Best Bookshelf Speakers to Experience Real Surround Sound in the UK

Review & Comparison, Last Update December 4, 2019
To fully enjoy the finest quality sound, you need good speakers. We have chosen the five best bookshelf speakers so that you can decide which ones are the most suitable for you. ...Read more ...Read less
BEST 2019
PROS
CONS
OUR VERDICT
Number of Drivers
Number of Ways
Sensitivity
Frequency Range
Rated Resistance
Interfaces
Dimensions
Warranty
 
PROS

The set includes a functional remote control that not only helps you switch the sound sources but also allows controlling the bass and treble level, thanks to the active crossover. 

CONS

The quality of the speaker cable could be better.

OUR VERDICT

The Steljes NS3 has a relatively high power output of 90 Watts that makes these speakers perfectly suitable for open spaces and larger areas. Meanwhile, the Black Piano colour will let you seamlessly fit them into any interior.

detailed parameters
Number of Drivers

2 active speakers (2 x 45 W)

Number of Ways

2-way: 4" Cone woofer and 1" dome tweeter

Sensitivity

85 dB

Frequency Range

60 Hz – 20 KHz

Rated Resistance

4 Ohms

Interfaces

Bluetooth, RCA-in, AUX-in, Optical-in, Sub-woofer out, USB-charging port

Dimensions

14 x 19 x 21 cm (1 speaker)

Warranty

1 year

PROS

The design provides for a  5" woofer with aramid fibre/paper cone material, hence, the low frequencies will be super deep. Also, thanks to that, you will get a pure three-dimensional sound that fills all the space in your room. 

CONS

A protective grid is somewhat hard to maintain.

OUR VERDICT

The Q Acoustics 3020 Speakers are highly appreciated among the audiophiles and music fans who want to enjoy the quality of sound without overpaying. It is a great budget set of a stereo receiver and 2 speakers that has numerous positive comments from Hi-fi sound magazines. 

detailed parameters
Number of Drivers

2 speakers (recommended power for 1 speaker: 25 - 75 W)

Number of Ways

2-way: 5" Cone woofer and 1" dome tweeter

Sensitivity

88 dB

Frequency Range

64 Hz - 22 kHz

Rated Resistance

6 Ohms

Interfaces

Pair of contacts on each speaker for connecting with a receiver 

Dimensions

17 x 22.6 x 26 cm (1 speaker)

Warranty

5 years

PROS

The built-in Bluetooth ensures quick and intuitive wireless connectivity to different mobile gadgets like a phone or a tablet. The LED indicator (conveniently located on the side) will show the connection status. 

CONS

The dome tweeters are rather small.

OUR VERDICT

If you seek a good pair of bookshelf speakers that can be easily connected to any audio-video device, we highly recommend purchasing this model. The speakers boast an intuitive modern interface and are fitted with Optical-in and Coaxial-in ports. 

detailed parameters
Number of Drivers

2 active speakers (2 x 21 W)

Number of Ways

2-way: 4" Cone woofer and 0.5" dome tweeter

Sensitivity

85 dB

Frequency Range

55 Hz - 20 kHz

Rated Resistance

Not specified

Interfaces

Bluetooth, RCA-in (2 inputs), Optical-in, Coaxial-in, Sub-woofer out, USB-charging port

Dimensions

14.6 x 17.8 x 24.1 cm (1 speaker)

Warranty

2 years

PROS

Each speaker has 2 pairs of connectors that allow using them for separating the signal paths to the high and low frequencies. The connectors boast the 24K gold plating for better performance.

CONS

The receiver equalizer needs manual adjustment.

OUR VERDICT

The set of two passive speakers from Wharfedale Diamond can not only serve you as a stereo acoustic system but also they can help you turn the 5.1 channel system into a 7.1 or 9.1 channel system. Besides, curved cabinets in a walnut design look luxurious.

detailed parameters
Number of Drivers

2 speakers (recommended power for 1 speaker: 20 - 100 W)

Number of Ways

2-way: 5" Cone woofer and 1" dome tweeter

Sensitivity

86 dB

Frequency Range

50 Hz - 24 kHz

Rated Resistance

6 Ohms

Interfaces

2 pairs of contacts on each speaker for connecting with a receiver

Dimensions

19.4 x 27.8 x 29.6 cm (1 speaker)

Warranty

1 year

PROS

Apart from mechanical regulators, one of the speakers is fitted with a 3.5 mm output for headphones. It will come in handy if you decide to place these compact speakers on your desk and connect them to your laptop. 

CONS

The remote operating range is a bit short.  

OUR VERDICT

No matter if you want to listen to music, watch videos with advanced sound effects or make your gaming experience brighter, this set of speakers will impress you with the sound quality and cover all your regular needs. It's a great solution for mid-sized and small rooms.

detailed parameters
Number of Drivers

2 active speakers (2 x 30 W)

Number of Ways

2-way: 4" Cone woofer and 1" dome tweeter

Sensitivity

~85 dB

Frequency Range

30 Hz - 20 kHz

Rated Resistance

8 Ohms

Interfaces

Bluetooth, RCA-in, AUX-in, Headphones-out

Dimensions

16 x 20.5 x 28 cm (1 speaker)

Warranty

1 year

Steljes Audio NS3

A Choice for Larger Areas

The Steljes Audio NS3 Powered Loud Speakers is a set of compact, yet, loud bookshelf speakers that will fit the bill of all the music lovers. With their help, you will be able to enjoy your favourite songs in the best sound quality.

First and foremost, this set is powerful enough to provide you with a deep, voluminous sound. Each speaker is fitted with a 4" cone woofer and a 1" dome tweeter. Each active speaker has a 4-inch woven fibreglass grid to filter out and disperse the sound. The maximum power output is 45 Watts, thus, offering 90 Watts in total. The frequency range can vary from 60 Hz to 20 kHz. Hence, they will be a good choice for open spaces and larger rooms. The speakers are connected via the speaker wire, but its quality could be better, so, you may want to use a different one.

To set up the speakers, you will need 2 cables: a speaker wire to connect them with each other, and a power cable. Thanks to their compact dimensions, the NS3 speakers can be placed almost anywhere you want.

As for the interface, this set of speakers is packed with a number of convenient features. First off, it comes with a built-in Bluetooth that allows you to connect the speakers to your phone, tablet or laptop wirelessly. This model offers an RCA connection to DVD players and similar devices and a 3.5 mm stereo and optical output for connecting the speakers to your TV. A subwoofer output is included as well. And lastly, it has a USB-port for charging.

Review of Steljes Audio NS3 Powered Loud Bookshelf Speakers

Convenient Remote Control

The set includes a functional remote control that will not only help you switch the sound sources but also allow controlling the bass and treble level according to the style of music you are listening to, thanks to the active crossover. You can also adjust volume, change tracks, turn on Bluetooth and more.

The other point worth mentioning is the model design. The Steljes speakers are available in bright vivid colours such as Coal Black, Vermilion Red, Artisan Blue, and Lagoon Blue. So, they can spice up any modern interior. However, if you prefer classic design, the Piano Black finish will be a good fit for any room. Each speaker has a size of 14 x 19 x 21 cm. The stated net weight is 6.1 kilos.

There are a few technical specs left that we want to mention. The sensitivity of this model is 85 dB. The nominal insurance is 4 Ohms. It is also fitted with a Class D amplifier.

As you can see, the Steljes Audio NS3 set isn’t considered one of the best all-in-one stereo systems for nothing. Despite being pretty compact, it can fill even a huge room with deep sound.

Steljes Audio NS3 Powered Loud Bookshelf Speakers in the use

Additional Info

    Manufacturer


 

Q Acoustics 3020

Best Bookshelf Speakers Under 200

If you are an avid music fan who highly appreciates listening to the top-quality sound, yet, you don’t want to overpay for the brand name, we are sure the following model will catch your fancy. The Q Acoustics 3020 is a good set that takes a decent place in our selection of the best bookshelf speakers.

This set is considered one of the best speakers under £200, thanks to its dimensional sound. When purchasing the Q Acoustic 3020, you will get a kit that includes a stereo receiver with 2 passive speakers. The construction features a 5" woofer with a cone made of aramid fibre/paper material, hence, the basses will sound super deep, crisp, and vivid. Also, owing to that, you will be able to enjoy three-dimensional sound that fills all the space in your room and watch films with much better sound effects. The size of the bass unit is 125 mm and the size of the treble unit equals 25 mm accordingly

As for the power of 2 passive speakers, the recommended output varies from 25 to 75 Watts. The listed crossover frequency is 2.9kHz and the speakers' sensitivity is pretty decent 88 dB. The nominal impedance of these speakers is 6 Ohms with minimal resistance of 4 Ohms. The manufacturer states that these bookshelf speakers are not the best option for large rooms but they will be loud enough for medium and smaller areas.

The interface of this model consists of a pair of contacts on the back of each speaker for connecting with a receiver. To set them up, you will just need a single wire.

Review of Q Acoustics 3020 Bookshelf Speakers

Durable Set

Moving on to the exterior, these speakers are medium-sized and will easily fit onto a shelf, TV table or coffee table. The size of each speaker is 22.61 x 17.02 x 26.16 cm and the weight is 4.6 kg. The Cabinet of each speaker is made of MDF panels. The drivers are covered in Kevlar-type material that gives the sound natural tonality. Design-wise, this set is pretty classic. You can select between 4 colour patterns: Graphite, Chestnut Brown, Gloss White or Gloss Black. The only flaw in the design we've noticed is that a protective grid is somewhat hard to maintain and will take you some effort to remove the dust.

The speakers not only offer good performance but they are also pretty durable that is proven by a prolonged 5-year manufacturer warranty.

To wrap the whole thing up, the Q Acoustics 3020 Bookshelf Speakers are one of the best sets on the modern market. They sound well, have a nice compact design and are pretty budget-friendly comparing to other similar models.

Q Acoustics 3020 Bookshelf Speakers in the use

Additional Info

    Manufacturer


 

Edifier R1280DB

Connect to Any Entertainment System

Those users who seek a pair of functional bookshelf speakers distinguished by an optimal price-to-quality ratio are strongly recommended to take a closer look at the Edifier R1280DB speaker set. Fitted with a built-in amplifier, it delivers truly decent sound quality.

Starting off, one of the best things about this model is that the built-in Bluetooth ensures quick and intuitive wireless connectivity to all mobile gadgets. So, it can be easily paired with your smartphone, tablet or laptop. The LED indicator will show you if the speakers are connected. And wisely located on the side, it is not too distracting.

The next benefit of this model that can't be overlooked is a great number of inputs and outputs. On the back of the body, you can find 2 RCA inputs for DVD players and an Optical input for connectivity to your TV. There are also a coaxial input and a Sub-woofer output. Basically, you will be able to connect these speakers to any entertainment system. The 2 RCA cables and an optical cable are included in the box as well as a speaker connection wire.

The other strong point is that the speakers are easy to control. The manufacturer provides a remote control that will allow you to adjust the volume, turn the Bluetooth on and off, choose tracks and, most importantly, switch between inputs with no hassle. There are also 3 control dials on the side of the speaker to adjust treble and volume manually.

Review of Edifier R1280DB Active Remote Control Bookshelf Speakers

Nice Wooden Finish

This set from Edifier includes 2 active speakers each with the power of 21 watts. There are 2 ways in this model: a 4" cone woofer and a 0.5" dome tweeter. We wish though that the tweeter would be a bit bigger but its small size doesn’t impact the music quality too much. Their frequency range is between 55 Hz and 20 kHz with the sensitivity of 85 dB.

The size of each speaker is 114.6 x 17.8 x 24.1 cm, which makes them one of the most compact models in our shortlist. You can easily fit them onto the shelf or complete with a speaker stand. The speakers' body is coated with a nice wooden finish that looks elegant and up-to-date and will blend with pretty much any interior design giving it a dash of modern style.

Lastly, we want to mention that the quality of this set of budget speakers is supported by a 2-year warranty, so, you can rest assured you'll get a reliable piece of equipment.

In brief, if you seek speakers that provide good value for the money, you can't go wrong with the Edifier R1280DB bookshelf speakers. Their intuitive interface and functionality make them a worthy buy for any melomaniac.

Edifier R1280DB Active Remote Control Bookshelf Speakers in the use

Additional Info

User Manual     Manufacturer


 

Wharfedale Diamond 9.1

Advanced Interface

Are you looking for an audio system that not only sounds good but also is sleek and stylish? If so, look no further: the Wharfedale DIAMOND 9.1 will fit you to a T and surely improve your music listening experience.

To begin with, the speakers are fitted with 2 drivers. Their size is pretty average: the cone woofer is about 5 inches and a dome tweeter is 1 inch. The cone woofer boasts Kevlar coating, and the tweeter is made of textile material. What we also really like about this model is that it can serve you as a stereo acoustic system and it can help you upgrade your 5.1 channel system to a 7.1 or 9.1 channel system.

The next important point of any speaker set is the interface. Each speaker has 2 pairs of contacts to link with a receiver. These connectors can also be used for separating the signal paths to the high and low frequencies. Distinguished by the 24K gold plating for even greater performance, they help achieve close contact and don’t oxidize even after a long period of use.

There is one thing, though, we want to warn you about. At first, when you connect the speakers, the sound may not be particularly clear. To achieve the best quality, you just need to adjust the equalizer in the receiver, but do it carefully in order not to go over the top.

Review of Wharfedale Diamond 9.1 Bookshelf Speakers

Curved Design

The front of each speaker features two reflex bass ports ensuring superior bass sound. Moving on to the technical specs, these 2 speakers from Wharfedale can handle the power in the range of 20 to 100 watts. The stated sensitivity is pretty basic (86 dB). Next, the frequency range is 50 Hz - 24 kHz. The maximum resistance is 6 Ohms.

As we mentioned before, this set of front-ported speakers will please you not only with a well-balanced sound but also with a stunning look. There are 3 body colour options available: black, walnut and carbon fibre. The first 2 options have a nice wooden finish. Users really like that the cabinets of the speakers have a curved shape that gives them a luxurious look (even though this set of speakers is pretty affordable).

All in all, the Wharfedale DIAMOND 9.1 bookshelf speakers are a good choice for home use. They have a pretty modest size and offer high performance, and that’s everything we could ask for. So, if you strive to listen to your favourite tracks in premium sound quality, don’t hesitate and purchase this set!

Wharfedale Diamond 9.1 Bookshelf Speakers in the use

Additional Info

    Manufacturer


 

1 BY ONE 436UK-0005

For Small and Average Rooms

The 1 BY ONE Wireless Classic Bookshelf Speakers are a decent choice for those who are on a shoestring budget. These small speakers produce voluminous sound and have an advanced interface, so, we are sure they can meet the expectation even of the most hardcore music lovers.

The speaker set from 1 BY ONE is fitted with 2 ways (a 1" dome tweeter and a 5" cone woofer). The working power of the 2 active speakers from this set is stated to be 30 watts for each speaker unit or 60 watts in total. Their sensitivity is 85 dB with a resistance of 8 Ohms. Some users point out that these bookshelf speakers will be a better fit for average and smaller spaces.

These wireless speakers can be controlled by a remote. It allows you to adjust volume, turn on the speakers, activate Bluetooth and more from a distance. Yet, we wish that this distance would be a bit bigger. But since we mentioned that these speakers will work best in small and middle-sized rooms, we hope it won’t be a huge problem. If you don’t want to use the remote, there are also control buttons on the side of the body manually to set the bass, treble and audio the way you need.

Despite being on a cheaper side, these bookshelf speakers have a clear interface and can provide wireless connectivity, thanks to a built-in Bluetooth. Hence, you can play music from your phone, computer or tablet. They are also complete with an RCA and AUX inputs to let you connect this set to a variety of entertainment devices.

Review of 1 BY ONE 436UK-0005 Wireless Classic Bookshelf Speaker System

... and for the Tabletop Use

Apart from mechanical regulators, one of the speakers is fitted with a 3.5 mm output for headphones. It will come in handy if you decide to place these compact speakers on your desk and connect them to your computer or laptop. You will be able to spend your time listening to music and without disturbing others.

The other point proving that these speakers will be a good tabletop choice is their size. The dimension of one speaker is 16 x 20.5 x 28 cm. They have a rectangular shape and come in classic black colour with a mat finish. Such a simple design makes this set suitable for pretty much any interior.

Last but not least, the manufacturer equipped this model with a safety function. They will switch off automatically after 30 minutes of no use.

If you can’t imagine your life without music or you want to enjoy watching videos and playing games with quality sound effects, the 1 BY ONE Wireless Classic Bookshelf Speakers are for you. They will bring your music listening experience to a whole new level, and you won’t have to break the bank.

1 BY ONE 436UK-0005 Wireless Classic Bookshelf Speaker System in the use

Additional Info

    Manufacturer


 

What Are Bookshelf Speakers?

Shelf acoustic system is an integral part of any desktop HI-FI system. Bookshelf speakers are devices created to be used as a part of a surround stereo system. However, they can also work as independent stereo speakers, if necessary. The speakers of bookshelf acoustic systems usually have two built-in drivers for low and high frequencies reproduction, which ensure a clear and rich sound. The speakers are designed for the use as standalone sound systems with a line level input (you can connect them to an analog sound source with a line out, these are often called active speakers), or for connecting to analog source via an AV receiver or an integrated amplifier (have no built-in amplifier and called passive speakers). Passive speakers may provide a higher quality sound owing to the more effective use of an inner space of the speaker with no space required for an amplifier circuitry.

You can install bookshelf speakers in your home recording studio. Please note that to get the vocals incredibly clear and get rid of the noise, you will need a recording microphone.

In addition, bookshelf speakers can be a useful addition to a home theater. Paired with one of the best 3D TV & Smart TVs, the speakers will contribute to the immersion providing a clear surround sound accompaniment to the picture. This system will give you an opportunity to enjoy evenings with your family watching your favourite movies and shows with a great sound.

What Features to Compare

Looking for a set of good bookshelf speakers, there are some aspects to be aware of: rated power, number of frequency bands (usually equals to the number of drivers), and frequency range.

Power

When you consider a specific speaker, you need to learn its power handling capacity. The maximum input power parameter determines which amplifier you can safely connect the speaker to (to avoid the speaker overload). Keep in mind that the maximum input power of the speakers should be close to the receiver output power for them to operate without the risk of damaging speakers. With that, the nominal speaker input power is also recommended to be roughly equal to the receiver/amplifier nominal output power for the best sound performance. Following these rules, you will enjoy a quality and balanced sound for a long time without any damages to your speakers or amplifier. In this regard, there is one more important feature to note - the speakers resistance (impedance). This parameter is usually specified in ohms. To avoid any damage to your equipment you need to observe the impedance matching: the amplifier has to be capable of working with the impedance that your speakers have. You need to use the speakers with a resistance not lower than the specified minimum load resistance of your amp or receiver, otherwise, your equipment may get damaged. On the other hand, if the resistance of the speakers is higher than the maximum recommended for the receiver you may experience a lack of input power resulting in an inability to get a sound loud enough and balanced along the frequency range. As for the efficiency of the power supplied from an amp/receiver, we suggest checking the sensitivity parameter of the speakers. It is measured in dB/mW or dB/V and shows how loud your speakers will play if supplied a sound signal of a certain power.

Number of Bands

Depending on your needs and preferences, you have to decide how many frequency bands your new bookshelf speakers are to have. This characteristic has an impact on the overall quality of sound reproduction. Typically, bookshelf speakers have two or more bands. Two bands mean that there are two drivers in the speaker with each dedicated to reproducing the sound in its own frequency range for better efficiency and sound experience. The most common combination is LF/MF + HF drivers.

Frequency Range

The wider frequency range the speakers are capable of reproducing, the more detailed and rich sound you will enjoy from them. While the lower limit (Hz) lets you know how deep will the bass go on the speakers (clearly heard in drum, bass guitar, organon sections), the higher limit (kHz) shows how far they will reach in terms of high-frequency sound reproduction (cymbals and percussion, high notes in vocal parts, wind instruments).

FAQ:

Q: What is the difference between active and passive speakers?
A: First of all, active speakers have a built-in amplifier for their drivers while passive speakers do not have one. The second difference is that active speakers require an electric grounding for their input sockets and passive speakers, as a rule, operate without grounding. And, finally, the active type provides an advanced control over the amplifier and the sound of speakers in general, which allows you to adjust the speakers' loudness and tonal balance. With that, passive speakers, for the most part, do not provide such features.

Q: What inputs do speakers usually have?
A: Speakers come with inputs for an analog (continuous) signal, which can be of line in type (not amplified) and amplified type or combine both input types. At that, input signals can be fed to the speakers via wires with different types of connectors (for example, RCA connectors are used for computer and home speakers, while XLR or balanced ones for professional speakers). In modern home theaters, speakers can even use a wireless connection for receiving a digital signal.

Q: What is the difference between stereo speakers and subwoofers?
A: The stereo speakers are standalone pieces of audio equipment usually equipped with two or more drivers, which are capable of reproducing the sound of all frequencies of the audible range. A subwoofer comes with a dedicated low-frequency driver for reproducing the lows only. As a rule, subwoofer connects to a special output (if there is one) of your audio device (player, amplifier, and so on) and complements other speakers.

Q: Why do some speakers have tweeters located between two midrange drivers?
A: It is so because of the D'Appolito design (named after the inventor). The main idea is to reduce the phase displacement between medium and high frequencies (the aim is to achieve an ideal point-like source), and avoid spurious reflections from the floor. It is especially useful when your speakers are "tall".

Q: What is a ribbon tweeter?
A: A ribbon tweeter has a membrane made of very delicate and thin material. It is accordion-fold and moves corresponding to the current in the voice coil. In comparison with the usual dynamic dome, the ribbon twitter has a much greater effective area and speed of operation. As for the advantages, we would mention a wide diaphragm and the ability to reach extreme ranges (above 20 kHz). Talking about the minuses of such speakers, it is their high cost.

Q: Can the bookshelf speakers be mounted on the wall?
A: Bookshelf speaker wall mount is a very convenient option. It will save some place for other things. Some models have a wall mount while others do not. It is pretty easy to clarify just looking through a manual or asking a manufacturer (or you can find this information on an official website).

Sources:

1. Kristen Schaub Home stereo speakers buying guide, Crutchfield. December 05, 2016.

2. Joshua Crane Intro to home theater speakers, Crutchfield. March 20, 2017.

3. Caleb Denison How to buy speakers like a boss: A beginner’s guide to home audio, Digital Trends. January 26, 2015.

4. How to Buy Bookshelf Speakers, eBay. March 3, 2016.

5. How to: Choosing the correct speakers for a room, Klipsch.

6. Steve Guttenberg The dirty little secret about bookshelf speakers, CNET. March 21, 2015.

7. Andrew Murphy How to choose the right speakers, part one: research, What Hi-Fi? December 7, 2016.

8. Gary Altunian Important Factors to Consider Before Buying Stereo Speakers, Lifewire. March 28, 2017.

9. Gene DellaSala Bookshelf vs Tower Speakers: Which Should I Get? Audioholics. August 31, 2015.

10. How to Choose Speakers for a Bedroom, HowStuffWorks.

11. How to Shop for Speakers, wikiHow.

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Publish Date: 2019-12-04 09:20:18