So you’re decorating your living, apartment or home studio, and are looking for the perfect pair of bookshelf speakers to complete it? Maybe you like mixing your own music and producing your own songs, and need a high-quality, faithful pair of speakers for accuracy. Or maybe you just like kicking back with a drink, a good book and some relaxing music on the weekends or after a long day. Whatever your intended use, and your budget, there are a plethora of high-quality bookshelf speakers out there, producing clear highs and crisp lows at an affordable price, all while looking perfectly in place in that meticulously manicured decor of yours. Here’s our take on the top 10 best bookshelf speaker sets, for music, gaming and movies.
Bose speakers for under $100? Hard to believe, but these small multimedia speakers are the real deal, delivering crisp Bose sound in a sleek package. They’re designed for movies, video games and general PC use, and fit comfortably on virtually any desktop, with two AUX inputs, letting you simultaneously hook up both your computer and phone or tablet, as well a headphone jack They also feature Bose’s TrueSpace digital processing for richer, deeper sound. One of the best options you’re going to find in this price range, and comes with Bose’s stellar reputation.
When you’re ready to spend a little more on speakers, but still don’t want to completely break the bank – the Audioengine A2’s might be the right choice. Designed to fit on your desktop and for use with your PC, they have beautiful, hand finished wooden cabinets and premium sound quality. A digital to analog converter (DAC), which lets you send digital audio directly from your PC to the speakers by USB cable. They also include a sub-out port, so you can up the bass with an an external subwoofer.
The A2’s are optimally sized to for fitting on your desktop, but are attractive enough to fit in on your end tables or bookshelves. And their audio quality is outstanding; even the most dedicated of audiophiles find them some of the highest-fidelity in the price range.
The Presonus Eris are intended for hi-fi studio use, but that only makes them an even better choice for in-home sound. They’ve got a large and loud 4.5″ transducer, with 1″ tweeters putting out 25 watts per side. Studio acoustic tuning controls, such as Mid-range, HF, High Pass, and Acoustic, make them useable for mixing and recording. There’s an assortment of inputs – XLR and RCA, AUX on the front, but they do not include Bluetooth or any wireless connectivity. Still, if you’re looking for a pair of speakers for mixing and recording at home, there are few better choices – especially at less than $200.
The Swans M50W are a comprehensive, high-end set of bookshelf speakers, with 2 3″ speakers and 6.5″ subwoofer, designed for high-quality audio playback with both HiFi music and gaming systems. The subwoofer reproduces low-frequencies under 120H for powerful and deep bass, while the 3’’ drivers provide perfectly smooth midrange; the front of the tweeters is an aluminum hard dome for enhanced sound. volume is controlled by a machined aluminum dial that resembles a turntable – simply tap it to turn the music on or off, and spin it to adjust the volume. Lastly, the Swans come in a beautiful, timeless design, with smooth wood side panels and a Black Piano lacquer finish. These are speakers that not only sound great for an affordable price, but look even better.
Ready for more refined sound? The AudioEngine HD3’s are considered not only some of the best sounding speakers in this price range, but also some of the best looking – available in polished black, cherry or walnut finish cabinets, and fitting in nicely whether on your desk or end tables. There’s both Bluetooth connectivity and USB, as well as AUX-cable and RCA input, and a DAC to convert digital signals to high-fidelity analog sound. Built-in amplifiers put out a good 60 watts of power that, with Kevlar woofers and tweeters; you can even connect an additional subwoofer for more bass. But again, the real draw here is the sound quality; even the most discerning of listeners have a hard time finding something better for less.
The Plugable 4″ bookshelf speakers are small, modern and affordable speakers intended for quick and easy, plug-and-play listening on your phone, PC or tablet. They feature 4” glass fiber cone subwoofer in each cabinet, with silk dome tweeters and 55-watt Class D amps built in. Bluetooth 4.0 lets you hook up your phone wirelessly, with the Qualcomm apt-X codec high quality bitrates and fidelity. You can also use use TOSLINK optical cables if you want the best in digital sound. The Plugable’s deliver some extremely high-quality sound, faithful to the source and definitely richer than you would expect for a pair of speakers this cheap.
The M-Audio AV32 are the least expensive speakers on our list, but don’t let that fool you; the brand is known for producing high-end studio monitors, and the Av32’s are no different – just smaller and less powerful. With 3” woofers, 1” tweeters, and OptImage IV waveguides for crisp, they’re just as good for producing and mixing your own music at home, as they are for just kicking back and relaxing to some tunes, watching videos on your computer, or a little bit of video gaming. They’ve got all the usual RCA, AUX and headphone jacks, and are compact and neat enough for anywhere in your room.
The Edifer R1280T are some of the most popular and best-selling bookshelf speakers online, especially in their price range, packing studio-quality sound into their attractive wooden body, that fits well in your home and pairs well with a record player. They have all the standard RCA and AUX inputs, but actually let you connect to both at the same time; you can seamlessly switch between the two or play both simultaneously. They deliver high-quality, high-fidelity sound for what they cost, and also come with a digital volume control – a cool feature which sets the volume to low level when you turn the speakers on and avoid any sudden blasts.
Yamaha is a mainstay in anything acoustic, and this set of 3-way bookshelf speakers is an excellent addition to any room; you can add them to your existing sound system whether as front or rear speakers, or use them on their own. Each speaker enclosure has 3 drivers – A woofer, midrange and tweter, that together produce sound output between 45Hz to 23kHz. They’re magnetically shielded to suit home-theaters, and the black satin grille cloth gives them a subtle yet modern appearance. The built-in amp handles up to 150 watts at peak power per channel.
Polk is another reliable maker of audio systems, and the TSi200 is a high-quality but still affordable pair of bookshelf speakers. They’ve got 1-inch silk/polymer composite Dynamic Balance dome tweeters, flanked by two 5.25-inch diameter bi-laminate organic fiber cone woofers, and all encased in a beautiful cherry case. They don’t come with an amp, but can handle up to 150 watts per channel for loud, crisp sound. Reviews are highly positive, and as with all Polk speaker systems, they are known for their high-quality sound and reproduction for a decent mid-range price. Goes well with any decor.