How To Choose Bookshelf Speakers

It can be confusing when you look at a line up of speakers: how do you know which ones to get? Do you choose based on available space? Desired volume? Whether or not they need a sub?

How To Choose Bookshelf Speakers


We had a request this week from a potential customer who was just getting familiar with Axiom Audio and our products.

And he said it would be really useful if we did a basic rundown of our product line and recommended where, you know, the typical use for different models or why you'd pick one model over another.

We currently have three bookshelf models in our lineup.

The smallest is the M2. It's a 1-inch titanium dome tweeter and a 5.25-inch woofer.

The M3, which is a very, very popular, one of our most popular speakers ever, which has a 6.5-inch woofer and a 1-inch titanium dome tweeter.

And then the largest one, and the newest one in the model lineup is the M5, and it's a larger bookshelf, it's a true three-way system with a 6.5-inch high-power woofer, a 5.25-inch dedicated midrange, and a 1-inch titanium dome tweeter.

So where would you use these different models, and where would they be recommended? Well, of course pretty much any speaker can be used anywhere, but it's what the performance is going to do in a particular environment. If you put a small bookshelf speaker like an M2 in a cavernous, 25 by 35-foot room with cathedral ceilings, yeah, you're going to get decent sound out of it, but if you want room-filling and room-shaking bass, you know, a little pair of bookshelves by themselves is not going to do that for you.

When customers ask me, "Well, I'm looking for a bookshelf speaker, which do you recommend?" It depends on application. The M2 is of a size that's really perfect for a small secondary system like in a dining room or, you know, maybe the corner of a kitchen, for instance, with you know, a small receiver or integrated amplifier.

It's also an ideal speaker for a desktop system for your office or your dorm room, for instance. And it's perfect for that because if you sit in what's known in the near field - four to six feet away from the speake - you're going to get good, balanced performance from a small speaker like an M2 with satisfying bass.

Now, going up to the M3, what do you get? Essentially, you get a bookshelf speaker that's going to play a little bit louder than the M2. You know, that 6.5-inch woofer has more output capability and more travel than the woofer in the M2.

And you're also, because of the bigger drive unit and the bigger cabinet, you're going to get more bass extension. This is a perfect all-rounder speaker, and we make it in a number of different flavors. So there's an outdoor version of this called the Algonquian, which is essentially the identical speaker, but in a cabinet that's made from a special EBS plastic that is weather-resistant.

So, it can be used outside, you know, under an awning and the deck backyard applications. It's also ideal for commercial settings where you want to, you know, have sound in a restaurant, or a store, or on a patio where you're serving food, and beverages, and whatever.

We sell zillions of these things. I mean, it is, like I said one of the most popular models. But as an all-rounder, it's really great. It has satisfying bass, it can play fairly loud, and you know, for a smaller room, this would be a perfect option on its own without a subwoofer.

As long as, again, you're not looking at, you know, blow the doors down levels, and thumping, pounding, you know, extreme bass, where you could always add a subwoofer for that. But on their own, they're very, very satisfying, a very neutral sounding speaker. And that's really why it's so popular. Now, the M5 is an interesting speaker.

We had called for many, many years to have a bigger bookshelf. People had applications where they wanted the performance, the bass extension, the output, and the balance and neutrality of one of our floorstanding speakers. But for whatever reason, they just didn't have the real estate in their room or they didn't like the look of, you know, a large tower speaker.

And that's why the M5 was created. As I mentioned before, it's a true three-way speaker. It has a high power 6.5-inch woofer. And I think that the M5 has amazed many, many people with its performance. Because basically, we say it's a floorstanding speaker's performance in a bookshelves cabinet.

So it has true bass extension, it has pretty amazing output capability. And I mean, I have people that have them, customers that have set them up in rooms that, you know, are 15 by 20 or 20 by 20 feet with no subwoofer and are completely blown away by the performance. Now, they are a bigger speaker.

It's all a trade-off on where you have room, what aesthetic you're looking for, but if you want and you're looking for a bookshelf speaker in our lineup and want the ultimate performance, the M5 is the best choice. So I hope that gives you a little rundown of our current bookshelf models that Axiom Audio offers and a little insight into where I tend to recommend people to use them.

Again, there's no wrong choices. All of our speakers will work in all environments. It just depends on what part of the performance aspect is most important for you. Thanks a lot for watching and in the future, we'll do one covering our floorstanding products.