Over the past couple of years, a lot of us have spent more time at home. This is especially true for those who are working from home, either temporarily or permanently.
If you spend a lot of time at your computer, you deserve to have a nice setup. Instead of those basic stereo computer speakers that have been around since the 1990s, you can enjoy high-quality sound from powered desktop speakers.
So, what are the best computer speakers for 2021? The Kanto YU2 and the Kanto YU4 stand out as two of the top choices.
Kanto YU2 Overview and Features
The Kanto YU2 is a set of powered desktop speakers. The speakers are sold as a set and include a built-in soundcard for streaming high-quality audio directly from the USB port on your computer or laptop.
Here are some of the main features:
- Class D amplifier
- 100 watts of peak power
- Available in Matte White, Matte Black, Bamboo, and Walnut
- Frequency response range of 80 Hz to 20 kHz
- 3.5 mm mini-jack input
- USB input
- Output for subwoofer
Each speaker measures 3.9 x 5.3 x 5.9 inches and weighs about three pounds. One speaker is active and the other is passive, which is standard for powered speakers. The right speaker includes the amplifier, inputs, and outputs.
The speakers come with a 10-foot speaker wire for connecting the left speaker to the right. You also get a USB cable for connecting the speakers to your computer and a 3.5 mm auxiliary cable for non-USB connections.
For example, you can connect the speakers to almost any other audio device with auxiliary output, such as a CD player or receiver.
As with most speakers, the YU2 speakers include a class D amplifier. Class D amplifiers offer a good balance of efficiency and low distortion.
Each speaker has a three-inch composite driver and a three-fourth-inch silk dome tweeter. The speakers can output 100 watts of peak power and 50 watts total RMS, which means that it delivers 50W of consistent power. For comparison, inexpensive USB computer speakers typically offer 5W of total power.
The frequency response range is 80 Hz to 20 kHz, which covers most of the frequency spectrum other than the very lowest bass sounds.
The sound is phenomenal for a device of this size. Whether you are listening to music, gaming, or watching a video, you receive a pleasant listening experience with full, detailed sound and no distortion.
Kanto YU4 Overview and Features
The Kanto YU4 powered bookshelf speakers are a step up from the YU2 version. As with the YU2, the YU4 includes a 3.5 mm mini-jack input and an output for connecting a subwoofer, however they do not connect to your computer via USB, you will have to use a 3.5mm audio cable from your computer’s headphone port.
The YU4 speakers cost between $100 and $150 more compared to the YU2 speakers. However, along with a higher price, the YU4 speakers include more power and connectivity options. Some of the main features include:
- Class D amplifier
- Bluetooth Streaming
- Phono Preamp for directly connecting a turntable
- 140 watts of peak power
- Frequency response range of 40 Hz to 20 kHz
- 3.5 mm mini-jack input
- RCA stereo inputs
- Two digital optical (TOSLINK) inputs for connecting a TV
- Output for a subwoofer
Each speaker measures 5.5 x 7.5 x 8.7 inches. The active speaker weighs 6.9 pounds while the passive one weighs 5.5 pounds. You get a 16-foot speaker wire and a 3.5 mm auxiliary cable. The YU4 speakers also come with a remote control and batteries.
Instead of three-inch drivers and 3/4-inch tweeters, the YU4 is equipped with four-inch drivers and one-inch tweeters. The speakers have a peak power of 140 watts and 70 watts total RMS. The YU4 speakers also have a slightly better frequency response compared to the YU2 speakers, with a response range of 60 Hz to 20 kHz.
The combination of a wider frequency range and more power help provide slightly better sound compared to the YU2 speakers. However, you would likely need to place the speakers in the same room to detect a major difference in the clarity and fullness of the sound.
Why Use Powered Kanto Speakers Over USB Computer Speakers?
Kanto powered speakers offer significantly better sound compared to inexpensive USB speakers. As mentioned, the typical set of USB speakers has just 5W of power. The Kanto speakers can fill an entire room with crisp audio.
One hundred to 200 watts is typically recommended for rooms up to 500 square feet in size, such as a 20×25-foot room. The YU2 speakers have 100W of peak power while the YU4 speakers deliver 140W.
While the wattage is not always a good indication of the quality of the speakers, it helps you determine whether the speakers can produce enough sound. If you need to turn the speakers to maximum volume, you are more likely to notice audio clipping and distortion.
With the YU2 and YU4 speakers, you should be able to keep the volume at a reasonable level and still enjoy detailed sound anywhere in the room.
You can also easily connect a subwoofer to the Kanto YU2 or YU4 speakers. Both options include a subwoofer output.
Kanto YU2 Versus YU4 – What’s the Difference?
The YU4 is the more powerful set of speakers. It also has more inputs. The YU2 only includes a USB input and a single AUX port. The YU4 does not have a USB input, but it includes stereo RCA inputs and a built-in phono preamp.
The phono preamp is a useful feature if you have a turntable without a built-in preamp. You can connect your turntable directly into the back of the active speaker to listen to your favorite vinyl records.
The Kanto YU4 speaker also has Bluetooth, which is not available on the YU2 speaker. The YU4 speakers support Bluetooth 4.0 with Qualcomm aptX. With Bluetooth 4.0, you get a maximum range of about 100 meters, which should allow you to walk around the house without losing your connection. This is a nice feature for when you want to listen to music but not have your computer on.
The YU4 also has a USB charge port. You can charge 5V USB devices directly from the speaker.
The bottom line is that the Kanto YU2 and YU4 speakers offer a better way to play audio from your computer. Instead of using an inexpensive pair of USB computer speakers, consider upgrading to one of the Kanto powered speakers.
Have any questions about the YU2’s, YU4’s, or other options for your computer audio? Please contact us, we are happy to help!