Do you love listening to music but don’t have the space for an extensive stereo system? Or maybe you want a better sound quality than what your computer or phone speakers can provide? In either case, investing in a set of the best bookshelf speakers might be the right choice for you. Bookshelf speakers provide a sound quality that matches the standards of the finest speakers. Moreover, they only cost half of what extensive sound systems cost.
So if you’re looking for a speaker bargain or you are not sure where to start when it comes to choosing the best ones, then this list has all you need to know about the best ones. You can decide for yourself whether you want the budget-friendly options or the high-end ones.
What to Look For in Bookshelf Speakers
We looked for small and compact speakers while talking about speakers. It’s because they should be small enough to fit on your shelves without taking up much space. These speakers are best suited for smaller to medium-sized spaces. However, we also considered some crucial traits for music lovers. Some of the essential features to look out for are listed below.
Wired or Wireless
In order to purchase a pair of speakers, this is the first choice you must make. A stereo amplifier must be connected via speaker wire to a pair of wired speakers. The amplifier transmits both the audio signal and its power. The majority of wired speakers feature low distortion and good sound output.
On the other hand, wireless remote control speakers mostly worked on Bluetooth connectivity. In addition, the only thing you’ll need to hook them up to is a power supply because they come equipped with their own built-in amplifiers. Moreover, they have an excellent bass response and superb sound quality. However, you may experience a little distortion sometimes due to poor Bluetooth connectivity.
Bookshelf Speaker Sound Quality
Due to their diminutive size, the bookshelf speaker has limited drivers, which the round speakers on the front represent. They typically have two drivers: a soft dome tweeter for high sound frequencies and an “all-range” driver for mids and bass. However, one downside of bookshelf speakers is their inability to hammer out deeper bass, and this is one area in which they lag behind huge floor-standing speakers.
If you listen to folk, melancholy, jazz, or classical music, a pair of bookshelf speakers should suffice. In contrast, if you desire bookshelf speakers and like music with deep bass, you may want to add a subwoofer to your speaker system. The good news is that most wired and wireless speakers can easily connect to a subwoofer.
Size of Speaker
The size of the speaker matters a lot. If you have a large room, then a small bookshelf speaker may not be the best option for you to use. More important bass driver and amplification circuits can be found in surround speakers if the speaker is active. That is why you should consider using large bookshelf speakers with additional loudness if you want crisp sound.
The issue is that a large bookshelf speaker system is actually quite massive, and it could lead to placement issues. As a result, you must prepare a suitable location for it. Small speakers do not provide you with a surround sound system, but they are pretty good. You can enjoy a piece of smooth sound music on it without compromising on space. In short, before purchasing a speaker, always evaluate the sound quality. Sometimes, a little bookshelf speaker has a better-integrated amplifier that positively affects the sound quality.
Pairing Your Speakers With An Amp
It is only applicable to passive speakers that need to be linked to an amplifier. Thus, if you are thinking about getting a wireless remote control speaker, you can skip this option. They can provide a transparent sound without using an amplifier and pose no danger of damage. However, in the case of wired passive speakers, it is essential to ensure that the amp transmits enough power to the speakers. If you use too much or too little, you can end up damaging its sound quality.
You can overcome this threat by reading your speaker’s specifications in detail. The output power of an amplifier is measured in watts, and each set of speakers has a recommended amplifier wattage. Always check for something labeled RMS wattage, which indicates the amount of power an amp produces at a typical volume level. For example, the elac debut 2.0 suggests amplifier wattage between 30 and 120 watts. So, only an amplifier with output wattage in that range will be required for these.
Cost of the Speakers
The most significant factor about bookshelf speakers is the cost. You can get a good pair of speakers on an affordable budget. Obviously, the higher the price, the better the goods. But you can still find a decent deal between $100 to $300, with a range of quality selections.
Hundreds of bookshelf speaker models are available at virtually any price point. That price point might skyrocket to $10,000 or more if you let it. So, if you plan to spend more than that, you should have a very excellent reason. However, it is advised that you consider the medium price range speakers instead of expensive speakers. That way, you can get excellent frequency response and sound output while not overspending.
Best Bookshelf Speakers under $2000
Having compact bookshelf speakers in your home is a huge time saver. Although each household’s demands and preferences vary greatly, they choose a speaker that can handle a little bit of everything with good sound output.
High-end bookshelf speakers offer depth to the bass and clarity to the whole frequency spectrum, giving a more clear sound quality. This list contains the best Bookshelf Speakers under the range of 2000$. You can also see how some of the more expensive speakers stack up against one another.
1. KEF LS50 Meta — Best Style
KEF has spent decades perfecting the audio quality of its high-end bookshelf speakers. Thus, the dynamic range of LS50s is the result of 50 years of speaker innovation. This stylish pair of bookshelf speakers deliver engrossing surround sound. Its elegant, grille-less form is offered in two high-gloss finishes.
The Uni-Q technique inserts the dome tweeter and high-frequencies in the acoustic centroid of the bass/midrange cone. The LS50s can now create a three-dimensional sound impression, thereby increasing the “sweet spot” (optimal listening position). You may sit wherever in the room and enjoy the fantastic sound quality.
Constrained layer damping eliminates cabinet shaking and vibrations. The curved baffle design assures smooth sound wave dispersion with a little reflection that gives you an excellent surround sound listening experience. LS50 Meta is indeed worth your money.
- Sound Quality: 8
- Cost: 6
- Single Speaker Terminal
- 79- 28,000 Hz Frequency response
- Sensitivity: 85dB/W/m
- Dimensions (hwd): 30.2 x 20 x 27.8cm
- Detailed and organized sound
- Attractive High Gloss Design
- High-Frequency drivers
- 12th Generation Uni-Q Driver
- Low Audio
2. KEF R300 — Best Budget
The R300 speakers from the same manufacturer sound natural and detailed without being overwhelming. It’s easy to notice the difference between the LS50 and R300s when the song has heavy drumming and deep bass, allowing them to open out more during the music’s dynamic peaks. In terms of high-frequency sounds like cymbals, they are crisper and more defined than most instruments in their price range.
KEF’s Uni-Q drivers surround a 1-inch aluminum dome tweeter. Incorrect audio projection is helped by our bracing magnesium/aluminum alloy cone, a” Z-flex surround sound system technology. Finally, the ‘tangerine’ waveguide ensures broad and even high and mid-frequency dispersion. The R300 bookshelf speaker includes a 6.5-inch low-frequency driver with a huge vented magnet assembly and an inner hybrid cone. This setup produces a detailed sound bass like no other.
- Sound Quality: 7
- Cost: 8
- 6.5-inch low-frequency driver
- Dimensions : 24 x 18 x 18 inches
- Frequency Response: 50Hz – 28kHz (±3dB)
- Amplifier Requirement: 20- 120 W
- Sensitivity 88dB
- Maximum Output: 110 dB
- High gloss piano black look
- Z-Flex sound technology
- Deeper bass
- High and mid-frequency
- Low-frequency range
- High & mid-range driver
3. Elac Debut B5.2 — Best Value for Money
Elac was founded in the 1980s and has since manufactured a number of high-quality speakers. It’s fair to argue that the company’s new Debut B5.2 speakers are one of the most stunning attempts to date. The Debut B5.2 sets a new record for performance in inverse proportion to its compact size, making it a worthy successor to its predecessors. Furthermore, it continues to be the best-value bookshelf speaker on the market, outperforming even the most expensive speakers on the market.
It’s hard to beat the value of the Elac Debut B5.2s. You don’t have to worry about positioning the speakers because they’re robust and can handle any music you throw at them. With their dynamic expression, precise clarity, and tonal sophistication, they’re up to the task, and their talents are flexible enough to allow them to improve even more with a system priced above their native range. To conclude, they’re great, especially for the price.
- Sound Quality: 7
- Cost: 9
- Single Speaker terminal
- Mid/bass driver: 5.25cm
- Tweeter: 25mm
- Sensitivity: 86dB/W/m
- Dimensions: 34 x 18 x 23cm (HxWxD)
- Affordable price range
- Deep bass
- Very low distortion
- Outstanding sound output
- Low frequency
- Adequate sound quality
4. B&W 606 S2 Anniversary Edition — Best for Home
The Bowers & Wilkins 600 series has been in production for two decades. The 606 S2s commemorate an important anniversary, and they delivered what was promised. The only physical alterations are an oak finish on the black and white models, and an inscription on the tweeter surround to acknowledge the Anniversary status.
One hundredth anniversary edition of 606 S2 by B&W crossover enhancements ensure superb resolution and musicality in a pair of compact shelf/stand enclosures. Both stereo and home theater surround sound speaker systems benefit from this product. The new Decoupled Double Dome Tweeter in the 606 S2 Anniversary Edition is an improved and finalized version of the previous model.
The single performance improvement is a redesigned crossover with higher-quality capacitors, some of which were initially featured in the more premium 700 Signature series that was recently announced.
- Sound Quality: 7
- Cost: 8
- Driver: Continuum 16.5cm
- Mid-range driver/bass, 25mm tweeter
- Dimensions: 35 x 19 x 30cm (HXWxD)
- Max power handling: 120W
- Two speaker terminals
- Sensitivity: 88 dB/w/m
- Frequency response: 52 Hz – 28 kHz ± 3dB
- High-quality sound output
- Home theater system
- Deep bass
- Fair compatible
- Impressive dynamic punch
5. Deli Spektor 2 — Easy to Use
Like Super Glue, these speakers adhere to the inexpensive stand-mounter formula. This bookshelf speaker has everything from the two-way driver configuration and ported bass tuning to the 25mm dome tweeter and 13cm mid/bass driver. This will be considered as an excellent electronic music system.
They’re well-made but don’t have the same premium quality feel as, say, a set of Q Acoustics 3020s for the same price. As it stands, though, the panels line up perfectly, and the overall fit and attention to detail are excellent. The Spektor 2s are set on some robust stands; they won’t dominate a space with their 29cm height.
Although the voices are distinct and forceful, and they are delivered with nuance and precision, overall, there is a lot of excitement in the performance, which makes it a worthwhile listen. A remarkable amount of space is created by the dynamics handled with finesse. Moreover, they’re also straightforward to use in conjunction with other pieces of gear. As a result, it has received a lot of positive feedback and is highly recommended.
- Sound Quality: 7
- Cost: 7
- Double Speaker Terminal
- Frequency response: 54-26,000Hz
- Sensitivity: 85dB/W/m
- Dimensions (hwd): 29.2 x 17 x 23.8cm
- Impressive vintage look
- High-quality sound output
- Small in size
- Powerful sound
- Reasonable price
- Less surround sound due to small size
6. Ruark Audio MR1 Mk2 — Best Overall
These speakers are loved due to their retro look. When they emerged in 2013, everyone rushed towards it. Retro styling, intuitive design, and outstanding wireless sound – it was a winning combination that garnered the What Hi-Fi? Award twice in a row. There was no doubt that Ruark Audio would release the MR1 Mk2 at some point. Ruark Audio has returned with a fury, as expected.
The original Ruark MR1 was the closest any desktop wireless speaker came to sounding like true hi-fi, which remains valid with the speaker’s current Mk2 iteration.
It’s even more so today, owing to a more precise, wise, and open sound. Thus, it’s an absolute pleasure to listen to the new MR1s. The MR1 Mk2 offers more use and connectivity options. Music can be remotely streamed and played through the MR1 with a CD-like sound. In addition to an optical port for add-on devices like Chromecast Audio, the MR1 Mk2 is a fantastic sound system for flat-panel TVs, making watching more enjoyable. Compared to the KEF Egg, the airy soundstage gives the tunes a more spacious feel, making them seem less packed. The music performed via the Ruarks is given new vitality.
- Sound Quality: 9
- Cost: 7
- Wireless speaker
- Auto snooze function
- Compact remote control
- aptX Bluetooth
- Inputs: Optical, line in
- Subwoofer Output
- Integrated Amplifier
- Dimensions: 17 × 13 × 13.5cm (HxWxD)
- Stunningly musical sound
- Stereo speaker
- Subtle dynamics
- Compact bookshelf speaker
- Attractive design
- Affordable price
- Sometimes low distortion
- Poor Bluetooth service
Buying Guide for Bookshelf Speakers under $2000
Bookshelf speakers are usually smaller than floor-standing models, but they’re still large enough to provide a room-filling surround sound. When shopping for bookshelf speakers, there are several things to look for to make the right purchase decision. By following these simple tips, you’ll be sure to find the perfect set of speakers for your high-quality sound needs!
● Allowed Space and Acoustic
Allowed room space is an important factor to keep in mind before finalizing any speaker system. Not every sort of speaker will sound good in the setting of your choice. Smaller speakers may function well in a regular bedroom, but they may sound tinny or faint when utilized in a family room. On the other hand, larger speakers can quickly overpower little areas with their wide frequency range. Moreover, you need to look if your room can accommodate large speakers or require a speaker stand. However, most speakers do not require any speaker stand, but this depends on your allocated area.
Another determining factor is the material surrounding the speakers. It is difficult to establish an appropriate decibel rating for a space that includes many diverse elements. Many materials create acoustical barriers because of their capacity to dampen the sound. The environment created by various features, such as walls and floors, can significantly affect audio quality. Sound can bounce off exposed walls, big furniture, and bare flooring. In contrast, carpets, rugs, and cushions absorb the neutral sound. Achieving a proper balance between the two is beneficial. Narrower spaces produce a more private atmosphere owing to their vaulted ceilings, whereas wider rooms create a more open vibe.
● Speaker Connectivity
The connectivity of a speaker is also a key feature one should keep in mind before purchasing bookshelf speakers. Some people require a sound system that does not depend on speaker wire. They desire to enjoy the music with wireless connectivity. In this case, bookshelf speakers that come with Bluetooth capability are a perfect choice.
● High-Quality Sound
Unfortunately, not all speakers can provide excellent sound quality to the listeners as sound quality is a very subjective opinion. Everyone has different preferences, so what sounds fantastic to one person may underwhelm another. There is no such thing as “the best ever” speaker. Most speakers may have their own appeal to individual ears.
That is why it is recommended to bring your favorite music on either CDs or flash drives for testing clear sound. Moreover, when shopping for speakers, try out a variety of bookshelf models with music that you’re familiar with. Do not make rushed decisions. Take your time and calmly listen to several low and high frequencies that the bookshelf speaker offers.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. How to position bookshelf speakers?
First, the speaker must be positioned appropriately, whether on a bookshelf, a speaker stand, or atop a media console. Second, bookshelf speakers should be set in the 10 and 2-o’clock positions, taking into account the angle of your preferred listening posture. The tweeters should be placed close to the ear for optimal performance.
2. What are the differences between the active, passive, and powered speakers?
In a passive speaker system, an external power amplifier transfers the low-level audio signal to the loudspeaker. A passive crossover separates it into the proper frequency ranges before being sent to the individual drivers. This design is used in both home and concert audio.
Like a passive one, a powered loudspeaker features an internal integrated amplifier. Speakers built like these can amplify portable digital music players like MP3 players.
In contrast to that, in an active loudspeaker system, each driver needs its own power amplifier. An active crossover separated the low-level audio signal into higher frequencies before being transmitted to the power amplifier and speaker driver. This design is prevalent in studio and concert audio.
3. Are small speakers as good as large ones?
It depends on the series of Speaker systems. All the speakers within each ‘Series’ have the same sound characteristic. Therefore, if the larger ones produce a fantastic sound, then the same would be the quality output of the smaller ones.
4. What is a good frequency response for bookshelf speakers?
Speakers should have a frequency range of 20 Hz to 20 kHz as their ideal range. There are 20 Hz in the human audio spectrum and 20 kHz. Ideally, speakers should be able to create sounds in this frequency spectrum.
5. Do speaker stands affect the sound?
Speaker stands are a desirable investment due to their capacity to reduce audio reflections, provide surface isolation, boost audio localization, and adjust sound staging. In conclusion, when picking a speaker stand, consider the weight rating, the material, the height, the base, and the feet.
6. Can we place bookshelf speakers on the floor?
Never ever place your speaker on the floor of your apartment. Bass tones will be amplified by each surface of the room that is near to a speaker. In order to avoid an echo effect caused by the reflections of the sound produced, keep them away from other surfaces such as walls and the sides of hard furniture if they must be placed close to the floor.
Bookshelf speakers can be a great investment for music lovers. However, we made this list due to the difficulty in buying the best bookshelf speaker that provides clear sound. Take your time before finalizing the purchase. As in doing so, you will be able to see through all the aspects, including a dynamic range of bookshelf speakers. Therefore, this list contains all the budget-friendly bookshelf speakers and mentions their specifications to make your purchase easy.
Generally, bookshelf speakers come with two drivers, which include woofers and tweeters. For better than the standard sound quality, opt for speakers having a mid-range driver as well.
Did You Know?
History has witnessed air-compressed loudspeakers. Horace Short was the person behind that out-of-the-box idea, but he later traded it with Charles Parsons – the compound steam turbine guy!
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John Fleming is the senior editor for Audiophilez.com, covering everything from headphones to smart speakers. He is a graduate of Music Production and Technology. Before Audiophilez, John began his career as a staff writer for two different magazines, where he became a skilled storyteller across different mediums. When he isn’t writing, he can be found biking, reading books, and playing the piano.