Wednesday, 19 September 2018

Best Bookshelf Speakers for Under 200



Who else wants the best bookshelf speakers under 200 dollars in the UK, US, Canada, or Australia? 

If that's you, then here's our guide to the best on Amazon, eBay, and Walmart.

Our selections have been compared to the reviewed bookshelf speakers on Reddit, AVS forum, Wirecutter, and other reputable websites in a bid to ensure you get excellent value for your money's worth and even more.

But wait for a second!

What exactly do you expect from your speakers?

We'll take a wild guess that your utmost priority will be a great sound quality where the bass is deep and there are a significant mids and highs.

Not only that,

You might also expect that they should come with additional features such as a Bluetooth, Headphone Jack, and an RCA output which will enable you to connect to multiple audio sources at a time.

The good news is, you'll find portable bookshelf speakers for under 200 dollars which meets these requirements in our guide.

These are mid-range devices that can provide high fidelity audio when connected to a gaming system, vinyl record player, DVD, Computer, and TV for watching movies or listening to music.

Moreover, unlike bookshelf speakers under $100 or around £100 whose volume might not go beyond the room they're being used in and may not support deeper bass frequencies, these ones can do a better job.

Consequently, place them on a bookshelf, desktop, speaker stand, or mount them on the wall in your living room, bedroom, or den and they'll provide an impressive audio sound.

Even though their compact size makes them suitable for a small room since the sound waves will tend not to interfere with each other, you can also use them for a big room because they can give high-level sound.

But that's not all, so read on to find out what you stand to gain for buying a speaker within this price range.

In line with that, here's an overview of what this guide entails:

  • What is a Bookshelf Speaker?
  • Speakers Terminologies Explained
  • Types of Bookshelf Speakers
  • How Do Bookshelf Speakers Work?
  • Best Bookshelf Speaker Brands
  • Review of the Best Bookshelf Speakers Under $200
  • How Were These Bookshelf Speakers Selected?

Let’s get busy!



What is a Bookshelf Speaker?


A bookshelf speaker is a sound system that converts electrical audio signal obtained from an audio source to sound which can be heard.

This audio source can be an Android or iOS smartphone, TV, Mac, PC, Turntable, Bluray, CD, or DVD Player.

Besides,, these speakers have a small and compact size which makes them suitable for use in a small room.

Nonetheless, they can provide the best sound quality despite their small build.

Now, get this!

A bookshelf speaker is mainly designed to be placed on an elevated surface but not on the ground.

Why is that?

The nature of their speakers makes them provide a better sound level when the speakers are placed in a raised position.

That being so, if you're wondering where to place bookshelf speakers, you can place them on a shelf between your Don Quixote, One Hundred Years of Solitude, To Kill a Mockingbird, or Anna Karenina novels.

At the same time, you can position them on a bookshelf speaker stand, media console, and generally, angle them at 10 o'clock and 2 o'clock positions, towards your listening position.


Speakers Terminologies Explained


You'll come across several speaker terms while reading this guide and most of them might look like what's written in Greek.

To help you understand how important each feature of the bookshelf speaker is, here are some terms that may look too complex to understand.

  • Watts
  • Frequency response
  • Sensitivity
  • Subwoofer
  • Impedance
  • Distortion
  • Driver
  • Port


1. Watts:


This is a measure of the amount of power that can be supplied to a speaker by an amplifier. 

Manufacturers usually specify this in a range such as 30 to 120 watts in order to show the amount of power the speaker can handle.

If the power supplied is lower than the range, then the quality of the sound will be poor.

Alternatively, a higher power supplied to the speaker than that specified might roast the drivers. 


2. Frequency response:


This denotes the range of audible frequencies a sound system such as a lavalier microphone, speaker, or record player can reproduce.

A lower frequency around 20 Hz means it'll produce a deep bass sound while a higher frequency between 20 kHz denotes a treble sound.


3. Sensitivity:


Sensitivity is measured in decibels.

It determines the maximum volume at which your speakers can be set to. 

Therefore, around 15 - 25dB is a whisper, 65 - 70 dB is a normal speaking voice, and 98dB is a sound that is loud enough to be heard in another room.


4. Subwoofer:


A subwoofer is a 6.5 - 15 inch driver that can reproduce sound between 20 - 200 Hz in order to deliver a rich bass sound when used with a home theater system.

That being so, pairing the best bookshelf speakers with subwoofer will result in a deeper bass sound.

This is because bookshelf speakers on their own do not really go low in the bass spectrum and as such, a subwoofer will be able to do the job better.


5. Impedance:


This is the resistance of a speaker to the electric current supplied by an amplifier and it is measured in ohms.

Bookshelf speakers usually have an impedance of  6 ohms or 8 ohms.

Consequently, the higher the impedance, the higher the power that will be needed to overcome this resistance.


6. Distortion:


This is when an audio signal is affected or part of the signal is lost. 

When the signal is distorted, then it can result in poor sound quality.

This can be caused by mismatching an amp to a speaker where the speaker can't handle the power supplied by the amp.

As a result, increasing the volume of your speaker at this point will give an unappealing flabby sound.


7. Driver:


A driver is a cone or circular portion in a speaker that tends to move to and fro which enables it to produce sound.


8. Port: 


This is a hole that is usually placed in a speaker’s cabinet in a bid to enhance its bass response.


How Do Bookshelf Speakers Work?


If you're wondering how bookshelf speakers work to produce their sound given the small nature of their build, here's a simple explanation.

Bookshelf speakers are 2.0" systems that take advantage of a left and right speaker to provide stereo hi-fi sound.

These speakers come with two major types of drivers and these are the woofer and the tweeter.

The woofer which derives its name from the bark of a dog (woof), is the larger of the two.

It handles low frequencies from 40Hz to 500Hz which is often attributed to bass.

Contrastingly, the tweeter which gains its name from the high pitch sound of birds (tweets) is smaller and it handles high frequencies from 2,000 Hz to 20,000 Hz.

Therefore, by connecting your bookshelf speakers to a receiver or amplifier (in the case of a passive speaker), it can be made ready to play music.

On the other hand, this connection to an AV receiver (AVR) will not be necessary if it has already been built-into the speakers.

But more about that in the next section!


Types of Bookshelf Speakers


There are two major types of bookshelf speakers and every other speaker such as a monitor, computer, public announcement, sound bar, satellite, floor-standing etc. are of these basic types.

These are the passive and active speakers.

Let's take a closer look!


1. Active Speakers:


Bookshelf speakers that are active speakers are said to be powered.

This is because they come with a built-in Amp or AV receiver that will supply the power needed by the speakers and they are internally matched.

Therefore, they can begin playing music immediately once you've connected them to your vinyl player, smartphone, TV, or any other home theater.


2. Passive speakers:


Bookshelf speakers that are passive are said to be non-powered.

They do not come with an amplifier installed within the cabinet and as such, you need to buy an amplifier or stereo receiver before you can use them.

In addition, you'll still need to match your speakers to your amplifier or receiver in order for them to run smoothly.

Matching this type of speakers to an amp can easily be done by knowing the wattage and impedance of both devices.


Wattage:

Here,

You need to use an amplifier that has a wattage that is in the same range (for example, between 30 and 120 watts per channel) as your speaker.

This will ensure that it neither underpowers the speakers nor overpower them.


Impedance:

An amplifier that has an impedance lower or equal to that of your speaker is usually recommended for use.

This is to allow the amp use its power, fully to overcome the load put by the speakers on it.

You should also consider the fact that amps tend to use their full power at their lowest impedance.

That being the case, you can use an 8-ohm speaker with a 4-ohm amp or even better, two speakers with 4 ohms respectively in order to enhance audio quality.


Best Bookshelf Speaker Brands


Now that you know the bits of information that relate to speakers, you can also check out the best Bookshelf speaker brands you can pitch your tent with.

Keep in mind that if you're ready to spend over $100 for a speaker, then it might as well be one from a reputable manufacturer who has garnered some level of experience when it comes to sound systems.

So, the popular brands when it comes to microphones, headphones, and Bluetooth wireless speakers are:

  • Sony
  • Edifier
  • B & W
  • Polk Audio
  • Audio engine


1. Sony:


Sony is a multinational conglomerate corporation based in Tokyo, Japan.

This is a company that has been designing and manufacturing electronics since 1946.

At some point, you may have come across their Blu-Ray disc player, DSLR digital camera, over-ear wireless Bluetooth headphones, or even their Playstation 4 console.

If that's the case, then you may come to love the bookshelf speakers from this brand which have been lined up in the midrange and high-end sections of the market.



2. Edifier:


Edifier is one of the best brands for bookshelf speakers.

This is a sound systems company that was founded in 1996 and it is headquartered in Beijing, China.

Popularly known for its Bluetooth wireless speakers and headphones, this brand has got several quality products to offer.

Buyers love them and so do reviewers.

If you're looking for the best budget bookshelf speakers under $100 or for any price around 200, 300, or 500, they've got a speaker to offer.

Popular among their speakers are the Edifier R1700BT Bluetooth speakers, Edifier S1000DB audiophile active bookshelf speakers, and the Edifier R1280T Powered bookshelf speakers.


3. B & W:


Here's a brand that's all about high-end devices that can give you a run for your money.

And that's the Bowers & Wilkins, a British company that was founded in 1996.

This is a manufacturer of audio equipment like in-wall and in-ceiling speakers, outdoor and marine speakers, subwoofers, wireless headphones, and car audio system for BMW, Mclaren, Volvo, and Maserati.

They're the brand you should be looking for when it comes to the best bookshelf speakers under 2000, 3000, and 5000 dollars.

Yes, they're pretty expensive B&W speakers.


4. Polk Audio:


Polk Audio was founded in 1972 and it is based in Maryland, USA.

This is an audio products manufacturer that has subwoofers, soundbars, surround speakers, home audio speakers, FM tuners, and amplifiers all lined up for the taking.

And the best part?

You can spend very little to get so much from this manufacturer.

That is to say, they have affordable bookshelf speakers as well as expensive ones.

Therefore, the choice of which you go for is left for you.

Notable among their speakers are the Polk Audio T15, TSi100, RTI A1, and the Polk Audio Signature S15 American HiFi bookshelf speaker 


5. Audio Engine:


It may come in last on the list, but it is not to be underestimated given that it is one of the best bookshelf brands out there that have very affordable sound systems to offer.

If you've heard of the A2+ and A5+ powered speakers, then this manufacturer's name should ring a bell.

If it doesn't, then here's what you should know.

Audio Engine is a designer and manufacturer of powered and wireless speakers, wireless adapters, amplifiers, and digital to analog converter,  and they are based in Houston, Texas.

If you're looking to buy a quality bookshelf speaker you can buy for home theater or you want to upgrade your computer speakers, then ones from this manufacturer will be a good choice.

You should keep an eye out for their HD3 Powered Bookshelf Speakers, P4N Passive Bookshelf Speaker, and the Audioengine A5+ Premium Powered Speaker Pair.

But these are around $300 and more so you won't see us mentioning them in our list.

The bottom line is,

These are only some of the best out there because you'll find strong competitors like Micca, Klipsch, and others.

Nevertheless, if you want great speakers, you'll do well to choose one from this brand.

Now that's out of the way, let's proceed and show you some of the speakers that may turn out to be the next sound system in your home.


Review of the Best Bookshelf Speakers Under $200


If you've read this far, then you've been patient mate.

And if you didn't, no pressure there!.

Here's the part where we show you the best bookshelf speakers under 200 dollars that can give you excellent value for your money.

They are portable, solidly built, have a premium design, and most importantly, can offer great audio sound.

If that's something you look forward to, then our selected 5 best bookshelf speakers include the following:

  • Pioneer SP-BS22-LR 
  • Edifier R1700BT
  • Sony SSCS5 3-Way 3-Driver
  • Klipsch R-14M 4-Inch Reference
  • Micca PB42X


1. Pioneer SP-BS22-LR Andrew Jones Designed Bookshelf Loudspeakers:


best bookshelf speakers under 200

The Pioneer SP-BS22-LR Andrew Jones designed bookshelf loudspeakers have a price tag of $129 which makes then inexpensive speakers.

Pioneer is a Japanese manufacturer of optical drives, on-ear, over-ear, and in-ear headphones, car CD receivers, DVD receivers, speakers, subwoofers, amplifiers etc, and this has been the case since 1938.

Here's what these speakers offer.



Design:

The SP-BS22-LR bookshelf speaker has an admirable curved cabinet design and removable speaker grills that protect the speakers.

At first glance, you'll notice that they are very tiny speakers that will not take so much space on your wall shelf.

And that's true.

At a dimension of 7-1/8” x 12-9/16” x 8-7/16” and weight of 9 lbs, you'll hardly notice you've acquired an extra pair of machines.

That being so, if you appreciate speakers that are not bulky, heavy, or easily get the guest's attention once they walk into your living room, then these would do just nicely.

In addition, its curved cabinet design gives some level of stiffness to the enclosure which will help to minimize vibrations in the speakers. 



Features:

The SP-BS22-LR has a wide frequency response of 55Hz— 20kHz.

Therefore, you can expect a deep bass quality when music is playing from this speaker as well as a high audio resolution.

To provide rich bass in the sound you hear, this speaker comes with a 4-inch structured surface Woofer with oversized magnets

There is also a 1-inch high-efficiency soft dome tweeter that makes it able to play high pitch sounds.

Creating a blend between the woofer and tweeter is a 6 element complex crossover.

The nominal impedance of this speaker is 6ohms and this resistance can be overcomed by an amplifier with an impedance equal to or less than that value, which is in a bid to supply power to the speaker.

Other features include:

  • Two-way, bass-reflex
  • 80 Watt power handling

Check out this Pioneer SP-BS22-LR video review:






2. Edifier R1700BT Bluetooth Bookshelf Speakers: 


best bookshelf speakers under 200

The Edifier R1700BT Bluetooth bookshelf speakers is a favorite to buyers on Amazon.

This is because it has an affordable price of $149, yet it comes with impressive features.

If you're looking for a bookshelf speaker within this price range, then you might want to take a closer look.

So, here's what it offers.



Design:

The Edifier R1700BT has a sleek look and a solid build.

This is a high-quality MDF wooden bookshelf speaker that looks classy but still maintains that old-fashioned look.

Thus, it'll make as another great furniture on your bookshelf, speaker stand, or wall.

In terms of portability, you'll have a speaker with a dimension of 6in x 8in x 9.75in and weight of 14.55 lbs to deal with.

If that's not too much for you to move around with ease, then consider it as one of the most portable speakers out there.

Fit it into a small space and it'll sit comfortably to enhance the audio entertainment in your home.



Features:

The R1700BT has a 4-inch bass driver which is the woofer, and a 19mm dome tweeter.

These drivers sizes can produce high-quality sound thus, whether its bass or treble, it can handle it.

Accordingly, make the most of it by connecting it to your gaming console, computer or TV for exceptional sound quality with rich lows and clear highs.

But that's not all.

It is an active speaker that already has its built-in amp and as such, you won't have to buy an additional amp to power it if you choose not to.

Allowing you to control the sound quality, you'll find control dials on this speaker that makes for Treble adjustment around -6db to +6db and bass adjustment around -6db to +6db.

In addition to that, this speaker automatically resets its volume once it is turned on due to its Digital volume control.

Therefore, if you've left the speakers at a blaring volume during the day, the sound won't jump right at you at night if you turn it on.

Yes, we know how overwhelming that can be.

To minimize distortion that may tend to affect the quality of the audio signal, this speaker comes with built-in Digital Signal Processing (DSP) and Dynamic Range Control (DRC).

As a consequence, you can increase the volume of the speakers and they won't make an unappealing sound when it gets to a certain level.

It gets even better!

This is one of the best bookshelf speakers with Bluetooth which will allow you to connect wirelessly to a Bluetooth-enabled audio source such as an iPhone, Samsung Galaxy or Huawei smartphone, Mac, Windows device etc.

Now all you have to do is to select an input source just by pushing-in the volume control dial or reset the Bluetooth pairing by pushing and holding the volume control.

If you'll rather connect using RCA cables, then you'll find a 3.5mm headphone output or dual RCA output on this speaker which will enable you to connect to two audio sources at the same time.

Other features include:

  • 100 - 240v full range power
  • 5-pin connector to passive speaker
  • A frequency response of 60Hz ~ 20kHz 

Here's a video review of the Edifier R1700BT





3. Sony SSCS5 3-Way 3-Driver Bookshelf Speaker System:


best bookshelf speakers under 200

If you already own an electronic from Sony, then we don't expect you to get cold feet when it comes to their bookshelf speaker.

So, here's the Sony SSCS5 3-Way 3-Driver bookshelf speaker system and it is another budget-friendly bookshelf speaker that can provide quality audio sound.

But let's not spill the beans yet, read on!



Design:

Want a speaker with a very simple design and in Black?

You've found it.

The Sony SSCS5 3-Way 3-Driver has a slightly tapered faceplate edge to prevent noise from the cabinet and baffle board.

Its cabinet is made of wood with a ported enclosure, and its rigid construction helps to minimize vibrations which are alternatively dampened and absorbed.

Instead of a paper cone, you'll find a Mica reinforced cellular cone on this speaker which makes for an uncompromised audio quality.

This speaker has a small size of 7 1/8" x 13 1/4" x 8 3/4" (W x H x D) and weight of  9 lbs which will allow you to easily fit into a small space.

There's no need to make an extra room more than necessary or crack your brain on how to reposition other electronics just to make room for it.

If you've already pictured where you'll place this compact bookshelf speaker, then most likely it'll be a perfect fit.



Features:

Sony SSCS5 3-Way 3-driver bookshelf speaker promises superb audio sound from its blaring speakers.

These three drivers are a 0.98 in dome tweeter with polyester fiber and a 0.75 in super-tweeter to boost high frequencies, as well as a 5.12 in MRC woofer with a foamed mica-cellular diaphragm to boost low-end frequencies.

For this reason, you can expect deep bass levels and even a high pitch sound thanks to its two tweeter drivers.

The super tweeter enables high-frequency notes to be reproduced through these speakers and if you're up for some treble, you got it!

According to its maker,

It is designed to reproduce high-resolution audio tracks.

Moreover, the high-quality material of the air-core inductors in the tweeters and the silicon steel plate in the woofer makes for a durable speaker that can stand the test of time.

Like most bookshelf speakers, this one also has an impedance of 6 ohms.

It has a frequency response of 53 - 50,000Hz which can provide a rich deep bass in your music as well as high notes.

Moreso, it's sensitivity of 87dB means you can tune up this speaker to a volume that will be loud enough for the room it's being used.

Other features include:

  • 25mm soft dome
  • 130mmMRC cone type
  • 100W maximum power input

To get more insight on how the Sony SSCS5 works, you might also want to check out this video:






4. Klipsch R-14M 4-Inch Reference Bookshelf Speakers:


best bookshelf speakers under 200

The Klipsch R-14M 4-Inch reference bookshelf speakers go for a price of about $157 which also places them under the 200 dollars price range.

Klipsch is not a new name when it comes to acoustic technology given that they've been in the market since 1946.

We've seen other admirable devices from Klipsch Audio Technologies and they are an American based manufacturer.

Klipsch is a maker of floor standing and computer speaker, soundbars, earbuds, subwoofer, and headphones that have been in existence since 1946.

Here's what you should know about this speaker.



Design:

It has a very simple design given its brushed black polymer veneer cabinet.

You should not expect anything fancy as it looks good with its durable polymer veneer finish and removable grilles, even though it could be better.

This speaker has a dimension of 9.75" x 5.88” x 7.5" (H x W x D) and weight of 7.13 lbs.

Considering these specs, this is a lightweight speaker and one that has a compact size.

It can easily fit into space on your shelf or anywhere else you'll rather place it.



Features:

The Klipsch R-14M 4-Inch reference bookshelf speaker has a 4" copper-spun high-output Injection Molded Graphite (IMG) woofer to handle bass frequencies with minimal cone breakup and distortion.

Another driver you'll find is 1" aluminum linear travel suspension (LTS) horn-loaded tweeter to provide high audio resolution.

The frequency response range of this speaker is 64 - 24,000 Hz which makes for decent bass quality.

It has a sensitivity of 90 dB which at that rating can produce a loud enough audio sound in the room where the speaker is placed.

In addition,

Its impedance is 8 ohms and you can match it to an amplifier that has the same value of impedance or less than.

Other features include:

  • Diaphragm compression tweeter
  • Power handling: up to 50 watts RMS




5.  Micca PB42X Powered Bookshelf Speakers:


best bookshelf speakers under 200

Here's the Micca PB42X powered bookshelf speakers which are one more affordable speakers you can check out.

Compared to other speakers in this guide, they're the cheapest.

Accordingly, if you want one of the best bookshelf speakers around 100 dollars and as close to this price range as possible and can give great audio sound, this would definitely be a great pick.

The Micca PB42X is designed and manufactured by the American Company, Micca Electronics which also produces portable personal audio, digital photo frames, and digital media players.



Design:

The look of the Micca PB42X may not be one of its strong sides given that we've seen better-looking speakers like the Polk Audio Signature S10 Satellite.

But since we're not here just for looks but the price and audio sound, this one is a better option.

This in-wall bookshelf speaker sports a dimension 6.5 x 5.8 x 9.5 in and weight of 4 lbs.

Therefore, it has maintained a compact and small build reputable among this type of speakers.

Place it on a shelf, windowsill, near a corner of the room, or mount it on the wall and it won't look out of place.

Also, its ported enclosures will enhance the bass quality while minimizing distortion.



Features:

The PB42X features a 4-Inch carbon fiber woofer and silk dome tweeter which enables it to give out high fidelity audio.

This is an active speaker that will not necessarily require an amp before it is powered therefore, you don't need to concern yourself with how to get one or even matching both devices properly.

On that note, plug a smartphone, PC, Tablet, laptop or any other digital audio source and it'll be ready to play.

The frequency response of this speaker ranges from 60Hz-20kHz which results in lows, mids, and highs that are pleasing to the ears.

Its sensitivity of 85dB makes it a speaker that will play very loudly within the room it is used in, whereas sound levels may change when listened to from another room.

To enable you to connect to audio sources, you'll find an RCA and 3.5mm stereo input jacks at its rear.

Other features include:

  • 8V/2A power adapter
  • Sensitivity: 85dB 1W/1M




How Were These Bookshelf Speakers Selected?


In a bid to choose the best bookshelf speakers under 200, we had to prioritize among several factors that would've also helped us decide.

Given that we had to narrow down to only 5 of these speakers out of a large number within the same price range, the factors we gave utmost concern were:

  • Price
  • Portability
  • Sensitivity
  • Frequency response
  • User Reviews and Recommendations


1. Price:


Without a doubt, these are all bookshelf speakers whose price has not exceeded 200 dollars.

We were limited to the range of speakers we could go for since there are more expensive ones that can even outperform them.

Nonetheless, for their $200 price tag and the features thEY provide, these are remarkable speakers.



2. Portability:


The size and space of your bookshelf will determine the build of the speaker you settle for.

Too large, would mean looking for another location to place them.

In that regards, we had to choose very portable speakers that can easily fit into the area you have chosen to place them.


3. Sensitivity:


Since a loud sound is what most people expect from a speaker and it's purpose in the first place, these speakers can provide that.

They have a sensitivity value ranging from 85db to 90dB to ensure that whether it's in a big or small room you use them, they can provide a low volume as well as high sound levels.


4. Frequency response:


A bookshelf speaker that has a wide frequency response will make for an excellent sound.

In the same vein, one that supports lower frequencies will enable you to enjoy your music with the right amount to bass.

On that note, these speakers can handle low frequencies and you'll find one like the Sony SSCS5 3-way 3-driver bookshelf speaker system supporting a 53Hz bass frequency.


5. User Reviews and Recommendations:


While spending several hours researching for this buying guide, we also had to take advantage of what buyers were saying on Amazon about these products.

That being so, each of these came highly recommended as shown by their positive reviews.

Therefore, you are not only taking our word for it and that of the manufacturer, but also that of hundreds of buyers out there who have put them to work.

Conclusion:


With our buying guide to the best bookshelf speakers under 200 dollars, you don't have to spend so much before you can get a quality speaker that works reliably and can play reasonably loud.

That is because these can provide a crisp and clear sound which will enhance your level of entertainment at home, office, or school.

Over and above that, they can provide a loud sound rich in bass and treble and they come in portable sizes.

Most importantly, they can stand the test of time which will allow you get your money's worth for a long time.

Therefore, to be a proud owner of one of these, all it'll take is to purchase them from one of the reputable online stores like Amazon, eBay, or Walmart. 

Now go out there and make it happen!