So let battle commence. Vinyl or digital, which sounds best?
The answer to that question is in what is the most retentive medium for the original sound, thus giving you what was, the originally recorded work. Vinyl is analog recordings. CD’s and mp3’s are digital.
With vinyl, the original waveform of the sound is carved into the record. No information is lost. Vinyl sounds better than digital ever could providing your equipment is good. Digital caught on because it is convenient and doesn’t suffer from the potential risks of damage that vinyl has to endure.
The sound from a CD is good, no question but better than Vinyl? Not really. But to hear Vinyl in all its analog glory, you have to have good equipment, and part of the setup will include great speakers.
So let’s take a look at what are the best speakers for vinyl…
- Top 10 Best Speakers For Vinyl To Buy Of 2020 Reviews
- 1 Klipsch RP-160M Bookshelf Speaker
- 2 Edifier R2000DB Powered Bluetooth Bookshelf Speakers
- 3 JBL Arena B15 Black Bookshelf & Surround Speaker
- 4 Edifier S1000DB Audiophile Active Bookshelf Speakers
- 5 Sony SSCS5 3-Way 3-Driver Bookshelf Speaker System (Pair)
- 6 Polk Audio T15 100 Watt Home Theater Bookshelf Speakers (Pair)
- 7 Pioneer SP-BS22-LR Andrew Jones Designed Bookshelf Loudspeakers
- 8 Micca MB42 Bookshelf Speakers
- 9 Audioengine A2 Plus 60W Powered Desktop Speakers
- 10 Fluance Signature Series HiFi Two-Way Bookshelf Surround Sound Speakers
- Best Speakers For Vinyl Buyers Guide
- But What Are The Best Speakers For Vinyl?
Top 10 Best Speakers For Vinyl To Buy Of 2020 Reviews
1 Klipsch RP-160M Bookshelf Speaker
Klipsch manufactures great speaker systems, of that there is no argument, and the RP-160M is part of their Reference Premiere series. Designed with a performance level that attempts to match home theater sound systems they excel. This series has been on the market now for four years and has become very popular. The build quality is worth considering.
The design is good and very attractive and has an elegant feel about it. Considering these are designed as what is known as bookshelf speakers, they are larger and a lot heavier than what you might expect.
Cerametalic, a mixture of ceramic and aluminum, woofers provide the sound quality and are the visual centerpiece of the speaker cabinet with its spun copper cone. The square horn has the titanium tweeter at its center. The horn is made of compressed rubber, and it adds to a level of damping for the higher frequencies.
The sound is rich and powerful with resonant low frequencies. The high frequencies are strong and have clarity and have been made less harsh than on previous Klipsch speaker systems. They will though still need a room of reasonable size to hear the best from them.
The positioning of these speakers will be important for the full effect. They are only 14 inches high, quite large for a shelf, but are not suitable for placing on the floor. The reproduction of vinyl sound is a precise function, and therefore, the full range of frequencies need to be heard, and on the floor, you will certainly lose some.
They are great looking and have a big sound, but going back to build quality, there is one thing we were not impressed with. They are quite expensive, good speakers are, but paying a lot of money, we would expect they might have wood for the construction. These are made from MDF with a polymer veneer finish. Nevertheless, they must be a contender for best speakers for vinyl.
- Powerful and accurate sound reproduction.
- Nice looking design.
- Would have been better with wood construction.
2 Edifier R2000DB Powered Bluetooth Bookshelf Speakers
Edifier started designing and building their sound systems in China in 1996 but have built themselves a formidable reputation. The home theatre speaker systems they produce are well-respected, and their hi-fi systems excel. And the R2000DB is a good example of speakers for vinyl listening.
The R2000 has a five-inch mid/bass driver and a 25mm tweeter with an output power rating of 60w RMS per channel. It has a Dynamic Range Control (DRC) that will reduce distortion that also changes the sound response. The ordinary mode of use gives a slightly flatter, less pronounced sound from high and low frequencies. To further control sound reproduction there are bass and treble controls on the rear of one of the cabinets.
On modern-day recordings, the sound is better with the DRC switched on, but these speakers come into their own on the older vinyl recordings when it is not needed. Every little nuance of the original recordings is heard as it was supposed to be and engaging the DRC boosts the bass and treble to unnatural highs.
The stereo imaging on these best powered speakers is excellent. It is wide with good depth, and their center point is large enough that the listening position hasn’t got be measured in millimeters. The sound when using vinyl is noticeably crisper and the bass seemingly deeper and even at high volume levels is distortion-free.
Although this is set at what might be called a budget price, it is an excellent system. It can, of course, be hooked up to your TV and via its Bluetooth capability be used with a smartphone or tablet, but its real power is with vinyl. Just take a listen to Twist and Shout by the Beatles through these, and you will see what we mean. They certainly can be considered for the best speakers for vinyl.
Build quality is using MDF with a nice black finish. It comes with a remote control unit.
- Great sound with some extra facilities.
- Excellent control over the sound.
- The remote control unit is a bit flimsy and vulnerable to breakage.
3 JBL Arena B15 Black Bookshelf & Surround Speaker
JBL has been around for a long time and over the years have produced some classic speakers. There was a time when if you had JBL speakers in your on-stage speaker cabinets you knew you had arrived. So let’s see what they are doing with some less adventurous efforts for the home.
Designed in a way to satisfy a variety of uses the B15 is a set of bookcase shelf speakers that have a power rating of up to 125watts. Each cabinet has a 5.5-inch woofer that drives the power, and a one-inch tweeter with a soft dome provides clarity at the top end.
They certainly pack a punch and create a big warm sound that fills the room. JBL has always had a reputation for quality rather than too much power, but with these speakers, the power is evident, but they haven’t lost the quality of sound. Frequency response is 100Hz to 40kHz.
They are possibly not suitable for the modern mix of music and really excel with music that hasn’t been mastered too loudly for effect. That is one reason they work so well with vinyl. The producers in those days hadn’t entered into the ‘volume-wars’ that existed in some areas of modern production up until a few years ago.
They are best used in an elevated position, either on a shelf or by using the wall-mounting option but in a fixed installation situation, the speakers will have to be angled towards the listening position.
They are well made and have a very standard look and shape with the all-black grilles giving them a very elegant look.
Good value for money, they produce a great sound.
- Well made with a nice bass sound.
- Good value for money.
- Speakers must be angled towards the listener.
4 Edifier S1000DB Audiophile Active Bookshelf Speakers
Another option from Edifier, they have created a great speaker system with the S1000DB and packed in a few extras with it. This is an active or passive speaker system, which means that in the active mode, they have built-in amplifiers. Therefore they can be connected directly to another device without the requirement of an external amplifier.
It has built-in Bluetooth and has digital and analog inputs, and while it will connect to your devices and computers, it doesn’t include WiFi audio streaming. Strangely, it also doesn’t include a phono input for a turntable, but that is a feature that is easy to add.
Compared to some other speakers systems, the S1000 looks like a budget system with its price tag, but it certainly doesn’t perform like it. It has a very deep bass response. The 5.5-inch woofers take care of that, and the high frequencies are crisp and clear. Titanium dome tweeters give you that precise top end and the bass reflex ports on the back of the cabinets add even more to the bottom end.
These cabinets do not need a sub to produce a great bottom end. The sound is full and wide, and with the added tone controls on the reverse of the cabinet, there is room for a little sound fine-tuning. Also on the reverse are the connections for PCs, TV and extra audio sources through the AUX, RCA, coaxial and optical options.
They are marketed as one of the best bookshelf speakers available and will no doubt operate fine, but if you choose to place them on a shelf, make sure everything is very secure. These speakers are heavy. They are designed in a very 90s style wedge shape with wooden side panels, and they have front grilles that can be removed.
There is no doubt these are quality speakers and at a great price.
- Well made with nice design
- Easily accessible controls panel.
- Great sounds at a great price.
- It’s easy to rectify, but they haven’t got a phono input.
- Heavy, so careful where you place them.
5 Sony SSCS5 3-Way 3-Driver Bookshelf Speaker System (Pair)
So now we are in Sony country. They know a bit about building home entertainment systems, so let’s see what they’ve got on offer…
The SSCS5 speaker system gives a big stereo sound from speakers that are compact and designed for placing on a bookshelf. Each speaker has a five-inch woofer, a one-inch principle tweeter, and a three-quarter-inch ‘super-tweeter.’ This mini tweeter will give frequency response of up to 50 kHz and widens the direction of the sound.
The one-inch tweeters themselves use magnets and copper-clad wire to generate a high sound pressure. And the five-inch woofer delivers a warm and powerful bottom end assisted by the bass reflex design. The bass reflex duct is situated at the back of each cabinet and gives depth to the sound reproduction.
The cone of each woofer is made from MRC fiber and stay in their intended shape even when working at volume and moving at speed. This cuts down on any potential distortion and also means they will keep optimum performance for the future. Each speaker is capable of handling up to 100w.
Sony has ensured a quality build in the manufacture. An all-wood construction gives strength and assists the resonance and the acoustics. Even the interior jointing and supports are wooden, which helps to remove any vibrations. They are finished in black lacquer to make sure they will fit into the decor of any home.
They are well-made and strong with a good sound. The speakers are designed to help to bring forth the best of sounds and therefore are ideally suited for playing vinyl. Great value at a very attractive price and must be considered a contender for the best speakers for vinyl.
- Well-built of solid wood.
- Very good sound with a wide soundstage.
- Only rated at 100w.
6 Polk Audio T15 100 Watt Home Theater Bookshelf Speakers (Pair)
Polk have designed and manufactured their T15 speakers to bring concert level sound quality to the home. They will sit comfortably on a bookshelf, but are also wall-mountable and are built to be versatile, fitting most user requirements.
Polk have used the designs from their Dynamic Balance Technology to deliver the sound. A 5.25-inch driver with a bass port situated at the front and a three-quarter-inch silk dome tweeter to create a sound environment bristling with clear, crisp highs and a deep, resonant bass.
They deliver a wide dispersion of sound and ensure that the sound is kept in good balance. The low frequencies are powerful but do not impinge upon the mids and cause them to get muddy. The separation is good throughout the whole frequency range, and the power rating is set at 100w.
They are constructed from MDF which helps to reduce distortion and will give you a rich sound that has detail. They have been given a nice finish to make them look very attractive if a little plain. The wide range of frequency control makes them ideally suitable for playing vinyl. They are very precise in their reproduction, and clarity is at the front of the design process.
They are best used in a fairly small average size room to get the best from them, and the speakers will need to be directed towards the listener. However, they represent extremely good value for money but will not reach the audible heights of some of their more expensive competitors, but then you wouldn’t expect them to. They are a budget set of speakers that work very well.
- Good value for money.
- Have a decent sound reproduction.
- As a budget system, some will want a higher level of sound quality.
Andrew Jones has an impressive track record of designing great speakers at budget prices. Born in the UK, he was an identical twin, he being right-handed and his brother left-handed – he was even born in stereo! He has applied his skills in several manufacturing environments but now gets together with Pioneer to design a bookshelf speaker that produce great results.
This set of bookshelf speakers give an expansive and clear sound reproduction and work especially well in smaller spaces. They have 80 watts of power delivered by a 4-inch woofer with over-sized magnets and a one-inch soft dome tweeter.
The mix between woofer and tweeter is via a six-element crossover. This is an important area because the crossover must separate the sound into high, low, or mid ranges. And that is why Pioneer has worked on this area to achieve good sound separation, which leads to a great sound.
They have been designed to have a variety of potential uses including home theater, but it is with use playing vinyl that they come into their own reproducing every instrument with clarity. Where sound quality is required, these speakers will fit the bill.
They have an interesting curved cabinet design which makes them quite attractive, but it wasn’t just the style that was being considered with this idea. The shape will reduce the standing sound waves that are naturally in the speaker cabinet and therefore produce a cleaner quality. Speaker grilles are included but may be removed if you wish to see the drivers,
Whilst being a bookshelf speaker, they can also be mounted on the walls if desired. They are considered a budget range of speakers, but the sound quality they produce puts them in a bracket much higher. Great value for money and certainly worth considering as one of the best speakers for vinyl
- Nice design and well-built.
- Excellent sound reproduction.
- 80w might not be loud enough in some environments.
8 Micca MB42 Bookshelf Speakers
Micca has an impressive track record of producing quality speakers at very affordable prices, and with the MB42 they have shown that it is quite possible to come up with a nice design and good performance at a very competitive price.
These speakers have a very simplistic design with nothing particularly to get excited about. But they are still quite appealing to the eye and nicely finished with an ebony laminated design that is quite neutral, and thus it will fit comfortably into the decor in any room.
As bookshelf speakers, they are quite large and take up a bit more space than the usual being ten inches high, 6 inches wide and seven inches deep. They are, however quite lightweight and easy to handle.
Each speaker has a four-inch woofer that has a rubber surround. It is made from woven carbon fiber and also a silk dome tweeter.
The sound they project is quite good with decent high frequencies that certainly cut through without being harsh. They are crisp and clean and very bright. The bass isn’t going to shake you up, but that is not unusual in budget range speakers. The bass though is nice and well-rounded and very good. The mids also are well balanced and are very prominent. And considering there is no crossover built-in to these speakers the separation is excellent.
The MB42 is a passive speaker, so it will need to be hooked up to an amp.
They are a decent quality speaker that isn’t going to cost you too much. Very good sound and an excellent soundstage. They are very good value for money.
- Quality sound reproduction.
- Nice simplistic design and build.
- A bit bulky.
9 Audioengine A2 Plus 60W Powered Desktop Speakers
Audio Engine has put a lot of effort into making these speakers something special. They are manufactured from MDF, and the cabinets are designed with internal bracing and sound-damping material to reduce any reflections of sound within the cabinet. Each cabinet in the pair has front-port slots. These have been tuned with each other, and the speakers operate together.
The company design all their own woofers and tweeters. Other important component inclusions are made to their exact designs. On fitting the drivers, and amps, the crossovers, and bass port designs are all then set up to work together.
Each speaker has a 2.75-inch woofer made from Kevlar with rubber surrounds and a ¾” silk dome neodymium tweeter. Kevlar is a tough material, and this ensures the woofer keeps its shape even at high volumes when the movements may be excessive. Each speaker can produce up to 30 watts of power. And magnetically shielded designs are used to prevent any interference with external equipment.
The speakers have good connections to external devices. A USB input will connect digital devices, and the USB output will connect to a computer without any installation downloads. RCA and ¼” inputs are also provided.
The left speaker contains the power amp, volume control, power connection, and external audio links. The passive right speaker is then connected to the right using a speaker wire which is provided.
This is quite well priced given what it will produce, which is a quality sound. Its extras make it even more tempting. The only question to be asked is, is it a bit underpowered at only 30 watts of power?
- Great technical design and components used.
- Produces quality sound.
- Might be a little under-powered for some.
10 Fluance Signature Series HiFi Two-Way Bookshelf Surround Sound Speakers
The excellent Canadian company, Fluance, manufactures high-end audio equipment, including speakers and turntables. The quality of their product usually speaks for itself, and the Signature Series of speakers are aimed at producing the best audio at a realistic price.
Using only the best available components, Fluance has built a set of speakers that produce great accuracy in their sound reproduction. If you are looking for speakers, especially for vinyl, you need that. The Hi-Fi sound on these speakers will bring the recording session or the concert directly into your home.
The high-end frequencies are where these speakers really excel. One inch neodymium tweeters give a clear sound and are powerful without being too sharp to the ear. It is a common thing for speakers in the budget or mid-range price to be a little sharp at the top end, but these Fluance speakers are warm and easy on the ear.
The low-end is not quite so praiseworthy. The five-inch glass fiber woofer drives a decent mid-range, but when it comes to the lower frequencies, it struggles a bit.
The mids are fine with a nice soundstage, but they do not deliver that deep bass that some speakers do. Even the inclusion of a couple of bass ports didn’t really make too much difference. Of course, not too many bookshelf speakers can do that, so maybe we are being unfair.
Overall the sound is good though, and the build quality is acceptable and the design of the speakers quite attractive. They are a good buy and represent good value for money.
- Nice design and well-built.
- Very good mid and top-end sound.
- Low frequencies are a little disappointing.
Best Speakers For Vinyl Buyers Guide
Time To Dust Off The Old Plastic
As we said in our introduction, digital sounds are very good, no question, but they can never be as good as vinyl. A vinyl recording captured everything, even some things it shouldn’t have, and cut them into your record. But that was the magic of it!
It seems in music, whether listening to or playing it, we are forever looking back, trying to recreate the past. Guitar manufacturers trying to recreate the guitars that shook the world up to about 1965, Amplifiers that give us the old analog sounds, and pedal manufacturers are doing the same.
And now we are moving back to the good old days of vinyl. Perhaps we should get Roger Taylor to write a song about it?
Quality All The Way…
If we are going to start listening to vinyl again, we will need some seriously good equipment. The old Dansette Junior or Pye Radiogram won’t do today. Fortunately, since it’s previous life, the technology has improved at a scary pace, and now we have all we need to bring vinyl to life in a way that perhaps we never could before.
Part of that technology is the speakers, and that is one area where we can really get the sounds right.
The basic construction of speakers is quite standard. Woofer, tweeter, perhaps some bass-reflex, perhaps an extra tweeter, but a simple woofer and tweeter are the staple inclusions. And they are all about the same size if we are talking about bookshelf speakers.
They are usually finished off in a fairly neutral way to allow them to fit into the decor of your home and the power ratings are all very similar — not much to differentiate them from each other except in performance. You can, of course, go crazy and buy speakers that cost as much as a second-hand car, but we are not talking about that level.
Some speakers will have their own little extras, some are active meaning they have their own built-in amp, but most are passive. If you buy a set of speakers, it is quite likely you will also have to buy an amp to go with them. Unless they are active, they won’t work without it.
Choose wisely. You don’t want studio monitors that will give you a very flat sound, and you certainly don’t want the huge bass bin affairs that blow walls down. A good level of quality across all the frequency ranges is what you need, and we have looked at a number of speakers that will give you that.
Most of all, enjoy choosing the best speakers for vinyl. They will serve you well with some fantastic sounds for many years to come.
But What Are The Best Speakers For Vinyl?
Well, it’s got to be a speaker system that will capture every little nuance present at the time of recording. And it’s got to have a reasonable power rating so that you can crank it up if you want to. We would also be looking for an attractive but understated design preferably made of real wood.
We, therefore, decided on the…
Has all the things we looked for, and they are manufactured by a company that knows quite a bit about sound systems.
Our choice as the best speakers for vinyl.