Bookshelf Speakers Review

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Why Should I Buy Bookshelf Speakers?

Bookshelf speakers are more versatile than any other pair of speakers available for home entertainment. You can use them as your mains or surrounds; you can place them on bookshelves, perch them on stands or even hang them from your walls. There are various options you can choose when it comes to your home audio speakers, and a quality pair of bookshelf speakers can complement your system.

Sound bars and home theater in a box systems are quick solutions to upgrade the quality of your home entertainment center but don’t offer any flexibility or the sound quality that a nice pair of bookshelf speakers can. Some of the best bookshelf speakers we reviewed are the Klipsch B-20, Polk TSx200B and Boston Acoustics CS 26. Any of these can bring punch, depth and clarity to your home stereo system as either surrounds or your main speakers. For more information check out our learning center for articles on bookshelf speakers.

Bookcase speakers are also priced to provide high-quality audio in your home without emptying your wallet. You can purchase a pair of top-rated bookshelf speakers for a portion of the cost of floor standing speakers or a boxed home theater system, yet you still get great quality audio and powerful volume. The advantages of owning bookshelf speakers are evident.

Bookshelf Speakers: What to Look For

The list of criteria below will help you sift through the top-rated bookshelf speakers to find the right pair for you. Choosing the right speakers needn’t be a difficult chore. With the following information, you will be able to make a purchase decision free of stress.

Performance
Ultimately, the sound produced by any speaker is what makes or breaks it. For each speaker, we’ve evaluated the quantitative measures that go into making great sound. In an ideal world, a speaker could reproduce the entire range of human hearing, which is generally accepted to span from an extremely low 20 hertz (Hz), or cycles per second, clear up to 20,000Hz, more frequently written as 20kHz. In practice, no bookshelf speaker creates that entire range so we look at those that come closest.

Look for speakers with high efficiency ratings. Anything above 90 decibels is more than ideal. Speakers with high efficiency ratings convert electricity into sound with little power. The less a speaker has to strain, the better it will sound.

Design
The enclosure design has an effect on the sound, particularly on the quantity and quality of bass produced. Bass-reflex speakers use the rearward movement of the low-frequency driver to create additional bass. That sound pressure is routed outward, either rearward or forward through a bass-reflex port. Sealed enclosures typically produce less bass response, but the overall tonal quality is more accurate.

The overall size of your speakers can make a big difference in how your speaker will sound and where you can place your speakers. Small bookshelf speakers can be placed in narrow spaces or hung on your wall with relative ease. Bigger bookshelf speakers generally have larger woofers or drivers and can produce bigger and bolder bass response.

Drivers
Drivers are the individual sound transducers contained within a speaker enclosure. Most bookshelf speakers include a single low-frequency driver for reproducing bass and mid-range tones and a tweeter, or high-frequency driver, for the upper ranges. A passive crossover is included which routes signals of a specified frequency to the correct driver. While it’s generally true that a larger driver can produce lower bass because it can move more air at greater pressure, there are other factors such as driver material and construction that play a part in producing the best sound.

Help & Support
Bookshelf speakers don’t typically require much customer support, but as with any consumer product, there are always times when help is needed. We look at the various support avenues provided by the manufacturer. We also make note of product warranties.

Bookshelf speakers are an integral part of most sound systems, whether as main speakers or to provide surround sound. These compact speakers are more versatile than just about any other speaker available – and more affordable too. They can be strong additions to your current home theater setup.

 
 
Electronics » Home Audio » Bookshelf Speakers Review
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Rank #1#2#3#4#5#6#7#8#9#10
10-9  Excellent
8-6    Good
5-4    Average
3-2    Poor
1-0    Bad
Klipsch Synergy Polk TSx Boston Acoustics CS Polk RTiA Cerwin-Vega XLS PSB Alpha JBL ES Fluance XL BIC America Definitive Technology ProMonitor
Klipsch Synergy Polk TSx Boston Acoustics CS Polk RTiA Cerwin-Vega XLS PSB Alpha JBL ES Fluance XL BIC America Definitive Technology ProMonitor
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Lowest Price
Visit Klipsch Synergy B-20
$221.95
Visit Polk TSx 220B
$299.00
Visit Boston Acoustics CS 26
$96.75
Visit Polk RTiA 1
$282.60
Visit Cerwin-Vega XLS 6
$119.00
Visit PSB Alpha B1
$299.99
Visit JBL ES 20
$129.99
Visit Fluance XL 7S
$179.99
Visit BIC America DV62si
$109.99
Visit Definitive Technology ProMonitor 800
$144.99
Ratings
9.38
9.23
8.88
8.40
8.25
8.10
8.07
7.82
7.75
7.28
10
9
8
7
6
5
4
3
2
1
10.00
8.75
8.75
10.00
9.38
8.13
10.00
9.38
8.13
8.75
10.00
9.38
8.13
8.75
8.13
9.38
8.13
6.25
10.00
9.38
8.13
8.13
7.50
9.38
6.88
10.00
7.50
9.38
8.13
7.50
7.50
8.13
7.50
6.25
10.00
6.88
6.88
8.75
6.88
6.25
 
Performance
Sound Quality Score (Percentage) 100 95 95 90 90 85 80 85 80 85
Sensitivity (dB) 92.5 90 89 89 85 89 86 84 90 89
Low Frequency Response (Hz) 62 42 52 30 50 65 60 60 43 57
High Frequency Response (kHz) 23 25 25 27 20 21 40 20 21 30
Peak Power (watts) 340 125 150 125 125 90 125 120 175 150
Nominal Impedance (ohms) 8 8 8 8 6, 8 8 8 8 8 8
Design
Inputs Single Posts 5-way 5-way 5-way 2-way 5-way 5-way 2-way 5-way 2-way
Enclosure Type Bass Reflex Bass Reflex Bass Reflex Bass Reflex Bass Reflex Bass Reflex Bass Reflex Bass Reflex Bass Reflex Bass Reflex
Height (inches) 12.5 14 12.25 12 15.2 11.9 12.5 11.4 14.2 8.4
Width (inches) 7 8 8.25 7.4 7.9 7.2 6.9 8.1 8.9 4.9
Depth (inches) 8 12 9.1 11.5 11.5 9.75 8 9 9.1 5
Weight (pounds) 11 13.6 10 12 16 10.2 10.3 8.6 15.5 3
Available Color Options Black Ash Black, Cherry Black, Cherry Black, Cherry Black Black Ash, Sienna, Dark Cherry Black, Cherry Dark Walnut, Cherry Black, Oak Black, White
Drivers
Low Frequency Driver Size (inches) 5.25 6.25 6.5 5.25 6.5 5.25 5 5 6.5 4.5
Low Driver Type IMG Dynamic Balance Bi-laminate Cone DCD Graphite Injected Polymer Dynamic Balance Driver with Polymer Composite Cone Fiber Impregnated Cone Metalized Polypropylene Cone PolyPlas Polymer Poly/Graphite  
High-Frequency Driver Size (inches) 0.75 1 1 1 1 0.75 0.75 1 0.75 1
High Driver Type Tractix Horn Silk/Polymer Dynamic Balance Dome Kortec Soft Dome Dynamic Balance Silk Polymer Composite Dome Soft Dome Tweeter with Ferrofluid Aluminum Dome with Ferrofluid Titanium- laminate Dome, Shielded; EOS Waveguide Neodymium Balanced Silk Dome Ferrofluid Cooled Poly Soft Dome Poly Soft Dome
Crossover Frequency 2,250   2,500 1,900 2,000 3,000 3,300, 12,000   3,500  
Help & Support
Warranty 5 years 5 years 5 years 5 years 5 years 5 years 5 years Lifetime 7 years 5 years
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