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Best turntable speakers

For the love of vinyl, you're going to need more than a turntable to play your music.
By

Published onMay 22, 2024

DALI Oberon 1
A DALI Oberon 1 speaker in white against a white background.
9.4
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Positives
Very good sound for the price
Versatile frequency response
Compact size
Solidly built
Negatives
By no means inexpensive
Rear port needs space from the wall
Needs an amplifier
The Bottom Line.
The DALI Oberon 1 offers high-quality sound usually found in speakers costing much more. The Oberon 1 is not cheap, but you won't be pining for the more expensive options.
Kanto YU6
The Kanto YU6 in Bamboo.
8.8
Check price
Positives
Multiple connection options
Good sound
Remote control
Bluetooth aptX and SBC
Subwoofer out
Phono preamp
Negatives
Bass heads might want a sub
The Bottom Line.
If you're low on space and need speakers that can connect to basically anything you own, Kanto has you covered.
Sonos Five
A product image of a black Sonos Five speaker shown from the front against a white background.
9.4
Check price
Positives
All-in-one listening station
Easy to use
Good sound
Negatives
Expensive
Needs an preamplifier
Aux has latency
Relies on using an app
The Bottom Line.
This entry works well for homes mostly using streaming with the occasional vinyl record. It gets loud and sounds pretty good, and you'll need a preamp with your turntable. It works by itself or you can add a second but that's expensive.Read full review...
ELAC Debut Reference DBR62
9
Check price
Positives
Great sound quality
Low distortion
Accurate frequency response
Front ported
Negatives
Pricey
The Bottom Line.
This passive set from ELAC outperforms its price point. If you have an amp, this one offers a good balance of sound and value.
Edifier R1280DB
The Edifier R12DB wooden bookshelf speakers with one speaker revealing the driver arrangement against a white background.
Check price
Positives
The price
Tons of connectivity
Volume and EQ knobs on the speaker
Negatives
Not the best sounding
The Bottom Line.
If you're looking to keep your budget down, and not compromise on connectivity, Edifier has your back with their cheap and cheerful R1280DB.

You’ve bought the candy apple red turntable with the matching Ortofon 2M Red cartridge, and now you’ve realized there’s nowhere for the sound to come out. You need speakers! Vinyl record sales have surged in recent years; once the mainstay of audiophiles and Luddites, now they’re everywhere. Whether you want a special edition pressing or are searching for the coveted 7-inch single that never made it to the digital era, it’s a bug, and you’ve bit. In a sea of speakers, which ones are the right ones? We’re here to find you the best speakers for your turntable.

Editor’s note: This article was updated on May 23, 2024, to ensure the timeliness of the information within.

Why is the DALI Oberon 1 the best pair of turntable speakers for most people?

Hear me out. Most people don’t buy the latest product, whether the newest pair of headphones or last year’s car; the older model is generally cheaper and holds up just as well. That is okay, and it’s frequently the smart decision. The DALI Oberon 1 makes you feel like you bought the best version and didn’t compromise. As far as speakers go, it’s not cheap, but it’s not audiophile expensive either.

DALI Oberon 1
DALI Oberon 1
9.4
A DALI Oberon 1 speaker in white against a white background.The rear port and connections of the DALI Oberon 1 speaker against a white background.
DALI Oberon 1
DALI Oberon 1
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DALI is a Danish company often mentioned in the same breath as ELAC (more on ELAC later). Still, the Oberon 1 offers a surprising amount of value, and it looks great as a medium-sized bookshelf speaker. The frequency response is somewhere between “neutral” and consumer-friendly, and that’s pleasing. The large (for their case’s size) woofers extend the bass range, and while these aren’t bass-heavy per se, they are for their dimensions.

Keep in mind the Oberon 1 is passive, so it requires an amplifier, and because it is rear-ported, it ought to sit 300mm away from the wall. DALI also suggests users not position the Oberon 1 “toed in”; instead, you should point the speakers straight ahead. Try the Oberon 1 and congratulate yourself on a good deal. You won’t be kicking yourself about buying this high-value speaker set.

Dali Oberon 1Dali Oberon 1
Dali Oberon 1
Great sound • High end performance
MSRP: $599.00
Powerful for its size
The DALI Oberon 1 is a decent medium-sized bookshelf speaker. Carefully constructed with a unique sound and rear port.

The Kanto YU6 has all the features you want

Imagine a world where you only get one set of speakers with everything. Maybe you don’t have the room for separate speakers for each audio source, or you like the idea of a self-contained and minimal home. Most speakers need some rigging to get that kind of versatility, but not the Kanto YU6. With RCA, Bluetooth, optical, and ground wires, you can count on the YU6 to connect with everything you own.

Kanto YU6
Kanto YU6
8.8
The Kanto YU6 shown in Walnut from the front and side.The Kanto YU6 in black shown from the back.
Kanto YU6
Kanto YU6
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You won’t get a super neutral frequency response, but with 6-inch woofers, the YU6 is surprisingly thumpy. Do you still want more bass? The YU6 has a sub-connection too. The Kanto YU6 has a ground connection, allowing you to use a turntable without a preamp. Since the speakers are active-powered, they eliminate the need for an amplifier. This streamlines your entire setup to the record player into Kanto YU6 and is done. Kanto even threw in a remote and some basic EQ controls. Unlike the Sonos Five, you don’t need any apps or Wi-Fi. What’s not to love?

Kanto YU6Kanto YU6
Kanto YU6
Sound quality • Connectivity • Size
MSRP: $499.99
Thumpy self-powered bookshelf speakers
The Kanto YU6 are powered bookshelf speakers with a ground connection to connect to your turntable. The large woofer provides surprisingly thumpy bass.

The Sonos Five is a great speaker for vinyl in small living spaces

If you live in a small space and enjoy music on multiple platforms, combining your vinyl setup with your streaming setup could make more sense. Sonos makes many smart speakers; today, we’re talking about the Sonos Five. It’s big for a streaming speaker but pretty small compared to other entries on this list, and there’s only one, which further saves room. The price balloons into expensive if you buy a second one, so it’s a good choice if you don’t mind having one. Weighing 6.36kg (14lb)and measuring 203 x 364 x 154mm, the Five can still provide good volume.

Sonos Five
Sonos Five
9.4
A white Sonos Five speaker shown at an angle from the top down against a dark background.A white Sonos Five speaker shown at an angle against a dark background.A white Sonos Five speaker showing a close-up of the Sonos logo and the contrl buttons. The speaker is oriented vertically.A white Sonos Five speaker in its box partially removed from its white protective fabric bag.A white Sonos Five speaker shown from abaove against a dark background.A white Sonos Five speaker shown from the rear with the AC port, Ethernet jack, line-in port, and power button visible.
Sonos Five

One thing to remember is that you’ll need to pair the Five with a preamp or have a turntable with a preamp built-in. Unlike our list of Kanto and Edifier entries, you don’t get Bluetooth connectivity. But use the aux input for your analog audio sources or play audio over Wi-Fi. The Five is a wise choice for the person dabbling in vinyl but who realistically listens to digital music formats more frequently.

Sonos FiveSonos Five
Sonos Five
Sound quality • Loud output • Wi-Fi, Ethernet, and aux port
Bigger, but is it better?
The Sonos Five makes for a decent option if you're already immersed in the Sonos Ecosystem and want something large and loud to expand your setup. If you can't stand Bluetooth, then its Wi-Fi and Ethernet options might appeal to you even without other Sonos products around, but be aware even the aux port has latency issues.

Hear music as it was recorded with the ELAC Debut Reference DBR62

The passive ELAC DBR-62 frequently sells out, which is not surprising. It has a somewhat studio-inspired sound, allowing you to hear most of the nuances of your music without undue exaggeration. It helps that the ELAC DBR62 looks good and undercuts the higher-tiered competition in cost, too.

ELAC Debut Reference DBR62
ELAC Debut Reference DBR62
9
The back of the ELAC DBR62 showing the speaker connection points.
ELAC Debut Reference DBR62
ELAC Debut Reference DBR62
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With a 6.5-inch woofer, you will surely hear enough low-end to satisfy your needs. Its front port allows you to place the speakers closer to the wall than usual rear-ported speakers, adding flexibility. As a passive speaker, the ELAC DBR62 needs an amplifier and lacks the wireless connectivity of other Bluetooth and wireless speakers, but it also won’t become obsolete.

ELAC Debut Reference 6-1/2" Bookshelf SpeakersELAC Debut Reference 6-1/2" Bookshelf Speakers
ELAC Debut Reference 6-1/2" Bookshelf Speakers
Sound quality • Front bass port
MSRP: $699.99
Studio-inspired bookshelf speakers
Front-ported, the ELAC Debut Reference DBR62 can be pushed to the back wall of your bookshelf. These large-coned speakers will make some noise.

The best cheap turntable speaker is the Edifier R1280DB

So maybe you love vinyl, but you’ve really just got a small collection, and you’re dipping your toes in. It’s hard to justify buying DALI Oberon 1 or ELAC Debut Reference speakers when you only own five records. Enter the active-powered Edifier R1280DB with an attractive price tag that means you have more money (to buy more records).

Edifier R1280DB
Edifier R1280DB
The Edifier R12DB wooden bookshelf speakers with one speaker revealing the driver arrangement against a white background.The Edifier R12DB wooden bookshelf speakers against a white background.
Edifier R1280DB
Edifier R1280DB
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Edifier has a particular aesthetic: you either love it or hate it. It’s reminiscent of late ’70s synthesizers with the generous use of wood bookends. While some companies concentrate on minimalism and getting a few things exactly right, Edifier is a form of maximalism. Edifier ensures that even at this price point, you still get many connection options, should you want to connect your speakers to your TV and other speakers, Bluetooth for streaming, and—oh yeah—your turntable.

There’s a certain lack of refinement with the R1280DB, such as a flimsy remote (but it is a remote) and imperfect audio reproduction, but it’s cheap and cheerful. You won’t have to make room in your bank account or home to fit the speakers, which is a good reason to buy them.

Edifier R1280DBEdifier R1280DB
Edifier R1280DB
Value • Connectivity
MSRP: $149.99
Affordable self-powered speakers
Surprisingly clean sound, the Edifier R1280DB offer multiple input, including Bluetooth. These self-powered speakers with rear port work well on the bookshelf, but are commonly used as computer speakers.

For the classic vinyl experience, get the ELAC Debut 2.0 B6.2

Against a white background is the Elac Debut 2.0 B6.2.
Those looking for a straightforward set of speakers will like this set by ELAC.

Have you already got the turntable, the preamp, and the amplifier? Perfect, the ELAC Debut 2.0 B6.2 rates as a no-frills passive speaker that focuses on sound and good engineering. Hi-Fi industry legend Andrew Jones is responsible for the Debut 2.0 B6.2, which gets our attention, and the sub-$300 price is enough to hold it.

The Debut is thoughtfully front-ported, which means you don’t need to place the speaker at least a foot away from the wall. Therefore, these bookshelf speakers can go on a bookshelf without sounding bad. Bass will never be the highlight of speakers this size; however, ELAC made a convincing effort, and most people will feel happy with the bass reproduction on the Debut.

ELAC Debut 2.0 B6.2ELAC Debut 2.0 B6.2
ELAC Debut 2.0 B6.2
Sound quality • Good price
MSRP: $399.98
Budget friendly high-end bookshelf speakers
The ELAC Debut 2.0 B6.2 are well-equipped, simple bookshelf speakers. They are an affordable option in the 6.5-inch speaker size Debut line.

The KEF LSX II is shaping up to be a winner

KEF LSX II LT speaker pair front
Harley Maranan / SoundGuys
Cap

If you’re an audiophile looking for the ultimate compact, all-in-one turntable speaker system, the KEF LSX II is a top contender that demands your attention. This stylish streaming system packs a punch in a sleek, compact package, offering convenience and musicality that few rivals can match.

Why do we recommend the KEF LSX II? These speakers aren’t just a pretty face; they deliver an exceptional audio experience that will make your vinyl collection sing. KEF’s innovative UniQ driver technology produces a refined, expressive sound with a spacious soundstage and natural warmth that’s simply inviting.

The LSX II’s design is also a feast for the eyes. Available in eye-catching colors like Olive Green, Cobalt Blue, and Lava Red (in addition to classic shades), these speakers will undoubtedly add a touch of personality to your listening space.

But it’s the LSX II’s versatility that truly sets it apart. With an integrated amplifier, network streamer, and Bluetooth receiver, you can enjoy your vinyl records, stream music from popular services, or connect to your TV via HDMI ARC — all without the need for additional components. And with support for high-resolution audio formats, you can rest assured that your music will sound its best.

While our full review of the KEF LSX II is forthcoming, it’s clear that these speakers are a worthy contender for the top spot in the turntable speaker category, offering a rare blend of performance, design, and convenience that’s hard to beat.

KEF LSX IIKEF LSX II
KEF LSX II
Awesome connectivity • Luxurious design • Hi-res audio
MSRP: $999.99

The best turntable speakers: Notable mentions

A woman rests on the floor as she reads while listening to the Bowers & Wilkins 606 S2 bookshelf speakers.
Bowers & Wilkins
  • DALI Spektor 2 ($599 at Amazon): If you like the idea of passive speakers similar to the ELAC Debut 2.0 B6.2 but want an alternative that’s also well-priced.
  • Edifier R1280T ($119 at Amazon): This is a minimal set of active powered speakers. And for the extra few bucks, the R1280DB has more features.
  • Edifier S1000W: ($449 at Amazon): These powered speakers have a lot of low-end emphasis and plenty of connectivity. You will still need a preamp solution for your record player, but you can plug in plenty besides a turntable. Plus, there’s Wi-Fi and Bluetooth, and it can also do some smart home stuff. It’s not for audiophiles, but it is convenient for most people.
  • ELAC Debut 2.0 5.2 ($109.99 at Amazon): The smaller sibling of the ELAC Debut 6.2 is for people a little short of space. You’ll get less bass with the smaller woofer, but they still sound good with a competitive price tag.
  • Kanto YU4: (): This is the smaller version of the Kanto YU6. You can anticipate similar connectivity with reduced bass response and an even more apartment-friendly size.
  • KEF Q150 ($699 at Amazon): This is your cheapest (though by no means, a cheap) entry into KEF’s universe of speakers. These stylish bookshelf speakers might not have anything in the way of extra connectivity, but they sound good.
  • Klipsch The Fives ($499 at Amazon): When a company has the confidence to put “the” in front of a name, it denotes significance. They look good and have the Klipsch sound because of the high-frequency emphasis. They also hook up to basically anything.
  • Paradigm Monitor SE Atom:($799 at Apple): The Canadian brand offers solid value on these passive speakers, which have a hint of treble emphasis and great sound quality for a low price.
  • Revel Concerta2 M16 ($699 at Apple): At first glance, you might think this is a surprisingly budget-friendly pick until you notice perhaps that the price is for a single speaker and not a pair. If sticker shock isn’t a problem, you’ll get some excellent sound quality and finish with these passive speakers.
  • Sonos Era 300 ($449 at Sonos): The Sonos Era 300 is a premium-quality home speaker designed to create immersive audio that sounds good from every angle. Its Dolby Atmos compatibility might raise the price tag a bit, but it makes this a great alternative to or addition to a surround sound system, such as listening to music with your record player.

What you should know before buying turntable speakers

Bookshelf or floor-standing speakers?

A pair of speakers flank a turntable in heavily decorated living room.
It might look good, but you should not place your speakers on the same platform as your turntable to avoid added noise.

Essentially, two main categories of loudspeakers dictate the size of the cabinet. The size difference is fairly self-evident. In a world with increasingly small tech (except maybe phablets), considering tall, floor-standing speakers might seem odd or even indulgent. However, the other type, typically called bookshelf speakers, usually sit on dedicated stands. Bookshelf speakers don’t necessarily belong on shelves. Keeping your speakers on the same shelf as your turntable tends to create more vibration that feeds back from the speakers into the turntable and then back out the speakers in the form of resonant noise.

Floor-standing speakers generally offer the advantage of improved bass, and they’re self-contained, requiring no extra stands. They’re pretty large, which is the apparent disadvantage (or advantage, depending on your priorities), and more expensive. As a result, most people go with bookshelf speakers and live with reduced bass or overall output level. Check out the notable mentions section if you want floor-standing speakers for your turntable.

What’s the difference between active and passive speakers?

The rear of both of the Fluance Ai40 speakers.
The back of each speaker houses two binding posts to connect the included 18-gauge wire. The active speaker also has the RCA inputs and a Bluetooth pairing button.

Another consideration is the difference between active-powered and passive (unpowered) speakers—the easiest way to tell which is which is to check if it plugs into the wall. Active speakers arrive self-powered with a power cord. These do not require an external amplifier to push the signal at a usable volume, which passive speakers will need. With passive speakers, you can match whatever amplifier you want, further customizing your experience. You may already own an amplifier, especially if you have a home theater, in which case it’s not uncommon to use that amplifier with turntable speakers for your record collection.

The downside to this all-in-one home theater scenario is that not every amplifier has the correct input for a turntable, or you may not want everything in the same room. Active-powered speakers are great for small spaces where you don’t want to deal with the extra cabling or an amplifier. There’s more to know about how speakers work. With that said, the price range is vast, and there’s a speaker out there for every vinyl lover’s budget.

Types of connections on turntable speakers

The back panel of the Kanto TUK with its many ports.
The back of this Kanto TUK speaker shows a ground wire for a record player, RCA connections, optical and USB inputs, plus a sub-output.

Make sure that your particular setup is compatible with the speakers you purchase. Passive speakers connect to your turntable via speaker wires from the amplifier’s output. If you have active-powered speakers, the cables will connect to the turntable (with built-in preamp) or standalone preamp.

While newer turntables like the Audio-Technica AT-LP120XUSB have Bluetooth capability, you can’t harness that without Bluetooth speakers, like the budget-friendly Edifier R1280DB or most Kanto speakers. Some active speakers like the Kanto SYD, YU, and TUK series provide grounding for your turntable, eliminating the need for a preamp (although they can also work with one). Meanwhile, the excellent-sounding ELAC Debut 2.0 B6.2 supplies a pretty minimal speaker connection only, leaving the frills to the other components of your system.

A lack of connections does not indicate that one model is of worse quality than another, but it can limit or direct how you set up your turntable system. Take stock of what you already own to see what else you need in a speaker.

Sounds like a lot of work. Does analog sound better than digital?

A vinyl record with a label and producer listed on the front; essential information for those looking how to find new music.
Just because it’s analog doesn’t mean it’s inherently better.

In a word, nope. Don’t run away yet! Vinyl sounds different than digital, not better. To many people, vinyl sounds better than overly compressed digital music. Around the time that producers switched to digital, they also began cranking their dynamic compressors to kill dynamic range. It turns out, however, that listeners tend to prefer their quiet sounds to be quieter than their loud sounds. In the early days of digital recording up until about 15 years ago, there were a lot of digital recordings that were either mixed and poorly mastered (read: too loudly) or recorded using relatively rudimentary analog-to-digital audio converters.

Remember those early digitally remastered CDs that somehow choked the life out of classic albums? Yeah, it’s not that digital is worse, but early digital was worse because it was often poorly employed.

The Ortofon 2M red turntable cartridge on a spinning record.
Ortofon The Ortofon 2M Red is a high-quality cartridge.

Manufacturers record most new vinyl records digitally, so listening to your digitally recorded vinyl record won’t unlock some mysterious analog nirvana — at least not due to some superior objective sound quality. After all, it had to be converted to analog via a mastering process involving (most likely) digital-to-analog conversion. At best, you might enjoy the vinyl master a little more because the compression is turned down, or your turntable setup is more favorable to your taste.

If an album was originally recorded digitally, having it on vinyl doesn't make it sound inherently better.

With vinyl records, you get a physical relationship with music. Sometimes, that means slowing down and paying better attention, so maybe you notice things you wouldn’t otherwise because you have to get up to flip over the record, or you need to lift the tonearm to skip a song you don’t like. To many, these are inconveniences, and they sort of are. The occasional pop or hiss from bargain bin records is charming, but you can’t really argue it’s better sound quality when it’s clearly degraded. Some records haven’t ever made it to a digital format, and that’s often reason enough to invest in a turntable with dedicated speakers.

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Every product that comes our way undergoes rigorous, objective testing.

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We do not conduct paid reviews. Everything we recommend is because our objective measurements and subjective experiences have made us feel strongly about a product. We want you to be happy with your purchase or, at the very least, close out of this tab, knowing more about the inner workings of audio.

Frequently asked questions about the best turntable speakers

No, although it can be more fun. Check out our analysis and explanation as to why.

Vinyl, being an analog media, requires cleaning and care. That’s especially true if you just found a bunch at a thrift shop where they’ve been ignored and probably not cared for. So, first, try getting a brush to remove debris and static. Next, check if your speaker placement follows the guidelines the manufacturer sets, such as adequate distance from the wall. Ensure your turntable’s cartridge isn’t dull and makes contact with the vinyl record without too much or too little weight. Check the speed (on turntables that have adjustable speeds) because the wrong speed isn’t going to sound right.

Sure, you can use studio monitors as your turntable speakers. Remember that you’ll still need a preamp either in the turntable itself or as a separate outboard piece of gear, and check whether your monitors are active or passive, too. The downside (or upside, depending on your perspective) of using studio monitors is that these are tuned for flatter frequency responses than your typical hi-fi speaker and are designed to show deficiencies in a track rather than highlight the best aspects. They also cost more money on average to get a good-sounding pair than some of our picks, and they might not sound as pleasing to your ears.

Well, it’s not just about the turntable. While a pricier turntable might offer better build quality and precision, the sound quality is a dance between the turntable, cartridge, speakers, and even the vinyl itself. The DALI Oberon 1, for instance, isn’t the most expensive out there, but it sure does sound great. So, while a high-end turntable can elevate your listening experience, it’s the whole ensemble that brings the magic.

Vinyls need a bit of extra pampering. First off, those records need a good brushing to shake off any debris and static. Found them at a thrift shop? They might’ve been neglected, so show them some love. Also, check your speaker placement. Are they too close to the wall? And remember to check the turntable’s cartridge. It shouldn’t wear out too much or press too hard on your precious vinyl. Lastly, double-check the speed to ensure they aren’t turning too fast or too slow.

Now, this article doesn’t dive deep into the mastering intricacies, but we will say vinyl has its quirks. Unlike digital formats, where loudness wars are all the rage, vinyl requires a more delicate touch. Too loud, and you risk distortion, especially in those bass-heavy tracks. Remember, vinyl is all about that warm, organic sound, so mastering should respect its unique character.

This is just one of those eternal debates. Vinyl has a certain charm, and some folks argue that vinyl captures the warmth and nuances of music that digital formats sometimes miss, especially with those early digital recordings that didn’t do justice to classic albums. But it’s not just about sound. Vinyl offers a tangible, physical relationship with music. Flipping records, the occasional pops and hisses, the ritual of it all — it’s an experience. So, while it’s not necessarily “better,” it’s definitely different, and for many, it’s a nostalgic and immersive journey.

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