Fri. Feb 23rd, 2024

Key Takeaways

  • Speakers in monitors are not a standard feature that you can expect in every model, like with TVs, though some monitors do have them.
  • Some monitor models have decent built-in speakers that you can use for basic audio needs.
  • Investing in external speakers or headphones will greatly enhance your audio experience compared to built-in monitor speakers.

When buying a TV, sound is a given—pretty much all TVs come with built-in speakers. However, when it comes to computer monitors, it’s not that simple. If you rely on built-in monitor speakers, read this article before buying a new monitor.

Do Monitors Have Speakers?

Although built-in speakers in computer monitors have become more prevalent, it’s not a universal feature. There’s no hard-and-fast rule as to which types of monitors come with built-in speakers; everything from $100 budget monitors to $1,500 professional displays might come with or without built-in speakers.

On the low end, you could make the argument that cheap monitors shouldn’t come with built-in speakers, as it adds a bit to the final cost of the monitor. People who need audio can buy a separate pair of speakers or headphones, and those who don’t will save a few bucks. Similarly, for expensive models targeting gamers or professionals, you could say that consumers buying them are likely to have a high-end audio solution, so the monitor’s speakers would just sit unused.

For instance, the 24-inch Amazon Basics Monitor is a budget monitor that comes equipped with a pair of pretty decent studio speakers. The high-end 40″ LG 40WP95C-W 5K also comes with built-in speakers. At the same time, the 49″ Samsung Odyssey G9 Series monitor doesn’t have speakers, despite its steep price tag. As you can see, it can be pretty random—every manufacturer has their own philosophy when it comes to built-in speakers. The only way to know for sure is to check the specifications sheet, manufacturer’s website, or user reviews.

Are Monitor Speakers Any Good?

Surprisingly, some monitors come with decent built-in speakers that don’t distort at a standard listening volume. If you need a monitor for your office and don’t need audio all the time or have limited desk space, good built-in speakers can be a valuable addition. You could use them to check out an important video for work or even for audio calls in a pinch, assuming you also have a webcam with a microphone.

A decent all-around monitor with decent-sounding speakers is the 24″ AOC Gaming 24G2SPU. It’s a 165Hz IPS monitor with stereo speakers that are surprisingly clear. They won’t blow you away with their sound quality or volume levels, but they’re good enough to make out what’s being said.

Still, you shouldn’t base your purchase decision of a monitor on how it sounds but rather on how it looks. There’s a whole list of other monitor specifications that you should pay attention to; speakers are only a single feature that you can easily replace with a pair of cheap external speakers or headphones.

How to Use Your Monitor Speakers for Audio

Modern monitors and computers typically use HDMI and DisplayPort cables, both of which can carry audio signals in addition to video. After double-checking that you’re using one of these cables and ports, there’s a good chance that your monitor’s speakers will work as intended out of the box, provided no other audio devices are connected. If they don’t, you might have to set them as the default playback device. To do that, check out our guides to setting default speakers in Windows 10 and Windows 11.

If you don’t see any devices, or if it just doesn’t work even after selecting it, you might have to install drivers first. To do that, open the manufacturer’s support page and type in your monitor model. Navigate to the download section and download and install the audio drivers. After that, restart your computer and set the monitor’s speakers as the default sound output device.

Real Speakers or Headphones Are Still a Worthwhile Upgrade

Audio isn’t something you should overlook, as it’s a massive part of your gaming and movie-watching experience. And while you can use your monitor’s built-in speakers in a pinch, they’re unlikely to impress you with their incredible sound quality, punchy bass, and crystal-clear vocals. Your monitor’s speakers are small and must project sound downwards instead of directing it toward you. Just like with TVs and soundbars, practically any speakers or headset you buy will be a massive upgrade compared to your monitor’s built-in speakers.

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By John P.

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