Whether you are a music-lover, freelance creator, or songwriter, listening to high-quality audio is essential. There’s nothing worse than waiting for a song to drop, and the bass doesn’t hit as it should due to your mediocre speakers. That’s why it’s essential to research speakers before you buy.
Perhaps you want to set up a home theater or need high-quality speakers for professional audio editing. There are two main options that you can use to connect to your computer, namely computer speakers or studio monitors.
Computer speakers are usually designed to fit into your home theater system. They are also known as desktop speakers because they are meant to be placed on top of your desk. On the other hand, studio monitors are designed to sit on a stand and are meant to be used in recording studios.
Today we will highlight the differences between computer speakers vs. studio monitors and which one you should invest in based on your needs.
Key Characteristics Of A Computer Speaker
Computer speakers are generally 2.1 channel speakers, and they typically include two regular speakers or a soundbar and one subwoofer. However, some makes and models of computer speakers do not come with a subwoofer at all.
If you buy a set of computer speakers without a subwoofer, you can easily improve the bass by adding an external one. There are many options available that connect to computer speakers. If you purchase high-quality speakers, they will likely include a subwoofer.
Computer speakers will not likely provide you with sufficient bass for professional usage, with or without a subwoofer. Most cannot process frequencies below 350 Hz. This means you won’t be able to clearly hear some of the beats in certain music genres.
Despite their failure to reproduce accurate basslines, computer speakers include decent sound mixers that produce deep lows, resonant mids, and bright highs. They are passive speakers, as an external power amplifier is necessary for them to function.
Though they are too small to pack a major punch, you can easily find speakers that will suit your needs. Most include a USB, auxiliary, or Bluetooth connection. Also, computer speakers are user-friendly and easy to understand. They are also incredibly portable and great for traveling, as you can also find battery-powered speakers.
Though you can research computer speakers and purchase the best speakers on the market, it is impossible to achieve the same realistic sound that studio monitors produce. Computer speakers alter the sound to improve it rather than provide a realistic representation.
Computer speakers are ideal for traveling, gaming, listening to music, or watching movies. You can also significantly improve the sound quality produced by a laptop, PC, etc. by connecting computer speakers. They are a step above regular computer audio.
You can also connect computer speakers to smart home technology such as Alexa – a huge advantage to anyone looking for a multi-purpose speaker.
Related article – Soundbar vs Speakers For Music – Which Is Better?
Key Characteristics Of A Studio Monitor
If you need a professional sound system, studio monitors are the better option. Though they are more expensive than computer speakers. Creators and other sound editors who require high-quality reproduction of sound should consider using studio monitors.
Unlike surround sound speakers, studio monitors produce flat and unprocessed sound.
They are ideal for perfecting audio before sending it out for commercial use. Using studio monitors, you can easily identify tiny flaws in a soundtrack or song.
The main problem with using computer speakers while performing a professional sound editing job is that they boost and mix certain frequencies to enhance your listening experience.
On the other hand, studio monitors do not work to improve the listening experience while playing music and soundtracks; they simply present exactly what the computer communicates to them.
Studio monitors are some of the highest-quality speakers available. Producers have adapted them to accurately reproduce all of the frequency ranges for better editing. They thus help to easily identify errors and perfect the melody or frequencies in soundtracks and songs.
Their name even includes the word “monitor” because their purpose is to listen to and monitor sound. Studio monitors can manage bursts of sound or technical errors that creators work to perfect, whereas a computer speaker might blow under such circumstances.
Manufacturers also build these speakers to last, using high-quality materials and excellent design to create a product that you won’t need to replace for a long time.
Related article – What Frequency Response Is Good For Speakers?
Which Is Better For High-Quality Sound And Projection?
As the previous sections indicate, studio monitors are much better for high-quality sound. However, they are unnecessary for the average consumer, as the sound that they produce is a direct translation from digital to analog code.
Though studio monitors have better projection and general quality, computer speakers work to produce a sound that are evenly spread throughout an enclosed room and enhance specific frequencies. Studio monitors produce completely flat and unenhanced tracks.
Because computer speakers work to spread sound throughout a room, one could argue that they have better projection. However, neither studio monitors nor computer speakers will work for a large audience or room. Their purpose is not to project over a crowd.
We recommend studio monitors for professionals and computer speakers for the average consumer. Computer speakers can easily function as home stereo speakers. Studio monitors can help you create perfect tracks and sound edits.
If you are not a professional sound designer, you can improve the quality of sound produced by computer speakers through certain software. A good sound card, which you must install on your desktop, can greatly improve the performance of computer speakers.
Thus, there is no real answer to whether computer speakers vs. studio monitors have better or worse audio or projection quality. Ultimately, you must consider how you will use the technology for these characteristics to matter. The best speaker for you depends on what you need it for.
Related article – PC Speakers Vs Home Theater Speakers
Studio monitors are generally more expensive than computer speakers. Equally, higher-quality designs of both types of speakers will be more expensive than lower-quality designs. When it comes to either speaker, you get what you pay for.
When trying to find the perfect speaker, you should search for those in either category with the best price point for their performance. Getting the most expensive option is likely unnecessary, but buying the cheapest option will leave you with a speaker that will blow or break easily.
Cheaper speakers also produce mediocre sound. Economical computer speakers are less likely to include a subwoofer, while inexpensive studio monitors are more likely to blow out if hit with a random burst of sound.
If you are a professional sound editor, you should search for a mid to high-quality set of studio monitors. If you want computer speakers for entertainment purposes, a mid-grade speaker will do the trick.
Which Is Better Overall, Computer Speakers Vs. Studio Monitors?
Once again, the best sound system for you depends on what you need it for. If you are a music producer or deal with professional sound design, studio monitors are better. If you need speakers for entertainment purposes or home theaters, go for computer speakers.
Here are the pros and cons of each sound system:
Pros and Cons of Computer Speakers
- Portable and easy to travel with
- Work to enhance sounds as they play it
- Easy to use
- Perfect for entertainment and home theaters
- Can connect to smart home technologies
- Can easily project even sound within an enclosed space
- Do not highlight errors in soundtracks or music
- Cannot project to very large spaces
- Not ideal for sound design professionals
- The cheaper the speaker, the worse the sound quality
Pros and Cons of Studio Monitors
- Produce consistent, flat sound
- Best for accurate listening
- Generally, a long-lasting, high-quality speaker
- Ideal for professional editing and mastering of music and audio
- Perfect for radio, TV, home, and recording studios
- Worthwhile for video editors
- The most professional and untouched sound transmitters available
- Not the best option for everyday consumers
- More expensive than computer speakers
- Cannot project to large audiences
How To Find The Right Speaker
When browsing Amazon, Best Buy, or any other store for new speakers, pay close attention to the description. An honest company will list whether the speakers are studio monitors or computer speakers. You will likely notice a significant price difference as well.
Sellers should also include general information such as connectivity, parts of the speaker, size, frequency range, etc. Remember to stick to the basic specs and ignore any marketing language that could lead you astray from the speaker’s actual function.
If you shop online, you should also check out the reviews from other users of the product (or our reviews here at Lit Headphones!). This will give you a better idea of the speaker’s purpose and provide you with helpful information about how to best use the speaker (and if it’s worth it).
Related article – Best Deep Bass Speakers For Home
The Bottom Line
Ultimately, you must choose a speaker that is within your budget.
The consensus is that studio monitor speakers are the better-quality option. Computer speakers are cheaper and do not produce sound as accurately as studio monitors.
However, buying studio monitors is expensive and not a financial commitment you should make unless you need to. Their design also serves a specific purpose!
Interesting read – How To Repair Water Damaged Laptop Speakers