the design. But a usual decent computer speaker produces what I will call “average quality sound”. It does not make your ears bleed, but don’t expect too much from it either.
Advantages Simple, affordable, plug-and-play. It just works, fuss-free. Kind of portable too.
Disadvantages Average performance, and requires an additional power source. While you can plug in a power bank, these are just not as convenient.

 

2) SURROUND SOUND SPEAKERS

Description Otherwise also known as 5.1, 7.1, or 9.1 speakers – Depending on the number of speakers that are in the collection… I personally just call it “a lot of speakers”.
Sound Quality  As the name implies, this one offers surround sound. Much better than the basic 2.0.
Advantages Good sound quality, interesting surrounding effect.
Disadvantages Requires a lot of space, time to set up and configure.

 

3) SOUNDBAR

Description A slim profile speaker that sits under the monitor.
Sound Quality  Offers better sound quality than the original television or monitor… Or it beats the purpose to even buy one of these.
Advantages Pretty good sound quality, slim profile that tucks neatly under the screen.
Disadvantages If your monitor or television is mounted on the wall, you will have to find some way to mount this as well… Usually produces decently good sound, but not excellent.

 

 

4) HOME THEATER

Description The nuclear missile of speakers… Home theater sets offer an even more immersive sound experience than surround sound speakers.
Sound Quality  Baseline good to insanely good.
Advantages Crazy rich sound system. For the people who only want the best sound quality.
Disadvantages Crazy expensive sound system, can be difficult to set up as well.

 

5) INTERNAL SPEAKERS

Description Well… This is the mini speaker that is built into your laptop, tablet, or smartphone.
Sound Quality  Meh. Decent at best.
Advantages Integrated into the device, don’t have to worry about carrying a separate speaker.
Disadvantages Produces sub-standard sound quality. Like it or not, it is stuck inside your device.

 

6) PORTABLE SPEAKERS

Description Following the growth of mobile devices and the discontent for crappy internal speakers – Some smart people put together these portable speakers. With built-in batteries and wireless connections, they offer a convenient and fuss-free way to “up the portable sound game”.
Sound Quality  Varies from decent to actually pretty good sound.
Advantages Portable, convenient, better sound quality than built-in speakers. Some portable speakers can even be chained together to form a surround sound system.
Disadvantages Not very powerful by itself. Limited battery life.

 

 

7) BUZZER

Description I just had to add this easter egg of speakers to the basket. You will find this mostly on desktop computers only.
Sound Quality  Serves warning beeps and alarm buzzes only.
Advantages Lets you know when something goes wrong with your computer…
Disadvantages No other uses, except to serve audio alarms.

 

SECTION B

SPEAKER ANATOMY

Now that we are done with the types of speakers, here is a section of information for those of you who want to know a little more about speakers in-depth.

 

SOUND RANGE

When it comes to the world of sound, some crazy scientist, sound engineer, or audiophile will start to talk in waveforms, hertz, amplitude, vibrations, sine, and cosine… Well, I am no mad scientist, so let me introduce sound in a layman way, by dividing it into 3 ranges instead:

  • High – The high-pitched sounds, annoying sharp noises that causes bleeding ears and old school comical glass shatters. For example, cymbals, singing bowls.
  • Mid-range – The range of sounds that we are “normally used to”. For example, human speech, piano, and guitar.
  • Low – Those deep booms, and overly dramatic movie trailer narrator. For example, bass and oboe.

 

 

TYPES OF DRIVERS

Speaker Drivers

So what the heck is the purpose for explaining the sound range? If you look at some of the more “professional” speakers, you will notice that there are variously sized “smaller speakers” within. Those are called drivers, and each of them is better at producing a different range of sound.

  • Tweeter – The small little ones. Yep, know how birds make high pitched tweets? That is exactly what the tweeters do – Deal with the higher sound ranges.
  • Mid-range – Your “usual” voices, guitars, pianos, etc…
  • Woofers – Good at dealing with the deep lower sound ranges.
  • Sub-woofer – Is a woofer, but not quite a woofer.
  • Full-range – Jack of all trades, master of none. Decently good all round.

Now that you know, you can pretty much guess what kind of sound speakers can produce.

 

2.0, 2.1, 5.1, 7.1 – WHAT DO THEY MEAN?

In the above types of speakers, I have mention 2.0, 2.1, 5.1, and so on… What do these numbers mean? They are actually a common way to describe a surround sound system.

  • The first number is the number of satellite speakers the system has.
  • Followed by the number of woofers/sub-woofers.

So for example, 2.0 will mean just 2 satellite speakers, no woofers. 5.1 will mean 5 satellite speakers with a single woofer.

 

TYPES OF PLUGS

3.5MM AUDIO JACK

Not a surprise, and you should have seen this everywhere already. But what some people do not notice, is the number of poles. The usual earphones/headphones/speaker jack only has 3 poles, while the ones used for smartphones has an additional pole – That is used for the microphone.

OPTICAL AUDIO JACK

This is an uncommon breed that uses light to transmit audio data instead of electrical signals. Optical is better as some say, but it is also more expensive…

 

 

POWERED VS NON-POWERED SPEAKERS

By default, the 3.5mm audio jack will provide a little bit of power. That is why we do not need an extra power source for our headphones and earphones. But this power is not enough to drive those insanely big speakers, and why we need to have powered speakers – Speakers with an additional power plug or USB cable.

 

SECTION C

USEFUL BITS

That’s all for this guide, and here is a small section on some extras and links that may be useful to you.

 

LINKS & REFERENCES

 

SUMMARY

Common Computer Speakers (click to enlarge)

 

CLOSING

WHAT’S NEXT?

Thank you for reading, and we have come to the end of this guide. I hope that this has helped you to better understand computer speakers, and if you have anything to share with this guide, please feel free to comment below. Good luck and happy computing. May the cyber force be with you.

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