Bookshelf Speakers

Bookshelf Speakers, or stand mount speakers are speakers that use a small cabinet that can be placed on a shelf (as the name suggests) or stand.  The sound differences between a bookshelf and floor standing speaker is usually the floor standing speaker will produce more bass than a similarly priced bookshelf speaker.  This usually come at the expense of detail of the music. 

2 way or 3 way

The majority of bookshelf speakers are using a 2 way design.  This means there is a tweeter (high frequencies) and 2 mid/bass driver to reproduce both midrange and bass frequencies.  In a 3 way design there are separate tweeter, midrange and bass speakers.  This type of design tends to gives a more accurate midrange sound as the mid/bass driver is not trying to do two functions at once.

Sealed, rear ported or front ported.

This refers to how the speaker is vented.  As the speaker moves it is pushing air around at different frequencies to product the sound.  The internals of the speaker also moves this air and the location of the port (if it has one) can have an impact on the bass produced.  Rear ported speakers need to be placed away from a wall (usually 15-30cm) to eliminate the vibrations caused by this movement of air on the wall.  A front or sealed speaker design can be placed hard up against the wall without any detriment.   The choice from a design point of view is purely an aesthetic one as bookshelf speakers tend to be designed as small as possible.  Hence it is logical to put the port on the rear as the speaker’s midrange and tweeter takes up space on the front baffle and this leaves lots of room at the rear of the speaker to locate the port.

Crossovers.

Crossovers are used to send the different frequencies of the sound to the individual speaker drivers.  (high frequencies to tweeters and low frequencies to bass drivers)  Many crossover designs include a ‘bridging pin’.  This is a metal strip that joins the high and low sections of the crossover together so only 1 speaker cable is needed, while allowing the bridging pins to be removed so to allow bi-wiring of the speaker.  The benefit of bi-wiring is there is no possibility of cross talk. (leakage of bass frequencies to tweeters and high frequencies to bass drives) and also allows for separate amplifiers to run individual speaker components that allows for better control over the speaker’s performance.

All speakers in this category are sold as pairs unless otherwise specified.

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