The 16 Best Bookshelf Speakers Under $200 in 2021

Best Speakers
Best-Bookshelf-Speakers-Under-200

Sound, a phenomenon that can evoke emotions or change one’s mood. A life without sound is dull and numb. Different applications of sound like music, entertainment, or media to name a few have become an integral part of our lives. The most popular medium of sound today is a speaker.

In the past to enjoy high-quality audio, spending thousands of dollars on speakers was fairly common but with the advent of new technologies, we are at a point where good audio has trickled down into the lower end of the market. If you have not been following the speaker industry during this time you would be amazed by the sound quality that can be had for $200.

Yes, we picked a budget of $200 today because we believe that this is the best sweet spot for value and performance. Klipsch, Polk, Fluance, JBL, and all other major brands have a presence in this segment and are vowing for supremacy.

This article will contain the 16 best bookshelf speakers under 200 dollars that are available on the market. The main criteria on which speakers are selected on the list is sound quality. For your ease, we have also subdivided the speakers into the categories they fit. The categories define the character of the speaker and what they are best at.

Please take note of thing that even though the categories define the main purpose of the speaker, they are not limited to just the category they are placed in and can also be used for other purposes as well. 

  1. Jamo S 803 – Overall The Best Bookshelf Speakers Under $200
  2. Klipsch Synergy Black Label B-200 – Best Bookshelf Speakers for Home Theatre
  3. Polk Audio S10 – Best Compact Bookshelf Speakers for Home Theatre
  4. Edifier R1850DB – Best Bluetooth Bookshelf Speakers
  5. PreSonus Eris E3.5 BT – Best Budget Bookshelf Speakers with Bluetooth
  6. Sony SSCS5Best Value For Money
  7. Micca RB42 – Best Bookshelf Speakers for Music
  8. Fluance SX6 – Best Bookshelf Speakers for Stereo
  9. Klipsch R-41M – Best Bookshelf Speakers for PC Under
  10. Fluance Signature – Best Bookshelf Speakers for Turntable
  11. Yamaha NS-6490 – Best Bookshelf Speakers with Bass
  12. NHT SuperZero 2.1Best Budget Bookshelf Speakers
  13. BIC America DV62si – Best Bookshelf Speakers for Movies
  14. Polk Audio TSi100 – Best Bookshelf Speakers for Classical Music
  15. Polk Audio OWM3 – Best Bookshelf Speakers for Wall Mounting
  16. Dayton Audio B652-AIR – Best Cheap Bookshelf Speakers

Why Should You Buy Bookshelf Speakers?

A plausible question indeed, because we have seen many people confused about the different types of speakers. In this section let’s go through the basics of bookshelf speakers and their utilization.

Although named bookshelf speakers these speakers are not only meant for bookshelf use. Yes, their primary objective is to be on a shelf but nowadays bookshelf speakers refer to speakers that you can put anywhere besides the floor.

When talking about their application and use bookshelf speakers are becoming increasingly popular for computer use. Blasting music while playing games or in between a work break takes away some of the anxiety and relaxes your mind.

Another segment in which bookshelf speaker is increasingly utilized is in portable audio application. The small size and the availability of Bluetooth feature on some speakers is what makes bookshelf speakers feasible for this purpose.

There are also other applications but here creativity is your best friend. You can use a bookshelf speaker in any application your heart desires again iterating the fact that as long as it does not require bookshelf speakers on the floor because they do not excel in that regard.

Best Bookshelf Speakers under 200 Buying Guide

Best Bookshelf Speakers Buying Guide

How to Choose the Best Bookshelf Speakers?

Before buying any product and this just not goes for speakers, there are certain aspects that a consumer needs to understand to better identify the product. For this purpose, the buyer’s guide section is necessary before we get to the product list. With this being said let us get to the main aspects of the buyer’s guide which we recommend you understand before making your purchase.

Active Speaker or Passive Speaker

This is the major point of contention between people because most do not fully understand the difference between passive speakers or active speakers. Leaving the audio terms outside and explaining in simple terms, active speakers are the ones that have a built-in amplifier while passive speakers require an external amplifier or a receiver.

Woofer Size and Tweeter Size

The woofer and the tweeter form the main components of a speaker and are responsible for producing sound. A woofer’s objective to generate low-end frequencies while the tweeter is used to produce treble frequencies.

Henceforth, the size of these drivers directly affects the amount of frequency that is being produced. The size of the woofer is especially important because it has more effect on the bass than the tweeter on the treble. This is the reason, we see many speakers today lacking low-end because of a small size woofer.

The Build Quality of the Cabinet

In a speaker, the build quality of the cabinet is very important. A speaker is mostly hollow from the inside and therefore is prone to resonance being produced inside the cabinet. This cabinet can interfere with the frequencies and alter the sound of the speaker.

It is, therefore, necessary to have a solid cabinet made out of dense material. Natural wood is the best composite for this purpose but due to it being expensive we mainly see it in high-end speakers. At this price range, you will find MDF cabinets with vinyl coating.

The solidity of these cabinets depends on the craftsmanship and build quality is not necessarily related to the brand name. We have seen speakers from reputable brands that were not well put together and ended up having resonance. Therefore, when you purchase a speaker make sure to check the cabinet beforehand or purchase from sites that accept returns like amazon.

The Connector

Two types of connectors are used in speakers. The spring-clip connection which was popular in the past is slowly fading away in favor of the new binding post connection. Before buying your speakers check the connection that is utilized by your speaker and buy cables and equipment accordingly.

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16 Best Bookshelf Speakers Under $200

Top Picks & Recommendations

1. Jamo S 803

Overall The Best Bookshelf Speakers Under $200

Jamo S 803 - Overall The Best Bookshelf Speakers Under $200

Even though not widely known to the general masses this company has been operating around since the 1970s. Jamo has been consistently producing quality speakers through the years and this Jamo S803 is among the company’s most popular speakers. People have been raving about this ever since it was released and after checking the product we also firmly believe this is the best bookshelf speaker under $200 in the market today.

Reasons to Buy
Eye-catchy and premium looking design
Dolby Atmos support
Very detail sound
Good soundstage and Excellent imaging
Deep and punchy bass
Reasons to Avoid
Subpar build quality
Recessed mid-range

Design and Build Quality

You cannot deny that this speaker has a drop-dead gorgeous design. Irrespective o,f which color you go for, this speaker looks elegant and classy. On that note, you have a choice of either white, walnut, or black. We especially adore the attention the detail that is given to this product.

To stop the speaker from wobbling on the desk Jamo has attached a base to the speaker and we adore the fact that they have used a contrasting wood finish for the bass. Regardless of the angle, this speaker maintains a classy profile and looks good on all fronts.

Unfortunately, our honey phase with the speaker did not last because when we starting peeking around the speaker we found some deficiencies in the build. The cabinet even though being gorgeous is plagued with the resonance issue when knocked because of its weak nature.

The edges are also not rounded off and feel sharp when holding the speaker. This does not leave a good impression in terms of build quality but we reckon Jamo did the right thing by cutting cost here because you are not going to knock on the speaker every day.

Features and Connectivity

Jamo S803 has a couple of neat practical features but before we get to the features can we just take a moment and appreciate the cover provided by Jamo. It sits evenly around the edges and has a solid feel to the mesh, unlike many other flimsy covers.

Although not the main feature still we would like to start with the front-firing port. This is a good design choice considering the sound of the speaker which you will find more about in the next section.

Now let’s come to the main feature of this speaker and that has to be its support for Dolby Atmos. For the Atmos incorporation, there is a separate five binding post on the back of the speaker that allows you to hook up a module.

Staying on the backside, above the Atmos, you will find a handy keyhole clip attached to the speaker for wall mounting. The main five-way binding posts for the speaker connectivity are located at the bottom so for connecting the speaker use the lower binding posts, not the upper ones are they are for Atmos.

Performance and Sound Quality

Now we are onto the segment where this Jamo S803 truly shines. Right of the bat, we want to preface the great power handling of these speakers. Without the need for hefty amps these churn out loud volumes. The power delivery is also clean and there is no distortion to be had here. If you are interested in the numbers then these speakers have an RMS value of 80W and a peak value of 160W and 87 dB sensitivity at 2.83v.

The sound quality itself is impressive and distinct from the Jamo S803. Even upon the first listening, you can immediately pick up on the detail that is being produced and boy do these speakers produce detail. The imaging is also spot on leading to leading to pinpoint accurate placement of the instruments in the soundstage.

When it comes to the frequencies these speakers have a clear V-shaped response. A V-shaped response refers to the elevated bass and treble and recessed mid-range. These speakers do not hide their intention and blast you with a lot of low-end. They are among the very few speakers that do not require a subwoofer, the bass is just that good.

The treble due to being bright and elevated can lead to some harshness but overall it is very well managed. The main weakness of this speaker is the mid-range. There is not much clarity to the vocals and they sound tiny.

Conclusion

Jamo S803 is proof that audio consumers in this day and age do not need to shell thousands of dollars for a good listening experience. This $200 speaker rivals some of the more expensive speakers and outperforms them in some areas as well. We do not normally agree when people aimlessly throw around the phrase that good audio is getting cheaper because let’s face it mostly the cheap speakers originate from an unknown brand trying to make a mark in the industry but this is the first speaker from a reputable brand that embodies that phrase. It makes us excited to see what others will bring out in response to this speaker but as things stand, the Jamo S803 has firmly established itself as the best bookshelf speaker for under $200

2. Klipsch Synergy Black Label B-100

Best Bookshelf Speakers for Home Theatre

Klipsch Synergy Black Label B-200 - Best Bookshelf Speakers for Home Theatre Under $200

What more can be said about Klipsch that has not already been said. Still, in case you are unaware of the brand, they are renowned for their high fidelity home theatre speakers and other audio equipment. These Klipsch synergy black label b-100 embody the character of the brand i.e producing the best bookshelf speakers for home theatre.

Reasons to Buy
Great build quality
Klipsch tractrix horn technology
Crisp and clean sound
Good soundstage
Reasons to Avoid
Require an amp for best performance
The bass response is lacking

Design and Build Quality

The most notable aspect of the design of this speaker is the integration of a spun copper graphite woofer. This copper woofer is quite an eye-catcher and can be alluring at times. The rest of the enclosure of the speaker is finished in a wooden panel which looks quite good. On the whole, the design of this speaker grabs attention and is not bland like other speakers that are either a good or a bad thing depending on where this speaker is going to be used.

In terms of build quality, you are getting the typical Klipsch treatment here which basically translates into a solid and long-lasting speaker. We could not find a weak point in the construction of these speakers and all the joints also felt robust. These are definitely built to last and if you even remotely take care of them they are fine in the long run.

Features and Connectivity

With the Klipsch synergy b-100 you are getting the brand’s tractrix horn technology. The tractrix horn is a fancy name for a design patented by Klipsch that aims to enhance efficiency, provide a more accurate sound, and at the same time reduce distortions. This horn technology is incorporated by the tweeter of the speaker.

Turning our attention towards the back of the speaker and this is where the hole for the rear-firing bass port is located. Having a rear-firing bass port helps to bring out the oomph in the low-end of the sound.  When it comes to powering these speakers, since they are passive speakers these Klipsch require an external amplifier or a receiver. Fortunately, these are not power-hungry, and as long as you have a decent setup these will run just fine.

Performance and Sound Quality              

Klipsch has always been a master at creating efficient speakers and these are no exceptions. When you look at the spec sheet these Klipsch B-200 have a peak power handling rating of 200W. The sensitivity sits a decent 90 dB @ 2.83V with a frequency response of 64Hz – 24kHz. These are respectable figures for a sub $200 speaker.

Coming to the sound quality now and these surely do not disappoint. Klipsch has done a fantastic job with the tuning of speakers and it shows with their sound output. These speakers have a clear and precise sound with a balanced sound signature. The soundstage is also quite expansive for a speaker this size.

This speaker also manages to provide enough of all the frequencies that the person listening does not feel either left out or overwhelmed. All in all, these speakers sound great and the sound signature of these Klipsch b-200 makes make them a versatile pair and they can not only be used for home theatre but also for music creation or analytical listening to some extent.

Conclusion

Time and time again Klipsch continues to move the industry forward. The Klipsch Synergy Black Label B-100 is one of the finest representations of what the company of capable of in this price range. We also like that despite the budget-friendly price tag these speakers still retain some of the important aspects of Klipsch’s more expensive speakers. Their sound quality is amazing and so is their build quality. You just cannot go wrong with these speakers and we confidently recommend them as our best bookshelf speakers for home theatre.

3. Polk Audio S10

Best Compact Bookshelf Speakers for Home Theatre

Polk Audio S10 - Best Compact Bookshelf Speakers for Home Theatre Under $200

Polk has gained quite a reputation for making great speakers in a short period. They have a vast catalog of speakers under their belt and the one we have chosen as our best compact bookshelf speaker for home theatres comes from their signature line and carries the S10 model tag.

Reasons to Buy
Fantastic build quality
Sleek and stylish design
Compact size
Great sound quality
Reasons to Avoid
The treble can be harsh on loud volume

Design and Build Quality

Right of the bat, when you see these speakers in person they are quite compact in contrast to what the pictures portray. As for the design itself, Polk makes some great-looking speakers and these are no exception. The use of two complementary materials that being piano black plastic for the front fascia and MDF(medium-density fiberboard) for the cabinet together with the rounded corners is quite pleasing and provides a luxurious feel.

The attention to detail with the subtle stuff like contrasting black trim around the driver dome, the rounded corners, and the inclusion of a magnetic front grill is another aspect that separates this speaker from the rest of the competition. These subtle touches of goodness elevate this speaker’s position among its competitors.

Given the design you also expect this speaker to hold up well in terms of build quality and this is exactly what it does. The chassis being constructed fromMDF compositehas great solidity to it and the heft of the speakers also leaves a positive impression regarding their build quality in the mind of the user.

The only complain we have regarding the build quality of this speaker is the use of piano black glossy plastic. We keep saying this but the glossy finish that manufacturers use tends to scuff up easily when compared to a matte finish. So these all glossy piano black speakers require extra care and attention which can be a bit of a daunting task at times.

Features and Connectivity

This speaker lacks surface features but what you are getting here in place of features is shere raw performance. Although not really a feature, the power port technology incorporated into the design of this speaker provides a valuable increase in the bass department. It also minimizes distortion by eliminating any turbulence.

Since this power port technology is exclusive to Polk we can consider this as a feature but besides this, there is not much to talk about regarding Polk S10’s features so let us head to the connectivity shall we.

In terms of connectivity, this is a passive-powered speaker. As stated in the buyer’s guide segment passive powered speakers are devoid of any internal amplification so they require power via an external amplifier or a receiver. Fortunately enough these speakers do not require heaps of power so they can be driven with most amps but of course, for a better experience, you should use a decent amplifier.

Performance and Sound Quality

The biggest selling of this speaker is its performance and sound quality. A quick glance at the spec page and you will realize this speaker packs in much more power than its size would suggest. Due to the quality of components, this speaker has no trouble producing clean sound even at very loud volumes.

As for the sound itself, this speaker boasts a slightly bright sound signature. The low and the high frequencies are slightly boosted which results in this speaker providing a more dynamic sound rather than a flat one. This dynamic sound provides a more engaging movie watching and media consumption experience which is exactly what you want out of home theatre speakers. Despite the boosted frequencies the speaker still manages to maintain a fairly balanced sound with no frequency being dominant over the others.

Conclusion

It is hard to wrap your head around the quality this speaker delivers at the sub $200 price point. For us, the major highlight for Polk S10 was not the performance or the sound quality because we expected them to sound good but rather the build quality. Regardless of which cabinet finish you go for these speakers provide a luxurious and upmarket experience. On top of that Polk S10 also free from any inherent flaws, therefore, earning the title of the best compact bookshelf speakers for home theatre.

4. Edifier R1850DB

Best Bluetooth Bookshelf Speakers

Edifier R1850DB – Best Bookshelf Speaker with Bluetooth Under $200

Edifier is a renowned manufacturer of audio equipment and has been operating for a while now. The companies name has now become synonymous with high-quality speakers. Among Edifier’s vast lineup the speaker we have selected here for the best bookshelf speaker with Bluetooth is the Edifier R12850DB.

Reasons to Buy
Good build quality
Clean and minimalist design
Bluetooth connection is solid and stable
Good wired connectivity
Balanced sound signature
Treble and bass tuning knobs
Reasons to Avoid
Glossy piano black plastic easily scratches over time

Design and Build Quality

Edifier R1850DB features a simple and minimalist design with gloss piano black housing and large silk dome drivers. If that does not tickle your fancy then there is an included mesh panel that covers up the naked drivers. Apart from the drivers, the Edifier branding is the only other prominent thing that is visible. Nonetheless, the clean and clutter-free design of this speaker has a certain charm to it.

This speaker also exhibits a high level of build quality. The construction is solid and the chassis has some good heft to it denoting the use of strong materials. The different panels are also well put together and there are no gaps in them. The only thing to nag here is actually not the build itself but the choice of finish. The glossy piano black finish of this speaker is prone to scratches and also easily catches fingerprints and dust particles.

Features and Build Quality

The main selling feature of this speaker is Bluetooth connectivity. In this price range i.e sub $200 it is hard to find decent bookshelf speakers with Bluetooth but we are happy to report that this one nails that aspect in a good way. The Bluetooth connection here is solid and stable. It not only provides uninterrupted audio but the loss of quality when compared with a wired connection is also minimal.

For added convenience, Edifier has also bundled in a remote control in the package. This remote can be used to control all aspects of the media. It can even be used to switch the input source which is quite handy if you are away from the master speaker. Another handy feature that is quite useful is the inclusion of separate treble and bass tuning knobs. These knobs provide granular control over the audio and allow the user to switch the characteristic of the audio on the fly.

Bluetooth aside these speakers also contain decent wired connectivity, and all the ports for their respective purpose are found on the back right speaker that also acts as a master speaker. Besides the usual RCA, optical and coaxial ports you also have a dedicated sub out and an RCA to Aux out.

Performance and Sound Quality

With the on-paper specifications, these speakers make a strong case for themselves. They have a combined RMS of 16W x 2 + 19W x 2 which is an impressive figure for sub $200 Bluetooth speakers. We often see speakers that have impressive specifications fail to perform in real life but fortunately, this speaker performs just as well as the specs would suggest. The power delivery is also very clean and this speaker exhibits no sign of any audio crackle.

As for the sound itself, this speaker manages to provide a balanced sound without being too overly boring. The lows and the highs are slightly emphasized leading to a more fun sound without compromising on the mids which come out as clean and detailed. The level of refinement is also good and these speakers steer clear from any graininess in the upper volumes. Overall, with the Edifier R1850DB, you get an engaging yet balanced sound signature.

Conclusion

Edifier has hit another home run with these R1850DB speakers. These speakers bundle features, build quality, and balanced sound in a single box. While this balanced sound might put some people off who prefer the rumble of the bass in their speakers but for anyone else looking for a pair of good-sounding speakers with the convenience of Bluetooth we can easily recommend these Edifier R1850DB to you as our best bookshelf speakers with Bluetooth.

5. PreSonus Eris E3.5 BT

Best Budget Bookshelf Speakers with Bluetooth

PreSonus Eris E3.5 BT – Best Budget Bookshelf Speakers with Bluetooth

PreSonus Eris E3.5 BT is a refresh of the popular critically acclaimed PreSonus Eris with an added Bluetooth connection. Apart from some minor tweaks, not a whole lot has changed therefore this being the Bluetooth version of an already great speaker earns it a spot on our list as the best budget bookshelf speaker with Bluetooth.

Reasons to Buy
Good build quality
Clean and compact design
Stable Bluetooth connection
Great value for money
Good sound quality
Reasons to Avoid
Slight lag via Bluetooth when playing media

Design and Build Quality

These speakers mean business is the first thought that comes to your mind when you look at these speakers. The large 3.5-inch woofer finished in woven composite and the 1-inch tweeter that flanks it provides a traditional and simple look and feel to the speaker. The matte black finish of the plastic together and soft cuts and lines throughout the body enhance the premiumness of the speaker.

The premium feel is further continued with the build quality. In a blind test, this speaker can easily pass on as a more expensive speaker because of its solid construction and the attention to detail with its build around the intricate parts like the drivers.

Features and Connectivity

When your refresh centers around adding Bluetooth as a feature then you have to get it right and fortunately enough these speakers have great Bluetooth connectivity. The whole pairing is flawless and instantaneous and once it connects to your device there are no dropouts. The sound quality via Bluetooth is similar to that of a wired connection and if there is a difference it is not perceivable.

There are also other features present here that are more so aimed at enhancing the operability and useability of the speakers. For the convenience of the user, these speakers feature a front-mounted volume knob rather than a back-mounted one. Although on the back you do find a separate tuning knob for the bass and the treble.

The Aux and the phone connection, as well as the power switch, are also provided in front of the speaker so you do not have to fiddle around the controls on the back. Talking about that, on the back of the right speaker you have all the connectivity ports as well as a Bluetooth pair button. The ports include RCA, TRS, left speaker inputs, and a power plug.

Performance and Sound Quality

Considering the size as well as the price of these speakers these have impressive specifications and power figures. The rated power of each speaker looms at 25W with a combined RMS output of 50W.

As for the sound itself, this speaker has a very mass-appealing sound signature. What we mean by that is this speaker has a boosted bass response but fortunately enough it is not overkilling and does not overshadow other frequencies. The highs are also elevated slightly providing more detail and depth to the audio and the mids are okay. They come through with a bit of tinyness but are not muddled and can be classified as adequate.

Overall, these are not the speakers that you will use for professional audio work but are thoroughly enjoyable for music and media consumption.

Conclusion

PreSonus Eris E3.5 BT is nothing short of spectacular. It is hard to believe the price that is being asked for this speaker because they can easily compete with much more expensive speakers. That being said they do have some flaws like most speakers because nothing can be perfect but the niggles here do not distract from the overall experience of the speakers therefore we wholeheartedly recommend these speakers as the best budget bookshelf speakers with Bluetooth to anyone looking for a pair of well-priced speakers that gets the job done in most circumstances.

6. Sony SS-CS5

Best Value For Money

Sony SS-CS5 - best bookshelf speaker for the money

After being bogged down by other brands Sony has been on a bit of a resurgence lately and the product which best reflects their new identity is this Sony SS-CS5 speaker. With this speaker, you get the typical high-quality Sony treatment but with a twist and this twist is what makes this the best bookshelf speaker for the money.

Reasons to Buy
3-way speaker
Decent build quality
Great resolution and soundstage
Detailed sound
Reasons to Avoid
Sensitive to amps
The bass response is lacking

Design and Build Quality

The design of the Sony SS-CS5 is nothing special. It looks like your ordinary run-of-the-mill black bookshelf speaker but what is unique about this speaker is the presence of a super tweeter. Placed right on top of the dome tweeter we have a small mid-range tweeter.

This is usually seen on much more expensive speakers so it was pleasantly surprising that Sony included this super tweeter in a sub $150 speaker. This speaker also has a good build quality considering the price. The materials are not cheap feeling and although being lightweight the whole body seems to be well screwed together.

Features and Connectivity

Sony is the name of simplicity and this speaker perfectly carries that narrative. To put contextually the only features worth mentioning on this speaker involve performance and sound quality. This is not a speaker you buy because of features but rather because of the quality of the package.

As far as connectivity is concerned this is a passive speaker, therefore, requires external power to work. One thing to note here is that this speaker is sensitive to different amps. Different power sources not only change the sound dynamic of the speaker but also affect its resolution and clarity. To get the best audio quality possible from this speaker, we recommend using a high-end amp. 

Performance and Sound Quality

This is the segment where we will see Sony SS-CS5 truly flex its muscles. Let’s start with the performance first and this speaker is a beast in that regard. Sony has definitely used high-quality internals for this speaker because even at the max volume we could not feel any significant distortion. As far as the volume is concerned, it is bombastic more often than not you will need to tone down the volume for a more comfortable listening experience.

In terms of sound quality, the first thing that springs to mind is the ability of this speaker to produce detail. Sony has done an incredible job with the tuning of this speaker and the mid-range tweeter also helps to steer the sound in a more revealing direction.

This also translates into a huge soundstage and a good amount of depth. As for the sound signature, this speaker is more forward-leaning with a bright treble. The bass on the other hand is tight but lacks depth. Although this is to be expected for a better resolution we still feel that people who are not used to this sound may find it a bit underwhelming especially in an open hall setting.

Conclusion

After having no real contender in the sub $200 category Sony has come out with a gem of a speaker. Sony SS-CS5 embraces the traditional aspect of speakers and delivers a sound that will leave you on the edge of your seat especially if you are looking for details. This is the kind of speaker that you reserve to play your favorite music track on. The inclusion of a super tweeter is also imminent in the sound and something which we first thought to be a gimmick actually serves a purpose. The most surprising aspect of the Sony SS-CS5 is the price because during sales this speaker can be had for less than $150 which is a steal, therefore, out of the plethora of speakers we pick this as the best bookshelf speaker for the money.

7. Micca RB42

Best Bookshelf Speakers for Music

Micca RB42 – Best Bookshelf Speaker for Music Under $200

Micca as a brand is not that well known and respected but they are making some strides to pierce into the mainstream market. The Micca RB42 speaker is the brand’s most renowned speaker and is raved about by the community for its fantastic sound reproduction.

Reasons to Buy
Excellent build quality
Great attention to detail
Great resolution and depth
Enjoyable sound signature
Reasons to Avoid
Lacks the low-end punch
The treble can get harsh at high volume

Design and Build Quality

As soon as you take the Micca RB42 speakers out of the box it is astonishing how small they are. For reference, these speakers measure just 8.7×4.9×7.9 inches which means that they are small enough for desktop setups. This fact alone makes them the best bookshelf speaker for computers.

The other surprising thing about the speaker is the attention to detail given to the build quality. Among the many generic-looking speakers in this price range, these stand out due to the high-quality materials used for the casing of the speaker. The rounded edges and the smooth cuts throughout the body also give an impression of grand build quality. Due to the streamlined curves, these speakers are also less polarizing than the traditional box-shaped speakers.

Features and Connectivity

Micca claims to have used a 10-element crossover that incorporates high-quality components to increase power handling and thus performance. If you are new to this word a crossover forms a component of a speaker that is used to split the low and the high range frequencies. Using better material to form a crossover results in cleaner audio delivery and greater power efficiency.

As for the other features Micca is generous enough to include a cover for the woofer and speaker. This not only prevents dust build-up but can also be used as an aesthetic piece to streamline the look of the speaker. We were also thoroughly impressed by the quality of the binding posts. They felt straight out a more expensive speaker.

By now you would have realized that this is a passive speaker but fortunately, the Micca RB42 requires little to no amplification so running the speaker should be a non-issue and it will run adequately fine on most power sources.

Performance and Sound Quality

Micca RB42 is the first high-fidelity speaker from the company and we reckon they did a fantastic job with the product. The performance is not on par with the best speakers in the price range but it still gets very loud. The only downside is during high volume there is some distortion and the treble also gets scorching bright.

Micca RB42 edges out the competition in its sound quality. The resolution is great and the depth of the sound is amazing. The tuning of this speaker also deserves a pat in the back for Micca. They have nailed down the sound signature making this speaker a joy to listen to albeit only for a short while because the treble can get harsh on this speaker.

The elevated treble also adds an element of detail to the sound. For a small speaker, the bass is also surprisingly accurate but it still lacks the low-end punch. The mid-range on the other hand is full and clean. The vocals are delivered naturally and the singer is never brought to the forefront of the music.

Conclusion

Although the Micca RB42 is fairly new to the bookshelf speaker scene it still has amassed quite a good reputation in a short amount of time. This speaker is especially adored because of its sound signature which people seem to love because it provides a good dosage of each frequency. Due to this sound signature, we recommend this speaker as the best bookshelf speaker for music.

8. Fluance SX6

Best Stereo Bookshelf Speakers

Fluance SX6 – Best Bookshelf Speaker for Stereo Under $200

Fluance SX6 is an old-timer and has been in the manufacturer’s lineup for quite a while now. Although being old this speaker still is not dated by any means and still provides the spark that it had when it was first released.

Reasons to Buy
Excellent build quality
Classic design
Plenty of highlighting features
Detailed sound
Amazing clarity of vocals
Reasons to Avoid
Difficult to handle due to being heavy
The bass response is lacking

Design and Build Quality

When you first look at this speaker you cannot help but think of it as a modern classic piece. It has some vibe around it that takes you straight back to the chunky boxes of the past. The most retro aspect of this speaker is that it comes with a stand.

The feet of the speaker rest on a base which not only increases the height of the overall speaker but also the surface area in contact with the ground. Fluance has also shattered some shiny trim throughout the cabinet to break the bland wood finish.

The fluence SX6 is uncomfortably heavy but the good thing about that is they have used quality materials for construction. The heft of the chassis mainly comes from the MDF wood construction. There are also no panel gaps and the cuts around the drivers are also precise. To put it simply Fluance SX6 is one of the best-built speaker in the sub $200 segment.

Features and Connectivity

Fluance SX6 comes with removable speaker covers while this is fairly standard practice in the industry but what we like about this one is the quality of the covers. The mesh fabric used in the covers is tightly knitted and firm. It exhibits no flex which is commonly the problem present in other speakers.

If we turn our attention to the back of the speaker we see a hole in the frame. This hole is basically a bass port and it is used for enhancing the low-end punch. Fluance also claims to have used high-quality components in its assembly to provide cleaner sound.

On the connectivity front, Fluance SX6 is a passively powered speaker. Although it does not require heaps of power we still recommend using a good quality source for the most optimal sound output.

Performance and Sound Quality

Fluance SX6 did not let us down in the performance department. The claim of fluance seems to be true and whatever they are using truly works because we could not get this speaker to distort. The only tiny complaint we have is that the speaker sounded a little full but most likely that has to be due to the tuning.

The speaker gets more lively as the volume is increased but on the whole, it remains flat. This is especially true in the bass department where this speaker is lacking. The sub-bass especially is tiny and lacks the oomph factor.

As for the mids and the highs, they are well presented and have good clarity. The vocals on this speaker sound natural and full. One of the key highlights of this speaker is its ability to produce exceptional detail.

We were honestly stunned by the amount of tiny detail present in the sound and what amazed us the most is that this speaker creates the detail without having a peaky and bright treble which is instantly a win in our book. Overall, the reason we choose this speaker as the best vinyl speaker was due to its ability to produce amazing detail from a laid-back sound signature.

Conclusion

Fluance SX6 is a speaker that regardless of being old is still one of the best in its category. Fluance perfected a formula with this speaker and stuck with it. Right of the bat, the build quality of this speaker catches you by surprise because truth be told in this price range you are expecting clumsy builds but not the case here. Also, the sound quality for the price is fantastic. Although lacking in the bass department it somewhat makes up for it by the sheer detail of the audio. The expression of detail is also done without any harshness in the treble, therefore, making the speaker ideal for laid-back listening. The sound signature makes Fluance SX6 the best bookshelf speaker for stereo currently.

9. Klipsch R-41M

Best Bookshelf Speakers for PC

Klipsch R-41M – Best Bookshelf Speaker for PC Under $200

Klipsch has always produced best sellers in the $200 price range and this speaker is no exception. It replaces the popular R-14M and due to being a successor, it mends some shortcomings of the previous model. Klipsch has also aggressively priced this speaker against the competition.

Reasons to Buy
Decent build quality
Good efficiency
Lively and fun sound
Good clarity
Great imaging
Reasons to Avoid
The finishing needs some improvement around the edges
Lackluster bass response

Design and Build Quality

Some brands spend a fortune to set an identity for their product but still end up in limbo but it is not the case with Klipsch. Klipsch speakers have a unique and distinctive design that separates them from the rest of the pack. At a glance, one can easily identify Klipsch speakers due to the Tractrix Horn tweeters that are present in all Klipsch speakers.

The implementation of stun copper woofer is also distinct and the bronze accents found throughout the body perfectly compliment the overall black and bronze aesthetic that the brand is going for.

Although in images this speaker may seem large in actuality these measure in at just 11.3” x 5.75” x 7.9”. The narrow dimensions make the Klipsch R-41M a very versatile speaker for both desktop and bookshelf use. The size was a major factor due to which we put these speakers as the best bookshelf speakers for desktop gaming.

As we all know by know desktop speakers need to have good build quality to survive some falls that may come their way. Happy to report that these Klipsch do not skimp on build quality and are constructed well. The speaker cabinet is solid and sturdy but the finish on it can see some improvement. We found the finishing on the edges to be a little rough.

Features and Connectivity

When talking about the features of any Klipsch speaker the first thing that automatically gets mentioned is the Tractrix Horn tweeter. This design philosophy for the tweeter is patent to Klipsch. The purpose of the Tracktrix Horn is to more evenly disperse the frequency for more cleaner and accurate sound reproduction. This technology incorporated by Klipsch also increases the efficiency of the speaker.

The Klipsch R-41M is a passive-powered speaker. This speaker is among the few that do not require an amp because of the excellent efficiency. Any old receiver will do a fine job with this speaker which is great because most people that are interested in this Klipsch will be the ones looking to begin their speaker journey with a solid first choice.

Performance and Sound Quality

These tiny boxes produce some banging sound. Do not be fooled by the size of these speakers because they certainly will catch you off guard with the monstrous performance. This speaker is capable of handling 50W of continuous power and 200W of peak power. The sound delivery of these speakers is also very clean and distortion even at extremely high volume is not present. 

We really like the fact that Klipsch retained its signature sound in this speaker. When listening to audio the most immediate thing that gets you drawn into these speakers is the soundstage. These sound fuller and wider than we expected and the clarity is also good. The highs are a little on the brighter side but do not get fatiguing even at louder volumes.

The mids are also clear and fairly natural. The only area where this speaker lacks is in the bass department which is quite mellow and timid. While it is to be expected from a small speaker we still would have liked more punchy bass because as of now it hinders the lively aspect of the sound.

Speaking in terms of gaming, these speakers do fantastic imaging. The sense of surrounding in an enclosed environment when gaming is also great and these speakers really pick up on the tiny details and allow the player to hear the game to its fullest.

Conclusion

If we think of it there are not many bookshelf speakers small enough that can be easily placed on a desk without occupying the entire space of the other peripherals. Klipsch R-41M not only ticks the size box but also produces amazing sound. The imaging is especially great on this speaker allowing the user to pinpoint the location of any sound. The combination of the size and the excellent imaging is what makes them the best bookshelf speakers for PC gaming.

10. Fluance Signature

Best Bookshelf Speakers for Turntable

Fluance Signature – Best Bookshelf Speaker for Turntable Under $200

Fluance is one of the few surviving mainstream companies situated in North America that still produces its speakers in the region. Hailing from Canada these guys have an impressive lineup of bookshelf speakers and the one we have picked for the best bookshelf speaker for turntable position is the Fluance Signature.

Reasons to Buy
Excellent build quality and finishing
Use of exquisite materials for the price range
Clean and detailed sound
Good balance of all the frequencies
Reasons to Avoid
The highs can get bright

Design and Build Quality

Like the name implies Fluance signature is a product from the signature series of the company and is therefore crafted with attention and dedication. The cabinet of the speaker is available either in wood ash or a walnut finish. Irrespective of what you go for they both look and feel premium.

The front fascia of the speaker which houses the driver and the tweeter has a black finish to it. This black is broken up by the yellow grill for the driver. The tweeter also a shiny trim surrounding it. Even the bass portshave an outlining trim around them. These small things add up together to give a grand impression of quality.

The build quality like you would expect is also good. The cabinet is dense and produces no resonance when knocked. All in all, by the use of good materials and sophisticated finishing. flaunce signature sets itself apart from other speakers in this price range.

Features and Connectivity

The way fluance was placed the wall hooks on this especially is especially commendable. The nail grommets are attached via a screwed-in plaque. They did not carve the cabinet for nail stops which is a great thing to see.

Below the nail, stops are the connectors for the speaker cable. These connectors have a chunky and solid feel to them. We also like the Canadian flag that sticks on the black. It is indeed a great touch.

Performance and Sound Quality

The speaker yet again impresses in this department as well. According to Flaunce, this speaker has a peak power handling value of 120W and a sensitivity of 85 dB at 2.83v. Stats aside, the crossover used in this speaker seems to be of good quality because it does an excellent job in the sound department.

As for the sound itself, these speakers do a good job in that regard as well. Let us get the only negative thing about the sound first and it is the variation in the treble range. In the upper mid and the low high section we see some spikes in the sound but other than that this speaker is very good.

It has plenty of bass although limited by the size of the driver it still packs a good punch and satisfies that low-end thump that we all craze for. The mids are also well balanced except for the part discussed earlier and the highs can be a bit bright but the upside of that is you get a lot of detailed sound experience. Although from this description the speaker may seem nothing special but trust us this is more centered towards the quality of the sound than the quantity.

Conclusion

It is not a secret anymore that on top of making great sounding speakers Fluance makes some of the best looking speakers as well. The speakers also maintain a high standard of build quality. If we pause for a moment and look at it from a consumer’s perspective these are exactly the things you want in a speaker right. On top of that, the sound quality of Fluance Signature perfectly complements its use with turntable setups.

11. Yamaha NS-6490

Best Bookshelf Speakers with Bass

Yamaha NS-6490 – Best Bookshelf Speakers with Bass Under $200

With more and more upcoming speakers now getting smaller, the thumpy bass that we all used to know is being left behind in favor of more desk real estate. This is the reason, we choose the decade-old Yamaha NS-6490 as the best bookshelf speakers for the bass heads out there because they embody everything good about the old school speakers back in the day and do not compromise on the size.

Reasons to Buy
These sub $200 Yamaha’s embody the design of more expensive speakers
Good build quality
Dynamic sound with good low end
Good soundstage and clarity
Reasons to Avoid
Large and bulky
Spring clip terminals for speaker cable

Design and Build Quality

This is a big and hefty boy. The size of the speaker is not in line with other speakers in this price range. It has massive drivers upfront with the woofer coming in at 8 inches. Most speakers that are listed in this article usually range in the 4-5 inches woofer segment.

Besides being large this speaker is also a nod to the past in its design. Upfront you have a white silkcone driver which is a trademark for the brand. There is also silver or matte chrome trim along with the tweeter and did we by the way mention that this is a 3-way speaker.

Yamaha NS-6490 is the cheapest 3-way speaker you can buy currently on the market which is a big statement because Yamaha is a well-renowned brand and the fact you can get a 3-way speaker from an established brand for under $150 is just astounding.

Moving on further with the build quality and the speaker sweeps this segment completely. The cabinet of the speaker is vinyl covered and the driver covering is all well glued together. The finishing around the woofer especially is good quality and the silver trim has an old-school unrefined metallic feel to it. The panels are also well put together and there is no gap to be found between them.

Features and Connectivity

Embracing that old-school mechanical aspect the Yamaha NS-6490 has no notable features that are present on the modern era speakers. What it does have though is a third tweeter which adds to the sound quality of the speaker.

We are still by the way enarmed by the fact that this speaker retails for such a low price considering it is a proper 3-way. Anyways, another thing that struck us by surprise was the use of spring terminals for the speaker cables. Normally, these days we tend to see binding posts but this speaker has the good old spring terminals.

Performance and Sound Quality

On the product page of the Yamaha NS-6490, the company advertises these speakers to handle 70W of RMS and 140W of peak power. These are impressive figures even by today’s standard but the one problem with that power is that these speakers tend to distort a tiny bit on peak wattages. It is nothing deal-breaking because most of the time you won’t be listening on that level because of the ear screeching loudness but it is still something worth mentioning.

Now let us get the nitty and gritty of these speakers and the reason they are featured as the best bookshelf speakers for bass. The thing is the bass response is not due to some clever tuning by Yamaha or something it is mainly good because of the large-sized woofer. The 8inch woofer really gets to its own at moderately high volume and produces good punchy bass. There is enough bite and thump that it leaves most people satisfied.

The mid-range and the lower treble range are also elevated on this speaker leading to a very dynamic sound. Fortunately, the frequency gradually tapers off in the upper treble range therefore these speakers do not get as harsh as some other elevated speakers. We also really liked the soundstage of these speakers and the detail they were able to produce was also commendable. All in all, great speakers if you like punchy and deep bass with good sound dynamics.

Conclusion

Yamaha NS-6490 is a return to the roots of old-school audio. In a world dominated by high-tech sophisticated speakers, these are as simple as they get and sometimes simple things are ones that you adore the most. This speaker is not as refined as the modern ones because when it was released speakers were hard-hitting boxes. Nonetheless, the few dips and peaks in frequency are not overly annoying and for what it is this speaker sounds great. The bass is especially good on this speaker making it a candidate for the best bookshelf speaker with bass hands down.

12. NHT SuperZero 2.1

Best Budget Bookshelf Speakers

NHT SuperZero 2.1 – Best Budget Bookshelf Speakers

NHT is a company which was widely talked about in the late 80s and the early 90s but unfortunately lost their fame by the turn of the century. Since then the companies work has only been followed by the audio enthusiasts but not anymore. Welcome the NHT SuperZero 2.1 speakers which are set to compete with the best budget bookshelf speakers.

Reasons to Buy
Good build quality
Compact cabinet occupies less space in a shelf
Good soundstage
Good clarity and detail in the sound
Reasons to Avoid
Gloss finishing gets scratched easily and is a fingerprint magnet
Flat sound
Bass is severely lacking

Design and Build Quality

The day’s speakers belong in either of the two groups i.e the sleek modern-looking speakers or the boxy traditional-looking speakers. NHT superzero falls in the latter and has a very simple design philosophy. It is that simple to that point that even the screws for the drivers are visible.

There is not much character to this speaker and they can be easily passed on as some generic speakers which is a shame because in today’s market we believe that every brand should have an identity.

We were also not impressed by the glossy finish of the cabinet. This is not just with NHT but with all speakers as well and although NHT has done a good job with refining the texture it is still a glossy finish. The problem with a glossy finish is that after a while it tends to scratch up more easily and is also a fingerprint magnet.

Finish aside, the build quality of this speaker is very good for the price. The materials used feel thick and dense and even knocking on the cabinet produces little to no inside resonance. For the build quality, we have no complaints here.

Features and Connectivity

NHT Superzero is a box with a woofer and a tweeter and besides these things, nothing much is to be found here. Not sure if this is much of a feature or not but these speakers come with a removable speaker grill.

Now we get it this practice is nothing special but the speaker covers provided with the NHT superzero are of fantastic quality. They are not plasticy but rather have a dense foam feel to them.

As for the connectivity these are passive speakers and come with binding posts. The binding posts are not the most high quality but it is fine for the price they are offered at.

Performance and Sound Quality

NHT Superzero’s use retro technology so these are not the best in terms of power handling. This speaker is rated for 125W peak power which is a little short when compared with other speakers. The impedance is also a little high and the whole power delivery is not clean. These speakers also suffer from distortion issues which are prevalent when these speakers are driven at their maximum.

The redeeming factor of this speaker is the sound quality. The most notable aspect of the sound is the soundstage. These speakers do excellent soundstage and the imaging is also good. When listening to a track all the objects are accurately placed within the soundstage. These speakers also have an elevated high end which also adds to be a perceivable detail factor.

As for the frequency response, the bass on this speaker is severely lacking. It is very flat in the low end and lacks any sort of punch. The mid-range is alright and the vocals sound natural and clean.

Conclusion

Is NHT SuperZero 2.1 the advocate to the return to form of the company? Well no, because great things are excepted from NHT owing to their previous work so these speakers can be seen as a baby step to that final milestone. Nonetheless, these speakers with their good sound and build quality represent the best value that is to be had in this price range. Therefore, these speakers come in as our best budget bookshelf speakers and we recommend them to anyone looking to enter the audiophile speakers world.

13. BIC America DV62si

Best Bookshelf Speaker for Movies

BIC America DV62si – Best Bookshelf Speaker for Movies Under $200

If you are wondering why we mentioned speakers from a relatively unknown brand then hold your horses because BIC is a well-established brand in the industry. It is just not that popular with the masses. These guys have been around for a while now and have shaped the industry with their patent design now called venturi port.

Reasons to Buy
The large driver provides good low-end punch
Detail audio
Warmth to the sound
Reasons to Avoid
Mediocre build quality and finish
The treble can get harsh and shouty

Design and Build Quality

One thing is for certain that BIC has tried to emulate some design aspects of the more expensive bookshelf speakers. BIC America dv62si comes with a black laminate cabinet that can be easily mistaken for wood when viewed from a distance.

The issue we have with this laminate body is that it is not refined and you can easily distinguish areas with abysmal finishing. The same can be said for the driver and tweeter area but seeing the price those can get a pass. We also did not like the included speaker cover because of its low quality but it gets the job done.

The build quality of the speaker is also not that impressive either. Sure it feels solidly put together but the material is not dense and therefore some resonance can be felt when you knock on the cabinet with a heavy hand.

Features and Connectivity 

Sometimes we feel like the feature section is completely unnecessary for low-end bookshelf speakers because mostly they are devoid of any features. The same is the case with this speaker because it offers absolutely nothing significant enough to be mentioned as a feature.

Forgoing the features, if we switch our attention to the back of the speaker we find a similar generic passive speaker affair here. The connections garner no praise because of their mediocre quality and the black panel also follows the same suit.

Performance and Sound Quality

This is an area where we can not fault this speaker because it delivers tremendous performance. BIC America dv62si has a peak output of 175W not only that it also has an impressive 90 dB sensitivity. The speaker also handles the power like a champ and is capable of producing very loud volumes.

Having a big driver is also very beneficial for this speaker because it allows for more of that low-end to flow. Considering its size the low-end and the midrange is very good on this speaker. It has a slight warmth to the sound which is great for binging movies and shows.

The only minor drawback we found with the sound was the elevated treble range. The boost in treble adds a lot of detail and resolution to the character of the sound but it can also be a bit shouty. This is especially true at higher volumes when the treble gets unbearable to some extent.

Conclusion

BIC America DV62si has a fair share of drawbacks. All of them being mainly in the build and the finishing department. We would like to see improvements made in this regard but as it stands no speaker in the price range delivers a warm and inviting sound. Yes, the highs can get harsh but overall for watching movies and tv shows you cannot get better than this. We would not second our decision when buying this speaker for movies because it truly is the best bookshelf speaker for movies.

14. Polk Audio TSi100

Best Bookshelf Speaker for Classical Music

Polk TSi100 – Best Bookshelf Speaker for Classical Music Under $200

Polk has consistently been ranked among the best speaker manufacturers. It is one of the default choices for many audio enthusiasts because through all the years Polk has managed to maintain their quality. We have chosen the Polk TSi100 speaker as the best bookshelf speaker for classical music because it benefits from some of the technology that is found in the manufacturer’s high-end speakers.

Reasons to Buy
Premium build quality and finishing
The unorthodox design is intriguing and demands attention
Good soundstage and excellent imaging
Balanced tonality
Reasons to Avoid
The bass response is lacking

Design and Build Quality

Right of the bat, the Polk TSi100 speaker has an unorthodox design. Polk has thrown the traditional design layout out of the window and has placed the woofer directly on top of the tweeter. Polk for sure has a technical reason for implementing this layout but from a layman’s perspective, these speakers look intriguing and interesting.

We are also thoroughly impressed by the finish of the product. The cabinet has a smooth woodgrain finish and is available in either a black or a walnut color. The top is made from glossy plastic. Although this material is a fingerprint magnet still we reckon it looks quite pleasing when used in small proportions and in areas which see seldom touch as demonstrated here by this speaker.

The build quality is also top-notch. We could not find if they have used real wood for the cabinet but one thing is for certain that whatever they have used makes for a solid and dense cabinet. The fitting of the panels is also great and we could not point any cheaply assembled aspect about this speaker.

Features and Connectivity

Polk TSi100 has to be the first speaker in which we felt that the cover provided for the speaker is an extension for the package. This is because Polk is not giving you the flimsy mesh cover here but an actual cover that not only has proper clips and tie points but the design is build so that it can be used for frequency extension.

For the same purpose, you also get a rear-firing port here. This is a passive hole that is used to extend the low end of the speaker. Besides the rear port, you get a handy keyhole for wall-mounting the speaker. On the connectivity front, Polk has provided high-quality five-way binding posts for this speaker which are placed in the middle for a more ergonomic position.

Performance and Sound Quality

On paper, the Polk TSi100 has impressive stats like most speakers in this price range but unlike those, the stats here perfectly reflect the real-world performance of the speakers. To put it simply Polk TSi100 is a banger both in terms of the volume it can produce and also in how clean the sound is. We could not hear any distortion from this speaker whatsoever.

In the sound department, this speaker tends to pleasing shock you on multiple occasions the first one being with the soundstage. The soundstage here is wide and also carries good depth. The imaging in the given soundstage is tremendous. The imaging here is so accurate and precise that it leaves some more expensive speakers in the dust.

The tonality is also great. Although the bass lacks substance it still manages to be tight and accurate. The mid-range is also clear and natural to the point that little nuances in the voice of the singer can be felt. The treble is also well represented and the extension is natural and clean. This is all with speakers placed right next to the wall though because in the open these can feel a bit treble heavy and the moment you placed it directly against the magic starts to happen.

Conclusion

Polk stepped up their game with this speaker and it still remains the darling of many despite it now being an older model. The one reason this speaker is so likable is that it is a complete package. The build, the sound, and everything else about this product are nearly perfect. The effortless sound signature of the speaker suites the classical music and if you want a speaker that will take your music to the next level get this.

15. Polk Audio OWM3

Best Bookshelf Speaker for Wall Mounting

Polk Audio OWM3 – Best Bookshelf Speaker for Wall Mounting

Wall mounting bookshelf speakers are still popular and it is a shame when we see new speakers coming out with no wall mounting potential. Fortunately, Polk Audio has got us covered in this regard and these OWM3 are designed specifically for wall mounting. Despite having a strong name to back them up the question still remains whether if these speakers can compete with other more traditional bookshelf speakers

Reasons to Buy
Functional design
Versatile speakers with a lot of practical use
Detail sound
Good high frequency
Reasons to Avoid
Lackluster bass
Dull mid-range

Design and Build Quality

For proper all-mounting experience, the Polk audio OWM3 speakers have a semi-modular design. The speaker has a slightly curved design to facilitate multiple angles so no matter how to position the speaker they can always be at their best angle.

The bottom stand is also removable and if we take a look at the back of the speaker we see multiple nail slits for hanging. The speaker is also curved from the top and bottom which allows you to place the speaker on a corner where two walls meet.

This speaker is not only wall mountable but goes above and beyond that so much so that it can be used in seven orientations. This makes the speaker versatile for a wide range of applications ranging from home theatre to computer gaming. Polk also did not skimp on the build quality and despite being lightweight the speaker has a great fit and finish.

Features and Connectivity

Polk Audio OWM3 is the name of functionality and simplicity. This speaker barely has any worth mentioning features but still provides great functionality. Just look at the fact that it can be used in 7 seven orientations so features are not the only way of providing functionality but a good bit of design can achieve that purpose as well.

The connectivity is also very simple for this speaker. You get nicely positioned binding posts and a little cutout for cable management. If still did not know binding post indicative of the fact that this is a passive speaker and needs an external power source.

Performance and Sound Quality

Although small in size Polk OMW3 packs a good punch. This speaker is in line with the expectations associated with the Polk brand and delivers clean performance. It not only has good on paper specifications but also passes the real-world test with flying colors.

The power handling is great and distortion-free sound is commendable albeit this may be because this speaker does not get as loud as other conventional bookshelf speakers.  Still, it gets plenty loud and is fine for smaller rooms but for more open halls this speaker may be a bit of a stretch.

On the audio front, these speakers ended up with a mediocre showing. The bass on the Polk OMW3 was almost non-existent to the point where the speakers could not carry the song in a bass-heavy section. The mids were also recessed and dark.

The only redeeming factor about these speakers was the treble response. The treble was bright and punchy pulling out a lot of detail present in the music. On the whole, you can get better sound quality for this price if you consider other speakers but we also cannot deny the functionality of the Polk OMW3 which plays a crucial part in the buyer’s final decision.

Conclusion

Polk OWM3 stands as an example of how good functionality in a speaker can be achieved with simple design tweaks granted a manufacturer is willing to do so. These speakers can be utilized in seven different orientations making them ideal for any setup or any place. The sound quality is also half decent although you are not getting the best sound quality for the price it is still perfectly viable for casual listening.

16. Dayton Audio B652-AIR

Best Cheap Bookshelf Speakers

Dayton Audio B652 Air – Best Cheap Bookshelf Speakers

Cheap things are getting better and good things are getting cheap. This is a phrase we have all seen thrown around to the point where it has become redundant now. But don’t we all love it when manufacturers push the boundaries of what’s possible for a certain price range. Meet Dayton Audio B652-AIR possibly the best cheap bookshelf speakers because they contain a feature that is found mostly on expensive speakers.

Reasons to Buy
AMT tweeter
Very detailed sound
Good soundstage
Reasons to Avoid
The build quality and finishing needs greater attention
The treble is a bit too bright
Speaker needs a better crossover

Design and Build Quality

Dayton Audio is a project by a company that predominantly specializes in the sale of speaker components and accessories. With the background in check, you can pretty much expect the company to put more of the funds into the sound quality rather than the look or the build of the product.

This is exactly the case because these speakers look bland and somewhat generic. Dayton has not done anything specific or even noteworthy with the design so without wasting any more time let’s jump with the build.

Unfortunately, this is another area where you get what you pay for. The speakers are lightweight and feel hollow. The cabinet is also not well together and gaps between the different panels are visible. This speaker also has sharp cuts so be cautious with the handling of this product.

Features and Connectivity

The reason there is hype around this product is because of the AMT tweeter. Air motion transformer or AMT like it is called uses a different mechanism than the conventional pistonic mechanism to move air. An AMT basically consists of multiple folds. When an electrical signal is passed to the tweeter, the diaphragm contracts, and relaxes to create sound waves.

AMT is usually found on much more expensive speakers and therefore it caught everyone off-guard when these sub $100 speakers included it. The AMT on this speaker is also the smallest AMT we have seen until now.

Shifting our attention to the back of the speaker and we here have the spring clips. The spring clips are not ideal but for the price, there is not much to complain about. Oh and one thing we nearly forgot about, on the back this speaker also has a wall mount in case you pitch them up high.

Performance and Sound Quality

Dayton Audio B652-AIR does not use a crossover for the driver. This is worrisome because having no crossover leads to some unwanted distortion during the frequency dips and this is exactly the case here.

This speaker suffers from some pretty messy distortion which is a shame because this speaker actually has a decent sensitivity of 87 dB 1W/1m. If you are unaware sensitivity is a measure of the volume produced by the speaker with one watt at a distance of one meter.

As far as the sound is concerned, the first thing that pops out is the intensity of the highs. These speakers produce shouty highs to the point where they can get unbearable. Unfortunately, the variation in the upper treble range also does not help this cause but worsens it.

On the bass side of things, these speakers are a little short on the upper bass. The low end is present and you do get to feel the thump but it fades away when transitioning into the upper bass. The mids range is also a little metallic but acceptable for the price.

Conclusion

Everybody seems to have a different opinion of the Dayton Audio B652-AIR but everyone seems to share the same sentiment that this is the best cheap bookshelf speaker in the market. Dayton has done just enough to get this speaker over the finishing line and honestly if you ask us this speaker needs a better crossover. Still, the sound quality of this speaker is the most compelling in the segment, and therefore it earns our recommendation despite some of the shortcomings.

Closing Thoughts

It is cherishable that we live in a time in which audio bliss can be had for less than 200 bucks and the aforementioned list is proof of that. It contains some finest speakers that will surely put a smile on your face after a tiring day. Before we sign off, please keep in mind that having optimal equipment for the speaker is also necessary to achieve the possible listening experience.

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