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The 5 Best Bookshelf Speakers under $500: 2017 Reviews and Top Picks

By djadmin | speakers

bookshelf speakers under 500

Bookshelf speakers are like most things within this wonderful world of audio – while you can get some decent options at lower price ranges, quality does tend to jump up noticeably the more you spend.

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And for those of us who want great a great sounding home set up, leaving that budget price range is somewhat essential. But trust me when I say spending the extra bucks now will all be worth it when you get them home and plug them in.

Sheer beauty.

A good set of high quality bookshelf speakers will make an incredible difference to your home set up. Offering surround sound that truly envelops you, a decent bookshelf speaker can really raise the quality of sound of your audio experience.

With this, by investing in a higher priced option and shilling out those few extra dollars you can guarantee not only high sound quality, but also a set of speakers that will last your lifetime, and look pretty damn good while doing it.

The challenge actually comes when you want to choose a set of speakers for your personal set up – there are so many good options out there it can become a bit overwhelming at times. Which is why I have gone to some (somewhat) extreme lengths to establish the best bookshelf speakers for under 500 dollars, making your job easy.

Taking into consideration appearance, sound quality, and construction quality, I can safely say that the five options outlined within this article do truly offer the best bookshelf options within this price range.​

Product Summary

Wharfedale Diamond 225 Bookshelf Speakers 2

ELAC Uni-Fi UB5 Bookshelf Speakers

ELAC have been producing quality audio products for a number of years, and their bookshelf speakers are no different. This holds particularly true for the UB5’s, a slimmed down bookshelf speaker that packs a HUGE punch despite taking up limited room. A great option that will last you a very long time.

Audioengine P4N Bookshelf Speakers

Keeping the trend with compact speakers, we have the Audioengine P4’s. A great option if you are after something that offers high grade sound without taking up a heap of room. And did I mention they look great as well? A seriously good option for those looking for high sound quality in a small package.

Pioneer Elite SP-EBS73 Andrew Jones Bookshelf Speakers

These Pioneer Elite Speakers are very aptly named – because in all honesty, they are genuinely elite. Offering excellent sound quality, some very appealing design, and a large degree of durability, these are a great option for the serious audiophile.

Wharfedale Diamond 225 Bookshelf Speakers

Wharfedale have been producing audio products for well over 30 years, and as a result are one of the most popular speaker brands throughout the UK. The Diamond 225's are a culmination of 30 years work, resulting in great sounding speakers that have excellent durability.

Klipsch R-15 Bookshelf Speakers

Now these are some nice looking speakers! These aesthetically appealing speakers have been combined with some great construction quality and a simple yet effective design, the result of which is a fantastic option that offers great value within the sub 500 dollar price range.

Comparison Table

Reviews Of The Top 5 Bookshelf Speakers Under $500

1. ELAC Uni-Fi UB5 Bookshelf Speakers

ELAC Uni-Fi UB5 Bookshelf Speakers

The first that you notice about these speakers when you take them out of the box is their size – they are nice and slim, and have been built using some rather intuitive design, meaning that they have packed some serious hardware into such a tiny box.

Which becomes quite apparent as soon as you plug them in.

These speakers have an absolutely incredible spread of sound that covers all bases almost completely. This means crisp and clear highs that have absolutely perfect cohesion between mid-range notes.

With this, these speakers also have the capacity to produce some deep and chunky bass notes that will get you going – and while I should that they do at times sound slightly detached from the rest of the music, it is barely noticeable.

This great sound and excellent appearance has come with great build quality, which should give you extreme confidence in your purchase – these will be a key component of your lounge room set up for years to come.

What we liked

  • Awesome slim design
  • Sound Great
  • Excellent Build Quality

What we didn’t like

  • Bass notes don’t always show great cohesion with the rest of the sound profile

2. Audioengine P4N Bookshelf Speakers

Audioengine P4N Bookshelf Speakers

In a similar vein of design as the ELAC UB5’s, the Audioengine P4N’s are extremely compact (coming in at less than 20cm’s high each) – but don’t let that deter you for a second. Not only is the slim design both aesthetically appealing and extremely convenient, it comes at no sacrifice to either sound quality or construction durability.

And speaking of sound quality, these truly hit the nail on the head.

The mid-range that these guys produce is smooth as silk, and has been combined with some surprising depth for such a small speaker. Tone wise these speakers produce a smooth, polite sound that falls towards neutral, making them absolutely perfect for those who love easy listening and acoustic jams.

It is important to point out that at high frequencies the treble sounds almost become too bright and shiny, although again it is only minimal.

The materials used throughout this design has resulted in some high quality construction and excellent durability. These a great option for those after a smooth, neutral sounding speaker that take up little room.​

What we liked

  • Slick design
  • Excellent sound quality
  • High durability

What we didn’t like

  • Sound can become a little too bright at high frequencies

3. Pioneer Elite SP-EBS73 Andrew Jones Bookshelf Speakers

Pioneer Elite SP-EBS73 Andrew Jones Bookshelf Speakers

When Andrew Jones decides to make a bookshelf speaker, you get interested – and I mean VERY interested – because you know its going to be good. And boy oh boy are they good.

Instead of opting for the two-way configuration method typically seen in bookshelf speakers (and other, smaller, speakers), the Pioneer Elite SP-EBS73 bookshelf speakers have been designed using a total of five transducers per speaker.

This has resulted in multiple transducers being dedicated to trebles, mids, and lows in each cabinet, meaning that every frequency range imaginable is covered effectively and efficiently. The result is an incredibly clear and powerful sound that can literally handle anything you throw at it.

This sound quality has been combined with an extremely high level of construction quality. Not only are the internals on this fantastic, the pieces themselves are super durable.

And although the design is somewhat simple, that should not act as a deterrent as they will look at home in absolutely any home set up. A great option for those who are after a great sounding set of speakers that can handle any genre they can think of.

What we liked

  • Incredible sounding set of speakers
  • Excellent durability
  • High quality construction

What we didn’t like

  • Appearance may be a little 'safe' for some

4. Wharfedale Diamond 225 Bookshelf Speakers

Wharfedale Diamond 225 Bookshelf Speakers

The Wharfedale Diamond 225 Bookshelf speakers are designed with style in mind. Opting for a matte black front and a natural wood surround, these scream class – they would honestly look at home in the most up market of lounge rooms.

With this, these Wharfedale speakers have been built to last. Using high quality materials and sound construction methods, these are a highly durable pair of speakers that will last you decades (and arguably longer if you treat them well...).

These positives are further reinforced when you plug these speakers in and give them a listen. The sound they produce is both smooth and crisp, hitting some absolutely incredible lows with some smooth, pristine mid range notes.

While the highest notes can at times become slightly distorted at higher. Volumes, it is barely noticeable. These are an excellent option that sound great.

What we liked

  • Extremely attractive design
  • Solid construction
  • Soft and smooth sound

What we didn’t like

  • High notes can distort slightly at high volumes (although it is barely noticeable)

5. Klipsch R-15 Bookshelf Speakers

Klipsch R-15 Bookshelf Speakers

The first thing you notice as you slide these out of the box is their appearance – these are some seriously good looking speakers. Designed with a sleek matte black casing and some smooth copper highlights, these look like a much pricier set of cans.

This visual appeal has been combined with excellent construction quality. These speakers have been built with high quality materials and solid construction methods, the result of which is a set of speakers that will hold a place in your lounge room for a long time to come.

With this, the sound quality is full and lively, hitting dynamic high notes extremely well and with a heap of clarity – with this in mind these speakers make listening to jazz and ska an absolute dream. With this in mind it is worth noting that the sound profile of these speakers sits ion the high side of neutral, and as such bass notes are somewhat lacking at high volumes.

Nonetheless these speakers offer a great option that will really lift the feeling of your home set up – in both appearance and in sound.

What we liked

  • Look amazing
  • Great lively sound
  • High Durability

What we didn’t like

  • Bass notes are lacking

Value Section

Klipsch R-15 Bookshelf Speakers

Now that we are looking at speakers slightly above what most would consider a ‘budget’ price range, we start to see an increase in sound quality in conjunction with excellent construction quality.

Something that I believe is quite apparent with each of the speakers appearing on this list – and although you can certainly spend more on a set of speakers if you so desire, each of these are excellent options within their own right.

Despite this I do understand that the speakers on this list may not be perfectly suitable for absolutely everyone (although I would like to argue that they are…), and as such some people would like to go out and find a pair of speakers on their own. So with this in mind I have outlined some tips that will help you find the best speakers for you personally within this price range.​

Don’t settle

Within this price range you should be able to find a set of speakers that have excellent durability, look good, and sound the way you want them to sound – so with this in mind it is important you don’t settle on something that doesn’t tick all these boxes – take your time and wait until you find some that suit your expectations closely.

Listen First

Different speakers do sound slightly different, and as such suit different genres of music better than others. Find a pair of speakers that you like the sound of stick with those – you will be much happier in the long run as a direct result.

They should feel sturdy

I have said this before and I will say it again – a good pair of speakers should feel solid. This becomes increasingly important as their cost increases, because you do want them to last you a very long time.

While I genuinely believe that the five options outlined in this article are the best bookshelf speakers for under 500 dollars available on the market, the three tips provided should help you find a solid option that is not outlined above.

Conclusion

pioneer-elite-sp-ebs73-lr-02

Unfortunately, as with most things in life, there can only be one winner – and although each of the speakers in this article are fantastic options in their own right, there is in my opinion one clear stand out.

The Pioneer Elite SP-EBS73 bookshelf speakers.

These sleek and simple speakers have been built using extremely high quality components, ensuring the cleanest sound you will find in this price range. Seriously, these speakers will be able to handle any genre you can throw at them, and handle it very well.

This has been combined with some excellent durability and huge volume range to produce the best bookshelf speakers for under 500 dollars on the market today – and maybe ever.

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