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Best Powered Speakers for Your Desk or Bookshelf 

 May 26, 2021

By  Zen Chung

Powered bookshelf speakers are your best bet when setting up an audio system for your home or office. Space is a huge factor when designing your space, and powered speakers take very little of this real estate while still giving you the best experience by giving off better quality sound than the average systems. Let us look at the best-powered speakers available in the market that are great sounding and worth trying out.

Best Powered Speakers

1. KEF LS50 Wireless II

KEF LS50 Wireless II (Pair, Carbon Black)
  • Available streaming services include: Spotify Connect, Tidal, Amazon Music,...
  • Each speaker consists of a 280 watt amplifier for the mid range and 100w...
  • Wireless Streaming features include: Apple AirPlay 2, Google Chromecast, ROON...
  • Resolution Up To: 384kHz/24bit depending on connection.
  • Featured Inputs: HDMI eArc, TOSLINK, Digital Coaxial, Analog 3.5mm Auxiliary,...

The KEF LS50 is the ultimate bookshelf powered speaker system that delivers quality sound and has a great frequency response that is mind-blowing for its size and price range. Each of the two speakers has a 280-watt amplifier for mid-range and a 100-watt amplifier tweeter. The powered speakers have an impressive frequency range between 47Hz to 47KHz, with a low frequency of 100 Hz and a high frequency of 280 Hz.

Unlike passive speakers, powered speakers have drivers in them. Drivers tend to be noisy at times. The LS50 has the driver problem taken care of by having metamaterial absorption technology featured in the enclosure of the pair of speakers. The technology features a highly complex maze structure that absorbs any unwanted sounds coming from the driver, giving you a clean sound without any distortion at any volume.

The system can do a lot while staying within your budget. The pair of powered speakers can connect to Spotify, Amazon Music, Tidal, Deezer, Qobuz, QQ music, internet radio, and podcasts. The system has a resolution of up to 384KHz/24Bit, depending on the connection available. The powered speakers can support wireless streaming features including Google Chromecast, Apple Airplay 2, ROON Ready, Bluetooth 4.2, and is UPnP compatible. Inputs in the speakers include HDMI eArc, TOSLINK, Digital Coaxial, Analog 3.5 mm Auxiliary, Wi-Fi, and RJ5. You can control the powered speakers with a phone app that lets you control the sound settings.

Pros

  • Each speaker in the pair has a 280-watt amplifier for mid-range and a 100-watt amplifier for the tweeter.
  • The speakers have a frequency range of between 47Hz to 47KHz.
  • The speakers can support music streaming features like Apple Airplay 2, Google Chromecast, Bluetooth 4.2and ROON Ready.
  • The speakers are UPnP compatible.
  • The speakers can connect to Amazon music, Tidal, Deezer, Internet radio and podcasts, and Spotify.
  • Inputs in the speaker include HDMI eArc, TOSLINK, Digital Coaxial, Wi-Fi, RJ5, and Analog 3.5 mm Auxiliary.
  • You can control the sound settings on the speakers with a phone app.

Cons

  • Each speaker needs to be put strategically for the music to sound pleasant.
  • The phone app needs to be updated every and has the risk of freezing when running.
  • The frequency range of the speakers can not be useful in a studio situation

2. Klipsch The Five Powered Speakers

Klipsch The Fives Powered Speaker System with HDMI-ARC in Walnut
  • TRUE ENTERTAINMENT: Easy-to-use, powered, high-def speakers
  • TRUE HI-FI: Powerful, high-fidelity sound from dedicated right and left speakers
  • TRUE CONNECTIVITY: These speakers feature a variety of wireless and wired...
  • The Klipsch Heritage Wireless series of powered audio systems blends the classic...

The Klipsch series of wireless speakers are a combination of the genius of Paul W. Klipsch with modern technology. The powered stereo speakers have a high fidelity sound from the dedicated right and left speakers. The speakers feature various wireless and wired connectivity, integrating smoothly with your systems and devices. The connections in the speakers include RCA inputs, HDMI (ARC), optical cables, a USB port, a service port, and an auxiliary connection. The speakers are beautifully crafted for use as tabletop systems for your movies, television, and music enjoyment.

Pros

  • The desktop speakers can tune alongside the left and right channels.
  • The stereo system has a compact design that looks elegant on your bookshelf or tabletop.
  • The powered speakers have an easy plug-and-play system that is very easy to use.
  • You can customize the design to your liking because of the removable grill on the speaker body.
  • The speaker has a sub-woofer output for high-end sound capabilities.
  • The speakers can receive a digital signal via its USB audio and optical cable ports.
  • The speakers are light-weight, with a total of 28.25 pounds on them.

Cons

  • The speakers can not connect to BlueTooth capable sub-woofers. And can only be connected manually.
  • You have to get a sub woofer to be able to reach certain low frequencies.

3. Kanto TUK Powered speakers

Kanto TUK Powered Speakers with Headphone Out | Built-in USB DAC |...
  • AMT TWEETERS - TUK utilizes high-performance AMT tweeters to deliver brighter,...
  • ALUMINUM DRIVERS - Due to their high rigidity and low mass, TUK’s aluminum...
  • DSP CONTROLLED - TUK features integrated digital signal processing (DSP),...
  • ADVANCED CONNECTIVITY - Along with Optical and RCA inputs, TUK includes an...
  • ACTIVE CROSSOVER - When enabled, TUK's active crossover filters out frequencies...

If you search for high-end, accurate high frequencies, Kanto is your go-to desktop speakers. The powered speakers have a clear, accurate tweeter that delivers a bright sound. The speakers have a wide horizontal dispersion that enhances their stereo capabilities, providing correct imaging and soundstage experience.

The stereo speakers have highly rigid aluminum drivers, compact and light-weight, with a low mass. The drivers operate at optimal efficiency, with significantly reduced distortion at very high volumes. The powered speakers feature a digital signal processing designed to optimize sound quality, providing greater accuracy in sound reproduction. The speakers feature optical and RCA outputs for connecting other devices. The speakers give you an option of connecting your turntable through the independent phono input. Other connectivity options include Bluetooth 4.2 with aptX HD and AAC codecs for faster, high-fidelity streaming. The speakers also have a USB DAC and a dedicated headphone amp.

The powered speakers have an active crossover that filters out frequencies below 80Hz, sending them directly to any connected sub-woofers. Cutting off the low frequencies reduces distortion and significantly increases the sound resolution.

Pros

  • The powered stereo speakers have a switchable RCA instead of a single connection.
  • The speakers feature line-level connections and phono inputs that make it possible to connect to the pre-amp without any interruptions.
  • You can plug in any vintage or modern-day turntable or vinyl player.
  • The system supports 24-Bit audio and has aptX HD that offers a good sound quality when streaming via Bluetooth. The resolution is better than that of a CD.
  • You can plug in headphones for a more intimate listening session. The powered speakers have a 3.5 mm headphone output located at the front of each active speaker.
  • The speakers have an inbuilt headphone amplifier for uninterrupted listening.
  • You can connect the active speakers to your TV via the optical TOSLINK.
  • The size of the speakers will make them conveniently on your shelf or desktop. The body is made up of a 7 by 8.5-inch compact design.

Cons

  • The speakers are not ideal for studio use because they do not have XLR outputs.
  • You have to buy a sub-woofer to experience the low-end frequencies.

4. Edifier Audiophile Active Speakers

Edifier S3000Pro Audiophile Active Speakers - Truly Wireless, Bluetooth 5.0...
  • WIRELESS LEFT/RIGHT SPEAKER SETUP - EdifierÕs first plug-in speaker system that...
  • KLEERNET WIRELESS TECHNOLOGY - For vastly improved efficiency and quality over...
  • HIGH QUALITY STREAMING AND EASY CONNECTIVITY - Certified Hi-Res audio and...
  • CLEAR MORE NATURAL SOUNDING HIGHS - Edifier's signature planar diaphragm tweeter...
  • POWERFUL ROOM-SHAKING BASS - Courtesy of a 6.5" aluminium alloy diaphragm bass...

Your room design and setup need to be as practical as possible. Edifier gives you the liberty to place each of the speakers wherever you wish because of their wireless connectivity. Your speakers no longer have to be tethered to a point by a cable. The budget speakers have a near-lossless audio quality of up to 328 feet (100 meters). The range puts the speakers ahead of their traditional Bluetooth counterparts.

The active speakers have certified Hi-Res audio and Bluetooth 5.0 support with aptX HD Decoding. You can achieve studio-quality sound with 24-Bit audio and near-lossless sound quality. The high frequencies in the speaker are natural-sounding because of Edifier's planar diaphragm tweeter, which provides clearer and better highs. Audiophiles and industry professionals alike can use the speakers.

The powered speakers have a 6.5-inch aluminum alloy bass-diaphragm unit, which delivers strong low frequencies without distortions. The frequency response of the speakers is unmatched and is great for watching movies and listening to your favorite music. The size of the speakers will comfortably fit your shelves and cabinets taking up very little of your real estate.

Pros

  • The speakers have enough power to do without a sub-woofer because of their incredible bass response.
  • The powered speakers have a remote control that can aid in volume control from anywhere in the room.
  • The pair of speakers have 6.5-inch aluminum alloy bass-diaphragm units that deliver low frequencies without distortion.
  • The fairly priced speakers have headphone inputs that let you intimately listen to your music. Headphone amplifiers in the speakers provide uninterrupted connections.
  • The system has Bluetooth 5.o, which provides fast streaming.
  • The diaphragms sound better than their 4-inch counterparts.

Cons

  • The speakers are not suitable as studio gear because they do not have XLR ports which are very useful in a production setting.

5. Elac Bookshelf Powered Speaker

ELAC Uni-Fi 2.0 UB52 Bookshelf Speakers (Pair), Black (UB52-BK)
  • True 3-Way Speaker Design
  • Newly Developed Concentric Driver Featuring a 4" Aluminum Midrange and a 1"...
  • New Single-piece Aluminum Cone 5-1/4" Bass Driver
  • 6-Ohm Nominal impedance for compatibility with virtually all receivers and...
  • Front Firing Ports Allow for Flexible Room Placement

Very few speakers have a 3-way design. Elac is a few speakers that feature a 4-inch aluminum midrange and a 1-inch wide roll surround tweeter. The speakers further impress by featuring a five and a quarter inch bass driver that pushes the limits of a bookshelf speaker. Elac has an elegant minimal design which does not at all limit the sound quality of the speakers. Unlike most passive speakers, the system has a 6-ohm nominal impedance which makes compatibility with virtually all amplifiers and receivers possible. The speaker has front-firing ports that make it possible to place the system anywhere in the room.

The pair of speakers features a 5-way binding post connector type. The powered speaker has a large diameter voice coil and a new aluminum cone profile, giving it a good frequency response for its price range. Each of the powered speakers has a neodymium magnet assembly for a low-profile surround audio.

The speakers' enclosure has reinforced MDF boards for reducing cabinet vibration, ensuring clarity of the sound coming off each speaker.

Pros

  • Each powered speaker has a front-facing vent to make it possible for the speaker to sit anywhere in the room while performing efficiently.
  • The powered speakers have unrivaled gear, including a 4-inch midrange and a 1-inch wide surround tweeter, making them the best-powered speakers for corners.
  • The speakers have power capable of producing a 6-ohm nominal impedance, making them compatible with all amplifiers and receivers.
  • The speakers have an incredible build quality with additional MDF boards to reinforce the stability and prevent vibration when playing music with strong bass frequencies.

Cons

  • The speakers have capabilities that limit them to only listening to music and watching movies.

Factors to Consider Before Buying a Powered Speaker

a) Active or Passive Speakers

An active speaker has its amplifier built into its cabinet, while a passive speaker has none. The active speakers can therefore be wireless as they do not need an external amplifier to function. You can place an active speaker anywhere in the room without any worries.

b) Inputs and Outputs

You will want to connect your speakers to your TV, old turntable, headphones, and even a subwoofer. Be sure to check connectivity before buying a speaker. Know the source where your audio will be coming from and choose the most convenient gear for your space. RCA connectors will come in handy and are just as important as other ports.

c) Frequency Response

What is the frequency range you would like in a speaker? Most speakers will have mid to high frequencies, leaving the very low frequencies to the sub-woofer. However, a system should be able to deliver decent sound without a sub. Look for speakers with frequencies ranging from 40Hz to 47KHz, and you will enjoy a wider experience without necessarily having to buy a sub-woofer to listen to the bass.

d) Streaming Capability

Your powered speaker should be able to connect to your devices via Bluetooth, Google Chromecast, Apple Airplay, Amazon Music, Deezer, and other streaming sites. Technology is meant to make your experience more enjoyable and convenient.

e) Amplifier Class

Not all amps are equal, and an A-class D amplifier will differ in some ways from class a-b amps. Classes categorize amps according to their outputs. Class A to C is classically controlled, while class D to F use pulse width modulation and digital circuits to switch between fully on and fully off signals.

f) Wattage

Speaker power is measured in watts. The higher the number of wattage, the larger the amounts of decibels delivered. For example, 1 watt will give out 87 dB. A whisper is between 15-25 dB, while an aircraft will be between 140-180 dB.

g) Reviews

Before buying anything, especially electronics, check the online reviews and do a lot of research. Sometimes it is the smallest things that will give you the most trouble. For instance, if your speaker does not have RCA connectivity when you needed one, will you have to buy a whole new system? Check for warranties and ensure you read the manual before setting anything up.

Zen Chung


I'm Zen Chung, a piano and violin teacher based out of Plano, Texas. I started this blog because my students (and their parents) kept asking about the best musical instruments to buy online. Look no further I'm here to save the day! 

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