I've always liked the idea of just using a Toslink from my sound card to my home theater. If you are just looking for some speakers to connect directly to the computer you can typically go to a place like Best Buy and find something that a company like Logitech makes that are decent and would be priced around $100. I don't see the point in spending more than that because if you start getting into higher price points it makes more sense to just put the money toward your home theater so you can use the system for more than just your pc.
Hi, Here's my take on the computer desktop speakers.
Low end: ~$30-80
High: $300 and above'ish
This is my take on estimate of different price ranges. The thing is the price is not necessarily fixated to those low/mid/high-end speakers. But I would say avoid the cheap brand speakers. I use to own Logitech Z-2300, which i bought for about $110 2 years ago. For the price, its one of the bette computer speakers out there with strong bass if you're into hiphop and things and want to shake your room around a bit. However, sound quality wise, you could find something better if you pitch in more money. In fact, I just sold my speaker for $60 and now i'm looking to buy new speakers. I agree that going high end computer speaker is not worth for everyday users. My recommended range is about ~$120-200'ish. Here are some of my suggestions for the midrange speakers:
Logitech Z-2300 (if you want boomy bass)
Klipsch Promedia 2.1 (bit better than logitech in my opinion, more punchy bass, but harder to find)
SWAN M10 (bit cheaper than Logitech but has much better overall sound quality; has a subwoofer that is designed to be put on the same level as its other speakers in order to produce the right bass sound, which i think is a bit of pain)
M Audio Studiophile 2.0 (good sound quality, bit more expensive than swan, doesn't have a sub so some ppl think that bass might be in little weaker side but alot of ppl say it has enough punch sound)
Aego M speakers (super small form factor but still produces good/loud sound, has a 90W sub which I think will produce good amount of bass, but hard to find, only one website i know sells it online (www.stereo-link.com) and is expensive
As for myself I'm leaning towards M Audio Studiophile 2.0, Swan M10 and Aego M.
Some of the high end speaker producers are M Audio, Audioengine, and Hi-Vi Swans.
Low end speakers are usually 2.0 or 2.1 setups (the .1 refers to the subwoofer). I have seen a basic set of desktop speakers for around $20. Mid range is the 5.1 speaker systems from Logitech, Bose, and others that feature 5 desktop speakers with a large subwoofer. The high-end range are Bose or Logitech speakers that generally have the 7.1 speaker systems for full surround sound theater audio. Most people don't need this many speakers for top quality audio, so I recommend either the 2.0 for low end or a 5.1 set for high-end.
I'm not sure I would ever associate either Bose or Logitech with high end. My opinion of high end is hooking your computer to a home theater receiver or similar, and a good setup like that with full 7.1 would cost a couple of thousand at least. That's taking it somewhat to the extreme though (I have a 2.1 setup based around home theater and audiophile components, and it is worth around $2500, but it absolutely blows any Bose or Logitech setup out of the water for both sound quality and power)