Best Bookshelf Speakers Under $500 In 2020: Budget Audiophile Picks

The first question that comes to mind when you see the words bookshelf speaker is, what are bookshelf speakers? A bookshelf speaker is basically a loudspeaker that is used for home studio or theater settings by music enthusiasts and audiophiles. These speakers are placed on a raised surface like a desk, a shelf or a bookshelf. Bookshelf speakers are, as a rule, excellent for music. They have outstanding music and sound quality.

These speakers are not overly expensive either. You can get a brilliant speaker in under $500 quite easily. There are other expensive speakers of course, with tons of features and sound quality of the highest standard. These are speakers such as those from Bowers and Wilkins. But the main part is their expensiveness. They are not for everybody. You can easily find speakers with very good sound quality and features in a much more modest amount. Given below is the list of the best bookshelf speakers under the $500 mark.

1. Edifier R2000DB

Best Bookshelf Option Overall

  • 2 devices at the same time
  • High quality Eagle Eye tweeter unit
  • Great build
  • Solid performance
  • Bland looks and design

Frequency Response: 55Hz-20KHz (±3db) | Tweeter Unit: 25mm | Dimensions: 9.5in x 11.25in x 7.5in | Signal to Noise Ratio: ≥85dBA | Input Supported: Optical, RCA and Bluetooth

Last Update on 2022-11-08 using Amazon Product Advertising API

Edifier is one of the oldest and most popular companies in the speaker industry. They have been around for a long time. Making top-notch speakers with the absolute best sound quality and tasteful designs. The Edifier R2000DB is no exception to this. This is one of the best bookshelf speakers we have had the privilege of listening to.

It was an absolute treat listening to these speakers sit on our bookshelf and put us in sound heaven. The design is as we have stated, tasteful not the most flamboyant or stylish but not bad looking either. After going through many different speakers, we are of the opinion that the R2000DB is the best bookshelf speaker available under $500.

The R2000DB’s beauty lies in the grill. When you take off the grill it looks ordinary. It does not exude the same high class feels without the grill. Taking off the grill exposes the speakers in the front and it does not look quite as good as it does with the grill on. The wood finish gives it a refined look. It is also remote controlled. This is a big plus in our book. The build quality is overall nice and solid.

One of the more interesting features that we have seen, the R2000DB can be connected to two devices at the same time. You can choose which device to prioritize and give sound for. But you do not have to disconnect it from one device when you want to connect to some other device. There is also the option of Bluetooth connectivity. These multitudes of connectivity options put it a notch above the standard speakers.

The sound of the R2000DB as we mentioned above was absolute bliss. We couldn’t find any fault in its sound system whether we tried it on the low pitch or high pitch sounds. The eagle eye tweeter unit of Edifier really works wonders. The price makes this a very suitable option for anyone looking to buy good quality bookshelf speakers. It is available in well under $500. This is really the best bookshelf speaker we could find in this price range.

2. Edifier S1000DB

Quality Variety Option

  • Powerful bass
  • Sound balance is good
  • Connectivity options
  • Traditional design
  • Remote is small

Frequency Response: 48Hz~20KHz (±4dB) | Tweeter Unit: 25.4 mm | Dimensions: 8in x 13.5in x 10.5in | Signal to Noise Ratio: ≥ 85dBA | Input Supported: AUX, Bluetooth, PC, Coaxial and Optical

Last Update on 2022-11-08 using Amazon Product Advertising API

We grace our list of the best bookshelf speakers under $500 with another product of Edifier. It is really no surprise that there is more than one speaker of Edifier in a list which includes the best speakers of any price range. You do not get the reputation that Edifier has made without making the best products consistently and continuously over a long period of time.

The S1000DB much like the R2000DB is a treat for the ears. It has a classical, old school look to it. As far as bookshelf speakers go, this look is not bad at all. Having an old school looking speaker on the shelf that contains literature classics from years gone by is quite suitable.

The S1000DB gives an old school traditional look as we said earlier. The good thing about this is that speakers are generally placed in places where you can appreciate old school and traditional designs. Though this might not be acceptable to people who are looking for something more stylish and innovative in design. The remote controller of the speaker is rather small though. People may find the remote to be much smaller than it should be. Especially people with big hands, it can become a nuisance to operate.

Perhaps the best feature of the S1000DB is its plethora of connectivity options. It has more connectivity options than the R2000DB at its disposal. The more connectivity options available, the more convenient and easier to use a speaker becomes.  Then there is the sound quality. As you might have noticed, the woofer of the S1000DB is larger than the R2000DB. This results in more bass. The sound balance of the speaker is also admirable.

The vocals, music and different instruments can all be recognized and enjoyed without trouble. It has very stable and spread out sound levels. You do not feel as if one department is being focused on more than it should be. Unless of course, you change the settings to focus on one thing. Overall, this is indeed a really well-rounded product. It offers nearly everything you expect from a good speaker. Great sound quality, good connectivity options, and acceptable aesthetics.

3. Bose 301-V

High-End Pick

  • Unique design
  • Sturdy build
  • Front and back tweeters
  • No magnetic shielding
  • Back tweeters can be troublesome

Frequency Response:10 Hz–120 kHz | Tweeter Unit: 50 mm each | Dimensions: 9.7in x 14.2in x 9.7in | Signal to Noise Ratio: Not specified | Input Supported: Receiver

Last Update on 2022-11-08 using Amazon Product Advertising API

Bose is a company that has been manufacturing sound related products for quite some time now. Founded all the way back in 1960, this is also a well-known company when it comes to sound related products. Whether it be headphones, speakers, or wireless products, they are making it. They have some very innovative new products as well.

As far as bookshelf speakers go, however, the Bose 301-V is definitely up there with the best of the best. A relatively new and unique design, that is to be expected when one looks into the different products of the company. These are solid looking speakers and their unique design makes sure to catch the eye of the customer.

Bose is known for making really solid and sturdy products. They do not compromise when it comes to the durability of their products. This is a really nice feature of any Bose product. You can put your mind at ease knowing that your product will last. The design of the Bose 301-v is made to stand out and catch your eye.

It differs a lot from the standard speaker design that we have mentioned above for Edifier’s products. These are refreshingly new and innovative. An interesting feature of the 301-v in the front and back tweeters present on the speakers. This makes for really good sound quality and balance.

However, it can also cause issues. As there are tweeters present on the backside as well, you have to take extra care to make sure to put the speakers away from the walls. Otherwise, you will not get a good sound experience. Also, there is no magnetic shielding which can cause problems for the people who want to put their speakers close to their monitors or LED screens. You need to put at least a gap of 24 inches between your speakers and the screen for them to work at their best.

If you do have the room to put them away from the screen and not close to the wall either, then you will realize that they sound quality is really quite nice. The front and back tweeters make for really adept sound balancing. The sturdy build and fresh design also add a bonus to the Bose 301-v. Good speakers but they do require some extra attention in regards to their placing and positioning.

4. Pioneer SP BS-22

Budget Pick

  • Modest pricing
  • Sound system is well made
  • Tasteful design
  • Poorly designed grills
  • Low warranty time

Frequency Response: 180 Hz – 20,000 Hz | Tweeter Unit:10 mm | Dimensions: 7in x 3.9in x 7.8in | Signal-to-Noise Ratio: ≥85 dBA | Input Supported: Receiver

Last Update on 2022-11-08 using Amazon Product Advertising API

True to its name, Pioneer is one of the pioneer companies in the entertainment and electronics world. Focusing on entertainment products, it is no surprise they got into the speaker’s game. And boy did they get into it. They have been one of the foremost manufacturers of speakers for some time now.

The SP BS-22 has a standard design and shape. Nothing too savvy, but not too shabby either. All in all, the word for it is standard and tasteful. The full black speaker with the accents on the sides going from top to bottom is a nice touch.

One look at the Pioneer SP BS-22 is not really enough to measure their worth. In one look you will only see that they are standard design speakers. Sure, the black accents on the side give it a nice tasteful look but they do not quite catch the eye like the Bose 301-v on pure unique designing.

The grills of the SP BS-22 are rather poorly manufactured. They are not good to look at and what is worse than their looks, they hamper the sound quality. The tweeter works hard to overcome the grill’s sound hampering but it is just not possible. So, we recommend you remove the grill to enjoy them to the fullest.

These speakers have been manufactured by the renowned Andrew Jones. If you have any sort of interest in speakers you will be familiar with the name. As such, it is no surprise that these speakers, once you remove the grill, have really good sound quality. This is also a really unique and complex sound system. It has a 6-element complex crossover sound system. This makes for a really smooth and detailed sound system.

Well, it is to be expected that the speaker will have excellent sound quality when you find out they have been manufactured by Andrew Jones. He lives up to his reputation once more. Pioneer has, however, given a relatively low warranty time of only one year. This is much lower than we expected but they are really low priced for the quality of sound they give. The budget-friendly pricing coupled with the amazing sound makes these a worthy pick even though there are quite obvious drawbacks in its design.

5. Sony SSCS5

Great For Low Volumes

  • Long warranty
  • Budget friendly
  • 3-way tweeter
  • Not for high volumes
  • Uninspiring design

Frequency Response: 53 Hz-50 kHz | Tweeter Unit: 24.8 mm, (19.05in super tweeter) | Dimensions: 7in x 13.19in x 8.66in | Signal-to-Noise Ratio: ≥87dBA | Input Supported: Receiver

Last Update on 2022-11-08 using Amazon Product Advertising API

Sony does not need any introduction. Even if you have never been into any tech-related products, you still know about this company. Whether it is TVs, mobiles, speakers, or any other product, Sony is bound to show up. This is one of the most familiar company names all over the world. The Sony SSCS5 has the look of typical speaker designs.

The SSCS5 is no way near being as stylish as some of the other speakers we have mentioned. It is rather bland as far as design and looks go. First looks do not give much to look forward to. Looking closely, you see it has a slight aerodynamic edge to it. But still, the design is rather uninteresting and uninspiring. The new feature is the really long warranty time of five years that comes with this product. You know Sony is confident about the durability and reliability of this product with that long warranty time.

This is also a very modestly priced speaker, making it easily affordable for quite a lot of people. For the price that it sports, the sound you get is very impressive. The 3-way tweeter system makes sure to give a really smooth and balanced sound. The woofer is not the biggest, it is only 4 inches in size but it does give very good bass especially at lower volumes. One of the major faults of this speaker is that it is not optimal at high volumes. Its quality takes a dip when you raise the volume higher than a certain amount.

Still, for the price tag it bears, it is more than adequate in sound quality. As long as you do not intend to flare up some heavy rock or are not a fan of high-volume music. It is quite good for jazz or classical music. The bottom-line with the Sony SSCS5 will be that it is a great buy for the modest pricing if you do not listen to too much headbanging type songs.

Blair Lee

A naturally curious mindset and a keen passion of keeping in touch with all the worldly trends, Blair Lee has put two and two together to find a way that has combined the two things he just can't stay away from- writing and computers!

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