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Sharp CP-SS30 review: Stylish speakers on the cheap

Our Rating :
£119.00 from
Price when reviewed : £120
inc VAT

Eye-catching Sharp CP-SS30 active speakers that deliver solid sound and a wide range of connectivity options for around £100


  • Attractive build
  • Numerous connectivity options
  • Spacious, pleasing sound for the money


  • Static noise
  • Custom EQ isn’t intuitive
  • Volume control could be finer

The Sharp CP-SS30 speakers are a pair of low-cost active bookshelf monitors that do a lot right. Their attractive wood housing is eye-catching, while decent sound and numerous connectivity options mean they will easily fit into a wide range of home setups. Despite some usability irks and a slight lack of audio polish, they sit alongside the best PC speakers we’ve tested around the £100 mark.

Sharp CP-SS30 review: What do you get for the money?

Available in either black or mahogany wood housing for £120 at launch – and previously on sale for as little as £90 – the Sharp CP-SS30 bookshelf monitors are a pair of two-way active speakers, each with a 22mm tweeter and 97mm midrange driver, totalling 60W RMS output (2 x 30W).

These speakers won’t take up too much space measuring just 158 x 190 x 248mm (WDH) each and have a solid range of connectivity options: Bluetooth 5.0 for wireless use or wired playback via USB-A, optical, AUX or RCA inputs located on the back of the left speaker, which also has a rotary knob on its front for changing volume, audio sources and power.

Inside the box, you get a remote control, an RCA cable, a 3.5mm AUX cable, speaker wire to connect both active speakers together and two power cables (one for UK plugs and another for the EU). An included user guide will help you tie it all together.

In this price bracket, the Edifier MR4s are a popular choice, featuring two powerful 42W active speakers that offer neutral sound with TRS connectivity. However, you’ll miss out on Bluetooth, optical and USB connectivity. If Bluetooth is a must, the Edifier R1280DBs would be a good alternative with similar 42W drivers.

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Sharp CP-SS30 review: What do we like about it?

For starters, the CP-SS30 speakers have a beautiful aesthetic. The walnut wood panelling is a delight considering their low cost, with rounded edges and a gold Sharp logo tying everything together in a wonderfully sophisticated-looking product.

Turn them on and their sound is spacious and fairly well-balanced. There’s seemingly a slight up-lift in the bass response and another less prominent peak in the upper mids, but the result is a generally natural presentation of instruments and voices that’s enjoyable to listen to across genres.

The lows are crisp and dry, the midrange feels accurate and high frequencies only roll off gently. Pleasingly, there’s no real variation in sound between the various connectivity options, too.

At full volume, they get uncomfortably loud for my small London flat bedroom and while there’s some distortion in normal use you’ll rarely reach the volume levels to notice. The rear bass reflex port means if you want an enhanced bass effect, you should place them with the backs near a wall. But either way, the low frequencies feel weighty enough for me.

Need more oomph? The lower frequencies can be effectively thickened up using a bass boost via the accompanying remote control. On some tracks, like Mitski’s Heaven, the result was a little bloated – as the bass extension isn’t as low as higher-end alternatives – but for bass-centred dance tracks it provided a satisfying boost all the same. 

The remote also controls playback, volume and treble as well as switching between connected devices and activating EQ settings. Treble controls also work well at boosting upper frequencies, while the remaining buttons on the remote work as expected too.

Besides the classic tuning, there are also four EQ presets – Pop, Rock, Movie and Voice – plus a custom option that saves your preferred bass and treble settings. The four options offer a meaningful alternative to one another and are well suited to their respective genres, albeit I’ve used more impactful equaliser settings and have reservations about using the custom option that I’ll come to shortly.

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Sharp CP-SS30 review: What could it do better?

Irrespective of your connectivity choice, there’s a permanent, noticeable static sound lurking in the background since they are active speakers. It’s certainly a notch higher when using the AUX connection too, and I could hear it clearly during more barebones tracks or podcasts. 

You can combat this annoying side effect by setting the speaker volume to its lowest and cranking the volume on your device to the max. Still, as PC speakers are designed to sit right in front of you, it’s fairly obvious and might well get on your nerves after a while.

Volume control might leave you sour, too. The lowest possible level is still very high and I felt uncomfortable using the CP-SS30 late at night for this particular reason. Whether this affects you will depend on your connectivity option and connected devices of choice. 

I found that when using devices with independent volume control alongside the speaker’s range – such as a laptop via AUX-in and Bluetooth, a DJ deck via RCA or a television via optical – I was able to dial back the volume to a suitably low level.

Otherwise, when using smartphones that sync speaker and device volume together, or USB-A memory sticks without any additional controls, this isn’t possible. Consequently, if you want to avoid making too much noise late at night, these latter two connectivity options may be ones to avoid.

It’s also worth noting that when using Bluetooth mode there’s an even louder confirmation tone when it connects, which may give you a fright. And, as with most Bluetooth-enabled devices, there’s a latency issue too. For tasks where timing is everything, like video or audio editing, you’ll want to use a wired connection as the delay is fairly pronounced.

You can create your own EQ presets too, but doing so isn’t visually intuitive and lacks fine control. The speaker indicator guides you through the process, increasing or decreasing with speed and changing colour depending on the decibel level of the bass and treble (with a range of 7 units between +3 and -3) respectively. You’ve only got three seconds between key presses to decide if the levels are suitable for you, or else the preset is saved automatically. You also lose your preset configuration when you turn off the speaker, which pretty much defeats the purpose of having the option in the first place. 

The tuning process is explained in the manual, and it’s certainly achievable, but it could be far less confusing if you had an accompanying Bluetooth application to control things with a greater degree of ease and precision via a graphic equaliser, visual slider controls or other options.

Sharp CP-SS30 review: Should you buy it?

Find the Sharp CP-SS30 speakers for less than £100, as we’ve seen them previously, and you’re getting a great deal. They provide spacious, customisable audio available across plenty of connectivity options in an eminently attractive pair of bookshelf-style PC speakers.

Given the relatively low sums involved, you aren’t getting the final word in sound quality and the audible background hiss plus some equaliser and volume issues mean they may not be for you if you require finer control or have a preference for ambient music. Even with these minor issues, the Sharp CP-SS30 speakers still leave me impressed as a low-cost solution to upgrading your home PC setup.

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