Are Wireless Computer Speakers a Good Option for PC Gamers?

posted in: Accessories

Many serial gamers grow a little tired of wearing an often uncomfortable headset for hours on end and wonder if there are wireless computer speakers to replace the headphones without losing control over the game. Many gamers shared with us that, at least in the comfort of their own homes, they would love to play with “free head and ears” and avoid the warmth and sweat below the earcups.

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To preempt our research results, it is very hard to replace the 360° control over the game you have with headsets by wired or wireless computer speakers. So yes, there are options for high-quality “casual” gaming in your own living room, but using any PC speakers is never an option while playing to really win on even a league game.

No wired or wireless computer speaker setting can 100% match the 3D sound environment of any above-average gaming headset. Put differently: If you are a serious gamer, you cannot live without gaming headphones. Headsets offer true 360° sound, and If you check out the wireless computer speakers they are no match to these and, playing with them, you will be no match for your virtual enemies.

That said, you might want to use wireless computer speakers for your home gaming needs, but the acceptable options do not come cheap. Firstly, there are not many 3D surround wireless computer speakers available, so the wireless technology comes with a price tag. Transmitting audio signals wirelessly without ruining the sound is still an expensive enterprise.

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Wireless Computer Speakers
Wireless Computer Speakers

Secondly, we are not talking about the average sound quality of PC speakers, as we need speakers suitable for high-standard gaming needs. We need the audio equivalent of HDTV for our game sound reproduction and, especially for those of you who love ego shooters, a resounding bass is extremely important. A game without proper bass sounds “shallow” and no rickety or even above-average standard wireless computer speakers will do.

Why is that? The average human ear can hear sounds between 20Hz and 20,000Hz, with some experts arguing that we can hear in an even wider frequency range, if indirectly through an effect called resonance (if a sound above 20,000Hz is produced we humans might not hear it, but it also has an effect – resonance – in lower frequencies, which we do hear).

The Gold medalist in our best gaming headsets Leaderboard can play back sounds as low as 15Hz, considerably below our active human hearing abilities, giving this specific

headphone a very strong bass. And bass is very important for any explosion or battle sounds, which is what most games today are about.

When we look at the standard PC speakers, some only start playback as high as 80Hz which just does not make for any good bass. Granted, some speakers do have a frequency response beginning at 20Hz, but none of them go as low as 15Hz.

Thirdly, most PC speakers are just a plastic case with some inbuilt speakers. Bass frequencies in particular will make these light constructions vibrate strongly, and by that kill any sound quality.

Fourthly, if we take a look at most wireless PC speakers available it becomes obvious that they are no option for playing Battlefield 3 or any other ego shooter, even if they are high-quality in and of themselves. This is mainly because most wireless computer speakers come with only two satellite speakers and a subwoofer, a so-called 2.1 combination, and therefore cannot give you the real 3D surround sound necessary for orientation in the game.

Wireless Computer Speakers
cabling problems with wired 5.1

Technology evolves and it is sometimes amazing what sound great companies like Bose can today winkle out of a so-called “Soundbar”, a flat bar with some speakers in a row, and simulated 3D sound might be good for our daily TV consumption but not for our video gaming needs. As advanced as these speakers might be, it is simply not the same as when the sound really comes from behind you just as your virtual enemy does.

Wireless Computer Speakers for PC Gamers?

The solution: We need several speakers standing in a circle around us, to really hear where the enemy comes from or from where the Helicopter is approaching our position.We need a real surround sound system, a 5.1 (5 satellite speakers, one subwoofer) or optimally 7.1 setup. With a system like this our ears physically receive information about where our virtual opponent is coming from, and our brain can calculate exactly where to point the gun.

The Result: We do better in the game than when the enemy position is a bit of guesswork. With a 5.1 system we can act instinctively and let our limbic brain take over, saving us decisive milliseconds in battle.

So for creating the perfect home gaming environment without headsets we need a real 5.1 or 7.1 Surround Sound system. We do recommend a wireless one because you set up the speakers in a circle around you and with a wired system you will always see a lot of cabling going through your living room.

One warning: Perfect wireless transmission technology is mandatory, so the sound and bass is bombastic but crystal clear.

Optimal 5.1 Computer Speakers

So what is the ideal approach to such high-quality audio needs for our gaming PCs? What is the perfect solution? Are there any PC speakers offering this level of quality and features? From our research: NO.

However, the ideal solution absolutely does exist. It just isn’t “wireless computer speakers” anymore. We have to switch gear and enter the arena of:

Home Audio. Or better Home Theater Systems. These systems deliver exactly what we need and the quality is so much better than with anything manufactured as PC speakers. Home Theater companies have spent a long time working on the creation of perfect 3D sound and there are many companies competing for the best home theater experience for their customers.

We all know these household brands: Sony, Pioneer, Samsung, Onkyo, JVC and finally Bose, next to many others. For our perfect gaming experience we built upon their research, technology, and products.

Make sure you buy a complete wireless system with a receiver (amplifier) included. These often come with inbuilt Blue-Ray or DVD (“Home Theater in a Box”/HTIB), but we would recommend looking for a system with only a receiver/amplifier and especially with analog 5.1/7.1 inputs… Very hard to find and expensive.

Warning: Many PC games still do not support Surround Sound via optical cable. So make absolutely sure that you get a system with 5.1/7.1 analog inputs. Otherwise you won’t have real surround sound. Or make sure your game can play surround sound via optical connection.

Also make sure that your PC can connect to the Home Theater Receiver at all, since there are many different connections these days. It should be no problem if your PC has an HDMI connector though, and any PC able to play Battlefield, etc. should have a great sound card with multiple connectors anyway.

If not, perhaps your PC has an optical link. Otherwise there are several solutions, like an external USB sound card. Or it might be the right time for a PC technology upgrade?

Summary: For “Pro” gamers there is no alternative to headphones. For the casual home gamer a 5.1 surround sound system is still mandatory. However, no wired or wireless PC speaker system will do.

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