Even with the popularity of headphones and headsets for communicating, speakers still play a crucial role in the business computer setup. Today's small business professionals need to be able to rely on high-quality sound and compatibility to get through all of their daily tasks, from viewing presentations and hosting conference calls to working on creative projects.
We’ll look at why you shouldn’t ignore your audio system and why having the best PC speakers for your work can make a difference to your professional life.
Common audio options
Before you potentially pick something based solely on initial impressions, here are some of the specifications that make each speaker product unique.
The wattage of the speaker is indicative of its power. You can assume that, in most cases, a speaker with higher watts in the product description puts out more sound. This doesn’t mean that a lower-watt speaker can’t do a great job, however. There’s more to a speaker’s sound quality than its wattage.
Whether a speaker is better sounding or is simply louder also depends on the overall component quality. Remember, too, that a more powerful speaker will use more electricity or drain its battery faster, which is important if it’s a portable speaker.
2. Mono vs stereo sound
Mono speakers deliver audio via one track, while stereo has more than one. Stereo lets your speakers separate the sound produced to give the impression of width and depth, such as where instruments are on a stage or the movement of a car, for instance, from one side of your screen to the other.
Picking stereo satellite speakers give you a more realistic experience when it’s available, but since most computer viewing is from the “sweet spot” in the center of the viewing area, stereo in computer audio is much less important on your computer than it is in a theatre or car.
3. Wired speakers vs wireless and Bluetooth
Wireless speakers were once viewed as inferior to wired speakers, and audiophiles insisted on wired speaker options to listen to their music. Today’s wireless speakers have evolved, though, and it’s difficult for the average person to hear the difference between the two. For that reason, you’re free to choose the one that best suits your lifestyle without worrying about the sound quality disparity.
If you plan to move from your office at work to your office at home, or you need to take your speaker with you on the road, a wireless option is essential. They also reduce cord clutter. Something to keep in mind as you shop is whether your new speaker uses Bluetooth or wireless networking to connect to the source. Bluetooth has a shorter range compared to wireless options, and it may not work adequately if you move between rooms within your home or office.
4. Portable vs stationary
Portable speakers tend to be small and designed to handle the wear and tear associated with moving them around. They may be wireless to operate from a Bluetooth or WiFi connection, or they may use a simple 3.5 mm stereo cord (the “headphone jack”) to play the sound from your desktop PC or in place of your laptop speakers.
Stationary speakers may offer better sound quality with deep bass tones, but they aren’t designed to be taken with you. They’re usually heavier and may permanently mount to the wall or desk. There are newer stationary speakers that include wireless features, however, and these give you more options for streaming from multiple devices.
5. Additional features
There are more features to look for with today’s premium audio options. Some of the most-asked-for aspects of business sound systems include:
Smart features that use voice commands and connected internet services (like Amazon Alexa or Google Assistant) to help you stream your favorite online podcasts, get sports stats, or send a message through the office like an intercom
Waterproof design for improved performance outdoors
Robust color choices to help you match your current décor or stand out in the crowd
Plug-and-play compatibility, so you can use one speaker between all of your PCs without additional driver downloads, software installs, or operating system issues
Multi-functionality, giving you new ways to control multiple devices (PC, TV, and more)
The product packaging may not prominently call out all of these features, especially as they become more commonplace. Ask for the tech specifications of any speaker before you buy to ensure you’re getting your favorite perks.
Best computer speakers for business
Choosing the right speaker for your PC depends on how you’ll use it and your personal listening preferences. There are many well-reviewed models that showcase the variety of styles on the market today. We’ve outlined several types you can find in-store or online, along with examples of each so you can find the one that best fits your life and workflow.
1. Speaker bar
Speaker bars are commonly used in home entertainment systems, since they have a low profile and sit in front of an entertainment center or console without blocking the view of the TV screen. In business, they work in tandem with your monitor for an immersive audio/visual experience.
The surround-sound equipped HP S101 SPEAKER BAR easily attaches to select HP EliteDisplays and HP Z displays without hardware or extra tools. If you choose to use it with another monitor, simply set it on your desk and connect it via USB. It also has an in-line port for your phone and you can connect it to your earbuds for discreet listening.
2. Speaker system
When you need more than one speaker to get the job done, a speaker system is your solution. The Bose Companion 2 Series III multimedia speaker system features two speakers under 8 inches tall that weigh less than 4 lbs combined. Their modest size impresses with 22 watts of power and Bose’s signature great sound quality.
If you want even more power, consider the Logitech Z333 2.1 speaker system. This 80-watt system offers incredible depth thanks to a large front-firing driver and a stand-alone bass unit. Plus, it has innovative controls that allow you to turn up the volume (or bass) easily from your desk.
3. Smart speaker with voice assistant
If you enjoy the benefits of using a smart speaker to do simple tasks in your home, why not extend the convenience to the workplace? Both the Bose 300 Bluetooth smart speaker and the Bose Home 500 Bluetooth smart speaker are Alexa-supported and feature a striking Luxe Silver finish to provide a touch of sophistication. Their round design ensures your audio hits all the right spaces and makes them a top pick among the best desktop speakers.
4. Portable speaker
Taking your sound with you is important for many business professionals, especially now that we’re working from home and moving from one area to the next (living room to home office, for example).
The Bose Portable Bluetooth smart speaker offers Alexa and Google Assistant compatibility, along with a water-resistant design to help keep it working in more situations. Plus, the speaker works with both WiFi and Bluetooth connections and boasts a 12-hour battery life.
The SoundLink Micro Portable Bluetooth speaker system may only be 4 inches tall, but it’s built to do big things in any environment. It’s fully waterproof and built to handle drops and bumps, making it a Bluetooth powerhouse you can count on to survive rugged work conditions.
Even with Zoom calls replacing conference room meetings, conference calls are still necessary at times. The Plantronics Calisto 7200 speakerphone provides four directional mics that keep outside noise to a minimum. Use Bluetooth or USB to connect your preferred devices, and if you’re working on the go, you can charge it via USB.
The Jabra Speak 510 UC speakerphone is designed for portability and connects in seconds to your PC or mobile devices with either USB or Bluetooth. When you need to set up a conference call but aren’t sure where you’ll be at the time, this model can handle it.
How to choose the right business PC speakers for you
When giving a presentation or hosting a conference call, today’s business computer speakers offer so much for an affordable price. Having a simple solution that improves accessibility and creates a higher level of professionalism is worth the investment.
If you’re having a difficult time choosing between the options, you may not need to narrow it down at all. Some professionals find that more than one speaker can help balance the need for powerful in-office ambiance with remote-work requirements. Consider using a larger model for your workspace, and then keep a portable speaker in your bag for when you’re in the field. With so many of the best speakers priced affordably, you don't necessarily have to settle on just one.
About the Author: Linsey Knerl is a contributing writer for HP Tech@Work. Linsey is a Midwest-based author, public speaker, and member of the ASJA. She has a passion for helping consumers and small business owners do more with their resources via the latest tech solutions.
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