What Are the Different Types of Turntable Speakers?

Turntable speakers are available in a variety of styles and sizes, each manufactured to suit specific consumer needs. Popular designs include large floor speakers, small bookshelf speakers, surround sound, in-wall, in-ceiling, wireless, and satellite/subwoofer speakers. As sound quality is a very subjective and personal choice, consumers generally select turntable speakers based upon listening preferences, not the actual source of the audio. There are some special considerations when it comes to turntables, however.

There are two different types of turntables: those that have a built-in preamp and those that don’t. Before sound can reach the speakers, the signal must pass through a power amp or stereo receiver. Choosing the right speakers for listening to vinyl depends on the power requirements of the amp. Most audio dealers sell stereo receivers and speakers as a matched set, which is often the best way to ensure optimal performance.

Floor-standing, or in-room speakers, are quite large and often the most expensive. Because this type of speaker comes enclosed in a speaker cabinet designed to produce superb sound quality, audiophiles generally agree that the extra cost is well worth the price. A good pair of floor-standing speakers will last for decades given the proper care, so an investment in higher-quality speakers pays for itself over time. Some floor models are also made especially for surround-sound stereo systems. Floor-standing speakers do take up a lot of room and need to be set at a distance from walls for the sound to properly expand, or “breathe.”

Consumers who are limited on space but still desire optimal audio quality may instead choose bookshelf speakers. These can be placed on a mantel or bookshelf, or on small speaker stands. While cheaper models don’t deliver much in terms of bass response, this is usually remedied with the purchase of asubwoofer. Higher-end bookshelf speakers may cost considerably more but can in some cases match or even outperform larger floor-standing speaker models.

Other options for music lovers who lack floor space are in-wall, on-wall, and in-ceiling turntable speakers. All are capable of delivering high quality sound, although installation can be more costly and complex. On-wall speakers are the simplest to install because they are mounted on a wall. In-wall speakers are enclosed within a wall and usually require professional installation. They are not recommended for renters or people who move often; they are permanent fixtures. In-ceiling speakers are mounted overhead and can be easily removed, but also may cost more to install.

Wireless and satellite/subwoofer combinations are possible alternatives for those who want compact design without the added expense or labor associated with in-wall, on-wall, or ceiling-mounted turntable speakers. Satellite speakers take up very little space and can be placed just about anywhere, and the subwoofer can be hidden away under a table. Wireless speakers have different power requirements than traditional hard-wired speakers but are desirable for their convenience and portability.
Outdoor speakers are designed to withstand the elements while providing consumers the flexibility of being able to listen to their records while working in the yard or relaxing poolside. These also usually require professional installation if they are to be used permanently, or they can be rented for special events such as weddings or garden parties.