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Listening to vinyl requires a bit of a commitment on the part of the listener.
Typically, you don’t just put on a record unless you plan to sit and listen for a while.
But even among younger people, listening to vinyl has become a favorite pastime, and naturally, there are plenty of collectors and vinyl lovers out there too.
So, the more dedicated you are to the art of vinyl, the more likely you are to want great sounding speakers.
In this guide, we’ll look at the best speakers for listening to your record collection.
Best Speakers For Vinyl: Dynaudio Emit M10 Bookshelf Speaker
The Denmark-made Dynaudio Emit M10 speakers come with 86 dB IEC long term power handling, 150 W impedance (nominal) 6 ohms, a frequency response of (+/- 3dB) 50 Hz – 23 kHz, grilles and five-year manufacturer warranty.
These compact speakers are the perfect solution for entry-level high-end audio. They feature 28 mm diameter dome tweeter and a 14 cm diameter Magnesium Silicate Polymer (MSP) mid/bass driver with a first order crossover.
Audiophiles will be glad to know the bass-reflex cabinet allows for awesome low-end rumble.
Customers seem absolutely smitten with these speakers, which offer great value for the money.
Dynaudio offers other great products too, so you might want to check those out as well.
ELAC Uni-Fi UB5 Slim Bookshelf Speaker
The UB5 slim bookshelf speakers are perfect for audiophiles with limited space.
They feature a custom-designed Concentric Driver (one-inch soft-dome tweeter and rigid aluminum four-inch midrange cone) for flat frequency response, aluminum woofer for clear bass response, a balanced, three-way design and dedicated frequency drivers and custom-designed binding pots for flexibility with speaker wire connections.
Happy customers say they would happily pay five times the price for these speakers.
Less enthusiastic reviewers say the sound lacks power and the build quality leaves something to be desired.
The ELAC speakers, however, still make our list for their relative low-cost and quality sound.
KEF Q150 Bookshelf Speakers
Available in Black and White, the KEF Q150 pair is the latest in the award-winning KEF Q Series.
They come with enhanced Uni-Q Driver Array for smooth highs, new crossovers for cleaner bass and they have a nominal impedance of eight ohms.
Based on the highly praised Q100 pair, in addition to features already mentioned, the Q150s come with a new rear port to improve audio clarity, and the Unit-Q driver array was moved to the middle of the cabinet.
These are small, quality speakers with a low price tag. Negative reviews are few and far between, with some not completely satisfied with the sound.
Well, they may not be the best speakers in the world, but they are great. We recommend checking out KEF.
Klipsch RP-600M Reference Premier Bookshelf Speakers – Pair
A list like this probably wouldn’t be complete without the mention of Klipsch.
Available in Ebony and Walnut, The Klipsch RP-600M pair come with a 1” titanium LTS vented tweeter with hybrid Tractrix horn, 6.5” spun copper Cerametallic woofers, bass-reflex via rear-firing Tractrix port, dual binding posts for bi-wire/bi-amp and a removable magnetic grille.
Reportedly, the speakers offer a clear sound with a robust bass and many customers are satisfied with these speakers.
On the downside, some reviewers have complained about their overly bright sound and higher price point.
These Klipsch may or may not be right for you when listening to your vinyl records – but that doesn’t mean there aren’t other great options. So, have a look at their product selection for more.
Best Speakers For Vinyl Under $500, Audioengine A5 Plus Classic 150W Powered Bookshelf Speakers With Remote Control
If you’re looking for a more budget friendly option, these speaker cost under $500.
Available in Bamboo, Black and White, the Audioengine A5 Plus speakers offer clear and full audio, custom Audioengine aramid fiber woofers, silk tweeters, built-in power amps, RCA and 3.5mm inputs and subwoofer output.
These versatile speakers work with turntables, music players, TVs, CD and DVD players, video game consoles and any computer.
With these speakers, you can expect natural, punchy lows. They can fill your room with plenty of sound.
Overall, reviews are excellent, though less enthusiastic customers have said they weren’t impressed with the sound, and others have pointed out they are better with a graphic equalizer.
Still, independent-owned Texas-based Audioengine is certainly worth a look, and they also offer other products that may be more to your liking.
Edifier S1000DB Audiophile Active Bookshelf Speakers
The Edifier S1000DB speakers come with Bluetooth 4.0 aptX connectivity, optical, coaxial and auxiliary inputs, 5.5 inch mid-range unit with Digital Sound Processing (DSP) technology with 120 watts RMS, remote control and two-year warranty.
The built-in aptX technology allows the audio to be compressed without loss of quality for vinyl listening.
These are the best active bookshelf speakers Edifier offers. They look great, are built nicely and they can also be used for your gaming or TV needs.
These babies feature excellent customer reviews, with happy buyers reporting they would be willing to pay more money for the same pair.
Reportedly, these are natural sounding speakers and all the frequencies blend nicely.
The Edifier duo brings the best of two worlds together – analog and digital. For purists, however, that could be a bit of a turnoff.
Edifier, however, does have other great products that you may want to check out for yourself.
Swan Speakers – M200MKII WiFi – Powered Bluetooth Bookshelf Speakers
The award-winning M200MKII active speakers can be paired with smartphones or tablets wirelessly. It works with iOS, Android, MacOS or Windows.
The pair comes with a remote control, heavy MDF cabinet and plenty of ins and outs (line 1 and 2, WiFi, optical, Bluetooth, coaxial and auxiliary).
The high-quality sound comes from the 1” silk dome tweeter with natural fiber, 5.25” woofer for punchy bass that extends down to 56Hz.
The speakers have a frequency range of 56Hz – 20kHz, harmonic distortion of 80Hz – 20kHz (equal to or less than 1%), 87dB sensitivity, five ohm rated impedance and 70W RMS.
Most customers are impressed with these relatively affordable and versatile speakers though some say the sound quality could be better.
Still, an attractive option at this price point, Swan Speakers might just be what you need. And, they do have some other great product offerings too.
JBL Arena B15 Black Bookshelf & Surround Speaker With Special Edition Grilles
The JBL Arena B15 pair come with one-inch soft dome tweeter for powerful highs, 5.5-inch polycellulose woofer, integrated wall-mount solution and they work as bookshelf or surround speakers.
Ideal for music, TV, movies and console gaming, the B15 speakers are designed to work alongside all JBL Arena loudspeakers, which includes two floorstanding speakers, one center channel speaker and one subwoofer.
Positive reviews highlight their good quality sound, though some say they’re lacking bass. You could always get the subwoofer for additional low end.
The JBL speakers are good bang for buck when it comes to top speakers for vinyl.
Fluance Signature Series HiFi Two-Way Bookshelf Surround Sound Speakers For Home Theater And Music Systems (HFS)
The Fluance Signature Series HiFi speakers come in Black Ash and Natural Walnut.
Built with premium components for high fidelity sound, the speakers come with ultra-high-end Neodymium tweeters for high end clarity, midrange pointed dome, precision-crafted cabinets and manufacturer’s warranty.
These home theater speakers offer power and convincing surround sound.
Most customers are happy and even amazed by the quality of sound these speakers offer – even those who love to listen to music.
Negative reviews are few, though some say these aren’t the best audiophile speakers on the market. At this price point, that should hardly come as a surprise.
The Fluance speakers might not be for discriminating audiophiles, but for a bit of instant gratification, they are an excellent choice.
Polk Audio OWM3 Wall And Bookshelf Speakers
We had to find at least one pair of budget speakers for this list, and we couldn’t find anything quite as superb as the Polk Audio OWM3 speakers.
Available in Black and White, these are durable, high-performance speakers with a 4.5” Mid/Woofer, 1” tweeter, Dynamic Balance & Capacitive Coupling Technology (CCT), deep bass with minimal distortion, seven unique placement options, 80 Hz – 25 Hz total frequency response, nominal impedance of eight ohms, Sensitivity 89 dB, lower and upper -3dB limits: 100 Hz – 22 Hz.
Perfect for movies, music or games, the Polk Audio pair are surprisingly good for the price.
These have plenty of great reviews, though numerous customers have commented that they do not come with mounting screws and the bass isn’t as present as they’d like it to be. Hardly surprising for the price, however.
Polk Audio is another well-known name in the speaker space and is a worthy contender on this list.
What Should I Look For In A Set Of Speakers For Listening To Records?
Choosing speakers will mean balancing different criteria and thinking about your exact needs, from price to convenience to sound quality.
Active listening is a bit of an artform, just as making music is, even if it’s not as complex. But this is effectively what record buyers engage in when they listen on vinyl.
When you’re actively listening to music, you’re engaged in the creativity, arrangements, production and performance of the music.
And, if you’re listening to music that features many layers – as with the music of Jamiroquai – you’re probably listening for every layer and nuance and the ways in which each instrument or voice complements the other.
Having transparency is nice. But this still depends on the individual as some listeners prefer a more colored tone – one matched to their auditory inclinations.
And, where digital sometimes offers more clarity, analog offers more warmth. This is debatable, but it is one of the reasons people turn to vinyl over CDs, MP3s or streaming.
Some will want speakers they can place on a bookshelf. Others will want to set up a dedicated music listening room complete with a turntable, speakers and their record collection.
So, you can see how the right choice isn’t always obvious – it’s only obvious to you.
But here are some factors I would look at when buying speakers.
Excellent Sound Quality
Even if there are a lot of people that agree on how a specific set of speakers sounds, there will also be those that disagree.
This will at least partially be colored by your experience. If you’ve listened to music with a lot of different speakers, there’s a good chance you’ve developed a taste for a certain kind of speaker.
Another factor is preference. Some people want to hear certain frequencies more than others. And, of course some want clarity across the entire sonic spectrum.
One more consideration that’s often forgotten is hearing damage.
Hearing damage is a real phenomenon affecting many people who’ve spent too much time listening to music at high volumes. After a while, you can’t hear certain frequencies anymore.
And, depending on your age, you automatically lose your hearing for certain frequencies too.
So, when choosing speakers, reviews aren’t everything. They are helpful, but they may not tell you all you need to know about a set of speakers to commit to the purchase.
In an ideal world, you’d get to test out the speakers before you buy them, and you can typically do this by renting speakers or going to an electronics store where they are sold.
All that to say record lovers often want to hear their music at its absolute best, and that generally means investing in a quality speaker pair.
But your personal tastes will play into how much you enjoy the speakers.
Convenience & Ease Of Use
Most speakers featured in this guide are bookshelf speakers. These types of units are generally compact and easy to place in a room for optimal sound.
And, they’re usually capable of filling a room with a full, robust sound.
This isn’t to suggest there aren’t other speaker units out there. But bookshelf units are probably the most convenient for most home users.
Now, it’s always best to choose the right speakers based on your room dimensions. So, do your homework and find out which speakers are best for the room you’re looking to put them in.
Also keep in mind that your room can play a part in how the speakers sound – hard and reflective surfaces can result in echo and harsh sounds.
Hardwood floors, tiled floors, exposed windows and mirrors can all result in the sound of your speakers being compromised.
Carpets, drapes and cushioned furniture, on the other hand, can help with the sound.
Speakers should also be easy to use and shouldn’t involve any complicated setup.
As I’ve already hinted at, there are different configurations you can use for your listening room, and that will have an impact on how difficult or easy it is to set up.
Happily, most speakers are plug and play if not close.
A Pair Of Speakers Within Your Budget
Budget is usually a good factor to consider when you’re buying anything. It can help you narrow down your options and come to a purchasing decision faster.
If money isn’t an object, you can spend whatever you please, but even then, it’s best to weigh your options.
If you don’t have much money to spend, then thankfully, there are still speakers that should be within reach.
More money doesn’t always equal better and less money doesn’t always equal worse, but generally you do get what you pay for.
And, if you’re after something more than what’s been featured here, you can certainly find even higher-priced speakers that appeal to discerning audiophiles.
The Right Ins & Outs
An easily overlooked or forgotten factor when buying speakers is the right combination of input and output options.
This will depend somewhat on whether your turntable comes with a built-in preamp. Of course, the make and model of your turntable is also a factor.
Just get a good sense of what your signal chain is going to be. You don’t want to buy all the components only to have no way to connect them.
It defies logic to buy speakers that don’t have the right connections. Not that you couldn’t make this work but having to use converters could affect the purity of the sound.
It’s nice to be scrappy – it just doesn’t pay when it comes to the pursuit of audiophile quality sound.
But I promise I won’t tell anyone if you have somewhat of a “ragtag” setup at home.
The Right Features
As with anything you’re thinking about buying, some factors are bound to be more important than others.
For most consumers in the market for speakers, I can’t imagine features being a make it or break it factor.
Unless, of course, we’re talking about the exact construction of the speakers – tweeter, frequency response and the like.
When I say, “lesser factors”, I’m talking about things like Bluetooth connectivity, remote control and other nice-to-haves.
For some, these will be important. But with listening experience being top priority for most vinyl fans, it’s probably not going to be a major deciding factor.
Do Speakers Really Make A Difference?
We’ve looked at 10 speakers in this guide, each with a different appearance and varying specs.
But do speakers make that much of a difference?
Based on the plentiful nature of reviews and the experiences users have shared, we have no choice but to conclude that, yes, speakers at different price points do in fact offer a different experience.
Now, when listening to records, we can’t forget about any component, as it all makes a difference – your records, turntable, preamp (if you have one), speakers, audio cables and more.
If you’re in doubt, it’s worth looking into recommended setups and how others have achieved their ideal vinyl listening experience. Try Googling it.
We also know that some speakers have more headroom than others, meaning some are loud enough for house parties while others are only good enough for a lazy Sunday in a small room.
So, whether it’s sound quality or volume, your speaker choice can affect your listening experience.
Should I Buy Active Or Passive Speakers For Vinyl Listening?
Active speakers tend to be more plug and play than passive speakers.
The only thing you’ll need to do is connect your speakers to your turntable and you should be good to go.
Passive speakers, on the other hand, need to be used alongside an amplifier or receiver.
With passive speakers, you can upgrade your amplifier as you go, and some people like having that option.
It’s not a right or wrong so much as what works best for your specific setup.
How Long Does It Take To Break In A Set Of Speakers? Do They Even Need To Be Broken In?
If you do your research, you will see some reviewers talking about “breaking in” their speakers and how much better they sound after some use.
If you want to give your brand-new speakers a fair chance, you must spend some time breaking them in.
When brand new, ridged parts and woofers haven’t had the chance to move, because the speakers haven’t been used it. You want to give them a chance to flex.
This will involve playing music with a significant dynamic range (i.e. quiet to loud).
There isn’t necessarily an exact amount of time it takes to break in your speakers. It could be hours. It could be days.
So, don’t be too quick to judge a new set of speakers. They may sound better given some use.
Do I Need A Preamp?
If your turntable does not come with a built-in phono preamp, the answer is “yes”.
You can either buy a receiver with a phono stage or a standalone phono preamp and connect it to the receiver.
A preamp is essentially the “go between” for your turntable and speakers and it will convert your turntable’s signal into something listenable.
If, however, your turntable comes with one, then you don’t need a preamp. You can simply use the right connection to hook up your speakers.
Is It Worth Investing More Into Quality Audio Cables?
Many people wonder whether it’s worth buying better quality audio cables, especially when they want to listen in Hi-Fi.
Some audiophiles are convinced that quality cables absolutely do make a difference and are worth putting money into.
Others simply use the cheapest cables available, suggesting that the cable doesn’t matter.
Like the analog vs. digital debate, this is probably not a battle that will come to an end in the foreseeable future.
The only way to know for sure is by experimenting.
One thing to keep in mind, however, is that you can spend a lot of money on cables, just as you can with a turntable, preamp, speakers or otherwise.
Something else we know for sure is that premium audio cable companies probably wouldn’t exist if there wasn’t a real market for them – and, of course, there is.
Now, ultimately, we can’t tell you one way or another. Maybe cheap wires will serve you well. Perhaps, once you upgrade, you’ll never go back.
But this question falls under the category of “difficult if not impossible to answer”.
Best Speakers For Listening To Vinyl Records, Final Thoughts
Vinyl lovers are probably among the top appreciators and lovers of music. That being the case, we must say “thank you”.
Music is a commodity. There is so much out there and it’s harder than ever for artists to find support and appreciation for their work.
It’s people like you, who are willing to put good money into music that help keep the industry alive.
So, we wish you happy trails on your hunt for the right speakers.