bookshelf speakers that sound good on an enclosed bookshelf

My friend is looking to put a pair of bookshelf speakers on a bookshelf, a built-in on his living room wall with a TV and a fireplace. I’m looking for advice on brands and designs that will actually sound good when placed in the usually not so good enclosed shelf of a bookshelf. Any thoughts on this challenge?


This topic was just covered here in another thread. Perhaps you’ll find some good suggestions.

Should you be interested in a pair of Scansonic MB-1B, I am an official dealer and also consider trade ins. 

Gig Harbor Audio makes a custom speaker for $1k that is the best

I have heard for that trick.

Vandersteen VLR's are made to be place in a bookshelf. The non-CT version would be my choice for your friend.

I own this model and use it in my office and can attest to it's performance. Add a subwoofer and you'll have a very capable system.

PM Johnny Rutan (audioconnection), and get the best info on them.


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I am not sure its performance in an enclosed bookshelf but at least this gentleman shows S400 can sing really well in tight space on shelf.


No rear ports.

I just put a restored pair of AR2ax’s horizontal seated ear level in my office. They are only 11-1/4" deep (+ spkr wire), 13-3/4" high, 24" long

Compact acoustic suspension 3 way with two level controls, and a 10" woofer. That’s a lot of speaker, very smartly designed for true bookcase use.

Sound so good I just bought a second pair for my garage/shop system. They will also be horizontal on a shelf, standing ear level height facing the stand-up height island counter where I work on projects.

When horizontal, place them with the tweeters to the center. Then, just to prove that’s best, flip the tweeters out.

Using the level controls, you can adjust the mid to the bass and the tweeter to the mid, by ear or get a test cd and inexpensive sound pressure meter (with threaded hole for tripod mount. That’s what I do for my main system, these other setups, I just go by ear. Adjusting in the space is a terrific asset.

IF your friend is handy, this would yield a great pair. Local Pickup Only. You would need to live close, or make arrangement with a UPS pack and ship near seller. Seller merely drops unwrapped items at the UPS. That’s how I got my first pair.


I don’t see any restored ones on hifishark today, but they pop up frequently.

If your friend is interested, send me a private message, I know all about them.

Hello group, I’m so sorry that I forgot to mention a budget. He’s looking to spend US$600 on a used pair of speakers. So hopefully that will punch at about  $1000 or $1200 for a new pair.

I was recently looked at the manual for my KEF LS50's (the one from 2012) and it stated that if placing the speaker in a bookshelf use both foam plugs. I never tried that, but KEF seems to think it is doable.

The used versions of the newer LS50 Meta or the older LS50 are in the price range the OP is looking at.

I'm currently using Closer Acoustics OGY speakers on a bookshelf. The 30cm height and 13cm width makes the OGY easy to fit on any shelf. They're front ported. They're easy to drive, even with a puny China amp, you only need 10W. I'm using a 40€ Wondom Sure Tripath amp (which seems blasphemous considering the pedigree of the speaker but the synergy is there). Tube amps are usually recommended, but anything works really. I'm still waiting for my tube amp to be repaired, but I'm worried that I'll still like the Tripath amp more. You'll want to a add a sub for deep bass, but that's expected for the size. Build quality is impressive. The enclosure is a plywood 1/4 wave transmission line and the casing is Corian. So you don't have to worry about scratches, dings and peeling veneer. Vocal and dialog clarity for movies is a 10/10. You don't see many reviews online because "audiophiles" have a knee-jerk reaction against fullrange speakers stating hot uneven treble and distortion at high volumes. This is not the case. The EMS LB5 drivers are very well-made. 

I'll say that the OGY may be on the slightly brighter side of neutral, but since the midrange is very clear you don't feel that "boom-tizz" sound you expect from entry-level Klipsch speakers. Everything sounds so coherent. I find that with other speakers like the Klipsch RP600M or Q Acoustics 2020 dialog clarity is rather poor and the boosted midbass is partly the cause. Moreover, the OGY sound more clear off-axis compared to the Klipsch and Q Acoustics (which is a plus for my poor speaker placement on a bookshelf). 

I haven't experienced the KEF LS50 personally. I just bought the OGY blindly because I liked the design and was impressed by the transparency of other fullrange speaker designs (Audax AM21LB). But the OGY cost 40% more than the KEF and it's a hard sell considering the unorthodox design (which will scare biased "audiophiles" away) and lack of user reviews. It's likely that the KEF "measure" better as well (fullrange drivers have compromises and their benefits cannot be shown on a graph).