How to put together an excellent computer audio setup

Turning your PC into audiophile heaven.

The excellent JohnBlue JB4 Mk2 speakers.

The excellent JohnBlue JB4 Mk2 speakers.

Traditionally, high quality home audio has been the realm of elitist audiophiles with $10,000 speaker cables and other over-the-top paraphernalia. The humble PC has never been part of the high-quality audio scene, but the landscape has been shaken by the introduction in recent years of a variety of compact audio setups and components that can transform your PC into a great audio hub.

Digital-Analog Converters

A digital-analog converter performs the same function as the sound card built into your PC’s motherboard (or inserted into an expansion slot). The main difference is that a high quality DAC will connect to your PC externally via USB, cutting out all the electrical interference that exists within a computer case. The end result is high quality, crystal-clear audio that can be readily output to an amplifier.

There are plenty of competitors in this market, but they all accomplish the same task in the end: converting digital audio into analog electrical signals. If you need a high quality audio solution a DAC is an utter necessity.

Our pick: Kingrex UD-01

What’s Hot: Massive sound quality boost over on-board audio, simple set up.

Pocket Amplifiers

If you’re sitting at a PC you don’t want a massive, power-hungry amplifier sitting next to you and setting the room on fire. A good compromise between power, heat and sound quality can be found in the Class D and Class T amplifiers becoming more popular in the enthusiast computer audio market.

Originally intended for car audio and integrated speakers, these amplifiers don’t offer a great deal of output power — so they’ll need to be paired with efficient speakers — but they have the advantage of a tiny footprint, low heat output and clean audio.

Our pick: Kingrex T20

What’s Hot: Warm sound, tiny footprint, great looks.


Speakers are the most important part of any sound system; you’ll notice a larger difference in changing or upgrading these than any other component. Speakers for a computer audio setup need to be small — definitely no larger than a bookshelf-sized speaker such as the Yamaha Soavo 2. They often use clever porting and speaker designs to draw maximum sound and richness from small enclosures. For maximum gain, your speakers will need to be efficient in order to work well with a low-powered audio amplifier.

Our pick: JohnBlue JB4 Mk2

What’s Hot: Beautiful construction, smooth and sweet sound.

With the addition of some quality music — preferably stored in a lossless audio format such as FLAC — your humble computer has the potential to become an audio system capable of doing even the most demanding music justice.

Join the newsletter!


Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.
Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.
Campbell Simpson

Campbell Simpson

Good Gear Guide
Show Comments

Brand Post

Bitdefender 2019

Taking cybersecurity to the highest level and order now for a special discount on the world’s most awarded and trusted cybersecurity. Be aware without a care!

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles


PCW Evaluation Team

Luke Hill


I need power and lots of it. As a Front End Web developer anything less just won’t cut it which is why the MSI GT75 is an outstanding laptop for me. It’s a sleek and futuristic looking, high quality, beast that has a touch of sci-fi flare about it.

Emily Tyson

MSI GE63 Raider

If you’re looking to invest in your next work horse laptop for work or home use, you can’t go wrong with the MSI GE63.

Laura Johnston

MSI GS65 Stealth Thin

If you can afford the price tag, it is well worth the money. It out performs any other laptop I have tried for gaming, and the transportable design and incredible display also make it ideal for work.

Andrew Teoh

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

Touch screen visibility and operation was great and easy to navigate. Each menu and sub-menu was in an understandable order and category

Louise Coady

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

The printer was convenient, produced clear and vibrant images and was very easy to use

Edwina Hargreaves

WD My Cloud Home

I would recommend this device for families and small businesses who want one safe place to store all their important digital content and a way to easily share it with friends, family, business partners, or customers.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?