What makes them stand out? Solid speakers that are powered, meaning you don’t need a separate amp.

Another option if you’re looking for bookshelf speakers on a budget is to get a pair of powered (or “active”) speakers. These are speakers with built-in amps. All you need is a receiver or preamp to control your music, and the speakers plug straight in.

Audiophiles might turn their noses up here, with good reason. In the past, powered speakers always tried to be too much, and the sound suffered. But nowadays, you’ve got models like the Edifier S1000mkii.

If you’re new to the world of designer audio, these will blow your mind. It’ll be the best that music has ever sounded in your home. If you’re a veteran audiophile, they will also blow your mind. They blew ours. We never expected a pair of powered speakers to sound this good. The sound is big, immersive, and detailed. Even if they don’t hit the highs with impeccable precision, they make up for it in being fun to listen to.

I’ve called this out a few times already, but here at Esquire, we prefer our audio on the warm side. These speakers are that. The low-mids get a lot of shine, so if you prefer something more clinical, this might not be for you… though if that’s the case, I imagine you wouldn’t be interested in a powered speaker anyway.

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