Music is beautiful, it’s a vital part of our lives when we’re commuting, working or even relaxing. It’s only logical that a better experience calls for the best hardware. Bookshelf speakers are those kinds of devices that can transform audio into memorable moments.
Unfortunately, these quality systems are expensive. The widely known brands can cost up to $400. Luckily for you, we have the Top-5 Bookshelf Speakers you can get for under $100. We like to sit between the best of two worlds: A trustworthy quality product for a price you can afford.
Last update on 2018-09-18 at 15:44 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API
These speakers have a 4-inch bass driver and a properly calibrated flared bass reflex port which enhances the sound of lower frequencies generated by the woofer and subwoofer.
Talking about controls, the Edifier R1280 comes with a remote control and a treble and bass dial that ranges from -6 to +6db. There’s also an automatic volume feature which sets to an adequate level every time the speakers are turned on. The volume can be adjusted via remote or manually, one problem we found with this is that there’s no actual volume indicator on the dial. The remote’s IR is good enough so that you don’t have to point directly at the receiver to turn the volume up or down or mute it.
You can connect this device to your PC, laptop, tablet or phone with the included RCA to 3.5mm jack. There’s also an extra RCA input if you ever need to two audio feeds on the speakers, the problem is, there’s no switch to select any of the two inputs.
It can deliver sound quality similar to a studio. The system delivers 42 watts RMS which is more than enough power for its size. The 750mV input sensitivity will make sure you scale correctly to the desired volume. The speaker does have a 2-year warranty (on the US and Canada only) to cover you from any malfunction. One detail about the outside, the plates come off easily and there’s no loss of sound quality when the front plate is off.
|Good balance between bass and trebles||Can't use a universal remote with it|
|Exquisite sound||Manual volume knob is confusing|
|Great build quality||Remote needs a power button|
In conclusion, these are the kind of speakers that even though they have a warm bass and small drivers, they perform exactly what you would need for any room in the house.
Polk is a widely known company for loudspeakers. This time, they designed some affordable bookshelf speakers using their Monitor Series as a starting point. These come with Polk’s own Dynamic Balance technology which delivers brighter highs and a wider range or mids and a responsive bass.
These won’t work as desktop speakers unless you connect them to an amplifier first. They’re a simple to set up as they come, just connect them to your amplifier and you’re good to go. The speakers have magnetically shielded enclosures that reduce distortion from video sources that can be around the area and generate audio clarity every single time. It also supports Dolby and DTS.
The well-built speakers are made of an acoustically-inert MDF that reduces distortion and resonance so the audio stays true to its original sound. On the backside, they include a keyhole for wall mounting. On the performance side, these speakers are designed to give a wide dispersion sound. Unfortunately, this means that the bass overpowers every other sound it comes from it. It delivers warm audio but lacks the detailed sound and balance the sound pros demand from their speakers.
The Polk T15 speakers are good enough for a bedroom or a 10′ x 10′ office. They can also work as rear channel speakers for your 5.1 Dolby Surround System.
|Super-clear sound||Needs amplifier to work with PC|
|Excellent for rear 5.1 Surround||Not balanced|
|Great for movies and TV||Not for professional work|
Overall, while these need an amplifier to work, it’s a quality product from a company that’s known for their top work in the audio entertainment industry.
The Mackie CR3 bookshelf speakers are built with professional components. On the back, there’s a switch that indicates which side of the desk has the active speaker (for correct sound placement). The front panel has the volume knob which also turns on the power for the sound system. Two more connectors are on the front, auxiliary input and the headphone jack; you can connect your phone to your speakers or listen with your headphones when needed.
On the back of the active speaker, we find the RCA input as well as two phone connectors. There’s the power switch and the aforementioned power unit placement switch. The unit has an integrated amplifier so it can be connected to a desktop computer or work as a sound system on its own.
There’s no grid for these speakers so users must be cautious when they’re being used. The system also lacks a remote controller or Bluetooth functionality which the CR4 and CR5 versions of this product have.
A neat addition to this system is the isolation pads that go under the speaker boxes. These are meant to avoid sound distortion caused by the desk vibration when audio is playing from the unit. The Mackie CR3 Studio Multimedia Monitors have a one year warranty.
These can be used with a subwoofer, just plug the mini jack into the PC audio card for surround and another one for Subwoofer. Set the computer audio software for 2.1 sound and set the subwoofer volume to ½-¾ and the crossover to 80-90Hz.
While the volume knob power switch looks ok, we strongly recommend that the unit stays powered on with a volume set. The rotation of the carbon-based controls wears down the carbon track leading to inappropriate functioning in the future.
|Great for recording demos||No remote controller|
|Clarity even at lower volumes||No protective grid|
|Various inputs/outputs alternatives||Questionable durability|
In conclusion, the Mackie CR3 is more than a decent set of bookshelf speakers. Even though it doesn’t come with a remote control, it delivers studio-quality sound that even the professionals can appreciate.
These are multi-purpose speakers that can be used indoors or outdoors. They’re coated with a UV resistant resin and inside an ABS enclosure that protects it from the weather if they’re outside. The LU43PW can be installed on the ceiling or a wall with a 120-degree range of motion, they can also have a horizontal placement with a 90-degree range of motion; this makes sure they’re placed and protected wherever you want them. It’s welcoming to know that the mounting hardware is included in the box along with a 1-year warranty.
The speakers deliver 100 Watts of Peak Power (50 Watts RMS) and 4-6 Ohms which can cover any backyard space. Their frequency range goes between 100Hz and 20kHz to ensure no sound escapes your ears. Performance-wise, the system has a loud enough sound without distortion to work outdoors, they can be loud if required with a decent bass performance.
A word of advice, these are not mobile speakers, you need a sound system with an amplifier to power the speakers such as a home theater. So, no connecting these to your iPhone, tablet, laptop or desktop PC.
|Outdoor-ready||Need sound system|
|Comes with mounting hardware||Durability issues|
|Ideal for background music||Poor audio for indoors|
If you’re looking for excellent budget speakers made for outdoors, these are the ones you should get. Even indoors they’re a great deal to include in your home theatre system.
After the success of the Micca MB42 model, the company decided to build an improved version with the same quality as its predecessor. The speakers feature a 4-inch woven carbon fiber woofer and ported enclosure for the bass output. It also comes with a 0.75-inch silk dome tweeter that delivers a smooth treble. The frequency response for this one is your typical 60Hz-20kHz for indoor audio.
Its crossovers are 18dB/Octave that output a signature that fits various scenarios, ranging from background music to home theater. The system comes with magnetic grills which are a classy touch in performance, those extra holes around the box aren’t necessary at all.
The unit can be placed anywhere in the room from desks to walls or speaker stands. The company’s confident on the performance to the point that if you’re not satisfied, you can simply return the item for a full refund.
The MB42X’s can work as front speakers for your 5.1 setup. The bass, midrange, and highs performance are at the level of speakers that double its price. However, these need an amplifier or home theater to work.
|Quality crossover upgrade||Needs EQ for better response|
|Carbon fiber woofer||Needs breaking in|
|Natural sound||Lacks in highs|
These are as high-performance Bookshelf Speakers as you can get, the only problem is that they won’t work without a sound system, but as a support, they’re a perfect addition.