Putting together the proper home audio setup takes some proper planning, and with technology always advancing, it sometimes requires reevaluation every few years or so. Whether you’re looking for a passive set of speakers for a component stereo setup with a turntable and receiver, or if you simply need some good wireless speakers to stream music from your phone or computer, you’ll still want the best sounding speakers out there for the price. There’s a lot to consider: sound reproduction, materials, durability, size, aesthetics. Ultimately, the principles for what make a good speaker now aren’t that different from 30, 40, or 50 years ago, they’re just more versatile now. We’ve assembled a roundup of the best speakers of 2023, in both wired and wireless options, for listening on vinyl or digital.
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Best Wired Speakers
I’ve personally been using the Jamo S 807 freestanding speakers for a couple years now, which—in stylish walnut exterior—look as great as they sound. They’re hefty and durable, with no need for additional stand—and with their tall, narrow design leave a small footprint. The S 807 speakers feature incredible acoustic quality, including Dolby Atmos compatibility for the serious audiophiles. They offer a great balance of high and low end, and make for an excellent addition to your living room or listening lounge—in my case, both. Jamo
Sony’s SSCS3 floor-standing speakers are an economical choice for a bigger impact home sound system. They feature Hi-Res Audio and are Dolby Atmos enabled, optimized for a home theater or audio system setup. Their 3/4-inch super tweeter and 1-inch tweeter provide high-accuracy high-end frequencies, while the dual 5.12-inch woofers offer deeper bass and midrange sounds. While each speaker is sold individually, the combined cost still makes this an attractive option for an expansive listening environment on a budget. Sony
Pro-Ject Speaker Box 5
Pro-Ject is a major name in record players, but the company also designs speakers just as aesthetically and functionally designed as the turntables they’ve made their name on. The Speaker Box 5 is a great pair of audiophile passive speakers to add to your hi-fi setup at home, at a particularly accessible price. Since they’re passive, they do require an external amplifier, which makes them an attractive option for an indoor listening lounge or home theater rather than for gaming or for work, per se, but that’s why we listen to vinyl, right? To slow down a little and hear the needle hit the groove—which sounds spectacular on these, thanks to its 10-150W RMS power, offering crisper and less distorted bass and an overall outstanding depth of sound.
Klipsch is a brand with a long track record in audio—more than 75 years, in fact, and they’re still among the best on the market. The R-800F is a fantastic mid-price choice for home theater and stereo sound, aesthetically refined and well crafted with an emphasis on a superb sonic experience. They’re packaged in attractive woodgrain vinyl cabinets, designed to reduce vibration, with 90×90-degree Tractrix horn for crisp, natural sound, and linear travel suspension aluminum tweeters crafted to minimize distortion. Plus they’re Dolby Atmos compatible if you want to really go wild.
KLH Model Three
KLH’s floorstanding speakers are some of the best you can find for the experience of listening to vinyl, and the Model Three offers a more compact and budget-friendly alternative to the Model Five—which itself is a great option for those with a little more to spend. But there’s still plenty of power in the Model Threes, which support a peak of up to 600 watts(!). Its acoustic suspension design is engineered for better low end response and the acoustic balance control allows you to tailor the listening experience to your environment. Whatever the space, they’re going to sound amazing. Note that the speakers are sold individually, rather than as a pair.
A high-end option for serious audiophiles, Wharfedale’s Linton speakers are a reproduction of a classic 1965 design from the legacy hi-fi brand. Updated with contemporary materials—like its kevlar cones and high-flux ferrite magnet—the Linton speakers are part of the Heritage series, building upon a classic design with some modern touches. Their eight-inch bass driver and one-inch soft dome treble driver provide both range and clarity, and with recommended amp power of 25 to 200 watts, they’re optimized for loudness. Not to mention they look fantastic, visually beautiful as well as sonically incredible. They also come packaged with standmounts that double as storage for your records.
Best Wireless Speakers
Edifier’s powered 1280DB bookshelf speakers are designed for both digital and analog listening, with high performance sound at an entry-level price. They feature active monitors, requiring no external amplifier, and can be used both via Bluetooth or wired connection with RCA inputs. The speakers also come with built-in EQ, and wireless control allows for easy and convenient switching between inputs. This kind of versatility is rare at this price point, and the R1280DBs offer a great deal of value for what you pay.
Victrola’s M1 bookshelf speakers are compact and convenient, designed to be paired with their T1 turntable, but versatile enough to be paired with whichever device or service you prefer. They’re Bluetooth enabled, which makes placement easier for your bedroom, office or listening space, and come with RCA and aux inputs as well for a more traditional stereo setup. They offer high quality sound ideal for home audio, and with an attractive exterior that Victrola’s known for. An excellent product in a small, affordable package.
A versatile and compact speaker system, Audioengine’s HD3 is ideal for bedroom or workspace listening, its design ideal for desktops and small rooms. With aptX-HD Bluetooth connectivity, they can go anywhere you please, though they also feature RCA connectivity for use with component stereo systems and turntables. And with a headphone amplifier, the sound is excellent and loud, with high quality digital converter. regardless of wherever you choose to listen. And it’s available at a price point that’s accessible for those seeking an affordable option.
A somewhat larger and sturdier alternative to standard bookshelf speakers, Audioengine’s A5+ brings big sound into every environment. They’re compatible with every potential listening device—your phone, turntable or even tape deck—with both wireless and wired connectivity. The speakers are made with custom, high-quality materials, including aramid fiber woofers and silk tweeters, offering precision sound in a solid package. They also come in a few different exterior shell designs—the walnut is our favorite, but the choice is yours.
A speaker designed to be played wherever you want to go, Sonos’ Move can be placed indoors or outdoors, for picnics, barbecues, parties or wherever you want your music to go. It’s weather resistant and Bluetooth enabled, making it a versatile option for music-on-the-go—it’s also compatible with most streaming platforms. It features higher sound quality than most travel speakers, and of course it works seamlessly with the Sonos system. While there are lower priced travel speakers on the market, few provide as big a sonic experience as this.
A powerful sound in a relatively compact package, the Kanto YU6 speakers are remarkably loud for a desktop pair, in large part because of their Class D, 200W amplifier. Add to that a clear, distortion-free bass sound and you’ve got a listening experience that leaves an impact—with clarity and crispness in the high end as well, courtesy of its Kevlar drivers. The YU6 features RCA in/out as well as aptX Bluetooth connectivity, for both digital and analog listening experiences, and can be used in both standby and powerup modes. No amplifier required.
Jeff Terich is the founder and editor of Treble. He's been writing about music for 20 years and has been published at American Songwriter, Bandcamp Daily, Reverb, Spin, Stereogum, uDiscoverMusic, VinylMePlease and some others that he's forgetting right now. He's still not tired of it.