Our pick of the Speakers for all uses - powered, passive, bookshelf, desktop, Bluetooth, studio and home
There seems to be a real boom in speaker popularity – especially bookshelf speakers. Thanks to their size, these types of speakers are ideal for a number of different uses such as desktop listening, hifi use on stands or even music production.
Bookshelf speakers tend to come either passive - where you will need to connect them to an external amplifier such as a hifi system – or active. Active or powered speakers come with an amplifier built into the speakers so you can connect them directly to your laptop or most other music sources. Active speakers sometimes have the option of Bluetooth – so you can even connect wirelessly which makes them even more flexible in terms of how they are used. For this video we have selected our top 5 bookshelf speakers, with some passive, active and Bluetooth models in there.
1. Edifier R1280DB - £119.99
Best budget speakers
The cheapest speakers on our list comes from Edifier, the R1280DB is a powered bookshelf speaker with Bluetooth functionality. Having Bluetooth allows the speakers to be used with a wider range of devices, and there will be less wires on show. Edifier has gone for a retro look, reminiscent of older styled hifi speakers. The 4” driver provides big bass and overall the sound is lively and fun. Bassy speakers can sometimes come across bloated – the Edifier’s do a good job of keeping the bass controlled and when placed on stands, the sound opens up even more. The R1280DB comes with a remote control for added ease of use – making them a great all rounder and very good value for money.
2. Audioengine A2+ - £239
Best speakers for design
The Audioengine A2+ does it all. These powered bookshelf speakers have the latest Bluetooth 5 technology and aptX audio codec for superior wireless listening. The stylish and minimal design looks and feels premium, and this is also the case for sound quality. For such a small speaker, they really pack a punch. Bass is tight and powerful, going low and providing plenty of weight. Mids cut through clearly and the treble adds definition and sparkle. These aren’t reference, they’re fun and dynamic. Thanks to Bluetooth 5 and aptX, listening wirelessly doesn’t jeopardise clarity and along with the build quality and ease of use, the A2+ really stands out.
3. Q Acoustics 3020i - £249
Best budget hi-fi speakers
Q Acoustics has become extremely popular in the hifi and home audio world. Their speakers range from soundbars to powered and passive hifi speakers. The 3020i is a passive hifi bookshelf speaker, and will need an amplifier in order to get sound going. Q Acoustics have placed 5” drivers into the 3020i and along with the deep cabinet design, the sound is big. Bass has power and control while mids come across rich and clear and the impressive treble adds the finishing touch with space and fine detail.
4. Kanto Audio YU4 - £299.99
Best desktop speakers
Kanto’s YU4 is a powered bookshelf speaker and designed to be used primarily as a desktop speaker, able to connect directly to your PC, laptop or any other device with an audio output. Sound is very impressive, with a fairly neutral signature – not common with desktop speakers generally. Bass is tight and controlled with clear mids and highs that provide plenty of space. The YU4 has 4” drivers and a silk dome tweeter with solid build quality and a minimal design. There is also the opportunity to add Kanto’s desktop speaker stands or their subwoofer which are both sold separately – allowing you to tailor the speakers to the surroundings.
5. Klipsch RP-600M - £625
Best powered speakers
The Klipsch RP-600M is a passive bookshelf speaker – part of their Reference Premier series. The RP-600M comes with 6.5” woofer drivers and a 1” titanium vented tweeter, set into Klipsch’s classic horn design – this makes sure that the high frequencies are heading in the right direction. Overall these deliver a big sound – with deep and punchy bass, crystal clear mids and treble that extends far with clarity and no risk of fatigue. Then there’s the looks. These speakers are bold in sound and design and will want a bit of space to really shine.