Bookshelf speakers do a lot of great things and are known as staples for people looking for minimal space being taken up by their turntable setups. Not to mention, bookshelf speakers are regularly cheaper than floor standing speakers, and can be easily mounted to the wall to maximize space.
If you’re an audiophile, you don’t have to sacrifice quality with bookshelf speakers. In fact, some are incredibly compact and sound as good as their floor standing counterparts. If you’re in the market for new bookshelf speakers under $2,000, this is the list for you.
We’ll be looking at 8 fantastic options that excel in these categories:
- Ease of Use
- Sound Quality
Below, please take a moment to view the interactive table, which allows you to compare some of the more premium bookshelf speakers against one another:
|KEF LS50||$$$||★★★★||Amplifier: 25 - 100W|
|ELAC Uni-fi UB5||$||★★★★||5 ¼” aluminum woofer|
|Focal Aria 906||$$$||★★★★★||Bass Reflex Speakers|
|KEF R300||$$$||★★★★||Features 6.5 inch low-frequency driver|
|KEF Q150||$$||★★★★||5.25” Uni-Q driver Array|
|KEF Q350||$$||★★★★||6.5” Uni-Q driver Array|
|MartinLogan Motion 35XT||$$||★★★||Folded Motion Tweeter|
|Rega RX1||$$$||★★★★||80w per channel|
|SVS Ultra||$$||★★★★||6.5-inch mid-bass drivers|
|Wharfedale Diamond 225||$$||★★★★★||5.1” Kevlar Woofer|
|Wharfedale Diamond 10.2||$$||★★★★||6.5" Kevlar bass driver|
|PSB Imagine Mini||$$$||★★★★★||Sensitivity: 87 dB; 8-ohm impedance|
The Best Bookshelf Speakers Under $2,000
Let’s begin with the great KEF LS50 speakers.
KEF has spent decades refining the sound of their reference-level bookshelf speakers. The LS50s are the culmination of their hard work, marking 50 years of speaker innovation. This stylish pair of bookshelf speakers creates engaging, room-filling sound. Its sleek, grille-less design is available in two high-gloss finishes that will stand out in your room.
KEF’s patented Uni-Q technology places each speaker’s tweeter in the acoustic center of the bass/midrange cone. This lets the LS50s create a detailed and accurate three-dimensional sound image. This makes the “sweet spot” (the ideal listening position) much larger. Sit wherever you like — you’ll have fantastic sound throughout your room.
The LS50s feature constrained layer damping prevents cabinet rattling and vibrations, curved baffle design ensures smooth sound wave dispersion with minimal reflection, and curved baffle design ensures smooth sound wave dispersion with minimal reflection. The LS50s from KEF are incredible, and worth every penny.
From the same brand as the option above, the R300 speakers sound natural and detailed in a non-fatiguing way. The R300s stand out nicely on tracks with punchy drums and bass, where they have a chance to open up more during dynamic peaks in the music. Higher-frequency sounds like cymbals are clearer and more defined than most in their price point, and the beautiful high-gloss piano black finish is a nice addition as well.
KEF’s patented Uni-Q technology places each speaker’s 1″ tweeter in the acoustic center of a 5″ midrange driver. This concentric array allows sounds to originate from a single point source.Each speaker also contains a 6-1/2″ aluminum woofer with a cool-looking flat design and silver trim ring that caught my eye.
Massive magnet structures and large aluminum voice coils help these woofers kick out tight, musical bass. Just as with any bookshelf speakers, you’ll do yourself a favor if you place the R300s on a nice, solid mount or stand, which help minimize vibrations that can color the sound. And because these particular speakers are rear-ported, they’ll sound better if you can place them with a little extra space between them and the wall behind them.
With its flawless high-gloss finish, gently tapered cabinet, and handsome perforated magnetic steel grille, one could be forgiven for mistaking the MartinLogan Motion 35XT as a beautiful piece of furniture. But one listen will tell you this speaker’s beauty runs far deeper. As MartinLogan’s most potent bookshelf speaker, the 35XT dazzles with its dynamic, impactful, and transparent sound.
And as a member of MartinLogan’s award-winning Motion series, this speaker takes advantage of advanced technologies like the Folded Motion XT tweeter, sophisticated crossovers, and custom bi-wire binding posts.
MartinLogan’s innovative Folded Motion XT tweeter uses a pleated diaphragm that works similarly to an accordion by “squeezing” air to create sound. Because it requires almost 90% less excursion than the typical 1″ dome tweeter, response time is drastically reduced along with distortion. The diaphragm’s increased surface area also provides wide, yet controlled sound dispersion to create a realistic and highly accurate soundstage.
Music sounds amazingly detailed, but smooth and effortless, without a trace of harshness. And the XT tweeter boasts a 40% larger radiating surface area than that of ML’s standard Folded Motion design, for even greater bandwidth and efficiency. These are speakers that outkicked their coverage in terms of its price point to quality ratio.
The Rega RX-ONE loudspeaker system delivers balance, detail and dynamics thanks to a unique handmade set of Rega designed drivers and crossovers.The newly developed DX-125 bass, mid-range driver, using a doped paper cone nonetheless, is at the heart of the RX range and combines perfectly with the Rega ZRR high frequency unit.
Both mounted in a larger cabinet constructed from 18mm MDF and covered in a choice of beautiful real wood veneers, the RX-ONE will integrate perfectly into any home delivering exceptional performance within a wide range of systems.
The RX-ONEs can be used on stands, a sturdy shelf or mounted directly on the wall via wall bracket. Imaging and bass response can be tuned by adjusting the distance of the speaker from the rear and side walls. As with all loudspeakers, this will depend on the size of room, flooring and furnishings therefore some simple experiments trying different distances will help optimize the performance to your surroundings. The Rega brand is well known, and you’d be hard-pressed to find someone who owns these and is not in love with them.
French audio manufacturer Focal builds a wide range of world-class speakers, and bookshelf models are one of their specialties. The Aria series borrows advanced driver technologies originally developed for Focal’s acclaimed Utopia speakers, giving you high-end sound without the sticker shock. The Aria 906s sound bigger than you might expect from such compact speakers, with potent bass, smooth, detailed highs, and a big three-dimensional soundstage.
The Aria series also features Focal’s 1″ aluminum/magnesium inverted dome tweeter. Inverting the dome brings more of its surface area closer to the voice coil.
That means the voice coil can be smaller and lower in mass. Focal has found that this reduced mass allows the dome to move faster than a conventional dome, for better high-frequency response. And the tweeter’s lightweight Poron “memory foam” suspension improves damping, which reduces distortion in the critical 2-3kHz range by a factor of three, compared to a typical suspension.
The inverted dome’s spatial characteristics and wide dispersion are further enhanced by the waveguide plate it’s mounted on. In the horizontal plane, the tweeter’s frequency response varies by only ±0.5dB. The result is an incredibly stable soundstage, even for listeners not seated in the central sweet spot.
All Aria speakers feature ultra-rigid MDF cabinets with sturdy internal bracing and non-parallel sides. Focal takes these steps to eliminate the unwanted vibrations that lead to “boxy” colorations in the sound. The handsome cabinets have a traditional look, but with an unexpected touch — a leatherette finish on the front and back. They look good, and they sound great.
Shinola Bluetooth Bookshelf Speakers
Designed, tested and built in collaboration with Barefoot, the Shinola Bookshelf Speakers produce a studio-quality sound that you’ll be able to enjoy in the comfort of your home. The extraordinary sound quality is complemented by Shinola’s signature American aesthetic, making these speakers a must-have audio product for any music lover. The Shinola Bookshelf Speakers are Bluetooth compatible, and other inputs include 3.5mm stereo jack, RCA L/R, S/PDIF and USB Type-C.
Shinola is in the business of building quality products that last. These speakers are assembled with premium components and materials known for their durability and aesthetic. Custom woofers and high-efficiency tweeters, in addition to hand-stained oak cabinets, ensure an exceptional listening experience. A lot of the price of these speakers is the fact that you will be using them for years, even decades, to come. Durable and built to blow listeners away, Shinola knocks it out of the park with this one.
Amphion Argon 1
The special forte of the Argon 1 is its reference quality mid range resolution and surprisingly low reaching bass response. Shortlist Argon 1 if you are looking for a worldclass mini-monitor for a small room or intend to build an easy to place full range 2.1 or 5.1 reference system. The nearfield performance of Argon1 has already surprised many studio veterans. You can enjoy the same qualities in your computer based desktop system.
Like its big brother Argon 1 is one of the natural and neutral sounding speakers commercially available. A very high level of transparency means that you can hear deeper into your favourite recordings. Even if Argon 1 benefits from first rate signal chain, surprising results can be achieved also with reasonably modest amplifiers. The Amphion Argon 1 Bookshelf Speaker is an incredible addition to any vinyl configuration, and if you are looking for style as well as function, this is quite possibly what you are looking for.
Canton Reference 9K
Characterized by the classic virtues of the Reference family, a constant drive for innovation and a focus on the fundamental elements of sound, these speakers strive for ever greater perfection. The drivers of the Reference K Series have been comprehensively redesigned. To maximize their rigidity while maintaining optimum internal damping, the woofer and midrange cone drivers are now also fitted with a ceramic-tungsten membrane. Not only does this enhance their outward appearance, but it also ensures a precisely controlled swing-in and swing-out behavior across the whole transmission range.
The natural resonance is therefore always outside the transmission range.Ceramic is a unique material in the world of sound. That’s why the Reference tweeters have evolved still further to include a one-piece ceramic dome for the K Series. The one-piece wave guide, which first appeared in the Reference Jubilée, now supports the dispersion characteristics of the K system. The triple-curved cone membrane of the midrange speaker with its ceramic-tungsten structure represents an optimum design standard.
Together with the new, tripled-folded wave surround, it gives extreme rigidity and excellent balance in terms of the swing-in and swing-out behavior through to the highest frequencies. Another new feature in the shape of the high quality front rings made from die-cast aluminum increases the mechanical stability of the driver system. The cabinets of the new Reference K Series are wider and above all deeper than before. This gives them an extremely compact appearance while simultaneously increasing their internal volume.
Right at the limit of our $2000 budget, it’s quite possible that these speakers take a lot of your vinyl setup budget, but on their own stands and full of great, quality craftsmanship, these are worth it.
With a $2000 budget, you would think that floor standing speakers would be the way to go, but there are numerous benefits to bookshelf speakers. The understanding that real, quality technology does not exist in these smaller, more versatile options for listening is unfounded, and this list proves that. Your new bookshelf speakers for vinyl probably sits here on this list, so look through it a few times, and go ahead and make a big move for your perfect vinyl configuration! Happy spinning.
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