Key Benefits of Bookshelf Speakers. Customise Your Home Sound.

In this blog we want to show you how to choose bookshelf speakers to make your listening space uniquely yours. Each element, from power handling to cabinet size, plays a crucial role in these compact powerhouses to transform any room into a concert hall.

Bookshelf speakers offer the perfect blend of high-fidelity sound and aesthetic design, let’s see what to consider when choosing the best speakers for your home audio.



Power Handling

It's important to match the right amp power with the right recommended amplifier power range.

Of course , this doesn’t mean that amplifiers outside of the recommended range won’t work; they just won’t work best.

For example, a 120W amplifier will work with a 20-60W bookshelf speaker. However, there’s so much extra power that even a modest increase in volume could result in blowing your speaker drivers (not good). On the other hand, a 15W amp will also work with the same pair of speakers – just don’t expect a great deal of volume let alone detail.


Let’s talk about speaker volume; the higher the sensitivity, the louder the speaker. This is an equation of converting amp power, watts, (W) into speaker volume, decibels (dB). For example, with a sensitivity rating of 88dB, 1W of amp power is required to produce 88dB of volume at 1m from the speaker.

So, going loud requires watts, for every 3dB of increased volume, you need to double the amp power. So, for 91dB you need 2W, for 94dB – 4W, 97dB – 8W, 100dB – 16W, 103dB – 24W, 106dB – 48W, so on and so forth.

While you might have the recommended amp power to match the speaker, sensitivity will still determine just how loud you can go. And as a rule of thumb:

  • 84dB is considered poor
  • 88dB is considered good
  • 92dB and above is considered really good.

Cabinet Sizes

Increased cabinet volume creates… you guessed it, increased sound volume. Larger chassis or boxes also allow for larger drivers, which generate better projection to give you a more robust audio experience.

So, in the end you have to weigh up a few things: does my listening room demand some extra volume; would I like some extra volume; can I fit the cabinets in my space; and can I afford to go bigger?

Next, depending on listening space and preferences, there are a few extra considerations to factor in: port design and driver configuration, and speaker stands

Port design

Cone movement causes internal cabinet pressure and bass ports vent it. Without a vent, the increased cabinet pressure makes the speaker cone more difficult to drive. So, not only do ports increase efficiency, they also have an added benefit of improving bass performance.

Porting comes in two main camps:

  • Rear firing ports allow a little extra audio fine-tuning, increasing and decreasing bass response according to wall proximity.
  • Down firing ports, on the other hand, offer greater placement flexibility in tight spots.

While all loudspeakers sound better with space to breathe, this isn’t always feasible, which is what often makes bookshelf speakers so attractive. So, while rear firing configurations can help fine-tune bass response, they will suffer from boom if backed against the wall. Significantly less the case with down firing configurations.

Driver configuration

Configuration choice is often determined by the listening preferences and environmental conditions of the listener. The most common configurations are:

  • Two-way driver geometry
  • Three-way driver geometry
  • Inverted driver geometry .

Most bookshelves are two-ways designs – two-way meaning two drivers, tweeter and woofer. Your tweeter handles the high frequencies while your woofer shares mid and bass roles. For the most part they’re smaller, more affordable, and offer the widest selection of style, colour, and design.  So going two-way gives you options, lots of options.  Wharfedale Evo 4.1

Three-way is (you guessed it) three drivers, each solely responsible for either the high, mid, or bass frequencies. This configuration is most often found in floorstanding speakers. But on the rare occasion you find it in a bookshelf, they’re often big – like EVO4.2. But with the extra frequency driver and the overall increase in size comes a significant increase in detail, dynamics, and projection.

Inverted driver geometry is a Mission trademark, inverting the position of the tweeter and woofer. Mission is adamant that by equalising each driver’s signal path between the loudspeaker and listener, IDG fine-tunes time alignment to give you an accurate, compelling, and ultimately rhythmic listening experience. And if that sounds like your kind of thing, IDG might just be for you.

Super Denton 3-way standmount loudspeaker  

Speaker Stands

There are many benefits of installing Bookshelf Speakers into stands, and it’s not only set to the perfect listening height for your seat in the sweet spot. They’re easily moved forward and back, left and right, as well as toe-in for incremental fine-tuning. Millimeter adjustments make big differences to your listening quality. So,  if you have the space, get the stands.  

What about equipment matching?

Oils ain’t oils and neither are amps – or speakers for that matter. Audio components of every kind have their own personalities. Some amps sound warm, some speakers sound bright. Some components sound neutral or forward or sluggish. But the point being, sometimes – and we’ve all had this experience – personalities clash. 

Component Matching

Take for example a forward-sounding amp. This is likely to display an energetic, detailed and crisp audio signature. And that sounds great. But what if you pair it with equally forward speakers? You might get too much of a good thing, leaving certain recordings to sound bright or harsh even. And that’s likely to create listener fatigue. Listener fatigue is the battering of one's lobes with ongoing and painful sonic frequencies. This'll cut your sessions short and nobody wants that.

Alternatively, some amps will create softer, more relaxed audio signatures. You know the type. They’re often described as velvety, warm or gooey even. And, again, this sounds great to some folk. But such an amp paired with an equally relaxed pair of loudspeakers could sound lacklustre, removed of all life and energy. Not so terrible if you’re up for a snooze, but most of us want to listen to music not meditate. So, again, not a great pairing.

This is where research comes into play and for most folks that’ll come in two forms: audio reviews or listening auditions. Not everybody is keen to step foot into a store these days. And that’s cool. Because there are a tonne of high quality review sites and YouTubers that’ll all detail a components audio signature. But when you’re spending several thousand dollars, it’s not such a bad idea to have a listen yourself.


Aura 2 Bookshelf Speakers

For those of you heading in-store to have a listen, bear in mind that you’re in a room treated to perfect the listening experience. Room acoustics are the invisible component of any system. They play a huge role in your overall sound quality. So what you hear in store isn’t necessarily what you’ll get at home – not exactly. But an in-store session is the perfect place to test and match audio components. So, if you’re up for it, have a play.


Not sure which speaker is right for you? Contact us or find your local retailer for personalised advice and recommendations tailored to your space and sound preferences!

Shop our top-rated bookshelf speakers and find the perfect speaker to match your home’s aesthetic and audio needs.