Soundbars are a great way to improve the sound quality of your listening experience, but do they work for PC?
The majority of people use some form of speaker setup or wear a nice pair of headphones when using their PC setup, but I have had a couple of people ask me over the years if they should get a soundbar for their desktop.
Are soundbars good for PC?
Yes, they can be – but it depends on a few factors.
The first thing would be whether or not the soundbar will fit on your desk without moving anything around as some might have a wider frame than others. If space isn’t much of an issue and it fits comfortably on your desktop then there’s nothing else to worry about (unless maybe if you want something wireless).
I know many years ago I had a desk that was tiny. It would barely have any room left over for my cup of coffee with the keyboard and monitor on it! Soundbars are great for TV setups where you can mount them easily underneath, or place them on a TV stand. It takes a bit more planning when setting one up for PC, so make sure you have enough space.
A second consideration is what type of usage do you plan for with the PC? This can affect which audio format you use as well. You need to ask yourself a couple of questions.
- How accurate do you need the sound to be, are you a music producer where accuracy is important?
- Will it be used primarily for gaming?
- Will it just be used for casual listening?
I have a really expensive monitor for my computer, but the speakers are atrocious on it! It is super tinny, I couldn’t even watch a youtube video it was that harsh on the ears. I can only imagine how it sounds on cheaper monitors. So if you are using your speakers built-in to your monitor and are looking for an upgrade, sure, a soundbar would be an upgrade.
However, if you are gaming or need accurate audio for work/hobby, then I wouldn’t recommend you get a soundbar for your PC. You would be much better opting for a good set of speakers, or get a pair of headphones which offer excellent soundstage and a far greater listening experience.
Soundbars aren’t really built for PC’s usage. They are meant for home entertainment systems, which speakers and audio designers have better control over because they can draw from a more generalized rule set that they are comfortable with or have had success with in the past.
PC’s sound post-process on the other hand is much more nuanced and difficult to predict individual speakers’ responses on the fly, much less their interactions with each other.
Not only that, but the soundbar placement is important too. You always want to try and get your audio output at ear level, which is quite difficult to do with a soundbar.
If you have an old soundbar lying around, then sure, hook it up and see if its an improvement on what you currently own.
If space is an issue, a soundbar can be good, but why not just go for a pair of headphones if that’s the case? Once you’re finished using them, you can store them away or buy a cheap headphone stand to hang them on.
If you are looking for a better audio experience, for the same price as a soundbar, you can get much better audio quality with headphones or a nice set of small speakers.
I bought these speakers for my nephew and I was genuinely surprised at how good the sound quality is for under $30!
If you want to go the headphones route, I will always recommend the Sennheiser HD598’s. I have had these for years and they are still just as good as the day I got them. I have dropped them, spilled water on them, stepped on the wire and they are still in top shape!
Frequently Asked Questions
Is a soundbar good for PC gaming?
A soundbar can be a good option for PC gaming because it will provide a better audio experience than the speakers that come with your computer. But is it the best option? Probably not.
A soundbar is good for PC gaming when the game has in-game options that allow you to eliminate environmental noise. In a sense, this sort of thing would be like using headphones so that only your voice can be heard, but it’s controlled by software and not an attachment to your head.
Yes, nine times out of ten you are better off using speakers or headphones directly attached to the computer itself. But if you have limited options, space, or budget, it can work out ok.
How to connect soundbar to PC?
- You will need to know what cables the soundbar has. If it doesn’t specify which ports they use you may be able to find this out by looking at a manual on their website.
- If it’s HDMI, you can plug it directly into the back of your monitor (If there is a spare port), or plug it into the back of your PC. Most graphics cards nowadays have extra ports. If it uses an optical cable, it may be a bit more difficult as not many PC’s or Monitors have this port. You can buy an adapter like this if that’s the case.
- Plug everything in and power up turn on your soundbar. Your computer may need to install drivers which is should do automatically. If it doesn’t, have a look on the soundbars website.
- Enjoy your improved listening experience!
Soundbars can be a good choice for PC, but its not the best. You would be much better off using a set of speakers or a nice pair of headphones. The cheaper soundbars don’t offer great quality, and they’re not built for use for PC. However, if space, budget, and you’re sick of listening to your tinny monitor speakers, then a soundbar can be a great option for PC.
Read here to see if soundbars are good for listening to music.