Shopping for the best speakers for a vinyl record player can be a little daunting. With so much variety out there, how do you know which ones are actual quality?
What Speakers Do You Need for Your Turntable?
As of last year, physical music sales saw a resurgence, and vinyl records were the leading format. It’s true that a record lets you engage with music in a completely different way than disconnected streaming platforms. You can pull the art from the shelf, hold it in your hands, and deliberately set it up to play.
If that sounds like an experience to you, then you’ll probably also want to know which speakers are the best for vinyl records. The fact is, there’s a ton of options. Without exhausting you with dozens of speakers for vinyl, we’ll handpick a few of the pricier choices in addition to affordable ones. And we’ll also briefly explain some of the kinds of speakers you’ll encounter on your shopping endeavors.
Understanding Speakers: Passive or Active
The biggest difference you’ll discover between speakers, apart from something like size, is whether they’re passive or active. Passive speakers require an external amplifier to power them and are the most common with turntables. A key component in any vinyl setup is a receiver/amplifier; this is the hub of a vinyl system, so to speak, where you connect the turntable as well as your speakers.
Active speakers do not require an external amplifier, and instead use standard wall power. Most studio monitors these days are active, though the “standard” for vinyl tends to be passive.
Speaker Types (Crossovers)
The next distinction are 2-way, 3-way, and 4-way speakers. This simply refers to the number of drivers and their crossover points. For example, a crossover is the frequency at which a particular driver cuts off. Another driver plays back the frequencies above the crossover, and so on.
2-way speakers have two drivers — usually a woofer for lows and a tweeter for mids and highs. A 3-way speaker has a woofer, a midrange driver, and a tweeter. 4-way speakers usually contain an additional tweeter for a total of two.
Finally, there’s form factor. The two main styles are bookshelf speakers and floor-standing speakers. Bookshelves look like your standard nearfield monitor and can easily nestle into smaller vinyl setups. You might also put them on stands.
Floor-standing speakers are pretty self-explanatory. They’re tall, tower-like speakers which sit directly on the floor. For a larger home entertainment kit, floor-standing speakers can be great; really big systems might even combine bookshelf and floor-standing speakers.
Best Hi-Fi Speakers for Vinyl
If you’re a vinyl enthusiast and looking for the best of the best, here are a few of incredible options.
The LS50 Meta speaker sounds as good as it looks. This is a high-end, 2-way passive bookshelf speaker. The Uni-Q driver is designed to prevent distortion as well as absorb resonances, so you can hear the same detailed sound no matter where you are in the room. A pair will run you about $1599.
Wharefedale’s Evo 4.4 is a 3-way passive floor-standing speaker for vinyl and home entertainment systems. Every design choice keeps clarity and definition in mind, for crystal clear highs, natural mids, and booming lows that don’t resonate or sound muddy. A pair of these runs around $2200.
Klipsch is one of the biggest names in home entertainment, and the RP-280F is actually the largest floor-standing speaker in the Reference Premiere series. It features two 8″ woofers and a 1″ tweeter with a specially designed 90×90 horn for sound dispersion. You can easily fill a large room with sound using a pair of these — for under $1000.
Best Budget Speakers for Vinyl (Under $500)
If you’re looking for quality and affordability, check out these offerings from major manufacturers.
The Yamaha NS-F150 is a 2-way, 3-speaker floor-standing speaker for vinyl, movies, and TV. It houses two 6.5″ woofers and a 1″ tweeter for powerful and punchy bass with smooth high-frequency representation. These are excellent budget vinyl speakers at just $330 each.
Wharfedale’s Diamond series is one of their best-selling lines of hi-fi speakers for vinyl enthusiasts. Here we have a 2-way bookshelf speaker that sits somewhere in the middle of the entire Diamond range. You can pick up a pair of these for right around $500.
3. KEF Q150
The Key Q150 stretches the budget just a bit here at $599 a pair, but these are awesome 2-way bookshelf speakers. They include the same Uni-Q driver found in more expensive speakers, which allows them to fill the room with sound — and you get the proper listening experience without being in the sweet spot.
Conclusion: Best Speakers for Vinyl Record Player
The best speakers for vinyl record players really depends on your budget and whether you have the space for tower speakers or bookshelf speakers. Any of the options listed would satisfy the vinyl enthusiast!