I love good, loud speakers - Brian Eno
When it comes to speakers, I subscribe to the same school of thought as Brian Eno.
They need to be good, they need to be loud and they need to capture a perfect clarity of sound and convey every note and nuance that the artists I’m listening to imbued their music with.
I want to hear podcasts the way they were meant to be heard and to be overwhelmed and enraptured by the rich, emotive narration of audiobooks.
And the best way to listen to, and submerge, yourself in the bountiful audio tapestry available to each and every one of us at the touch of a button or the click of a mouse, is with a set of speakers that Mr. Eno would thoroughly approve of.
While it’s always been relatively straightforward and easy to find a set of speakers that’ll rattle the doors and shake the window of your home when they’re connected to your stereo, finding the right USB powered speakers for your desktop set-up, can be a little more difficult.
Ideally, you should be able to plug them straight into your laptop, turn them on, crank the volume up and lose yourself in the audio paradise of the gaming, music, and podcasting worlds.
But we don’t live in an ideal world, and to spare you the horror of wasting endless hours attempting to find your dream desktop set-up, I’ve compiled a decisive list of the best USB powered speakers that’ll give you the power to fully immerse yourself in your chosen audio universe.
It’s time to be like Brian, and have your mind blown by sound…
Top 5 Best USB Powered Speakers
MY TOP PICK
The driving and creative force behind the Sound Blaster technology which originally revolutionized the way that home computers produced digital sound, Creative Labs expanded its remit to include every facet of the world they once dominated, which resulted in the development of the Creative Pebble.
They may not be the biggest desktop speakers in the world, but don’t let their size fool you, as Creative Lab’s latest endeavor is an audio force to be reckoned with.
Measuring just four and a half inches in every dimension and connected by one and a half meters of cable, you can just plug these speakers straight into your laptop or tablet and they’re ready to go.
Featuring a dual connection system, which draws the power they need to run from a USB port and the sound you want them to play from the audio jack (the headphone socket), the Creative Pebble speaker system has a continuous output of eight watts, which is more than capable of shaking the foundations of any desktop.
The custom-tuned, forty-five-degree far-field solution that these speakers use means that no matter where you place them on your desk or wherever it is you use your laptop or PC, you’ll always feel like you’re right in the middle of the action or standing directly in front of the stage.
They capture the moment and the sound that you’ve been chasing, and they do it at a price that’ll please your pocketbook.
- With a design inspired by the placement of rocks in Japanese Zen Gardens, these speakers don’t just sound good, they look good too. They’ve been engineered to help you to focus on all of the audio glory that they’ll bring into your world. And I have to admit it, they really do look good.
- If you’re a little worried about the power output, don’t be. Believe me, eight watts is more than enough to carry you away on valkyrie guided steeds to musical Vahalla or straight through the gates of gaming nirvana.
- Back to the design, the forty-five-degree elevation of the speakers means that no matter how you place them next to your device, as long as the Creative Pebble is drawing power from the USB port and everything else from the audio jack, they sound absolutely incredible.
- The Pebble’s secret weapon though, is they seem to intuitively work with Spotify and Audible. If you’re a fan of audio drama, books, and podcasts, which I am, with the pebble you’ll think that part of the production rather than just listening to it.
- And the price that you’ll pay for all of the audio magic that they offer? It’s unbelievably cheap, and when you couple that with how easy they are to use and their inherent portability, it’s hard to understand why anyone would choose any other USB power speakers.
- Some audiophiles have reported connectivity issues when the Pebble system is used in conjunction with Windows 10, and others have highlighted durability and longevity issues. While I’ve yet to encounter either of the problems, they do seem to exist and should be taken into consideration before you lay down your money for Creative Lab’s speaker system.
A near-perfect fusion of retro-style and technology, Mica House’s USB-powered speakers hark back to the old school of design while wholeheartedly embracing the future to create a classic desktop speaker system that’ll put a smile on the face of even the most demanding audiophile.
Mica might call them a bookshelf system, but you and I both know that’s just an aesthetic thing, as these speakers were made to make your desktop rumble.
With a combined output of ten watts (and again, trust me, that’s more than loud enough), these dual connecter speakers plug straight into the USB port (for power) and the audio jack of your laptop or tablet.
As soon as they’re connected, they’re ready to go and you’ll be able to control the volume directly from the dial on either speaker or from your computer.
As I said, they’re a near-perfect collision of classic speaker looks and digital sound technology. What’s not to like?
Mica’s speakers also have a secret weapon that makes them even more desirable.
As well as being USB powered, if you use the right adapter, you can plug them straight into the mains, connect your smartphone to them via the audio jack and just hit the play button, sit back, relax and let Mica do the rest.
- A classic speaker look with a classic speaker sound, Mica’s “bookshelf” speakers have all the volume and power that you’ll ever need to be transported away on wave after wave of audio bliss.
- I’m a fan of the dual power technology (mains and USB) that these Mica speakers use and it grants them a rare, and incredibly welcome adaptability and versatility that a lot of USB powered speakers don’t possess. And they sound good too.
- Whether you’re controlling the volume directly from the speakers, or the laptop/tablet interface that’ll pop up on your screen as soon as you plug them in, they’re simple and straightforward to use.
- And using them to enhance your desktop experience won’t trouble your bank balance in the slightest, as they’re an incredibly affordable way to pump up the volume.
- Some less than happy music fans and gamers have raised their voices to loudly remonstrate the quality of manufacture and the durability of the speakers. Most of the less than desirable reviews seem to focus on a similar problem, which is that, out of the blue, one speaker suddenly stops working. While I haven’t suffered the same misfortune, I can see why it would cause upset and frustration, as losing a stereo set up is the sort of thing that can easily ruin your day. Again, it’s food for thought that you might want to chew over before investing in Mica’s speakers.
TaoTronics believes that technology enhances life and their products are a manifestation of their passionate belief.
It was this passion that made me venture outside of the constraints of conventional speaker systems and try something that was a little outside of my comfort zone, a soundbar.
And given its size, functionality, and ease of use, I’m glad that I did.
Weighing in at two pounds, this sixteen-inch soundbar draws its power from the USB port on either your laptop or tablet and uses the audio jack to send whatever it is you want to listen to its speakers to generate twenty watts of audio output.
Plug it in, switch it on and use the dial on the side to control the volume and level of ambient LED lighting that it creates while playing whatever you want it to.
The LED lighting was actually a surprise as I didn’t realize that it was a feature until I plugged the bar into my laptop, and it’s more than a little hypnotic and easy to lose yourself in its glow and a nice, and incredibly welcome additional extra.
The sound quality is exceptional, especially for a speaker system that’s, comparatively speaking, so small and even though it’s a little out of the left-field, it’s a speaker system that I could readily, and happily get used to.
If you’re ready to fully embrace technology with a USB powered speaker system, you might as well go for broke and future-proof your desktop with a soundbar.
- TaoTronics have ensured that their USB soundbar will fit on any desktop, and at just sixteen inches long and two pounds in weight, it’s small enough to take with you wherever you go.
- Again, twenty watts of audio output power doesn’t sound like a lot, but it’s more than enough to bring any desktop or gaming system to sound pounding life.
- Easy to install and even easier to use, just plug the USB and audio leads into your laptop or tablet, turn up the volume and the soundbar is ready to go.
- Even though the soundbar comes with a one year warranty, if you do find yourself having to deal with the TaoTronics customer service team, you’ll be in for a bumpy ride, as according to some of the people who have found themselves in that position, it isn’t a situation, the customer service team included, that anyone wants to be in.
No, you’re not alone, I hadn’t heard of Arvicka before these USB powered speakers crossed my path, and if I’m honest I still know next to nothing about the brand.
What I do know though, is that even though they’re incredibly small, these speakers pack a mighty audio punch.
They use the same dual connection system that almost all USB powered speakers do, drawing their juice from one port while using the audio output of your laptop or tablet to carry the sound from your device to the speakers.
And as long as they’re connected to a USB port to charge them up, you can connect the speakers to the audio jack of any other device to play your music, podcasts, or audiobooks from.
Arvicka’s speakers also have LED underlighting (which you switch off if it doesn’t appeal to you), which creates a strange and slightly surreal accompaniment to the ten watts of audio power that they’re capable of pumping out.
A friend of mine once told me that the only things that names were good for were birth certificates and driver’s licenses and as far as everything else was concerned, they didn’t really, and don’t matter.
And he was right, as even though I hadn’t heard of Arvicka before I plugged these speakers in, after spending an afternoon with them, I have to admit, I was more than a little smitten by them.
- They are, as Arvicka says, small but mighty. They might fit in the palm of your hand, but they’ll make all the volume that you want them to when you plug them into your laptop.
- With an on and off switch for the LED lighting and a single volume control, these plug and play USB powered speakers are straightforward to install and simple to use. Just press play and turn the sound up and that’s all there is to it.
- Arvicka’s USB speakers also come with a limited three-year warranty and a lifetime of technical support. Which, considering how affordable they are, isn’t too shabby at all. That’s the kind of product confidence that really makes me smile and have faith that these speakers are going to carry on doing what they do best for a long time to come.
- Again, even though the set that I used was hassle-free and generated the sort of crystal clear sound that I adore, other people who have used these speakers haven’t been so lucky. They appear to be troubled by durability issues and it seems like, occasionally, a bad set makes it through quality control and out into the wide world.
While Supvin isn’t exactly a household name, their innovative solution to creating the ultimate USB powered speaker system should have guaranteed them a place in the audio hall of fame.
But the fact that it wasn’t their golden ticket to audio fame, hasn’t slowed them down or stopped them, and given their unique solution to the desktop speaker conundrum, one day Supvin will almost certainly be a brand that everyone knows.
These three point two ounce USB powered speakers are designed to clip straight on the top of the screen of your tablet or laptop, and can also be fitted together and used as a separate soundbar speaker system.
Another dual connected speaker system that uses a USB port for power and the audio jack for, well audio, these compact speakers are capable of producing six watts of output and are versatile enough to adapt to just about any laptop or tablet sound dilemmas that you might find yourself having to face.
Engineered to create a perfect sound balance, Supvin’s clip-on speaker system uses an inline control for volume, so all you have to do is plug them in, set the sound level, press play and they’ll do everything else.
Who needs any room for speakers on their desk when you can just clip them straight on to your laptop?
- Small, compact, and easy to use, these clip-on USB powered speakers have been designed to be adaptable and are versatile enough to be used in a variety of different laptop and tablet-based audio scenarios.
- If you’re looking for an easy, affordable solution to a computer speaker system problem, then look no further, as Supvin has created the answer that you’ve been searching for.
- Six watts of combined audio output isn’t exactly loud. Granted it’s far from quiet, but these speakers while compact and easy to use could do with being just a little bit louder.
Best USB Powered Speakers Buying Guide
Which USB Powered Speaker Is The Right One For Me?
As all of the USB powered speakers on my list fall into a similar price bracket, the major factors that separate them are their output and functionality.
And having lived with, and spent hours listening to, every USB powered speaker system on this list, I can hand on heart tell you that the best speaker systems, thanks to their adaptability and wattage, that I would recommend are either the TaoTronics sound bar or Mica “bookshelf” speakers.
So plug them in, press play, turn them up and get ready to enjoy a whole new world of digital sound…
Frequently Asked Questions
What Are USB Powered Speakers?
USB powered speakers are small, lightweight speakers that are designed to draw their power from the USB port of a laptop computer or tablet while playing audio from the same, or another connected device.
One of the most popular misconceptions about these speakers is that because they’re small and have been built to be powered by a USB connection, the quality of sound that they produce is sub-par or falls well below what a dedicated audiophile would expect.
Nothing could be further from the truth. Capable of producing rich, vibrant high-quality sound, USB powered speakers have become an increasingly popular desktop item and are beloved by gamers and music lovers alike.