Whether you've been building your vinyl collection for years or you’re a hipster new to the vinyl scene, record players unite all walks of life through high-quality music. In this modern era of streaming apps and digital downloads, there are crucial musical elements that can get lost along the way. Vinyl is all about maintaining the authentic sound that the band or producers intended, upholding the integrity of the recording while also transporting you to a simpler time.
Every element of your turntable setup is critical in getting that perfect sound. This is especially true for the speaker system that you select. (If you asked yourself, “Do record players need speakers?” the answer is yes, they do!) All types of speakers have their unique advantages, and it doesn’t end with audio clarity. Be sure to make a checklist of what you want, with everything from style to technological features. When selecting your ideal speaker, it pays off to be picky.
Types of Speakers
The most basic question that you should ask when choosing the best speaker for you is which model will suit your musical needs. For more budget-conscious people, you want to know how much do speakers cost. Let’s first learn more about the three types of speakers - mid-range, tweeter, and subwoofer.
- Mid-range – These speakers are a perfect option for first-time buyers or anyone looking for a single speaker. Mid-range speakers for turntable are a great base for your speaker system.
- Tweeter – Tweeter speakers, especially silk dome tweeter speakers, are a great add-on, generally smaller than mid-range, and pick up the higher end of the frequency spectrum.
- Subwoofer – According to Merriam-Webster, a subwoofer is a “loudspeaker responsive only to the lowest acoustic frequencies.” Subwoofers produce a strong vibration and make for a better sound all around. They are essential to bass-heavy music.
Once you know what type of speakers you want, you can start thinking about if you wish to have a Bluetooth speaker system.
In modern record player speakers, Bluetooth capabilities are becoming the norm. Bluetooth allows your turntable to link up with your speaker cord-free, making setup a bit easier. It can also be more aesthetically pleasing depending on your style or more functional, for example wireless outdoor speakers. However, some audiophiles feel that wireless speakers can negatively impact sound quality. When deciding if you wish to go with Bluetooth, it’s essential to consider every element of your possible turntable setups.
If you’re looking for speakers to connect with a turntable that you already own, find out if your turntable has Bluetooth capabilities. If not, you will need to use an auxiliary cord to connect the turntable to the speakers regardless. Also, integrated “suitcase” setups have the turntable and speakers all in one, which takes Bluetooth out of the equation.
Things to Consider
Bluetooth is becoming a given in new technology, but there are pros and cons to look at before making the decision.
- On the one hand, Bluetooth removes the need to deal with detangling and hiding cords. It takes away a lot of hassle and looks sleek and polished.
- Bluetooth also pairs your vinyl turntable to the speaker with the touch of a button, making setup a breeze.
- Another plus is that Bluetooth speakers are often low power consumers so that they can run on batteries.
However, an audiophile may argue that the negatives of Bluetooth aren’t worth the switch.
- Bluetooth can take away sound quality, especially with music that requires higher wattage. If your goal is to blast the subwoofer with heavy bass, you might want to reconsider Bluetooth.
- The connection diminishes with distance, so your turntable and speakers can’t be more than 30 feet apart. It all depends on how you plan to set up your sound system.
- Bluetooth is a new technology that some might argue conflicts with the draw of owning a record player. For vinyl enthusiasts who want an exact replication of the old reliable system, cords are just another part of the charm.
Once you’ve made your decision about Bluetooth, you can get to the fun part: choosing the speaker that fits your aesthetic and lifestyle. There are many different types of speakers, so again, make sure to shop around and find the one that works best for you.
If you plan to use your record player speakers outdoors, some models protect against the elements without sacrificing that signature record player quality.
A critical element of outdoor speakers is their ability to avoid water damage, whether that be from rain or a splash in the pool.
- Pool speakers like this adorable floating duck are a perfect summertime vibe, bringing the music you love right to the center of the party with a playful touch. This model has “color-changing LED lights and a built-in rechargeable battery.” Let the good times float!
- There are also models like this speaker cooler that integrate the speaker experience with utility. It’s a functional cooler that plays your tunes wherever and whenever. Chances are you’ll already be bringing a speaker and cooler to the beach, so why not have them all in one?
If you are looking for a durable speaker that’s big enough to bump but easy to bring on the go, chances are you will love this rolling party speaker. Alternatively, there are audio furniture options for those who want built in speakers within their furniture rather than having a full AV cabinet.
- On wheels
- 30 Watts of Stereo Sound
- Built-in Subwoofer
- FM radio and USB port
- Microphone/ guitar jack
Whether it be impromptu karaoke or to just play music rolling down the street, this portable party speaker is guaranteed to be the star of the show.
Some models also take advantage of the great outdoors by utilizing solar power. For example, these rock speakers are designed to blend into your outdoor spaces and run on sunlight. The solar-powered battery in this unit lasts “up to 50 hours and fully recharges in 6 hours.” Models like this allow you to curate the atmosphere you want without the look of bulky speakers.
Camouflaging your speakers is a great way to elevate your space tastefully and impressively. Impress your guests by marrying high-quality sound and design with speakers that pose as something else entirely.
When creating your entertainment space, consider furniture that already has your speakers built-in.
- Keep it simple – If you want something that doesn’t take up too much room, take a look at audio furniture models like this wood speaker stand. Easy to set up and pleasing to look at, this speaker is the perfect minimalist touch that doubles as a side table. Complete with Bluetooth capabilities, an auxiliary cord, and USB ports, it’s got everything you need and nothing you don’t.
- Classic, meet modern – If you are looking for more of a centerpiece, look no further than this impressive record holder. Its design has a classic wooden finish and storage space for records while taking full advantage of modern technology. It has a subwoofer, Bluetooth, and remote control. These kinds of pieces aren’t just functional. They make a statement!
Another way that you can sneak speakers into your space under the radar is through décor.
- Holiday-style string lights are an increasingly popular design element. They’re super easy to install and brighten up the place. Now, you can get them with speakers. These vary from basic white string lights to more decorative options like these flamingo lights.
- Ever wanted a lava lamp? Well, now you can get one with a speaker built right in. These groovy speakers have soothing, slow-moving bubbles to set the tone for your music space.
Portable Record Player Suitcase
Suitcase speakers are just what they sound like: a box that has all your musical needs packed inside. These systems include the turntable and the speakers. Suitcases are an excellent option for people new to the world of record players because you don’t have to buy separate units and you can take it anywhere! However, sound quality can suffer.
- Models like this suitcase record player with speakers have a portable design and come complete with Bluetooth, Aux-in jack, and 3-speed belt-driven turntable. You can also plug an external speaker into it with the RCA Aux-in.
One of the most attractive qualities a turntable has is its connection to the past. Transport your space back in time with speakers designed with vintage style in mind.
- Check out this desktop Jukebox straight out of a 50’s Diner, complete with CD player and Bluetooth capabilities. Just imagine playing some hound dog music in a poodle skirt with the jukebox to match!
- Prefer the 80’s? Recreate the classic Say Anything scene with this boombox speaker perfect for serenading. It comes with a cassette player and AM/FM radio.
- Are you searching for a conversation piece that doubles as a blast from the past? Take a look at this gramophone speaker. This piece has a wood finish and comes with a touch screen and a built-in microphone.
- If you have a thing for analog clocks, try something like this analog clock stereo. It even has a functional alarm clock and snooze function!
Last but not least, for those of you who care more about the audio quality over everything else, the hi-fi speaker is right for you. It offers the highest quality production of sound without any noise or distortion. Pair it with a high quality turntable and you will be good to go.
When buying speakers, it is vital to know all your options. Owning a record player is all about slowing down and really appreciating the music you listen to. The record player speaker setup you have and the atmosphere you create only heightens that experience. Curate the entertainment space that checks every box off the list and gives you the ultimate record player experience. Once you’re ready, you can learn how to hook up a turntable to speakers.