A dark horse in audio refinement, Sharp CP-SS30 Bookshelf Speaker review

We got our hands on the Sharp CP-SS30 Bookshelf Speakers - an affordable home audio option, which have a lot in their locker.

from Sharp
RRP  £119.99
Sharp CP-SS30 Bookshelf Speakers

by Jack Barrell |
Updated on

Sharp might not be the first name that pops into mind when you start thinking about elite sound systems and the best speakers, but perhaps it’s about time it should. This is a long-standing electronics manufacturer with a serious reputation for delivering quality tech for over 100 years. Today, we’re diving into what they have to offer your home sound system, in this case, the Sharp CP-SS30 Bookshelf Speakers.

These bookshelf speakers deliver on the subtleties, from translating specific drum beats to conveying purposeful speech and vocals between genres. These aren’t speakers led by bass but by clarity and richness – but that’s not to say they’re without bass altogether. It’s almost like the CP-SS30s know their limits and strengths, and they play to them. It's what makes them one of the best speakers you can at home for music.

Liquid drum and bass is a real treat through these drivers, Hybrid Minds’ “Touch” is an indulgence in sound. Every beat and snare scratches an itch, and the vocals have a fluid elegance.

Taking things up a notch, Wilkinson’s “I Believe” brings an electric energy. The song has a purely instrumental chorus, which is an absolute blast through these speakers. The CP-SS30s can turn your front room into a warehouse rave if needs be. Still needling in those drum beats, they deliver a thumping supporting bass – not bad for a sophisticated-looking pair of speakers.

They perform impressively across other genres, too, including hip-hop, rap, and Deep House. You can adjust EQ settings from the remote control. Some genre presets are available, as well as a tuneable custom option.

Bookshelf speakers have a reputation for being a tamer, more civilised version of the home speaker setup. While this may be true, the Sharp CP-SS30s prove that they can be more than that. There’s something here for real audiophiles to adore.

Verdict: Sharp has put all the makings of a capable, and expertly tuned speaker into two remarkably sophisticated bookshelf units. The CP-SS30 set up is a powerhouse in disguise.


  • Crisp and rich sound delivery
  • Modern design with removable front grills
  • Fantastic value for money


  • EQ settings are rather limted
  • Short power cable

What shines?

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As mentioned, the audio raises the roof for what you’d expect from a pair of bookshelf speakers, especially within this budget. There’s genuine attention to detail no matter what genre you listen to. Any subtleties to a track that the composer or artist wanted to get across to the listeners, the CP-SS30 make sure it gets across. It was the fact that these speakers could support such a range of sound production and designs which really surprised me. I listened across various subgenres of drum and bass and could differentiate every beat and snare from the vocals and backing track, too. On the other side of things, even heavily produced tracks from artists like Metro Boomin, which often feature distorted beats, autotune, and other synthetic additions, played brilliantly.

Sound aside, this is a good-looking pair of bookshelf speakers. They were considerably bigger than I expected, which is plus considering they’re sub-£100. The speakers are housed in lovely black wood panelling, which I can see blending seamlessly into any home environment. What’s more, you can remove the front speaker grills to reveal the drivers, giving the setup a more conventional, traditional look.

Setting up was far easier than I expected too, and I can’t see it being difficult if you want to move your CP-SS30’s to another room. The instructions are clear and concise, and they need to be, because without them you won’t have a clue how to use the EQ settings on the remote.

What's okay?

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The CP-SS30’s aren’t without a few niggles though, no matter how small. In an ideal world, it’d be nice not to need a wire to connect the two speakers. A Bluetooth connection would mean you don’t have to try and hide the bulky red and silver cable that goes between the two units.

Speaking of cables, the power cable is on the shorter side. Luckily in my case, I had an extension lead spare which meant I could still have the speakers set up where I wanted them.

Any drawbacks?

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The EQ controls aren’t for everyone. These are all handled via the remote control, but you’ll need to consult the user manual to understand which buttons do what. You get five preset listening modes: pop, rock, classic, movie, and custom. Each genre-specific mode compliments the others quite nicely, but it’s the custom mode that has some issues.

You can make bass and treble adjustments, but you can only adjust each at seven notches. So, you have neutral, and then you can go three below or three above, which definitely won’t be enough for some listeners. Moreover, when you pick the custom mode and make your adjustments, these only last the duration of your listening session. If you’ve switched the speakers off, you’ll have to edit your custom mode repeatedly.

More items to consider:

How the product was tested

I ran the CP-SS30 Bookshelf Speakers over the course of two weeks, listening daily. I tested the speakers' capabilities across various genres, at low to high volumes and through the selection of audio presets. I compared different listening modes to one another, including the custom configuration.

Jack Barrell is a Tech and Fitness Writer for What’s the Best. He is invested in all things entertainment and keeps well up to date with the latest sports and exercise trends too. On his off days Jack can usually be found doing one of two things; lifting heavy weights – or watching his favourite Star Wars for the thousandth time.

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