Both the satellite and bookshelf speakers comprise distinguishing properties for dedicated listening genres, cost-effectiveness, viability, and compactness.
The frequency range, speaker placements, bass enhancements, mid-range and low-range audio deliverance, and users’ taste in music will describe the best choice you will make when buying any of the two speaker types.
When equating Satellite speakers vs Bookshelf speakers, knowing the similarities and key differences between the two would prove helpful for the sensible purchase. Let’s start with defining both the speaker types.
What is Satellite Speaker?
As the name implies, satellite speakers always come in 2.1, 5.1, or 7.1 stereo ranges. The speakers are connected to each other via wires and wirelessly to the subwoofer. The subwoofer powers all the speakers it is connected to.
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Satellite speakers are generally used for surround sound production and are placed beside or behind the listeners’ position to deliver optimal surround sound when watching movies and sports.
In a 2.1 stereo system, the satellite speakers are usually positioned to the sides in front of the listener. In a larger 5.1 system, these satellite speakers are placed around the speaker for effective listening throughout the listening space.
The main speakers are placed at an appropriate angle to the sides of TV or cinema scope. The other two speakers can be placed either to the side or behind listener’s position for all-round surround music.
Advantages of Satellite Speakers
- Tiny, efficient, and very much portable
- Best for surround sound stereo listening
- Fit well in living rooms, home theatres, and bedrooms as well
- Easily manageable because of their smaller size
- Ran by a powerful subwoofer
- Perform best with mid-range and mid-bass frequency range audios.
- Best speakers for watching movies
- Satellite speakers produce extremely low distortions
Downsides of Satellite Speakers
- Satellite speakers are powered by an external subwoofer; hence they are incomplete without it.
- These speakers do not work well with low-range frequency
- Not idyllic for musical notes
- Restricted acoustic range
- Relatively shorter speaking range when equated to bookshelf speakers
What is Bookshelf Speaker
Bookshelf speakers are bigger, better, and more aesthetic alternatives to satellite speakers. They are larger in size and deliver low-frequency and enhanced bass boosted tunes when listening to music.
The bookshelf speakers offer an extensive frequency range with lows up to 50Hz for soothing melodies with exquisite note deliverance in cars and small-size rooms.
Bookshelf speakers can be placed anywhere on bookshelves, table tops, TV tops, on a chair, or anywhere above the surface. The audio enhancement is perfectly optimized with the powerful sound drivers embedded inside the speakers.
Bookshelf speakers do not have exterior subwoofers for audio enhancements and power-ups. In addition, these speakers work great in spacious living spaces as well. Carry them around anywhere and they will deliver the best results.
The compatibility range of bookshelf speakers could be extended to smartphones via Bluetooth connectivity, HDMI, or through 3.5mm audio jack. They effortlessly connect with any device without making clutter all around them.
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Advantages of Bookshelf Speakers
- They are self-powered; hence do not require an additional subwoofer
- The design is bigger and better than satellite speakers
- Well suited for listening to music with its full-range sound projection
- High-quality sound deliverance with low-range and mid-bass frequency generation between 20 KHz and 50 Hz
- Bookshelf speakers can be placed anywhere above the floor
- A great choice for small-sized rooms
- The speakers connect easily with smartphones, laptops, TVs, and more.
Limitations of Bookshelf Speakers
- Bookshelf speakers can only be placed on front and above the ground
- The surround sound compatibility is inadequate in bookshelf speakers
- They are bulkier than satellite speakers
- A tad expensive
- Unfit for home theatres and movies
Differences between Bookshelf and Satellite Speakers
Let’s find out the key differences between bookshelf and satellite speakers:
- Sound Quality
Bookshelf speakers offer dynamic sound quality when listening to music. On the other hand, satellite speakers offer stereo sound that is best for movies.
The cinematic properties of satellite speakers deliver impressive surround sound with zero distortions and soothing ambiences. Bookshelf speakers, however, offer boosted bass and low-range frequency with pulsating melodies.
- Size Discrepancies
Satellite speakers are equal or lesser than 6” in size and are powered by an exterior subwoofer however bookshelf speakers are larger and more powerful.
The lightweight properties make satellite speakers easily mountable anywhere on a table top, on the floor, furniture, or on dedicated speaker stands. Bookshelf speakers aren’t that easily handy; they can only be placed on elevations.
Bookshelf speakers cost more than satellite speakers. It is because of their integrated circuitry and multiplexed sound drivers. In contrast, satellite speakers do not have integrated sound drivers. An external subwoofer does the job for satellite speakers.
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Satellite Speakers vs Bookshelf Speakers: Which One’s better?
Both the speakers comprise various pros and cons, but the bookshelf speakers stand out for their integrated sound and complex motherboard inside the same housing as opposed to variant housings in satellite speakers.
Bookshelf speakers are bigger and weigh more than satellite speakers yet covering lesser space with better acoustic projection overall.
Satellite speakers are only applicable for surround sound applications. Bookshelf speakers though made for heavy-duty music and hip-hop notes do great when listening to low- and high-frequency sounds in movies as well.
Bookshelf speakers comprise both the high- and low-frequency sound drivers, so there’s no need buying a subwoofer alongside a pair of bookshelf speakers. A good bookshelf speaker delivers frequency range up to 50Hz without distortions.
Even though satellite speakers are easily portable, they aren’t optimized for constrained spaces. For a small room, satellite speakers would congest the area with their quantity and clutter.
On the other hand, bookshelf speakers are easily adjustable to the table top beside a TV or PC without circulating multiple wires around your room.
The music volumes are always louder and clearer in bookshelf speakers. Be it a tiny room or a big ballroom, bookshelf speakers commendably pass on the sound waves to farthest corners.
Satellite speakers aren’t as versatile and work in a restricted space with low volumes and shorter range.
Faizan Ali is a Master in Computer Sciences and has been writing content for computing, gaming and mobile technologies since 2016. He has written content for number of online magazines, websites and blogs and now writes for “the buyers trend”. Feel free to contact him for any sort of writing for your technology related blog, website or magazine.