Introduction to Bookshelf Speaker Reviews
“Bookshelf” is a colloquial phrase used to describe small speakers as might befit placement on a bookshelf, though in any high fidelity implementation they will be placed on dedicated stands. While some may be designed as mid/high frequency models, often called “satellites”, which require a separate sub-woofer, most bookshelf speakers fall into the full-range category. While there are many excellent examples of bookshelf speakers which produce satisfying bass, most benefit from the accompaniment of a subwoofer.
The Klipsch RP-600M loudspeakers are part of the Reference Premiere series. Although they have only a 6.5” diameter woofer, they provide acceptable bass volume and extension. The real star of this speaker, though, is the Tractrix horn tweeter. It provides horn articulation and detail without the traditional horn sound.
A compact and neatly designed package, the Samson MEDIAONE M50 is a powered monitor speaker system that offers very good sound at a bargain price. The Samson MEDIAONE M50 is easy to use and compact enough to fit in most spaces. They were designed to be used as monitor speakers in a computer, or bookshelf workspace. A headphone jack is provided on the front panel of the control speaker. When the headphones are engaged the speakers will automatically shut off. The available sub-woofer output feature on the Samson MEDIAONE M50 allows the owner to add additional bass via a powered sub-woofer to the system.
The Performa M126Be loudspeakers are part of Revel’s popular Performa series. The Revel Performa M126Be speakers are bookshelf-sized and are intended to be stand-mounted. Although the speakers can serve as side or rear surrounds, their price and performance make it unlikely that too many will be used for that purpose. These are superior speakers for smaller rooms where articulation, detail, and imaging are the main goals.
The NHT C3 is a compact 3-way bookshelf speaker with a dome midrange and acoustic suspension cabinet. The C3 replaces NHT's best-selling Classic Three. NHT claims the C3 offers a modest sound quality improvement over the Classic Three, along with improved serviceability and sturdiness.
The Audio Physic Step plus combines this well-respected companies’ knowledge of building larger speakers, to offer a transducer designed for a smaller room with not just high-end aspirations, but a true high-end speaker that will satisfy discriminating users.
The Edifier RT1280T is a new brand of speakers that is finding advocates among people looking for inexpensive high-quality audio. The Edifier RT1280T powered bookshelf speakers retails for less than a hundred dollars and packs a punch in a nicely designed device that could be used with a computer, small stereo system or even as a plug in to a phone or media player. It consists of two speakers, one containing a power amp for both speakers, all the connecting cables for output and input, along with a mini remote.
Renowned Italian speaker manufacturer Sonus faber, famous for producing stunningly beautiful (and expensive) hand-made speakers, has come to the table with their first true budget speaker line – the Principia. On hand for review here is the Principia 3, the larger of two bookshelf models in the line.
The HD6’s are the newest powered speakers from Audioengine. They include a high quality internal DAC as well as a Bluetooth receiver with aptX. These beauties have real wood finished, Class A/B amplification and will surprise you with their bass response, staging and dynamics.
A mini-monitor is an ideal solution for a small room. I look at placement issues in depth. As in the large room excellent performance requires a speaker with optimal ANSI/CEA-2034 curve sets. I show the Revel M106 achieves the same performance, matching in-room response curve of the large room. This is a result of it excellent measured performance in the ANSI/CEA-2034 curve set. Lower frequency room modes extend in-room low end...
A new standard set of anechoic curves, that are specified to be printed in a specification sheet for speakers, can predict the performance of a speaker in a listening room. I demonstrate this with measurements of the Revel M106 made in a large listening room.