Speakers are used for a multitude of things these days, whether it’s watching the latest action flick or listening to your favorite jams. A bookshelf speaker is, as the name suggests, created to sit on elevated surfaces or shelves.
They are meant to give you the best quality sound in small or medium size spaces. This makes them ideal for living, theater, or family rooms. If you are searching for the best bookshelf speakers, then follow these guidelines and you’ll be all set.
How Bookshelf Speakers Work
There are many different components to consider when it comes to home audio equipment. Speakers vary significantly in their sound quality and volume. Bookshelf speakers always come with some sort of casing. It houses the components and allows the speaker to sit nicely on a shelf.
There are a few key terms to consider when purchasing bookshelf speakers. The first one is hertz. In general, the more hertz listed in the specs menu, the lower the bass will be. Most bookshelf speakers have two drivers called woofers and tweeters. Woofers control the bass, and tweeters control the higher sounds.
Benefits of Bookshelf Speakers
While purchasing bookshelf speakers may seem like a hefty investment, it is well worth it once you understand the many benefits it can bring to your home audio experience.
Choosing Expensive High Quality Bookshelf Speakers
Build Quality and Design
When choosing which unit to buy, keep in mind the design that you want. You can get a wired speaker or a wireless one. If you would like to move the speakers around easily, then a wireless one would be the best choice.
You should also consider the design that you are looking for in a unit. If you would like to be able to mount it on a stand, then you need a mountable option. Your new purchase should satisfy your aesthetic desires, as well.
Many speakers come with different advantages. If you want a device that carries a lot of bass, then you need one with more hertz. Bass-heavy speakers are great for listening to music. If you're going to enjoy movies or TV, then a unit with higher quality tweeters will allow you to hear the actor's voices.
Connectivity and Flexibility
You need to consider how and where you will be plugging this equipment in. You can buy a wireless speaker, but if not, you need to be aware of the connections that you have available. You will need a power source and access to your output device. If you want to include a subwoofer, then you will also need space for it.
Power Rating - Volume and Wattage
One of the crucial factors for many consumers is the volume at which a speaker can be turned up. If you have a vast room or intend to have parties, then the more wattage, the higher you can turn it up. Be considerate of your neighbors! For general usage, 50 watts will be enough to satisfy most people.
The spec sheet is the most critical part of any electronic purchase. The specifications that are on most speakers consist of watts, ohms, decibels, dimensions, and weight. You will see below each product review we have included a handy reference table. This will help you when you are making your decision.
Some units may come with accessories or additional items. You may want to consider what your device will include. Items such as a remote, cables, and guides are essential. Some other additional features may include background noise-canceling or bass increase. They can be used when you require more bass for music.
Price and Warranty
This review is designed to assist you in purchasing a bookshelf speaker under $2,000. This is a reasonable budget for high-quality speakers. You should also check the warranty that comes with your unit. It will help save you trouble in the long run if something malfunctions. Most quality speakers come with a standard warranty once registered.
5 Best Bookshelf Speakers Under $2,000 Reviewed
1. Monitor Audio Silver 100
Our Top Pick
Sound Level (Loudest Volume)
14.75” x 9” x 13”
20.8 lbs each
This model packs a punch with high power output and excellent sound dynamics. This modern and timeless design comes with a powerful 8 inch C-CAM RST bass and mid-range driver. This driver is fixed in a two-way cabinet that allows for excellent airflow. You will receive a pair of speakers with this package, which is perfect for either side of the TV.
The Silver 100 also features two 25 mm C-CAM tweeters. They are made from patented ceramic-coated aluminum, which is durable and lightweight. It also boasts a neo-magnet system, which will produce excellent quality high sounds. HiVe II technology from Monitor allows the maximum amount of airflow for clean tones.
Customers seemed to love that this pair of speakers have excellent midrange quality right out of the box. This makes them perfect for a medium-sized living room. They also enjoyed the bass level. Many consumers advised to let them play for a few hours a week to help break in the bass driver. I liked that the treble sound was exceptional right away. When playing movies or music with vocals, you could truly hear the brilliant sound quality.
2. Focal Aria 906 Reflex
Best 2-Way Bookshelf Speaker Under $2000
Sound Level (Loudest Volume)
15 ⅜” x 8 ⅞” x 11 ⅛”
This model stands out in the 2-way arena. It stays true to Focal Aria’s line by supplying great sound and value. This loudspeaker allows consumers to experience the flax cone model, which increases sound quality. The flax cone assists with keeping the midrange and high notes beautiful, while the bass sound remains tight. This company recommends about 8 feet of listening distance.
The flax cone is exceptionally lightweight, so it allows for flexibility when the bass sound is produced. We really liked that the flax cone is indeed made out of the flax plant. The fibers in its stem are used to create a linen material, which makes this speaker stand out. Flax material is superior to fiberglass since it is self-dampening. This model features excellent low bass that is evenly distributed by the driver.
Most customers seemed to like the flax cone design. It required less break-in time. They also enjoyed the suspension in this unit. It uses Poron to increase dampening and rigidity. This allows the material to hold shape, which improves sound quality. This is another innovative technology by Focal.
3. KEF LS50
Best Small Bookshelf Speaker Under $2000
Sound Level (Loudest Volume)
11.9” x 7.9” x 10.9”
KEF is a brand that is known by audiophiles everywhere. They produce high-quality speakers for a range of budgets. The LS50 houses a Uni-Q driver that produces beautiful sound in most size rooms. The cabinet design of this bookshelf speaker is superb at delivering unaltered sound. It uses a unique baffle design and port shape.
KEF has hit the mark with this pair of speakers. They have received numerous accolades for this particular model. The LS50 was made for reproducing all of your music in the precise intended way. It also comes in a two-way bass-reflex design for the lowest lows. This model also features aluminum and magnesium drivers for the tweeters. This allows the midrange and high notes to sound crisp and clear.
Everyone who purchased this product agreed that they come packed with features in a compact size. They also agreed that the LS50 model is an overall perfect bookshelf speaker. We liked that they produced fantastic sound in almost every range. They also fit perfectly into nearly any size room. We loved that you could hear every note when playing music. We could hear what the sound engineer intended us to hear.
4. KEF R300
Best Passive Bookshelf Speaker Under $2000
Sound Level (Loudest Volume)
15.16” x 8.27” x 13.58”
Here is another excellent product from KEF. This model is the only passive speaker models that we are reviewing. A passive speaker is one that is powered externally. An external amplifier powers the woofer and tweeter. Like the LS50, the R300 uses the Uni-Q array designed driver. The display is designed so that both the high and mid-frequency sounds are coming from the same place for an integrated sound.
It also features another driver to deliver those chest-thumping bass sounds that everyone wants in a speaker. It also boasts KEF’s Z-flex design, which allows for perfect distribution of audio. The cabinet design uses a dampening material to lessen the distortion. It uses fluid dynamics to ensure that you are getting crisp sound every time.
Many of the users who purchased this package enjoyed the fact that when you cranked up the volume on these speakers, you get the real audio experience. They performed well at high volumes. We liked that these speakers performed well in any size room. They can be placed on your countertop or in a large living room.
5. Kanto YU3
Value For Money
Sound Level (Loudest Volume)
5.5" x 7.5" x 8.6"
If you are searching for a powered model, then this is the one for you. Kanto offers great quality speakers at a reasonable price point. It is also the only model that we have reviewed that offers Bluetooth capability. It is perfect for streaming your favorite playlist from your phone or computer.
The YU3 features two optical audio connections to suit all of your needs. It also comes with Bluetooth 4.0 and a 3.5 mm mini-jack AUX. It is capable of pushing out 30 Watts per channel. It boasts a class D amplifier, which is excellent for getting clean sound at any range. It has 4 inch Kevlar drivers and silk dome tweeters. You can easily add a subwoofer into your setup with the sub out port.
Customers really enjoyed that these speakers were ready for anything out of the box. Users also appreciated the compact size. They claimed that the Bluetooth functionality was perfect for streaming. It remained connected without dropping the signal for the duration of use. It also comes with an auto-off feature to prevent overuse.
Matching Amps and Speakers
If you are going to take the time to research a new set of bookshelf speakers, you want to ensure that you are going to produce the best sound possible. To do this, you need to understand how to match an amplifier with your specific speaker set.
The first term that you should know is impedance. It is often measured in Ohms and is the first step in learning how to match your speakers. Speakers have ratings within a specified range of Ohms, usually around 4 to 8. Amplifiers also operate effectively within a specified range of 4 to 16 Ohms. You will need to check the specs of your speaker and amp to ensure that it will be able to handle the wattage.
If your speaker is rated for between 4 and 8 Ohms, and your amp is rated to be effective between 4 and 16 Ohms, then they are a good match. Keep in mind that your speakers need to be rated to handle the wattage output of the amp, so check the spec sheets.
Active vs Passive Bookshelf Speakers
Depending on your setup, there are a few key features that you need to be aware of when purchasing bookshelf speakers. You might be wondering, what is the difference between active and passive speakers.
In simple terms, an active speaker is one that comes with a built-in amplifier. A passive speaker is connected to an external amp with speaker wires. There are benefits to each of them, and it will depend on what you are looking for.
Active speakers filter the sound through a crossover before the amplifier. This usually means that the sound will be produced simultaneously between the woofer and tweeters. Active devices also allow for wireless applications.
Passive speakers have fewer wires, and they are easier to place in any setup. It is also easier to upgrade your amp for more power if it is not embedded within the speaker.
How To Use Bookshelf Speakers
Now that you have your new speakers, you’re probably wondering how to use them. The first step is getting them in place and connected. Find the perfect location for your speakers and place the cabinets in place. Leave yourself plenty of space to connect the wires.
Most bookshelf speakers that we have reviewed simply require you to plug them into a power outlet. You also need to make sure that the positive and negative speaker wires are connected into the corresponding terminal on the receiver.
When using your speakers, make sure to allow for a brief break-in period. This will enhance the sound quality of the drivers. Leave some music playing for a couple of hours when you can. This will break the drivers in and allow them to expand.
Care and Maintenance of Speakers
You need to take care of your new investment to ensure that it will produce quality sound for a long time. One of the most critical aspects is to take care of dust before it builds up. Make sure the cones and speaker screens are free of debris. You can use a computer air sprayer to clean dust.
To maintain the cabinet of your speakers, gently wipe them down with a microfiber cloth to remove dust. You can also extend the glossy shine of your speakers by using a safe automotive finishing spray.
Common Bookshelf Speakers Issues & Fixes
Even though these models are low maintenance, some common issues may arise. We will discuss how you can quickly solve them so that you can use your speakers.
If you experience a humming sound from the subwoofer, it is likely the result of a ground loop hum. You can quickly fix this by isolating the humming sound. Unplug your devices one by one to discover the source. It is often a cable box. Place a ground loop isolator between the connection and the problem will be solved.
Another common problem is receivers suddenly shutting down in the middle of your favorite song or movie. This leaves you with silence. To remedy this problem, check to make sure there are no loose speaker wires. If one piece of copper wire is not adequately connected, it can cause your receiver to shut down.
Frequently Asked Questions
Where is the best location to place these bookshelf speakers?
This will depend on the setup of your environment. Most of the time, you should place one speaker on either side of your TV. This will allow maximum sound distribution. You should put them about 8 to 10 feet away from your listening area.
How do I minimize playback interference?
Make sure that all of the connections in your setup are appropriately connected. If one speaker wire is out of place, you can receive annoying humming sounds. You can also add ground loop isolators, which you can find on Amazon. Make sure that the receivers are far enough away from each other to minimize interference.
Are expensive speakers worth it?
In this review, we have discussed the best bookshelf speakers under $2,000. This is a moderate range budget. Some speakers may cost thousands of dollars. If you have the budget for them, they are generally the best quality sounding speakers. We recommend if you are a regular user that wants quality sound for movies or music, then stick to the $2,000 range.
What kind of audio performance can I expect from bookshelf speakers under $2,000?
The models that we have reviewed all had excellent sound quality. They were above average when it came to clean and crisp sound. You can expect fantastic audio experiences for a great price point.
How can speaker stands improve bookshelf speaker performance?
If you place your speakers on a stand, you may experience better audio. The main reason is that a bookshelf has many surfaces. This can cause reflections of the sound produced. The surfaces will cause the sound to reverberate. Stands bring the speaker up higher, and they are freestanding.
We have taken the time to review and compare all of the best bookshelf speakers under $2,000 that are available on the market. This review will be your guide when you decide to make your purchase. All of the products that we discussed are fantastic options depending on what type of speaker you want.
In our opinion, the best bookshelf speaker under $2,000 has to go to the Focal Aria 906 2-Way Bass Reflex Bookshelf Speakers. We chose this unit because of its patented flax cone design. It is truly revolutionary in the production of sound from a bookshelf speaker.
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