5 Best Bookshelf Speakers Under $1000: Value Your Sound Quality

bookshelf hi-fi speakers

Buying a home speaker isn’t always an easy task. There are many things to consider before you purchase one and it can be hard to know which is the right choice with so many on the market. Why are Hi-fi speakers are expensive and how to choose the best bookshelf speakers under $1000, are some of the questions I found while creating this guide.

Eventually, I reviewed five of the top best bookshelf speakers under $1000 in which only the Audioengine HD6 are Active. This means they have their own built-in amplifier. All the other options are Passive speakers and need an external amplifier to work. Which one are you looking for?

Talking about Hi-Fi bookshelf Speakers

The right speaker and speaker system can make all the difference when it comes to listening to your favorite songs or watching movies. Sometimes you just want to feel like you are right there, and some speakers have the power to do that. It will all depend on how they’re made, the type of frequencies they can handle, and other features like equalizer settings or where you place them. The cost of the speaker can factor in too, but it’s not necessarily the most expensive is the best. Today we break down some of the technical terms you’ll see when looking up speakers and the factors you should consider before purchasing one.

Why are Hi-fi speakers more expensive?

Speakers per se are not very complicated devices to make. Yet, to produce professional ones that deal with a good wide frequency range and provide a crispy and powerful quality of sound, it’s another pair of shoes.

Speakers’ price rises due to the time of production, developing the concept of the brand, and produce high-quality build for some of its parts like drivers and bodies. This all translates eventually in a speaker with distortion-free and noise-free sound delivery. And that is worth a little more money.  


Our selection of the Best Bookshelf Speakers Under $1000

We have found various option on the search for the best bookshelf speakers under $1000 and you can find the list just below. To help you make the best choice I will add to the title if the speakers are Passive or Active. Remember that Passive speakers do not have an external amplifier built-in and you will need one to make them work. If you do not have one and prefer speakers which are easier to connect and with a built-in amplifier go for a pair of Active Speakers. It’s all in your hand!

1. SVS Ultra Bookshelf Speakers

Key Features:

  • Aluminum dome tweeter.
  • SoundMatch 2-way crossover.
  • Glass-fiber Cones.
  • Passive

Pros:

  • Sound quality is maintained throughout high levels.
  • Soundstage quality.
  • Revealing is good and accurate.

Cons:

  • If you want to use them in a large room, you’ll need a subwoofer.

The SVS will fit right on your bookshelf yet deliver a powerful sound with clarity. The tonal balance, dynamics, high and low frequency are almost flawless. These speakers feature 6.5-inch mid-bass drivers with glass-fiber cones to give you enhanced sensitivity.

The 1-inch aluminum dome tweeter is light and will play any audio clearly, even at high volumes. Tapered edged design on the front chamfer is made to give you that loud sound without sacrificing the quality.

Each cabinet has its sub-enclosure to maximize the performance and minimize the interaction with the drive units. Also, it comes with an SVS SoundMatch 2-way crossover. This will deliver accuracy with the frequency and smoother transitions between the drivers.

The speakers weigh each at 19lbs and measure at 14.9-inches X 8.5-inches with 10-inches deep. The frequency response rate is 45Hz to 32kHz with 8 ohms and sensitivity at 87 dB.

The SVS might be a great choice for those who are wanting a bookshelf speaker that can deliver the sound of higher-end speakers for a cheaper price. It’s design and sound quality can match up to the big leagues and satisfy any audiophile. The only true downfall is that for large rooms, you will need a subwoofer.

2. KEF LS50 Mini Monitor Speakers

Key Features:

  • Uni-Q Drivers
  • Two-way bass reflex
  • Patent-pending design
  • Passive

Pros:

  • Accurate and transparent without being too thin.
  • Delivers a clean and clear sound no matter the sound volume.
  • Good mid and low for their size.

Cons:

  • The bass can be a little on the heavy side for some despite adjustments.
  • The soundstage doesn’t perform well when in larger rooms.

The KEF aims to deliver a “soundstage experience” with its mini speakers. They use Uni-Q drivers that were specially made for this model to provide a quick, clean sound. The LS50 is designed to pick up all sounds, making it perfect for when you want to hear every detail. It also had a two-way bass reflex.

The design of the LS50 is made with patent-pending technology with its baffle shape and port design. The ports have a flexible membrane to remove turbulence and port noise. The binding posts allow for many kinds of cables, plugs, wires, and pin connectors, making it versatile.

The units weigh about 16lbs each and are 10.9-inches X 11.9-inches X 7.9-inches. The frequency range is between 45Hz to 45kHz with the sensitivity at 85 dB and 8 ohms.

The KEF LS50 might be the ideal choice for those that want the sound quality of an expensive speaker but with a more compact design and better price tag. It uses state of the art sound technology and patent-pending design to always the cleanest and clearest sound possible. One thing to note before purchasing is that because it’s designed to pick up all sounds, the bass can be heavy at times. It’s also a lot smaller than most on the market so the soundstage isn’t always at its best in larger rooms.

3. Elac Uni-fi UB5 Slim Bookshelf Speakers

Key Features:

  • Three-way design
  • Aluminum woofer
  • Custom binding posts
  • Passive

Pros:

  • Produces clear midrange sound.
  • Doesn’t miss any sounds.
  • Have a wide soundstage.

Cons:

  • Sound quality will differ based on the amp you use.
  • It does require a bit of space to fully hear the sound.

The Elac comes with a 1-inch soft-dome tweeter and an aluminum 4-inch midrange cone for the perfect combination for sonic perfection. The positioning of the tweeter delivers a flat frequency response, power handling, enhanced imaging, and a uniform directivity. The aluminum woofer makes the bass more clean and powerful.

It has a three-way design that optimizes each frequency range. This allows for high, mid, and bass to perform at their best while cutting down on the need for costly extras to get the sound that you want. The custom binding posts are designed to provide flexibility for wire connections from the cables to the speaker.

The unit weighs 35lbs with dimensions of 11.6-inches X 7-inches X 13.4-inches. It has a nominal impedance of 4 ohms with 85 dB.

The Elac Uni-FI UB5 is comparable to speakers that cost in the thousands. It makes a great addition as an entry-level speaker and comes with features that many of the more expensive ones have, like the three-way design. Every sound will be optimized and play crisp and clear. Those that are wanting bookshelf speakers that can blast sound throughout large rooms won’t have any trouble with the Elac, provided they give it enough space. However, it should be noted that based on the amp you use, your sound quality can suffer or enhance.

4. Audioengine HD6 Bookshelf Speakers

Key Features:

  • Bluetooth/wireless
  • Hand-built wood cabinets
  • Dual audio inputs and full-range variable output
  • Versatile connectivity
  • Active

Pros:

  • Short delay for switching devices.
  • Mid and highs are excellent.
  • Works well at high volume levels.

Cons:

  • No equalizer levels.

HD6 speakers are different from most bookshelf speakers in that they’re wireless and will connect with any app or device that uses Bluetooth. The signal has 30 meters of range. The use of Bluetooth eliminates the need for wires, cables, and a receiver.

The cabinets are hand-built with wood and encased are aluminum woofer baskets. The 1-inch tweeters are made of silk and have neodymium magnets and ferrofluid-cooled coils. This makes it ideal for large rooms as well as small rooms. It has dual audio outputs with full-range variable output.

The speakers weigh 17lbs each and the dimensions are 7.3-inches X 9.9-inches X 11.9-inches. It has up to 47 ohms in output.

The HD6 might be the best option for those that are done with traditional receivers, cables, and wires. It’s completely wireless through Bluetooth and can be used with any device or app. Those that are using IOS can experience some issues staying connected, but for the most part, there’s no delay in switching devices or staying connected. The major drawback to this speaker is if you are someone who needs or likes playing with equalizer levels, you won’t be able to. How it sounds is how it will sound.

5. KEF Q350 Bookshelf Speakers

Key Features:

  • The new and improved design.
  • Waveguide over the tweeter dome.
  • Uses Uni-Q driver array.
  • Passive

Pros:

  • Extremely clear sound/deep bass.
  • Equalizer settings.
  • Smooth and rich lows, mids, and highs.

Cons:

  • Doesn’t come with grill covers.

The KEF uses its state of the art sound technology to deliver a clean and clear sound. It comes with the Uni-Q driver array. This puts the tweeter in the center of the midrange cone. Making the sound more accurate and provides a three-dimensional sound that covers the whole room. The waveguide over the tweeter dome further enhances sound quality.

The damped tweeter loading tube improves low treble sound and removes sound that is produced at the back. The bass is cleaner with a low-distortion inductor on the crossover. The placement of the Uni-Q driver in the center of the cabinet adds clarity and sonic neutralizing while reducing internal resonance.

The Computational Fluid Dynamic (CFD) port design optimizes sound in several ways. The first being it improves clarity by reducing midrange leakage. Next, is by reducing port noise and less LF compression because of where the port is placed.

The weight is 16lbs per unit and the dimensions are 14.3-inches X 8.3-inches X 12.1-inches. It has a two-way bass reflex with a frequency response of 63Hz to 28kHz. The nominal impedance is 8 ohms and the sensitivity is at 87 dB.

The KEF Q350 might be the one to consider buying for those that are looking for a top-notch speaker at an affordable price. It has a design that’s unique compared to other competitors when it comes to its driver and port locations and the technology used to optimize sound. The only slight flaw is the lack of grill covers.


Things to Consider When Choosing The Best Bookshelf Speakers Under $1000

1. Driver

There are a few different types of drivers and sizes. The first size you should note is a Tweeter Driver. These can deliver high frequencies of treble. The Midrange Drivers deal with the midrange frequencies. Woofer Drivers deal with low frequencies or the bass.

Most speakers on the market are two types or more. Two-way drivers refer to having both a tweeter and woofer in an enclosure. Three-way types have a tweeter, woofer, and a midrange driver. Electrostatic speakers and Planar-magnetic speakers aren’t for home use because they lack bass and depend on certain positioning.

2. Cost

The cost will entirely depend on you and your budget. This can change with various factors like if you need the extra bells and whistles or your preferences on Bluetooth to standard wiring. The most important thing you want to make sure is no matter what you’re spending on speakers, you want the best sound you can get for the price. Reading different reviews can help make this a little easier or you can check out our top 5 best bookshelf speakers under $1000 reviews below (shameless self-promotion).

3. Specs

Specs are something that each person will take into account when buying any electronics. The more of an audiophile you are, the more in-depth you’ll look. For the majority of people just wanting to buy a quality speaker, there are five different things to consider.

4. Impedance

This is important because choosing a speaker with a low-impedance and using it with equipment that can’t handle the electrical current can cause damage. Going hand in hand with that is the power handling. This will tell you how low of wattage you can go and how high for the time you’re using it. It’s incredibly useful to know these first two specs when dealing with amps or other electrical equipment.

5. Frequency response

The frequency response tells you how deep the bass can go or how high the frequency can get. The wider the response, the more sound it can produce. The materials that the driver is made of is important as it will affect the sound. For example, softer materials used with tweeters will have a smoother sound. The last spec to consider is sensitivity (often measured in dB). This is where you can see how effective the speaker is at converting power to volume. A higher rating will produce a louder sound.

6. Positioning

While it may not be a huge factor to consider, it’s still important if you want to get the best possible sound from your speakers. It may take some experimentation depending on the kind of speakers you have. Generally, most speakers must be so many inches away from a wall or enclosed space so the sound can travel. Many will turn speakers inward when on a computer desk or focus them on where they’re sitting for optimal listening.

The Basic of Speaker Terminology

  • EQ/Equalizer – Some speakers will come with preset settings of these like “Rock” or “Jazz”. This is where the bass or treble is emphasized to achieve better sound quality.
  • Revealing – Also called “bright”. Generally, it means it will reveal the flaws in the recorded material as well as the good.
  • dB/Hz/kHz – Decibels (dB) is the way we measure sound. Hertz (Hz) means the cycles per second. It also refers to the deep bass (Hz) or extremely high frequency (kHz)
  • Ohms – Unit of measure of impedance. This restricts the flow of electrical current. Many speakers are 4 ohms, 8 ohms, and 16 ohms. Connecting your equipment to the wrong speaker impedance can damage your equipment.
  • Drivers – The round elements that are often confused with being the speaker itself. They look like cones or domes and move to make a sound. They are what you would see if you took the grille off your speaker.
  • Mid/High/Low – Mids are where the mid frequencies are. Vocals and synths. Low are the low frequencies of the recording, think bass or sub. Highs are the high frequencies like keys, hats, and shakers.
  • Frequency – The audible range the speaker can produce.
  • Tweeter – Material that produces its unique sound and is usually the diaphragm of the speaker.
  • Crossover – Electronic device that allows for more than a single output.
  • Soundstage – Imaginary place that’s three-dimensional created by the speaker. This allows the listener to hear the locations of the instruments when listening to music. For example, the cellos to the left or the piano to the right.
  • Accuracy – True to what was recorded

Final Thoughts

Our winner for the overall best bookshelf speaker for under 1000 is the KEF Q350. There are many reasons why this speaker stands out compared to the rest. One of the reasons being its design. It has a port position that reduces leaks for the midrange, less port noise, and less turbulence at high volume levels.

The driver array makes the sound better because of its position. With it being placed in the center, it produces better acoustics, sound quality, and an accurate three-dimensional sound image. It has deep bass and great quality in its mids, highs, and lows. The price of this speaker is also a plus. Not only does it stand up against expensive models, but it’s affordable.

By the way, we also found some great cheaper option which we cover in our best speakers under $500 article if you want to save some money or simply looking for more alternatives!