If you're looking for the best turntable speakers, you’ve come to the right place. With vinyl exploding in popularity (again) in recent years, new enthusiasts are joining by the day, and if you’re just starting out on this journey, you’ll want to make sure you’re getting the best sound for your setup, whatever your budget.
Deciding on the best turntable speakers can, however, be a rather tricky endeavour. There are hundreds of options to choose from, ranging from the wallet-friendly to eye-wateringly expensive, with different connectivity options and features to boot.
So we've narrowed it down, choosing not only some of the best bookshelf speakers (the traditional option to pair with the best record players), but also some huge freestanding speakers for serious heft, and even a very clever speaker that doubles as furniture to stand your turntable on. Some of the best wireless speakers make an appearance here – they have to be active, by their nature, making them a prime candidate for a turntable too!
But before we jump straight into our picks, let’s go over the first decision you’ll need to make: whether or not you want a pair of active or passive speakers.
Best turntable speakers: active or passive?
Active speakers have built-in amplifiers, while passive ones don’t. Amplifiers are the component that powers the speakers and lets them actually play sounds, so if you go for passive speakers, you’ll need to buy a separate amplifier for your turntable to connect to before the speakers can work.
As a result, active speakers are the most efficient option for most people if you're starting your setup from scratch – especially if you're short on space. Fitting a turntable, amp and speakers into a space can be a tough squeeze… but it's a lot easier if the amp is built right into the speakers! It means you can plug your turntable straight into the speakers and go (as long as the turntable has a built-in phono stage).
But there is a catch — because active speakers have extra amplifier components, they’re naturally more expensive than passive speakers, and a bit heavier and bulkier.
Passive speakers, on the other hand, can offer incredible sound for less, and don’t have any unnecessary heft. If you already have an amp available, that makes them the best value – though if you don't, the amp is an additional expense. However, most audiophiles and enthusiasts prefer this approach as they can mix, match, and upgrade their speakers and amplifiers separately, tweaking things to their exact liking.
There’s no right choice, but if you’re just starting out on your turntable journey, the simplified active approach is a great option. With that covered, it’s time to crack on with our top pick of the best turntable speakers…
What are the best turntable speakers in 2022?
The active turntable speakers for most people is the Q Acoustics M20 HD. The built-in amp means you don’t need to buy anything extra, and they sound incredible, despite being at the more affordable end of the scale.
Rammed with connectivity options, they’ll comfortably accommodate everything from your turntable to a PC or TV, and there's wireless streaming over Bluetooth to boot. While they’re larger than some rivals, they should still easily fit into most spaces (and take up less space than an amp!), and are an ideal choice if you want impressive sound from multiple sources.
When it comes to passive speakers, for most people starting out we'd recommend the Dali Spektor 2 bookshelf speakers as a truly wonderful balance of price and sound quality, giving you quite a high ceiling of sound quality to work with – you won't need to upgrade until you're getting serious.
Or if you want to go straight in with a higher-quality option, the Bowers & Wilkins 606 S2 Anniversary Edition are simply fantastic – an impeccable set of speakers from a hi-fi legend, for a thoroughly reasonable price.
Best bookshelf speakers 2022: the list
The M20 HDs offer superb value for money, blending exceptional sound with convenient connectivity options, and the fact that they have a built-in amplifier makes them beginner-friendly too. Despite having 'wireless' in the name, you’ll still need to connect them to each other with a cable, and then plug one in for power, but you can cleverly choose whether the powered speaker is the left or the right channel, making placement and setup a breeze.
On the business end, you’ll find plenty of connectivity options, with RCA connections for your turntable, an optical port, a subwoofer output, 3.5mm line-in, and USB audio for hassle-free PC connectivity, along with aptX HD Bluetooth for wireless streaming from devices like smartphones (or, indeed, Bluetooth turntables). The soundscape is crisp, clear, and balanced from all sources, with surprisingly powerful (and adjustable) bass, despite the lack of a dedicated external sub.
If you’re happy with the sole black colour option (and aren’t fussed about the lack of Wi-Fi streaming options like Spotify Connect or AirPlay 2) then there’s no better choice for most people, especially if you plan on hooking up more than just your turntable. Plug an Alexa-powered device like the Echo Dot into the line-in port, and you’ve got instant smart features too, making it even more versatile. Here's our full Q Acoustic M20 HD Wireless review.
Dali’s Spektor 2 speakers are one of those rare, near-faultless products that leave little to be desired. For this price, you’re unlikely to find better-sounding speakers. Full-bodied with incredible balance, there’s not a bass note or vocal out of place in any genre you care to listen to, with every component coming together like a deliberately and perfectly cooked ingredient in a Michelin star meal.
Featuring Dali’s ultralight signature wood fibre cones for an incredibly quick response, they’ll need to be paired with a separate amplifier, but the results will be worth it. You don’t need to blow your wallet open on a crazy amplifier to enjoy them either, with plenty of mid-range and budget options that can really make them sing.
While their plain, straight-edged rectangular styling might be a little minimal for some tastes, removing the speaker grille reveals the tweeter and wood fibre diagram in all their glory. With a classy black, white or natural wood finish, they look the part too, and will make a perfect accompaniment to any turntable. Here's our full Dali Spektor 2 review.
The price of the Wharfedale Diamond 12.3 is starting to push towards enthusiast territory, but are still represent really attractive value if you're going to go big. Standing at just under one metre tall, these aren’t speakers for small spaces. Their floorstanding form factor does, however, provide an opportunity to make a design feature of them, helped by their beautifully minimal and classy walnut finish.
If you do have the right environment, along with a dedicated amplifier to power them, you’re in for a treat. Well-balanced and bursting with detail, there’s nothing out of place in their soundscape, with highs, mids and lows all placed perfectly. Unlike some other speakers that prefer to have the volume cranked up to sound their best, these perform well at lower volumes to without sacrificing on quality – ideal for late-night listening without disturbing the neighbours.
These are particularly well suited to vinyl too, providing a wonderful warmth and refined feel, without over-amplifying any poor sources either. If you’ve got the space and budget, you won’t be disappointed.
Bowers & Wilkins’ 606 S2 Anniversary Edition speakers immediately catch your eye thanks to the company’s iconic tweeter-on-top design. More than just a pretty face, this design provides better harmonics and less distortion than more basic designs, with the end result being bucketloads of clarity.
The speakers borrow components such as upgraded neodymium magnets from the company’s elite 700 series speakers, and you’ll particularly enjoy them if your vinyl collection features albums with an emphasis on vocals. The built-in Continuum woofer shines with bringing singers’ voices to life, bolstered by tight, balanced bass, and you can mount them on stands on either side of your turntable setup for a bolder statement.
They’ll work just as well on a table too, though they are a little deep which is worth bearing in mind. You’ll have to snap up an amp to add to their cost, but if you're looking for a setup that will last you for years without any tweaking, this is the place to start.
Younger and even middle-aged readers might not be familiar with the radiogram – a piece of furniture from yesteryear that combined a radio and a record player, blending the latest technology of the era with quality wooden craftsmanship. Enter the Ruark R7 Mk3 – a beautiful modern homage slathered in gorgeous wooden finishes with slender yet sturdy modern legs to complete the look.
Producing exceptional sound for an all-in-one package, it’ll comfortably do justice to your vinyl collection without breaking a sweat. And you can simply sit your record player on top, making it a beautifully minimalist setup, with the smallest amount of cabling and arranging to manage.
It’s got a plethora of other features too, including a built-in DAB radio, CD player (yes, really), Bluetooth aptX HD for quality streaming from your phone, Internet Radio, and Spotify Connect for Wi-Fi streaming. Coupled with a beautiful circular remote with a clever rotary control dial, and you’re paying for a veritable work of functional art that will complement any turntable setup, in any room. We’re partial to the walnut finish ourselves, but the grey version offers a sleek modern look too.
KEF’s LS50 Meta speakers are firmly in audiophile territory, especially when you consider the cost for a separate amplifier of equivalent quality to power it, too. Cost aside, these are some incredible-looking speakers, ditching the classic straight boxy lines for futuristic curves and a jaw dropping range of colours including Royal Blue and Titanium Grey, the latter of which has a beautiful red accent colour.
Beyond their looks performance is exceptional, with incredibly clear sound that serves up nuanced details in your vinyls that you’ll likely have never noticed before. This performance (and, no doubt, expense) is partly thanks to KEF’s Metamaterial Absorption Technology (MAT) material, which is designed to absorb 99% of unwanted soundwaves from the rear of the tweeter, ensuring that the vibrations created by the different drivers don't interfere with each other, leaving the most pure sound reproduction to actually reach your ears. It’s some clever stuff, and the results speak (or sing, or strum) for themselves.
For a turntable, we might suggest the Wood Edition of Naim’s Mu-so 2nd Gen all-in-one (though other finishes are available). Its combination of a premium finished metal grille, natural wood and elegant touchscreen controls lend it a futuristic look while remaining classically stylish, and it’s an eye-catching conversation piece you’ll be proud to display alongside your coveted turntable of choice – they'll look especially good alongside each other.
Being an active affair, its higher price tag is well justified, especially as its six drivers combined provide a max total of 450W of power. Naturally this results in satsifyingly loud, yet perfectly-defined, sound that will bring your vinyl collection to life, with some impressive bass response for its soundbar-like form factor. Its design might provide a tighter soundscape than some might like, as it obviously won’t be able to replicate the feel of a dedicated stereo setup. We've never found that a limitation when it sounds this good, though.
It’s versatile, too, with an HDMI ARC port for connecting to your TV, along with optical and Bluetooth connectivity options, plus a bunch of Wi-Fi streaming options for additional flexibility too, including AirPlay 2, Spotify Connect, and Chromecast. You’ll need to use a 2x RCA to 3.5mm connector for hooking up your turntable.
What to look for in the best turntable speakers
The most important thing you need to decide is whether or not you want a passive or active speaker. The latter will require the purchase of an additional amp to power everything, which will obviously raise the cost, though you can still keep costs reasonable. Just make sure you keep an eye on the max output of any passive speakers you go for, as you’ll need an amp powerful enough to match them.
Active speakers are a great choice for those looking for a hassle-free life, though, especially if you want multiple connectivity and wireless streaming options all in one. Ideally, your active speakers will have an RCA input, since that's what phono stages (the thing that takes a turntable's signals and makes it usable for an amp) tend to use. And at this point, we should also mention that your turntable would ideally have a built-in phono stage – most entry-level or mid-range models do. If you have one that doesn't, you can buy an external one.
Once you’ve decided on your approach, it’s time to set a budget, and ideally, listen to some options in person if you can, as everyone’s preferences will be different. If you want to bolster your setup further, you can look into getting some stands for bookshelf-style speakers too, though that’s obviously an additional cost. There are plenty of third-party offerings that are cheaper than the official ones that can work just as well, if you’d rather spend the money elsewhere. Here's our full Naim Mu-so 2nd Gen review.