Bookshelf speakers are meant to rest on a shelf, table or other elevated surface – anywhere but the floor. They’re specifically designed to maximize sound in small to medium-sized spaces. Like anything else, doing your homework before making a decision will definitely pay off. For instance, some are geared specifically for movie buffs, while others are tailored take your music listening experience to the next level.
When you’re ready to pull the trigger on bookshelf speakers, we’ve got you covered with the basics every consumer needs to know.
Keep the Big Picture in Mind
You can purchase bookshelf speakers as stand-alone additions to your living room, or as part of a larger home theater system. If you’re serious about upping your audio game, there are tons of great all-in-one options out there. (We’re talking about in-the-box home theater setups, many of which include bookshelf speakers.)
But if making that type of commitment isn’t in your budget, opting for a pair of high-quality bookshelf speakers can certainly add some bang to your music or movies. Even still, when buying these kinds of speakers a la carte, it isn’t a bad idea to look for ones that will ultimately fit well into a larger home theater system. Keeping the big picture in mind will save you from having to buy another pair of speakers later down the road.
Understand the Specs
If you aren’t exactly an audio junkie, all the technical jargon attached to bookshelf speakers might as well be in Greek. But you’d be doing yourself a favor to at least understand what the basic lingo means. Here’s what you actually need to know when shopping for bookshelf speakers.
● Hertz: The lower the number, the heavier the bass is going to be.
● Watts: This is relevant when it comes to matching your bookshelf speakers to an appropriate amplifier.
● Decibels: This tells you the kind of volume you can expect from your speakers.
● Drivers: Basic bookshelf speakers have two – woofers (which generate bass) and tweeters (which produce high-frequency sounds). Buying a speaker set with a third mid-range driver will lend itself to better full-range sound.
Know Your Accessories
What good is a bookshelf speaker if it doesn’t have a shelf to sit on? The truth is that you’ll need a piece of furniture to place these speakers on. While an actual bookshelf is certainly an option, many prefer to use a speaker stand. These are great because their height is designed to bring the speakers to ear level when the listener is seated. (Keeping bookshelf speakers at ear level is crucial when it comes to achieving tonal balance. Otherwise, the sound will be out of whack.) If you don’t really have the space for freestanding speaker stands, or if you have young kids who run the risk of knocking over your new equipment, wall mounts will also do the trick.
Another accessory to consider? Listeners who crave deeper bass may want to invest in a powered subwoofer.