Have you ever gone to a party where someone was playing music on their computer, or worse yet, using their phone? If you have, then sorry to hear that. There’s nothing more important than the quality of your sound, whether you have friends over or you’re just rocking out yourself. In this article, we’re going to explore the best shelf stereo systems, and we’ll follow it up with a buyer’s guide which is going to help you to find the right product to suit your needs.
There’s nothing like the happiness that comes from good sound quality. If you’re one of those persons that says that it doesn’t matter, then you’re cheating yourself, or just flat out lying. As with anything that is meaningful, it’s important to do your homework before you get started, and that’s exactly what we’re about to here. Let’s dive in.
LG Electronics CM4550
Have you ever noticed that with your current speakers, one genre of music is great and another sounds like crap? You’re going to avoid all that with the LG Electronics CM4550 thanks to its default sub-woofer that minimizes the gaps between different songs. What else will you get? The 700-watt power produces the highest quality sound, and it even makes it possible to stream live music.
Thanks to Bluetooth connectivity, you can easily stream music from your phone or tablet, or just pull up some songs that are in your music library. The two major ports give you a lot of flexibility, and it has the power to bring out deep bass. Not the cheapest bookshelf speaker, the LG Electronics CM4550 is still really worth your money. Adjusting the frequency is a little complicated, but aside from that, this is highly recommended.
Bose Wave Music System IV
This product works great with your home WiFi network or Bluetooth device, and we all know that Bose is a name synonymous with high-quality sound and sleek design. What reviewers really love about the System IV is that it produces realistic, pleasing sound that can seriously improve your listening experience. Not only that, but the System IV is wonderfully versatile and will highlight the good notes of several different musical genres.
The Sound Tech Application is going to help you to stream live radio stations and so much more. Enjoy your favorite channels on Pandora and Spotify, all while delighting in the ultra-modern design and general good aesthetics of this shelf speaker system. What most people don’t realize is that sound quality is not only important when listening to your favorite music, but also when enjoying podcasts, audiobooks, and so much more. The Bose Wive Sound Touch allows you to create accounts on Pandora and iHeartRadio, making your experience even more customized.
M-Audio Studiophile AV 40
Great for listening to your favorite music or binge-watching your favorite TV show, the M-Audio Studiophile AV 40 is a step up from the M-Audio professional lines. If you’re looking for all the M-Audio quality but in a more compact size, then this studio monitor is definitely for you. What are some of the qualities that this brand is known for? Tweeter silk fabric, TRS inputs, and high-quality amplifier architecture, of course. These are all given a chance to shine thanks to the OptImage-III technology. Great for those who enjoy a deep bass in their sound, the M-Audio Studiophile not only amplifies your audio experience, it also looks savvy in any decor.
Harman Kardon SoundSticks III
These speakers look so good, they were first displayed as art. Well, in a sense. As you know, MoMA in San Francisco is known for selling the most innovative and artsy items for home use, and the Harmon Kardon SoundSticks III began its shelf life on MoMA’s coveted shelves. That means that not only is the design superior, but the quality of these speakers is also groundbreaking. For those who like the futuristic vibe, you’ve come to the right place. The satellite speaker features four drivers, adding to overall power and performance. Featuring Bluetooth connectivity and a standard headphone jack, these speakers make sound available at the push of a button.
Edifier USA Luna Eclipse
Do you have a three-floor home? You’re going to be able to hear the base of these speakers from all floors. That is thanks to the amazing design and sound quality of the Edifier USA Luna Eclipse. It was originally designed to augment the sound of home theaters, but since then, Edifier gave this shelf stereo speaker a life of its own, making it easy to connect to your home computer or Bluetooth. What makes this shelf speaker unique is that you can customize it to suit your needs. Choose between black, white, or red so that the Edifier blends perfectly into your home or office decor.
GPX HC221B Stereo System for Home
What makes the GPXHC221B – that’s a mouthful – so unique is that it also comes with a compact CD player. Remember CDs? Of course you do, because you still have a collection of them, and now you can play them with ease. This handy stereo system offers 3.5mm AV input and 3.5mm audio input. Operated by 2 AAA batteries, the remote control makes it easy to command the speakers from anywhere in the room.
The remote not only makes it easy to use, it also allows you to organize your CDs prior to listening, so you can get the right track playing at the push of a button. Since the stereo speaker is removable, it allows you to customize your experience even further. Aside from the quality listening experience, there’s also the superior aesthetics of this product. It works in any home or office decor, and you won’t feel the need to hide it amidst the plants, if you know what we mean. All in all, this is a speaker system that customers love, and it’s backed by a warranty period of more than 30 years.
Sharp XL-BH250 Speaker Shelf System
Here, Sharp offers us the best of both worlds: a 5-disc speaker system and digital AM/FM tuner with several different playback formats to choose from. Are you familiar with CD-RW, CD-R, WMA, and MP3? Well, you get your pick of the litter with the XL-BH250. Not only that, it’s Bluetooth compatible and works with both Apple and Android devices.
When you purchase this speaker system from Sharp, no doubt the first thing that you’re going to want to do is program your favorite channels. Not only is this process easy, but the speakers also offer you 40 different presets to choose from, so everyone in the family can gain quick access to their favorites. Choose from either an audio line or USB port when connecting other devices.
One thing that makes this system unique is its compatibility with headphones. The sound quality is better than decent, though we must say, it’s not going to totally blow your mind, and the remote control allows you to operate the speakers from anywhere in the room. Want an even more remote experience? Synch your wireless headphones to the speaker and venture around the house as you choose.
In terms of sound, this system is known for its deep base. Since it’s so compact, it’s easy to squeeze it in anywhere around your home, but it’s particularly great for small spaces or shelving.
Blackweb BWA16AA002 Shelf Stereo System
Blackweb is known for creating superior surround sound, even though it’s just a measly shelf stereo system. That being said, Blackweb is right on point with the BWA16AA002, and that’s because the industry knows better than anyone that size is not what produces quality sound. The remote control makes this easy to use, and digital FM radio makes it simple to connect to your favorite stations. Like all the rest, it’s Bluetooth compatible and works great with Android devices, particularly Samsung Galaxy S6 and S8.
Jensen Portable Stereo Speaker System
There are some design features of the Jensen Portable Stereo Speaker System that make it unique and perhaps right up your alley. For one thing, it offers CD vertical loading which just looks cooler than horizontal loading. The bright blue LCD screen is not only easy to read but it looks awesome and modern, and the input jack makes it easy to connect to your iPod or any MP3. Since the system is wall mountable, it’s giving you the capacity to put it anywhere you choose. Maybe it’s more convenient to put it on a shelf, but since it looks so good, might as well hang it on the wall like art.
So, to sum it up. This flexible and portable speaker system makes placement simple. Want to use the alarm clock feature? If so, you can wake up to the sound of Bach rather than a buzzing iPhone. Also, you can play FM radio with ease and clarity. Although the speaker is high quality, it comes at an affordable price that most consumers can manage. For this reason, the Jensen is also a popular gift idea.
Innovative Technology Classic Retro
If your ears perk up when you hear ‘classic retro’ then these speakers might just be for you. This shelf system is Bluetooth compatible and it helps to keep the environment free of cords. In fact, most of the products in this article will have one or two cords to contend with, but the Innovative Technology Classic Retro has none. Similar to the others, it comes with a remote control and CD player.
Now, in terms of sound quality, they’re not skimping. Even at high volumes, you’re going to find that sound is crystal clear and works well with a number of different musical genres. Listen to music from your laptop, radio, or CD collection, put in a book on tape, or just enjoy some nature sounds. Innovative Technology Classic Retro allows you to do it all.
Pioneer X-CM56B Mini Stereo System
Although most of these shelf systems are compact, the Pioneer X-CM56B takes it to a whole other level with their mini stereo system. Choose from any number of locations around the house to put this, or utilize the alarm clock function by placing it in your bedroom. If you’re someone that likes to travel all throughout your house, you’re going to find that, even though small, these speakers pack a powerful punch.
Yamaha MCR-B020BL Micro Component System
We all know that Yamaha is a name that we all trust when it comes to sound, and the MCR-B020BL only drives that point home. The system is compact and the sound quality is high. Enjoy frequency ranging from 20 Hertz to 20 Hertz, as well as Bluetooth connectivity and wireless streaming. All in all, this lovely little system is going to work great anywhere in your home or office, and it’s even a good idea to bring this one on road trips. Just because you’re camping, or glamping, doesn’t mean that you don’t deserve quality sound.
Shelf Stereo Systems Buying Guide
When it comes to shelf stereo systems, they have more in common than not. You may be scratching your head when you search online, because there are so many options to choose from. In reality, as with most things, you get what you pay for, and your choice should be governed by aesthetics, user reviews, and common sense. When you do your homework before making your purchase, you can be sure that you’ll be satisfied with what you bring home.
Before we begin, let’s examine your priorities when buying a shelf stereo system. Is it a gift, or are you using it in your own home? Do you already know where you want to place it, or is it going to depend upon the design of the product? Knowing where the stereo is going to go and what it’s going to be used for is key. There’s a huge difference between buying speakers for your daughter as she’s going off to college, or purchasing for yourself, who just so happens to be an audiophile. Who is going to be listening, and what are they going to be listening to? Let’s take a look at some other considerations.
The Importance of Music
The system that you end up buying is going to come down to how important music is to you, how often you listen to it, and how much you’d like to impress your friends. If it’s seriously not a big deal, and you just want some music in your office, then the research that you do is not going to be extensive. But if this is a serious purchase for you, the more in-depth you’ll have to go in terms of doing your homework.
Now, we’ve only been discussing music here, but ask yourself if you’re going to be using the speakers for other things, such as listening to audio books, enhancing the sound of your television, or even utilizing it for video games. All of this is possible when you purchase a shelf speaker system that is compatible with other devices. But the first and most critical step to purchasing is asking yourself what your specific needs are.
What’s your budget?
Now that you know what you’re going to be using the speakers for, it’s time to get down to dollars and cents. Everyone has a budget for these kinds of things, and your budget could either be broad or very narrow. So, take a moment to ask yourself how much you’re allowed to spend and then return to this article.
Did she say? Now that you know the truth, let’s keep going. If you have an unlimited budget, then the stereo system that you choose is going to be based upon your needs. If you don’t have an unlimited budget, then you’re going to be purchasing based upon price. Thankfully, shelf stereo systems have a huge price range, and there are high quality systems that come at a low price, once you do a little digging.
Shopping Online or In Store?
It seems like these days everyone purchases things online, but if you’re looking for superior quality sound you want to purchase in store. Why is this? Because then you can listen to the bloody speaker before you purchase it! If you’re interested in a boutique speaker that can’t be found at your local store, then there you have it. But if you want to purchase a name brand, there’s a good chance that your local electronics store is going to carry it.
Find a store that has knowledgable, experienced staff that is going to let you play around with it. Hopefully, they’ll be an audiophile themself and will get super amped to show you all the product features.
Of course the advantages to purchasing online are that it’s convenient and often more affordable, but you can’t test out the sound. That being said, it’s easy to find products that may be more challenging to purchase in store. Mostly, you want to take advantage of the internet in order to do your research. See what customers have to say about various brands, and how they use their stereos at home with the most success.
If this is the first time you’re buying a shelf stereo system, there’s a good chance that you can make a purchase online and then be good to go. But, if you’re looking for an upgrade and you already have a sense of the quality that you need, then shopping in store is going to be your best bet. Like with the purchase of anything, it’s all a matter of perspective. The perfect stereo for your neighbor is not the perfect stereo for you.
Things to Look For Online
Prices are lower online than in the store because online shops simply have less overhead. There are often special deals and promotions online as well that may cut the cost. All this in mind, you always want to make sure that you’re purchasing from an authorized website. When you purchase from an unauthorized site, your warranty will be declared void by the manufacturer. You also want to purchase from a website that has stellar customer service, in case you and the stereo system just don’t gel.
Some Other Things to Think About
Now we’ll get into the real specifics of what helps you choose the right shelf speaker system. For instance, what type of music are you listening to? There are a number of stereos that work across a wide range of genres, but some simply do not. That’s why, when you go to the store to test these speakers out, you shouldn’t have the salesman put on the Beatles when you’re an R&B sort of guy, and vice versa. You’d be amazed at how different your favorite Steely Dan album sounds on various different shelf stereos.
Apart from the kind of music that you listen to, you also need to consider the room that you’re putting it in; specifically, the size of that room. If your salesman is any good, this is the first question that he’s going to ask you. In general, people purchase shelf systems because they want to listen to music in a smaller room, but that’s not always the case. Some speakers need free space to perform well, while others could sit behind a plant and still produce good sound. All of these shelf systems are going to state on their packaging what space they’re ideal for, so keep that in mind as well.
Do You Play Your Music Loud?
Some people like to rock it out, while others enjoy a more moderate sound. Understanding your preferred level of volume is going to help you to select the right shelf stereo for you. In order to hear the music as the musician intended, you want to buy a system that is well-balanced and offers good separation.
It’s All About Decor
Okay, you may not think so, but your wife does. It may not seem like a big deal, but knowing the aesthetic style that you’re going for is going to make your decision easier. For instance, you may be interested in a modern look, or perhaps something more retro. Is there a certain color that is going to work best in your white office? Or maybe there are materials that you’re interested in. The stereo may sound great, but if it sticks out like a sore thumb then it turns into an eyesore.
Why Do You Need an Upgrade?
If your new shelf stereo is an upgrade from the old one, then there’s a lot to be learned from your previous experience. For instance, what was it about your old speakers that you did not like? What do you hope to gain from your new purchase? If you liked the brand of your previous speaker, but you simply want even better sound, then get the latest and greatest from that brand. Perhaps it was the brand itself that you did not care for. That means that it’s time to switch from Yamaha to Bose, etc.
Returns and Exchanges
This is crucial. Even if the thing sounds great in the store, there’s still a chance that you’ll bring the shelf stereo home and it just won’t do. If that’s true for you, make sure that you know the return and exchange policy for your purchase before you bring it home. Another good thing to look out for is the warranty attached to your purchase. Many manufacturers offer great warranties for shelf stereo systems, and these are the brands that you’re going to want to favor. After all, anything could go wrong.
So as you can see, purchasing a shelf stereo system isn’t as hard as you thought. We highlighted the best in the industry, showed you how to highlight your own needs, and discussed the best way of purchasing. Now all that’s left to do is hit the store, either online or not, and make that purchase that is going to change your auditory happiness.