Bookshelf or stand-mounted loudspeakers are evolving and while the movement is in the direction of wireless loudspeakers, there is still no shortage of excellent and affordable options in 2022. My favorite bookshelf loudspeakers of 2022 include some in the $400 to $1,000 range and a trio in the $1,500 to $3,000 range that would be my absolute ceiling in the category.

2022 was also the year that I spent more time listening to wireless loudspeakers than passive models for the first time and I’m finally starting to drink the Kool-Aid.

Not everyone has the space or budget for floorstanding loudspeakers and there are also a growing number of consumers who have not heeded the RTO charge from their employers and continue to work from home and desire something for the desktop or their office.

2023 will feature some new and exciting bookshelf or stand-mounted loudspeakers for consumers to audition including the new MoFI SourcePoint 10, Wharfedale Aston and Dovedale, and new models from Bowers & Wilkins.

Acoustic Energy AE100 MK2 Bookshelf Speakers
Acoustic Energy AE100 MK2

Acoustic Energy AE100 MK2

The revised AE100 MK2 (also referred to as MKII or AE1002) from Acoustic Energy are a very balanced sounding bookshelf loudspeaker with fantastic build quality and excellent punch. They might not be the last word in the lower registers but they can still deliver the goods for only $400 USD.

For more information: Read our AE100 MK2 Review.

Where to buy$399/pair at Essence | £259/pair at Audio Affair

DALI Spektor 2 Bookshelf Speaker in Walnut
DALI Spektor 2

DALI Spektor 2

The Danish manufacturer is now distributed by Lenbrook in N. America and that situation makes them much easier to find. DALI makes excellent loudspeakers across the board but their affordable Spektor 2 is a fantastic value and wonderful platform for a wide range of amplifiers. 

Where to buy$399/pair at Amazon | £228/pair at Amazon.co.uk

Q Acoustics 3030i Bookshelf Speaker in Walnut
Q Acoustics 3030i

Q Acoustics 3030i

Very much like Jason Statham’s character in Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels, the Q Acoustics 3030i are a tad unleashed. They communicate music like an effortless weapon, and with some serious punch in the lower registers with the right amplifier. They borrow a lot of their driver technology from their much larger sibling; the Q Acoustics 3050i floor-standing loudspeaker that retails for almost twice the price.

Q Acoustics have tweaked something in the cabinet design and crossover of the 3030i because they dig just as deep as the larger 3050i, and sound significantly more robust than the 3020i; their presentation takes a firm step forward. Just like Bacon. 

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The 3030i is not a very difficult loudspeaker to drive (88 dB, 6 ohms) but it definitely benefits from an amplifier with some grip and midrange punch. Stay away from amps that veer dark because the 1-inch soft-dome tweeter needs some illumination.

Where to buy$499 at Amazon | Amazon.ca | Amazon.co.uk

Sonus faber Lumina 1 Bookshelf Speaker
Sonus faber Lumina 1

Sonus Faber Lumina 1 

Sonus faber’s Livio Cucuzza was tasked with creating an affordable range of loudspeakers that delivered strong industrial design that paid homage to the storied brand and performance above its rivals at the same price point. He succeeded in every way possible. 

For more information: Read our Sonus faber Lumina Review and learn what components we’d pair with it in our Audiophile System Builder series. 

Where to buy$899/pair at Sky by Gramophone

Wharfedale Denton 85 Bookshelf Speakers in Walnut
Wharfedale Denton 85 (walnut)

Wharfedale Denton 85

The Denton 85th Anniversary Loudspeakers deliver a very modern sound from a rather “vintage” looking pair of cabinets.

The Denton 85 are likely to be replaced in 2023 with at least two new models so you might be able to find them on sale.

The two-way speaker is the ideal bookshelf loudspeaker, beautifully hand veneered in Mahogany by Wharfedale cabinet makers with an inset front baffle and traditional Tungsten cloth grille. 

Underneath the traditional exterior, however, the Denton 85th Anniversary is very modern and utilizes a mixture of traditional and advanced technology. The bass unit features Wharfedale’s innovative woven Kevlar cone mounted on a rigid die-cast chassis, delivering a rich, detailed bass/midrange output with excellent dynamic performance. The treble is handled by a woven textile soft dome treble unit with high flux ferrite magnet, engineered for smooth, detailed HF extension. 

The 88 dB sensitivity rating (4 ohms) makes it relatively easy to drive but it definitely excels with more power than less; it can sound slightly reserved with too little power when you want to raise the volume to conversation levels or higher. 

It is also relatively friendly to both solid state and tube amplifiers; the midrange is the real star of the show here and it is a wonderful speaker for those who want to really engage with their favorite vocalists. 

Where to buy$999 at Amazon | Crutchfield

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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.

Tarun, aka A British Audiophile and I covered a lot of bookshelf loudspeakers this year and these were one of our absolute favorite.

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

You can read my full-length review on them here: Acoustic Energy AE1 Active Loudspeakers: My Favorite Audiophile System Builder

Where to buy$1,590 at The Sound Seller

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

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Spendor Classic 4/5 Bookshelf Speakers Pair Cherry

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.

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. 

For more informationspendoraudio.com

Where to buy$2,825 at Upscale Audio

Related Reading

Editors’ Choice 2022: Wireless Speakers

Editors’ Choice 2022: My Favorite Turntables

Editors’ Choice 2022: CD Players & DAC


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