A bookshelf speaker is a loudspeaker in compact size. They come usually as a part of a shelf stereo pair or a home theater package. They are compact in size and need a raised platform, for example, a bookshelf. But it is not necessary to place at a bookshelf; you can easily mount them on any other raised surfaces for that matter. Basically you can’t keep the bookshelf speaker on the floor. Bookshelf speakers maximize the sound quality of your favorite music and sound backgrounds in small to medium sized rooms.
There are many variations where the usage of bookshelf speakers differs. For example, a movie buff will need a different bookshelf speaker compared to a music listener or a gamer.
Types of Bookshelf Speakers
Since best bookshelf speakers come in packages as well as additions of well built music systems, it is crucial to know the differences to choose which one is the most suitable for you.
Bookshelf Speaker vs. Powered Monitor
These two types have a lot of similarities. There are many models of both of these types which will baffle you since they look practically the same in terms of looks. But there are differences between them regardless. The main difference between bookshelf speakers and powered monitors is that powered monitors’ right channel speaker has the amplification built into it. The built in amplification feature not only cuts down on the number of additional components needed for the setup but it also provides the manufacturer with full control of the signal path. But this might not be an option for you if you plan to start slow and not make a big investment right from the start. If you want to use your existing AVR and upgrade it slowly down the road, you can opt for a best bookshelf speaker instead.
Part of Home Theater System
Bookshelf speakers can be either standalone speakers or part of a large home theater system. You should consider getting a home theater system if you are serious about getting your audio speakers the A game.
But if you are running a little low on the budget, buying a pair of high quality best bookshelf speaker will certainly add some oomph to your movies and music. But even while you buy these separate ones, I will suggest you to invest in a pair which can be incorporated in a large home theater system in the future, to you know, keep your options open. That way you will be able to continue using your old best bookshelf speaker even as you upgrade, which will be helpful for your pocket as well as the environment.
Know What You Are Getting
If you are not much of an audio junkie and is just looking for a way to upgrade how your music sounds to you, all the jargons used in the music industry might sound like mumbo jumbo to you. To clear out some of the basic confusions created by the technical terms, the following paragraphs will take you through a short 101 course.
You will see that there are three units of measurement when you go to buy a bookshelf speaker – Watts, Hertz and Decibels. It is necessary to know what each of these entail.
Depicted with a W, this is the unit of measurement that refers to the electrical power or the conversion of energy. If that sounded confusing, just keep in mind that the lower the numerical value of W, the heavier the bass is going to sound.
Depicted with Hz, this is the unit of measurement to measure the frequency of sound waves. The frequency of sound waves is what we know as Pitch. An average adult person can hear sounds in between 20 Hz to 16,000 Hz, but an infant’s range lies up to 20,000 Hz. How precise the pitch’s delivery is going to be depends on the drivers of the best bookshelf speaker. But in general, the higher the numerical value of the Hz, the greater output you are going to get. This becomes even more relevant to match the bookshelf speakers with an appropriate amplifier.
They mean how loud a sound can get. In general terms, the higher the number of dB, the louder the sound is going to get. Decibel typically lies within the range of 0 dB (zip, zero or none) to 194 dB (As loud as human ear can hear). A normal conversation typically ranges in the 60 to 65 dB while a heavy rock concert can get up to 115 dB.
These are the gadgets that provide the output delivery for the bookshelf speakers within a limited range. Drivers generally include woofers, tweeters, subwoofers and mid range drivers. All of these have specific sound frequencies that they are capable of providing. The most basic bookshelf speakers will have two woofers to provide bass and tweeters to produce sounds with high frequencies. If you want to upgrade, you can buy a best bookshelf speaker with a third mid range driver. Mid range drivers provide frequencies in the 300 Hz to 5,000 Hz. The other name is Squeakers.
There are also full range drivers in the more advanced bookshelf speakers which can reproduce a whole audio channel. Other than these there are coaxial drivers. These drivers combine two or more types of the basic drivers. We have already mentioned them in the previous paragraph. They are Sub Woofers, Woofers and Tweeters. Woofers and Sub Woofers produce frequencies of the lower range on the sound spectrum.
Woofers reproduce sounds in the low frequencies, such as among the ranges of 40 Hz to 1,000 Hz. For even lower frequencies, Sub Woofers go even lower than that, so Sub Woofers can reproduce anything in the range of 20 Hz to 200 Hz.
Tweeters are responsible for the delivery of the highest frequencies of sounds in the best bookshelf speaker. They usually reproduce the sounds lying in the ranges of 2,000 Hz to 20,000 Hz.
Things to Consider
Now that you know what to expect when you go in the hunt for a best bookshelf speaker, you should consider the following things to help you narrow down the list of speakers.
This is common for buying any type of speaker or basically anything for that matter. You should first ask yourself what is the main purpose of you getting this new product. This is a very important step to figure out exactly what type of audio system you want o buy for yourself. If you are going to buy those full range drivers to provide you superior quality sound with your music, you should look for the certain ones.
If perhaps you want your speakers to watch movies, then you should look for best bookshelf speakers that make produce powerful bass sounds. Or you can opt for one which gives you the option to connect a Sub Woofer for providing you with that extra punch. And if you want to get a system for your gaming consoles, you should get a bookshelf speaker which will be able to handle both the high and low frequency sounds without breaking.
So based on your specific purpose, your bookshelf speaker will change, and so will your list.
This is the second most important thing to consider while choosing your best bookshelf speaker. This is not only an aesthetics thing. Because when we talk about the design, we are not talking about the actual appearance of the speaker here. When we mention design, it means we are including the design of your house or work space as well, since that is the space where the bookshelf speaker is going to operate from most of the time. Most bookshelf speakers are usually compact, but some of them come in sizes larger than the average sized ones. Based on the size of your space, your design will upgrade.
For example, if you live in a large and spacious room, don’t buy a pair of teeny sized speakers because they would end up sounding like a mouse compared to your large space. Similarly, don’t buy large bookshelf speakers with huge powerful drivers that are capable of blowing your ears out since your room is tiny. If you want to use your bookshelf speakers on a desktop for your laptop or pc, don’t go for a pair that will limit the area on your desk.
So it is all about balance. If you have a large room, your budget will have to increase since a small pair will not suffice. Similarly, if you have a small room, there is no need to buy a higher ranged pair of best bookshelf speakers just because you can afford them, unless you want to blow off your ears.
The pricing will depend vastly on the quality. The higher your bookshelf speakers’ demands are, the higher the price you are going to have to pay. But since there is a lot of competition in the market, the opportunities are vast. Chances are, a lot of best bookshelf speakers have the features you want and are still available in your desired budget. So it is essential that you have a set budget figure since it will become helpful for you to cut out the ones that don’t fit on your budget. Anything that helps you narrowing down your options is a good deal.
But even if you happen to have a limited budget that does not mean that you need to end up and be satisfied with a no name brand with mediocre sound quality. Well known electronics companies such as Panasonic and Sony have a good variety of superior performing bookshelf speaker systems that don’t cost a lot of money. These types of bookshelf speakers also have the latest sound innovations which are not that different from the most expensive counterparts. But it is definitely true that high quality best bookshelf speakers equipped with all the higher range specifications don’t come cheap. But keep in mind that you can always start small and then upgrade eventually so there is no need to feel disheartened. No matter your budget, know that there is a best bookshelf speaker for you.
Since the main objective of buying a bookshelf speaker is the sound itself, it is of utmost importance that we get a speaker system with the best sound quality. The above-mentioned terminologies are going to come in handy here since it is not possible to try out every single one of them by yourself while you go to the market or if you decide to buy them from online. The specifications will help you in finding the right pair of the best bookshelf speakers for you. If you are still unsure, don’t forget to ask the sales person to clear out any confusion. And of course, if all else fails, Google is your friend.
Online or Direct
This is one of the crucial things to ask at this stage and both of the options have individual pros and cons to go with them.
Purchasing systems online is easy and quick and come with a lot of benefits. For starters, the searching is relatively easy and you can do your research at the same time. Buying your best bookshelf speaker will save you a lot of time and effort but it will not essentially save money. All you have to do is click on the product you want, pay it through your credit, Paypal or whatever card and wait for it to arrive at your door – you know the drill.
But there are cons to this. For example, you will have to wait for it to arrive, which might take days or even weeks, depending on where you live. You will essentially be spending more money since delivery and shipping costs will add with the cost of the actual product, which will not be an issue if you were buying from a physical store. But the most crucial disadvantage is that you don’t get to test out the product by yourself. So there is always a chance of you getting a defective product at your door. Another possibility is you not liking the product and then doing the return process. This might turn out to be hectic since you will have to mail it back to the retailer. Sometimes you will have to pay this cost yourself.
There are several pros and cons associated with buying your best bookshelf speaker from a physical store. The number one benefit is that you get to test out the system by yourself so you are guaranteed to get a unit that is hundred percent in working condition. Another advantage is that you will have someone standby for you to instantly answer any question that may arise while choosing the speaker, which is not possible in online buying where you will have to wait for someone to read and eventually answer your concerns. Even if you get a defective device, it is way easier to bring it back to the store by yourself rather than going through the whole shipment process. You also get a new changed system almost immediately without having to wait for the process to reply you back.
The downside is physically going to the outside world and interacting with human beings. No for real though, if you don’t have a vehicle at your expense, running around with a pair of bookshelf speakers can soon turn into a hassle you might as well avoid.
So the bottom line is, each of these methods has their own downsides and benefits so it is solely up to you to decide which way you want to go.
Benefits of Best Bookshelf Speaker
The first benefit is a no-brainer. They are compact in size, thus they are very easily portable and do not take up a whole lot of space. Other than this the best bookshelf speakers have many other benefits. One of them is the fierce competition in the market. Since the market is widely saturated, more and more manufacturers came up with their new models of the bookshelf speakers. As a result, they became less expensive, since large numbers of speakers are being produced now. Moreover, with more competition more advancement in the technologies made the sound quality of the speakers more improved.
The popularity of home surround systems is ever increasing, which require the usage of multiple speakers. This resulted in a direct increase in the popularity of bookshelf speakers as well. The bookshelf speakers have also grown popularity in terms of being better in providing overall better sound quality compared to the floor models.
Another great benefit of the best bookshelf speakers is there are satellite speaker models also available in the market nowadays. Many types of home theatre systems have them these days.
Things to Consider After Buying
Now that you have your best bookshelf speaker at your home and you are happy and satisfied with your purchase, you need to realize some other things to make your experience even more enjoyable. Thankfully they are not that expensive or hard to gather either.
How to Place the Speakers
Not only is the quality of the speakers, but also the placement of the speakers an important issue. Even high quality best bookshelf speaker will not be able to provide the desired performance if not placed properly. This is not a high performing activity and no extra effort will be necessary to perform this thing. A general rule of thumb is to keep the bookshelf speakers at least 3 feet away from the front wall while. This goes for wall mounted speakers as well. This will prevent the bass from getting bounced back from the walls and sounding too intense.
There is a Golden Triangle rule that states that the speakers placed on the side walls should be 1.6 times of the distance of the space open for the front wall speaker placement. This means that the side wall speakers placed at least 4.8 feet away from the side walls of the room. Generally the two speakers should sit in 10 o’clock and 2’0 clock positions, facing the front but at an angle. The angle that faces the front of the audience can greatly improve the sound quality. The tweeters should sit at the ear level to the listener for the best quality of sound.
First and foremost, there is no point in getting the best bookshelf speaker if you don’t have a good shelf to place it on. Not necessarily a book shelf, but a good and solid piece of furniture is necessary to put your bookshelf speakers as was mentioned in the beginning of the article. You can also try to get a speaker stand. These speaker stands can be a great alternative to your shelf as these stands’ heights adjusts to bring the speaker to ear level while the listener is seating.
Keeping the bookshelf speakers at the ear level is absolutely crucial as otherwise there will be tonal imbalance, making the sound out of whack. If you don’t have enough space to keep the free standing speaker stands in your room or if you have little kids running around, you can get wall mounts as they will also do the trick.
Now I will review some of the available bookshelf speakers in the market.
Audioengine P4N Passive Bookshelf Speakers Review
These passive bookshelf speakers are a high performing pair. They are great looking as well as superior sounding. You will be able to experience the superior Audioengine sound and quality even without the built in amplifiers. These pair of bookshelf speakers is simultaneously beautiful, affordable and compact. The Audioengine passive bookshelf speakers are the perfect choice for your bedroom, living room and office. It can pair well with other speakers in the stereo system or home theater for using as an ideal surround speaker.
The design shows in a 2 ways passive and 4 inches front ported style. There are 5 ways binding posts that are gold plated. The bookshelf speakers have Kevlar made woofers with silk dome tweeters. This means you will get amazing mid and low ranges with highs that are just enough. At this price range you can’t really expect it to get any better. The speakers come with a magnetic shield. You can find a detailed review here.
- Small system.
- Can be set up anywhere.
- Packaging is really well done.
- They are very plain looking with not a single logo in sight.
- They don’t sound right all the time.
Kanto YUMI Passive Bookshelf Speakers Review
You can get these pairs of bookshelf speakers for yourself if you already have a sound system. The YUMI will add to the quality of your existing sound system and make it sound even better. Pairing up your amplifier with YUMI passive speakers will give them unparalleled sound. These bookshelf speakers are built with same 5 inches composite drivers and 1 inch silk dome tweeters. They are compatible with regular banana plugs. The features will bring a crystal clear sound in your living space when combined with your existing amplifier. These speakers are acoustic grade MDF made. Since they look great as well, they will add to the aesthetics of your space as well. They come in five attractive colors to choose from.
The nominal impedance for the speakers is 6 Ohms. The speaker sensitivity is 87 dB. The total harmonic distortion is less than 0.7%. The speakers come with a magnetic shield. There are no threaded mounting holes in these speakers. You will need to get speaker wall mounts to grip the sides of the speakers.
- Reasonably priced.
- Powerful bass and overall better sound quality.
- Makes the experience better when combined with the amplifier.
- Looks modern and sleek.
- No threaded mounting holes.
Dayton Audio B652 Bookshelf Speaker Review
These are the example of bookshelf speakers that are small in size but profound in sound quality. These are 2 ways bookshelf speakers. The height is only 6 and half inches so you can imagine how compact they are. This size is perfect for apartments, dorm rooms, offices or any other type of living spaces. Since they are so small in size, they will never overwhelm the look of any décor. The look is very modern and sleek. The finish is in the cabinet style. It is in black ebony pica vinyl finish. There is a removable grill which you can easily clean. The sound clarity is excellent that can pick up great details.
The two way design features a 6 and half inches polypropylene cone woofer and a 5/8 inch polycarbonate cooled dome tweeter. The frequencies reproduced can be in the range of 70 Hz to 20,000 Hz. The installation process is fairly easy. All you need is to connect the speaker terminals, removable grill and the keyhole hanger. We also did a detailed review that you can find here.
- Compact so you can place it anywhere.
- Package includes pre trimmed speaker wires.
- Doesn’t disturb the décor.
- They stop working after a while.
Edifier R1280T Powered Bookshelf Speakers Review
The overall look for the Edifier R1280T speakers is very retro but the audio quality is modern. These can be an ideal setup for any device with an AUX or RCA connection. You can easily connect them to pc, TV, phone or any other types of devices and you will be good to go. You can connect them to turntables as well for the best audio experience. Now you can enjoy your classic vinyl while enjoying the advanced technology. The back panel has one passive speaker and one active speaker. The active speakers come with two inputs. These are used with RCA to RCA to AUX to RCA connections. The speakers connect to each other with a regular speaker wire that is included. The two sets of RCA inputs work at the same time.
There is a physical on and off switch. The voltage input is in the full range 100 to 240 V. there is a built in tone control at the side of the active speaker. You can make micro adjustments in the bass and treble from -6 to +6 decibels. The digital volume control is set at a comfortable default every time you power them on.
- Awesome bargain for the price.
- They cut out the first part of the songs.
Polk Audio T15 Bookshelf Speakers Review
The Polk audio system comes with one 0.75 inch silk dome tweeter, one 5.25 inches composite driver and one bass port that are front firing for tuned performances. Polk’s dynamic balance technology engineered all of these essential parts. It is possible to get superior sound quality in all mid, high and low ranges with amazing bass response. The bookshelf speaker looks sleek sitting your living room without disrupting the aesthetic of our décor. There is MDF cabinet construction to reduce the resonance and distortion to provide you with rich and detailed audio system. It also reduces the muffled noise and rattled disruption found in low quality audio equipments.
Setting up these speakers is super easy no matter where you want to. You can place them as your front or read audio systems in the home audio setup as well. There are five way binding posts which provide you with an array of wire hookup options. There is also a wall mounting option with a keyhole if you want to, but you will have to buy it separately.
- Great value.
- Nice packaging with protective foam layers.
- Sound quality isn’t greatest without the Sub woofers.
Micca MB42 Bookshelf Speakers Review
These are some good looking speakers as they have a classic appearance with natural textures. It is very easy to blend it to any room or décor. The sound signature and vocal clarity are very well balanced. These can be a great fit to a variety of options starting from background music to home theater. These speakers have a 4 inches balanced woven carbon fiber woofer. The woofer is surrounded with rubber that enhances the transients. There is a matched ported enclosure tuning. This ensures rich and deep bass output. There is a 0.75 inch silk dome tweeter. It gives way to smooth treble, accurate imaging with wide dispersion.
There are full sized 5 way binding posts in the speakers that provide the full complement of the speaker wire connections. But keep in mind that you need an amplifier or receiver to use this speaker. The assembly comes completed with hex screws.
- Sound quality is superior.
- Five binding posts to accommodate any sort of plugs.
- The front covers are in place with friction metal pegs.
- Easy to install with speaker wires.
- One of the speakers broke after a couple of months use.
Mackie CR Series CR3 Monitors Review
This pair of speakers has a studio quality design with sound and performance that is ideal for entertainment. The speakers have professional grade component for optimized sonic performance. They have an ultra wide frequency range that is perfect for full range multimedia. These speakers can reproduce from 80 Hz to 20 kHz’s worth frequencies. Moreover, you get to choose which side of the desk gets the volume knob. There is a convenient speaker placement switch in this Mackie CR3 speaker.
There is a volume knob in the front panel that give the user the on and off with volume control option. It also gives the user power indication to show where you need it. It has a lit power ring that makes it look good plus helps you control it in the dark. Ultra handy features such as front panel AUX input are available for adding in the tablet or smart phones. There is also no hassle music streaming option with Bluetooth. The package comes with enough accessories to get you tuned in right away.
- The sound quality is superior.
- The Bluetooth option cuts down the hassle in half.
- Perfect size for book shelves.
- The speakers broke in less than a year.
Pioneer SP-BS22-LR Andrew Jones Designed Bookshelf Loudspeakers Review
Pioneer introduced this pair of speakers to prove that high quality doesn’t mean you need to break the bank. You can use them as either part of a multi channel home theater system or as stereo speakers. These speakers can handle 90 W. they also deliver high frequency response with sophisticated sound quality regardless of their source. Your existing system will get an upgrade with these speakers.
There are 4 inches woofers in the speakers. There is an added structured surface which has improved the rigidity, as well as made the bass more accurate. It has a vented pole piece, which has improved the bass response from the same size of woofers compared to the previous models. There is 1 inch high efficiency soft dome tweeter. Pioneers engineers increased the tweeter efficiency with newly designed crossovers. It allows the speakers to play louder while using less power.
- Sound quality is great.
- Both mid and high range sound amazing.
- Price is affordable.
- The unit looks great.
- Speakers are ported in the back so can’t be mounted.
- There is lack of treble.
Edifier R1700BT Bluetooth Bookshelf Speakers Review
They are a pair of versatile speakers that lets you play on any device. You can plug in your computer, TV, gaming console for superior sound quality. There is a built in Digital Signal Processing (DSP) and Dynamic Range Control (DRC) that prevent distortion. It has a 19 mm dome tweeter and a 4 inch bass driver. It means the speakers make clear highs and rich lows. There is a front facing bass reflex port. This ensures that the low frequencies get emphasized by giving the bass more power. You can conveniently pair it with your smart phone with the Bluetooth feature.
There are dials on the side of the speakers that let you control the audio, treble and bass. You can also alter the music with a remote from your couch. The treble adjusts from -6 dB to +6 dB. The bass is the same. The digital volume control sets at a default when power is on. There is push in volume control dial to select the input source. Volume control dial is pushed to reset the Bluetooth pairing.
- Built in DRC and DSP technologies.
- Wireless remote to alter music from a distance.
- Front facing bass reflex gives more power to the bass.
- Sometimes they make a loud clicking noise.
Klipsch R-14M 4-Inch Reference Bookshelf Speakers Review
Kilpsch speakers have the 90 by 90 Tractrix Horn Technologies along with an aluminum tweeter. This combo results in an impressive high-end response with enhanced imaging, greater extension and powerful dynamics. This makes up for the cleanest and the most natural sound. The tweeter is equipped with Linear Travel Suspension (LTS) technology that minimizes the distortion. The woofer is equipped with Injection Molded Graphite (IMG) technology that provides remarkably low-frequency response with minimal breakup and distortion. They are exceptionally light while being rigid. These two technologies provide highest speaker efficiency.
These bookshelf speakers feature a near firing port which matches perfectly with the drivers and the cabinet. The design minimizes the turbulence even at the lowest frequencies. There are 5 way binding posts to provide the maximum connection flexibility.
- Exceptionally good for the price.
- Amazing bass and treble.
- The duo technologies do provide less distortion.
- Not suitable for small rooms.
The best bookshelf speaker will elevate your overall listening experience so choose one that best suits your budget and criteria. You should get yourself one that will not only suit your individual style for whatever use you are getting out of it, but also that gives you satisfaction for years to come.