Monday, 17 September 2018

Best Bookshelf Speakers Under £100



Have you ever found yourself wondering if you can find the best bookshelf speakers under £100 due to the fact that those promising a high level of performance are around 300, 500, 1000, and 2000?

Fret not!

We’ve also been there especially when it came to rounding up the best on Reddit, AVS forum, and Amazon within the 100 pounds price range.

Accordingly, if you're in the never-ending battle of deciding which quality bookshelf speakers to buy in the UK, US, Canada, or Australia, then that won't be a problem anymore.

For starters, reading this buying guide means that you already have a budget in mind and the only thing left, is to find the right machine that can give you an excellent sound quality.

That means what you'll find in this guide, is the best budget bookshelf speakers around 100 for vinyl, TV, home theater, and other musical sources.

No longer will you have to rely on wireless TV speakers, computer speakers, cheap headsets, or even open back headphones to get the best home entertainment when it comes to music.

In a small bedroom, living room or den, you can place these bookshelf stand mount loudspeakers between your favorite ready player one, Harper Lee, or George RR Martin tomes novels to get clear and crisp sound.
But that's not all!

Since these are small cabinets with a compact size that allows you to place them on a raised surface anywhere, you can opt for a dedicated speaker stand or mount them on the wall/window sill in order to give the audio quality an extra boost.

Before we get ahead of ourselves, take a quick look at what we've covered in this guide:

  • What is a Bookshelf Speaker?
  • Differences Between Computer and Bookshelf Speakers
  • Types of  Bookshelf Speakers
  • Speakers Terminologies Explained
  • Advantages of Bookshelf Speakers
  • Best Bookshelf Speakers Brands
  • Review of the Best Bookshelf Speakers Around £100
  • How Were These Bookshelf Speakers Under 100 Selected?



What is a Bookshelf Speaker?



A bookshelf speaker is a standalone high fidelity speaker that converts an electrical signal to sound.

It can be passive or powered, and it is meant to be used with a discrete audio system.

For this reason, you can connect them to audio sources such as a smartphone, CD, DVD, Bluray or other music players, but not to TVs to watch movies or gaming consoles.

These are small devices that can be placed away from sight and they come with a high-frequency drive unit called the tweeter, and a low-frequency drive unit called the woofer.

But here's something really interesting:

Bookshelf speakers have a sealed cabinet design where the air inside the cabinet acts as spring behind the woofer that helps in retraction.

As a result of their specifications and features, the sound produced has more controlled bass and it is tighter and richer.

Besides, a combination of the best bookshelf speakers and a subwoofer can step up the bass frequencies to give a more impressive and detailed sound.

The tweeter and woofer components of bookshelf speaker make it similar to the build of a computer speaker, but there are still clear differences between both.


Differences Between a Computer and a Book Shelf Speaker


The major differences between a computer speaker and a bookshelf speaker include the following:

A computer speaker is meant to amplify the sound coming from the computer and it is mostly marketed for Gamers and PC users.

At the same time, a bookshelf speaker is built to be connected with other sound systems and still provide great sound quality. 

Thus, you can play music at higher volumes and expect excellent sound levels.

But that's not all!

Most bookshelf speakers come with bigger drivers and have higher quality components which can deliver high fidelity audio. 

Furthermore, you'll find out that this type of speakers are designed by reputable audio equipment manufacturer like Pioneer, Swann, B&W who majorly focus on sound systems and have more experience when it comes to audio devices.


Types of Speaker Systems


You must have come across different types of speakers on Amazon, eBay, Walmart, and Best Buys and noticed how dissimilar their names are.

No doubt about it.

But what do they all do and why can't you just pick one and be well on your way?

Not so fast mate! Get this first.

All speakers whether built into a laptop, smartphone, headphone, microphone etc. have an aim of amplifying the sound signal received wirelessly or via cables from an audio source.

The same goes for speakers specially designed for home entertainment but with each meant to serve a particular use.

That is to say, you'll find speakers such as soundbar, public announcement, monitors, satellite, wall/ceiling mount, floor-standing, and bookshelf categorized as passive speakers or powered speakers ( self-powered or active speakers).

Now read on as we show you the mode of operation of the different types of bookshelf speakers in 2018.


Types of Bookshelf Speakers


There are two major types of bookshelf speakers and these are the:

  • Active or Powered Speakers
  • Passive Speakers

1. Active Speakers:


Active bookshelf speakers come with built-in amp and do not necessarily require that you connect to a stereo receiver or external amp before you can use them.

Connect them directly to a Tablet, smartphone or any other music source via an RCA/Aux inputs or wirelessly through Bluetooth/Wi-Fi and they'll be ready to play.

Therefore, you'll find two dedicated amplifiers powering each of these speakers, where one is for the woofer (low-frequency drive unit) and the other is for the tweeter (high-frequency drive unit).

Since they are already internally matched, there is no need to match these speakers to an amp or even buy a receiver or amplifier.


2. Passive Speakers:


These are traditional hi-fi or dynamic speakers without a built-in amp and as such, they need to be connected to an external amplifier in order to power them.

This is done using a dedicated speaker cable to connect them to a stereo amplifier or AV receiver.

Here, an audio source such as a BluRay, MP3, CD, or DVD player is connected to the amp which then transmits to the bookshelf speakers.

What you'll have as your final setup is your music source, a receiver or an amplifier, and your speakers.

Generally, when it comes to passive speakers, you need to understand the following terms which will enable you to match the amp to the speakers. They can also serve as the major factors to consider when choosing a bookshelf speaker in 2018.

They are:

  • Impedance
  • Wattage
  • Sensitivity

a. Impedance:


Impedance is the resistance of a circuit or a system to an electric current and a high impedance shows that only a small amount of current is allowed to pass through the system.

This time around, the resistance is from the speakers to the current being supplied by the amp and these speakers usually have an impedance rating of 4 ohms, 6 ohms, 8 ohms or 16 ohms.

Consequently,

Your amp must have an impedance that is equal to or less than that of your passive speaker in order for it take advantage of its power, fully and give your speakers better audio quality.

This is because amps utilize their power most at their lowest possible impedance while trying to handle the load imposed on them by the speakers.

For instance, you can use an 8-ohm speaker on a 4-ohm stereo system.

Here's an example:

If you're working with an amp with a wattage power of 100 watts and impedance of 4 ohms which is expected to power a speaker of 8 ohms, then only half (50 watts) its power will be used.

In this case, you need a speaker with an impedance of 16 ohms to ensure the amp is working to its full capacity.

All you have to do is add another speaker to make it two 8 ohms speakers being powered by a 4 ohms amp at a power of 100 watts.

b. Wattage:


Wattage in speakers is a measure of the electrical power.

In matching passive bookshelf speakers to an external amp, you need to know the wattage rating of both devices in order to ascertain if they're compatible.

This prevent your speaker from blowing up due to the speaker's inability to handle more power supplied by the amp.

With this information, you can buy a speaker whose wattage rating is in the same range (for instance: between 30 and 120 watts per channel) as that of your amp.

On the other hand,

To maintain audio quality and prevent speaker distortion, your amplifier's power must not be underpowered than your speaker.

You can easily determine this by looking at the values for the Nominal power ( what the speaker can handle long term without being damaged) and Peak power (what it can handle in short bursts without being damaged) of the speakers.

The same is the case for the RMS (power supplied over a long period) and Peak (the power supplied in short bursts) of the amplifier.


c. Sensitivity:


Sensitivity or efficiency is measured in Decibels and it tells how loud the volume your bookshelf speaker can go when a certain amount of power is applied to it.

Therefore,

Using the same amount of power, a speaker with a high sensitivity (96dB) will tend to be very loud while one with a low sensitivity (less than 96dB) will tend not to be louder than the room where the speakers are used.

That being the case, if you want the bookshelf speakers for a big room or you like playing your music really loud, then you should go for one with a high sensitivity to get some extra volume.

Now that you know the concept of bookshelf speakers and the differences between passive and active bookshelf speakers, let's show you some reasons why you should buy a bookshelf speaker.


Advantages of a Bookshelf Speaker


Do you have one of the best hi-fi systems lying around your home?

If that's a yes, the next question is,

Is it giving you great sound?

Not really, no?

If you're using a speaker meant for a large space in a small room, it might not give you the expected audio quality due to the interference of sound waves and what you may get is muffled audio,

This is because the layout of a room as well as objects such as a couch, rug, bookshelf etc. within the room, can also affect the sound quality.

That being the case, you're using a high-quality speaker whose capabilities have been undermined by its surroundings.

Be that as it may, the best bookshelf speakers with built-in amp have been specially designed for small rooms where there is sufficient space.

Other advantages of a bookshelf speaker are:


1. Portability:


Most of the best bookshelf speakers money can buy come in a small size.

For this reason, you can move them around easily.

In line with this, you can place them on a bookshelf, mount on a wall, or place on a stand, and take them while on the go.

Equally, if your room cannot really accommodate a large speaker or you don't want a speaker that will be the center of attention in your room, then this is the type you'll go for.

This is because while boasting of admirable features, they conserve space and give excellent sound quality.  


2. Enhanced Audio Quality:


Some of these speakers are 2.0" speakers that produce sound using a separate right and left speaker.

Thus, on a bookshelf, wall, floor stands, you can get an immersive sound by placing each of the speakers far apart from each other.

The bottom line is:

These are the best stereo speakers that offer a balance between audio quality and size. 


Best Bookshelf Speakers Brands


Unarguably, there are several brands that specialize in designing and manufacturing speakers.

Some are reputable due to the wide range of speakers they provide.

That being the case, whether you want the best bookshelves speakers under 100, 200, 500, over 1,000 pounds or any price, you can find them in these brands.

Not just for the vast price ranges, but the competitiveness of most of their speakers in each range.

All the same, the best bookshelf speaker brands in 2018 are:

  • Audio Engine
  • B&W
  • Pioneer
  • ELAC
  • Edifier
  • Q Acoustics
  • Polk

1. Audio Engine:


One of the most popular and best brands of bookshelf speakers is Audio Engine.

This is a US-based audio company that specializes in the design and manufacturing of speakers, audio receivers, amplifiers, subwoofers etc. and that has been the case since 2005

We can say, they know their beans.

Notable among their devices are the A2+, and A5+ premium powered speakers and the Audioengine B2, B3 and HD6 wireless speakers. 

Therefore,

If you want a desktop or bookshelf speaker that looks great, sounds great and you're also ready to spend as high as £300 to £1000 because their speakers don't come cheap, then you'll pitch your tent with them.


2. B&W:


The Bowers & Wilkins is a British company that has quite made a name for itself.

Founded in 1996, this is a company that is working hand in hand with BMW, Volvo, Mclaren, and Maserati in producing their car audio system.

It gets better!

B&W speakers are some of the best out there and this brand is a name most audiophiles trust.

Consequently, you can find wireless speakers, wired & wireless headphones, earphones, hi-fi speakers in its series such as the Nautilus, 800 series diamond, 700 series, and subwoofers.

While they're mostly focused on designing high-end speakers even over 5000 dollars (like the B&W 2way bookshelf-type speaker CM1S2 B), 

You can also find some mid-range speakers like the Bowers & Wilkins DM600 S3 bookshelf speakers to make do with.


3. Pioneer:


Since 1938, Pioneer Corporation has been designing digital entertainment products.

Other than its bookshelf speakers, you'll also find a digital audio player and DJ headphones from this Japanese company.

And the interesting thing is, they're all in different price ranges and for this reason, whether it is low-end, mid-end, or high-end device you want, they've got you covered.



4. Elac:


Another name that you'll find trending alongside others in the competitive speaker market is Elac and this is a brand that has been out there since 1926.

They've made all kinds of stuff like the wireless stereo set (once tagged the world’s smallest hi-fi subwoofer), turntables, coaxial speakers, transducers, and now that includes bookshelf speakers.

But there's more!

This German-based company has products that are distributed in several countries and that includes Chile, Argentinien, United States Of America, Canada, Australia, Bulgaria, Austria, and Belgium.

If you're wondering, where are Elac speakers made? then that's in China while the cabinet production takes place in Europe. 

Notable among its speakers is the Elac B6 Debut Series 6.5" bookshelf speakers that is over our selected price range in this guide, hence you'll not see us list it.

Nevertheless, if you plan on spending more, then you might one to check out that specific speaker.



5. Edifier:


Edifier is a China-based sound system company that began in 1996.

This audio equipment manufacturer has quality headphones, Bluetooth wireless speakers, TV and Home theatre speakers as well as computer speakers to offer.

You can find each of these under the 100 pounds price range and even ones more expensive than that.

Reputable among its bookshelf speakers are the Edifier R1700BT Bluetooth bookshelf speakers and the Edifier S1000DB audiophile active bookshelf speakers. 


6. Q Acoustics:


If you're looking for one of the best brands that only specializes in loudspeakers and as such is focused enough to deliver the best quality product, that would be Q Acoustics.

Since 2006, they've been designing and producing Hi-fi and home cinema cabinet loudspeakers as well as Bluetooth enabled active hi-fi speakers.

Popular among its bookshelf speakers are the Q Acoustics 3010i, 3020,  and 3020i and these are all around the 100 pounds budget.


7. Polk Audio:


Polk audio is another contender in the quest of designing quality bookshelf speakers with an affordable price tag.

This is a US-based company that was founded in 1972, and other audio equipment which it designs are headphones, soundbars, and marine speakers.

Notable among its speakers are the Polk Audio T15 and TSi100  bookshelf speakers and the Polk Audio PSW10 10-Inch, powered subwoofer.



Best Bookshelf Speakers Under £100 Review


Here's the part where we show you the best bookshelf speakers under £100 for an audiophile, audioholics, and a beginner.

With our selections, you have a smaller number to choose from instead of spending several hours trying to debate on which one to choose among hundreds out there.

For their price, portability, and audio quality, they include the following:

  • Edifier R1280T Active Bookshelf Speaker System
  • Q Acoustics 2010i Bookshelf Speakers
  • Wharfedale Diamond 9.1 Speakers
  • Q Acoustics 3010 Compact Bookshelf Speakers
  • 1byone Powered Bluetooth Classic Bookshelf Speaker System
  • Bluetooth Classic Bookshelf Speaker System


1. Edifier R1280T Active Bookshelf Speaker System: 


Best Bookshelf Speakers Under £100

The Edifier R1280T is one of the best bookshelf speakers under 100 pounds on Amazon.

Popular among audiophiles, beginners, as well as several Amazon affiliate review sites, this device is one of the best buys for its price and functionality.

The Edifier R1280T price is about £89 and given below, is th Edifier R1280T powered bookshelf speakers review.



Design:

Built with wood to deliver a high-quality sound and minimize resonance, this speaker has a retro design which is an admirable one.

It looks portable enough to enable you to fit between your favorite novels on the shelf or to be placed on a speaker stand.

That can be attributed to its dimension of 5.75 x 9.5 x 7 in (W x H x D) and net weight of 4.9Kg



Features:

The Edifier R1280T is an active bookshelf speaker system and that being so, you don't need an external amp to power it.

Plug it directly into an audio source and it'll be ready to deliver excellent sound quality.

On the back panel, this speaker features dual RCA inputs to enable you to make an RCA to RCA or RCA to AUX connections to multiple audio sources.

You can connect it to one the best record players under £100, Android or iOS smartphone, PC, Tablet etc. to amplify its sound.

According to its manufacturer, it can provide a robust and rich sound and as such, its 100 pounds price tag is not a limitation to what it can do.

You'll find a bass and treble adjustment dials on this speaker to enable you to finetune the sound to meet your needs

But you know what else?.

You also get a wireless remote control for volume, power, and mute functions which will allow you to manage its mode of operation from a distance.

Therefore, whether you're sitting next to or far away from your speakers, you can relax and control it  the speakers without having to stand up.

This 2.0 speaker system has a frequency response of 75Hz~18KHZ which means you can expect a decent level of bass and highs.

Other features include:

  • 42W power output
  • 4-inch bass drivers
  • Sensitivity: 750mV ± 50mV
  • Front facing bass reflex ports

You might also want to watch this video of the unboxing and testing of the Edifier R1280T:







2.  Q Acoustics 2010i Bookshelf Speakers: 


Best Bookshelf Speakers Under £100

The Q Acoustics 2010i Bookshelf Speakers have a price tag of £99.95 which makes them affordable bookshelf speakers.

On that note, they'll be one of the best buy within this price range and if you're on a tight budget, and still want excellent value for your money's worth, you might want to consider these speakers.

Moreover, if you want a device from the same brand which can offer the same level of performance as the Q Acoustics2070i subwoofer, these would be it.

Now, let's go ahead and show you what these speakers offer.



Design:

The Q Acoustics 2010i are ultra compact bookshelf speakers that do not take a lot of space.

Consequently, they will be conspicuous enough when placed on a window sill, speaker mount, or shelf.

At a dimension of 23.6 x 20.3 x 15.2 cm and weight of 7 Kg, these small boxes are very portable to carry about with ease.

Therefore,

Their placement in your bedroom, den, or living room can be switched with ease.



Features:

These speakers are suitable for hi-fi music and home cinema

They have a frequency response of 68Hz - 22kHz which in comparison to the Edifier R1280T can offer a deeper bass and higher treble frequencies.

Therefore, for an extra 10 bucks, you can get a machine that can deliver better bass and higher notes in your songs.

You can use an external amplifier with these speakers and the recommended power wattage is 15 - 75w.

Accordingly, you'll have to use an amp in that range and not one higher to prevent the speakers from blowing up.

But if that's something you look forward to, you can go ahead!!😌

Other features includes:

  • 100 mm main driver 
  • 25mm soft-dome tweeter

Here's a video review of the Q Acoustics 2010i speakers:







3. Wharfedale Diamond 9.1 Speakers:


Best Bookshelf Speakers Under £100

The Wharfedale Diamond 9.1 speakers go for a price of £99.00.

As one of the best bookshelf speakers for home theater under 100, there's alot you can expect from these guys.

But first off,

Wharfedale is based in Huntingdon, United Kingdom and they are an audio equipment manufacturer that have been designing loudspeakers, televisions, DVD players, set-top boxes and Hi-Fi players since 1932.

So you'll agree that as with the other brands we've listed, they've gained some experience when it comes to designing sound systems.

A quick look at what these budget-friendly loudspeakers offer.



Design:

The Wharfedale Diamond 9.1 speaker has a stylish walnut or black wood finish to give it its admirable design and make it a worthy component in your living room.

It has curved edges and according to its maker, will help to eliminate vibrations and prevent from resonating and tampering with the audio quality.

This is a small and compact size bookshelf speaker even though it's heavier than the Q acoustics and Edifier budget speakers.

That can be verified from its dimension of 48.5 x 39.5 x 34.5 cm and weight of 11.3 Kg.



Features:

This is a passive bookshelf speaker that will require its own external amp or stereo receiver to power it.

As a result, you'll have to create a connection between the amp and your music source as well as one between the amp and the speakers.

If that's not too difficult to grasp, the nominal impedance of this speaker is 6 ohms and as such, you can use an amp with an impedance less than or equal to this value.

This will ensure that the amplifier uses its full wattage to power this speaker.

In line with that, the wattage range of these speakers is  20 - 100 watts and its sensitivity is 86 dB.

As a result,

You can blare up the speakers within the room and get high sound levels, but then, you shouldn't expect it the loud sound to extend to another room given its low-value sensitivity.

Other features include:

  • Twin front-reflex port 
  • Magnetically shielded

Also watch  this video review of the Wharfedale Diamond 9.1 speaker:






4. Q Acoustics 3010 Compact Bookshelf Speakers:


Best Bookshelf Speakers Under £100

Like the 2010i speakers from Q Acoustic, the Q Acoustics 3010 compact bookshelf speakers are another affordable devices promising great audio quality which has got our attention.

And we hope they gets yours as well.

Now, it's the Q Acoustics 3010 vs 2010i, take a pick!

So check these out:



Design:

For starters, this is a very portable bookshelf speaker due to its lightweight of 3.6 kg and dimension of 20 x 15 x 23.5 cm.

Its small size will make it take a very small space on your shelf, wall, or stand and if you want a replacement for your large speaker, this would be just fine.

Place it on a window, bookshelf, desk, or mount on a wall and you'll hardly know you've got one lying around not until it's speakers are blared.

Still, on its design, it features Aramid fibre/paper woofer cone build that makes the sound produced punchy and agile.



Features:

This a passive bookshelf speaker that will require an external amp to boost its sound and you can use it for both hi-fi music and home cinema.

These pair of speakers have a recommended power of 15-75watts.

Accordingly, you should also use an amp that has a wattage in the same range in order not to underpower it or overpower it.

Also, it has a normal impedance of 6 ohms which can be paired with an amp featuring a lower impedance or one equal to it.

In comparison to the 2010i, the 3010 also has a frequency response of 68Hz-22kHz which will allow it to deliver deeper bass levels.

Packaged alongside the Q Acoustics 3010 bookshelf speakers are magnetic speaker grills, rubber speaker grips, port bungs, and a user manual.

Other features include:

  • 100 mm bass unit 
  • 25 mm treble unit




5. 1byone Powered Bluetooth Classic Bookshelf Speaker System: 


Best Bookshelf Speakers Under £100

Are you still in need of more bookshelf speakers you can choose from?

Then check out the 1byone powered Bluetooth classic bookshelf speaker System as well.

1byone is an online store that provides Tv accessories, USB microphones, Turntables, Thin TV Aerial stan, and several other smart home electronics accessories.

For about £87, you can purchase these bookshelf speakers with Bluetooth to enhance your home audio entertainment.

What has this speaker got to offer?



Design:

The 1byone powered Bluetooth classic bookshelf speaker system has a dimension of 16 x 20.5 x 28 cm which makes it moderately sized for a speaker of this nature.

It can be mounted on the wall or placed on the shelf and even moved around with ease.

The best part?

It has a very simple design that gives it a matured look and an appealing one at that.

Thus, if you're not really into fanciful designs but just want a speaker that can fit with your room's decor and not stand out, this would be a great match.



Features:

This speaker comes with side panel controls that will enable you to personalize the audio, bass, and treble sound to suit your needs.

It's also a bookshelf speaker with a remote control which takes away the need to always get up off the sofa to play modes, mute/unmute, playback control, and even lower the volume.

For connectivity, you can use cables to pair it r to up to 2 audio sources at a time.

All you have to do is plug into its RCA and 3.5mm Aux inputs.

In that case, music from your TV, Computer, Laptop, Tablet, Gaming systems can be amplified by these speakers

To also enable you to stream wirelessly from a Bluetooth enabled device, this speaker comes with a built-in Bluetooth.

On a more brighter side,

These speakers can automatically turn off after 30 minutes of inactivity and for this reason, if you tend to fall asleep with the music blaring, you'll wake to a more silent sound.

Other features include:

  • 1'' silk dome tweeter
  • 4'' woofer made of balanced woven carbon fiber




How Were These Bookshelf Speakers Under £100 Selected?


In over 18 hours we spent researching on the best bookshelf speakers under £100, there were several factors we had to consider to arrive at the best 5 devices.

These major factors were:

  • Price
  • Portability
  • Frequency response
  • User reviews  and recommendations


1. Price:


These are all speakers for under 100 pounds and that was made possible by selecting those in the current price range on Amazon UK.

On that note, you may find that these prices may vary significantly on Amazon US, but that notwithstanding, if you want the best bookshelf speakers in the UK under 100, then these would suffice.


2. Portability:


To enable you to place these speakers wherever you have planned on, we made sure to select speakers with a compact size.

They don't weigh a ton and are not large devices that may tend to be obstructive.


3. Frequency response:


The frequency response determines the bass levels that will be produced and it is denoted by low frequencies.

The same goes for high frequencies that are associated with treble.

Accordingly, our selected speakers can offer decent audio quality given their support for lower frequencies and higher ones.


4. User reviews  and recommendations:


The reviews of bookshelf speakers by buyers on Amazon was used to determine the quality and level of functionality of each of these products.

That being the case, for their price tag, they provide an acceptable level performance.


Conclusion:


When it comes to great sound quality in your home, you don't have to spend so much money to get it and that's what our selection of the best bookshelf speakers under £100 seek to offer.

They have a sturdy build, compact design, and can cover a long range which will keep the whole room booming.

And don’t forget, they can offer decent sound quality either using their built-in amp or external amp.

Therefore, connect them via cables or Bluetooth to your Turntables, Smartphone, Computer, Mac, or PC and you can have the much need comfort you deserve.

So, go out there and do it.

 But first, it begins with you buying one of these high-quality sound systems from reputable e-commerce sites like Amazon, eBay, Walmart, and Best Buys.