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The 10 Best Active Bookshelf Speakers For 2024

The 10 Best Active Bookshelf Speakers For 2024

Craig Walker |

In This Article: We'll cover the best active bookshelf speakers for various budgets available to you in 2024.

  1. Edifier R1280DB
  2. Kanto Audio YU4
  3. Edifier R1700BT
  4. Q Acoustics M20
  5. Edifier R1855DB
  6. Airpulse A100
  7. Edifier S1000W
  8. Kanto TUK
  9. Edifier S350DB
  10. Edifier S3000PRO

... I'll also provide an overview and some key features of each speaker and link out to the relevant products.

Active bookshelf speakers provide the easiest way to enjoy your music.

They feature a built in amplifier, audio inputs and usually have Bluetooth and/or WiFi streaming capabilities to make it easy to enjoy your music. You can also connect a turntable or wifi music streamer to any of these speakers.

If you’re looking for amazing sound quality, but with ease of use and setup then an active bookshelf speaker may be the way forward.

We’ve compiled a list of the 10 best active bookshelf speakers based on my personal experience, backed up by our sales data, to help you choose the best speakers for you.

The Best Active Bookshelf Speakers

Edifier R1280DB Active Bookshelf Speakers

1. Edifier R1280DB

Overview

The R1280DB is an extremely popular active bookshelf speaker.

With 42W of power, a built in digital to analog converter and Bluetooth connectivity they represent great value for money.

Despite being priced at just £129.99 these punch way above their price tag with an insane level of bass for such a small speaker.

These are so versatile and perform really well for music, movies and general computer media.

They have amazing sound quality for the price and reach the top of the list based on the sound per pound and the versatility. Sure you can get better sounding speakers, but you'll be spending three times the price.

Pros:

  • Lots Of Connection Options inc. Bluetooth
  • Side Mounted Dials For Input, Volume, Bass & Treble
  • Amazing Sound Quality
  • Very Versatile - Use For Music, Movies, Computer etc.
  • Easy To Setup - Includes All Cables

Cons:

  • No Subwoofer Output (But the R1280DBs does)
  • Remote Control Is Flimsy & Lacking (Although It Does The Job)

Connectivity:

  • Bluetooth
  • 2 x RCA
  • 1 x Optical TOS LINK
  • 1 x Optical COAX

Cost: £129.99

View It Here

Kanto Audio YU4 Active Bookshelf Speakers

2. Kanto YU4

Overview

The Kanto Audio YU4 is a beautiful speaker available in black, white, bamboo and walnut.

They have a 140W class D digital amplifier driving the 4” kevlar woofers.

Sound quality is absolutely great and they perform well for music, movies and computer use.

A key highlight of these is the built in phono preamp that lets you connect them to a turntable without the need for an additional pre amp.

Read More: Do I Need A Preamp For My Turntable?

They are a great all round active bookshelf speaker, particularly well suited for desktop audio, as well as TV’s and paired with a turntable.

If you want to go a step up from this the Kanto YU6 offers the same features but with a bigger driver and more power.

Pros:

  • Powerful 140W Peak Amplifier
  • Beautiful Design & Colour Options
  • Lots Of Connectivity inc. Phono Input
  • USB Charging Port For Wireless Devices

Cons:

  • Front Control Knob Takes a Bit Of Getting Used To

Connectivity:

  • Bluetooth
  • 2 x RCA 

Cost: From £349.99

View It Here 

Edifier R1700BT Active Bookshelf Speakers

3. Edifier R1700BT

Overview

Another from Edifier, the popular R1700BT.

It's a well sized speaker that looks at home whether it's on your sideboard or your desk.

It's got more power, more volume and more bass than the R1280DB but lacks the digital to analog converter.

So if your budget is in the sub £150 price range and you're wanting to stream music via Bluetooth or connect a turntable then the R1700BT is the one to go for.

Read More: Speaker Showdown: Edifier R1280DB vs Edifier R1700BT

Pros:

  • Compact Size
  • Great Sound Quality
  • 66W Power
  • Bluetooth Streaming

Cons:

  • No DAC Built In

Connectivity:

  • Bluetooth
  • RCA Input

Cost: £129.99

View It Here

Q Acoustics M20 Active Bookshelf Speakers

4. Q Acoustics M20

Overview

The M20 from the What HiFi award winning brand Q Acoustics offer the renowned award winning sound from their bookshelf range but with a built in amplifier, digital to analog converter and subwoofer output.

These are a personal favourite.

They look great, available in black, white or walnut.

The sound quality is powerful, precise and great for music, movies and gaming making them a versatile mid-end speaker system that’s hard to beat for the price point.

Gamesradar say “The Q Acoustics M20 HD speakers are a complete audio solution in the form of two bookshelf speakers. The audio is simply fantastic, the connectivity is terrific, and the versatility, performance, and power that the M20 HDs offer is basically unparalleled.”

Pros:

  • Powerful 130W
  • Bluetooth 5.0 Chipset
  • Subwoofer Output
  • Boundary Control For Wall / Corner Placement
  • You Can Change Which Speaker Is Left / Right 

Cons:

  • A Bit Big For Desk Use
  • No Sound Modes

Connectivity:

  • Bluetooth
  • 1 x RCA
  • 1 x Optical TOS Link
  • 1 x USB
  • 1 x 3.5mm AUX

Cost: £379

View It Here  

Edifier R1855DB Active Bookshelf Speakers

5. Edifier R1855DB

Overview

When I was a kid I used to love watching the Power Rangers on a Sunday morning with my parents.

Every episode would generally end up with the Rangers joining forces and morphing into a mega-ranger.

That’s pretty much what’s happened here.

Edifier have taken the best bits of the R1280DB, R1280DBs and the R1700BT, morphed them together and then boosted the power output by around 30W leaving it ready to tackle anything you can throw at it.

The only reason they haven’t made number 1 on our list is because they’re relatively new and unfortunately not available in a wood finish!

Are they worth the extra £29 on the R1280DB? Absolutely!

Pros:

  • 70W Of Power
  • Lots Of Connectivity Options
  • Sit Well On Desks & Sideboards
  • Very Versatile - Use For Music, Movies, Gaming etc.
  • Improved Handheld Remote

Cons:

  • Rear Mounted Dials For Input / Volume / Bass / Treble Are Awkward To Use
  • No Wood Colour Option

Connectivity:

  • Bluetooth
  • 2 x RCA
  • 1 x Digital Optical TOS Link
  • 1 x Digital Coax
  • 1 x 3.5MM SUB Out

Cost: £159

View It Here

Airpulse A100 Active Bookshelf Speakers

6. Airpulse A100

Overview

I absolutely loved these speakers.

They sat on my desk for quite some time on a set of desktop speaker stands.

The sound quality is amazing with 100W of class D power, the bass is deep with a low frequency response of 52Hz and the clarity from the horn-loaded ribbon tweeters is great.

Airpulse A100 are best-suited for stereo music sitting on speaker stands / sideboard. 

The only reason I had to swap them out is because they were too big for my desk and I had to sacrifice them for a dual monitor setup.

Believe it or not there is also an Airpulse A200, A300 and A300 Pro if you want even better.

Pros:

  • Look Amazing
  • Sound Amazing
  • Lots Of Connection Options inc. USB
  • Horn Loaded Ribbon Tweeter

Cons:

  • Rear Mounted Dials For Volume/Bass/Treble Are Awkward To Use

Connectivity:

  • Bluetooth
  • 2 x RCA
  • 1 x USB
  • 1 x Digital Optical TOS Link
  • 1 x Sub Out

Cost: £659.99

View It Here

Edifier S1000W Active Bookshelf Speakers

7. Edifier S1000W

Overview

If you want some high quality active bookshelf speakers with lots of connectivity and streaming options built into it then the S1000W may be the answer.

It’s one of very few active bookshelf speakers that has WiFi built right into it.

You can stream music via Airplay 2 directly to the speaker, as well as grouping it with other Airplay 2 compatible speakers.

Amazon Alexa will see it is a compatible speaker so you can use Alexa for voice control (Echo device required)

It’s got 120W of power and a low frequency response of just 45Hz so it’s powerful enough and offers a deep sound with plenty of bass.

Pros:

  • Airplay 2 Streaming
  • Amazon Alexa Compatibility
  • Hi-Res Certified
  • Powerful - Great Sound Quality
  • Handheld Remote Control

Cons:

  • No Black Colour Option
  • No Chromecast
  • Rear Mounted Volume/Treble/Bass Controls Awkward To Use
  • No Subwoofer Output

Connectivity:

  • Bluetooth
  • 2 x RCA
  • 1 x Digital Optical TOS Link
  • 1 x Digital COAX

Cost: £399.99

View It Here 

Kanto TUK 130W Premium Active Bluetooth Bookshelf Speakers (Pair)

8. Kanto TUK

Overview

The Kanto TUK's are one of our higher-end active bookshelf speakers and they really live up to their price tag.

They deliver clarity and performance that put it in a class of its own, TUK is designed to push the limits on what a bookshelf speaker can achieve.

From our testing the TUK's really are a great speaker and worth every pound of their price tag, especially when paired with a Pro-Ject E1 turntable.

The only reason their not number 1 is because of their price tag, but if you have a higher budget then these won't dissapoint.

Pros:

  • Amazing Sound Quality
  • Powerful, Clear Sound With Plenty Of Bass
  • Built-In Phono Input For Turntables
  • aptX Bluetooth
  • Subwoofer Connection with Crossover
  • Headphone Output

Cons:

  • Higher End Of The Price Range

Connectivity:

  • Bluetooth
  • 1 x RCA Audio 
  • 1 x Phono Input
  • 1 x USB
  • 1 x Optical
  • 1 x SUB Out

Cost: £749.99

View It Here

Edifier S350DB 2.1 Active Bookshelf Speakers with Subwoofer

9. Edifier S350DB

Overview

If you’re a fan of bass then the S350DB is a great option.

It’s comfortable playing music, movies and computer audio. It features Bluetooth for wireless streaming and an optical audio input to connect to your TV.

The 8” active subwoofer offers an unrivalled level of bass.

We’d suggest the S350DB for multi-use on TV cabinets or desks as it offers great all-round performance.

Pros:

  • Bass, bass and more bass
  • Powerful
  • Side Mounted Controls
  • Perfect For Computers / TV’s

Cons:

  • Only Available In Dark Wood (Although The S351DB in Black Is Effectively The Same)
  • Circular Remote Control Is A Bit Marmite

Connectivity:

  • Bluetooth
  • 2 x RCA
  • 1 x Digital Optical TOS Link
  • 1 x Digital COAX

Cost: £279.99

View It Here

Edifier S3000 PRO Active Bookshelf Speakers with KleerNet Wireless

10. Edifier S3000PRO

Overview

If your budget’s a bit higher and you want something ridiculously good then check out the Edifier S3000PRO.

The first thing to highlight here is the KleerNet technology.

Unlike normal active bookshelf speakers these do not need to be wired together.

Each speaker features its own 128W amplifiers powering a 120W 6.5” bass driver and a 107mm Planar driver.

They then talk to each other wirelessly with KleerNet technology.

This makes it easier to locate the speakers, you just need a power socket at each position but no wiring in between.

Aside from the ease of installation you’ll also get insane sound quality.

These are suited for bigger rooms and biased towards music.

You can still connect a TV via optical for movies but you’ll need a big desk if you want to use them with your computer via the XMOS xCore 200 USB connection.

Pros:

  • 250W Power
  • Amazing Sound Quality
  • Hi-Res Certified
  • Latest Bluetooth 5.0
  • Wirelessly Link Together With KleerNet Technology
  • High Quality Handheld Remote

Cons:

  • No Subwoofer Output (Not That You’ll Need One)
  • Only Available In One Colour
  • Rear Mounted Volume Controls Awkward To Use

Connectivity:

  • Bluetooth
  • 1 x RCA
  • 1 x USB
  • 1 x Digital Optical TOS Link
  • 1 x Digital COAX

Cost: £589.99

View It Here

Conclusion

That concludes our top 10 list of active bookshelf speakers, hopefully you’ve got some inspiration and ideas for your speakers.

As you can imagine I test a lot of speakers to make sure that what we sell lives up to our expectations, so change my setup regularly.

However the Edifier R1280DB’s remain on my desk as they sound great and the side mounted dials are well placed to easily switch between sources.

I often link them to my TEAC TN-400BT via Bluetooth for music and they’re connected to my Mac for computer content and Spotify.

They will likely get swapped for some R1855DB’s soon purely because they offer the best of both worlds between the R1280DB and the more powerful R1700BT.

If you need any help choosing the best active bookshelf speakers for you then please feel free to email, live chat or call our team on 02393 190955.