Choosing the Right Bookshelf Speakers
The essentials of bookshelf speakers
It is important to remember that bookshelf speakers sound best when they are at ear level – they are not supposed to sit on the floor. If you don’t have a conveniently located bookshelf, you can place them on stands or even mount them on the wall.
Bookshelf speakers typically come with two drivers, or speaker cones – a woofer and a tweeter. As the names suggest, these are dedicated to reproducing lower and higher sounds respectively. The source signal is divided into these low and high frequencies when it enters the speaker cabinet, and each is sent to its respective driver. This crossover of frequencies creates a smoother, more nuanced sound.
What happened to the bass?
There can be an audible difference in bass when you move from large three-way speakers that may have a ten or twelve inch diameter bass driver, plus a woofer and a tweeter, to a bookshelf speaker with a tweeter and a 6.5 inch woofer. If you miss that bass rumble, you should think about getting a subwoofer. A subwoofer is a stand-alone bass speaker that will put back any missing lows, and then some. If you want to buy bookshelf speakers for your home theatre system, you will certainly need a subwoofer. But if that’s not the case, have a listen to the bookshelf system you’re interested in first. You may not feel the need for additional bass.
Don’t let speaker size fool you
There are two-way speakers that sound better than three-way ones. A cheap three-way speaker will not sound as good as a two-way bookshelf unit like the S-1 from Quad, because the quality of the design must be taken into account.
An interesting feature of smaller speakers is that they tend not to colour the sound as much as their larger, floor-standing cousins. For this reason, monitor speakers in professional recording studios include bookshelf-sized two-way systems.With the addition of a subwoofer for those who desire prominent bass, a bookshelf speaker is the ideal way to bring sound into your home without the need for floorstanding speakers. Bookshelf speakers are ideal for lovers of music who live in a compact urban environment.