If you are someone who appreciates excellent sound quality, then you may be in the market for high-end bookshelf speakers. However, choosing the best speakers is not an easy task. The number of options you have are overwhelming.
So, to make your search a little easier, we’ll start with the basics. These are things you should keep in mind before making your final purchase. But first, let’s talk about what a bookshelf speaker is.
What Are Bookshelf Speakers?
At one point in time, high quality loudspeakers were large and floor-standing. They were bulky, often hard to move from place to place, and offered low sound quality.
However, during the 60s, technology progressed and manufacturers began to produce bookshelf speakers which were more costly, compact high fidelity speakers. The woofer, as well as other drivers, were positioned in separately enclosed chambers.
These speakers are much smaller than floor speakers, but they offer the benefit of improved sound quality. They’re versatile and are ideal for home theaters or home audio. They fit into rooms of almost any size, and can be moved around easily, allowing for customization and experimentation.
Consider the Purpose
When searching for high-end bookshelf speakers, think about their main purpose. Why are you buying this gadget? Is it for music? If so, then you need a pair of speakers which offer a full range of sound options. Are you interested in watching movies?
If this is the case, then you may want a system that has good bass sounds, or at least those with subwoofer connections. Maybe you are a gamer and want to bring the experience to life. In this scenario, you need something that can handle high and low frequency sounds.
Consider the Design
You should consider the design of the system itself. Not just it’s actual appearance, but the design of your living area. While most speakers are compact, there are those that are larger than average.
This means if your room is large and spacious, you should avoid purchasing small-sized audio pairs—this would only produce a tiny, mouse-like volume. The same logic applies in case of smaller rooms; you should avoid buying large bookshelf systems with big powerful drivers.
Also, if you would like to use your system on a desk for a laptop or computer, you should not go for a pair that could limit the space of the desk.
When you’re evaluating a speaker, keep an ear out for its rhythmic pacing. Does it sound snappy and fast, keeping pace with the tempo of the music, or does it sound a little sluggish?
These are qualities you can’t measure, though some of what is measurable—sensitivity, for instance—will have definite effects on a speakers’ pacing.
Consider the Power and Frequency
Even though many audio speakers have power ratings, it may be difficult to decide what models would work better in certain rooms. For people who are looking for the best quality, 25W is a great choice.
Amplifiers may be used to enhance the power and quality of the sound. The more power a set of speakers has, the more volume, without loss of quality, it can actually produce.
You should take frequency response into account, as this is related to the range of sounds that the speaker can make. The human ear is able to hear around 20 to 20,000Hz.
This means that quality speaker systems should produce sounds within this range. If you happen to live in a dorm room or a small apartment that has thin walls, you may play your system at lower levels most of the time. This means that you won’t necessary need to purchase speakers that produce high volumes.
Consider the Features & Specifications
It’s important that you pay attention to all features and specs. Observe the size of the woofers and tweeters. 5-inch woofers produce little bass, while 8-inch and larger offer a bigger bass response. The price tends to increase with the more drivers you have.
You should look for speakers that have binding posts instead of spring clips. Some high-end speakers feature two sets of female connectors, one for the tweeter and another for the woofer. This type of wiring produces better sound with greater bass definition.
Also, keep in mind that different manufacturers use different power handling specifications. If you would like to find out if one speaker is able to handle more power than the other, then you should only compare power handling ratings when you are looking at speakers that are made by the same manufacturer.
Consider the Durability
Heavy speakers that feature a solid, well-built feel usually have great sound. So look over the speakers to make sure that they don’t have any dents, warping, heavy scratches, or other signs of rough handling. The speakers should be able to stand firmly on flat surfaces and should not shake or wobble when in use.
Consider the Source
There are both advantages and disadvantages to visiting local stores and boutiques versus shopping online. First, brick and mortar stores allow you to touch and hear the speakers and their sound. You can test combinations of speakers which makes the buying process less labor-intensive.
Also, physical stores make it easier for you to return or exchange the speaker set. On the other hand, you do run the risk of dealing with a salesperson who is not as knowledgeable about the product as they may claim. You may also end up paying more for your merchandise due to overhead costs.
However, online shopping has its benefits as well. The overhead is less and some companies even offer free return policies because they realize that customers need to try the product before making their final decision. The downside is the turnaround time, and this opens the door for possible damage while in transit.
Before purchasing your bookshelf speaker, make sure that you are aware of the components which make up the product, how the overall audio quality is being measured, and all of its specs and features.
By doing the proper research, you will be able to distinguish between different speakers and their varying qualities. Ultimately, your choice depends on your personal preferences and needs.