Powered speakers reduce two of the biggest barriers preventing people from setting up a turntable audio system: cost and space. This one component replicates the functionality of a pair of passive speakers and a stereo receiver. You can plug your turntable directly into a pair of active speakers, hit the power button on both, and drop your needle. Using powered speakers with a turntable also eliminates the possibility of getting a stereo receiver and pair of passive speakers that don’t work well together. Audiophiles are obsessed with making sure that every piece of their audio system is perfectly balanced, and that there are no weak links in the “chain” between their source component (in this case a turntable) and their ears. If you’d like to enjoy analog music without fretting about the minutiae, you should get a pair of the best powered speakers for turntables.
How We Picked The Best Powered Speakers For Turntables
Our powered speaker recommendations are based on a mix of hands-on testing and research.
Preamp: The signal from your record player has to be amplified to be heard at a reasonable volume level. Most newer turntables have a preamplifier (shortened to preamp) built into them to handle this task, but older record players don’t. Many high-end record players released today also lack a preamp because they’re aimed at audiophiles who want to meticulously assemble their stereo system.
Some of the powered speakers we’re recommending have a preamp built inside of them, which means you can use them with any turntable right out of the box. If your turntable and powered speakers both lack a preamp, we’ll explain what you need to do later in this guide.
Size: Powered speakers for turntables come in a variety of shapes and sizes, and we’ve tailored our recommendations so that you’ll find a pair that’ll work regardless of how much space you have.
Additional Inputs: Powered speakers can be used with more than just turntables. The speakers in our guide have multiple inputs, which allow you to hook them up to a TV, computer, tablet, or phone. You should seriously consider ways to use the powered speakers hooked up to your turntable when you’re not spinning vinyl because they’re going to sound better than your TV or computer speakers by a fair margin.
Remote Control: If you plan on using your powered speakers in multiple ways, you should get a set that comes with a remote control, so you can seamlessly switch between inputs when the speakers aren’t directly in front of you. The remote will also allow you to control the speakers’ volume and change songs. Some remotes even let you adjust the bass and treble levels of your speakers to dial in their sound.
Bluetooth Support: Many of our powered speaker recommendations support wireless connectivity using Bluetooth, which is convenient if your audio system is in a central location in your house and you’d like to stream music from your phone.
Upgradability: A handful of the powered speakers below can be connected to additional components to create a larger audio system with even better sound. If you plan on keeping your powered speakers for a very long time, getting a pair that can be upgraded in some way should be a priority.
The Best Powered Speakers for Turntables: Reviews and Recommendations
Best Overall: Klipsch The Fives
Why They Made The Cut: The Fives are a good-looking, great-sounding pair of speakers that will help you get the most out of your record collection.
— Preamp: Yes
— Additional inputs: HDMI, AUX, USB, Optical Audio, Bluetooth
— Upgradable: Yes
— Incredible audio quality
— Multiple inputs
— Flawless aesthetics
— Input selector
Klipsch’s The Fives aren’t just the best pair of powered speakers for turntables, they’re among the top speakers we’ve ever tested. This is true in spite of their slightly silly name.
The first thing we noticed when unboxing The Fives was how well each speaker was designed. Klipsch spared no expense, and everything from the wood finish to the magnetic golden-colored grills screams class. Yes, speakers are designed to be used for listening, but it doesn’t hurt for them to look nice in a living room, office, or dedicated listening room. The right speaker in this pair houses all of the electronics, including two dials on its top that allows you to adjust your volume and switch between different inputs.
The dials rotate smoothly, and using them evokes the feeling of turning the volume knob on a piece of vintage stereo equipment. The Fives will feel instantly familiar to anyone familiar with analog audio gear. Both of the dials on The Fives work well, but we found switching inputs using the dial could be hit or miss. It was hard to know just how much force to use when rotating the dial to move from one mode to the next. Thankfully, Klipsch bundles The Fives with a remote, so you can switch inputs and make volume adjustments when the speakers are on the other side of the room.
That remote is bound to get a lot of use because The Fives were equipped with every speaker input we could imagine. There’s a set of RCA (red and white) ports, an AUX port, an optical audio input, USB-B port, HDMI (ARC) port, and a subwoofer output. A switch next to the RCA inputs allows you to enable or disable the phono preamp built into The Fives, and a grounding peg is there in case your turntable comes with a ground cable. A small “pair” button located above The Fives’ USB port allows you to wirelessly connect the speakers to a computer, tablet, or smartphone over Bluetooth.
We’ve tested The Fives with turntables (models with and without a preamp), computer, smartphone, and TV (via its HDMI port) and found the speakers worked flawlessly in each scenario. Our source device was always instantly recognized and connected to the speakers, so we could begin watching shows or listening to music immediately. We were especially pleased with The Fives’ performance over Bluetooth — we never noticed an audio delay or dropouts even if we were carrying our smartphone in a pants pocket and walking around the room.
The Fives have the right look and device compatibility, but they’ve topped this list because they sound incredible. Each speaker is equipped with a 4.5-inch woofer and 1-inch aluminum dome tweeter, and both do the work to ensure the music you hear sounds as close to the original recording as possible. We spun a variety of LPs, from vintage copies of classics like McCartney to a limited-edition pressing of tracks from Studio Ghibli films, and were always satisfied by what we heard.
There are certain limitations when it comes to testing analog audio gear, which we’ve addressed in a section below the speaker recommendations in this story, but we’re confident in The Fives’ ability to help you get the most out of your music. We did A/B tests between digital and analog versions of a couple of tracks on The Beatles album Let It Be and confirmed that we could hear a tonal difference. We preferred the analog versions, which sounded a little more rich even with clicks and pops.
Everyone’s ears are different, which is why we were also happy that Klipsch allows you to adjust the EQ of The Fives using a mobile app. The app also replicates the functionality of Klipsch’s remote, which is a nice touch. Klipsch requires you to update The Fives’ firmware — a process that includes dropping files on a flash drive, which then gets plugged into the speakers — before getting access to these settings, so be sure to set aside 10 minutes if this feature interests you.
Anyone who’s serious about setting up a premium compact turntable audio system should consider Klipsch’s The Fives speakers. They’re expensive (normally $799, but currently marked down to $499 on Amazon), but you absolutely get what you pay for. If you’re able to use these speakers in your main home theater, and regularly stream music to them from your phone, they end up looking like a very good deal.
Best Budget: Edifier R1280Ts
Why They Made The Cut: Edifier’s R1280Ts have a surprisingly robust feature set for their price, especially their on-speaker EQ controls.
— Preamp: No
— Additional inputs: One set of RCA ports, one Subwoofer output
— Upgradable: Yes
— EQ knobs
— Subwoofer support
— No phono preamp
Edifier’s R1280Ts are the ideal powered speakers for anyone who just got their first turntable. They have two sets of RCA inputs, so you can keep them hooked up to a couple of devices simultaneously, and a subwoofer output in case you’d like to add some more bass to your setup. The R1280Ts’ defining feature is the pair of EQ knobs on the right speaker, which allow you to adjust the speakers’ bass and treble levels. This level of customization isn’t common for speakers in this price range, but it’s a very important feature.
You can essentially change the way the R1280Ts speakers sound to suit your ears or preferred genre of music. The ability to adjust the speakers’ EQ wouldn’t matter if the speaker hardware was sub-par, but that’s not the case. These speakers feature a 4-inch woofer and half-inch tweeter, and will automatically adjust how they sound if you plug in a subwoofer. Edifier’s hardware has always performed well in our experience, offering great sound at a surprisingly low price. The company even includes a remote with this set of speakers, which is a nice addition.
It’s true that the R1280Ts are a little barebones compared to many of the other powered speakers we’re recommending, but they’re the perfect pair for an entry-level turntable setup — provided the record player you use has a built-in preamp. You won’t notice the absence of Bluetooth support or a USB port when you drop the needle on your favorite album and hear it on vinyl.
Best Floor-Standing: Fluance Ai81
Why They Made The Cut: Fluance’s Ai81s are the biggest powered speakers currently available for turntable owners, and a great choice if you have enough room.
— Preamp: No
— Additional inputs: two RCA, one optical audio, one subwoofer output
— Upgradable: Yes.
— Triple-driver audio system
— 150W (watt) amplifier
— Bluetooth support
— No phono preamp
— Requires more space
Floor-standing speakers offer better sound at higher volumes than bookshelf speakers, which is why Fluance’s Ai81s are such a great fit for turntable owners with a lot of space. Each of the speakers is outfitted with a pair of 6.5-inch woofers and a 1-inch tweeter that’re powered by a 150-watt amplifier. It’s unfortunate that the speakers have this much power but don’t have a dedicated phono preamp inside.
The second woofer on the Ai81s will make it easier for you to hear the differences between instruments in the bass and midrange registers when compared to a two-driver speaker. The difference will become even more noticeable if you choose to connect the speakers to a subwoofer. The whole point of listening to vinyl is to hear nuances in music that are either obscured or unavailable when listening to it digitally, so using a pair of speakers with more drivers makes a lot of sense.
Fluance equipped the Ai81s with a pair of RCA inputs, one optical audio input, and Bluetooth support. This isn’t the most robust assortment of ports we’ve seen, but does allow you to easily connect the speakers to your TV or smartphone. Floor-standing speakers aren’t designed to be used on or near a desk, which is why we can forgive Fluance for omitting a USB port. A big port assortment isn’t important when you’re listening to vinyl, but they’re nice to have if you’d like to use your turntable speakers in a couple of different ways.
There are very few powered floor-standing speakers available, so it’s great that Fluance is giving turntable owners the option to use a set with the latest features. If you have enough room, and really want to kick out the jams, Fluance’s Ai81s are the clear choice.
Best Design: Andover Audio Spinbase
Why It Made The Cut: Andover Audio’s Spinbase is a compact, all-in-one speaker system specifically designed to work with turntables.
— Preamp: Yes
— Additional inputs: Two RCA inputs, one subwoofer output, one headphone jack
— Upgradable: Yes
— EQ controls
— Built-in phono preamp
— Headphone jack
— Reduced stereo separation
All of the powered speakers we’ve recommended so far can be used with a turntable, but Andover Audio’s Spinbase was specifically designed to be used with a record player. The single speaker is relatively thin and perfectly flat, so you can set a turntable directly on top of it. Using a turntable with the Spinbase will give you the most space-efficient analog audio setup possible with very few compromises.
Andover Audio outfitted the Spinbase with a built-in preamp and an assortment of ports, which includes two sets of RCA inputs, an aux input, a headphone jack, and a subwoofer output. This assortment of analog inputs and outputs is complemented by the Spinbase’s Bluetooth support, which will allow you to easily play music from digital sources like a smartphone, tablet, or computer. A pair of EQ controls are located right next to the Spinbase’s inputs, so you can tweak its bass and treble levels to your liking. There’s no better all-in-one speaker solution for turntable owners than Andover Audio’s Spinbase.
The biggest downside to using a single speaker is that it limits the amount of stereo separation you’ll get when listening to music. Andover Audio has said that it’s spaced the speakers inside the Spinbase to cover a 270-degree area, but there’s nothing quite like perfectling positioning a pair of speakers toward a specific sweet spot. If you don’t have a lot of room for your turntable speakers, this is a moot point and only adds to the Spinbase’s appeal.
We’re also concerned that vibrations from the Spinbase will reach your turntable’s needle, causing harmonic distortion. Andover Audio says it’s solved this problem by installing custom-designed vibration-absorbing feet on the bottom of this speaker, but you never know. That said, if you want an ultra-compact speaker system for your turntable, Andover Audio’s Spinbase is the only one you should consider.
How to Use Powered Speakers with a Turntable That Has No Preamp
If your powered speakers and turntable don’t have a built-in preamp, you’re going to need to get a standalone model. We’re recommending Fluance’s PA10 because of its relatively low cost, subtle look, and our previous positive experiences with the company’s audio hardware. The PA10 is compatible with every turntable using any cartridge, and was designed to amplify the signal from your turntable without impacting audio quality.
You can choose to engage its 20 Hz filter to prevent some low frequencies from reaching your speakers if you notice distortion while listening to bass-heavy tracks. When bassy music hits your powered speakers it causes their woofers (the largest driver on a speaker) to vibrate a lot. If your turntable is on the same surface as your speakers, these vibrations can reach your record player’s needle and cause distortion. We’ll get to how you can eliminate this problem entirely later in this story, but for now it’s nice to know that Fluance’s PA10 has a fail-safe if you have this issue.
If you’ve never used a phono preamp before, the PA10 is beginner-friendly and very simple to set up. First, connect the preamp to an outlet using the included power cable. Next, use a set of RCA (red and white) cables to connect your turntable to the ports labeled “input” on the PA10. If your turntable has a grounding wire, wrap it around the PA10’s grounding peg, then twist the peg clockwise until the wire is held firmly in place. Finally, use another set of RCA cables to connect your powered speakers to ports labeled “output” on the PA10.
That’s it, there are no buttons to push or switches to flip when using Fluance’s PA10. We’re recommending this preamp for use with powered speakers, but it’ll also work if you want to hook your turntable up to a stereo receiver that doesn’t have a phono input.
The Best Subwoofer To Use With Your Powered Speakers
If you’ve decided to get a set of powered speakers that can be augmented with a subwoofer, and want to add a little more oomph to your turntable audio system, we recommend Monoprice’s SSW-8. This is especially true if you plan on using your powered speakers with your home theater in addition to your record player, since TV show and movie soundtracks sound better with more bass.
The ultra-thin subwoofer was designed to fit beneath a table, chair, or media center, which makes it the perfect pairing for powered speakers. The SSW-8 is named after its eight-inch woofer, which is pointed downward so sound reflects upward off your floor. Monoprice says the enclosure it uses for the SSW-8’s driver was specifically designed to maximize audio performance within the subwoofer’s slim size. All of the SSW-8’s controls and inputs are located on the bottom of the subwoofer next to its driver, so we recommend setting it up in an open area before scooching it into a tight space.
One of the main reasons we’re recommending this subwoofer for your powered speaker turntable setup is that it offers a surprisingly amount of controls. You can adjust the SSW-8’s volume, phase (digital delay), and power mode (we recommend the auto setting, so it’s only turned on when your speakers are working). You can also apply a low-pass filter, which allows you to signify which low-frequencies you want the subwoofer to fill out.
The main advantage of hooking your turntable up to powered speakers is the space savings compared to a traditional stereo system. Adding a subwoofer may seem counterintuitive, but Monoprice’s SSW-8 is pretty small and can be tucked away so that it’s heard but not seen. We’re confident that the powered speakers we’ve recommended can supply all the treble, midrange, and bass you need to enjoy your record collection, but if you feel like you need a little more low-end, check out the SSW-8. Monoprice also offers a 10-inch and 12-inch model if you’d like even more power.
How to Prevent Your Powered Speakers from Vibrating
If you’d like to get the greatest level of performance from the powered speakers connected to your turntable, we suggest investing in a set of isolation feet. These simple-looking pyramid-shaped silicon blocks serve as a buffer between your speakers and the surface they’re placed on. The feet will automatically absorb vibrations caused by loud music — especially bass-heavy tracks — so they can’t reach your turntable.
There are a lot of isolation feet out there, but we like this set from Hudson HiFi because there’s no adhesive involved. You don’t have to worry about installing the isolation feet incorrectly, or damaging your speakers if you’d like to remove them. Instead, you can take the measurements of each speaker cabinet, place the four feet thick-side down on your shelf or table, and place your speaker on top of the feet. Once the speaker is down, you can adjust the positioning of Hudson HiFi’s Isolation Feet so that they’re spaced equidistantly. Repeat this process for your second speaker, and you’re done.
Hudson HiFi says these feet are designed to be used with any speaker that weighs up to 37.5 pounds, which includes all of the powered speaker recommendations in our guide. You can also use Hudson HiFi’s Block Silicon Isolation Feet with a turntable if you’d like even more peace of mind. The difference you hear once the isolation feet are installed will depend on the type of music you listen to and the sensitivity of your ears. In general, expect to hear clearer bass with much more subtle improvements to sounds in the midrange and treble ranges.
Hudson HiFi’s Block Silicon Isolation Feet are a lo-fi solution to a common hi-fi problem, and worth the investment if you want the best possible sound from your speakers
Things to Consider Before Buying Powered Speakers For Turntables
Repairability: One of the only reservations we have when recommending powered speakers for turntables is their lack of repairability. If any component in the speaker wears down over time or malfunctions, you’re going to have to replace them entirely. This is a contrast with multi-component audio systems, which allow you to swap out one piece if something goes wrong.
System Dependent: Part of the trouble with testing any analog audio gear is that there are several additional barriers between our experience (or the experience of any other site) and yours. The turntable you use, its cartridge, the records you own, the condition of those albums, and even where and when it was pressed can make a big difference. We stand strongly behind the powered speaker recommendations we’ve made in this guide, but your experience may vary.
Q: Do I need powered speakers for a turntable?
No, you don’t need powered speakers for a turntable. You can use a set of unpowered (passive) speakers and a stereo receiver with your turntable instead.
Q: Are powered speakers the same as active speakers?
Yes, powered speakers are the same as active speakers. The terms “powered speakers” and “active speakers” can be used interchangeably.
Q: Are powered speakers good for turntables?
Yes, powered speakers are good for turntables. They take up far less space than a stereo receiver and passive speakers.
Q: How long do powered speakers last?
You should be able to use the same pair of powered speakers for over a decade of regular use.
Final Thoughts on the Best Powered Speakers for Turntables
Powered speakers are our default recommendation for anyone who’s setting up their first turntable. Creating a multi-component audio system can be fun, but it also requires a tremendous amount of research, additional space, and a bigger financial commitment. Hooking your record player up to a set of powered speakers takes all of five minutes once they’re out of the box, and you can start spinning vinyl immediately.
Plus, you can use your powered speakers with more than just your record player. If you’ve been putting off getting a turntable because you’re worried about the time, effort, and space it requires to get an audio system up and running, a pair of powered speakers is exactly what you need.
Futurism may receive a portion of sales on products linked within this post.
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