Computer speakers used to be horribly annoying things to set up. You had two boxes – three if you had a subwoofer – that had to be connected to each other, to the back of the computer, and to an outlet in the wall. Modern-day USB speakers, however, are way cooler than that. They have a single plug on a single cord, and they get their power through the same wire that they get their electro-sonic impulses from.
There are several advantages that a USB speaker has over its traditional counterparts. They have their disadvantages, too, don’t get me wrong. It’s hard to power any decent amount of bass through a USB port. But for the cost and the convenience, unless you’re a true audiophile, you won’t really feel like you’re missing out.
The advantages that I mentioned are plentiful, too.
Price — USB speakers are cheap compared to traditional speakers. Even high-end USB speakers come in below $30, and they tend to produce some killer sound. Compare that to the sound you hear out of the plug-in speakers of the same price, and you’ll be startled at how comparable they are given that the USB speakers use less electricity (and actually save you money in the long run because of it.)
Portability — If you’ve ever had to disconnect a set of traditional computer speakers so that you could take them to a LAN party or out to DJ a church function, you know what I’m talking about. Traditional speakers are bulky, unwieldy, and basically have to be shoved in a bag and sorted out when you get there. USB speakers are almost universally self-contained boxes that you can pick up in one hand on your way out the door. That’s convenient.
Versatility — Traditional speakers play one thing: the sound that comes in through their headphone jack. While not all USB speakers are this cool, the higher-end ones (those $30 types I mentioned before) tend to be able to play not only off of their USB connection (which means USB flash drives as well as functional computers), but many can also play off of SD cards and other forms of portable device as well.
There are plenty of reasons why computer speakers have gone USB, particularly among the young and hip. So what’s on your desktop?