In this day and age of digital entertainment, computers are increasingly becoming an important part of living rooms. You have one device that can do anything under the sun when it comes to entertainment—be it gaming, streaming videos from one room to the other, capturing your favorite television program or simply surfing the Internet. But at the end of the day, what’s an action movie or a first person shooter without big sound? With the launch of numerous game titles month after month and the ease of access to movies and music, a personal computer is incomplete without a good set of speakers.

The most affordable speakers come in the form of simple 2.0 stereo systems. These are restricted to low decibel levels and are perfect for listening to light music while working or casual movie watching. Then come the more powerful 2.1 speakers systems that add a subwoofer for delivering low frequencies. With a more profound bass music, movies and games sound more dramatic. However, how real they sound depends on the quality of speakers you invest in.

Entry-level 2.1 speakers dish out better volume levels than 2.0 speakers, but they may not necessarily sound better. The bass may be too boomy, the treble may overshadow the vocals, or the subwoofer might have been included just to fill up the feature list. A good speaker system isn’t one that’s loud but one that also delivers a good balance of high, mid and low frequencies.

In this roundup we invited the top multimedia speaker manufacturers to send in the best they had to offer in the premium and audiophile-class segments. For a fair comparison we categorized the speakers into two groups based on their price and specifications – premium and enthusiast. While the former had better models than the usual mainstream ones, the latter comprised the cream of the crop carrying heavy price tags. The speakers were tested on the basis of five parameters—features, build quality, ergonomics, performance, and warranty and support.

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