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When it comes to audio quality, many of us are living in ignorant bliss. We get so used to listening to music on our laptops or watching movies with our TV’s built-in speakers that we forget how good audio can sound. While a cheap speaker can still blast your favorite song, you’re missing out on a richner listening experience, and maybe even doing a disservice to your favorite artist. Once you listen to something on truly high quality speakers that were properly installed, it’s very hard to go back. You begin to hear instruments that you never noticed before, even in songs you have heard thousands of times. Without the audio mix being muddied by cheap speakers, listening to your favorite music on premium speakers feels similar to hearing it for the first time. If you’re looking to upgrade your home sound system, the clear choice is high fidelity. (For the record, that’s also the answer to “What is the best John Cusack movie?”)
Hi-fi speakers are mechanically superior to lower level speakers in just about every way. The technology is highly customizable, with each user building their own setup to meet their own needs. In addition to speakers, items like amplifiers and subwoofers can give you the exact sound that you want. Once you get a taste of truly elite audio, it’s hard to go back. Don’t say we didn’t warn you! But the first step to getting that taste is buying some speakers, so we’ve collected eight of the best options for beginners. Audio can be an expensive hobby, with some systems costing tens of thousands of dollars. However, this list primarily focuses on more affordable options. These speakers are more expensive than the Bluetooth speaker you take in the shower, but they represent a drop in the bucket in the world of premium audio.
The options we selected primarily fall into the category of bookshelf speakers – meaning, they’re small enough to fit on your shelf. But despite the size of these gadgets, their sound is anything but small. The best bookshelf speakers can easily fill a room with sound. Some of them can literally be placed on your bookshelf or record cabinet, but others should be mounted on stands. All of these speakers take up less space than high-end tour speakers, so no matter how small your apartment is, you can easily upgrade your audio. The speakers listed are available on Amazon, and with a Prime Membership (which will cost you $12.99 a month), you can get free two-day shipping. The subscription includes access to Amazon Prime’s massive film and TV library, as well as free streaming of over two million songs.
Whether you are improving your turntable setup to listen to your favorite film scores on vinyl or seeking better sound for your work-from-home background music, high-fidelity stereo speakers are a great purchase. As far as investment return, listening to music can be a great way to brighten your day. Below, find our favorite stereo speakers. Happy listening!
The Elac Debut B5.2 is one of the best budget high-fidelity speaker setups on the market. The black bookshelf speakers, which look great in any room, pack more power than their sub-$300 price tag would suggest. They also sound great regardless of where they are positioned, so there’s no need to fret about re-configuring your interior design for sound quality! Whether you are dipping a toe into premium audio or a seasoned hi-fi listener, you can’t go wrong with these speakers.
An iconic series of speakers from Whaferdale that have been delighting audiophiles for decades. The 12.1 represents a revamp in the technology, and these highly affordable speakers do not disappoint. The sound quality is excellent, even at very low frequencies, and the sleek finish makes them one of the most visually appealing options on this list.
The Dali Spektor is one of the best values on the stand-mounted speaker market. While they are not particularly specialized, and people with a need for bass might want to look elsewhere, these speakers are extremely versatile. Any music or movie will sound great on these, making them a big step up from your TV or computer.
The KEF LS50 is a slightly more premium option (though its price tag is a long ways from the highest end speakers). Sporting a curved front edge that will seamlessly blend into any room, these precise speakers elevate the listening experience of just about any music. If you’re looking for a perfect middle ground between budget and premium options, these speakers are a good solution.
In the world of high-fidelity audio, Klipsch is well-known for pushing the boundaries of sound with their technology-focused approach. While many of their premium options will require you to take out a second mortgage, these bookshelf speakers offer audiophiles a chance to experience Klipsch’s world class sound without a major financial commitment. You will likely need to pair them with a good amplifier to really get their full potential, but the results are definitely worth it. And even that will hurt your wallet less than it normally would, since these speakers are currently on sale for over $100 off.
Another selection from KEF, the Q350 offers incredible clarity for less than half the price of the LS50 Meta mentioned above. Simply put, they offer a truly elite audio experience at a price that sits near the bottom of the spectrum. If you love music but don’t consider yourself an audiophile, and you want a versatile set of speakers that you won’t have to think too hard about, definitely consider the KEF Q350. Some reviewers have mentioned that these speakers are much better at high volumes, which makes them great for parties. That said, lovers of particularly delicate music might want to look into some other options.
These gorgeous bookshelf speakers can fit into the smallest rooms and offices, but don’t be fooled by the size. They offer a bold sound that puts many bigger speakers to shame. And their precise separation means you’ll still be able to pick out every instrument in your favorite songs.
These high-quality bookshelf speakers manage to rock an affordable price because of Q Acoustics’ signature Gelcore technology. By filling the speakers with a gel that never settles, they are able to lower the resonance and produce an incredibly clean sound that will appeal to even the most discerning of audiophiles. When you have guests over, you don’t have to tell them how cheap your speakers were!