I think you’ll agree there’s no better way to relax after a long day at work, than by kicking back and drowning out your worries to your favourite songs, playing on an amazing pair of speakers. And at the moment, bookshelf speakers are all the rage.
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“What amazing speakers?”, I hear you ask.
Well, to answer that question, we’ve made this compilation of the 5 best bookshelf speakers under $200 currently available on the market.
What makes a ‘good’ pair of bookshelf speakers?
In today’s world, we are spoilt for choice when it comes to buying hi-fi audio equipment.
The market is littered with hundreds of products promising all sorts of things: crisp highs, warm bass, flat frequency response; the jargon is endless.
Basically, how do you tell the good ones apart from the rest?
By definition, bookshelf speakers are preferred for smaller, enclosed spaces, when there is not enough room to accommodate (and no need for) a full-fledged set of tower speakers. So dimensions are an obvious consideration.
Most bookshelf speakers on the market will come with general guidelines which will dictate how close or far away from a wall the speakers may be placed and whether or not they need to be specifically placed only on stands or wall mounts.
And so, the exact size of the speakers and where they fit in to your room will play a large role in deciding what speakers to buy.
A very important factor that you should consider is the type of the speakers. Are they active or passive? Don’t worry if you don’t have a clue what that means, it’s very simple, really!
Active speakers can very easily be set up, and can play sounds directly from any sound source, like your phone or TV.
Passive speakers, on the other hand, ill need you to pass the sound through an amplifier first, before sending the signal to the speakers.
This serves to gives you more control over what exactly you hear; you can make fine adjustments to the tonality of the sound you hear.
Well, of course the sound is a consideration – they’re speakers!
“But what exactly do I look for in the sound?”, is the right question to ask.
Let’s make this simple. What kind of music will you be listening to?
If the answer is mainstream music often played on the radio, then you would do well to choose speakers that ‘color’ the sound a little and boost up the bass frequencies, rather than the ones boasting of ‘flat frequency responses’ or ‘neutral tone’.
This is because such music is generally made to be heard consistently in noisy environments when played on the air and such coloration helps bring out the sound.
If, however, you prefer to listen to high fidelity audio, then you would appreciate a pair of speakers which faithfully reproduces your music.
Look for a good frequency range (at least 50Hz – 20kHz) and a flat response speaker, which will really bring out all the subtle nuances in the music.
Almost all speakers are primarily made up of 3 components: the cones, the crossover circuit and the cabinet (or port).
But, what do these terms mean?
Here are the basics:
The cone is the part of the speaker that actually generates sound, and this is made up of vibrating parts.
In general –
Cones can be woofers, which reproduce the low frequencies or tweeters, which reproduce the higher frequencies.
Some speakers (three-way or three-speaker design) also have a dedicated midrange cone, which deals with reproducing the mids.
The crossover circuit basically makes sure the right parts of the sound go to the right cones. We don’t want woofers trying to reproduce the high frequency sounds now, do we?
And finally, the cabinet is simply an empty box of vibrating air, which (mainly) serves to enhance and extend the low frequencies that can be reproduced.
Now, that we’ve covered what to look for, let’s move on to our list of the top 5 Best Bookshelf speakers under $200.
Best Bookshelf Speakers under $200
1. Edifier R1280T
These stylish wood finish speakers feel a lot more premium than the $99.99 price tag they come at would suggest.
They are active monitors, meaning that no extra amplifier is required to use them.
What’s more, they come with a remote control, which allows you to adjust the volume from anywhere in your room!
- Active monitors eliminate the need to use external amplifiers
- Comes with 2 AUX inputs, which allows two devices to be connected at once
- On-speaker EQ control makes it simple to hear what you want
2. Q Acoustics 3010i
If you are extremely tight on space in your room, these speakers are definitely for you.
At their ultra-compact size, they can literally be fit in the smallest of spaces with absolute ease.
Moreover, these speakers have a very wide range of frequency, from 68Hz to 22kHz, which means you lose no sound at all when you listen on these bad boys.
- Fit easily in small rooms
- Well balanced sound, which gives better reproduction of your audio
- Large frequency range means you can hear everything
3. Polk Audio T15 100
Often seen as a brand which offers a lot of bang for your buck, Polk Audio’s T15 100 model continues the long-standing reputation.
The build quality at this price point is remarkable, with real wood cabinets.
Sound-wise too, the T15 100 does not disappoint. It offers a good bass response, as well as a detailed midrange. The higher frequencies do tend to be slightly colored, although this seems to enhance the tone quite nicely.
- Comes with Power Port Technology, which reduces chuffing or port noise
- Well balanced, with a slight coloration in the higher frequencies
4. JBL Control 1 Pro
Over the years, JBL has always been seen as a reliable brand in the field of Hi-Fi audio equipment. With the Control 1 Pro, they take it up a notch, providing high quality audio at an affordable price point.
The Control 1 Pro comes with JBL’s Sonic Guard overload protection, effectively protecting the circuitry from amplifier power surges.
Also, both transducers are magnetically shielded, which means that they can safely operate in any magnetic environment.
This is a feature you’ll definitely love if you care about the longevity of your speakers!
As an extra touch of class, JBL ships these speakers with their wall-mounting brackets, so you can set them up quite easily.
- Sonic Guard protection ensures a long life for these speakers
- Magnetic shielding allows them to be placed in any environment
- Clear mids and highs, with low distortion
5. Klipsch R-14M
These speakers are passive, requiring an amplifier to drive them. But give them what they need, and you’ll have yourself an unstoppable pair of speakers, delivering extremely clear and detailed sound quality.
Klipsch uses high quality copper woofers and lightweight tweeters in order to deliver the best possible sound.
- Rear firing ports ensure minimum turbulence
- High quality copper and wood construction
- Good sound reproduction
Now that you’ve read this article, we hope you have a fair idea of what speakers are best suited for your needs.