The vinyl resurgence is well and truly upon us, with more and more audiophiles and casual listeners alike embracing the nostalgic record player by adding it to their home listening setup. This comeback means great turntables are sitting at more accessible price points for many people wanting a taste of music listening before the streaming age.
In the world of streaming, we have access to almost anything, but none of it feels like our own. Vinyl allows people to physically own and collect their favourite albums. This personal and immersive listening experience has once again become a firm fixture in many music lovers’ home setup.
Vinyl Record Player vs Streaming
Only you know what sounds best—after all, music listening on a whole is dictated by personal preferences and how the individual experiences the audio. However, to get a good sense of the full picture, it can be useful to understand where the experts stand in this common debate.
One big aspect of vinyl listening for audiophiles seems to be the physical act of putting the record on yourself and starting the audio. Building up a physical collection of records also seems to be a popular reason people enjoy vinyl music. The nostalgic, physical act of going to a record store to flick through the vinyls on offer can be very appealing.
In terms of audio quality, audiophiles seem to have the consensus that vinyl offers a truly unique, expressive quality to the sound. They often describe the music as more tangible, almost as though the musicians are right there in the room with you. Some believe there are subtleties in the music that only vinyl records can pick up on.
Yet on the other side of the debate, audiophiles that prefer digitally streaming music note the incredible advantage of portability. Having an almost endless library of music in your back pocket is unbeatable for some. Plus, streaming services cost much less than building up a collection of your favourite albums and spending time trying to track down some that are trickier to find.
Some audiophiles believe digital music can be just as nuanced as vinyl if mastered well. They prefer the crystal-clear quality that vinyl lacks due to distortion and noise that is common with records.
Importance of Having the Right Speakers
Speakers are an integral part of your turntable setup, so ensuring you’ve got the best equipment to enjoy your music collection is very important. Though some record players come with built-in speakers, you won’t be experiencing the full potential of your records without decent external speakers. Using your turntable’s internal speakers is only really best for intimate listening in smaller spaces.
If you’re looking to add external speakers to your listening setup it’s important to understand how they should be positioned to get the best sound quality. You could have the best speakers for vinyl on offer, but if they aren’t set up correctly you may as well have saved your money. Having additional external speakers like a subwoofer for vinyl can really boost the sound of your favourite music.
To get the optimum sound for your treasured record collection, you should first conduct some research into your brand of record player and what the consensus is on the best speakers for vinyl.
Powered bookshelf speakers are generally considered the type of speakers that are best suited to turntables. They work so well with record players because they are the simplest solution to achieving great sound quality from your turntable.
Their built-in amplifier means they are super quick to set up and don’t take up too much space. Their size is ideal for any music lover’s home set up as despite their compact size, they don’t compromise on audio quality. Floorstanding speakers can also offer excellent sound quality, but it's important to take into consideration that they require much more space.
Polk Audio Reserve R200 AE Anniversary Edition Bookshelf Speakers
Polk Audio Reserve R100 Bookshelf Speakers - Bonus $75 Cashback
Monitor Audio Bronze 100 Book Shelf Speakers
Monitor Audio Silver 100 7G Bookshelf Speakers
With these small speakers, most of them will be passive speakers that require a separate amplifier. The best choice of amplifier will depend on required inputs and also power requirements for your chosen speakers. Despite the name, bookshelf speakers don’t work well in tight spaces and achieve the best sound quality when playing into a more open space.
The brand you decide to go for should be selected based on quality componentry and matched to the space they are going to fill in your home. Some great bookshelf speaker brands including Monitor Audio, Polk Audio and Encel offer rich, detailed sound to any vinyl record.
Having a dedicated subwoofer for vinyl can be a great addition to your turntable set up if you want more out of your records, and want to experience all the low-end sounds and really feel the bass. Due to their smaller size, they don’t even take up that much space in your music set up.
Plus, with some brands like SVS sound offering subwoofers with in-app control, setup couldn't get any easier.
Subwoofers aren’t vital to start listening to your turntable, but they allow you to hear a greater range of sound and get the most out of your favourite vinyl records with deep bass—this is why they are often considered one of the best speakers for vinyl.