When it’s time to invest in new speakers or an upgrade, these options will help your records sound better than ever.
Nothing impacts a stereo’s sound quite like the loudspeaker, so picking one is a very personal decision. The rest of your record player’s gear might be spectacular, but if you don’t love your speakers, you can’t truly love your system.
There are many nice speakers out there at every price point. That can make it difficult to pick a pair for your record player, especially in a world where brick-and-mortar stereo shops are increasingly rare. This guide to the best speakers for vinyl is here to help.
The guide has been split up into three categories. The first level, good, offers affordable, versatile speakers ideal for beginners. The better level comes into play after you’ve been collecting for a while and are ready to upgrade. The best level is for the audiophile with a flexible budget.
Reading about speakers is no substitute for hearing them, but the list below may help lead you toward the types of speakers that best meet your needs.
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Good Speakers for Vinyl
If you’re looking for passive speakers that punch way above their weight, you want to consider a set of Micca RB42s. Even though they are less than 9 inches tall, each speaker weighs over 7 pounds. That’s because the RB42s have been built with a stout 4-inch woofer and heavy steel frame.
Beyond their solid construction and sleek design, the Micca RB42s offer a sound signature that provides robust bass without sacrificing any tonal balance. This is thanks to Micca’s use of high-grade film capacitors and air core coils.
If the information above means little or nothing to you, then the hundreds of glowing reviews may help you decide if these speakers are worth a shot or not. Just keep in mind that with passive speakers like these, you’ll need an amplifier or receiver to listen to your records.
Three things are crucial at the entry level: sound quality, price, and features. The R1700BTs are powered speakers, which means you can connect any turntable that has a built-in phono preamplifier.
The Edifiers offer extraordinary quality for the price by including bass and treble controls, a remote, Bluetooth 5.0 with aptX HD, two pairs of RCA inputs, and a subwoofer output. There’s no USB port or an internal DAC, but for most entry-level users, the Edifiers have everything needed.
With a 4-inch woofer and 3/4-inch soft dome tweeter, the Edifiers offer a very friendly, inviting sound that can easily fill a typical living room. As with any small self-powered speaker, the addition of a subwoofer will ramp everything up a notch.
As one of the best-selling compact speakers out there, these powered speakers offer a lot for relatively little money. They pair very well with turntables, but they also offer high-quality digital streaming capabilities.
With a variety of input options, built-in DAC, and aptX Bluetooth 5.0 audio with a 100 ft. wireless range, the A2+ speakers are incredibly versatile for less than $300. High-quality speaker connectors, kevlar woofers, and shielded wood cabinets help further sweeten the deal.
If you want your records and digital files to sound fantastic without spending a fortune, the Audioengine A2+ speakers are not likely to disappoint.
Better Speakers for Vinyl
ELAC Uni-Fi 2.0 UB52
Although the model number looks absurdly complicated, the ELAC Uni-Fi 2.0 UB52 bookshelf speakers are actually pretty simple: all they do is make music extremely well.
The ELACs are small — not quite 14-inches tall — but their size is wildly deceiving as they go shockingly low and throw a huge soundstage. The thick MDF enclosures pack in three drivers, with a 5.25-inch woofer, 4-inch midrange, and a 1-inch tweeter mounted concentrically in the midrange driver. They also look handsome.
These aren’t cheap, but you would have to spend a lot more to significantly better them. Then again, you’re also going to need decent amplification; a cheap A/V receiver won’t do them any favors. If you pair them with a Cambridge Audio AXA35integrated amp or one of the estimable Marantz PM6007 integrated amps, you’ll be set for years before you get the itch to upgrade.
Klipsch RP-600M II
The RP-600M speakers have been incredibly popular since they were released, but the RP-600M IIs are even better. Klipsch is well respected throughout the vinyl community, but some audiophiles have taken issue with the brand’s speakers that feature a scooped mid-range. Luckily, the RP-600M IIs do not suffer from this issue as these reference speakers have been constructed to fill your space with a wider soundstage.
The all-new cerametallic woofer helps minimize distortion while the improved Tractrix horn and port provide clean, powerful bass. The vented tweeter design makes those high frequencies sing by reducing unwanted harmonics. All of these noise-reducing elements give the midrange the space it needs to come through crisp and clear.
With furniture-grade materials and finishes, the RP-600M IIs also look quite striking, especially when you pop the grills off.
Best Speakers for Vinyl
KLH Model Five
The KLH Model Fives come with a substantial price tag, but they are more than worth the investment. Their classic vintage looks have been paired with modern driver technology to create a one-of-a-kind listening experience.
KLH is known for their acoustic suspension enclosures and the Model Fives use this design to great effect. The volume of air inside the enclosure provides accurate and linear sound reproduction. The 3-way driver, 5-degree slant riser bases, and acoustic balance control all help your vinyl sound incredible regardless of the listening environment.
If you’re looking to take your record listening to the next level, the KLH Model Fives will take you everywhere you want to go.
GoldenEar Triton Reference
GoldenEar has been around for more than a decade and has remained remarkably consistent in two important areas: they offer outstanding value for the price and maintain a house sound that’s reflected in all models. If you’ve heard one pair of GoldenEar speakers, you’ll have a good understanding of what they all sound like, which is smooth, balanced, and dynamic. The higher you go up the line, the more impressive they get.
The GoldenEar Triton Reference speakers stand 58-inches high but are only 6.75-inches wide, which makes them both massive and deceptively small. Packed into each speaker are 10 drivers, topped off by a folded ribbon tweeter, and bottomed out by three sub-bass drivers and four passive radiators. The bass drivers are pushed by a 1,800-watt amp and the overall frequency range is a staggering 12Hz–35kHz. The midrange and treble drivers need only a few watts to drive them as the Triton Reference’s rated sensitivity is 93.25dB.
The Reference is subtle and sweet enough for acoustic jazz and its astonishing dynamic range turns Led Zeppelin into a visceral, room-filling experience. But perhaps their neatest trick is their utter transparency. They disappear completely, leaving only you and the music. For $6,250 a piece, that’s the least a speaker can do.