The Best Bookshelf Speakers under $500 – Reviews

bookshelf-speakers-under-500

Our Top 3 Picks

Pioneer Elite SP-EBS73 Bookshelf Speakers

Pioneer-Elite-SP-EBS73-Dolby-Atmos-enabled-Andrew-Jones-Bookshelf-SpeakersWe rate this as our best bookshelf speakers under $500 because the brand makes sure all frequencies can be enjoyed thoroughly. You have three different drivers to help you with that. They’re also stylish and sleek and have the unique Atmos feature to fill the entire room with sound. And they won’t even take up a lot of space. Small. Dynamic. The best 500 dollars you’ll spend this year.

Read More

Edifier S1000DB

Edifier-S1000DB-Audiophile-Active-Bookshelf-Speakers

Another one that impresses because it provides excellent sound across the frequency board. The installed subwoofer will boom your bass more than most units in this review. And you’ll love the classic exteriors so they’re an investment of technology and style.

Read More

DALI – ZENSOR 1

DALI-ZENSOR-1-Bookshelf-Speakers

Not our first choice purely because of the lack of sleek aesthetics. But you’ll enjoy bang for your buck and balanced sound when you pick these. They’re also light which makes them a practical option for regular transport or mounting.

Read More

Top Rated Budget Bookshelf Speakers Under $500

Best Option Under $500: Pioneer Elite SP-EBS73 Bookshelf Speakers

Pioneer Elite SP-EBS73 Dolby Atmos-enabled Andrew Jones Bookshelf Speakers

Install true vintage class and state of the art technology with these speakers from Pioneer. Even the design is unique so these will complement your room’s décor.

Inside you’ll find the dynamics through which a 3-way speaker design is optimized:

  • A Dolby the enabled concentric driver
  • Three different drivers; one each for high, mid and low-frequency ranges
  • The drivers have CST (Coherent Source Transducer) technology
  • Complex crossovers for balance and clarity
  • Binding posts that are gold plated

You can imagine all this technology is quite heavy, so the Pioneer Elite SP-EBS73 weighs in at 31lb. However, it’s comfortably compact at only 7” x 10” x 15” so it’s easy to find shelf space for one.

FAQ

Why are there four inputs?
This type has a speaker that spreads audio upwards toward the ceiling (Atmos feature). This requires an additional input for this separate speaker. This also means your receiver must be Atmos enabled. If you don’t have such an amplifier/receiver, don’t try to bi-wire the speakers as it can damage them.

Can these be used as part of surround sound systems?
Yes, either as front or rear speakers.

Bookshelf Speakers: Edifier S1000DB

Edifier S1000DB Audiophile Active Bookshelf Speakers

For a more classic look, you can try the Edifier S1000DBs for under $500. The exterior’s wood finish once again means your home entertainment system doesn’t have to ruin your aesthetics.

As with many Edifier products you get the benefit of Bluetooth connectivity. Send your audio straight from your Smartphone if you want. Thanks to a 5.5” subwoofer you get amazing bass sounds. Match this with an astounding 120W RMS thanks to DSP (Digital Sound Processing) technology and you know you’ll feel the music’s punch from now on.

Edifier provides a remote control so the owner of this has the ultimate luxury in controlling the sound output even if you’re not directly in front of the hi-fi.

FAQ

Do these speakers have ports?
Yes, at the back you’ll see a port which adds to the high quality bass audio you’ll enjoy.

Can you connect a subwoofer?
It’s probably not necessary because of the units’ own woofers. It’s also not designed to connect to additional drivers. You’ll need parallel connectivity and a crossover if you’re adamant about adding more bass.

Ideal as Stereo Speakers Dali-Zensor 1

DALI - ZENSOR 1 - Bookshelf Speakers

With these the designers could have taken more time to improve the aesthetics, as they seem very basic. But the technology inside definitely isn’t so you get the following:

  • Nominal impedance of 6ohm
  • Frequency range of 53Hz to 26.5kHz
  • Sensitivity of 86.5dB

While these good audiophile speakers are quite large (17.1” x 14.1” x 11.8”) they’re remarkably light, so if you don’t have shelf space, perhaps you can mount them easily.

They can handle up to 100W which is a step up from lower end speakers on the market that usually manage around 80W only.

FAQ

Are subwoofers a requirement to enjoy proper sound?
No. The woofers installed will give you excellent low frequency audio at high volume. However, the brand has other models and components specifically designed for bass coverage if this is your priority.

With what do you connect these speakers to your audio source or sound system?
These speakers are versatile since you can use what you have on hand: Banana plugs, bare wire or even spades.

Wharfedale – Diamond 220

Wharfedale Diamond 220

Here’s another basic design that hides state of the art technology. Listen to this:

  • Great sounding bass via the 5.1” Keval woofer
  • High frequencies through the 1” soft dome tweeter
  • A cabinet constructed with layers

All of this gives you a frequency response of 45Hz-24kHz. Just by looking at this range you’ll know why it’s worth it investing a little more and paying around $500, rather than settling for a lower range model. You don’t even need sub woofers.

The top-rated speakers under $500 weigh 11.7lb making them easily mountable, but on the shelf Wharfedale Diamond 220 will only take up this space: 12.4” x 6.9” x 9.8”.

FAQ

Will these speakers tip over if they’re too long for the shelf and they hang over?
Don’t let the speakers hang over more than 2”. This might cause an imbalance even though they’re not front heavy. You can place carpet tape between the speaker and the shelf for some extra security.

How can you get these to work with banana clips?
The small plastic covers over the binding posts must be removed. You can use a paperclip to dot his and then banana plugs will fit well.

2-Way Active Speakers A5+ by Audioengine

Audioengine A5+ Active 2-Way Speakers

Here we see the effort put into producing good looking and excellent working speakers. The exterior is an impressive black enclosure.

Inside the brand impresses with features that make home entertainment—or just for music in your bedroom—rise to new heights. With thermal management—an improved version from other models—your speakers are protected against overheating, getting damaged or performing poorly.

We also love that they can be powered via USB. Since they’re compatible with PCs (Mac as well) you can easily hook them up and have them powered without much changes to your room layout.

Each channel can handle 50W, giving you 100W of power. Thanks to the Kevlar woofers and tweeters with silk you’ll have powerful audio across the frequency range. (Frequency response: 50Hz-22kHz).

Amazingly, Audioengine A5+ speakers are still compact at only 10.75” x 7” x 9”.

FAQ

Can you connect these speakers directly to a TV or other entertainment audio source such as for computer?
Yes, because they’re powered speakers. Just make sure your source has the required output. It must be compatible with the speakers’ which are RCA or 1/8” miniplug. Best of all is that the brand supplies most wiring you’ll need.

Can you listen to the audio with headphones?
There is no direct headphone output. However, with adapters you can feed audio via the RCA connection.

3 Way Bookshelf Speakers Uni-fi UB5 by ELAC

ELAC Uni-fi UB5 Bookshelf Speaker

Here’s another 3-way speaker that will fill your rooms with sound for the ultimate audio experience, no matter you prefer it for vinyl or CD’s. The audio’s balance and clarity are heightened by:

  • A crossover design using the latest technology
  • Concentric drivers
  • A 5 ¼” woofer made of aluminum

That’s how a compact 7.87” x 10.75” x 12.75” speaker can deliver such power. It’s the

Just note they’re on the heavy side at 35lb, so you need enough shelf space, or strong brackets to mount Elac Uni-Fi UB5.

FAQ

Do you need an additional subwoofer for larger rooms such as 20ft x 20ft?
No bookcase speaker will equal large sound systems when it comes to bass. Luckily ELAC also manufactures subwoofers so it’s easy to find one that you can connect to this one. For a large room—if you like loud bass—this will probably be necessary.

Are these speakers appropriate as rear or side speakers in a surround sound setup?
You’ll love the audio when these are your front speakers. However, as side units they may be too overpowering.

Audioengine HD3 Powered Speakers

Audioengine HD3 Wireless Compact Speakers

Go old school with these speakers’ design. The wood finish with black protective grids is reminiscent of 50 years ago. But the technology is definitely modern.

Best of all is you can stream your music from your other devices—a phone or PC—without wires. They’re Bluetooth enabled and which is super easy to install do it can communicate with most devices.

The Bluetooth can work from up to 100ft away. If you do want to connect a device via wires you can pick from RCA, USB or mini jack ports, meaning you can also plug in your headphones to listen.

High quality sound will come forts thanks to:

  • 2.75” Kevlar woofers
  • ¾” tweeters

These are smaller than many others in this review and this is not the most powerful unit for $500 (only providing a frequency range of 65Hz—22kHz and RMS of 30W per channel), but still impressive.

FAQ

What are the bass adjustment options?
At the back of the units you’ll find switches to adjust the bass. Simply pick between your sources (normal bass or the subwoofer you connect to the system). You can also adjust it digitally if you link it to your computer.

How do these perform when used for gaming and music?
What do you plan on doing with your music? It may not have enough bass—or accurate bass frequencies—for mixing. Even for listening you may want to add a subwoofer. However, for gaming, these are perfect.

Best Pick Under $400: Klipsch RB-61 II Bookshelf Loudspeakers

Klipsch RB-61 II Reference Series Bookshelf Loudspeakers

A striking look and excellent sound thanks to Cerametallic woofer cones. They prevent distortion and the orange-copper color adds to your aesthetics.

With WDST (Wide Dispersion Surround Technology) which is exclusive to this brand your audio’s placement is flexible with sounds localized.

They measure at 8.5” x 12.28” x 15.39” and weigh 35lb.

FAQ

What kind of ports are installed on these speakers?
There are no rear ports so the speakers are front firing. This makes them easy to position as you can place them against a wall if necessary, without ruining bass audio.

How do you mount these speakers?
Note that there are no keyhole mounting options, so you’ll have to devise a DIY plan. Placing them on L brackets is one option, but remember to make provision—use heavy duty components—that will handle the heavy load.

Great HiFi Booskhelf Speakers for Home Music by Swan Speakers

 Swan Speakers - M200MKIII - Powered 2-0 Bookshelf Speakers

Here’s quite an original design. Hopefully the unique exterior—protruding wood finishes—won’t make mounting or positioning harder.

The long-throw woofer works well thanks to the advanced reflex channel. The 1” coaxial tweeters have fiber domes. Despite these features, note that the frequency range is only 53Hz—20kHz, which is not the best on this list.

Best of all is that they’re not passive and the power range is an impressive 120W RMS.

FAQ

Can you stream via APTX?
No. These speakers can stream full HD Audio, but via an open source product. It’s DAC streaming relating to Wi-Fi. No Bluetooth connectivity is supported here.

Can you connect a subwoofer to these?
Because there’s no sub output it’s very tricky to add a subwoofer to this system.

ELAC B6 Debut Speakers with Nice Cabinet Vinyl Finish

ELAC B6 Debut Series 6-5 Bookshelf Speakers

Here’s a very basic design, but hopefully the quality sound—brought on by the custom drivers—will impress you. The woofer is a woven aramid-fiber type and at 6.5” large, it’s more than you’ll get in many other speakers on this list.

The brand gives you an option of only purchasing the pair of bookshelf speakers or adding a center speaker. This can add that X-factor your entertainment system needs.

With dimensions of 14” x 8.5” x 10” it’s pretty easy to get the necessary space for these. And with consumers’ love for vinyl, you know why these easily get picked from this list.

FAQ

Can you use these stereo speakers placed on their sides (landscape mode)?
It’s usually best to place these upright. It won’t damage the units if you do place them on their sides, but in some environments you’ll experience an audio change. The woofer and tweeter are designed to function together and changing their positioning will affect how the sound is heard across the room.

Portable Speakers: Q Acoustics 3020

Q Acoustics 3020 Bookshelf Speakers

You’ll be forgiven if you think these small (10.23” x 8.89” x 6.69”) won’t do the job. But there’s a reason they’re in this high price range:

  • The frequency range of 64Hz—22kHz gives you higher tones than many other ones mentioned here
  • The 5” woofer driver is quite large giving you excellent bass tones
  • The tweeters’ unique 2-in-1 ring/dome design are revolutionary

These features provide clear and detailed audio in small or medium sized rooms.

FAQ

Is there a technical difference between the different exterior designs?
The price difference can be because the finishes differ in price. The walnut finish is easier to come by than the unique white. But inside they have the same technology.

Can I connect these to record player?
You’ll need an amplifier as part of your setup as these aren’t self powered speakers.

$500 Bookshelf Speakers Performance

So you’re working on a budget, but you want some epic sound from your speakers. What is a wise price range to shop in?

If you can make a $500 investment in your sound equipment you’ll be pleasantly surprised at what you get out of the deal. In this range brands place some impressive features to set the speakers apart from lower end units. Otherwise, why consider these, right?

That’s why you can look forward to this level of performance (and don’t settle for less):

  • While the power won’t match what you’ll get from speakers priced at $1000, proper output comes standard on all $500 speakers.
  • In lower end models crossovers—providing the clarity and balance between low and high frequencies audiophiles require—are bonuses, but in this category they usually come standard.
  • Don’t overestimate these best-rated bookshelf speakers. They will blast your average sized rooms with sound, but they’re not powerful enough yet for large spaces.
  • Take your pick of either passive or powered loudspeakers under $400.

Also be aware of each brand’s specialty. If you pick a brand experienced in developing high quality tweeters, you’ll get better high frequency audio. So remember certain features aren’t determined by the price range, but are very brand specific.

So how do the brands keep the costs low while providing you with sound an audiophile will deem on par?

The main area of concern can be with the design of the enclosures and cabinets. You may not find a wide range and aesthetics may not be as impressive as high-quality Hi-Fi speakers in other price ranges. But that’s no reason to say no to exceptional sound!