Budget bookshelf speakers FOR a bookshelf...

am looking for a set (under $600) of bookshelf speakers that will actually sound good in a bookshelf. not on top, but on a shelf with a shelf of books above and below them. max of 10" wide by 14" high. i like all kinds of music, from abba to metallica, the planets to rammstein, al dimeola to joe bonamassa. used of course is just fine :)
Unfortunately, your space requirements are very limiting.

If you could squeeze out a few more inches, the JBL S38 was a fabulous small speaker. It was designed to be positioned on its side, making it ideal for a bookshelf. It was also front ported, which helps a lot. As a bonus, it had great bass extension...down to around 45 Hz or so, and was decently efficient. It sold for around $500 or so a pair back around 2000 and was versatile and could really rock if called on to do so. It really would be ideal, provided you could find a pair on the used market.

The Bose 301 fits your space requirements almost exactly. You'll be giving up a lot of the resolution and audiophile qualities of the JBLs, but the current 301 is surprisingly good on a bookshelf. I tried it myself. It delivers a nice, spacious sound and actually has a ton of slam...where other small speakers compress under pressure, the 301 just keeps pumping out louder and louder volume, which would be good considering your musical tastes. Don't rule it out.

Finally, if you can fit a small sub somewhere, the sub/sat systems from Orb Audio (www.orbaudio.com) more than meet your space requirements and are very, very fine products and extremely versatile. You won't need a lot of power since the sub will do the heavy lifting, and the small size of the round sats will leave you room to spare. Plus, you can order them in multiple configurations, allowing you to use one per channel or two per channel.
Ed is correct about most speaker manufacturers not taking this type of speaker placement into account. You can get this set-up to work, it is just that you will give up certain 'audiophile' things like soundstage and separation ... the sound will just be there. The walls of the bookshelf will present boundary issues, so the speakers will need to be towards the front of the shelf, so to speak. The enclosed nature of the bookshelf may provide some bass reinforcement. At its best, you will have speakers that sound pretty good, but will not deliver all that they are capable of delivering.

Most likely, you will be placing the speakers on their sides. It looks better, believe it or not, but you can also optimize the sound a bit by placing the speakers in such a way where the tweeters are to the outside ....

[ o O ] ... [ O o ]

Stick with speakers that are front ported or sealed box design, though there are some rear ported speakers that have been designed to sound good next to rear walls. Obviously, stay away from any speakers that have curved sides.

I have tried a number of speakers in this set-up and my favorites are:

1. Energy RC 10

2. Rega R1

3. Omega Loudpeakers . These speakers are crossover-less and have only one speaker. They tend to sound best with tube amps.

Best regards,

Look for a pair of RA Labs center channel speakers, a sealed box design. They work great on a book shelf. They are 7 inches high, 21 inches wide (tweeter/2 mid range). The often come up used for about 250 for the pair. RA was one of Roy Allison's design efforts that worked well in a number of sizes. There is a passive sub that works well with all of the RA speakers.