In this review we feature the top 10 best bookshelf speakers of 2017 that outperform the competition. These bookshelf speakers pump out incredible audio performance, deep bass response and clear highs and mids without the heavy price tag, and are aesthetically masterpieces of art. Bookshelf speakers are a great way to enhance your home audio / theatre experience, and they blend in seamlessly into the room furniture and surroundings with their classy design. At the time of writing, some of these best bookshelf speakers are now selling at incredibly discounted prices, so don’t forget to check them out!
#1 ELAC B6 Series 6.5″ Bookshelf Speakers
The ELAC B6 Series 6.5” bookshelf speakers are in a special class of best bookshelf speakers that give solid audiophile performance for a fraction of the price. It comes with custom made drivers, woven aramid-fiber woofers, an integrated custom waveguide system and an intricate crossover to produce the best quality sound. The sound performance of the B6s is hands down phenomenal – it produces natural, smooth sound with a detailed top end, uncoloured mids and extended lows with superb imaging and separation. These speakers use aramid fiber in the woofers which gives a superior strength-to-weight ratio and improved damping characteristics over conventional drivers, giving it a broader frequency range and smoother response. The B6s come with thick MDF outer walls with a textured vinyl finish to reduce sonic vibrations. It even features waveguide technology around the drivers to improve directivity control and shield the dome tweeter from cabinet diffractions. All in all, the B6s are some of the best bookshelf speakers you can expect to find in its category.
Our first impressions of the B6 were that these speakers were incredibly good for their price. These speakers pump out phenomenally good sound with every genre of music from instrumental to vocals to rock and pop. Given the right placement, these speakers sound absolutely stunning – the soundstage is exquisite, the bass is tight and controlled, and the mids are crisp and clear. The woven woofer is extremely nice aesthetically and we absolutely loved just sitting in front of these speakers and enjoying the music performance. We were also very impressed by the quality of the bass – on the B6s you get bass that is incredibly tight and musical, and will literally bring your old soundtracks to live. We tested these speakers with vinyl recordings and were highly impressed – the highs were detailed, very clear and life-like, without being sharp or granting. Musical performances were deeply felt together with an incredible soundstage which gave the music a certain depth of quality and beauty.
The B6s was able to pull off the midrange well, making it sound sweet and smooth and much fuller than other bookshelf speakers. The B6s produced so much bass that we think you don’t really need a subwoofer to add to these speakers. Furthermore, the bass feels more satisfying and clean than a dedicated subwoofer, which is really amazing given the size of these bookshelf speakers. On top of the incredible sound performance, these speakers provide phenomenal imaging and the sound is extremely well put together – even at high volumes the B6s will not distort or deteriorate the sound quality. Our experience with the B6s was nothing short of stunning.
The build quality of the B6s on the whole is clean and simplistic. The thick MDF outer walls give these bookshelf speakers a clean and modern finish while reducing sonic vibrations. The materials used are of very good quality and you can feel the weight in these solid speakers straight out of the box. Apart from placing these speakers on your bookshelf, you can also mount them as a pair of stand-mount speakers to serve as front channels for your home theatre system. These speakers will provide a very detailed, convincing and satisfying presentation at a budget price, and deliver an incredible and emotion music performance that redefine the way you hear music.
The Verdict? If you are an audiophile looking for some of the best bookshelf speakers on a budget, the ELAC B6s are your answer. These speakers have the potential to redefine everything you knew about music and home theatre, and bring home a world of true, full listening. These speakers produce incredible depth and quality to the music with phenomenal imaging and soundstage. Given the right placement in your home theatre system, these speakers could well and truly be some of the best bookshelf speakers you have ever heard. In terms of acoustic performance, we would conclude that the B6s are without a doubt at the very top of the spectrum and now available at a very affordable price.
#2 Audioengine P4 Bookshelf Speakers
The Audioengine P4 is a class of its own and one the best bookshelf speakers you can find from a pure sound performance angle. It is essentially a 2-way passive, high performance bookshelf speaker pair with great looks and sound quality but without the need for external amplifiers. These speakers come with gold-plated 5-way binding posts, silk dome tweeters with Kevlar woofers which are magnetically-shielded, as well as a frequency response of 58Hz-22kHz. They are compact, affordable and aesthetically one of the best bookshelf speakers we have come across, making them ideal for your living room, bedroom or office or as a surround speaker for your home theatre system. The P4s come in three options: black, white and solid bamboo.
To be clear, the P4s are spectacular speakers that specialise in detail, forward-type sound and bring all the music detail without being loud. We reviewed this speaker while listening to classical pieces and the notes came out smooth and superb, which clear details present at every level. The P4 provides a crisp, forward, detailed sound without the need for excessive volume, and these drivers deliver the quality of sound that we were looking for – we were blown away by the clarity and resolution of these best bookshelf speakers. The P4s have hands down some of the best soundstage from bookshelf speakers and the level of separation of detail and instruments were incredible.
The P4 is essentially a system that improves with age. The sounds are very subtle and you could almost feel as though you were listening to a much larger bookcase speaker/powered amplifier system. The P4s also work very well when combined with Audioengine’s S8 subwoofer which adds a little more depth to the bass output. Audioengine even has a dedicated engineer who would be able provide assistance by taking questions and helping with technical issues with your Audioengine equipment, which makes things much more convenient.
The P4s can also connect to tube amplifiers to enhance the sound output – the P4s can handle perfectly loud music without distorting, while allowing all the music properties to remain the same. The P4s are very full sounding speakers and have a small footprint but the sound presence produced by these speakers is truly something to behold. In short, the P4s are so much more listenable and easier to setup than a 5.1 system and yet the sound stage they create is so lifelike that it feels as though you are in a 5.1 setup. We have great experiences reviewing the P4s while watching blu-ray movies and simply listening to music on these speakers – and we are happy to conclude that the P4s are well and truly some of the clearest and best sounding bookshelf speakers you can find. If you listen to vinyl records, the P4s will bring out the details in your music with crystal clarity.
The Verdict? The P4s are some of the best bookshelf speakers in terms of producing forward-type detail and crystal clear sound that are best suited for those who enjoy listening to every detail in their music. The P4s produce phenomenal clarity, resolution and musical detail without being loud. Despite their small size, they put out so much sound and power especially with vinyl soundtracks. That said, the P4s alone may require an additional subwoofer to connect to it (such as the Audioengine S8) to enhance the bass response if you enjoy bass heavy soundtracks. Other than that, we couldn’t be more pleased with these speakers and for the price they are hands down one of the best bookshelf speakers you can get. These speakers well exceeded our expectations and we highly recommend them.
#3 Edifier R1280T Powered Bookshelf Speakers
The Edifier R1280Ts are a pair of affordable and versatile bookshelf speakers with incredible sound. These speakers are tailored to produce studio sound quality with natural sound reproduction from its 13mm silk dome tweeter and 4 inch full range unit. The 4-inch bass driver and a calibrated, flared bass reflex port allows this bookshelf speaker to deliver robust, rich bass notes that are full of presence and depth. It even comes with a remote control for you to adjust the volume at your finger tips, with bass and treble control located on the main side of the speaker. The R1280s are also available in classic wood finish with high quality MDF wood build finished with wood effect vinyl which makes these speakers look really sleek. At this price range, the Edifier R1280Ts are some of the best bookshelf speakers available in the market today.
Straight out of the box, the quality and finish of the R1280Ts was noticeable. They have the weight that all quality electronic speakers have when them. The packaging was done reasonably well and there were no issues to any of the items in the box. The R1280Ts (4” by 3”) are slightly larger than most bookshelf speakers which depending on the space of your room could be a plus or minus. We also liked the fact that the speaker has the controls on the side gives them an elegant and aesthetic feel to them. Input wise, this speaker supports connection to any device that has a 3.5mm headphone output or dual RCA output. You can even connect to two devices via AUX at the same time without any plugging or switching required.
When hooked up to the home theatre / PC system, we were quite blown away at the sound quality, even at the lower volumes. The sound that these Edifiers reproduced was more lifelike than we had expected – it sounds natural and smooth with a level of detail that feels incredible. You can hear instruments and sounds that you did not hear before in various songs / instrumental music. The vocals and dialog do not get muddled by the bass or mids and stays where it should be – clean, detailed and perfect. The Edifiers do not distort even when the volume is turned up to maximum.
In short, the sound coming from these 2.0 bookshelf speakers are great for what it is. The mids and treble are linear and clear, which really shines and brings out the detail in acoustic music. There is a good balance of mid-highs and we loved he fact that the treble and bass is adjustable. The bass has presence and depth but obviously these do not have the some capabilities of a dedicated subwoofer – so if you need a deeper low end a dedicated sub would be required. We would recommend combining the R1280Ts with a separate subwoofer to complete the sound. For better sound quality, we would also recommend replacing the included 3.5mm to RCA cable with a high quality Mediabridge one to improve the audio clarity.
The Verdict? The Edifier R1280Ts are an amazing pair of speakers and some of the best bookshelf speakers you can find at this price range which deliver phenomenal sound performance. In addition, the wood finish and build quality of these speakers are superb. What 2 years of warranty included in the package at an affordable price range, these bookshelf speakers are hard to beat. Overall these speakers are very solid powered best bookshelf speakers and come highly recommended.
#4 Mackie CR3 Bookshelf Speakers
The Mackie Reference Series CR3s are some of the best bookshelf speakers you can find and closely rivals the Edifier R1280Ts. The CR3s deliver studio-quality design and performance with an ultra-wide frequency range for full-range multimedia (80 Hz – 20 kHz). The speaker is built using professional grade components for optimized sonic performance with convenient front-panel controls. With high-output drivers, a true studio-monitor waveguide system and an all-wood cabinet enclosure, the CR delivers excellent sound through its meticulous design. It also comes with handy features like a front panel aux input for your smartphone or tablet, headphone out and volume knob that doubles as an on/off switch. If you are looking for a Bluetooth setup with these best bookshelf speakers, the CR4-BT and CR5-BT editions feature no-hassle steaming via Bluetooth – simply pair them with your smartphone, tablet or Bluetooth device to instantly stream music.
We were quite impressed with the solid construction of the Mackies. The size of the CR3s and CR4s fit perfectly into the bookshelf and are very easy to hook up. The quality construction of the Mackies was apparent straight out of the box. These speakers feel solid, durable and heavy, and we particularly liked the green/white colored rims which gave these speakers a very stylistic appearance on the bookshelf. The meticulous design, combined with various sizes to choose from in the CR series, makes the Mackies one of the most versatile and best bookshelf speakers you can find.
In terms of sound performance, these speakers sound extremely good and you can tell that the manufacturers really went out of their way to test these speakers to perfection. With the Mackies you get to hear all the nice details in the music with very good lows, mids and highs. There is certainly a lot of bass with these speakers and you can be surprised at how much bass you can get out of these speakers. The clarity that we got at low volumes is simply breath-taking – we did not expect such good sound quality and soundstage from these bookshelf speakers at this price range. In short, these speakers deliver the clearest and some of the best studio quality sound we have heard, in fact reaching much lower than you would expect from little cabinet speakers.
Unlike most tweeter and subwoofer combination speakers, we found that we could listen to the Mackies in very low volumes and they still give nice balanced sound without filing the whole house with subwoofer. The CR3s and CR4s are hands down little beasts as bookshelf speakers go and will deliver stunning music performance to your home audio/theatre setup without the heavy price tag.
The Verdict? The Mackies CR3s and CR4s make for a pair of stunning set of best bookshelf speakers with phenomenal sound performance at an unbeatable price range. Not only are these speakers solidly built and look sleek from almost any angle, the Creative Reference series bluetooth versions allow you to connect seamlessly to your smart phone for wireless playback. The Mackies also come with lots of accessories included such as cables and isolation pads for you to hook up these speakers and run instantly. The sound performance of the Mackies was surprisingly good – we were very surprised that such delicate and detailed sound could come out of these monitors with good bass extension, even at low volumes. At this price range, the Mackies are simply some of the best bookshelf speakers you can ever find so don’t forget to check them out!
#5 Klipsch R-14M 4-Inch Reference Bookshelf Speakers
The Klipsch R-14M Reference speakers are the best bookshelf speakers from a purely acoustic performance angle. The Reference R-14M minor speakers packs a huge punch even for its tiny size, and performs beautifully as a left, center, right or surround speaker. The R-14M is specially design to fill small to medium rooms with powerful, lifelike performance, with its 1-inch aluminium linear travel suspension horn-loaded tweeter, and 4-inch copper spun high output Injection Molded Graphite (IMG) woofer. The speaker itself rests inside a brushed black polymer veneer cabinet which looks classy and sleek. In sum, the R-14M speakers are some of the very best bookshelf speakers that produce phenomenal sound from a small, versatile package.
The R-14M speakers come with lots of technical improvements to produce clean, natural sound. It features Klipsch’s proprietary 90×90 Tractix Horn technology mated with an aluminium tweeter for an impressive high-end response and greater extension, with enhanced imaging and powerful dynamics. Furthermore, the linear travel suspension tweeter minimizes distortion for enhanced, detailed performance while the copper-spun injunction woofer provides low frequency response with minimal distortion. The R-14M bookshelf speakers also feature a rear-firing port that is perfectly matched to the cabinet and drivers. This design is precisely flared to minimize turbulence at the lowest frequencies, and the 5-way binding posts provide the maximum connection flexibility.
In terms of sound performance, the R-14M is quite phenomenal. Despite their small size, the speakers produced excellent highs and decent bass considering the size of the woofer. They pump out very crisp, clear sound with very good volume with no distortion. In short, we were quite amazed by the sound they generate being that they are not very large containing a 4 inch driver (5.88 x 7.5 x 9.75 in). They generate clear sound with ample soundstage, and are ideal for surround sound setups or even using them as a 2 channel front speakers for a smaller room. Compared to other bookshelf speakers, the R-14Ms sounded fuller and more pleasing, and reproduce music of all types very well from classical to rock and pop. The violins and brass are exceptionally reproduced and you can really hear the impact from the drums. You can literally spend time listening to these speakers all day and never get bored.
Apart from their phenomenal sound performance, the Klipsch R-14Ms are very well designed and aesthetically pleasing, especially with their smaller size which makes them easier to camouflage into the bookshelf. The brushed black polymer veneer cabinet finish gave these speakers a very classy look and feel – you can tell by the weight and design that these speakers are very high quality. At this affordable price range, the R1-14Ms are hands down one of the very best bookshelf speakers you can buy.
The Verdict? The Klipsch R-14Ms are one of the best bookshelf speakers in terms of sound performance, design and are highly value for money. These speakers are designed to be small and compact and can fit easily into the bookshelf without taking up too much space. The sound performance of these bookshelf speakers is phenomenal with crystal clear mids, highs and extended lows, and you really cannot beat the sound performance of these speakers at this price point. The R-14Ms do pack a huge punch and deliver incredible, richer and fuller sound with their advanced sound system. It’s really one of the best bookshelf speakers available today for the budget conscious audiophile.
#6 Micca MB42X Bookshelf Speakers
The Micca MB42X Bookshelf speakers are a set of very good bookshelf speakers which pumps out superb audio performance while taking up very little space and budget. It is meticulously designed with classic contours and updated design cues, which make the MB42X easy to place and blend into any room or décor. It also has an enhanced tonal balance and clarity which makes it a great fit with your home theatre system or as a stand-alone 2.1 speaker system. These speakers produce a very smooth sound signature that is incredible open, balanced and dynamic with a natural soundstage. At this price range, the Micca MB42X is definitely among one of the best bookshelf speakers that delivers incredibly rich, full and detailed sound.
The technical specifications of the Micca MB42X are impressive. The speaker comes with a 4-inch balanced woven carbon fiber woofer with rubber surround for enhanced transients, with a matched ported enclosure tuning for deeper and richer bass output. The high performance 0.75-inch silk dome tweeter provides well integrated driver output matching for smooth treble, wide dispersion and accurate imaging. The speaker also features a highly optimized 18dB/Octave crossover with range topping yielding a transformed sound signature that feels incredibly open. A magnetic front grill system is also included and is easy to take off and put on.
The MB42Xs are designed to be very versatile – you can place them along a wall or near a corner of the room or inside your bookshelf or on a speaker stand. These speakers do not require much power although we would recommend a good amplifier to enhance the low end output. The build quality of the MB42Xs is incredible and the magnetic grills are a great addition. It also has a ported enclosure which delivers extended bass response with minimal distortion.
We found that the MB42Xs sound excellent for just about any sound application – it works well regardless of whether you intend to use it for desktop or as a dedicated rear channel speaker in a home theatre setup. In terms of sound performance, these speakers are in a league of their own. They are not the bass heavy type of speakers but lean towards the more detailed and clear range – if you prefer a warmer and richer sound signature the clarity of these speakers will be amazing. For example, you can actually hear a guitarist’s hands move up/down the frets on tracks where you have never heard that before – you can image how detailed/clear the other instruments would sound with these speakers. The pure clarity of instrumentation on these speakers stood out so much that we were very impressed with how detailed the speakers could go. Once you turn up the volume, the sound quality really shines through phenomenally.
The design of the Micca is aesthetically pleasing throughout. The magnetic speaker grills are nifty, the size is perfect, the carbon fiber woofer-look is cool and the brand tags are subtle. They are incredibly well designed and are simply a real pleasure to look at. You can tell that the MB42Xs are thoughtfully designed speakers with quality components and the weight of these speakers can testify to that. They look beautiful on a bookshelf home theatre setup.
The Verdict? The Micca MB42Xs delivers so much more than what we expected – delivering phenomenal depth and clarity to the acoustic elements in the music, with a particular emphasis on the layers of detail. Everything about this speaker is impeccably designed and you can tell that the manufacturer spared no expense to ensure that every single aspect of the speaker – the crossover, the tweeter, the casing and magnetic grills – are designed to deliver optimal sound. We were truly impressed by the bright and warm sound performance of the MB42Xs and we would conclude that they are definitely one of the best bookshelf speakers you can get if you are looking for crisp detail and clarity in your music at no extra cost.
#7 Polk Audio TSi100 Bookshelf Speakers
The Polk Audio TSi100s are a set of audiophile bookshelf speakers selling at an extremely affordable price. These best bookshelf speakers are equipped with wide-dispersion woofers and tweeters for thrilling sound that produces incredible music performance. It also features built-in crossovers with Mylar bypass capacitors which deliver expressive highs and natural sound. The TSi100s are equipped with one 5.25-inch dynamic balance bilaminate composite woofer and one 1-inch silk/polymer composite dynamic balance dome tweeters, with a high performance frequency response of 53Hz – 25kHz. The recommended amplification of these best bookshelf speakers are 20 – 100 watts per channel. Once hooked up to your amplifier, these speakers will play voice-match lifelike surround sound and will deliver phenomenal sound performance with their audio clarity.
We found that the sound performance from the Polk TSi100s were simply incredible and leads ahead as compared to other conventional bookshelf speakers. The Polks have significantly better overall sound, presence, stereo imaging and bass response. These Polk speakers are compact in size and yet sound so much better than larger bookshelf speakers. The TSi100s are perfectly compatible with a subwoofer and home entertainment system, or just as stand-alone 2.1 speakers. We really enjoyed playing instrumental music on these speakers – you can literally hear every single note from the orchestra come to live, and will hear lifelike sound with very good spatial imaging. It felt like we were listening to the music in the concert hall exactly the way it was intended to be heard.
The build quality of the Polk TSi100s is outstanding. The speakers are heavy and solidly built, which means that it comes with a big magnet to help with the driver performance. They are very aesthetically appealing speakers to look at with the wood finish and compact size, and will fit easily into most bookshelves without any issues. When paired with a nice subwoofer, these speakers give an amazing sound quality that can beat almost any bookshelf speaker within the same price range – the highs are crystal clear, the mids have a nice range and with the sub attached they really can literally rock your room. It’s well and truly some of the best bookshelf speakers you can find at a decent price that deliver extraordinarily sound performance above what you would expect.
Where the TSi100 shines is the clarity which it produces in its music – you can have these as the left and right main channels on your surround sound and they will make your music come to live with crystal clear highs and decent bass. The mids and highs are crisp and clear and are not tinny at all. The sound-stage is nice and wide and covers all the acoustics very well. Although these speakers have tuned bass ports, you should not expect powerful room thumping bass from them as they are design to compliment a subwoofer setup. We also found that these speakers seem to sound best when the bass port is placed closer to the wall.
The Verdict? We highly recommend the TSi100s to anyone looking to get better sound from their home theatre without upgrading the whole system. These best bookshelf speakers are some of the best sounding speakers we have ever come across at an incredibly affordable price, and are especially suited for those who wish to get a better stereo experience with an emphasis on clarity. While listening to these speakers, concerts ranging from Fleetwood Mac to Amy Winehouse are stunning – these speakers are so crystal clear that they will take your listening experience up a few notches. The imaging on the TSi100s has to be heard to be believed, and the build quality on these speakers is outstanding. Simply put, the TSi100s are hands down some of the best bookshelf speakers you can find and you simply cannot go wrong with these speakers at this price range.
#8 Yamaha NS-6490 3-Way Bookshelf Speakers
The Yamaha NS-6490s are a set of excellent bookshelf speakers that deliver solid performance at a very good price point. These speakers feature a 3-way acoustic suspension design that can be added to your home theatre system as front or rear speakers, or as auxiliary speakers on the bookshelf. The speaker itself comes with an 8” high compliance pearl while long throw cone woofer with a cloth surround and an inverted dust cover for smooth, natural sound reproduction. Each speaker enclosure has 3 drivers to power the speakers – an 8 inch woofer, a 4 midrange (0.75) dome tweeter that works together to produce an incredible frequency range of 45 Hz to 23kHz. These speakers are also magnetically shielded for so it can be used near a TV and the drivers are covered with a black satin grille cloth that is both aesthetically pleasing and acoustically transparent. The NS-6490s can handle 70 watts of continuous amplifier power or 140 watts peak for each channel, and are well and truly some of the best bookshelf speakers you can find at an affordable price.
We really enjoyed the sound performance of the NS-6490s. The sensitivity on these speakers are excellent and have very natural sound reproduction even at low volumes. The acoustic performance of the speaker tweeters is phenomenal – there are no gaps in the frequencies produced and you can hear the highs and mids with crystal clarity. The frequency response is relatively flat from 100hz upwards with no frequency gaps. These speakers will not distort even at high volumes. Although the Yamaha NS-6490s are more convention with an 8” woofer and three-way design, they perform extremely well despite their relatively bulk size and solid build quality. These are truly phenomenal old-school best bookshelf speakers with an acoustic suspension enclosure and solid specs and reliability. To complete the setup, you might also wish to connect these bookshelf speakers with a dedicated subwoofer for that added low end punch.
The NS-6490s are meticulously designed and you can feel the quality of these speakers just by the weight alone. The NS-6490s have a solid material construction and look aesthetically pleasing on the bookshelf with the black satin grille cloth cover. Although these speakers are selling at a cheap price point, they are designed to be extremely durable will definitely last a long time if properly cared for. We were highly impressed by the natural clarity, phenomenally accurate imaging and lack of listening fatigue that came with these speakers – our instrumental tracks on these speakers were reproduced with excellent separation in the details and very good soundstage. These speakers will easily compliment almost any home theatre setup and will add depth, quality and detail while playing movies or listening to your favorite soundtracks.
The Verdict? We were highly impressed with the sound performance of the NS-6490s and they remain one of our top picks despite their relatively cheap price point. They are truly one of the best bookshelf speakers in terms of old-school aesthetic appeal, consistency in sound performance and solid specifications. The sound performance of these speakers is amazing and produces tremendous detail and clarity without any gaps in the frequency range. The mids, highs and low range are reproduced without any harshness and come across as smooth and natural. You can hear your music exactly as the artist intended it to be heard with the NS-6490s, and have superb imaging which makes you feel as though you are attending the concert in person. At this amazing price point, the Yamaha NS-6490s are truly a gem and come highly recommended.
#9 Sound Appeal 6.5-Inch Bookshelf Speakers
The Sound Appeal 6.5 inch speakers are some of the best bookshelf speakers you can find at an incredible price. These speakers look extremely appealing with a finely designed wood grain cabinet with rounded edges and a tightly woven fine grille fabric which gives it a very stylish look. It features a custom 1.0” custom designed silk dome tweeter which produces crisp highs and reproduces sound naturally without any hint of over-brightness, and offers excellent on and off axis response with delicate tones with are soft, subtle and clean. These bookshelf speakers have a nominal impedance of 8 Ohms and can handle up to 80 Watts of power and a frequency response of 45Hz to 22kHz, with well-defined lows due to the custom built woofer and front loaded slotted port. You can really feel that these Sound Appeal bookshelf speakers were built with high quality craftsmanship and quality, with quality components in the crossover design which enhances overall frequency response.
Straight out of the box, we could feel the weight of these solid bookshelf speakers and the quality of the components that went into these speakers. It uses MDF cabinet walls to provide stiffness and density while minimising acoustic vibrations. The cabinet itself features a quality wood grain veneer design giving it a very aesthetic appeal. These speakers also come with a tapered grill revealing the wood grain edges and extend the curve on the front of the speaker; the grill is also removable, which allows you to showcase the high quality drivers and tuned ports. The drivers look very nice at this price point and the 1 inch dome tweeter looks well built.
We were very pleased with the sound performance of the Sound Appeal 6.5 inch bookshelf speakers. The imaging of these speakers was nice and wide, and we really enjoyed listening to our favourite soundtracks without any hint of distortion, harshness or tunnel sounding vocals. The voice performances came across as natural and smooth, and the bass was impactful with a little elevated bass in the mid regions. We felt that after a few days of burning in these speakers sounded loud and clear and have fantastic range at almost any volume. The crossovers do a good job and the low end frequency response is respectable for small speakers, although it’s not a complete replacement for a sub. These speakers are perfect for serving as the front speakers in a home theatre setup.
The sound output of the Sound Appeal speakers are musical and do decent with the octave to octave balance for the price. The bass from these speakers is tight, articulate and musical – the slot port seems to work well, and the midrange is open, detailed and clear. The tweeter sounds smooth without the added spice for detail, and has no excessive hissing noise. Overall, the sound performance of the Sound Appeal is incredible and above the competition at this price range.
The Verdict? The Sound Appeal 6.5 inch bookshelf is without a doubt one of the best bookshelf speakers you can find at an incredibly affordable price. At this price point there are simply no other speakers with 6.5” woofers, 1” silk dome tweeters and a 12db crossover. These speakers will wipe out the competition of other bookshelf speakers at this price point. We also really liked the overall design of these speakers which was compact and solid with MDF enclosures. The sound performance of these speakers are very good – with bass and upper mid-range frequencies reproduced naturally with no hint of coloration or distortion, and with good imaging and detailed soundstage. All in all, these are a very solid pair of speakers and we highly recommend them if you are looking for the best bookshelf speakers on a budget.
#10 Polk Audio RTI A1 Bookshelf Speakers
The Polk Audio RTI A1s are some of the best bookshelf speakers we have ever encountered. They are superb on almost every single level, and performed extremely well with detailed highs and mids, with good sound imaging and detail. These speakers are made from wooden cabinets with all MDF construction and resonance free enclosures. It also features one 5.25-inch dynamic balance mineral/polymer composite cone driver, and features power port technology to reduce “chuffing” or “port noise”. The speaker comes with a one 1-inch silk/polymer composite dome tweeter with a neodymium magnet, low viscosity ferro-fluid cooling and a heat sink on the back of the magnet to enhance natural sound reproduction.
The Polk RTI A1s are extremely impressive for the price. The Polks hit hard, loud and clear, and are essentially everything that you would want in a speaker. If you are looking for a speaker that will fill the room with clean, rich sound for all types of music, especially classical, rock, electronic and jazz, the Polks are the ideal choice as bookshelf speakers in a surround sound setup. We were blown away by the sheer power of the RTI A1s without noticeable distortion. Although not necessary, these speakers shine when combined with a subwoofer, producing rich, full sound with a sonic punch at the lower registers. Due to the enhanced sensitivity of these speakers, the RTI A1s are able to pump out rich, clear sound even at low volumes without any compromise. We also found that these speakers will get better with each additional day of burn in and you will notice that these speakers open up more and more over time.
The soundstage of the RTI A1s is incredible with superb sound imaging. We felt like were we sitting right inside an orchestra performance with every vocalist and instrumentalist sitting right in front. With vinyl recordings and cinematic performances, we felt that we were sitting right in the center of the performance. These speakers are especially good with combined with a home theatre setup as frontal speakers, giving an incredible sense of separation in music performances with an authoritative sound performance. We were truly impressed by the output of the RTI A1s and almost every soundtrack sounds great on these speakers.
The overall design of the RTI A1s is extremely beautiful. These speakers are solid, not overly heavy or bulyk and can be easily placed on a bookshelf. In addition, these speakers can also be placed on the wall via the enclosed screws and the hook located on the rear port hole cover. These speakers also look awesome when placed on adjustable speaker stands which provide for added flexibility. The RTI A1s are designed to project sound further outside of the cabinets, throwing a great and wide sound-field outwards. The instruments sound like exactly like they should, voices and crisp and clear, and the highs are soothing rather than sibilant or tiny. All in all, these speakers are excellent for music and movies at an incredibly affordable price.
The Verdict? The Polk RTI A1s are some of the best bookshelf speakers you can find that delivers incredibly good sound performance with superb imaging. These speakers provide very balance sound with nice highs, and these sound great bi-amped with tight and impactful bass. These are some of the clearest and cleanest sounding speakers we have ever come across, and are able to pump out incredible sound performance even at low volumes due to its enhanced sensitivity. It also comes in a solid wooden MDF cabinet design which feels very high quality and can easily fit into your bookshelf. If you are looking for some of the best bookshelf speakers at an affordable price, the Polk RTI A1s is definitely something you should consider.