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7 ways to beef up your laptop's sound

Inexpensive upgrades to improve audio quality

Laptops have never been known for their audio quality. However, we've put together seven gadgets and upgrades that are cheap but will improve your machine's audio ecosystem no end.

When it comes to audio quality on laptops, its doesn't matter whether you've got a top-of-the-range machines that cost the earth, or a budget laptop that didn't break the bank, chances are the audio quality isn't as good as you might like.

Laptops have always come up short on sound because space and power limitations have meant everything is downsized, from audio chips and analogue-to-digital converters to amplifiers and speakers. The result is tinny and distorted sound that never gets loud enough.

However, through a few simple gadgets and upgrades, you can improve your laptop's audio ecosystem. We've rounded up nine products that will help you do this.

The difference can be like night and day, with richer, clearer and more vibrant sound. Regardless of whether your listening tastes tend toward the internet radio stations videoconference chats or your iTunes library, it's time to sound off for better laptop audio.

Logitech AudioHub speaker system

When I get back to my office after a road trip, the first thing I do is plug my laptop into a full-sized set of speakers. Logitech's AudioHub does this one better by combining high-quality speakers with a USB hub, all via a convenient USB connection.

The AudioHub adds a 30-Watt amplifier to a pair of 2.2in adjustable pull-out speakers and a 1.3in subwoofer. It delivers richer audio with warmer midrange tones and stronger bass than any laptop speakers can. The lighted power button doubles as a volume control knob. On the downside, AudioHub lacks a remote control and a headphone jack, and the three USB ports are hidden in the back.

Setting it up takes a couple of minutes, and the AudioHub is good for both PC and Mac laptops. It comes with a two-year warranty.

Price: £49

Samson StudioDock 3i speakers

The beauty of USB-connected speakers is that the audio signal stays digital longer and sounds better than speakers plugged into the laptop's headphone jack. Samson's StudioDock 3i speaker set works with PCs and Macs (it also includes an iPod dock) and takes about three minutes to set up.

The speakers are powered by a 30watt amplifier and each tuned port speaker case has a 3.25in woofer and a 1in silk dome tweeter. They pump out well-balanced sound that's more than loud enough to annoy the neighbors. The set includes a three-year warranty.

Price: £89

NEXT PAGE: Party with Parrot

  1. Inexpensive upgrades to improve audio quality
  2. Party with Parrot
  3. Creative SoundBlaster X-Fi Laptop sound card

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