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Choosing a bookshelf speaker

How to choose and buy a bookshelf speaker
A bookshelf speaker is any speaker you can fit on your bookshelf sounds like the right answer. However some bookshelf speakers are large enough to sit nicely on a stand or even the floor. (though we don't recommend the floor!)

The best thing to do is to look for a bookshelf speaker that fits both your size requirements AND your listening requirements. The beauty of bookshelf speakers is that you can usually find a size that will fit almost any situation. Bookshelf speakers usually fall in the range of 24 inches tall by 12 inches wide by 12 inches deep but can be much smaller than this.

Most bookshelf speakers can be used as a pair of stereo speakers for traditional music listening or as front channel sound or rear surround sound in a home theater setup. Some may be small enough to mount on a wall.

What makes a good sounding bookshelf speaker?
A good bookshelf speaker is one that fits your listening needs.

Sound is a very subjective topic when it comes to speakers. We recommend listening to bookshelf speakers in your home. Purchase them either in a store with a no hassle return policy or online from a vendor with a good return policy. Look for a return policy that also pays for return shipping.

Find one that will fit on your shelf, stand or bookshelf without being crammed in. Speakers will sound very different depending on how close to the wall or shelf side they are. Make sure they have some breathing room.

Type of cabinet - Acoustic suspension, Front ported or Rear ported.A acoustic suspension speaker does not have a port (hole you see in many speakers either on the front or back) although this gives you some placement flexibility it may also diminish the bass or require more power to deliver the bass.

If the speaker is rear ported make sure you have some room for the port to "work". Placing a rear ported bookshelf speaker (or any rear ported speaker) right up against the wall will greatly diminish it's sound quality. (or at least alter it)

Front ported speakers have the port in the front which gives you some of the advantage of the bass producing port with more flexibility to place it closer to the wall.
More to come on choosing a bookshelf speaker next week.

For more on bookshelf speakers see Buying bookshelf speaker

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