I'm a gamer. Few things have been as consistent in my life as the love of a good game, and the fond memories of games of old. I can still remember vividly those first few frames of Space Quest or the amazing universe of Space Rogue.
But I've been an audiophile for nearly as long. In college I had my big JVC system hooked to my computer. This was pre-MP3, so this earblowing system was just for games (ok, and CDs). So to me, the mating of games and good audio is as natural as it is obvious. Why wouldn't you want the score to Homeworld blasting, or be able to pinpoint where that damn sniper is in Counter-Strike (probably me, sorry).
It amazes me, though, how many gamers use the speakers that came with their PC, or worse, the speakers built into their television.
Let me write the most definitive thing you will ever read: All TV speakers SUCK. And I mean a lot.
Now, I can hear your complaint. Most people feel they'd have to spend lots of money to get good audio. Sure a pair of Wilson Alexandria X-2's can cost you $135,000 (and you have to wait nine months to get them). But for less than $1,000 you can get some truly fantastic audio that is so much better than little computer speakers or your TV that you'll never understand how you waited so long to get them.
From my years selling hi-fi, I heard one thing over and over: "But I won't be able to hear the difference." I've found that this is 100% not true. Every person I've ever had compare two speakers has heard the difference. Sadly, because most people think they can't, they don't even try.
So what does $1,000, or less, get you? Well your first goal is to avoid, at all costs, HTIBs. Home Theaters in a Box are the scourge of the audio world. Sure it may seem like a great deal to get five speakers, a sub, and a receiver all in one package. Easy? Yes. Deal? Doubtful. With very few exceptions, the audio from these types of systems is pretty poor.
My recommendation is potentially blasphemous. I recommend getting two decent speakers and a decent receiver. If you can afford it, a sub too. Sure you don't get surround sound, but honestly if you don't have it now, you're not going to miss it. Instead you'll get a massive increase in sound quality. The receiver will be able to do 5.1, so down the road you can add more speakers for surround sound. That's the key. You're much better off buying a system piecemeal over time than all at once. Unless you want to spend a bunch of money. In that case, go all out.
Over the coming weeks I'll be writing up speakers and other gear that would be perfect for any gamer. If you have any questions, feel free to drop me a line.
So this is my way of introducing myself. Hi, I'm Geoff. I'm a gamer, an audiophile, and the newest contributor here at Gamervision.