Powered Or Passive Speakers For Turntables?


People are always caught up in choosing between powered or passive speakers for turntables. For you to deliberate on which to choose, you sure know these two are different and work differently. Which should you go for then?

For turntables, only circumstances will determine whether a powered speaker is the best choice or a passive speaker. The major difference between these two is that powered speakers come with amplifiers found in their cabinets while passive speakers need a standalone amp. While a powered speaker can be connected to the turntable directly, an amplifier is needed between speakers and turntables for passive speakers. Let’s get to know each type of speaker very well before deciding on which suits us best.

Powered Speakers

These types of speakers have their amps built into the cabinet of the speaker. With the amp built into the speakers, these speakers can easily connect directly to different types of music sources like turntables themselves. The benefit that comes with powered speakers is that a separate amp is not quite needed which ends up saving money and space. Powered speakers are compact, easy to use, and offer high-quality value for their worths.

  • Affordable
  • Very compact
  • Easy usage
  • Not many options to choose from
  • Individual components can not be updated

Passive Speakers

Unlike powered speakers, passive speakers need an external amp or receiver to be driven by.  Passive speakers will not deliver any sound if connected directly to a turntable without a separate amp. This is because turntables provide weak music signals to drive a passive speaker. 

Passive speakers are of different types, some are very easy to drive and require little power to work effectively. These are passive speakers with high sensitivity. The sensitivity of speakers is measured in decibel per watt that is, dB/W. This is a measure of the speakers’ loudness each and every time a Watt of power is applied. Some speakers come with 87dB/W while some with 96dB/W, depending on the sensitivity.

  • There are many different options to choose from
  • Available in both expensive and affordable choice
  • You can also choose between floor-standing or bookshelf speakers.
  • Requires a separate receiver or amp
  • Need more space than powered speakers

Powered Or Passive Speakers?

When talking of affordability, powered speakers are less expensive because you do not have to spend more on amp combo. Powered speakers do not take up much of your space, they can easily fit into a small physical space. Their connections also come easily with easy-to-use components. You can consider powered speakers better than passive if these criteria are important to you.

However, powered speakers might seem more affordable, they do not offer a better sound quality like the combination of passive speaker and standalone amplifier. They can provide very good sound for their price but are not designed to provide high quality and audiophile-rated sound performance.

If you are interested in a budget-friendly speaker with good sound, powered speakers can be your best option. If however, you are interested in a high-end stereo setup with a turntable, passive speakers can be the best choice to opt for.

Powered Speakers For Turntable? Let’s Go!

For listeners who are not picky about sound quality, you can enjoy your vinyl records on a low-budget-powered speaker and still get an awesome sound experience. There are many powered speakers between the range of hundred to five hundred dollars that will deliver amazing audio performance without having to spend more on an amplifier.

For turntables, powered speakers are great if you are only interested in a minimal and simple vinyl setup. These speakers have many other great features like Bluetooth connectivity that allows for a wireless connection for music streaming from a PC or smartphone when vinyl records are not being spun.

Passive Speakers For Turntables? 

This can be your best option if you already have a separate receiver or amp. Moreso, passive speakers have several options to choose from in the high-end segments. There are not many audiophile-rated powered speakers on sale. 

Passive speakers with high sensitivity with a reasonable standalone amp are great for big rooms to get filling and consuming loud music. For audiophiles who are passionate about sound quality and performance, and do not mind the price of the speaker with an amp, then passive speakers are the best choice to opt for. 

Are Preamps Needed To Power Speakers With Turntable?

For turntables that do not come with a built-in preamp, a separate phono preamp is usually needed between the turntable and the powered speakers. However, there might be no need for this if there is a built-in preamp in the powered speaker. If a turntable is connected to powered speakers without a built-in preamp, the music volume would be extremely low. 

Can Powered Speakers be Connected to an Amplifier? 

Simply, powered speakers should not be connected to speakers terminals on an amp. A power-amplified signal should also not be applied to low-level inputs on powered speakers. If however, you have to connect a powered speaker to an amp, ensure the powered speaker is connected to a signal level line output on the amp. This will help the amplification circuitry in the amp to be bypassed.  

Can Passive Speakers Be Connected To A Turntable?

Also, passive speakers can not be connected directly to a turntable. The turntable has a low-level signal which is not strong enough to power passive speakers. There will be a need for an amplifier for a turntable to drive passive speakers.

Final Thoughts

Powered and passive speakers have been looked into and depending on your taste and choice, you can opt for either of these speakers. They have been discussed in detail together with their pros and cons, all you have to do is decide on which works for you best and easily make a choice.

Moreover, these two work differently with turntables, one with a separate standalone amp, and the other works directly with no separate amp. You can consider the available space you intended for these devices and their amount when making a choice.



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