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Best bookshelf speakers don’t have determined specifications and vary widely. There are budget models featuring the basic options but filling the room with sound quite decently. There are costly models not yielding to floor-standing models in terms of sound quality. The small size of bookshelf speakers allows using them in multiple room sets and provides for their portability.

The primary feature to be considered in bookshelf speakers is their amplification needs. There are two types of speakers:

  • Powered – the built-in amplifier serves speaker’s drivers that produce the sound right away. They are easy to install and setup, while not requiring additional amplifier cables. However, they need a source of the power supply, so, the electric outlet must be somewhere within the reach. These speakers are handy but usually expensive. Besides, should one internal amplifier go out, the whole speaker becomes useless and needs repair.
  • Passive – they need an external amplifier to produce the sound. These speakers also need cords to hook up to the amp. Meanwhile, they allow for more sophisticated crossover control over the sound blending. Such speakers can be upgraded with the implementation of more developed amps.

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The Best Bookshelf Speaker Reviews

The Best Powered Bookshelf Speakers

If you would like to know more about current type of bookshelf speakers, check out our Best Powered Bookshelf Speakers reviews

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The speakers on this list can be connected to the mixing console or another low-level audio signal source. They do not require additional cables as there is no need for the external amplifier. Upon testing several models, the best bookshelf speakers (powered mode) are represented here.

Powered Speakers Under 100

Edifier R1280T — Full Control and Affordability

Edifier R1280T
These budget bookshelf speakers provide multiple options to regulate their performance. The treble and bass can be adjusted in the range from -6 Db to +6 Db. The midrange emits the soft mellow sound with accentuated mids and highs. However, it can turn somewhat boomy at top volume. Meanwhile, the visit card of these active speakers is their bass. They do fill the room with the dense and precise sound enabling a full-presence effect. The bass reflex port steadies the audio recoil and brings confident and powerful lows. The speakers’ volume can be adjusted via the remote control, which also features the “Mute” button. Considering the price, this unit can be praised as the best bookshelf speaker in the budget category. Yet, the build of its connection jacks is not too reliable and might occasionally lead to sound distortion or poor contact.

Pros
  • Solid and clean performance through the whole frequency range.
  • Double RCA ports allow for the multiple connections to the mixing consoles or other sources with the low-level signal.
  • Good build quality and non-intrusive sleek retro design.
Cons
  • No limiting notch on the volume knob — makes it hard to define the max or min volume.
  • No option for powering on / off via the remote control.
Micca ON3 — a Single-Driver Budget Speaker for All Music Styles

Micca ON3
The compact size of these active full-range bookshelf speakers allows using them in different small-to-mid locations. The speaker has one driver responsible for all the tonal ranges. While it results in a lesser frequency range than with analogs, the sound signature of this model is quite specific and easily recognizable. It has nice clean mids, confident not overly boomy lows, and dense highs. No crossover serves for zero delays in the sound processing and absence of the potential issues with the phase. The sound flows easily creating the individual impression of each tune. These cheap bookshelf speakers fit especially well the turntable systems, as they possess analog inputs on both rear and front panel. Besides, they feature a high-pass filter eliminating phasing efficiently and cutting off the heavy and middle rumble. The remote enables controlling the unit’s performance turning it on and off and adjusting the volume for both speakers.

Pros
  • Good definition and precision of the main line and environmental sounds make it perfect for gaming.
  • The combination of the ported enclosure design and quite powerful built-in amps provides for the ample fully present bass with a next-to-zero distortion.
  • Interesting combination of the cabinets’ retro design and the minimalist modern remote.
Cons
  • The left speaker connection ports recessing into the cabinet are difficult to detach.
  • Poor quality of the enclosed cables might deteriorate the sound.

Powered Speakers Under 200

Edifier R1700BT — Bluetooth speakers with Enhanced Tonal Control

Edifier R1700BT
These powered bookshelf speakers are noticeable for their wireless connection. They can play the music of any type streamed via the smartphone, tablet, or any other BT-powered gadget. The DSP and the range control do a good job eliminating the slightest distortion and keeping the sound clean at any volume. The soundstage is bright and wide, however, it is a bit thin at the sub-bass frequencies. The bass tonality is confident and enveloping. The audio flows naturally, while each line and instrument are clearly heard.

The speakers allow switching between the inputs and the mode of the sound transmission, both through the remote control and the knobs on the cabinets. There are different connection ports including the headphones one and double RCA, providing for smart pairing to different devices. Among the bookshelf speakers reviewed on this list, these ones have the brightest sound signature and price-to-value proportion.

Pros
  • Warm and dense sound, highly melodic performance.
  • Compatible with various OS (Mac OS and Windows).
  • The original beveled design combines perfectly with the stylish wood-like finish.
Cons
  • Short outreach of the Bluetooth connection.
  • Cheap inserted cables quickly wear out at the connection and bends.
Micca PB42X — Highly Sensitive Low-Cost Bookshelf Speakers

Micca PB42X
These active speakers fit well any home- or office-based media system. The wide range of tones supported and different adjustable parameters make them a good match for both the background performance and headliner sound. The carbon woofer precisely balanced emits the powerful and transient bass, while the ported enclosure ensures its depth and density, as well as the minimal distortion. The midline is flowing naturally featuring no coloring whatsoever. As for the highs, they turn to be somewhat brittle at the volume increase. The speakers have 85 Db sensitivity, which is quite high for the class. They have a typical frequency range for in-room usage, however, perform well through the whole specter. This model doesn’t have remote control or wireless connectivity; however, due to its sturdy build and outstanding sonic merits, it firmly holds its place among the recommended bookshelf speakers for Hi Fi.

Pros
  • Clean crossover enables the flawless transient sound, especially on a turn from mids to highs.
  • High-quality voice and environment sound performance make these speakers a good match for a home theater or gaming.
  • Compact, unobtrusive classic design fits almost any room environment.
Cons
  • The volume knob is located on the rear panel so it’s difficult to reach it quickly.
  • The cabinets are light and tend to resonate at extreme volume.

Powered Speakers Under 300

Audioengine A2+ — Excellent Hi Fi Performance with USB

Audioengine A2+
This small device is developed with the PC in mind and features solid construction and multiple connection ports. The speakers have dual analog connections and USB DAC allowing the clean Hi Fi sound transmission from electronic gadgets. Besides, these active speakers possess the subwoofer output that makes them a base for the complete stereo system. Despite the compact size, the unit fills small rooms with sound easily even at middle volume setup.

The crossover works flawlessly enabling the sound to flow easily without any noticeable distortion or delay. It does a good job on higs providing clean audio with all the nuances distinctly heard. At the same time, the lows don’t reach the maximum depth, while being quite impressive within the usual range.

Pros
  • High-quality design of the drivers enables natural sound transmission without coloring.
  • Sturdy wood cabinets provide resonance-free sound within the extended volume range.
  • Innovative stand design lets tilting the speakers upwards changing the audio flow direction.
Cons
  • The preamp enclosure tends to get hot at constant work.
  • No opportunities for direct tweaking; unhandy placement of the volume knob.

Powered Speakers Under 500

Edifier S1000DB — Professional Studio Set with Subwoofer

Edifier S1000DB
These powered speakers have a solid build quality and refined execution of details. The 5.5-inch woofer goes below the regular lows’ range and is actually a subwoofer. The sealed cabinets provide for zero resonance enabling powerful penetrating sound through the whole audible range. The mids are confident and melodic, outlining each instrument and effect to perfection. The highs are close to the pitch though not shrilling. In general, the sound transmission is flat without any coloring additions.

The bass, however, is the most outstanding feature about these speakers. It goes densely and loudly but not boomy, clearly outlining all the nuances of the music flow. The speakers create considerable volume and sound very loud in the small room. Being equipped with the Bluetooth 4.0 aptX, they make the solid High End speakers.

Pros
  • Precise and reliable crossover ensures perfect blending of the frequencies ensuring the pure sound in any type of music.
  • Sensitive adjustment knobs for bass and treble allow tuning the speakers according to the user’s preference.
  • Optical and coaxial ports together with AUX input enable solid connection to other professional sound components.
Cons
  • No option for switching between inputs other than via the remote.
  • Less volume range is available via Bluetooth.
DALI Zensor 1 — Middle-Class Bookshelf Speakers for Stereo and Surround Sound

DALI Zensor 1
The exceptional build quality and authentic design and performance of all the elements make this unit a nominee for the “best bookshelf speakers audiophile wise”. However, their compact size limits their usage to the small-to-mid rooms only.

The sonic parameters of these powered speakers are quite impressive. The 5.25-inch woofer and 1-inch tweeter are made of high-quality materials and provide for the exquisite sound signature of this model. The soundstage is wide featuring tiniest nuances at any level of frequencies. The voices and instruments are distinct and individual, while treble is exceptionally clean. Impressive dispersion allows using these speakers as surround system components.

The drivers are enveloped in a thick multi-layer protection material ensuring the null resonance or echo and adding steadiness even at extreme volume. This unit outperforms many models of the higher-priced segment and could definitely become the best bookshelf speakers on our list. Yet, they lack usual additions of the class like remote control or hands-free connectivity, which might be efficient for their usage in the office interface.

Pros
  • Surpass the stated sensitivity of 85 Db preserving clean and steady performance.
  • Stylish and modern volume control buttons instead of the dull knobs.
  • Nice finish cut with rounded edges provides for additional distortion protection.
Cons
  • No tweaking controls.
  • Rear location of the ported enclosure suggests the speakers’ placement at distance to the wall.

Powered Speakers Under 1000

Audioengine HD6 — High End Bookshelf Speakers with Full Wireless Control

Audioengine HD6
The focus in these active professional speakers is on their powerful Bluetooth connectivity. A no-brainer setup allows connecting at once and streaming the sound through the various apps. The range of BT-connection enables reaching the tiniest corners of a small-to-mid room.

The speakers transmit the sound flatly, adding no coloring. They are yet more efficient on the warm tonality bringing the wrapping effect along. The soundstage is precise and rich; the instruments are outlined precisely. Meanwhile, the voices sound a bit less prominent though clear.

The Audioengine HD6 fits most of the tasks the bookshelf speakers might serve. They integrate seamlessly with electronic devices, have their own monoblock amplifiers and adequate frequency response to be paired with different sound modules.

With a smart remote control and a separate subwoofer port, these speakers can be placed among the best powered bookshelf speakers for home theater. Still, the prioritized BT source input might become an issue during TV or movie-watching, as the speakers would automatically switch to the active Bluetooth-powered source.

Pros
  • Wood cabinets and high-quality components’ isolation enable the perfect crossover work and highly balanced sound.
  • Various inputs (optical and analog) allow Hi Fi sound transmission from different sources.
  • Magnet-equipped grills for fast and no-scrap detachment.
Cons
  • No dynamic range compression leads to poor control over the rocky bass.
  • Lacks the energetic punch at dynamic compositions.
Klipsch the Sixes — a Solution for All-Times Audio Systems

Klipsch the Sixes
The first thing to mark about these high-quality powered speakers is their multiple connections. They can connect directly to a turntable through the dedicated phono input, have analog and AUX inputs, and a separate subwoofer output. The digital systems can be hooked up via optical cable or USB, as well as synchronized through the Bluetooth connectivity.

The engineering design suggests an audiophile-grade of these speakers. The woofer has an impressive 6.5-inch diameter and is backed up with the ported enclosure. It emits thrilling bass reaching even the sub-range frequencies. The titanium tweeters allow for the pure and highly detailed mids and lows. For digital sources, the speakers have built-in decoders working at the frequency 192 KHz / 24 bit and providing for the high-resolution sound performance.

While these speakers are not actual vintage speakers, they have a classy retro touch about their looks. The versatile remote control and handy on-cabinet switches also make this model one of the user-friendly units from bookshelf speaker reviews.

Pros
  • Deep and rich soundstage with acute precision and definition within the whole array of frequencies.
  • Built-in phono / linear switch allows fast connection and setup for turntable system.
  • Informative lights on the front panel indicate the input currently in use.
Cons
  • Close-to-wall placement blocks the bass response (rear-facing enclosure) and muffles the sound.
  • No tone controls for physical tweaking.

Powered Speakers Under 2000

Focal Aria 906 — High-Quality Build for Zero Vibration

Focal Aria 906
This High End set of powered bookshelf speakers provides true and refined sound in any type of audio transmission. The speakers pair perfectly with both analog and digital sources, ensuring the inimitable sound signature in any music style. The usage of the Flax cones enables the high preciseness of the sound signal, its direct transmission, and distortion-free performance.

The speakers’ midrange produces rich and detailed sound featuring all the slightest tints of both instruments and voices. The basic sound line is pristine and clear. The bass is highly immersive, powerful, and tight. Lows can reach the pitch, but they don’t get thinner. The whole blending of the frequencies is very accurate and refined. The suspension and isolation performed with the materials of the highest quality ensure zero interference and complete background silence. The speakers make the sound gain the volume and definitely deserve their high place in the High End speakers reviews.

Pros
  • Stable and rich soundstage enables infinite sound patterns and effects.
  • High potential and spacious dispersion make the speakers fit the mid-to-large rooms.
  • Stylish design and expensive touch.
Cons
  • Dialogues are somewhat boomy during the TV-transmission.
  • No front panel controls.

The Best Passive Bookshelf Speakers

If you would like to know more about current type of bookshelf speakers, check out our Best Passive Bookshelf Speakers reviews.

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Speakers reviewed in this rubric can’t be connected directly to the mixing console or another low-level audio signal source. For that, they need an external amplifier to boost the sound to the required level. Upon testing several popular models, the best bookshelf speakers (passive mode) are represented below.

Passive Speakers Under 100

Micca MB42X — a Basic Model with Accurate Sound Distribution

Micca MB42X
These small bookshelf speakers are notable for the excellent frequency range of 85 Db. Due to the quality components and the ported enclosure, they provide little-to-zero distortion, while mapping the soundstage very accurately. The mids sound good and detailed though growing duller with the volume increase. The highs are pretty confident, preserving the discreet transparency and not becoming thinner. The bass is large and steady. While not reaching the profound depth, it gets to the inside and becomes booming at dynamic compositions. The speakers’ layout is basic featuring the inputs for amplifier cables.

The speakers work in the impedance range of 4 to 8 Ohms that both widen the area of their usage and puts some limitation as to the type of the amplifier connected.

Pros
  • The solid crossover work allows good alignment of the treble and bass, as well as the steady dense dispersion.
  • It does a good job when paired with the turntable through the preamp — cuts the rumble well.
  • Classic design with curved corners ensures additional vibration protection.
Cons
  • The dynamics get lost at bottom volume.
  • The mids can get muffled at the top volumes at the linear audio transmission.
Polk Audio T15 — a Quality Low-Coster for Surround Sound System

Polk Audio T15
These basic passive speakers draw the attention of the high-resolution audio lovers for their faithful sound reproduction. The sturdy build enables clear and natural sound within the full range of frequencies supported. The tweeter and woofer are made out of high-quality materials and interact smoothly for the efficient audio distribution.

The bass impresses with its middle range where it feels massive and solid. Supported by Dynamic balance technology, it becomes more punchy and boomy during the fast playback. The mids are clear and reflect each line distinctly, though sometimes getting submersive on the edge of lower tonality. Highs produced by the 1-inch tweeter sound generally good (if a bit thin) preserving the clarity of vocals.

Though simple in design, being powered by the solid amplifier, these budget speakers make a great option as the rear or side components of home surround sound system balancing well the music, effects, and voice audio.

Pros
  • Front location of the ported enclosure gives a wide range for the speakers’ placement.
  • Stylish design and sturdy build of the cabinets.
Cons
  • Not fitting as the central acoustic system component.
  • Small cable connectors are difficult to unscrew.

Passive Speakers Under 200

Klipsch R-14M — High-Fidelity Performer for the Digital Sound

Klipsch R-14M
These budget bookshelf speakers were created with a surround sound system in mind. Still, their solid build and quality components make it a reliable device. The patented Klipsch design of the tweeter placed in a tractrix horn provides for the accurate sound dispersion without losing the clarity and sharpness of the high tones. The rigid graphite woofer supports the punchy lows making the bass rocking and dynamic, if slightly boomy. The rear-facing port enclosure additionally secures the sound distortion protection. The mids are fine featuring next-to-zero interference, though sometimes getting too bright during dialogues and music variance. The overall audio impression is clear, crisp, and responsive.

The cabinets are rather heavy for the class. While it serves for stabilizing the sound and backing up its bass response, the portability of these speakers is affected.

Pros
  • The crossover distributes the audio flawlessly preserving the authentic character of the sound.
  • Loud performance without sound quality compromising even in the mid-sized room.
  • Easy and quick hookup due to the handy connectors screws.
Cons
  • Need several hours of playback to break in and sound to their best.
  • Large holes for the grills attachment are not aesthetic.
Sony SSCS5 — Powerful Bookshelf Speakers with Immersive Soundstage

Sony SSCS5
These relatively cheap bookshelf speakers can create a really powerful music experience and be extremely loud. They allow as much as 100W to be transmitted via the quality amplifier to make their high-end components blend the signal into the rich and mighty sound.

The big woofer provides a steady wrapping up bass forming the background for the vocal mainline. It produces confident stable lows. The high tones are worked out separately by the tweeter and super-tweeter resulting in the accentuated but not shrilling upper line, with the variety of nuances and precision across the range. A high-quality fiber protection and the rear-facing port minimize the distortion and concentrate the sound response delivering the clear high-resolution audio. This model definitely deserves its place among the best-value bookshelf speaker reviews!

Pros
  • Warm and accurate sound with the immediate response at different types of audio production (TV, music, or gaming).
  • Tapered curved grill edges add to the resonance submersion and enable the clean interference-free sound.
  • Sleek minimalist design.
Cons
  • The bass isn’t rocky and penetrating enough for hard rock compositions.
  • 6-Ohm impedance might become an issue while pairing with the amplifier.

Passive Speakers Under 300

ELAC Debut 2.0 B6.2 — Precision and Punch from Lows to Highs

ELAC Debut 2.0 B6.2
These small bookshelf speakers have their individual dynamic sound signature and versatile soundstage. They create a smooth and pristine sound flow with elaborated detail and definition.

The tweeter has a soft dome and a wide-dispersion horn allowing the sound to disperse over the area and fill the room. The woofer is rigid enough to produce the punchy and rocky bass while handling the lows smoothly, with accentuated detail. The crossover distributes the audio signal efficiently ensuring the clean middle line within the whole range of frequencies.

All the components are wrapped up diligently for nulling the vibration and sound distortion. The dual-flared port steadies the bass not letting it get muffled. Its front location allows positioning the speakers user-wise, even placing them close to the wall.

Pros
  • Tight, accentuated, lifelike sound.
  • High sensitivity provides for crisp audio at the extreme volume.
  • Handy gold-plated connector screws.
Cons
  • The sound is lacking dynamics at the low volume level.
  • Slight sound coloration appears at complex compositions featuring several instruments.

Passive Speakers Under 500

ELAC Uni-fi UB5 — Resonance-Free Pristine Sound

ELAC Uni-fi UB5
The simple design of these middle-class passive speakers conceals the high-quality components combined by the potent crossover. Together, they produce an inimitable authentic, warm, and flowing sound.

The midrange combined with the tweeter in the custom-built concentric driver produces accurately-shaped and well-balanced mids that serve as a central line for the vast soundstage. The sound flows naturally; it is ultra-close to the authentic pattern and brings a clear image. The highs are accentuated and precise, with subtleties clearly heard. The aluminum woofer represents an interesting engineering solution providing enough rigidity for stabilizing the bass, at the same time amplifying its response and making it spacious.

These small bookshelf speakers also require a powerful amplifier to reveal their whole potential regarding sound dynamics and punch. Pairing them with the 130W amp adds significant rockiness and motion to the sound flow enriching the soundstage considerably.

Pros
  • Scrupulous accuracy in voices and instruments’ separation.
  • Braced cabinets support the vibration-free clean sound flow.
  • Magnetic grill for easy smooth detachment.
Cons
  • Placing the speakers close to a wall or another surface might muffle the lows and make the mids overly bright.
  • 4-Ohm impedance considerably limits the choice for the matching amplifier.
Klipsch RB-61 II — the Pure Power of the Authentic Sound

Klipsch RB-61 II
These mid-class passive speakers have everything at their disposal to create large and vivid soundstage and to serve different setups — from the TV-watching to the professional recording set.

The sturdy build of these bookshelf speakers is supported by the Klipsch individual design technology resulting in a lush sound with every inch of detail pictured precisely.

The titanium tweeter brings accent on highs and delivers clarity while not letting them go thinner during sound dispersion. The Surround Dispersion Technology implemented provides for the clean audio distribution even in the complex locations.

The bass produced by these speakers is close to the subwoofer’s performance; it is rock solid, well below the regular low frequency. Distortion is muted by the cerametallic woofer design and front-facing oval port. Immersive lows not interfering with the main line and zero brightness along the whole specter of sound make these speakers one of the most natural-sounding among the bookshelf speakers reviewed.

Pros
  • High-quality crossover blends and distributes the frequencies efficiently enabling the optimal sound distribution at any speakers’ position.
  • Signature tractrix horn enables the sound dispersion without losing its power and sharpness.
  • Dynamic range restricting technology cuts the interference and rumble at the poor quality recordings.
Cons
  • Too “straightforward” sound at the top volume.
  • Highs feature a bit of metallic aftertaste when hooked up to the low-power amp.

Passive Speakers Under 1000

KEF LS50 — Unique Design for Unaltered Sound

KEF LS50
These compact originally shaped passive speakers represent a sturdy high end audio gear. They feature an inimitable tweeter-in-woofer driver design having multiple elements seamlessly interacting for the transmission of the flat authentic sound. The zero coloration is supported by the solid built of the cabinet and its curved shape that eliminates diffraction. These bookshelf speakers deliver the highs, mids, and lows accurately as they were meant to sound, silencing any possible distortion or interference.

The soundstage is vast, filled with detail and variety of nuances. Frequency range reaches from -47 Hz to 45 KHz providing a large base for the slightest tints of the sound. The dispersion technology enables the audio flowing limitlessly filling the whole room. With these speakers, positioning is not the key, as they enable the “sweet spot” being the same for the whole space filled with the sound.

Pros
  • Dynamic and expansive high-resolution sound.
  • Impressive 106 Db output with preserved clarity and power even at extremely high volume.
  • Oval-shaped rear port additionally secures the vibration response and outstanding clarity of the sound.
Cons
  • Glossy finish gets scraped easily.
  • A flashy design might not fit retro design.
SVS Ultra — Raving Powerful Sound and Overwhelming Bass

SVS Ultra
In spite of the compact size of these High End passive speakers, they provide the blow effect once being hooked up and turned on.

The large bass drivers emit the tight and juicy bass penetrating through walls and making the house rock. The mids are transmitted precisely, in accordance with the high-fidelity standard. The main line is distinctly pictured throughout the performance not being muffled even at the extreme volumes. The highs are transparent but not brittle. Their cleanness is preserved by the rigid aluminum tweeter wrapped up carefully to eliminate any metallic aftertaste.

The custom-built crossover provides for immediate frequency distribution and fluid shift between the tones. It conveys no phase the human ear can register and serves for the literally seamless audio transmission. With the sharp detail and rich soundstage, these high-quality bookshelf speakers perform equally well as a separate audio system and as a part of the surround sound set.

Pros
  • Internal enclosures for drivers mute the interference and accelerate the drivers’ interaction.
  • The rich and potent all-encompassing bass replaces a subwoofer efficiently.
  • Tapered and slanted edges of the front grills additionally silence the distortion.
Cons
  • Require a highly powerful amplifier.
  • Heavy-weighted cabinets require their own space (do not fit the thin desk surfaces).

Passive Speakers Under 2000

KEF R300 — the Latest Technology for Inimitable Sound Signature

KEF R300
This costly passive speakers’ set encloses two large drivers of 5-inch and 6.5-inch size. The impressive futuristic bass driver ensures the tight precision-bound and space-filling bass getting through and sending out the physical vibes. It creates the inimitable effect at both listening to the selected music collection or playing games.

The midrange and tweeter are combined in a Uni-Q custom-built drive enclosed in a latest Z-flex surround. The unusual waveguide design serves for distortion absorbing and efficient sound delivery to each point of the surrounding environment.

The overall sound quality is top-notch, the sound flowing in a constant stream of the pure interference-free wave penetrating into every spot it fills. The acoustic clarity and sharpness of each note combined with outstanding power and vast frequency range let enjoy the live-presence powerful sound.

Pros
  • Foam plug adjusters on the rear of the speaker allow tweaking the air pass-through.
  • The speaker’s design allows hooking up the additional amplifier for powering the drivers separately.
  • The classy restrained design and the expensive finish cut.
Cons
  • Treble might be overly present at complicated mid-to-high passages.
  • Slightly less sharpness of the voices and dialogues in comparison to the acoustic sound.

Buyers Guide

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What to Consider Before Buying?

What for?
Why do you need bookshelf speakers? Do you want to establish your own acoustic system or just need a small setup for occasional music streaming from your smartphone? This will define your budget.

Are you an audiophile wishing to have a setup ready for immersive listening, you should look for multi-optional speakers providing high-quality sound at all ranges of the specter.

Do you want to create a home theater or a TV-paired acoustic set? Then, consider the bookshelves with enhanced bass or at least featuring a subwoofer output. Such speakers would serve any party as well.

Design of living area
Look at the room for speakers to be used in. Inspect the actual place. Is it a dedicated stand or a desktop / cabinet? Is there an outlet for powered speakers? Can you connect the speakers to the source directly? Do the speakers happen to be standing close to a wall (this can deteriorate their sonic properties)? Do they stand in a way of traffic or obstruct some important objects? Are there any objects interfering between the listener and the speakers? Answering to these questions, you can both improve your room design and determine what kind of speakers you need.

Frequency Range and Wattage
The more power the speakers require, the more efficiently they handle the volume. The louder sound they can produce. Considering the specific environment, too powerful speakers might become an overkill, for example, in a small room or a place where other people spend the time. With regard to the frequency, the range perceived by the human’s ear is around 20Hz and 20KHz. Good speakers must fit into this range. However, many modern units have the frequency exceeding the range. This results in their better reflection of the nuances of the audible sound frequencies.

Specs and Features
Pay attention to such important features as the passive or active mode of speakers. It defines a need for the external amplifier. Consider the number and size of the speaker’s drivers, as well as their build. The large 6.5-inch and bigger woofers provide confident bass of sub-low frequencies. Still, such speakers cost significantly higher. Another issue is if there are connection ports. Binding posts are preferable to the string clips as more reliable and sturdy. Some high-class speakers have separate posts for different drivers. Such distribution leads to more transparent and natural sound production.

Build quality
The heavier the speakers are, the more confident sound they emanate. This happens as the reliable good-sounding speakers must have sufficient surround for the drivers to damp their reflection and the sturdy cabinet build for eliminating the inner resonance and vibration. Lightweight speakers are handy to carry along; still, they are subject to occasional falls and might add significant coloration to the audio, especially at high volumes.

Can I Use the Bookshelf Speakers in a Home Theater?

The modern bookshelf speakers have many merits of the floor-standing models, such as high-resolution sound handling and the deep penetrating bass (the high-end models). This makes them a good option for the small-to-midsize home theater set. Adhere to the fifths and thirds rule when defining how to set up bookshelf speakers: the wall-to-speaker distance must make a multiple of fifths or thirds of the room size. If you are using bookshelf speakers for Atmos, choose the models with upwards tilt or the ones that can be wall- or ceiling mounted.

Best bookshelf speakers

Floor-Standing Bookshelf Speakers – is It Possible?

Small bookshelf speakers can be put on a floor. However, you need to follow certain rules:

  • the best audible position is at the ears’ level;
  • a small stand will prevent the floor damage and sound muffling or resonance;
  • speakers must not be placed close to walls or in the corners.

Can Bookshelf Speakers be Wall- or Ceiling-Mounted?

Long story short — yes, they can. Actually, any position that does not place the speaker too close to a wall is considered good sound-wise. The speakers with unfinished backs can be placed back-to-wall. For the proper audio perception, the tweeter must be on the level with the listener’s ear.

Can Bookshelf Speakers Serve as Front Speakers?

The bookshelf speakers are appreciated by the home theater fans for their versatility, compact size, and easy hookup. These speakers depending on their actual specifications can be used as the front speakers and height speakers, as well as surround channels.

Do the Bookshelves Need a Sub to Pair?

Most of the modern bookshelf speakers handle the bass decently. However, they don’t reach bottom-end and don’t provide bone-rattling lows. At the same time, even the most packed speakers with the large 8-inch woofer can be enhanced by the properly matched subwoofer.

A good subwoofer doesn’t add a lot of basses — it mainly enriches the lows and soundstage in general, making it richer and denser. It also enhances the sound dynamics significantly, providing faster and smoother transitions and making the rhythm more obvious.