What are the Best Speakers for Vinyl and Turntables?March 09, 2017
Vinyl is back, with a vengeance. Sales have risen 30% over the last 10 years and are at their highest level since 1988. The amount of revenue generated from vinyl album sales in 2015 surpassed that generated from ads on free streaming services such as Spotify and YouTube, says Fortune*.
Audiophiles who have experience with vinyl know how much a record player benefits from a great pair of speakers, maybe more so than with any other format. Vinyl records have a “warmth” and organic sound that can’t be replicated by any other music playback medium. You also get the physical experience of placing a record on a turntable and the experience of listening to an entire album all the way through, from start to finish, that is lost on so many of the digital formats.
In many ways, listening to vinyl is as close to “live” as it gets and the closest you can get to “being there” with a musician. Warmth, refinement, accuracy, musicality, faithfulness to the source content and crystal clear imaging and soundstaging: that's how vinyl playback can send shivers down your spine.
SVS speakers convey all the emotional and artistic details without sacrificing low frequency extension and powerful dynamics, so you can push them to concert level volumes and still experience all the nuance and feeling like the artist intended.
Choosing the Best Speakers for Turntables
Vinyl is typically enjoyed in a two-channel (or stereo) set-up with front main speakers and sometimes a subwoofer handling low frequency output.
To choose the best speakers for turntables, you must first consider and understand what allows a speaker to powerfully and accurately convey the warmth and unique sound qualities of vinyl.
Since all genres of music are now available on vinyl, it helps to understand how each type of music challenges a speaker, and more importantly, the design elements needed to meet those challenge:
- The quick bass-lines and fast lyrics of hip hop require deep low frequency extension, tight, accurate frequency response and pinpoint speed in transients.
- The heavy electric guitars and synth of rock and EDM need to sound crisp and clear, even when played at reference volumes.
- Classical music presents a wide range of instrumentals with challenging high and low frequencies that require excellent dynamic range and natural voicing.
Each type of music opens a specific question, or series of questions, to the speaker.
Designing a Speaker for Vinyl
A well-designed speaker for vinyl rises to the challenge because it's designed with acoustic properties that lend themselves to all music formats and genres. This has as much to do with the manufacturer’s design philosophy as it does the materials used to construct the speakers. A truly great speaker is one that never gets in the way. You’re so immersed in the content that you essentially forget you’re even listening to speakers.
Achieving this level of excellence is not easy. The building of a great speaker involves:
- Painstaking theoretical design – Extensive CAD renderings based on acoustic research and prototyping to design of the perfect speaker “on paper” before working model is created.
- Use of high quality materials and fabrication techniques - Drivers with high stiffness to mass ratio, precision tuned crossovers with and sonically inert cabinets
- Anechoic testing – Exhaustive measurements taken in acoustically perfect tuning environment to ensure theoretical performance matches up with actual output.
- Real-world listening/testing – Painstaking process of critical listening to all kinds of music and movies in real world environments and going back to anechoic chamber to achieve ideal performance.
- Final voicing – Comparing and matching individual speakers to ensure perfect tonal balance and seamless transitions between each speaker.
All the design elements above lead to a final result of pinpoint accurate speakers with forceful dynamic output and sound quality so close to the real thing, it’s like an epiphany.
At SVS, we have a few different speaker choices that can do vinyl justice.
Best Speakers for Record Players and Vinyl Music
1. Prime Satellite
The SVS Prime Satellite speakers are perfect if you’re looking for a compact and affordable speaker for your turntable that also offers installation flexibility and produces a convincing and deceptively huge soundstage.
2. Prime Bookshelf
SVS Prime Bookshelf speakers offer deeper bass and greater dynamic range than satellites and are easy to place on or into almost any type of furniture without affecting sound quality. They’re also ideal for nearfield turntable listening and generally don’t require floor space unless you’re using speaker stands.
3. Ultra Bookshelf
The SVS Ultra Bookshelf speakers also offer amazing sound for the price and produce effortless deep bass extension with stunning output and dynamics and pinpoint accuracy. They’re ideal for bigger rooms and people want a tower speaker experience without requiring floor space.
4. Prime Tower
For bigger rooms or for those who really like to crank it up, the full range SVS Prime Tower speakers provide a vinyl music experience with amazing realism by creating a massive soundstage with full dynamics and rendering every note with pitch perfect accuracy.
Have questions about choosing the perfect gear to complement your new turntable or the best speakers for vinyl? Ask in the comments.