Bookshelf speakers are the ideal choice if you’re looking for quality sound in smaller rooms with limited floor space.
You can easily install them on a bookshelf, mounted on the wall, or even on stands.
They deliver a balanced sound that brings out the best of music, movies, and video games, and make excellent additions to existing home theater systems.
If you’re looking to make an investment in premium bookshelf speakers, you’ve come to the right place.
We’ve found the best bookshelf speakers under $1500, with the perfect combination of audiophile quality sound, high level construction, and user-friendliness.
So, let’s get into it!
Quick List: Top 8 Bookshelf Speakers Under $1500
- Monitor Audio Silver 100
- Definitive Technology D11 Demand Series – Best Overall
- SVS Ultra
- Focal Chora 806
- Kanto YU3
- Focal Aria 906 – Runner-Up
- Jamo C103
- Monitor Audio Silver 50
Researching Bookshelf Speakers Under $1500
We take audio research seriously here and it was no different with bookshelf speakers under $1500.
We set out with the mission of finding the best units that excel in sound quality, construction, and overall design. Not satisfied with mediocre, we made sure to find the best bookshelf speakers for any kind of home audio setup.
Our top priority, as always, was sound quality, so we sought out speakers with premium quality drivers, intelligently-designed cabinets, and impressive soundstages. All the speakers on this list can comfortably handle lows, mids, and highs to a top standard, with minimal distortion or resonance.
We also paid special attention to speakers that are suitable for different functions and setups. Some of the bookshelf speakers on this list are minimalist but highest quality, while others include more modern inclusions. All of them work great as standalone speakers or can integrate easily with home entertainment systems.
Aesthetics are important too, so we found premium high end bookshelf speakers that range from classic to contemporary. All are attractive and optimized for acoustics, so it’s just a matter of accommodating your existing home decor.
Whether you’re an experienced audiophile or an audio newbie looking to invest in their first premium speakers, we can guarantee there are the right bookshelf speakers under $1500 for you.
The Best Bookshelf Speakers Under $1500 in 2020
1. Monitor Audio Silver 100 Bookshelf Speakers
- Proprietary-build ring/voice coil-cone coupling mechanism (DCF) optimized to reduce high-frequency cone break-up and increase the critical voice coil circumferential rigidity
The Monitor Audio Silver 100 speakers are an impressive offering, with a sophisticated design and audiophile quality sound.
✔️ What we like: Sleek and modern speakers that deliver warm and musical sound.
❌ What we don’t like: The long break in time.
- Double-Clad Fiber coupling mechanism
- Superior crossover design
- Rigid Surface Technology cone
The focal point of the Silver 100 speaker design is smooth playback with minimal distortion. The speakers achieve this with coupling and driver design, which are optimized for rigidity and accuracy.
The coupling mechanism is made from Double-Clad Fiber (DCF) between the ring and voice coil, which has superior rigidity and less cone breakup over time. Using the DCF coupling results in clean and high fidelity playback that allows you to hear all details of any genre of music.
Its cone is also constructed with a Rigid Surface Technology (RST), which has the best possible diaphragm rigidity and therefore eliminates any audible distortion.
The combination of a 20cm driver and 25mm gold dome tweeter allows the Silver 100 speakers to tackle frequencies from 40 Hz to 35 Khz with finesse and expertise.
All these technical design elements work together for an overall warm and musical sound that is a delight to the ears of any audiophile.
Crossover is a huge priority for speaker output quality, and the Silver 100 bookshelf speakers deliver with the addition of polypropylene film capacitors and steel-core inductors. This combination improves signal transfer and is highly efficient for rich and detailed sound.
Our only complaint with the Monitor Audio bookshelf speakers is that they need several hours of break in. However, if you are prepared to invest the time, you will be rewarded with versatile and intelligently-designed speakers that consistently deliver excellent sound.
2. Definitive Technology D11 Demand Series – Best Overall
- Each Demand Series D11 Bookshelf speaker FEATURES A PROPRIETARY 6.5" BDSS driver, a 1” Aluminum Dome Tweeter with 20/20 Wave Alignment Lens & Laterally Offset Tweeter Assembly for a precise center...
The Definitive Technology D11 speakers are our pick for the best overall bookshelf speakers under $1500, due to unmatched sound quality and intuitive audio design.
✔️ What we like: Sophisticated speakers with superior audio design and sound.
❌ What we don’t like: A low maximum volume.
- Passive bass radiators
- Linear Waveguide Response technology
- Minimalist design
We can’t get enough of the Definitive Technology D11 speakers and they easily top our list. They are well worth the monetary investment for the sophisticated design and audiophile-worthy sound.
Due to their size, many bookshelf speakers struggle to reproduce significant bass, but the D11 speakers excel in the lower frequencies. The combination of a Balanced Double Surround Sound (BDSS) bass driver with 10-inch passive bass radiators ensures that you will feel the thump under your skin.
The speakers include top radiating vents so that the bass is evenly dispersed through your room. This is also handled by the Linear Waveguide Response technology that ensures overall even dispersion of sound.
No matter where you are seated in the room, you will be immersed in rich and detailed sound. This isn’t isolated to the lower frequencies either, with a sophisticated aluminum dome tweeter that features 20/20 wave alignment, delivering an extremely precise center image.
The Definitive Technology bookshelf speakers have a minimalist, attractive design that can match with any decor. The glossy finish is sophisticated and thoroughly contemporary, making them units that you will want to show off.
Minimalism is the overall design vision, with all elements simple but beautifully constructed, contributing to an immersive audio experience.
Our only complaint is that the D11 speakers might struggle to fill a larger room due to a lower maximum volume. However, they are bookshelf speakers after all, and what they lack in volume they more than make up for in quality.
3. SVS Ultra Bookshelf Speakers
- Reference bookshelf speakers with flawless tonal balance, stunning dynamics, unveiled highs and amazing low frequency extension. The Ultra Bookshelf speakers perform in the echelon of the world’s...
The SVS Ultra Speakers excel with their precise and accurate sound that brings music and movies into the third dimension.
✔️ What we like: Extremely accurate and detailed sound from compact speakers.
❌ What we don’t like: A lack of warmth.
- Superior bass driver design
- SVS SoundMatch technology
- Sophisticated cabinet
At the lower end of the premium price range, the SVS Ultra speakers keep up with the competitors, due mostly to the clarity of the sound that they reproduce.
If you’re looking for clean and detailed sound, the SVS speakers deliver it in spades. The 2 way speakers feature glass-fiber conical bass drivers and an aluminum dome tweeter that reproduce warm lows, balanced mids, and soft, airy highs, respectively.
They also utilize SVS SoundMatch technology, which ensures superior crossover between the different drivers. You can hear the difference, with every detail of your music or movies audible to even inexperienced ears.
The SVS Ultra speakers are truly modern, with a glossy piano black finish that reflects attractive, contemporary design at its best. The design is also optimized for acoustics, featuring tapered baffle edges and internal sub enclosures.
While this is hidden from view, these design elements ensure that the sound is as clean and accurate as possible, with minimal interference or distortion.
Some professional audiophiles have complained that at times the sound can be too digital or artificial, due to the level of detail and clarity. It can lose some of the warmth of imperfect recordings, but you’re unlikely to hear this effect. Instead, you will revel in the incredible soundstage that the SVS Ultra speakers create.
If you’re looking to invest in bookshelf speakers under $1500 but still want to keep costs relatively low, the SVS Ultra bookshelf speakers are great value for money considering what they deliver.
4. Focal Chora 806 Speakers
- Bookshelf speaker drivers with exclusive Slatefiber cone
The Focal Chora 806 speakers sound just as good as they look, with a unique design that brings out the richness of any audio format.
✔️ What we like: Beautiful speakers that focus on rich, balanced sound.
❌ What we don’t like: Vulnerability to external damage.
- Slate Fiber cone
- Visually stunning
- Superior tweeter design
The Focal Chora 806 speakers feature a unique design that you won’t see in other models at this price level.
This includes a bass driver that has a Slate Fiber cone, which is made from recycled non-woven carbon fibers combined with thermoplastic polymer. Because all the fibers orient in the same direction, the cone is extremely rigid but lightweight, with a natural damping that eliminates resonance.
The bass driver cone particularly excels at reproducing rich and warm mid-range frequencies, while the sophisticated inverted dome tweeter delivers smooth and beautiful highs. Overall, the sound is balanced and detailed, with sufficient volume to fill a room of up to 215 square feet.
It excels in the frequency range from 55 Hz to 28 Khz. This means you will need a subwoofer if you are a serious bass enthusiast, but this tends to be the case with most bookshelf speakers, no matter the price.
The Focal Chora 806 speakers have an attractive acrylic surface that can fit well with contemporary audio equipment and decor. However, it is vulnerable to scratching and damage, so it’s not the best choice if you have pets or kids in the house.
These units are on the cheaper end of bookshelf speakers under $1500, but that doesn’t make them a poor investment. They could be a great choice for you if you’re looking for unique design, consistently balanced sound, and value for money.
5. Kanto YU3 Bookshelf Speakers
- 2x Optical (TOSLINK) Audio, Bluetooth 4.0 with Qualcomm aptX, 3.5mm mini-jack AUX, RCA L/R Inputs
The Kanto YU3 speakers are truly contemporary, with diverse connectivity options, automated features, and balanced sound.
✔️ What we like: Compact and minimalist speakers with multiple modern features.
❌ What we don’t like: The power cord placement.
- Class D amplifier
- Multiple connectivity options
If you’re looking for versatile and modern bookshelf speakers under $1500, you should strongly consider the Kanto YU3 units.
The speakers are compatible with any kind of setup, featuring a Bluetooth 4.0 receiver, optical inputs, RCA inputs, and AUX. For those of you that have a Chromecast audio, it’s also compatible, allowing you multiple options for music playback.
They’re also super easy to control with the included remote control. It includes standard features, as well as a Bluetooth reset feature, which is handy if you intend to pair with multiple devices.
Audio design-wise, the YU3 speakers include 4-inch Kevlar fiber drivers and 1-inch silk dome tweeters, which work together to deliver natural, balanced sound.
These bookshelf speakers are also some of the only ones at this price range that include a Class D amplifier, which can handle up to 60W of power. This isn’t a huge amount of volume, but the speakers are compact and best suited to an office or bedroom, where you can get the best audio effects.
They also have a sub out port for easy connection to a subwoofer if you want to really feel that bass boost in a confined space.
Our only concerns with the Kanto YU3 bookshelf speakers are to do with aesthetics. The simple matte grey exterior is nothing special and the placement of the power cord means that you need to have the speakers at least 2 inches out from a wall.
However, if sound and modernity are higher priorities than aesthetics, you won’t have any complaints with the Kanto YU3 speakers.
6. Focal Aria 906 Bookshelf Speakers – Runner-Up
- The Aria 906 is faithful to the DNA of the Aria range: refined high-end acoustics combined with excellent perceived value thanks to the use of noble materials.
The Focal Aria 906 speakers only just miss out on the top position, with their beautiful design optimized for integrity and quality.
✔️ What we like: The perfect combination of beautiful aesthetics and natural acoustic sound.
❌ What we don’t like: The long break in time.
- Flax sandwich cone
- Superior tweeter design
- Rich and organic sound
If you’re looking for natural sound, this is where the Focal Aria 906 speakers shine.
They use a unique flax sandwich cone that is made from fully natural fibers. Flax is half the weight of fiberglass but still extremely rigid with natural internal damping, delivering a superior rich sound. This material reproduces a more organic sound with an emphasis on bass and mid-range frequencies.
The speakers don’t skimp on the highs either, with a premium tweeter constructed from a mixture of aluminum and magnesium. It also has Poron suspension between the dome and the bracket, which has shape memory, hugely reduces distortion, and delivers precise, musical treble notes.
No matter your audio setup, the Focal Aria 906 can fit in. The speakers are designed for rooms up to 160 square feet, with excellent sound dispersion in the left/right and up/down directions.
They aren’t the strongest at delivering sound in a front/back configuration, which might affect your listening experience. These bookshelf speakers also need considerable break in to achieve the perfect sound, so you will need to be patient with the Focal Aria 906’s.
However, if you’re looking for neutral and natural sound that stays true to the integrity of the original recordings, these could be your ideal speakers. They’re not bad looking either, with a classic walnut design that is both attractive and optimized for acoustics.
The Focal Aria 906 speakers are some of the pricier bookshelf speakers under $1500, but well worth the investment.
7. Jamo C103 Speakers
The Jamo C103 speakers are visually stunning and well-designed, with a strong emphasis on audible bass.
✔️ What we like: Beautiful speakers with warm sound that isn’t shy on the bass.
❌ What we don’t like: The size.
- Beautiful and modern
- Impressive bass
- Expansive soundstage
Although bookshelf speakers aren’t renowned for their bass capabilities, you can get the best of both worlds with the Jamo C103 speakers.
They feature 7-inch woofers and bass reflex components, which allow the speakers to hit those lower frequencies that you can feel under your skin. The woofers are made from hybrid composite cones that are designed for rigidity and lightness, allowing them to handle high pressure without distorting the smooth bass.
The woofers combine with 1-inch decoupled tweeters that are precision engineered for detail and accuracy. The sound quality of the Jamo C103 is remarkably warm and natural, with a wide soundstage that fully sucks you into the atmosphere of music and movies.
The aesthetics of the Jamo C103 speakers are striking, with a sleek, black cabinet that is thoroughly modern. Each unit is hand painted with a glossy finish, with satin MDF baffles, a chrome logo, and satin aluminum details.
However, the C103 bookshelf speakers are significantly larger than other units on this list. While they can be installed in a classic bookshelf setup, they really shine when mounted on stands. Otherwise, the rear facing ports can create a booming sound effect that can overshadow the rich bass.
Furthermore, they are incredibly powerful speakers, and therefore need a lot of electricity and volume to reach their full capabilities. If you’re short on space or looking to save on your power bill, these probably aren’t the bookshelf speakers for you.
However, if you’re looking for the perfect mixture of bass, smooth sound, and beautiful aesthetics, the Jamo C103 bookshelf speakers should be just the ticket.
8. Monitor Audio Silver 50 Bookshelf Speakers
- New 1" C-CAM (Ceramic-Coated Aluminum/Magnesium) tweeter, featuring vented Neo magnet system, optimized for lower distortion and cleaner sounding treble
The Monitor Audio Silver 50 speakers are pint-sized but not to be underestimated, consistently delivering warm and natural sound.
✔️ What we like: Small but reliable speakers with big volume.
❌ What we don’t like: A lack of wow factor.
- Ceramic-Coated Aluminum Magnesium drivers
- Lightweight and compact
If you have a smaller space but don’t want to skimp on the quality of your bookshelf speakers, you might be well matched to the Monitor Audio Silver 50 speakers.
They’re incredibly compact and weigh less than 15 pounds, giving you the flexibility to wall mount them or easily fit them onto a shelf or bookcase. They can handle frequencies from 52 Hz to 35 Khz and can fill a small room with sound, making them ideal for your bedroom or office.
Despite their compact size, the Silver 50 speakers are also durable and designed for high quality sound. They feature internal cabinet bracing and Monitor Audio’s bolt-through technology, which reinforces the speaker structure and reduces resonance.
Both the woofer and the tweeter feature a Ceramic-Coated Aluminum Magnesium (CCAM) structure, which increases damping, reduces distortion, and improves the clarity of sound.
The tweeter also has a vented neo magnet design, which optimizes the driver for clean and clear treble notes.
Like other Monitor Audio speakers, the Silver 50’s feature a DCF coupling mechanism that reduces cone breakup and increases precision of sound. These speakers excel in the mid-range frequencies, with a warm and natural quality that brings out the best of music and movies.
Our only issue with the Silver 50 speakers is that they lack a wow factor. They have reliable and good quality sound, but nothing that will blow you out of the water.
Their main strength is the combination of their size and reliability, but picky audiophiles might be better to choose different bookshelf speakers.
A Guide to Choosing Bookshelf Speakers Under $1500
What kind of space do you have?
Bookshelf speakers are designed to fit in compact spaces, but even this can vary.
If you’re looking to improve the quality of sound in your bedroom or office, you should choose very compact speakers that can easily fit on your shelf, desk, or even wall-mounted to keep your surfaces free for storage.
However, if you have more space to spare, you can consider larger bookshelf speakers and investing in stands. This setup avoids any booming or distortion from the speaker port being obstructed, but it is less convenient.
Space is also an important consideration when considering volume. Many of the speakers on this list can handle up to 200W of amplification, which can comfortably fill a small or medium sized room. Others include an in-built amplifier, so you won’t need to invest in another amp, although this could mean compromising on volume.
How important is bass driver design?
At this price point, all the bookshelf speakers feature superior audio design, but there are a few key takeaways.
When it comes to woofers, many of the speakers on this list feature different cone materials, including classic fiberglass, flax, and slate fiber. Which kind of material you need depends on the kind of sound you are looking for.
Fiberglass is the classic option and is loved by audiophiles for its rigidity and lightweight nature, allowing it to deliver accurate sound under pressure. It performs equally well with bass and mid-range frequencies.
If you’re looking for a more natural and organic sound, you should consider investing in bookshelf speakers that use flax in their driver cone. Flax cones are made from fully natural fibers which have internal damping and are still very rigid, reproducing a sound that is earthy and realistic. They perform the best with bass and mid-range frequencies.
Another great option is slate fiber, which uses recycled, non-woven fibers. Because they aren’t woven and orient in the same direction, these fibers can maintain rigidity while weighing a lot less than classic fiberglass. This leads to an extraordinarily rich and balanced sound that brings out the best of mid-range frequencies.
How will you use your speakers?
Functionality and user-friendliness are two huge priorities when choosing bookshelf speakers under $1500.
If you’re looking to integrate your speakers with your existing audio setup, it’s important to choose units that have the correct inputs and outputs. You should check compatibility with your receiver too, to make sure that all the speakers can work together.
If wireless connectivity is important to you, it’s also worth choosing bookshelf speakers that have an in-built receiver for seamless playback. A remote control with Bluetooth reset will make this process easier too if you intend to pair with multiple devices at different times.
What’s your aesthetic?
When it comes to audio equipment, looks do matter. There’s nothing worse than speakers that don’t match and look awkward, ruining the continuity of your home decor.
Some of the speakers on this list lean towards a classic, vintage look, with natural wood and a matte finish. They are sophisticated and classy, with the ability to blend seamlessly with your decor or stand out as statement pieces.
If you consider yourself more modern, there are also sleek and shiny contemporary units, with glossy finishes and more details.
Investing in premium audio equipment is always worth it, for the quality of sound alone. Once you hear the balanced detail that high level speakers can deliver, it makes it impossible to go back.
If you have a smaller space or you’re just looking to round out your home entertainment system, bookshelf speakers excel at producing excellent sound from small units. We put hours of research into finding units with the most advanced audio technology, beautiful design, and audiophile worthy sound.
We’ve found the best bookshelf speakers under $1500, so you can experience for yourself how great things come in small packages.
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Simon is a music lover, musical instrument player and passionate audio afficionado. When he is not playing the guitar or listening to music he is either eating tacos or snoring too loudly.