Best Dorm Room Speakers for College Students

Updated on December 12, 2014

Find the Best Speakers for Your Dorm Room!

Great speakers are essential for music and entertainment fans heading off to college. Who wants to live in dull surroundings with no music or entertainment? Also, having great-sounding stereo speakers will really impress others in your dorm, and friends who stop by.

Going with a reputable speaker brand isn't enough. You need to choose ones that can really improve the overall entertainment system in your (presumably smallish) room. To do that, you must learn about key speaker features and specs: Should you get two-way, three-way, or four-way speakers? Bookshelf or floor-standing speakers? Don't worry; having the best doesn't always mean buying the most expensive—we'll help you be mindful of your budget.

Read on to learn about some great-sounding speakers for dorm rooms, and how to choose yours!

My Top Dorm Room Speaker Recommendations

For those who prefer to cut to the chase, here's a list of five great speakers for dorm rooms. The first three are smaller, so-called bookshelf speakers, and the last two are larger, floor-standing units.

  • Pioneer SP-BS21-LR: Great speakers for those on a budget.
  • Sony SS-B3000: Sony quality in a compact package.
  • Pioneer SP-BS41-LR: A step up in quality from the SP-BS21-LR
  • Sony SS-F6000: Large and powerful floor-standing speakers
  • Sony SSF-5000: A lot less expensive than the SS-F6000, but still a quality speaker.

You can find more detailed descriptions as well as pricing and where-to-buy info further down. But first, I've put together information on speaker specs that can help you if you either can't find these specific models (because vendors are constantly refreshing their product lines), or want to understand the jargon you encounter in sales materials for any speakers.

Key Speaker Features and Specs

You'll see a lot of jargon when you read about speakers. The most frequently used terms include:

  • Number of components (drivers): two-way, three-way, four-way etc.
  • Crossover
  • Frequency response
  • Bookshelf vs. floor-standing
  • Watts

Below, we'll explain these terms and how important they are (or aren't) in choosing your speakers.

Two-Way Speakers vs. Three-Way Speakers, or More?

Most people know that a speaker has at least two components: a tweeter to process high-frequency tones and a woofer to handle low (bass) frequencies. This is because it's extremely difficult to design a single speaker driver that can capably reproduce all sound frequencies without distortion, especially at high volumes. Two-way speakers have only these two basic components (known as drivers); three- and four-way speakers have additional drivers that process mid-range tones and ultra-high frequencies.

Don't make the mistake of assuming speakers with more drivers are superior to those with fewer ones. A well-designed two-way speaker can produce better sound than a poorly designed three- or four-way speaker.

Crossover Frequency in Loudspeakers

Another spec you'll see in speaker descriptions is called crossover, typically expressed in frequency or frequencies. Speakers and amps use filters to send audio signals to the appropriate driver; a crossover is the circuitry that runs these filters. In a two-way speaker, tones above the crossover (i.e. treble tones) go to the tweeter and those below (i.e. bass tones) go to the woofer. In speakers with more drivers, the crossover further divides the signal, acting as a sort of traffic cop.

There are two types of crossovers. Active crossovers have their own power source, and you can typically adjust them to your liking. Passive crossovers are hardwired into speakers and amps; they filter signals that have already been amplified, and the filters are set in stone.

Active and Passive Crossovers


Frequency Response

Speaker specs give you the range of frequencies the speaker will handle. The range of frequencies the human ear can detect is about 20Hz (the lowest bass tones) to 20kHz (the highest trebles), but you'll often see speakers with wider ranges. Why? The answer has to do with the way audio is reproduced and filtered: Basically, a speaker with sensitivity beyond the range of human hearing is more likely to properly reproduce the tones we can hear.

Also, while a wide range is desirable, unless that range is accompanied by a decibel variance (e.g. +/- 3db), it may not mean much. The decibel variance tells you that the speaker will reproduce all tones within the range at a volume that varies no more than, in the example, three decibels, which is about the level at which you begin to really notice changes in volume. You don't really benefit from a speaker that can only reproduce a very low tone so softly that you can hardly hear it at the volume that works fine for mid-range tones.

Unfortunately, the manufacturers of mass-market speakers don't always provide such detailed information, so your best bet is to listen to a speaker you're considering.

Bookshelf vs. Floor-standing, and How Many Watts?

In terms of size, speakers typically fall into two categories. Bookshelf speakers, as the name implies, can fit on a bookshelf. Floor-standing speakers are larger and sit on the floor (or perhaps on a stand). The size and layout of your room is obviously an important consideration here: In a cramped space, floor-standing speakers may not be practical.

The speaker spec most people are familiar with is watts, which is the amount of power the speaker is designed to handle. Amplifiers deliver power to speakers, so you don't want a big mismatch—if the amp delivers more power than the speaker can cope with, audio quality suffers. (Read more about speaker wattage on "Speaker Watts, Quality and Loudness Explained.") This is one reason why power ratings alone aren't a reliable indication of audio quality.

Product Recommendations

Now that you've learned something about specs, you can start checking out products. Many of these are the perfect addition for your dorm room. Just make sure you don't turn up the volume too loud and upset the resident assistants or your neighbors!

Below you'll find specs on the models mentioned above, ranging in price from under $100 to $450 for the most expensive floor-standing speakers. Because speaker manufacturers are always updating their products, some may be difficult to find. Prices were current as of late 2014.

Recommended Dorm Room Speakers Compared

Speaker Model
Bookshelf/Floorstanding & Price
Number of drivers
Frequency response
Where to buy
Pioneer SP-BS21-LR
Bookshelf, $95/pair
80 watts
65Hz - 20kHz
Amazon (third-party seller)
Sony SS-B3000
Bookshelf, $150/pair
120 watts
Amazon (third-party sellers)
Pioneer SP-BS41-LR
Bookshelf, $150/pair
130 watts
eBay, NewEgg
Sony SS-F6000
Floorstanding, $449/pair
180 watts
Amazon (third-party sellers)
Sony SSF-5000
Floorstanding, $198/pair
150 watts
Pioneer SP-BS21-LR bookshelf speakers
Pioneer SP-BS21-LR bookshelf speakers

Pioneer 80 Watt SP-BS21-LR RMS Two-way Speakers

These particular speakers are a great choice in the bookshelf design, so if you are running out of space, you can use them in a tight area. They are a two-way type with crossover design that would definitely boost the sound quality. These speakers come with four woofers, accept 80 watts of power, and have a 2 kHz crossover frequency with a decent minimal frequency response of 65 Hz. They should produce booming as well as crispy sound, and if you can find them (Pioneer has since replaced them with the pricier SP-BS22 speakers), they should cost less than $100, making them perfect for budget-conscious students.

Sony SS-B3000 bookshelf speakers
Sony SS-B3000 bookshelf speakers

Sony SS-B3000 Bookshelf Speakers

The great thing about these speakers is that they include H.O.P (Highly Oriented Polyolefine (a type of plastic) woofers with Kevlar, materials that really help drive the quality sound. The mid-driver cone with enhanced power also contributes to the bright and clear audio. The SS-B3000's minimum frequency response is 50Hz, and it accepts power input of around 120 watts. Don't be deceived by the small and compact design, because these speakers can produce really big sound. They may cost more than the Pioneer SP-BS21-LRs, but if you've got the cash they're really worth it.

Pioneer SP-BS41-LR bookshelf speakers
Pioneer SP-BS41-LR bookshelf speakers

Pioneer SP-BS41-LR 130 Watt RMS Two-way Speakers

At $150 a pair, these speakers are a bit more expensive than the SP-BS21's described above, and as of late 2014 go for about the same price as the Sony bookshelf models that accept a bit less power. Designed to maximize clarity, these two-way speakers have oversized magnets that help produce strong and powerful bass. The curved cabinet style reduces vibration so you won't get too much annoying and unnecessary noise.

These two-way speakers come with 5.25-inch woofers, type 1 dome tweeters, and 2.50 kHz crossover frequency, The reviews for these speakers have been very positive.

Sony SS-F6000 Floorstanding Four-way Speakers

Depending on the space available in your dorm room (and the house rules), you might want to consider these impressive four-way floorstanding speakers. At about $450 for the pair, these are the most expensive speakers I'm recommending for a dorm room, but they are really worth it for both the size and sound quality. The SSF-6000's four components generate powerful, dynamic sound. Bass tones will be just superb. The design is simple, yet stylish and timeless, If cost isn't as much of an issue, these speakers will deliver a greater range of quality audio for your dorm room system. (Note that Sony has since refreshed its line with the SSF-7000, so you should track down the SSF-6000s as quickly as possible.)

Sony SS-F5000 speakers
Sony SS-F5000 speakers

Sony SS-F5000 Floorstanding Three-Way Speakers

If your budget doesn't permit splurging on Sony SS-F6000 or SS-F7000 four-way floorstanding speakers, don't despair. At just under $200, their three-way sibling, the SS-F5000, still produces quality 150-watt audio for rooms large enough for floorstanding models.

Are you considering certain speaker models or types for your dorm room? Do you currently have a brand you recommend most? Leave your thoughts and feedback below to help other stereo speaker buyers get the best for their dorms!

This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. Content is for informational or entertainment purposes only and does not substitute for personal counsel or professional advice in business, financial, legal, or technical matters.

Dorm Room Speakers Feedback

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment
    • profile image

      Gregg. Bronx,New York 

      4 years ago

      How about the BIC RTR-1530?

      From what I've read and heard about them,

      they're wonderful (5 stars on every review at

      every site).

    • profile image


      4 years ago

      For the Pioneer 80 Watt SP-BS21-LR RMS how would you connect it to a phone? Can you use an aux cord?

    • janey126 profile image


      6 years ago

      Wow what a great info and lensâ¦just awesome!

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      Great lens! I can imagine how many people will move to the quiet wing after someone on their Dorm floor buys these speakers!


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
    ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)