In an era where the music industry is drowning in free downloads and low-pay subscription services, to most people, vinyl sounds like 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 and so you may be looking for speakers for your record player.
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.
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 of the best speakers for vinyl record players in different categories. Check out the contents below and find the best budget speakers for turntable choice for your own setup.
If you are not necessarily looking for budget options, check out our list of the best speakers for record players.
1. 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
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 that 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 a 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 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 preamp, 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.
- 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
- 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.
2. Best Home Theatre Speakers For Your Record Player: Klipsch Reference Premiere RP-160
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 cera-metallic 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 “cera-metallic” 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 centerpiece, but the system also includes the RP-250C center 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 cera-metallic 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 a good spatial sound image, these speakers are designed to be placed on a rear side wall, but not too close.
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
- Delivers excellent performance
- Very efficient
- High sensitivity – doesn´t require a lot of power.
- Frequency response of 45Hz to 25kHz (+/- 3dB).
- Bulky design (a bit too big for a bookshelf)
- Not a budget system (though not a premium model)
Verdict:Klipsch 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!
3. Best Budget Speakers Record Players: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″ aluminum 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, center, right, or surround speaker.
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.
- 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.
4. Best Minimal Speakers Record Players:Q Acoustics 3020
The 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 of 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
At 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 is 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.
- Delivers dynamic and detailed performance
- Excellent design and build
- Four color options
- Compact size
- Frequency response is measured at 64Hz – 22kHz (+/- 3 dB) and the rated sensitivity is 88db
- 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 Brand Speakers For Vinyl Record Players
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 budget speakers for turntables for each need.
Why Don’t I Buy A Record Player With In-built Speakers?
Why buy speakers for record players you ask?
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.
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.
How To Make Budget Speakers Sound Good With Record Players?
Just because you are buying a budget speaker doesn’t mean it shouldn’t sound good. One very important step that you should take in making sure your setup sounds good – whether, for budget or expensive speakers, you need to ground the record player.
In fact, you need to ground your record player or turntable even if it doesn’t have a ground wire.
What speaker is best for a turntable – passive or powered speakers?
The choice of a passive speaker vs a powered (active) speaker is inconsequential for a turntable as far as sound is concerned. The only difference is, of course, that passive speakers require an external amplifier while powered speakers do not.
In addition, if you are seeking a premium speaker that offers more customization with your amplification, preamp, and so on, then a passive speaker is the way to go.
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 a delivery that rivals fail to match. It’s time to enjoy your wonderful vinyl collection in all of its glory.
In addition, you may also be interested in our guide on the best amps and speakers for record players.