February 2023 Ian Chiu
The vast majority of laptops, save for rare breeds like the MacBook Pro, come with mediocre built-in speakers at best. If you need an upgrade that blasts out room-filling audio and that produces a fuller, richer range of sound, here’s a list of PC USB speakers that deliver just that and more. In our February 2023 update, we have added Razer Leviathan V2 X soundbar and Creative Pebble Pro to the list.
Leviathan V2 X
|Speaker Type:||Stereo speakers||Stereo speakers with subwoofer||Neck speaker||Soundbar with subwoofer||Soundbar||Stereo speakers|
|Interface:||USB-C (audio & power)|
|USB-A (audio & power)|
Bluetooth (SBC & AAC)
|USB-C (audio & power)|
|RMS Output Power:||10W|
15W (with USB PD)
|Frequency Response:||Unspecified||40Hz to 18 KHz||Unspecified||45Hz to 20kHz||85Hz to 20kHz||50Hz to 20kHz|
|123 x 123 x 118mm|
|166 x 148 x 118mm (satellite speakers)|
255 x 404 x 207mm (subwoofer)
|209 x 240 x 46mm||500 x 91.3 x 84mm|
220 x 220 x 241.5mm
|400 x 71 x 77mm||170 x 220 x 140mm
|RGB?||3 lighting effects||2 lighting zones (per speaker)||No||Razer Chroma RGB|
18 lighting zones
Bluetooth-controllable via app
|Razer Chroma RGB|
14 lighting zones
Bluetooth-controllable via app
|Razer Chroma RGB
24 lighting zones
|USB Cable Length:||1.5m USB-A to USB-C|
1.5m USB-C to USB-C
|1.8m USB-A||3m USB-A||1.5m USB-C to USB-C||1.5m USB-C to USB-C||Unspecified|
|Release Date:||Dec 2022||April 2018||Sept 2021||April 2022||Sept 2022||Feb 2018|
|Warranty:||One year||One year||One year||One year||One year||One year|
Pricing is last updated by Amazon on 2023-03-28 at 04:00. When you buy through Amazon affiliate links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission.
The Creative Pebble series has received numerous subtle upgrades since its inception. From extra power boost to re-engineered drivers, its fourth-generation speaker set is now positioned set as a ‘Pro’ model. Creative Pebble Pro now enjoys a higher RMS output as it is up from the previous model’s 8W to 10W. To kick it up a notch, you can further boost output by 50 percent to 15W (per speaker) if you power it through a 30W USB PD adapter.
Creative has also included RGB lightning on the base of Pebble Pro. It’s a welcome addition but it works more like a mood light as the RGB colors and effects will neither react to game actions nor music. There’s also no app to customize the lightning. Everything needs to be done with onboard controls on the speaker.
There are three ways (i.e. USB, Bluetooth & 3.5mm AUX) to connect to this speaker but the primary connectivity method is USB-C. Not only is the speaker set powered entirely by USB-C, but they also receive digital audio from the same port. You still need USB-C for power even if you use Pebble as a Bluetooth speaker. Should you need to plug in a microphone and headset, there are jacks for those onboard Pebble Pro as well. Interestingly, there’s a Windows app that improves online call experience with a host of options from reducing background noise to auto-muting yourself by voice detection.
In terms of design, the Pebble retains its minimalist eggshell-like finish with drivers pointing at a 45-degree angle so audio is directed more towards the listeners’ ears. Each speaker is measured at 4.8 by 4.8 by 4.6 inches. You will find the volume knob and Bluetooth pairing button on the right speaker. Last but not least, Creative has increased the length of the audio cable hardwired between the left and right speaker to 1.8m. Pebble Pro V3’s two satellite speakers in contrast are tethered to a 1.35m cable. If you are in the market for a sub-$60 speaker set, Pebble Pro is worth checking out.
Logitech returns to the gaming speaker arena with its G560 after a long hiatus. Like its competitors, the Switzerland-based PC peripheral manufacturer is already heavily invested in RGB lighting. It seeks to raise its game further with LightSync, which aims to transform the ambiance in your room by throwing different lighting against the wall from the LEDs behind the speakers.
The G560’s gaming software does all the heavy work of coordinating with the speakers’ RGB lights to create custom lighting effects that reflect different gameplay scenarios. If you are being chased by highway cops in GTA5, lights behind the two satellite speakers will start flashing red and blue. Likewise, if you are getting low on health, the game developer could make the red ambient light, giving a rapid breathing effect to alert you of the current threat.
The same mechanism apparently works as well with movies as it does with games. However, there’s a slight lag for the reactive lights to respond since the software needs to process the screen refreshes before changing the colors to match. Lastly, in the audio department, the $200 Logitech’s 2.1 USB speaker set packs a downward-firing subwoofer and it is capable of delivering 120W RMS as well as simulating surround sound, courtesy of DTS.
Neck-worn speakers are something that you would see in a Bluetooth package but the SoundSlayer Wearable Gaming Speaker from Panasonic comes in USB and for good reasons.
First and foremost, you get lower audio latency – something Bluetooth doesn’t offer unless your PC comes with AptX LL. Powering via USB also eliminates a built-in battery, hence saving some weight for the speaker. As the 340g SoundSlayer requires USB 3.0, the extra power (900mA) should deliver more than a little oomph for your audio – especially when the upward-facing speakers are positioned close to your ears. There’s still a 3.5mm stereo jack for compatibility with everything else. You will, however, need the SoundSlayer to be plugged into a USB port regardless of the choice of connection, however.
As a neckband speaker is aimed squarely at gamers, the SoundSlayer provides six different gaming audio modes, including role-playing, first-person shooter, and cinema. The first mode is designed to work seamlessly with Final Fantasy XIV as the neckband speaker is a product of the partnership between Panasonic and Square Enix’s sound team. The cinema mode should also work well with the SoundSlayer’s four full-range drivers positioned around your neck.
Razer Leviathan surround soundbar is finally getting a much-needed upgrade since its introduction in 2014. A lot of technological advances have been made during the period. New are the 18-zone Chroma light strip and THX’s Spatial Audio, both of which are enabled through Razer’s Synapse PC app. The previous version didn’t have RGB lighting to begin with and the virtual surround was powered by Dolby Virtual Speakers.
The 20-inch long soundbar itself is equipped with a pair of 2-inch full-range drivers, passive radiators, and tweeters. Also bundled is a 5.2-inch downward-firing subwoofer that measures 9.5 by 8.7 by 8.7 inches. With a frequency response ranging from 45Hz to 20kHz, the bass delivered on the Leviathan is massively improved and should be noticeably tighter than the last generation’s 180Hz. Additionally, Razer supplies removable feet that can be switched out for ones that are angled to aim toward the listening position.
In terms of connectivity, Razer has dropped 3.5mm and optical in favor of USB-C. The decision to remove these two tried-and-true ports is a controversial one. This means the Leviathan is now strictly a Windows gaming soundbar that sits under a PC monitor as living room TVs don’t usually work with USB audio devices. For convenience, there’s Bluetooth 5.2 (SBC & AAC), as opposed to 4.0 (SBC, AAC & AptX) on the last iteration. There isn’t, however, a built-in microphone on the unit for it to double as a speakerphone.
Razer in late 2022 further expanded its soundbar line-up with a Leviathan V2 X. It is however less of an upgrade and more of a slimmed-down version of its higher-end cousin. For starters, V2 X is 10cm shorter and 40 percent lighter than the original model.
Going with a more compact design inherently reduces the number of RGB elements on the speaker. In the case of the Leviathan V2 X, there are still 14 RGB lighting zones as opposed to 18 on the V2. Internally, you will see a pair of full-range drivers as well as a passive radiator but you won’t find tweeters. The absence of a subwoofer also means the bass won’t be as punchy as you would want it to be.
This particular Leviathan V2 – like the Creative Pebble Pro – is powered exclusively by a USB-C cable. Strangely, Razer doesn’t bundle a power brick so you will make sure you have a USB-C port that supports Power Delivery for this soundbar to work. There’s still Bluetooth 5.2 onboard yet the V2 X doesn’t come with a built-in battery for it to double as a portable wireless speaker.
In the software department, Razer has ditched THX Spatial Audio. You won’t be missing anything as the soundbar is too small to provide a virtual surround sound experience anyway. Despite the similarities in aesthetics, the two Leviathan V2 models are clearly targeted at different users. The more expensive one with a subwoofer and THX Spatial Audio is clearly intended for deep-pocket gamers. In contrast, the lesser model is for those who are looking for a minimalist sound system and can settle for stereo audio.
It’s been ages since Razer released gaming speakers as the company has kept busy with everything from its first smartphone to powerhouse laptops to a variety of peripherals. The $149 Nommo Chroma marks Razer’s return to the desktop PC speaker market. Made for gamers in mind, its RGB LED strip around its base can put on a light show and the bundled Synapse software can also synchronize lighting effects between compatible devices.
The core of the Nommo is powered by a 3-inch custom woven glass fiber driver in addition to rear-facing bass port in each of the two cannon-shaped speakers. Interestingly, the streamlined design shares its aesthetic with Dyson’s iconic Supersonic hairdryer. Inside the Razer is a USB DAC but it’s not rated for high-resolution audio playback. But you will need to connect to USB as Synapse controls the lighting and allows you to toggle between sound modes (i.e. games, music, movies) to adjust EQ accordingly.
One of the circular base plates for the speakers has two knobs – one for volume and the other for bass adjustment. Razer’s Nommo Chroma lacks surround sound simulation which would otherwise add entertainment value to gameplay. For that, you have to opt for Nommo’s $499 Dolby-certified brethren which also comes with THX certification; a downward-firing subwoofer; silk dome tweeters; a discrete control pod; Bluetooth connection; and a hefty price tag.
That’s all for now. Hope you enjoy finding these USB speakers suited for your needs. If you find anything else that belongs to this list, please let us know by leaving your suggestion or comment below.