Guide To Bookshelf Speakers | The Revolver Club
Bookshelf speakers are the definition of friendly audio. As the name suggests, these speakers are small and compact, and they make the perfect addition to a new hi-fi system.
The bookshelf loudspeaker offers a compelling music experience that is room-friendly, cost-effective, and compatible with network amplifiers, turntables, and digital sources at every price point.
They won’t get you the same room-shaking power or rumbling bass that a full-sized set will provide, but for your office, den, or bedroom, they’ll be more than enough.
If you’re setting up a home theater system, pair the speakers with a subwoofer to really amp up your listening experience.
What are Speakers?
Speakers are transducers that convert electromagnetic waves into sound waves. The speakers can receive audio input from a pre-amp (active speakers), stereo amplifier (passive speakers), directly from a turntable or any audio source.
There are two major category of speakers concerning us:
- Active Speakers have a built-in power amplifier. They just need a power source(or battery) to operate
- Passive Speakers draw their power from an external amplifier & is connected to that amp via speaker wire/cable.
A bookshelf loudspeaker (or bookshelf speaker) is a compact loudspeaker, generally sold for consumer-grade home audio applications as part of a shelf stereo pair or home theater package, that is compact in size and intended to be placed on a raised surface, e.g. a bookshelf.
In the 1950s and 1960s, high quality home loudspeakers were exclusively large and floor-standing speaker enclosures, whereas small speaker cabinets had a reputation of low price and low audio quality.
However, beginning in the 1960s, some manufacturers began making more expensive, compact high fidelity speakers. The demand for smaller speakers was from hi-fi enthusiasts who lived in small apartments, who did not have space for large speaker enclosures.
Bookshelf speakers come in two different styles: passive and active. Active speakers are also heavier than passive ones, and can have smaller drivers because the speaker housing has to accommodate a lot more hardware.
Speakers are described as two-way, three-way, four-way, etc. This is a description of the number of speaker drivers handling the different audio frequencies. A two-way speaker is the simplest type of tower speaker.
It has a tweeter (for high-frequency) and a woofer (for low-frequency).
A three-way speaker contains a tweeter, a midrange driver (for mid-frequency dialogue), and a woofer.
While it's hard to generalize that a 3-way speaker is better than a 2-way speaker, if you properly design a speaker, one with more drivers allows the speaker designer to have the components dedicated to a smaller range of frequencies, which can result in better and more accurate performance.
You would want a speaker that can produce as much of the full range of frequencies that human ears can hear as possible.
Bookshelf Speakers vs Floor Standing Speakers
Bookshelf speakers have a more flexible placement, occupy less space and fit well into a home theatre setup.
They tend to have fewer drivers because of their limited space but have a great mid range sound coverage, and need to be placed on a shelf or table to stay at ear level.
But the advantage of having a smaller set of experience is being able to use them in smaller spaces, including a desk, or wall mounting them to the corners of your room. They are always preferred as a part of a larger system.
On the other hand, Floor Standing Speakers are more powerful as compared to bookshelf speakers. They are better for high quality music listening and greater acoustic as compared to bookshelf speakers.
Factors to consider while buying a pair of bookshelf speakers
The first decision you have to make is a very simple one: do you want a pair of wired or wireless speakers? This is a question of both convenience and sound quality.
Wired speakers are more traditional and a little clumsier – you are, after all, having to deal with a lot of cables – but they also tend to sound better. In comparison, wireless speakers smoke traditional wired speakers in terms of convenience.
As long as you have a Bluetooth or Wi-Fi connection, you’re good to go. Wireless speakers will also generally have a wide range of wired connections available, allowing you to connect a turntable, a separate DAC (if you have one) and more.
The sound quality of bookshelf speakers now-a-days is quite high. While it’s rare to get a pair that don’t sound passable, it’s crucial to know their limitations before you buy.
Usually, bookshelf speakers have no more than 2 drivers : a tweeter for high frequency and an all range driver for midrange and low frequencies.
Due to their small construction they don’t have the size or the power to really pump out the bass. This is one area where they struggle.
One of the most simple but yet essential things while buying a bookshelf speaker is knowing the budget. If you’re buying bookshelf speakers, then you must’ve set an ideal budget for it, and we will strongly advise sticking to it because there is no reason to buy overpriced speakers.
There are many great speakers which are available at affordable prices but most of them are expensive, and those who don’t have proper knowledge about them might end up buying the worst one.
And when you are buying bookshelf speakers, have a clear picture of why you are spending money on these things.
Many people purchase speakers because they like to watch movies because it gives them the feel of theatre and if you’re movie buff and you want to have mini theatre experience then you can buy bookshelf speakers for that too.
Consider purchasing a bookshelf speaker for watching movies or listening to your favorite music.