Finding the Best Bookshelf Speakers

Last Edited: December 24, 2015 by

Finding the Best Bookshelf Speakers

Welcome to our guide to the Best Bookshelf Speakers ranging from Bookshelf speakers under $500 to bookshelf speakers under $200 based on value for money, performance, ease of use and consumer feedback.

High quality speakers have become incredibly affordable in recent years and most audio enthusiasts are able to afford decent quality speakers. Improvements in amplifiers and digital audio signal processors have drastically improved home speaker systems, hence bookshelf speakers becoming so popular. We at SpeakerNinja have compiled a list of Bookshelf speakers that we believe are important for audiophiles and general music enthusiasts who keenly enjoy good, solid audio performances.

Bookshelf Speakers Under $200

Edifier R1280T

Edifier-R1280T-Powered-Bookshelf-Speakers-20-Active-Near-Field-Monitors-Studio-Monitor-Speaker-Wooden-Enclosure-42-Watts-RMS-0

The Edifier R1280T bookshelf speakers produce a good mid and high frequency performance from its 4-inch drivers and 13mm silk dome tweeters. They are simple to setup, requiring one to simply connect to 3.5mm headphone output or dual RCA output. While some customer found that the low end lacks slightly, they thought that the mid and higher frequencies were well balanced and rather precise in their delivery of music, as well as with dialogue. The included remote gives one easy control and the main speaker does have a bass and treble control for getting the your own preferred EQ. The speakers are finished with wood effect vinyl, which mimics natural wood and gives it a retro look. These 42 Watts RMS (combined) speakers were not loud enough for some users, finding that they are more suited to medium size or smaller rooms. They are active, so they do not require an additional amplifier to power and come with a two-year warranty in case of any potential issues that one my incur.

Pros

  • Clear and flat mid and high frequency reproduction
  • Well priced
  • Minimal distortion at higher volumes

Cons

  • Lacks low end
  • Not loud enough for larger room

Summary

The inexpensive Edifier R1280T bookshelf speakers have a clean and clear mid and high frequency reproduction, but lack slightly in the low end frequencies.

Edifier R1280T
$129.99$99.99
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from Amazon.com
(as of 22-09-2018 19:57 UTC) Details

Micca PB42X

Micca-PB42X-Bookshelf-SpeakersThe Micca PB42X bookshelf speakers are said to lack some low-end bass, but make up for it with its warm mids and a crisp high-end. However, the warm mids were a bit too warm for some and required them to be slightly dropped via an external equalizer (such as their computer soundcards or tv equalizers for example). The speakers do also come with a built-in Class-D amplifier with 15Wx2 of clean power, making the active bookshelf speakers even more powerful when compared to some of the competition. When coupled with a subwoofer, these speakers can easily perform at an ideal level for audio heads. The 4” woofer does provide enough bass for users who aren’t into too much heavy bass and the silk dome tweeters deliver a crisp high-end that gives the listener that extra brightness. The PB42X reportedly also has a solid build that users liked. If the volume is driven too high, the speakers turn off according some, which one can assume is an overload protection circuit on the amplifier, which saves the speakers from any serious damage. There were also reports of a ported cabinet with a small rear facing port that does add some unwanted flutter noise at higher volumes. All-in-all, the Micca PB42X is a well priced pair of bookshelf speakers that offer one a great listening experience, albeit with a little less bass than the contending more expensive speakers.

Pros

  • Pleasantly warm for some
  • Clean treble
  • Nice soundstage
  • Solid build quality

Cons

  • Lacks bass
  • May be too warm for some

Summary

The Micca PB42X bookshelf speaker is pleasantly warm for some and clean in the delivery of overall sound, however, this warmth was not appreciated by all, along with their thin low end.

Micca PB42X
$109.95
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from Amazon.com
(as of 22-09-2018 17:30 UTC) Details

Pioneer SP-BS22-LR

Pioneer-SP-BS22-LR-Bookshelf-Speaker-under-$200The Pioneer SP-BS22-LR  are incredibly well priced for the performance they put out. They reportedly have a very warm mid-range frequency, with slightly rolled off highs, offering an overall warmer sound and still retaining most of its sharpness. There are reports that the lower frequencies under 100hz may be lacking for those with a keen ear, others did however report that it may have too much bass. This would essentially come down to your music preferences and what amplifier or receiver you use. The SP-BS22-LR speakers utilize a true curved cabinet design according to Pioneer, which is partly why their is such an accurate sound reproduction, due to the fact that the stiffer design reduces standing sound waves inside the cabinet. There were reports of male vocals ‘boxing’ a slight bit, but when paired with a good receiver or amplifier that reproduces the mid frequencies well, the slightly muddy vocals become clean. The design is also aesthetically pleasing and really does make a nice addition to a room. The Pioneer SP-BS22-LR are definitely well worth it for the price. They are able to put out an excellent performance that is sure to leave anyone astounded.

Pros

  • Great sound signature
  • Aesthetically pleasing finish
  • Well priced

Cons

  • May lack bass

Summary

The rustic finish of the Pioneer SP-BS22-LR makes it an aesthetically pleasing speaker with a solid sound signature, but bass enthusiasts will need to consider purchasing a subwoofer for the low end thump.

Pioneer SP-BS22-LR
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from Amazon.com
(as of 13-03-2018 06:16 UTC) Details

Polk Audio TSi100

Polk-Audio-TSi100-Bookshelf-SpeakersThe Polk Audio TSi100 speaker offers a very warm midrange and clear high-end sound quality. Users have made mention of the fact that without a subwoofer, they can lack the necessary low-end warmth that the more expensive bookshelf speakers have to offer. However, this would be genre specific and subjective, as some users don’t always like too much bass and have a strong preference for mid-range and high-end brightness that these offer. If you are one of these people then these are perfect for you. They have received praise for their excellent stereo imaging and overall presence, with many using them not only for music speakers, but also for their home theater setups, using them as fronts to enjoy music videos. With their tuned bass ports and therefore lower bass tones, they do not overpower subwoofers, which means the TSi100s and subwoofers compliment each other well. All-in-all, the Polk Audio TSi100 may be lacking a slight bit on the low-end, however they still put out an incredible performance for their size and price. If you like clean, warm mids and a bright high-end, then these are definitely worth considering.

Pros

  • Great clarity
  • Impressive soundstage
  • Warm mids and clean highs

Cons

  • Lacks bass

Summary

The Polk Audio TSi100 bookshelf speaker is a neat speaker system that offers a warm and clean mid and high frequency range, but requires a sub for a more full-bodied sound.

Polk Audio TSi100
$129.00
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from Amazon.com
(as of 22-09-2018 16:54 UTC) Details

Sony SSCS5

Sony-SSCS5-3-Bookshelf-SpeakerThe Sony SSCS5 are an excellent pair of bookshelf speakers. Users were incredibly happy with its sound quality, with the speakers delivering clear mid and high frequencies, making both music clear and leaving vocals completely clean. Although they may lack some bass for users who enjoy a solid thumping low-end, it can easily be paired with a subwoofer for bass heads. They could alternately be left as is for those who are happy with a tight low-end. They have an optimized crossover component for a clear audio path, and with the wide dispersion tweeter and mica reinforced woofers, you will be getting way more than you expect. The Sony SSCS5s are definitely worth a second look for those on a lower budget, as these bookshelf speakers really do have an excellent performance.

Pros

  • Great overall sound
  • Crisp high end
  • Clear mids
  • Modern design and nice finish
  • Clear vocals

Cons

  • Lacks bass

Summary

The Sony SSC5 are great bookshelf speakers that offer a clean and clear overall sound, but a sub would further complete the sound.

Sony SSCS5
$148.00
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from Amazon.com
(as of 22-09-2018 17:34 UTC) Details

Bookshelf Speakers Under $500

ELAC B6

ELAC-B6-bookshelf-speakersThe ELAC B6 bookshelf speakers are recognized for their excellent bass response. While they may be a bit bassy for some, others have found the bass levels perfect. The woven aramid-fiber woofers are able to drive a great bass and produce very warm mid-range frequencies. Their are some reports that the upper-mid and high frequencies are slightly rolled, but this would essentially add to the warm sound. Users said that every genre of music played through these came out sounding excellent and they were amazed at how clean the sound was within every frequency range. The speakers dimensions are 10 x 8.5 x 14 inches each with 6.5″ woofer cones and each speaker weighs in at 32.6 pounds. Users were very impressed with the B6’s incredible dynamic range, saying that for the price, these are able to deliver an astonishing quality. If you love warm sounding speakers at a great price, the ELAC B6 speakers are definitely worth keeping your eye on.

Pros

  • Good bass response
  • Great dynamic range
  • Overall warm and clean sound
  • Well priced

Cons

  • May be too bassy for some
  • Reports of vocals lacking detail

Summary

The ELAC B6 delivers plenty of bass and has a warm and clean overall sound, but it may be too bass heavy for some.

ELAC B6
$279.99$279.98
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from Amazon.com
(as of 22-09-2018 16:52 UTC) Details

Audioengine A5+

Audioengine-A5-bookshelf-speakersThe Audioengine A5 bookshelf speakers have a beautifully crafted bamboo finish. They have well designed silk tweeters that give a very excellent high frequency dispersion. The mid frequencies perform beautifully at high volumes, but pushing the volume too high does reportedly compress them to an extent. Along with the compression of the mid frequencies, playing these speakers at incredibly loud volumes will cause the heat sink to kick in, shutting them down in order to avoid frying the internal electronics. Users loved the lower frequency ranges, suggesting that it is tight and clean. However some did point out that it is cut off below 50hz, meaning certain bass notes will be cut off to a degree. You can always however pair them with a subwoofer if you are looking for that extra boom. They also come with a remote and a USB port for audio playback, making them quite versatile. The beautifully designed Audioengine A5s will definitely suit most decor along with their equally desirable audio quality output.

Pros

  • Beautiful Bamboo finish
  • Great frequency dispersion
  • Good overall sound quality
  • Plays USB

Cons

  • Lacks low end
  • Shuts down if overexerted

Summary

The Audioengine A5+ delivers a good audio performance, but lower notes aren't quite there and it does shut down if overexerted.

Audioengine A5+
$399.00
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from BHPhotoVideo
(as of 10-12-2017 19:32 UTC) Details

Elac B5

ELAC-Uni-fi-UB5-Bookshelf-Speaker

The ELAC Uni-fi UB5 bookshelf speakers are said to be sonically clear and accurate. They are said to produce a tight bass response, with many saying it is accurate. These do not produce that extra low end depth that bass seekers enjoy, so one can either purchase a subwoofer to compliment these, or you would need to look for a different speaker set that does offer that low end rumble. There is a reportedly wide soundstage with these, surprising many users, which would be due to the good positioning of the tweeter and midrange voice coil according to the product description. It has 3 dedicated drivers, one for each frequency range and the housing has a slick vinyl finish. They are passive speakers and will require a decent amplifier to really bring out those qualities. CNet used the NAD C 356BEE, which could be worth checking out if need be. The ELAC Uni-fi UB5 bookshelf speakers have a lot to offer at an affordable price, but the unboosted low end may fail to impress bass seekers.

Pros

  • Good soundstage
  • Detailed midrange frequencies
  • Crisp treble frequencies
  • Tight and accurate bass
  • Well priced for given performance

Cons

  • Bass may be deep enough for some

Summary

The ELAC Uni-fi UB5 bookshelf speakers offers awesome quality for their price, but although the bass is tight and accurate, it may not be deep enough for those who like a lot of bass.

ELAC Uni-fi UB5
$499.00$497.97
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from Amazon.com
(as of 22-09-2018 17:39 UTC) Details

Best High-End Bookshelf Speakers

Pioneer Elite SP-EBS73-LR

Pioneer-Elite-SP-EBS73-Dolby-Atmos-enabled-Andrew-Jones-Bookshelf-Speakers-Pair-0The Pioneer Elite SP-EBS73-LR is a rather large 3-way bookshelf speaker. Users have described it as having an incredibly large sound, suggesting it is good idea to have these set up in a large room. The Dolby-Atmos function, when paired with a good receiver, allows the speakers to produce an incredibly high definition sound when watched with movies that have been made with Atmos sound. However, one user did point out that there are very few movies out featuring Atmos at the moment, making this feature kind of pointless. One speaker’s dimension are 10 x 7 x 15 inches and it weighs in at 31.4 pounds, making this a large speaker system as mentioned above. The bass is also tight and full according to users, along with super crisp highs and super warm and full mids. The Pioneer Elite SP-EBS73-LR may be a bit pricey, but these speakers definitely do deliver an incredible sound that is bound to blow listeners away.

Pros

  • excellent overall sound quality
  • Dolby Atmos-enabled
  • produce a HUGE sound

Cons

  • A bit large for bookshelf speakers
  • Require a good receiver to play at its true potential

Summary

The Pioneer Elite SP-EBS73-LR may require a good receiver and they may be a little big, but they are a truly capable speaker with a massive sound along with its incredible sound quality.

Pioneer Elite SP-EBS73-LR
$749.00$449.00
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from Amazon.com
(as of 22-09-2018 15:22 UTC) Details

KEF LS50

KEF-LS50-bookshelf-speakerThe KEF LS50 has been praised for its incredible accuracy. With its dimensions of 10.9 x 7.9 x 11.9 inches, it is a small speaker that is able to deliver a massive sound that is sure to blow away even the most demanding audiophiles. It has a clad high gloss black speaker cabinet with rose gold aluminium drivers. It is a very pricey bookshelf speaker, but with the quality of audio it delivers, it is completely understandable. The Uni-Q driver specifically designed for this model allows the speaker to deliver a large sound and creates a very large dispersion area. Because of the large dispersion, you would need to place these incredibly carefully as to not take away from the overall listening experience. The KEF LS50 is truly an incredible speaker which offers nothing less than excellence.

Pros

  • Awesome design
  • Excellent sound reproduction
  • Powerful
  • Great soundstage

Cons

  • May not be bassy enough for some
  • Expensive

Summary

The KEF LS50 is a pricey bookshelf speaker, but it delivers awesomely accurate sound and an awesome soundstage.

KEF LS50
$1299.99$1299.98
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from Amazon.com
(as of 22-09-2018 17:16 UTC) Details

JBL L830

JBL-L830-bookshelf-speaker

If massive sound is what you are seeking, look no further than the JBL L830 speakers. They require a large room to really enjoy the great imaging and the huge sound stage that these have to offer. Their lower bass frequencies are reportedly excellent, with most users not using a subwoofer, or those that do pair these with a subwoofer suggesting that it isn’t necessary at all. The treble produced is apparently incredibly crisp with no sign that they have been dropped off or rolled off and they are able to play at loud volumes without your ears beginning to hurt. The midrange is completely flat too, without any frequencies being dropped. These speakers should ideally be placed a tad further from a wall (as per user requirements) as the low end can sound ‘boomy’ if too close. The JBL L830s are definitely an excellent choice for people who are looking to play clear audio at loud volumes without affecting the dynamic range.

Pros

  • Plenty of bass
  • Clean mid and highs frequencies
  • Loud
  • Great soundstage

Cons

  • May be too bassy for some
  • Better suited for larger spaces
  • May lack detail

Summary

The JBL L830 delivers a massive sound that may be more suited for larger rooms, as it may overwhelm smaller spaces.

JBL L830
See Price at Retailer
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from Amazon.com
(as of 22-09-2018 17:10 UTC) Details
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