A decent speaker is pretty much a necessity when it comes to getting your record player set-up off the ground. Speaking truthfully, even a high-quality turntable performs only as good as the speaker that is hooked up to it.
Now is finally the time for you to make this upgrade for your vinyl player. This is where a powered speaker comes into play. A powered speaker provides a clean, minimalistic set-up, yet it is outstanding when it comes to versatility.
With that said, a good powered speaker renders a higher power output, provides a wider soundstage, and covers a wider range of frequencies. When hunting for a powered speaker in the market, you’ll be spoilt with choices.
While having a multitude of options available for you is a blessing, sometimes it can be more intimidating and may make this experience less exciting.
Instead, you can narrow down your search to the 7 best powered speakers for turntables which we have selected following hours of testing and approval from the ones with the most critical ears around us.
Let’s get into it!
Which are the best powered speakers for turntables?
1. Edifier R1280T Powered Bookshelf Speakers
- Frequency Response: 75Hz-18kHZ
- Sensitivity: 85dB
- Connectivity: RCA, Bluetooth, Auxiliary
- Power: 42W RMS
- Treble Driver: 13mm Silk Dome
First things first, the Edifier R1280T is a budget speaker under $100 so you cannot approach it like a $500 speaker. However, it easily outperforms most powered speakers in the same price range, therefore, it is one of the best choices for budget buyers.
The performance of these speakers caught us by surprise because they produce a full and rich sound, the kind you expect from bigger and more expensive speakers.
The bass notes even at high volumes are clean, solid, and capable of satisfying any bass-head out there. It can shake a room for sure but don’t expect to crank it up for a party.
The high and mid notes are totally up to par with our expectations – clear and bright that is. These speakers produce crisp vocals but the lows sound better at lower volumes. However, the difference is barely noticeable unless you’re too serious about your music.
The frequency range actually sounds better than what’s advertised. The tonality is quite rich and the excellent bass response kinda leaves no room for a subwoofer.
When it comes to design, Edifier did a decent job with the retro wood case look and grey speaker grills. It comes with basic tone controls for bass and treble ranging from -6dB to +6dB but, the power control at the back doesn’t seem much of a good idea.
To sum up, the Edifier R1280T is the best bookshelf speaker you can get for 100 bucks.
2. Klipsch R-41PM Powered Speaker
- Frequency Response: 76Hz-21kHz
- Sensitivity: 90dB
- Connectivity: RCA, Bluetooth, Auxiliary, USB
- Power: 70W
- Treble Driver: 1″ Aluminum LTS Tweeter
This compact yet power-packed speaker produces an unbelievably great sound and will prove to be a fine choice for your turntable.
This bookshelf speaker lives up to all of our expectations. Starting from the internal amplifier housed in this speaker, which renders immaculate sound reproduction with no distortion even at high volumes.
These are immensely powerful speakers and are pretty loud for smaller rooms yet nothing that hurts the ears. For the most part, you won’t even need to crank it up to full volume.
They deliver a decent bass response to the point where you don’t even need external woofers. Especially with the ‘dynamic bass EQ’ feature, you get a deep, punchy bass even at low volumes.
The mid and high notes are crisp and articulate as well. You can enjoy music with all the promising details as the speakers produce sound in a wide range of frequencies. The speakers produce a room-filling sound with minimal reverberation thanks to the Tractrix Horn Technology.
As for the construction, this speaker is loaded with everything solid from IMG woofers to LTS tweeters. The design is sleek and compact with various connectivity options as well. So what’s not to like?
3. Audioengine A5+ Wireless
- Frequency Response: 50Hz-22kHz
- Sensitivity: 95dB
- Connectivity: Bluetooth aptX, Analog Input/output
- Power: 150W
- Treble Driver: 0.75″ silk dome tweeters
Audioengine A5+ is the best powered speaker there is. These small bookshelf speakers are packed with the ultimate power needed to fill a room.
The bass depth and clarity of these speakers is terrific, to say the least. Without a doubt, these are audiophile-grade speakers that hit all the sweet spots and allow you to enjoy music, at its best.
However, the Audio Engine A5+ is designed to work with a subwoofer so the bass doesn’t hit like a truck without one yet is sufficient for anyone who’s not particularly after the bass boost in their system.
Even without a subwoofer, the speakers produce a powerful, deep bass but at extreme volumes, we did encounter slight distortion. Expect these speakers to deliver a rich and warm sound with distinct mids and treble frequencies.
Even the lows are amazingly defined in fact, it makes you hear all those details you never knew even existed. Sounds like a stretch but, it’s true.
These speakers deliver an accurate sound without exaggerating any frequencies. The vocals, the instruments, and everything in between sounds perfect.
Moving on to the construction and design, which is nothing short of amazing either. These small speakers with big sound boast a sturdy construction with built-in power amps housed in a wooden cabinet.
You can also have a look at a comparison i did on Audioengine A2+ and Kanto YU2.
4. Edifier R1280DB Powered Bluetooth Speakers
- Frequency Response: 55Hz-20kHz
- Sensitivity: 85dB
- Connectivity: RCA, Bluetooth, Aux
- Power: 42W RMS
- Treble Driver: 13mm silk dome
The R1280DB by Edifier is yet another affordable speaker that packs a punch and proves to be a decent choice for turntables.
This powered speaker delivers an impressive bass response with a clean and full sound at high volumes. They are impressively loud but not something that’ll get your neighbors complaining the next morning. We did not catch any particular distortions at any volume, but that is not to say they’re perfect.
The mid-range frequencies sound noticeably muffled, especially in deep bass tracks. The bass overpowers the mids, however, the high and low frequencies are delivered with all the details.
The speakers add significant clarity to the music and produce a full, round, and warm sound. The overall volume of this small speaker is definitely better than expected and can easily fill a medium-sized room.
Edifier has made a couple changes in design from the previous T model and they do look nice. The black wood blends in well with most contemporary setups. The treble and bass controls are still on the side panel, which we don’t mind btw.
The remote control is a new addition but is not something to write home about. In short, these speakers deliver a naturally fine-tuned sound reproduction which is a treat for casual music lovers.
5. Kanto YU6 Bookshelf Speaker
- Frequency Response: 50Hz-20kHz
- Sensitivity: 88dB
- Connectivity: Bluetooth, Phono Switch
- Power: 200W
- Treble Driver: 5.25″ Kevlar Drivers, 1″ Silk Dome
This speaker by Kanto comes with a built-in phono preamp which means you can effortlessly hook it up to any vintage or modern day turntable.
This powered speaker will faithfully reproduce all your favorite tunes with all the crisp and defined details. With a 200W power output, these beasts can get pretty loud. The speakers boast plenty of headroom so distortion is never a problem with them regardless of the volume.
The Kanto YU6 alone is not it if you’re looking for a deep, punchy bass but pairing up with a subwoofer will sort that too. In fact, it gets bassy enough to shake a room with that upgrade.
The vocals are epic and along with that, the instrument details will give you chills. The mid and low notes are wonderfully balanced with equally present high notes. On top of that, changing the bass and treble adds a clear, dramatic effect to the tunes so you can always fix it as per your taste.
The walnut color scheme stands out of all but they’re available in other promising colors too. The speakers come with a functional remote control with tone and balance controls. Overall, they’re nothing but a solid deal for the price.
6. Sony SSCS5 Powered Speaker
- Frequency Response: 50Hz-50kHz
- Sensitivity: 87dB
- Connectivity: Bluetooth, Wired
- Power: 100W
- Treble Driver: 0.98″ polyester fiber tweeter
This one is a budget 3 way bookshelf speaker system with an expansive soundstage that makes you hear more of everything.
You’ll be hard pressed to find something like the Sony SSCS5 in the same price range because they deliver explosive sound. They’re loud enough not just for a room but for an entire house party. What’s impressive is that the sound doesn’t distort at all, in fact, it is incredibly accurate and warm.
If you’re a total bass-head, we suggest you get a sub for a mind-blowing bass response. But even without the sub, the bass has a decent presence and clearly improves once you break them in.
The highs, mids, and the lows are something that can even impress a picky audiophile. The sound quality remains consistent even at higher frequencies. The speakers deliver rich acoustics with a laudable clarity and detail in each tone.
They deal with a wide range of frequencies without breaking a sweat. The crisp high and mid-range notes are a winning feature for the speaker. The wooden enclosures allow for a rich and expansive soundstage experience.
Lastly, the speakers feature a robust construction with premium components. They boast a compact size that can fit in tight places. The black wooden finish is great for the aesthetics too.
7. Audioengine A1 Home Music System
- Frequency Response: 65Hz-22kHz
- Sensitivity: 95dB
- Connectivity: Bluetooth aptX, 3.5mm
- Power: 60W
- Treble Driver: 0.75” silk dome tweeters
Last but not the least is this 2 speaker setup by Audioengine that renders excellent music production and is one of the best powered speakers for turntables.
The sound reproduction is amazing. These speakers are loud and defyingly so. The sound produced by these speakers is something we expect from larger and more expensive speakers. These, on the other hand, are compact but terrifically loud.
You’ll experience an incredible music experience with a wider soundstage. The bass is great and has decent depth without overpowering any frequencies, but not the best out there. A subwoofer will work that out by adding the rumble you need.
Moreover, clarity is almost never a problem with Audioengine speakers and the A1 is no different. The mids and lows have all the details that you need to hear. With crisp vocals and even better guitar breaks, the A1 is surely a beast for the price.
The speakers render a clear, bright, and rich tonality although you may not be be as impressed if you’re in for an audiophile grade sound. The Audioengine A5+ is the answer for that.
The design is sleek and modern with a size that’s ideal for everyone. These compact speakers prove that big sound doesn’t always need big bucks or big size, for that matter.
Overall, these are decent $200 speakers that can fill up any room with high resolution stereo sound.
Best Powered Speakers for Turntable: Buyer’s Guide
Hunting for a powered speaker can be a mind-boggling task, given the profusion of options. While you’re at it, check out our brief but comprehensive guide to ensure that you get the best powered speakers for your vinyl setup. Some key features that’ll help you make a fine purchase are mentioned below.
The driver size largely contributes to the size of the speaker which is why speakers are available in various size ranges from 8 to 15 inches and more. The driver size basically refers to the size of the woofer housed in the speaker which is mainly responsible for bass production.
Most powered speakers feature a 2 to 5 inches driver. Most people confuse a bigger driver size for a better bass but that’s not truly the case. Of course, bigger woofers mean a louder bass response but a louder bass doesn’t equate to quality. So don’t blindly go after the driver size instead look for quality of the bass.
Look for speakers that cover wider frequencies. This is one of the most important factors but thankfully, most speakers have a good frequency response.
Our ears are capable of listening frequencies ranging between 20Hz to 20kHz so anything within that range is perfect. Most speakers offer a frequency range up to 20,000Hz although, that is not to say you cannot go beyond that.
The sound effect won’t be audible above 20kHz of course but it does change the way you feel the soundstage and your music. So speakers with a wider frequency range offer a rich tonality by covering each aspect of the audio spectrum.
Power output, in simple words, is something that indicates how loud your speaker can get. The power output of a speaker is typically mentioned in Watts. The higher the wattage of a speaker, the louder it will produce sound and consequently, fill up a larger room.
However, that’s not always the case because amplifiers these days are more power efficient which means a speaker with a low wattage can also be loud. So numbers can be misleading at times.
Anyway, that’s a long debate. Generally, a speaker with 50 to 70 Watts of power output rating is excellent for smaller rooms and serves well as a bookshelf speaker. With 100W and above, you can power up a house party and more.
Even though you’re particularly buying a speaker for a turntable which usually has a built-in phono switch for instant connectivity, a broad range of options won’t hurt.
If your turntable doesn’t feature a built-in phono preamp then, look for a speaker with a built-in phono preamp. If not that, you’ll have to resort to external connectivity options.
But overall, more connectivity options will allow you to use the speakers with devices other than your turntable. Therefore, look for versatile connectivity options like Bluetooth, Aux, USB, etc.
Budget and Cost
If you’re just an occasional music listener anything above $300 will be an overkill for you. Powered speakers beyond this price range offer incredible sound detailing that only a true audiophile can identify and enjoy.
If you can’t tell apart the differences then, what’s the point of purchasing a high end device anyway?
And of course, the sound connoisseurs out there know well which speakers suit their preferences and a $300 speaker is most definitely not it.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can I use powered speakers with a turntable?
Yes, you can use powered speakers with a turntable. In fact, they are the best option due to their compact and minimal setup. Just make sure you have the right connectivity options available i.e. a built-in phono preamp in either the speaker or turntable. Other than that, an external phono switch will serve the purpose as well.
What speaker is best for a turntable?
The best choice for a turntable is either a passive speaker or a powered speaker. Powered speakers offer a nice, clean setup that functions right out of the box so it is an entirely hassle-free option unlike passive speakers that require a complex setup process.
Do you need powered speakers for the turntable?
A turntable without a speaker is just another decoration item lying around your living room. So yes, you need speakers for a turntable; powered or passive, your choice.
What speakers work best with vinyl?
The ideal choice for a vinyl setup is either a powered or passive speaker. Choosing between them is a matter of personal preferences.