Connect with us

Hi, what are you looking for?

Articles

Best Bookshelf Speakers from $1,000 to $3,000: Video [Updated]

Our picks for best bookshelf speakers between $1,000 and $3,000 from Amphion, Spendor, PSB, ATC, DALI and Acoustic Energy.

Tarun, aka A British Audiophile and EIC Ian White continue the discussion as we select our favorite bookshelf speakers in the $1,000 to $3,000 price range.

Part One focused on three of our favorite bookshelf loudspeakers from PSB Speakers, Spendor, and Amphion. Each model offers a very different sonic presentation, but all three deliver exceptional performance below $3,000.

PSB Synchrony B600 Loudspeakers Front Angle and Back
PSB Synchrony B600

PSB Synchrony B600

PSB is celebrating its 50th anniversary and the Synchrony B600s might be one of the finest loudspeakers to come from Paul S. Barton. The rather hefty Canadian stand-mounted loudspeakers deliver dynamics, bass, and a much larger sounding soundstage than almost anything in its price range.

The slightly warm tonal balance and spaciousness makes the PSB Synchrony B600 one of the most engaging loudspeakers we have listened to in many years but care needs to be taken with the amplification. The Synchrony B600s require more power than the specs might suggest but reward the listener with a degree of scale that is beyond impressive for the asking price.

Where to buy: $2,799 at Crutchfield

For more information: Read our PSB Synchrony B600 Review


Amphion Argon 1

Finland is not known to be a leading manufacturer of high-end loudspeakers, but Amphion is a very strong exception to the rule. The brand has become quite successful in the pro audio world and their technology has trickled down into some excellent products like the Argon 1.

A loudspeaker that does not take up a lot of space but delivers a lot of sound and a very spacious presentation. If you crave something clean and detailed but also quite punchy and capable of handling rock, electronic music, and hip-hop — the Amphion Argon 1 might surprise you with its capabilities.

Where to buy: $2,000 at Alma Music & Audio

For more information: amphion.fi/products/argon1/


Spendor Classic 4/5 Bookshelf Speakers Pair Cherry
Spendor Classic 4/5

Spendor Classic 4/5

The entry-level Classic 4/5 offers a more affordable option from the venerable British manufacturer with a very balanced presentation, excellent transparency, and detail galore for a Spendor. This sealed box won’t bend the laws of physics but its bass response in a smaller room (16′ x 13′ or smaller) might be enough for a lot of listeners.

Advertisement. Scroll to continue reading.

The sensitivity is on the lower side so consider 50 watts/channel to be a good starting point. Spendor offers custom stands for these that are way too expensive in our opinion, but any 24″ stands with some solidity and weight will work.

Where to buy: $2,825 at Upscale Audio

For more information: spendoraudio.com


Watch our Part 1 discussion on YouTube (or click play at the top of the page).

Timestamps:

  • 2:09 PSB Synchrony B600
  • 12:28 Amphion Argon 1
  • 17:38 Spendor 4/5 Classic

Part 2

The second part of our discussion focuses on three bookshelf loudspeakers from ATC, DALI, and Acoustic Energy. All three models fall below $3,000 and deliver exceptional performance and build quality.

DALI Menuet SE in Wild Walnut

DALI Menuet SE

DALI are the second largest manufacturer of loudspeaker cabinets and every component in the Menuet SE was designed and manufactured in-house; including the screws that are engraved with the DALI logo.

The Menuet SE offer excellent build quality and one of the highest levels of finish in a bookshelf loudspeaker.

The 11.5cm mid/bass driver is manufactured from DALI’s proprietary wood fibre cone material, which strikes a good balance between rigidity, low weight and damping properties.

The 28mm dome tweeter is both airy and detailed sounding without ever sounding etched at higher volume levels. The 86dB (4 ohms) sensitivity rating is somewhat low but you don’t need to drive them with 100 watts to hear what makes them so special.

See Tarun’s full review here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QK9RPHsOcS4

For more information: dali-speakers.com

Advertisement. Scroll to continue reading.


Acoustic Energy AE1 Active Speakers pair in walnut without grilles
Acoustic Energy AE1 Active Speakers

Acoustic Energy AE1

The Acoustic Energy AE1 ($1,590.00) are active loudspeakers because they feature separate power amplifiers inside each loudspeaker; both the tweeter and midrange driver/woofer have their own amplifiers, active crossovers, and do not require a connection to the other in order to work. 

You are tied to the sound of the power amplifiers but that’s a very good thing in this case. 

These are not wireless loudspeakers, but they will work quite effectively in the context of a wireless digital streaming system. 

Vocals can also be slightly cool sounding if your DAC or pre-amp lean that way; detail might be phenomenal in this scenario, but I wouldn’t trade greater tonal color for it. 

The more I listen to them – the more I feel that I’ve only begun to scratch the surface of their capabilities and that makes them the basis for a fantastic sounding system for the long haul. 

See Tarun’s full review here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oy0g28eaWFw

Also see Ian’s article: Acoustic Energy AE1 Active Loudspeakers: My Favorite Audiophile System Builder 

Where to buy: $1,590 at The Sound Seller

For more information: acoustic-energy.co.uk


ATC SCM19 Bookshelf Speaker in Cherry

ATC SCM 19

While slightly difficult to drive, the ATC SCM 19 deliver very high levels of resolution, detail, transparency, and low end response. ATC’s drivers are all custom designs manufactured in-house and designed to withstand years of musical enjoyment. The British manufacturer does not cut corners and the build quality is superb; the industrial design betrays its pro audio roots but these are some of the best bookshelf/stand-mount speakers available.

The ATC SCM 19 are ruthlessly revealing of the sources and amplifiers on the other end and careful attention needs to be paid to maximize their performance.

See Tarun’s full review here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qiUlJg-q5YM

Advertisement. Scroll to continue reading.

Where to buy: £2,300 at Audio Affair

For more information: atc.audio

Timestamps:

Related reading

Previously we awarded the Best Bookshelf Speakers Under $1,000 in 2022.

5 Comments

5 Comments

  1. Daniel Courville

    August 28, 2022 at 2:24 pm

    “Finland is not known to be a leading manufacturer of high-end loudspeakers”

    Hum… Genelec?

    • Ian White

      August 28, 2022 at 3:03 pm

      Daniel,

      Genelec was the one that was driving me crazy for the past few days. Thank you. 2 companies is still not a lot. Certainly not compared to Denmark, France, or the UK.

      Best,

      Ian White

  2. KiwiScott

    November 10, 2022 at 6:00 pm

    What would be interesting would be to talk about speakers placement in more detail. For example I have a bookshelf for speakers but all non bookshelf speakers seem to need 2-3ft of space.

    Scott

  3. John

    August 13, 2023 at 11:07 pm

    I have just bought a pair of ATC SCM-19 speakers to go with my Hegel H390. They are every bit as revealing as you both say. But they weigh about 17kg so you need a good pair of stands. I really like them.

    • Ian White

      August 14, 2023 at 12:32 am

      John,

      I have a pair of the ATC SCM50A at home currently under review and the sound quality is rather humbling. Easily one of the top 5 loudspeakers I’ve ever tried.

      Best,

      Ian

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Advertisement

You May Also Like

Earbuds & In-Ear Headphones

For $199, the PSB T4U TWM wireless earbuds calibrate their sound to match the listening capabilities of each ear.

New Products

At $17,000/pair, the Goldmund Pulp are luxury wireless speakers designed to look like a modern work of art.

Floorstanding Speakers

The Finnish loudspeaker manufacturer has a new lease on life here in the U.S. and we have a number of reviews planned for 2024.

Bookshelf Speakers

At $5,500/pair, the Børresen X1 are Audio Group Denmark's smallest and most affordable loudspeaker.

In-Wall Speakers

The outdoor CI market is hot and rather wet apparently. The DALI PHANTOM E-60 and E-80 WR in-ceiling speakers will be available from March,...

New Products

Precision-engineered with dual 8” drivers and nCore amplification to deliver power and accuracy with minimal distortion.

Daily Deals

SVS is having a closeout sale on its Ultra series loudspeakers to make room for the just announced Ultra Evolution series. Save up to...

Articles

Just what can one buy in 2024 for $4,500? The DALI Oberon 5 and NAD C 3050 make some serious music together on the...

Advertisement

ecoustics is a hi-fi and music magazine offering product reviews, podcasts, news and advice for aspiring audiophiles, home theater enthusiasts and headphone hipsters. Read more

Copyright © 1999-2024 ecoustics | Disclaimer: We may earn a commission when you buy through links on our site.



SVS Bluesound PSB Speakers NAD Cambridge Audio Q Acoustics Denon Marantz Focal Naim Audio RSL Speakers