Best Budget Speakers For Vinyl Record Players

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In an era where the music industry is drowning in free downloads and low-pay subscription services, to most people, vinyl sounds like an old technology. If you have a vinyl record, you probably bought it yourself way back when or perhaps had it handed down to you. On the other hand, if you’re an audiophile, you’re well aware that vinyl is making a strong comeback.

For good reason too, firstly because vinyl generally sounds better than compressed digital formats, secondly there’s that special hum of the needle and of course, the nostalgia of it all. It’s a truly unique sonic experience.

Record player with speakers

Record player with speakers

So, if you have a record player or turntable, you may want to hold on to it. In fact, if you’re obsessed with audiophile-quality sound, you may want to purchase a few speakers for your record player. Some people may even be surprised by the term ‘speakers for record player’ as not everyone knows record players use speakers, but they surely do.

A pair of quality speakers attached to your record player is the perfect mix of old-school charm and modern cool. Whether you have a single Bob Marley record or a hundred albums from The Flying Club Cup to Blonde on Blonde, adding a good set of speakers is a great way to improve your record player. Below are our top pics for the best speakers for vinyl record players in different categories. Check out the contents below and find the best choice for your own setup.

 

Contents

If you are just looking for a general purpose speaker that will be a great partner for your record player, then almost any pair of Klipsch, Q Acoustics or JBL bookshelf or floor standing speakers would be a good fit. However, chances are, you have a specific situation and need a speaker to fits that situation. We have broken down those situations below and the best speaker for each need.

 

Why Don’t I Buy A Record Player With In-built Speakers?

Before we get into the list, folks sometimes ask the question, why don’t I just buy a record player that already has a speaker? You know, those record players with speakers that they sell for ‘combo’ prices?

When record players and turntables are designed with built-in speakers, it is done for portability and convenience. In other words, they are not designed for high fidelity. This is why most hi fi record players aren’t designed with speakers.

This is because record players with built-in speakers tend to be tiny and as such, the speakers are also small and therefore can’t play as loudly and powerfully as other, larger more powerful speakers.

Record player with built-in speakers

Record player with built in speakers

In fact, they tend to produce some distortion and poor bass. These all in one solutions just don’t deliver the best experience.

In addition, most all in one record players aren’t upgradable. You can hook them up to a better speaker, but you won’t be able to change certain components such as the arm or cartridge. So there you have it, these record players with speakers are just not the best option.

 

Easiest Speakers To Setup For Your Record Player

Klipsch Reference R-15PM Monitor

If you are like most people, you are looking for the easiest way out. You want a speaker that is easy to set up. Plug and play! You don’t want to mess around with manuals and wires and tape. Moreover, if you’ve never owned a record player or haven’t owned one for several years, it’s rather daunting figuring out where to even start.

The R-15PM is your best bet if you are looking for the easiest way to get your speaker hooked up to your record player quickly. Taking less than 5 minutes, it is really a breeze to set up. Why? The R-15PM only includes the following:

1. A belt-driven turntable
2. Powered stereo bookshelf speakers
3. Connected wires

Thant’s it!

In other words, it’s the makings of an excellent starter system. As Klipsch boasts… just add vinyl. It’s really that simple! Literally, plug and play.

 

Build and Design

The R-15PM is a smaller than regular medium bookshelf speaker at 12.5 inches high and 7 inches wide. Probably the most obvious feature about them is those big bold gold speaker covers.

Don’t they look cool? Those are Klipsch’s 5.25-inch “Spun Copper Cerametallic Cone Woofers”, designed to deliver awesome sound with huge dynamic swings. Accompanying the woofers is a 1-inch horn-loaded Tractrix tweeter.

One of the major advantages of the R-15PM is its connectivity. While you might be buying the speakers for your record player, you can also connect it to your computer, TV or even a cell phone.

The R-15PM was designed with a brushed black vinyl wrap which is often used for budget speakers. The downside is that it’s easier for the vinyl wrap to mark and scuff easier than the more expensive wood veneer/vinyl wraps.
The speakers are accompanied by a small remote/clicker which offers basic controls such as volume, skipping, etc.

 

Performance and Sound Quality

As mentioned before, the R-15PM is a bit smaller than most medium-sized bookshelf speakers, so it’s relatively small. However, don’t use its size to judge its performance. This little device delivers strong range and excellent dynamic punch that even some larger speakers don’t come close to.

On the low end, the speakers deliver a fair amount of bass, but there is some room for improvement at the lowest bass frequencies. If you are looking for maximum bass output, we definitely recommend adding a subwoofer. We had excellent results with the SVS SB-1000 – 12”, 300 Watt DSP Controlled, Sealed Box Subwoofer. Pairing the SVS SB-1000 with the R-15PM produced powerful bass and a strong overall performance.

We should caution that the SVS SB-1000 will set you back about $500, so you may want to go with a cheaper option such as the Dayton Audio SUB-800 8-Inch 80 Watt Powered Subwoofer. At less than $100, this subwoofer is a good, inexpensive option to pair with the R-15PM.

At the medium and high end, the R-15PM delivers high energy, punchy and lively sound. There are other speakers which deliver less excited, smoother sound, but the drawback is that most of these devices tend to sound a bit harsh.

The R-15PM made this list partially due to its phono preamp. However, if your record player already has a pre amp, bypass the preamp on the R-15PM and see how it sounds when you plug it directly into the record player’s preamp. In some cases, you’ll notice that the sound quality is improved. This is especially noticeable for those vinyl lovers who are keen on smooth, clean sound.

Pros

  • Easy to setup
  • Simple operation
  • Abundant features
  • Integrated phono pre-amp
  • Solid build and design
  • Bluetooth wireless technology
  • Speakers sound larger than they are
  • Analog RCA and USB inputs

Cons

  • While it’s easy to set up, you’ll have to deal with four different connections that may look messy unless you spend some time organizing them.
  • You may need to purchase a subwoofer for maximum bass output

Verdict

At a little less than $350, this speaker offers performance above its price class. The key advantage of the Klipsch R-15PM is the ease of setup. If you’re looking to get into vinyl for the first time or just looking for simplicity and convenience, this is the speaker for you. Moreover, it offers an abundance of features that vinyl lovers will appreciate.

 

 

Best Home Theatre Speakers For Your Record Player

Klipsch Reference Premiere RP-160 

One of the main reasons people get into vinyl is the desire to free themselves from overly compressed music. The RP-160M bookshelf speakers do just that, providing top-level performance and true audiophile-grade quality.

With the RP-160M, old school meets new school in the best possible way. Klipsch has really distinguished itself as one of America’s premier home theatre device manufacturers. With the RP-160M, they provide bold, theatre-quality sound in a compact, bookshelf speaker.

 

Build and Design

Like other speakers in Klipsch’s premium speaker line, you’ll notice that the RP-160M features titanium tweeters and copper-toned cerametallic woofers.

Of course, you’ll also notice the trademark Tractrix Klipsch horn which spirals out from the tweeters to meet the sleek and stylish “Brushed Polymer Veneer Baffle Finish”.This design of a circular horn throat is to create enhanced sound staging.

As mentioned, the striking 6.5-inch woofer is also designed with the company’s “cerametallic” material. The sub helps the speaker achieve the acclaimed frequency response of 45Hz to 25kHz (+/- 3dB).

The RP-160M is not the smallest speaker you’ll find. In fact, it’s rather bulky, when compared to other speakers in its class. At 16.67 inches tall and 8.81 inches wide, they are fairly large for stand-mounters.

As an all in one system, the RP160 is the centrepiece, but the system also includes the RP-250C centre channel, RP-250S bipole surround speakers and R-110SW subwoofer. What are these items?

Let’s break them down:

R-110SW subwoofer: Has a 450-watt amplifier and 10-inch cerametallic woofer.
RP-250C: 1″ Linear Travel Suspension Titanium Tweeter
RP-250S: Surround Sound Dual 1″ Linear Travel Suspension Titanium Tweeter

 

Sound Quality and Performance

Before we mention anything else, we should point out…
When it comes to setting up the Klipsch RP-160M, it is wise to note a few rules of thumb. The speakers should be placed in an equilateral triangle (i.e. a perfect triangle of equal sides).

If you can’t place them in an exact equatorial triangle, try to get as close to it as possible. In addition, try to get the tweeters at or about ear level. Finally, for good spatial sound image, these speakers are designed to be placed on a rear side wall, but not too close.

Klipsch RP-160M Home Theater Package

Klipsch RP-160M Home Theater Package

The RP-160M is widely used for home theatre systems. People trust these speakers for their home theatres because they deliver bold, high quality and powerful sound that you would expect from a dynamic and impactful surround system.

The advantage of this speaker is its efficiency. Even when it’s modestly powered, the RP-160M can deliver enthusiasm and power and will make you feel as if you are witnessing a live event. If you’re concerned about power usage, then this speaker is a great choice.
“The RP-160M monitor also very satisfyingly with vinyl…” – Mark Fleischmann

Pros

  • Delivers excellent performance
  • Very efficient
  • High sensitivity – doesn´t require a lot of power.
  • Frequency response of 45Hz to 25kHz (+/- 3dB).

Cons

  • Bulky design (a bit too big for a bookshelf)
  • Not a budget system (though not a premium model)

Verdict

Klipsch’s has successfully trickled down a lot of its technology in ultra-high-end speakers to the RP-160M. They have been able to do so without the heavy price tag normally accompanied by ultra-high-end models. This speaker is efficient yet dynamic and lively. It is an excellent choice for your home theatre, especially if you are going to be playing vinyl!

 

 

Best Budget Speakers For Your Record Player

Klipsch R-14M 

If you know anything about Boomspeaker.com, you’ll know that we are all about getting the best deals.

Affordability is one of the most important factors we consider when making recommendations. Speakers for record players and turntables are generally expensive.

However, if you are on a budget, you still want the best bang for your buck, after all, vinyl isn’t cheap.

That’s where the Klipsch R-14M 4 comes in. It’s the best speaker for record players and turntables on a budget.

 

Build and Design

The Reference R-14M is undoubtedly a small package. In fact, compared to other speakers in its class (bookshelf), it’s rather tiny at 5.88 x 7.5 x 9.75 in and weighing 14.1 lbs.

Like other Reference speakers, the R-14M features a cool looking 1″ aluminium Linear Travel Suspension horn-loaded tweeter and an even cooler looking 4″ copper-spun high-output IMG woofer. Encompassing both is a brushed black polymer veneer cabinet.

 

Sound Quality and Performance

Don’t be fooled by the small size or the small price. Here at BoomSpeaker.com, we only recommend quality.

The R-14M may be small, but believe us, it is very efficient and can easily fill small to medium rooms with powerful, lifelike performances, playing beautifully as a left, centre, right or surround speaker.

Klipsch R-14M with record player

Klipsch R-14M with record player

In fact, lit can play louder with less distortion than many larger speakers. Yes, it can deliver a surprising amount of output to really own the room.

Pros

  • Powerful
  • Affordable

Cons

  • Nothing really at this price point

Verdict

Quite simply, the R-14M is generally a good mix of sound and affordability. It is attainable on a budget and is good enough to comfortably entertain an entire room.

 

 

Best Minimal Speakers For Your Record Player

Q Acoustics 3020

That massive success of Q Acoustics is no less than astounding, especially considering that the company was just started in 2006. This success is largely due to the company’s history in producing affordable, yet class-leading speakers, such as the Q Acoustics 3020.

The Q Acoustics 3020 may be on the smaller side when compared to other speakers in its class, but make no mistake, this little device packs a powerful punch! Very few speakers as affordable as the 320 deliver the kind of dynamic range and engagement that this device produces.

 

Build and Design

From first glance, you can tell that the 320 was carefully designed. It is minimal, yet includes intricate concepts that can only come from careful attention to detail. At just 10 inches tall by 9 inches deep and 6.7 inches wide, this is a small speaker. However, the design is intricate enough to deliver good sound from the small cabinet enclosure.

The speakers are designed so that the Aramid Fibre driver and soft dome tweeter are acoustically decoupled from the enclosure which is made of 15mm MDF panels. The panels are even braced in certain places to control resonance. This allows the delivery of excellent sound from a small device. It’s a truly well-engineered box and feels very solid.

As mentioned, even the tweeters are specially designed. The 25mm tweeter is a hybrid of ring and dome designs and uses ferrite magnets rather than the regular neodymium. Moreover, the tweeter itself if fully decoupled from the cabinet structure by butyl rubber to reduce resonance. All this has the effect of creating smoother highs with low distortion and wider dispersion.

Along with the normal matt enclosure, the 320 is also available in four other finishes – white, graphite, walnut and leather. These colors are also available in glossy finish for a higher price of about 390. This selection of four different finishes plus its small size means it’s a good fit for any décor, home or office.

 

Performance and Sound Quality

Firstly, if you are planning on placing the speaker in the corner of a room, on a stand for example, that may not work out so well. The 320 has a rear port, so if you jam it up against the wall, the sound may be muffled a little. Apart from that, you should be fine.

The second thing you’ll notice about the performance of the 320 is how dynamic it is, for such a small device. These speakers really excel at the high end and offer good mid-range with minimal to no strain or harshness. For a speaker this small, its ease with dynamics is impressive.

However, the low end is not the best. The 320 is not a bass performer. It’s easy to see why, the speaker just has a 5-inch driver. Of course, you can achieve better low-end results if you hook it up to a stereo receiver.

We had pretty good results with the Onkyo TX 8020. Should you go as far as purchasing a subwoofer? It’s a good idea, especially if you are going to be using the speakers in a larger room.

Adding a sub make the 320 sound much more accurate and natural, after all a good sub should take care of everything below 75hz.  If you want to stick with Q Acoustics, the Q Acoustics 3070S Subwoofer is a great option.

Pros

  • Delivers dynamic and detailed performance
  • Excellent design and build
  • Four colour options
  • Compact size
  • Frequency response is measured at 64Hz – 22kHz (+/- 3 dB) and the rated sensitivity is 88db

Cons

  • Weak low end (bass isn’t very strong)

Verdict

The Q Acoustics 3020 speaker delivers lively performances with distinct ‘audiophile’ quality. Not many speakers can match it in terms of sound clarity. When we consider the performance and precision that this speaker delivers, the low price tag is quite surprising. What’s more surprising is that Q Acoustics was able to design this powerhouse with such minimalism and simplicity. A wonderful option for minimalists. 

 

 

Best Bass To Mid-Range Speakers For Your Record Player

Wharfedale Diamond 220

If you are familiar with the Diamond 121, then you’ll know that the biggest issue most people had with it was its poor design finish.

It just didn’t impress as far as design and build were concerned. The Diamond 220 has come to rectify the design flaws of the 121 along with a slew of additional, really cool features.

 

Build and Design

The Diamond 220 is an upgrade to the 121 in all respects, especially design. The speaker is designed with a generally layered cabinet construction. Two thin layers of MDF sandwich the chipboard section, then vinyl is glued onto the smooth MDF surfaces.

The combination of the clipboard and MDF create a smooth, ripple-free finish that the 121 lacks. Moreover, both materials help to dampen resonance, limiting the cabinet’s influence on the sound of the speakers. This way, you hear more of the drive units coming through and there’s less distortion from the cabinet.

 

Performance and Sound Quality

In addition to the redesign of the cabinet, Diamond made several other changes that influence the sound and general performance of the speaker units.

Firstly, the 13cm woven Kevlar mid/bass driver was designed with a much larger margent. Of course, this makes the speaker more responsive, meaning it’s much easier to drive. Secondly, a ferrite magnet is used rather than the regular neodymium, not just because ferrite is cheaper, but because it produces a smoother, clearer sound.

Finally, Wharfedale has put in a lot of work to improve the speaker’s bass performance. For one, they designed a downward firing reflex port instead of placing it at the rear or front as is usually done.

The benefit of this improved port efficiency and gives you the ability to place the speakers almost anywhere without worrying about bass performance. Still, it’s best to place the speakers close to a rear wall as possible for best sound balance.

Finally, the ports have been redesigned to reduce distortion and increase efficiency.
With all the upgrades that Wharfedale has made to the Diamond 220, the quality of the sound is still the most important factor as far as we are concerned.

Due to the arrangement of the reflex port and other factors, the 220 has a powerful low end. The bass is deep, maintained and agile. In fact, the mid and high ranges deliver extreme power, the kind of power you wouldn’t expect from a speaker this size.

Of special note is the high degree of audio substance delivered through the frequency ranges with excellent stereo imaging and good, dynamic projection.

Pros

  • Excellent balance and powerful sound
  • Minimal design
  • Deep, controlled bass

Cons

  • Nothing major to note

Verdict

If you are looking for an exceptional speaker with good bass and powerful mid to high range, then the Wharfedale – Diamond 220 is your best bet. Truly one of the best hi-fi speakers you can purchase for less than sub-$350.

 

 

Most Efficient Speakers For Your Record Player

JBL Studio 230

If you are American, then you are likely familiar with JBL. Founded all the way back in 1946, JBL manufactures speakers and related electronics. As such, they have extensive experience in developing devices for audiophiles. The Studio 230 is no exception.

The Studio 230 is a 2-way bookshelf loudspeaker and is part of the of the revolutionary and innovative JBL Studio 2 loudspeaker series.

The sound is as bold as its physical presentation. Genres such as rock and heavy metal do well with these speakers. We are talking about loud, powerful sound that is ‘wide’ enough to fill a large room. You may want to use it to power your next party!

 

Build and Design

The Studio 230 is a minimal, yet elegantly designed speaker. If you look closely, you’ll realize that the device was designed with black gloss panelling, and soft-touch paint, which is quite pleasing when you see it up-close.

The first thing you’ll probably notice about the Studio 230 is the High Definition Imaging (HDI) (horn) enclosure on the tweeter. Each Studio 230 features a 2-way design that integrates a 1″ CMMD Lite High-Frequency dome tweeter and a 6.5″ PolyPlas woofer.

Combined with that is a rear-firing bass port with a slipstream designed enclosure and the already mentioned ‘horn’ designed to deliver optimum frequency response and balance. These design specs combine to deliver dynamic, powerful sound and reduced port noise and distortion.

 

Sound Quality and Performance

The speakers feature a number of design details to ensure optimum frequency response ranging from low bass to the bright, yet non-harsh high-end. What do we mean by a bright high end? We mean the high end offers the kind of etched detail that some listeners crave.

However, some people may not like the tonal balance at the high end. Possibly the most impressive sound comes in at the mid-range, so the trade-off is that the 320s often seemed to be at their best at low to moderate levels.

How does the Studio 230 deliver such high output at the mid-range and high end? It’s the 6.5” PolyPlas midrange driver. It brings pitch-perfect clarity with accuracy and strength. When that is combined with the 1” CMMD Lite high-frequency driver, the Studio 230 is capable of delivering a masterful performance.

In fact, if you require additional power, with a recommended power handling of 20 – 150W per speaker, the JBL Studio 230 is compatible with a wide variety of amplifiers. As an example, the SMSL SA50 should be just fine, but if you want to go for the overkill, you could get something like the SMSL SA-98E.

Pros

  • Efficient, high output
  • Affordable price

Cons

  • Thin top end
  • Best at low-to-moderate volumes

Verdict

If you are searching for efficiency, then the JBL Studio 230 is right up your alley. After all, JBL has established itself as a worthwhile brand capable of building masterful products. This one offers unrivalled efficiency and excellent, high output midrange.

 

 

Best Budget Floor Standing Speakers For Your Record Player

TANNOY Eclipse Three 

The truth is, most floor standing speakers in this price range $300-$400 require that you purchase more than one (normally two or three) to completely fill a room. The fact is, a single speaker in this price range often lacks the kind of focus that you will require to completely immerse a room with good music.

In fact, most don’t offer the kind of punchy low end that bass lovers will appreciate. Worse yet, many of them just sound bloated and unwieldy. The Tannoy stands out as an exception.

 

Build and Design

Straight out the box, the speakers aren’t necessarily the most impressive. They don’t look like they offer the class-leading performance of which they are certainly capable. But on closer inspection, you’ll realize that they are actually of good build quality and the finish is quite good.

The cabinet houses a 28mm (1.1″) soft woven polyester dome tweeter and twin 127mm (5″) mid/bass drivers for a deep and wide audio range.
Standing nearly a metre tall, stability is important for these speakers.

This is why they are shipped with plinths (these are essentially speaker stands which you screw to the bottom).
Finally, if you are looking for a cool variety of colours, you’re going to be disappointed. At this price point, the designers limited the choices of finishes to just one, and that’s Black Oak.

 

Sound Quality and Performance

As we mentioned, the Tannoy Eclipse is a performance beast! The low end is powerful and offers sustained, punchy bass. The mid-range is articulate and strong and the high end offers enough oomph and refinement to prevent any harshness from creeping in.

Talk about enjoying that crisp, non-compressed vinyl sound! Simply put, the Tannoy Eclipse delivers a good dose of scale along the entire musical range.

In fact, Tannoy did something special with the Eclipse 3. They placed the tweeter between the two bass/mid drivers which allows smoother audio dispersion through the critical crossover region at 3.2kHz. The result is a refined musical performance.

Moreover, the speakers are astonishingly efficient, rated at 90dB/Watt sensitivity and 240 Watts peak power handling.
The only issue we could say is noticeable is in terms of tonality. Tonally, the Tannoy Eclipse is not the most impressive, but the combined balance, clarity and smoothness do help to make up for the disadvantages in tonal stability.

Pros

  • Delivers audio on a grand and agile scale
  • Agile and articulate presentation
  • Expressive midrange
  • Good detail and dynamics
  • Good build and finish

Cons

  • Not the best tonally

Verdict

The truth is, even with a good budget, finding good floor standing speakers can be difficult, especially finding those that can are perfectly suited to medium and larger rooms like the Tannoy Eclipse 3. Yet nothing else in this price range comes close to the powerful of Tannoy Eclipse 3. Nothing else offers the kind of clean and expressive sound that the Eclipse 3 surely delivers. This is truly impressive value.

 

 

Best Floor Standing Speaker For Your Record Player

Q Acoustics 3050

The award-winning Q Acoustics 3050 is an excellent pair of budget floor standing speakers. Let’s see why…
Firstly, Q Acoustics is a giant in the music industry, having designed some of the best speakers on the market today.

 

Build and Design

The visually striking Q Acoustics 3050 is the flagship of the new 3000 Series speakers. As such, the build and design have drastically improved over the 2000 series.

In an attempt to deliver more natural tonality, Q Acoustics has changed the material its uses to make speaker cones from a paper/mica mix to a paper/aramid composition (known as Kevlar). In addition to delivering better tonality and midrange openness, they say it also strengthens the cone. Moreover, the new ‘2 in 1’, Concentric Ring Dome tweeter adds astonishingly clear and smooth high frequencies.

Interestingly, the tweeter is designed in a hybrid manner which integrates the ring radiator and dome to improve treble performance.

Additionally, it is not directly attached to the cabinet, but decoupled by butyl rubber which reduces resonance and ensures a cleaner sound.

Even the crossover has been improved in this model. It uses higher grade components which limit phase problems and reduces distortion.

In fact, the 3050 features ultra-low levels of distortion, typically found of much more expensive speakers.

Q Acoustics has also made changes to the placement of various components such as the connecting wires. Even the cabinet bezel has gotten an upgrade, not only in aesthetics but the material reduces vibration and resonance.

In terms of aesthetics, a few gorgeous colour finishes are available, i.e. matt black, walnut (brown) and while black or white gloss lacquers. An off-the-wall black-leather finish is available for a $900 (the regular cost is $700) premium.

 

Sound Quality and Performance

The 350 is one of the reasons Q Acoustics is the sure leader in the sub-$1000 floor stander market.

Music lovers have come to love the agile and crisp sound and dynamic shifts for which Q Acoustics is known. The 3050 not only embodies that quality, but also presents more solidly and is robust across the frequencies. This device is capable of commanding any room with ease. They can be placed far apart without losing that tight stereo image.

Pros

  • Rich and refined
  • Class-leading subtlety
  • Powerful, authoritative
  • Good rhythmic drive
  • Quality build and finish
  • Ultra-low levels of distortion

Cons

  • Nothing of note

Verdict

If you’re looking for a budget floors standing speaker that offers the quality and performance of a $1000+ model, then the 3050 is an excellent bet. When you consider the cost, this is a sure bargain for its power delivery and balanced nature.

 

 

Conclusion

There you have it, the best speakers for record players and turntables for those in search of the purest, most powerful embodiment of legacy sound. It’s your escape from harsh, over-compressed music.

With these speakers, you will find that vocals are natural, believably present and delivered with exceptional finesse. We are talking about delivery that rivals fail to match. It’s time to enjoy your wonderful vinyl collection in all of its glory.

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