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10 Best Powered Speakers for Turntables 2020

Updated July 2020 by Tom.

Powered speakers are compact, easy to use, and offer great value for money. They have the amplifier built in and connect directly to your turntable without the need for a separate amplifier.

After spending a ton of time researching powered speakers, I ended up buying the Audioengine A5+ to use with my turntables. They are fantastic speakers for vinyl and my top recommendation overall.

Below is my list of 10 great powered speakers that I strongly believe are the absolute best picks for vinyl. The list contains speakers from about $100 to about $2500 to show you the best options from very affordable to very high-end.

1. Audioengine A5+

Best Overall

It is hard to find powered speakers that have received more praise from critics and owners than the Audioengine A5+. They look great, sounds great and features a fully analog built-in amplifier that make them an absolute gem for vinyl enthusiasts.

Fully analog amplification is very rarely seen in speakers at this price point. It makes the signal path fully analog all the way from the turntable cartridge to the speaker drivers. Perfect to enhance that smooth and rich analog sound of vinyl records.

When I were researching powered speakers to use with my turntables, I could find anything that could compare with these. At least not at this price point.

They probably deliver the deepest bass in their price range, with a drop of only 1.5dB at 50Hz. They can be bought with or without Bluetooth and come in three different finishes. White, Black and Bamboo.

Audioengine is based in Texas and design and manufacture the drivers and all critical components in house.

Click here to check price on Amazon.

SPECIFICATIONS

OriginUSA
Size7.8 x 7 x 10.8 in
Frequency Response50Hz – 22kHz
(+/- 1.5dB)
Amplifier Power100W RMS
BluetoothYes
(Optional)
Phono PreampNo
Tone ControlNo
ColorBlack
White
Bamboo

PROS
– Great sound
– Deep bass
– Analog class A/B amplification
– Elegant design
– Loved by Hi-Fi critics

CONS
– Bluetooth costs extra
– Bamboo finish costs extra

2. Klipsch R-51PM

Runner-Up (With Preamp)

Another great speakers manufacturer that is based in the USA is Klipsch. They are known to make quality speakers that are lively, engaging and emotional. With Klipsch speakers you feel that you are listening to live music. They are loud and lots of fun.

Their Klipsch R-51PM are great powered speakers for turntables. They even come with a built-in phono preamp as standard that makes it possible to connect purist turntables that don’t have a preamp. They also have Bluetooth connectivity as standard.

The lively and engaging nature of these speakers in companion with the warm and rich sound from vinyl records will make for a setup that really creates emotions. And for many of us, listening to music is an emotional experience. These are great powered speakers for vinyl. Highly recommended.

Click here to check price on Amazon.

SPECIFICATIONS

OriginUSA
Size11.3 x 7 x 9.1 in
Frequency Response68Hz – 21kHz
Amplifier Power120W
BluetoothYes
Phono PreampYes
Tone ControlNo
ColorBlack

PROS
– Engaging
– Loud
– Phono Preamp

CONS
– Black finish only

3. Edifier S1000DB

Also Great

Edifier is another manufacturer that makes speakers that offer great value for money. They receive great reviews from both Hi-Fi critics and owners, and might be the top selling powered speakers manufacturer on Amazon.

Edifier categorize the Edifier S1000DB as their top Hi-Fi and audiophile speaker. They offer a much more premium feel than any other Edifier bookshelf speakers. That makes these a great choice for vinyl spinners.

They sound amazing for their price, are well built, and come standard with features like Bluetooth and tone control. And they deliver deep bass all the way down to 48Hz (-4dB).

Click here to check price on Amazon.

SPECIFICATIONS

OriginChina
Size8 x 13.5 x 10.5 in
Frequency Response48Hz – 20kHz
(+/- 4dB)
Amplifier Power120W RMS
BluetoothYes
Phono PreampNo
Tone ControlYes
ColorWood

PROS
– Great Sound
– Deep Bass
– Tone Control
– Bluetooth as standard
– Analog and digital inputs

CONS
– None at this price point

4. Edifier R1280DB

Best Budget Option

If you looking for the best budget powered speakers to hook up with your turntable, there is nothing that beats the Edifier R1280DB in my opinion.

As a guy that writes a lot about turntables and speakers, I just had to buy these and test myself after reading so many good things about them in my research.

They look and feel very expensive and well built. They come with a remote control, Bluetooth functionality and all the cables that you need. And for their low price, the sound very decent.

These will not deliver the same deep bass and music volume as the more expensive options on this list, but selling for a very affordable price, that might be an acceptable trade-off if you are on a tight budget.

Here is a great review on YouTube if you want to learn more about the Edifier R1280.

Click here to check price on Amazon.

SPECIFICATIONS

OriginChina
Size5.75 x 9.5 x 7 in
Frequency Response55Hz – 20kHz
Amplifier Power42W RMS
BluetoothYes
Phono PreampNo
Tone ControlYes
ColorWood
Black

PROS
– Low Price
– Awesome value for money
– Well built

CONS
– Lack deep bass
– Not the loudest

5. Audioengine A2+

Best Compact Option

If you are looking for really small speakers to use with your turntable, then you shouldn’t overlook the Audioengine A2+. Despite their ultra compact design, these are quality items that delivers a sonic performance that may surprise you.

The Audioengine A2+ is considered one of the references for multimedia computer speakers, and may be a great choice if you want small vinyl speakers that can also fit on your desktop as PC speakers.

Click here to check price on Amazon.

SPECIFICATIONS

OriginUSA
Size4.0 x 5.3 x 6.0 in
Frequency Response65Hz-22kHz
(±2.0dB)
Amplifier Power30W RMS
BluetoothNo
Phono PreampNo
Tone ControlNo
ColorBlack
Red
White

PROS
– Compact
– Also great PC speakers
– Well built

CONS
– Lack deep bass
– No Bluetooth
– Small size does limit sound quality (inevitable)

6. KEF LS50 Wireless

Best for Big Budgets #1

If you are looking for true high-end powered speakers for your turntable, then the KEF LS50 Wireless might be the best sounding options on the market right now.

The KEF LS50 Wireless is one of KEF’s flagship speakers and has received fantastic reviews by Hi-Fi critics around the globe. Designing these is arguably one of KEF’s best efforts ever.

These are genuine active speakers. That means that there is one amplifier or each driver in each speaker. In each speaker, a 30W analog amplifier drives the tweeter while a 200W class D amplifier drives the bass.

These should be considered by those that want a compact speaker setup that doesn’t compromise on sound quality. These will enable you to unleash all the sonic potential from most turntables.

Click here to check price on Amazon.

SPECIFICATIONS

OriginUK
Size12 x 8 x 12 in
Frequency Response45Hz – 28kHz 
(±3dB)
Amplifier Power460W
BluetoothYes
Phono PreampNo
Tone ControlYes
ColorBlack
White
Gray

PROS
– High-End Sound
– Lots of features
– Nice Design

CONS
– Expensive

7. KEF LSX

Best for Big Budgets #2

The KEF LSX is a smaller and cheaper version of the KEF LS50 Wireless above. They will not fully deliver the audiophile experience of their bigger brother, but these are still very high-quality powered speakers.

If you looking for very good compact speakers for your turntable, but think the LS50 Wireless are too expensive, these might be the perfect sweet-sport between cost and quality.

Just as the LS50 Wireless, there is one set of amplifiers in each speaker. A 70W amplifier drives the bass while a 30W amplifier drives the tweeter.

Click here to check price on Amazon.

SPECIFICATIONS

OriginUK
Size10 x 6 x 7 in
Frequency Response54Hz – 28kHz
(±3dB)
Amplifier Power200W
BluetoothYes
Phono PreampNo
Tone ControlYes
ColorMultiple

PROS
– Audiophile Sound
– Lots of features
– Nice Design

CONS
– Expensive

8. Klipsch The Sixes

Best Vintage Looking

Klipsch The Sixes blends amazing vintage looks and fine materials with the latest technology and awesome sound. They aren’t the cheapest recommendation in this guide, but arguably the finest looking.

Klipsch speakers are known for their ability to fill the room with rich, lively and emotional sound, and The Sixes are no exception. Match these with a vintage looking turntable and you have a package that it will be impossible to not appreciate.

Click here to check price on Amazon.

SPECIFICATIONS

OriginUSA
Size8.6 x 16.8 x 11 in
Frequency Response40Hz – 20kHz
Amplifier Power200W
BluetoothYes
Phono PreampYes
Tone ControlNo
ColorWalnut

PROS
– Amazing looks
– Great Sound
– Emotional

CONS
– Requires a decent budget

9. Audioengine HD6

Also Great

The Audioengine HD6 is Audioengine’s flagship powered speakers. They offer a few upgrades over the Audioengine A5+, including larger redesigned woofer, thicker cabinet, and upgraded crossover components.

They have the same smooth, fully analog Class A/B amplifier built-in as the Audioengine A5+, which makes them a fantastic choice for vinyl and turntables. They come with Bluetooth as standard and they are available in multiple elegant looking finishes.

Click here to check price on Amazon.

SPECIFICATIONS

OriginUSA
Size11.8 x 7.3 x 10 in
Frequency Response50Hz-22kHz
(+/-1.5dB)
Amplifier Power100W
(Analog)
BluetoothYes
Phono PreampNo
Tone ControlNo
ColorBlack
Walnut
Cherry
White

PROS
– Great sound
– Deep bass
– Analog class A/B amplification
– Elegant design
– Loved by Hi-Fi critics

CONS
– None

10. Kanto YU6

Great with Preamp

Another speaker brand that has become very popular to use with turntables is Kanto. They offer three different models, whereas the biggest of the three, the Kanto YU6 will offer the best sonic performance.

They come with a built-in preamp that is great if you have a purist tunable without a preamp. They look fantastic and are available in a variety of colors. They have received great reviews across the board. Just as all the other speakers in this article.

Click here to check price on Amazon.

SPECIFICATIONS

OriginCanada
Size11 x 7 x 8 in
Frequency Response50Hz-20kHz
Amplifier Power100W RMS
BluetoothYes
Phono PreampYes
Tone ControlYes
ColorMany

PROS
– Built-in preamp
– Bluetooth and tone control
– Great design

CONS
– None at this price point

My Research

I receive lots of email from people that want to thank me for advice they have found on this website. I think part of the reason for all the positive feedback is that I always do very thorough research on the topic before I publish my articles. It is very important to me that I can stand behind the advice I am giving.

When researching a topic, I always research the vinyl community and trusted reviewers and critics to gather as much information and knowledge as possible. I don’t want my advice to be just my opinions on something. I want a much broader view.

Then I try to blend the information I have gathered with my own expertise as a vinyl and stereo enthusiasts and with my experience as an electronics engineer that used to develop consumer electronics for a living.

The acoustic profile of my living room, my personal preference for sound color and my test setup will have enormous impact on how a specific product sound in my ears during a test and review. That is why I always try to look behind just my own impressions when giving advice on products.

Do you need a preamp with powered speakers?

Turntables come with and without built-in preamps.

If your turntable has a built-in preamp, there will be a PHONO/LINE switch on the back. To connect the turntable directly to powered speakers, the switch must be set to LINE.

If your turntable doesn’t have a PHONO/LINE switch, it probably doesn’t have a built-in preamp and will only output a PHONO signal.

A PHONO signal is much weaker/smaller than a LINE signal and must be amplified by a separate phono preamp before it can be routed to the speakers.

This is done by connecting a preamp between the turntable and the speakers. Like this.

If you connect a turntable that doesn’t have a built-in preamp directly to powered speakers, the music volume will be extremely low and the music will totally lack bass. So a separate preamp must be added if there isn’t one built into the turntable.

You can learn more about PHONO and LINE signal levels in this article.

For recommended preamps, please visit our 10 Best Phono Preamps from $10 to $500 article.

Another option is to choose powered speakers that include a preamp. You will find several options in the recommended speakers above.

How to connect powered speakers to a turntable?

There are two main ways to connect a turntable to powered speakers.

  1. By using a RCA signal cable
  2. By using wireless Bluetooth

The traditional way is to use a RCA signal cable. A RCA signal cable is usually included with both the turntable and the powered speakers.

In recent years it has become more and more popular to use wireless Bluetooth to connect the turntable to powered speakers. To do this you will need a turntable with Bluetooth capability or a Bluetooth adapter.

Let’s look into both options in more detail.

1. RCA signal cable

The most common way to connect powered speakers to a turntable is to use a RCA signal cable that plugs into the turntable on one end and into the speakers using the analog RCA inputs on the other ends.

If neither your turntable or speakers include a built-in preamp, you’ll need to include a separate preamp that connects between the speakers and the turntable.

2. Wireless Bluetooth

If you have a turntable with Bluetooth capability (or a Bluetooth transmitter) the turntable can be connected to powered Bluetooth speakers wireless. It is a neat way to connect the turntable as it eliminates any need for cables between the turntable and the speakers.

The sound quality from Bluetooth is (at least in theory) somewhat compromised compared to using a traditional RCA cable. This is because Bluetooth is digital and compressed (lossy). But in real life you will probably need a very expensive stereo and good ears to hear a significant difference.

You can learn more about Bluetooth turntables and how to connect them in this article.

And you can learn how to make a turntable wireless in this article.

How to choose speakers for a turntable

There are many factors to consider when choosing vinyl speakers that perfectly meet your needs. Here are the most obvious ones.

Budget

The traditional advice for balancing the budget spending between the different components of a home stereo is that the speakers are the most important component for great sound and should generally be given the biggest part of the total budget.

I think this holds true also when we choose powered speakers for turntables.

To follow that advice, the speakers should ideally cost the same or a bit more than your turntable if you want to spend your total stereo budget in a way that will give you the best sound quality for your money.

There is, of course, no exact science to this. This is only a guideline to follow loosely.

Stereo

For the best sound it is advised to choose a powered speaker system that consists of two speakers that can be spread apart to achieve stereo imaging.

If only use your turntable to play background music, and never sit down to do any sort of passionate music listening, it might however be just fine to use a system that consist of only one speaker.

But for the best sound, stereo speakers are absolutely preferable.

Size

To achieve a decent amount of deep bass and a good sound overall, it is advised to ignore the smallest powered speakers that are designed to be used as desktop PC speakers and so on.

The laws of physics make it impossible for very small speakers to produce deep bass.

For great vinyl sound, we should therefore focus on medium to big sized powered bookshelf speakers.

Well reviewed

Different speakers in the same price range can differ significantly in quality and value for money. It is always advised to read reviews from trustworthy critics before you pull the trigger.

Leading manufacturers

It is usually advised to select products from leading manufacturers. They have the best engineers, the largest knowledge base to base their designs on, the best quality control and the best customer support.

How to place speakers for optimal sound?

The ideal way to place speakers is in a triangle where the distance between the speakers are roughly the same as the distance from your head to each of the speakers.

So that it forms a perfect triangle like this.

Placing the speakers like this will make the soundstage appear as big and detailed as possible. Both in width and depth.

Depending on how passionate music listener you are, this might not be super critical. But it is at least something that it is good to know about.

Speakers break-in time

Speakers don’t sound their best straight out of the box. The drivers need time to soften up to move as freely as they shall.

It usually takes tens of hours of use before the speakers have totally broken in and sound their best. In that break-in period, the sound of the speakers will gradually improve.

So when you buy new speakers, don’t expect them to be awesome right aways. Also, try to use them as much as possible in the beginning to get through the break in time as quickly as possible.

Why choose wireless powered speakers?

Powered speakers with wireless capability have become super popular and it is expected that their popularity will continue to increase.

Reports from one of the biggest electronics exhibits in the world, CES 2018, shows that even the traditional high-end passive speaker manufacturers have switched their focus towards powered speakers and use more and more of their very pricy exhibition floor area to display their newest powered speakers.

You can learn more about that trend in this youtube video from Audioholics.

Powered speakers is a great way to save space and to get high value for money. If you are looking for the best possible audiophile sound, a traditional amplifier and passive speakers setup is still the best option for you. But for people with normal budgets, powered speakers is a great option.

The fact that you don’t need a separate amplifier or receiver makes a powered speaker setup much easier to place than a traditional amplifier and passive speaker setup. And you won’t need the traditional Hi-Fi rack that holds the different stereo components.

And the fact that both the amplifier and the speakers are built into the same cabinet makes it a more cost-effective solution.

Passive, powered and active speakers explained

Below are three figures that show the difference between passive, powered and active speakers.

The terms powered speakers and active speakers are often used interchangeably, but as we will see, there is a distinct difference.

Passive Speakers

Passive speakers needs to be driven by an external amplifier or receiver.

The amplified music signal is first applied to a passive cross-over that is a filter that sends the higher frequencies to the driver that is responsible for the higher frequencies (tweeter) and the lower frequencies to the bass driver.

Powered Speakers

Powered speakers have the amplifier built-in and can be connected directly to music sources without the need of a separate amplifier or receiver.

In powered speakers, the amplified signal from the built-in amplifier is routed to a passive cross-over. The cross-over then sends the higher frequencies to the tweeter and the lower frequencies to the bass-driver.

Active Speakers

In active speakers there is one amplifier for each driver. So there is a dedicated amplifier for the tweeter (higher frequencies) and a dedicated amplifier for the bass-driver (lower frequencies).

In this type of design, the music signal goes through an active cross-over before it is routed to the amplifiers. So the cross-over sends the higher frequencies to the amplifier that power the tweeter and the lower frequencies to the amplifier that powers the bass driver(s).

The benefit of active speakers design is that each amplifier can be specially designed to match the characteristics of the tweeter or driver it delivers power to. Which gives lots of options for the engineers to design a speaker with very high sonic performance.

Another benefit with active speakers over powered speakers is that the cross-over process the music signal before the signal is power-amplified. That way the cross-over can be made with much smaller and more precise components as they don’t need to be rated for very high amounts of power.

You can read more about powered and active speakers in this Wikipedia article.

Active speaker design is usually found in higher-end and higher-priced speakers. While powered speaker design is most often used in consumer rated audio products like the powered speakers that we have reviewed in this article.

Related Questions

Can I connect a turntable directly to speakers?

You can connect a turntable directly to powered speakers if the turntable has a built-in preamp. If the turntable does not have a built-in preamp, a separate preamp must be connected between the turntable and the powered speakers.

You can never connect a turntable directly to passive speakers. Passive speakers need an amplifier to be connected between the turntable and the speakers.

Are powered speakers better than passive?

Powered speakers might not be better (or worse) than passive speakers. That is subjective. The advantage powered speakers have over passive speakers is that they require less space as there is no need for a standalone amplifier and that they often offer very high value for money as the amplifier and speakers are combined in one cabinet.

Do powered speakers need an amp?

Powered speakers have the amplifier built-in and do not need a separate amplifier.

Can a powered speaker power a passive speaker?

Powered speakers are not meant to power passive speakers.

Do passive speakers need power?

Passive speakers do not connect to power. Only powered (and active) speakers connect to power.

What does “Frequency Response” mean?

Frequency response describes the range of frequencies (from low to high) that a speaker can reproduce. High-quality speakers will usually have a broader and flatter frequency response curve than lower quality speakers.

How much space do you need to place powered speakers?

Powered speakers need very little space. They can be placed on a desktop or in a bookshelf if place is limited.

What are studio monitors?

Studio monitors are high-quality speakers that is designed to be used in recording studios and film/tv/radio studios where accurate reproduction of sound and music is crucial.

What are near-field monitors?

A near-field monitor is usually a speaker that is designed to sit on a desktop or a speaker stand that is placed very close to the listener. They are often used in professional recording studios etc.

Resources

Audioengine Home – Audioengine A5+

Klipsch Home – Klipsch R-51PM

Edifier Home – Edifier S1000DB

Edifier Home – Edifier R1280DB

Audioengine Home – Audioengine A2+

KEF Home – KEF LS50 Wireless

KEF Home – KEF LSX

Klipsch Home – Klipsch The Sixes

Audioengine Home – Audioengine HD6

Kanto Home – Kanto YU6