PC Speakers Vs Home Theater Speakers

So, you’re in the market for some speakers to go with your PC. You’re used to the usual PC speakers but you’ve seen that people recommend home theater speakers. These can be quite expensive, so you don’t know if it’s worth it. Let’s do a comparison. PC speakers vs home theater speakers.

Home theater speakers are generally better than PC speakers. A pair of small speakers are usually used for PCs. Home theater speakers are a part of a whole audio system.

I know that this doesn’t say a lot, but it’s the most straightforward answer I can give right now. Let’s dig in, all will be clear in a minute.

The Difference Between PC Speakers And Home Theater Speakers

Separating PC speakers and home theater systems is a good starting point for this post. Most likely, most of you are already familiar with both of these. At least, you either know what PC speakers are or what home theater systems are.

PC Speakers

Now, by PC speakers we can mean two things. Either the built-in speakers that come with some PCs or those little speakers that come in a pair. The latter is not exactly PC speakers, they are just speakers best used with PCs.

Manufacturers realized that not everyone will buy an audio system for their PC. So, they started making small speakers primarily for PCs. We call these PC speakers although you can use them with anything.

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Laptop setup with speakers

Home Theater Systems

If you’ve ever had a DVD player, you know what home theater systems look like. Designed for TVs and surrounding a room with sound.

Home theater systems consist of a receiver and 4-8 speakers. The speakers are connected to the receiver which is connected to a TV or some other device.

The speakers used for home theater systems are not the same as PC speakers. Home theater speakers depend a lot on the other speakers and the receiver. PC speakers work by themselves.

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Home theater system setup

Difference In Frequency

The main difference between the speakers is in their frequency response. We’ve talked about frequency response in our last post, I’ll leave a link below.

There’s a general rule for the frequency range of speakers. Speakers should be able to register and produce sounds in the human audio spectrum. Precisely, speakers should be to produce sounds from 20 Hz to 20 kHz.

When it comes to PC speakers, they are not adequate for producing low-frequency sounds. Most PC speakers can go low as 40-50 Hz. High-frequency sounds are not that bad but can sound distorted with PC speakers.

Home theater speakers do a lot better. Even if they can’t produce low-frequency sounds, the receiver can amplify the sound so you can hear it. PC speakers have really weak amplifiers, home theater speakers on the other hand have strong amplifiers.

Related article – What Frequency Response Is Good For Speakers?

Difference In Sound

Home theater speakers and PC speakers don’t sound the same. If you’ve ever used both, you know what I’m talking about. This has a lot to do with how the speakers are designed.

The main purpose of PC speakers is to give your PC a sound output source. Most PCs don’t have built-in speakers, so you must use external ones.

PCs are mostly used for working, gaming, or just wasting time. These activities are usually accompanied by music, speech, or videos. The sound quality is not that important as long as you get it directly. It doesn’t matter how the sound fills the room, you just want to hear what is playing.

With home theater speakers the sound quality is crucial. The way the sound fills the room is also important. Think of it like this, if you’re watching a movie, you want the sound to be like the sound in cinemas. That can’t be accomplished with PC speakers.

All of this points to the difference in design between PC speakers and home audio systems. PC speakers have fewer drivers, and they are not designed for surround sound. The idea is to give sound directly to the user well enough so he can’t hear it without problems.

Home theater speakers have more drivers, they are louder, and they can fill a room with sound. The point is to give a lifelike sound from all directions in the room.

Interesting read – Should I Purchase A PC Monitor With Built-In Speakers?

Messy home theater speaker setup

What Is Better & What Should I Buy?

I’m guessing most of you came here because you couldn’t decide between PC speakers and home theater speakers. Well, let’s help you with that. What matters here is: How you’ll be using the speakers and with what?

As I said, in general, home theater speakers are better than PC speakers. But that doesn’t necessarily mean you need to buy a home audio system.

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When To Buy PC Speakers?

Now, you can connect any kind of speaker and system to your PC. If you’re mostly using your PC for work or studying, I would recommend some good quality PC speakers. The thing is, these are not expensive and do their job. If you’re gaming, just get a headset or headphones.

Connecting PC speakers to a receiver that is connected to your TV is just a bad idea. They will work for sure but you won’t be satisfied with the sound. Movies just don’t sound good on PC speakers.

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When To Buy Home Theater System?

Home audio systems on the other hand go quite well with PCs. Of course, they are primarily used with TVs but you can use them with PCs too.

If you’re looking for speakers that will serve a specific purpose like surrounding a room with sound, imitating cinema at home, blasting music, etc, it’s better to get home theater speakers.

Chances are, people that are using speakers like this, won’t be satisfied with PC speakers. It will be a waste of money. If you really value quality sound, invest in a good home audio system.

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It all comes down to personal preference. It wouldn’t make sense for someone who is watching movies or listening to music at home once a month to get a home theatre system. PC speakers will do for customers like this. Home audio systems are for people that want to fill a room with sound when watching a movie or throwing a party.

Interesting read – Can I Mix Speakers With Different Ohms?

Hi there, I'm Andrej. I've always been an electronic devices addict, especially audio devices like headphones, earbuds, and headsets. I am staying up-to-date with the technology, so why not write about what you know? I'll share some useful tips about all your headphones related questions.