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Best computer speakers 2022: upgrade your desktop audio

Best computer speakers Buying Guide: Welcome to What Hi-Fi?'s round-up of the best desktop speakers you can buy in 2022.

If you want music to sound good in your home office or a spare room, a pair of neat desktop stereo speakers to flank your computer or sit on your shelf could well be the answer. 

The best computer speakers will blast out your Spotify playlists, YouTube videos and Zoom calls much more capably than your laptop's built-in speakers – and they won't take up too much room in the process.

Some of these computer speakers can connect over Bluetooth so you needn't worry about unsightly cables trailing all over your desk space; others you'll need to connect to a source using standard audio cables.

But all of the products below deliver good all-round performance to earn a place on our list of the best computer speakers on the market.

Ruark Audio Best desktop computer speakers 2022

1. Ruark Audio MR1 Mk2

The Mk2s are great desktop computer speakers for the money.

Specifications

Streaming: Bluetooth aptX
Digital input: Optical
Analogue input: 3.5mm
USB input: No

Reasons to buy

+
Stunningly musical sound
+
Subtle dynamics
+
Stylish, compact design

Reasons to avoid

-
No USB input

Gorgeous looks, streamlined design and features, sound quality that’s been improved in every way – the Ruark MR1 Mk2s are multi-What Hi-Fi?-Award winners and deservedly top this list.

You can connect over Bluetooth, optical or 3.5mm - easily and qucikly - and hi-res audio is supported all the way up to 24-bit/192kHz. The step up in performance from the original MR1 model is impressive, making the Mk2s even more appealing than before. 

Quite simply, these are superb speakers of their type.

Read the full review: Ruark Audio MR1 Mk2

KEF LSX

(Image credit: KEF)

2. KEF LSX

A splendid, rhythmic all-in-one desktop hi-fi system.

Specifications

Driver: 11.5cm Uni-Q mid/bass with integrated 19mm aluminium dome tweeter
Features: Bluetooth 4.2 with aptX codec, Hi-res audio support
Dimensions: 24 x 15.5 x 18 cm (H x W x D)

Reasons to buy

+
Class-leading insight
+
Extensive connectivity
+
Neat, colourful design

Reasons to avoid

-
Some app snags

Despite their dinky proportions, these active bookshelf speakers wowed us with their accomplished, expressive and full-bodied sound. There’s much more to them than just sonic supremacy, though, as they double as a wireless all-in-one system capable of handling hi-res files up to 24-bit/192KHz. 

They might look like they've been zapped with a shrink ray when compared to the LS50 Wireless speakers, their older sibling, but they're no less impressive and ideal for a desktop or computer-based system. Blessed with Uni-Q drivers, 200W Class-D amplification and a choice of stylish colours that would put Farrow & Ball to shame, these come top of KEF's class.

Read the full review: KEF LSX

Klipsch The Fives - best computer speakers

(Image credit: Klipsch)

3. Klipsch The Fives

A one-stop shop for home audio

Specifications

Drivers: 25mm tweeter; 11.5cm mid/bass
Reflex port: Rear-firing
Cabinet: MDF with wood veneer
Features: Bluetooth, HDMI, Phono stage
Dimensions: 30.5 x 16.5 x 23.5cm

Reasons to buy

+
Punchy presentation
+
Good features set
+
Versatile nature

Reasons to avoid

-
Uneven tonality
-
Not the most organised presentation

Klipsch describes The Fives as a ‘powered speaker system’. They can be used as a hi-fi system – either standalone or with a source plugged in – as desktop speakers, or indeed as a true stereo alternative to a soundbar thanks to the inclusion of an HDMI ARC connection. Thanks to RCA, 3.5mm aux, digital optical and USB inputs, plus wireless Bluetooth 5.0, they will connect to pretty much anything.

Yes, they're relatively expensive but sonically they offer good detail, plenty of punch and decent stereo imaging. A step up on a computer, soundbar of wireless speaker for sure. And much more convenient than a complete separates system.

Read the full review: Klipsch The Fives

Steljes Audio Best desktop computer speakers 2022

4. Steljes Audio NS3

Versatile, affordable and an affable listen, these are solid desktop computer speakers.

Specifications

Power: 45W x 2
Streaming: Bluetooth
USB charging: Yes
Colours: 7

Reasons to buy

+
Sleek design
+
Good connectivity
+
Powerful bass

Reasons to avoid

-
Could be more cohesive
-
Need a bit more detail

For a desktop solution, the NS3 speakers certainly play their part well. They’re capable enough to work as your everyday speakers, and will look suitably stylish while doing it. 

You can use the NS3’s optical input to connect a television or plug your analogue music sources into the 3.5mm socket - there’s even a stereo RCA connection for other hi-fi kit. There’s also a USB input for charging. For wireless connectivity, there's Bluetooth.

They may not be the most transparent offerings out there, but they're neat and well-appointed wireless speakers with solid bass. If you’re looking for an entry-level way to get your workplace audio sounding better, these speakers are worth considering.

Read the full review: Steljes Audio NS3

Acoustic Energy AE1 Active

(Image credit: Acoustic Energy)

5. Acoustic Energy AE1 Active

High-end performance without the need for a stack of high-end electronics.

Specifications

Power: 50W x 2
Inputs: RCA, balanced XLR
Finishes: 3

Reasons to buy

+
Clear, balanced and detailed
+
Rhythmically exciting 
+
Flexible with placement

Reasons to avoid

-
Nothing of note

While the more insightful KEF LSX would be our first choice at this price, it’s still difficult to think of an amplifier/passive speakers combo that could better these Acoustic Energy active speakers for the same money.

These previous What Hi-Fi? Award winners do everything with a flourish. They're relatively basic in terms of set-up and function – connect them to your source via either their RCA or balanced XLR inputs and you’re ready to go. There’s no Bluetooth, but you can always affordably attach a separate module (such as the iFi Zen Blue) post-purchase.

You'd need to invest in a more expensive pair of components to offer a marked improvement on these Acoustic Energy active speakers – and you owe it to yourself to track down a pair to discover that for yourself.

Read the full review: Acoustic Energy AE1 Active

Best desktop computer speakers 2022

6. Dynaudio Xeo 10

Pricey desktop computer speakers, but well worth the money.

Specifications

Power: 130W
Inputs: RCA, 3.5mm, optical digital
Bluetooth: Yes
Finishes: 2

Reasons to buy

+
Clear, detailed and agile sound
+
Large-scaled and spacious delivery
+
Versatility, excellent features

Reasons to avoid

-
Don’t physically feel like premium speakers

When you bear in mind the Xeo 10s are successors to the 2017 Award-winning Xeo 2, their success is hardly surprising. They may be expensive – perhaps even pricier than your computer – but those who're serious about sound quality won't be disappointed. 

They're hugely entertaining and insightful, and for small speakers (each about the size of a thick hardback book) they sure belt out a large and spacious soundstage.

Their both wireless (Bluetooth) and wired (line-level, optical and 3.5mm) connectivity options seal their five-star fate, too.

Read the full review: Dynaudio Xeo 10

Joe Cox
Joe Cox

Joe is Content Director for Specialist Tech at Future and was previously the Global Editor-in-Chief of What Hi-Fi?. He has worked on What Hi-Fi? across print and online for more than 15 years, writing news, reviews and features. He has covered product launch events across the world, from Apple to Technics, Sony and Samsung, reported from CES, the Bristol Show and Munich High End for many years, and provided comment for sites such as the BBC and the Guardian. In his spare time he enjoys playing records and cycling (not at the same time).

  • Sander
    Hi Thanks for the article.
    I was wondering why the abscence of usb input is not mentioned for the KEF LSX but "no usb input" is mentioned for the Ruark Audio MR1 Mk2 as a reason to aviod? Why the difference?

    CHeers
    Sander
    Reply
  • mikebabcock
    You should really add Edifier's line of powered bookshelf speakers to this list. I have two sets of their speakers, one for my kitchen and another on my computer desk, and while a little bigger than traditional 'computer' speakers, they provide much better power and range with a convenient remote as well.
    cf. https://www.edifier.com/ca/en/speakers/studio-1280t-2.0-powered-bookshelf
    Reply
  • northlondon
    mikebabcock said:
    You should really add Edifier's line of powered bookshelf speakers to this list. I have two sets of their speakers, one for my kitchen and another on my computer desk, and while a little bigger than traditional 'computer' speakers, they provide much better power and range with a convenient remote as well.
    cf. https://www.edifier.com/ca/en/speakers/studio-1280t-2.0-powered-bookshelf

    Agreed. They are also happier at moderate volumes than the premium units I auditioned (not so well at high though) which suits me fine for desktop speakers. Mine are now paired with a Zen Blue DAC and they sound well beyond the (literal) sum of their parts, to my ear.
    Reply
  • mikebabcock
    northlondon said:
    Agreed. are also happier at moderate volumes than the premium units I auditioned (not so well at high though) which suits me fine for desktop speakers. Mine are now paired with a Zen Blue DAC and they sound well beyond the (literal) sum of their parts, to my ear.
    I simply plugged mine into the TOSLink connector on my PC although I was tempted to get the m-Audio USB unit instead. No analog noise here.
    Reply
  • Dave M
    mikebabcock said:
    You should really add Edifier's line of powered bookshelf speakers to this list. I have two sets of their speakers, one for my kitchen and another on my computer desk, and while a little bigger than traditional 'computer' speakers, they provide much better power and range with a convenient remote as well.
    cf. https://www.edifier.com/ca/en/speakers/studio-1280t-2.0-powered-bookshelf
    Yes, also because Edifier is easily purchased in the US. Many of the speakers listed here are not
    Reply
  • Finnman
    How do the Ruark compare with the Kanto YU2 and YU4?
    Reply
  • 12th Monkey
    Given how old this thread is, I'd suggest starting a thread elsewhere if you want an answer. What might have been 'best' two years ago probably isn't any more.
    Reply