Are Bookshelf Speakers Worth It? Do They Have Good Bass?
Bookshelf speakers are worth it if you are not entertaining a crowd (small, medium or large audience). They are not suitable for entertainment of commercial proportions, for example clubs, home parties and outdoor events. What defines a bookshelf speaker is its compact size which can fit in well inside your room without stealing the limelight, standing out or taking a lot of space. It’s made to fit in aesthetically and harmoniously with your furniture without grabbing attention. Another main feature of this speaker is its fully-detached speaker cabinet which can be placed anywhere in your room. This speaker is placed on top of furniture such as shelves, tables, desks, drawers, cupboards and stands. It can also fit inside an open-face compartment.
A bookshelf-speaker is worth it if you have a small room, which allows to enjoy its near-field performance and reach. If you have a large room, it should be strategically placed near your sitting position in the corner. Two speakers can be arranged in an equilateral triangular setting with their front face facing the focal point (the listener) and at an angle of 60 degrees from the base. This position ensures an optimum dispersion of sound waves in the listener’s direction.
Do Bookshelf Speakers Have Good Bass?
Whereas towers are the most powerful speakers that you can have in your room, bookshelves will not give you the best bass. If you are interested in powerful bass and wide frequency ranges, go for tower speakers. That is not to say bookshelves have the weakest bass, far from it. They can deliver appreciable bass depending on the manufacturer’s specifications. Not all bookshelves are alike. They are made of different materials and systems, coming in different sizes, frequency ranges, methods of connection and weight.
The cheapest bookshelf speaker you can have is the external computer speaker which has a bass-reflex port or 2-way drivers. Hifi speakers are more powerful than computer speakers. Among Hifi speakers, there are 2-way drivers with a woofer and tweeter, and the more powerful 3-way drivers with a woofer, mid-range speaker and tweeter. 3-way drivers are more expensive as well, and these are the type of bookshelf-speakers that will give you good bass. Size matters as well, the bigger the size of woofers, the better bass it will produce. Bigger woofers have high tolerance limits and can handle high sound pressure levels (SPL), although they use more electrical power and need higher voltages than smaller speakers.
A lot of modern bookshelves are available as 2-way drivers, and the premium quality are often 3-way drivers. Examples of 3-way driver bookshelves include the Yamaha NS-5000 retailing for $14,996, McIntosh XR50 retailing for $8,990, KEF-R3 Model retailing for $2,200 and ELAC Navis ARB-513 retailing for $2,700. On the cheaper end is the Sony Model SSCS5 retailing for $170, Yamaha Model NS-6490 retailing for $140 and Yamaha Model NS-6490 retailing for $130.
If you are budget-conscious, the lower-end 3-way driver bookshelves will be a good choice, but remember that these are smaller in size and will not give you the best bass. A bigger 2-way speaker might do a better job than a smaller 3-way speaker. Premium two-way drivers are not as costly as three-way drivers. The most expensive 2-way bookshelf is around $1,500, which is way lower than a premium 3-way bookshelf starting at $2,200 and going as high as $15,000. Once again, size will make a big difference as well as the type of materials used.