3.4 - Speakers
With either an internal or external preamp, you still need speakers to produce sound. When it comes to speakers for your record player, you have two primary types to choose from: active and passive.
Active speakers have built-in amplifiers, meaning they will eliminate the need for an external preamp by making use of their onboard amplification. Passive speakers still require a preamp but can be hooked up directly to your record player without requiring additional power.
A case can be made for both active and passive speakers. Many audiophiles and vinyl enthusiasts prefer to keep all the components of their setup separate. This means using a turntable, external preamp, and passive speakers. However, there are plenty of viable options for combinations of different types of gear that are capable of producing high-quality sound.
Speakers are one of the most costly components of your vinyl setup, but it is well worth it to go all in on them. When you are looking for the ideal speakers for you, a few considerations to make are your budget, what your turntable is equipped with in terms of a preamp, and the amount of space you have and volume you want to play your records at.
Some smaller speakers, often referred to as bookshelf speakers, can be purchased in pairs for a few hundred dollars, a much more accessible price point than many larger speakers, which can cost thousands of dollars apiece. Depending on your level of commitment to the vinyl format, larger, higher-end speakers may be a worthwhile investment. However, starting out with a decent pair of bookshelf speakers is sufficient for getting started with vinyl. A good set of smaller speakers can stay with you for years and may be the only pair you need for a long time.