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Best Powered Speakers

Whether you should choose a powered speaker or a passive speaker is an issue that isn’t typically considered when looking at the many types of speakers. If you’re short on space, want to clear out all the clutter, or want to simplify wiring, powered speakers may be the way to go. In this guide, we’ve rounded up the best powered speakers for you, ranging from entry-level speakers to high-end options  that will have audiophiles reconsidering their existing setup!

Meet the Winners!

Best Bluetooth Powered Speaker Klipsch R-51PM
Best Studio MonitorYamaha HS5
Best Budget Powered SpeakerEdifier R1280T
Best Powered Speaker (Best Overall)JBL Professional 305P MkII

Reasons to Buy a Powered Speaker

Plug In & Play

Powered speakers are ready to use straight out of the box and provide the perfect level of power. The notion is that amplifiers can be difficult to set up at times, especially when it comes to dialing in the precise power rating. A powered speaker arrives organized, without difficulty or any speculation in the assembly process, if you have little to no knowledge in this field.

Perfect for the Bedroom

Powered speakers are ideal for listening to music in your bedroom. A full stereo system may not always be the greatest solution for high-quality audio in smaller rooms. Powered speakers may be propped up on a desk or bookshelf to save space while connecting quickly via your laptop or smartphone. Because your bedroom is likely to be smaller than your living room, less can often be more without causing bass overload.

Easy to Use

Powered speakers are simple to set up and use. As previously said, powered speakers come with built-in amplification, thus the gadget is already set up. Furthermore, to get the music started, simply plug the primary speaker into a power outlet, connect the two speakers via cable, and then connect your media to the speakers directly (or wirelessly using Bluetooth).

Stereo Separation

The stereo separation of powered speakers is excellent. In some cases, surround sound systems can be immersive, but a pair of powered speakers can give exactly the proper amount of separation between your left and right ears to simulate a real event. Stereo separation is a sound effect that is essential for music lovers. However, stereo sound is also a wonderful choice for videos, films, and games.

Close Listening Experience

Near-field (close) listening is provided through powered speakers. Powered speakers are great for establishing an intimate monitoring experience between two speakers if you want to listen to music or movies at your desk, compose music in the studio, or forgo the headphones. Audiophiles of all stripes will enjoy the personalized experience of a speaker that can be adjusted to your optimum audio volume while preserving clarity and accuracy.

Subwoofer Connection

Powered speakers offer the capacity to connect to subwoofers with ease. Nowadays, most powered speaker systems incorporate a sub-out connection that connects to a subwoofer to boost low-frequency output. Your active speaker will have more power to focus on the mid-range and tweeters now that subwoofers are regulating the bass. For your dubstep/electro enthusiasts, the bass should be punchy and thundering.

Outdoor Performance

Outdoors, powered speakers can still be used for a cookout or a house party. Powered speakers are more compact than a public address system (PA system), yet they may still produce enough sound to get the party started. Furthermore, it is simple to set up, requiring only a power supply and a smartphone.

Variety of Speaker Connectors

Powered speakers can connect to almost any device. Powered speaker inputs have become more accessible as technology advances. Digital optical, USB, Bluetooth, and analog RCA devices can all be connected to the latest models. Whatever device you use to store your music is likely to be compatible.

Advantages & Disadvantages of Powered Speakers

Our Selection of the 10 Best In-Wall Speakers

If you’re looking for the best in-wall speakers, then you’ve come to the right place! Whether you’re a home theater enthusiast or a professional audio engineer, there are many great in-wall speakers out there that will give you hours of quality entertainment. Below we have put together a list of the best in-wall speakers on the market today.

1. JBL Professional 305P MkII

Speakers Reviewed Score 5.0

Specs & Features

  • Power Output: 82W
  • Drivers: 1 x 5” woofer & 1 x 1” tweeter
  • Frequency Response: 49Hz – 20kHz
  • Sensitivity: 90dB
  • Inputs: XLR, TRS 
  • Speaker Dimensions: 7.0 x 7.3 x 9.1″
  • Speaker Weight: 10.43 lbs (each)

The JBL 305P MKII is equipped with next-generation JBL transducers, improved boundary EQ, and a stylish blacked-out appearance. Can the 5-inch woofer, which is aimed at both ordinary listeners and audiophiles, deliver enough power to satisfy everyone? Let’s have a look at why the 305P MKII is a terrific alternative for budget powered speakers, with superb build quality and a decent amount of sound.

Speaker Design

JBL has been a household name in the audio industry for over 70 years. They’ve made a name for themselves as a company that stresses quality and innovation while putting most of their products within reach of the typical consumer. The new MKII series, now in its third iteration, has a clean, gleaming finish. It has a striking appearance, with some resemblance to 90s flamboyant speakers, but it isn’t over-the-top with RGB lights. Shiny finishes are attractive until dust and fingerprints appear. We would have loved a matte surface, but hey, if you keep them on your desk and wipe them down with a microfiber cloth every now and then, they should be good.

The JBL 305P weighs roughly 10 pounds and measures 11.75 x 7.3 x 9.1 inches in size. The monitor isn’t overly large or heavy, but it strikes a good mix between quality and portability. If the 5-inch monitor is positioned against a wall, a low-end build-up may develop due to the monitor’s rear-facing bass port. As a result, if you want the greatest possible listening experience, place them at eye level and as far away from your wall as feasible. Finally, there are two input options for connectivity: TRS and XLR.

Sound and Performance

The 305P MKII is a nearfield listening device. You could be disappointed if you sit far away from your desk or wherever you plan to install the speakers. The 5-inch woofers are suitable for small-to-medium-sized studios, and you won’t need to connect in an extra amplifier because it’s powered. 

JBL claims that the 305P MKII’s frequency range is 43 Hz to 24 kHz, with a response of 49 Hz to 20 kHz. There’s lots of room for creativity here, as well as enough detail for a satisfying listening experience in a variety of genres. However, in terms of raw power, the 305P can reach 108 dB, which, as always, can be boosted with the installation of a second subwoofer.

When it comes to sound quality, the 305P MKII has a few distinctive qualities. JBL employs Image Control Waveguide, which gives their speakers a larger sound stage, resulting in more depth and atmosphere during recordings. The speaker’s low end shines brightest, providing ample bass for all genres while keeping control and avoiding distortion. 

The mid-to-high range is also decent, with a warm soundstage that is crisp during vocal recordings and clean throughout instrumental pieces. The 305P MKII also allows you to fine-tune your output and modify the speaker to your preferences, allowing you to tailor the device to your specific needs and environment.

What’s in the box?

  • 2 x JBL 305P MkII powered speakers
  • Power cable
  • Quick setup guide
  • 4 x Peel-off rubber pads

2. Yamaha HS5

Speakers Reviewed Score 4.8

Specs & Features

  • Power Output: 70W
  • Drivers: 1 x 5” woofer & 1 x 1” tweeter
  • Frequency Response: 54Hz – 30kHz
  • Inputs: XLR, TRS 
  • Speaker Dimensions: 11.2 x 6.7 x 8.7 “
  • Speaker Weight: 11.7 lbs (each)

What do the majority of studio monitor buyers search for? Amazing stereo image, neutral sound, high volume levels, a wide frequency response, and little distortion are all possibilities. It could be all of the above, which is why the Yamaha HS5 receives our best studio monitor award. The Yamaha HS5, as the smallest speaker in the HS series, uses freshly developed transducers to deliver high-quality sound to both experts and amateurs.

Speaker Design

A manufacturer must ensure that the design and build quality of your speakers are robust and efficient in order to ensure that they are studio level. Yamaha has long been known for its affordability, and the HS5 is no exception. The speakers are built with a strong MDF board that helps to reduce unwanted resonance. The speakers are available in two colors: basic white and black, and they look wonderful in practically any setting. They offer a clean, minimalist aesthetic that would work in any studio.

In order to create new music in a studio, customization and location are critical, which is where the new HS Install Versions come in. The speakers can be installed on the ceiling or the wall (the brackets are sold separately). The HS5 is also modest in size, measuring 11.2 inches high, 6.7 inches wide, and 8.7 inches deep at a cheap price. Because the HS5 is so heavy, we recommend using a stand or isolation pad until you’re ready to wall/ceiling hang it.

Finally, two connecting choices are available: a balanced XLR input and a TRS input. These cables aren’t included, which is a bit disappointing. Sure, you can put them in your cart, but if you want them to work immediately away, that can be a pain.

Sound and Performance

A 5-inch woofer and a 1-inch tweeter are included on the inside of the Yamaha HS5. For small/medium studios, 5-inches is often recommended. As stated in the introduction, the HS5 features freshly built transducers with an incredible frequency response of 54Hz – 30kHz, effectively covering the lows to highs. The tweeter and woofer each have their own dedicated amp, ensuring a clear, flat, but neutral sound that producers prefer.

When you first use the HS5, you might be perplexed by all the acclaim around the monitor if you’re a casual listener or new to the business. Producers can listen to music in its purest form with a neutral flat response, highlighting and removing flaws. The HS5 isn’t as vivid or vibrant as other Hi-Fi systems you might be used to. 

The bass isn’t amplified, and the mids and highs aren’t exaggerated. That isn’t to say the audio quality isn’t excellent; it simply isn’t increased for dramatic effect. However, if you’re searching for the greatest studio monitors, this is undoubtedly the best option.

What’s in the box?

  • 2 x Yamaha hs5 powered speakers
  • AC power cord
  • User manual

3. Audioengine A5+ Plus Powered Speaker

Speakers Reviewed Score 4.8

Specs & Features

  • Power Output: 75W
  • Drivers: 1 x 5” woofer & 1 x 0.75” tweeter
  • Frequency Response: 50Hz – 22kHz
  • Inputs: 3.5 mm AUX, RCA L/R 
  • Speaker Dimensions: 10.8 x 7.0 x 9″ (L) / x 7.8″ (R)
  • Speaker Weight: 15.4 lbs (L) / 9.6 lbs (R)

Audioengine has been active for over 15 years and has created a name for itself in the audio industry, with fans in Europe and the United States. With years of experience, they are constantly prepared to attempt new things, and the Audioengine A5+ Bluetooth speaker is one of their most recent creations. 

The A5+ seeks to deliver heavy bass and overall quality to keep even the harshest reviewers happy. Wireless is a delicate subject among audiophiles, but the A5+ intends to bring powerful bass and overall quality to keep even the roughest of critics satisfied. Is this a smart choice for powered Bluetooth speakers for slightly under $500 retail?

Speaker Design

Matte black, natural bamboo, and high-gloss white are the three finishes available for the Audioengine A5+. It has a height of 10.8 inches, a width of 7 inches, and a depth of 7.8/9 inches. The second speaker’s depth is due to the fact that it houses the controls and connections, as well as the heat sink, which is placed on the back panel. The corners have also been softened for a gentle, classic bookshelf style that will fit into any setting. The A5+ is quite heavy, weighing in at a total of 25 lbs, although this is most likely due to its robust build quality.

The Audioengine A5left +’s front speaker features an LED power indicator, volume knob, and remote receiver. Volume up, down, mute, and sleep mode are the four buttons on the remote. A 5-inch Kevlar woofer and a 0.75-inch silk dome tweeter are included in each speaker. Because the drivers aren’t inclined upward, you’ll have to try to match the height of the tweeters with your ears if you’re using them on your desktop. However, if the speakers are placed in a larger space, you should have no problems.

The connections are on the back of the left speaker: a Bluetooth antenna, pairing button, RCA inputs and outputs, 3.5mm aux input, and a banana plug cable that connects the left and right speakers. A voltage choose switch, a fuse, a power button, and a connection for the power supply are also included.

Sound and Performance

How easy is it to pair the Audioengine A5+ with your smartphone before we get into the sound? Well, that was pretty painless. After turning on the system, the device should appear in your Bluetooth menu right away. So, now that your powered Bluetooth speakers are set up, let’s get started with the bass. They have considerable strength, but they aren’t particularly thundering. There’s a lot of depth while keeping control before distortion happens.

Less bass-heavy tracks reveal more of the overall sound profile, which is full, warm, and natural. The vocals, in particular, are clear and crisp, and the lows remain rich without becoming overpowering, even with the inclusion of percussion. As a result, the mid-to-high frequency range is also balanced, with no frequency range favored over the other. 

Some may consider this a flat-style frequency, although it might also be viewed as a compromise for all types of listeners. That isn’t to suggest the A5+ lacks punch; orchestral tracks sound fantastic and powerful. String and brass instruments are vibrant, but they never stray too far from the original recording.

We didn’t notice any differences in quality between the wireless and wired versions. Audioengine has done an excellent job with this, and it is well worth the asking price. The A5+ has a lot to offer if you’re searching for a neutral-sounding, well-balanced pair of powered speakers.

What’s in the box?

  • 2 x Audioengine A5+ speakers
  • Remote control
  • Power cable (5.9ft)
  • 16 AWG Speaker wire (12ft)
  • 1 x Mini-jack to mini-jack cable (6.5ft)
  • 1 x RCA audio cable (6.5 ft)
  • 2 x Microfiber speaker bags
  • 2 x Microfiber cable bags 
  • User manual

4. Klipsch R-51PM Powered Bluetooth Speaker

Speakers Reviewed Score 4.7

Specs & Features

  • Power Output: 60W
  • Drivers: 1 x 5.25” woofer & 1 x 1” tweeter
  • Frequency Response: 68Hz – 21kHz
  • Inputs: BT, Phono/Line analog, 3.5mm mini-jack, USB digital, Optical digital
  • Speaker Dimensions: 11.25 x 7.5 x 9.5″
  • Speaker Weight: 10.6 lbs

If you’re short on space, you’ll want to keep the amount of cords in your flat to a minimum. Many of the speakers on our best-powered speaker list include Bluetooth connectivity, but none equal the performance of the Klipsch R-51PM. There were no discernible changes between wired and wireless when attempting to differentiate between the two. The Klipsch R-51PM, with its warm sound signature, could become your smartphone’s new best friend.

Speaker Design

The Klipsch R-51PM has a similar appearance to the Klipsch R-15PM, however there are some variances. For starters, it features a wider horn opening and a greater radiation angle, resulting in higher bass coverage and, as a result, an extension of the mid to high frequencies. The Klipsch R-51PM features horn tweeters and copper-colored woofers and is available in black. A magnetic fabric cover protects them and may be removed or changed. Covers can sometimes detract from sound, but Klipsch has managed to make these sound great regardless of your selection, so kudos to them.

The speakers are sold as a pair, with the right speaker serving as the master and the left speaker being wired together. In other words, all of your controls and inputs are on the right. Although it’s our favorite Bluetooth speaker, it’s not without its own set of connecting possibilities. A phono or line input for a turntable is included, as well as optical for TV, 3.5mm for AUX, USB for PC, and a phono or line input for a turntable. There is also an LED on the right speaker that shows which input is currently selected, however this can be turned off to reduce distraction.

Sound and Performance

We wouldn’t call the Klipsch R-51PM a party speaker, but it does have a warm, rich, and energetic sound profile. Rock and pop music will sound fantastic, therefore the R-51PM may have been designed for larger spaces. This is further explained by the Dynamic Bass EQ, which offers deep, clean bass regardless of the volume level. The emphasis should be on ‘clean bass,’ as there will be no distortion when you increase the volume. Sure, you could keep these in your room, but they’re powerful enough to get the party started.

If you’re looking for the greatest powered Bluetooth speaker, the R-51PM is a clear winner. The quality of the connection never deteriorates, even when you’re 500 feet away from the source with your phone in hand. Additionally, while connected to Bluetooth, the accompanying remote may control your music. This may come as a surprise, but most Bluetooth devices merely allow you to control the audio. Friends may thus use the remote to skip music or control the volume while iTunes is playing in the background on your smartphone. As a result, you won’t have to hand over your phone to listen to music; hurrah for privacy!

What’s in the box?

  • 2 x Klipsch R-51PM powered speakers
  • Remote control
  • Speaker wire (13ft)
  • Power cable (6.5ft)
  • USB Type-A to USB Type B cable (6.5ft)
  • Rubber feet

5. Edifier R2000DB

Speakers Reviewed Score 4.7

Specs & Features

  • Power Output: 60W
  • Drivers: 1 x 5” woofer & 1 x 1” tweeter
  • Frequency Response: 50Hz – 20kHz
  • Inputs: BT, Optical, Coaxial, 2 x RCA
  • Speaker Dimensions: 11.25 x 7.5 x 9.5″
  • Speaker Weight: 21.43 lbs (combined)

These speakers, which were first released in 1996 under the name Beijing Edifier Technology Company Ltd, have a lot of buzz because they’re designed for PCs, gaming consoles, and compact home theater systems. Can the R2000DB still produce outstanding audio across a wide range of genres with such a wide range of capabilities? Let’s see if it’s a solid all-rounder sound experience for roughly $300 and the ability to connect wirelessly via Bluetooth.

Speaker Design

The Edifier R2000DB is a sleek and modern design that comes in two colors. The front panel is textured, with high-gloss piano black or woodgrain on the sides. The speakers are designed to virtually lean upwards, delivering music directly to your ears without the need to place them at head height. The R2000DB will take up a lot of room in terms of dimensions, so if you’re planning on putting it on your desk, make sure you measure the depth beforehand. The speakers measure 11.25 inches tall, 7.5 inches wide, and 9.5 inches deep. If you want regular, quick access to the tuning settings, keep that in mind.

Because the speakers are more expensive than competitors, you should expect a distinct difference in build quality and construction. The paneled MFD design gives the cabinet a premium impression, as do the speakers, which have covers to protect them from dust and tiny debris. Two devices can be connected through dual RCA, your smartphone can be connected via Bluetooth, and your television can be connected via the optical output. Finally, other media devices can be connected by optical, 3.5mm to RCA, and dual RCA cables. Our only criticism is that a separate sub-out option for subwoofers would have been nice.

Sound and Performance

The Edifier R2000DB is being promoted for pretty about anything audio-related, as stated. A high-quality 5-inch woofer with acceptable bass and a 1-inch silk ‘eagle eye’ tweeter with clean mids and highs are included. Because the frequency response ranges from 55Hz to 20kHz, there’s plenty of room to rumble in the deep lows while keeping a balanced sound signature. Is it good enough for a professional studio? Yes, the copy is pretty close to the original. Will it work well in video games and films? Yes, there is plenty of power to go around thanks to the 85dBA. Whether it’s hearing enemy footsteps behind you or experiencing a full-fledged cinematic experience.

The two EQ settings can also be used to change the sound. Dynamic Mode enhances the low end, which is ideal for listeners of EDM music. Second, you can select Classic Mode, which has a neutral signature and calms things down. This worked well for watching YouTube videos or listening to instrumental/vocal music. If you want even more customization, there are treble/bass settings on the back of the speaker, but you’ll have to reach for them. As a result, if they’re going on your desk, you’ll need a lot of room. Overall, the Edifier R2000DB provides an excellent all-around experience at a mid-to-high price point. For just about everybody, there’s ample power, smoothness, and customization.

What’s in the box?

  • 2 x Edifier R2000DB Powered Speakers
  • Remote control.
  • Speaker connecting cable.
  • Fiber optical cable.
  • Dual RCA cable.
  • 3.5mm to RCA cable.
  • User Manual

6. Klipsch R-15PM Powered Monitor

Speakers Reviewed Score 4.7

Specs & Features

  • Power Output: 50W
  • Drivers: 1 x 5.25” woofer & 1 x 1” tweeter
  • Frequency Response: 62Hz – 24kHz
  • Inputs: Bluetooth, RCA phono, USB digital, Digital optical, 3.5mm mini-jack
  • Speaker Dimensions: 12.5 x 7 x 8.11″
  • Speaker Weight: 10.3 lbs (each)

Klipsch is one of the most well-known audio companies, having been in business for more than 60 years. They’re well-known for their high quality, and audiophiles, home theater fans, and studio workers frequently recommend them. The R-15PM Bluetooth-powered display aspires to combine the convenience of a soundbar with the connectivity and stereo separation of a receiver-speaker system. It’s on par with the Audioengine A5+ Wireless in terms of sound, but it’s a hundred bucks less.

Speaker Design

With a black polymer veneer finish and orange woofers, the Klipsch R-15PM has a lovely throwback appearance. Despite the fact that the powerful speakers can fill a room with sound, they only measure 12.5 inches high, 7 inches wide, and 8.11 inches deep. A 5.25-inch copper spun magnetically protected IMG woofer and the unique 1-inch aluminum diaphragm compression driver linked to a 90° x 90° square Tractrix Horn are found inside the speaker.

Why is the form of the tweeter cavity horn so appealing? Well, it completes the task of sound collection and dispersal, avoiding possible resonance and detrimental reflections during output sound. A volume knob and a signal source button are located on the rear of the speaker. You can also use RCA, USB, Digital optical, 3.5mm mini-jack, and Bluetooth to connect. There’s also a bass output interface, so you can use a subwoofer to boost the low frequencies.

Klipsch has added a remote that has volume control, bass increase/decrease, input channels, forward/backtrack control, play/pause, and source selection, among other functions.

Sound and Performance

Although the Klipsch R-15PM is a small powered speaker, its output is quite bright. The midrange is bright and crisp, bringing a variety of vocal styles to life. The treble is well-controlled, with sufficient definition in the upper frequencies. It was also amazing to notice that there was no piercing sound or overbearing instrumentation that overpowered the singing when we turned up the level. The sound signature was quite natural, similar to the Audioengine A5+. Having said that, the lows were a little lacking. Klipsch didn’t want to risk the bass sounding muddy, but if you’re a bass head, you could be disappointed with the lows. Adding a subwoofer, as always, is an easy remedy.

We also appreciate Klipsch’s decision to use current connectivity. It’s a game-changer to be able to connect the speakers directly to your PC and then seamlessly switch to your cell phone over Bluetooth. Movies and music will appeal to the casual listener. There’s enough here to impress those who are used to stereo sound in its most basic form. However, if you’re an audiophile or a sensitive listener, the bass can be an issue, especially in studio recordings where accuracy is crucial.

What’s in the box?

  • 2 x Klipsch R-15PM Powered Speakers
  • AC power cord
  • Remote control
  • 18AWG Speaker wire
  • USB-A to USB-B cable
  • Stereo RCA cable
  • Optical digital cable
  • 8 x Self-adhesive rubber feet
  • User manual

7. Audioengine HD6 Powered Speaker

Speakers Reviewed Score 4.7

Specs & Features

  • Power Output: 75W
  • Drivers: 1 x 5.5” woofer & 1 x 1” tweeter
  • Frequency Response: 50Hz – 22kHz
  • Inputs: Bluetooth, RCA, Dual Analog, 3.5mm mini-jack, USB
  • Speaker Dimensions: 11.75 x 7.25 x 10 “
  • Speaker Weight: 17.5 lbs (L) / 12.5 lbs (R) 

The Audioengine HD6 is primarily intended for audiophiles seeking high-resolution sound. It’s a versatile speaker with multiple Bluetooth choices that works well with Hi-Fi systems, computers, televisions, record players, and gaming consoles. The HD6 is also the most costly powered speaker on our list, with a superior build quality and realistic and detailed sound. Let’s see if it’s a good investment.

Speaker Design

The HD6’s design and craftsmanship are excellent. Custom 5.5-inch Kevlar woofers with die-cast aluminum baskets, as well as a custom 1-inch silk tweeter with neodymium magnets and ferrofluid-cooled voice coils, are included in the speakers. Hand-built in black, walnut, or white finishes, the cabinet itself. On the outside, detachable magnetic speaker grills and threaded inserts are used to secure the speakers to stands.

There are many connectivity possibilities available with the Audioengine HD6. Bluetooth can connect smartphones and tablets, while RCA and 3.5mm jack inputs can connect CD players, tape decks, turntables, televisions, and gaming consoles. A simple metal remote, input/output cables, and microfiber/cable pouches are also included with the speaker. You won’t have to take our word for it that the structure is solid. The HD6 comes with a 3-year warranty, which is a significant improvement over the normal 1-year warranty for powered speakers.

Sound and Performance

Audiophiles are notoriously hard to please, but we’re confident that these will exceed expectations. The Audioengine HD6 speakers are among the best powered speakers on the market. Depth is surreal, as I’ve never heard noises like this before in music. The artist’s vocal performances are clear, natural, and magnified as if they were in the same room with you. The treble is articulated, while the mid-bass is balanced and distortion-free. We can promise you that, of all the powered speakers on our list, this is the only one that won’t require an additional subwoofer for all you bass fans.

The speakers are ideal for both personal and commercial use. The audio separation in video games and movies was excellent. The experience would be equally satisfying if you went into the studio to focus on classical or instrumental music. To fully experience the HD6’s sound clarity and detail, we recommend using it with a turntable. Mozart, for example, sounds extraordinary and precise. The HD6 is a bit pricey, but if you have the budget, it’s well worth it.

What’s in the box?

  • 2 x Audioengine HD6 Powered Speakers
  • Remote control
  • Antenna
  • 16AWG Speaker wire
  • AC power cord
  • Mini-jack audio cable
  • RCA audio cable
  • 2 x Microfiber speaker bags
  • 2 x Microfiber cable bags
  • Setup guide

8. Edifier R1280T Powered Speaker

Speakers Reviewed Score 4.7

Specs & Features

  • Power Output: 42W
  • Drivers: 1 x 4” woofer & 1 x 0.5” tweeter
  • Frequency Response: 75Hz – 18kHz
  • Inputs: 3.4mm, dual RCA
  • Speaker Dimensions: 5.7 x 9.5 x 7.0 “
  • Speaker Weight: 11.9 lbs (each)

Although it’s tough to find the ideal powered speaker, the Edifier R1280T gets close. It combines the cost of the Edifier R980T with the sound quality of the R2000DB to create one magnificent bookshelf speaker. As a result, it’s our pick for the greatest all-around budget-priced powered speaker on our list. The price and value are unbeatable at roughly $100.

Speaker Design

When you first open the box for the R1280T, you’ll realize that this is a stunning pair of speakers. From the subtle wood tone to the light gray grille, everything about the design is clean and stylish. A thin metallic accent line runs down the middle, and the Edifier logo at the bottom is made of the same material. The speakers have such a high-end appearance that you’d believe they spent the entire money on them. We’re big lovers of a natural tanned look with a 70s undertone (if you haven’t noticed!).

In terms of bookshelf speakers, the Edifier R1280T is the ideal size. Each unit is 5.7 x 9.5 x 7 inches in size and will fit on most desks or shelves. A 13mm silk tweeter, a 4-inch woofer, and a flared bass reflex port are all found under the hood. The Edifier R1280T may not have the largest drivers, but they sure know how to make them work (but more on that below). Most devices, including PCs, tablets, smartphones, and record players, are compatible with the R1280T. The only flaw we discovered was that it lacked Bluetooth, but that’s a tiny price to pay for a terrific speaker for around $100.

Sound and Performance

The Edifier R1280T has a clean, accurate sound profile and is powerful enough to fill a room. Surprisingly, the speakers provide better bass than some of their 5-inch woofer rivals. These speakers punch considerably above their weight at just 50% volume and without the need for an additional subwoofer. Treble is well-balanced in the high frequencies, and unlike its budget Edifier R980T brother, there is no ear-piercing discomfort even at maximum volume. Instead, the high-end remains brilliant while also being very textured.

The R1280T thrives in the midrange and sets itself apart from the competitors in this price bracket. Smooth and refined vocals and acoustics make genres like jazz and indie music seem fantastic. We loved how the bass never overshadowed the vocals, even at low volumes, so you could conceivably listen to the speakers late at night and still understand what the actors were saying. You may tweak the bass/treble on the knobs on the side of the right speaker if you want to rattle the windows a little. You can’t go wrong with the Edifier R1280T because of its superb sound and design quality.

What’s in the box?

  • 2 x Edifier R1280T Powered Speakers
  • Remote control
  • Speaker connecting cable
  • Dual RCA cable
  • 3.5mm to dual RCA cable
  • User manual

9. Kanto YU6 Powered Speaker

Speakers Reviewed Score 4.6

Specs & Features

  • Power Output: 100W
  • Drivers: 1 x 5.25” woofer & 1 x 1” tweeter
  • Frequency Response: 50Hz – 20kHz
  • Inputs: Bluetooth, mini-jack, RCA with phono switch, optical
  • Speaker Dimensions: 6.89 x 8.07 x 10.71 “
  • Speaker Weight: 11.4 lbs (each)

A list of powered speakers would be incomplete without something extremely loud, and the Kanto YU6 fits the bill. The YU6 features a Class D amplifier with a peak power of 200W, allowing you (and your neighbors!) to enjoy your favorite music as if you were at a live concert. The Kantu YU6 is ready to fill every square inch of your living area with excellent sound, thanks to its power and features.

Speaker Design

With a variety of finishes and color schemes, the Kanto YU6 powered speakers are stunning. Bamboo, gloss red, gloss white, gloss black, matte black, matte white, and walnut are all options. Soft rounded edges, woven Kevlar drivers, and silk dome tweeters add to the exquisite aesthetic. The build quality is solid, and we were pleased to see that the YU6 does not tremble uncontrollably when the volume is turned up. We were shocked that they were able to cram that much sound into a 6.89 x 8.07 x 10.71-inch cabinet, given its power.

The YU6 is also equipped with all of the functions found on higher-end powered speakers. It contains a built-in phono amp, allowing you to connect it to a turntable directly. With a single switch, users will be able to switch between Phono and Line inputs. If you like vinyl records, you’ll enjoy the YU6. The speaker offers Bluetooth, RCA/AUX inputs, Optical inputs, a subwoofer output, and a USB charge connector for connectivity. The YU6 is unique in that it is the only powered speaker on our list with a built-in USB charging port. This sounds great in terms of keeping your phone power alive, but it would be even better if the USB could connect to your computer.

Sound and Performance

Power is the first thing that comes to mind when thinking of the Kanto YU6. Many companies claim to sell “loudspeakers,” but Kanto actually delivered. With vocals bearing their full weight and a neutral low and high range, there’s plenty of headroom. Some brands get power wrong and overemphasize the bass, drowning out the performer, but Kanto has managed to establish the perfect balance without the need for any tuning.

Instruments sounded clear and natural at all times. We listened to tunes with pianos, guitars, and violins, and were blown away by the precision with which the Kevlar woofers and silk dome tweeters intertwined. It’s one thing to get the vocals right, but sustaining the same level of quality across all ranges is even more astounding. The Bluetooth connectivity, on the other hand, was a drawback. It did have a tendency to dip and stutter at times, and we have yet to figure out why. It’s possible it was out of range, so keep that in mind if you’re planning to listen to music on your smartphone while cooking.

Despite this, the Kanto YU6 is still an amazing powered ‘loudspeaker’ with so many different connectivity choices. These won’t let you down if you want to go big and rock out in your living room.

What’s in the box?

  • 2 x Kanto YU6 Powered Speakers
  • AC power cord
  • Remote control 
  • Speaker wire
  • Stereo mini-jack cable
  • 8 x Self-adhesive rubber feet
  • User manual

10. Edifier R980T Powered Speaker

Speakers Reviewed Score 4.6

Specs & Features

  • Power Output: 42W
  • Drivers: 1 x 4” woofer & 1 x 0.5” tweeter
  • Frequency Response: 70Hz – 20kHz
  • Inputs: Dual RCA, 3.5 mm AUX
  • Speaker Dimensions: 5.7 x 9.5 x 7.0 “
  • Speaker Weight: 11.9 lbs (each)

If this is your first venture into the world of powered speakers, you may not want to spend a fortune. Perhaps you’re looking for a low-cost PC speaker with good sound at a reasonable price. If this sounds about right, you’ll like the Edifier R980T bookshelf speaker. It’s inexpensive and offers good quality along with all of the capabilities you’d expect from a powered speaker.

Speaker Design

The Edifier R980 is a compact device with dimensions of 5.5 x 8.9 x 7.75 inches. Each speaker weighs about 4 pounds, making it quite easy to move and modify. The design is straightforward. The exterior is finished in all-black wood with a removable fabric grille. There are four rubber feet as well, which help to prevent sliding and unwanted vibrations. It isn’t the most attractive speaker on the market, but it does appear modern and tidy.

To connect your computer and other devices, there are two auxiliary inputs, a 3.5mm connector, and a dual RCA output. On the same panel as the ports are knobs for controlling volume and bass. We were once again impressed by the manufacturers’ inclusion of RCA and 3.5mm cables, as well as a speaker wire, making it a plug-and-play system right out of the box.

Sound and Performance

Going into a budget speaker, you never know what to expect. Did the manufacturers spend the entire budget on the design, or did they somehow manage to balance everything? In this case, it’s the latter. Edifier has somehow managed to pull off a decent-sounding powered speaker. We wouldn’t say great, but for under $100, you can’t expect premium quality.

A compact 4-inch woofer and a 13mm silk dome tweeter are included inside the R980T. The sonic signature is warm throughout. The mids and highs are both realistic and detailed. Although the speakers only have 24W of power, we wouldn’t recommend cranking the volume up too much. The bass will crackle and the highs will howl as the volume is turned all the way up. Because there is a bass reflex port, you might be able to boost the lows by adding a subwoofer. Whatever you choose, the R980T offers excellent value. These are a wonderful alternative if you’re buying powered speakers for the first time and money is tight.

What’s in the box?

  • 2 x Edifier R980T Powered Speakers
  • RCA to 3.5mm cable
  • RCA to RCA cable
  • Speaker connecting cable
  • User manual

Features to Look For When Purchasing In-Wall Speakers

If you’re unfamiliar with powered speakers, it can be difficult to know what to look for when making your first purchase. Does the size of the speaker make a difference? Are there any unique features that offer value? What will have an impact on the overall sound quality? If you’re curious about any of these topics, we’ve got you covered. Continue reading for our in-depth buyer’s guide to help you find exactly what you’re searching for.

Low-Frequency Driver / Speaker Cone Size

There are four key elements to consider when determining the size of the speaker you require. 8-inches, 10-inches, 12-inches, and 15-inches are the sizes available. But wait, these category sizes don’t correspond to the cabinet’s real dimensions. These measurements refer to the size of the speaker’s woofer, commonly known as the low-frequency driver. Bass is produced by low-frequency drivers, and the larger the woofer, the louder the low-frequency response. But what does this mean for mid to high frequencies if you’re not a bass head?

Smaller powered speakers, such as the 8-inch model, are ideal for music sources with less emphasis on bass. This includes most string instruments as well as female and male vocals. If you’re a band or group (or just a music fan in general) searching for more bass without going to an EDM festival, 10 to 12-inches is the way to go. Instruments like drums, keyboards, and bass guitars are ideal for these sizes. 

On the other hand, if you’re a DJ (let’s assume your genre is EDM), you’ll probably go for the larger 15-inch woofers. With a 15-inch screen, you’ll get that extra low thundering effect that will rattle the windows and thud the ground.

Watts

A watt is a unit of power consumption measurement. When an amplifier processes sound, the output is measured in watts, which corresponds to the amount of power consumed by the amplifier. ‘The higher the wattage, the more powerful the amplifier, and hence the louder the sound,’ it was once thought. 

However, as technology has progressed and a greater emphasis has been placed on energy efficiency, a low-wattage powered speaker can nonetheless be extremely loud due to the amplifier’s efficiency. This can also happen in the opposite situation, where a high-wattage powered speaker is misusing its power, resulting in the poor audio output. What conclusions can you draw from this? When a speaker manufacturer touts high wattage and power, it doesn’t always imply that you’ll get better and bigger sound.

Output Power Rating: RMS vs Peak

While we’re on the subject of watts, it’s also worth considering the two sorts of power output ratings usually mentioned by powered speaker manufacturers: RMS and Peak. The average power an amplifier can output over a long period of time is referred to as RMS wattage, also known as Continuous wattage. Peak wattage, on the other hand, refers to the most power an amplifier can deliver in short bursts. 

Some brands claim that their peak wattage is the same as their average power, therefore always check the RMS value for actual accuracy. For modest venues, guestrooms, and houses, 150 to 500 watts of RMS/Continuous power should be enough. Anything above 600 watts is geared toward medium to large-scale venues including nightclubs, outdoor events, and shopping malls.

Digital Signal Processor vs Unprocessed Audio

Digital Signal Processors are currently built into the majority of powered speakers (DSP). These specialized microprocessor chips take digitally recorded audio and alter it to increase sound quality. DSP is thought to be significantly more precise and accurate than raw or unprocessed audio, and it will usually outperform it. Smart limiters that protect the speaker from clipping or overloading are also provided by digital signal processors. What value does this add to the average listener? Well, you’ll be able to adjust the audio to match the acoustics of different spaces, allowing for a variety of settings.

Built-in Mixer

If you want a high-end powered speaker, seek for one that can take two or more inputs and has separate volume/gain controls, similar to a mixer. For solo musicians or songwriters who want to perform in smaller venues, powered speakers with a built-in mixer can also be used as a public address system. This is especially important if you want to be able to alter the EQ quickly. The only disadvantage is the cost, which tends to rise as more accessories/features are included into a powered speaker.

Portability

The portability of powered speakers is a quality that is frequently neglected. The offered image may appear small and compact, but once the speaker arrives, you’ll notice the built-in amplifier adds a significant amount of weight and loudness. If you’re an artist who moves around a lot, the handle-location and cabinet size of your speaker might make a big difference in how portable it is. You don’t want to find yourself in a scenario where your new fancy speaker won’t fit in your car or is difficult to relocate. 

If you can’t avoid the weight and bulk, look for stands and wheels that may be provided to help with transportation. Also, don’t forget about speaker covers; they’re a lifesaver when it comes to safeguarding your expensive speaker cones while they’re in transit.

Amplifier Class

An amplifier is a type of electronic equipment that boosts the signal it receives. It’s vital to note that the power output of a power speaker is the product of current and voltage, whereas the power input is the product of DC voltage and current. Because these circuits are not all the same, they are categorized based on their configurations and modes of operation.

When determining the amplifier class for your powered speaker, pay special attention to the following: ‘Class A’ amplifiers provide great amplification at the expense of conversion efficiency from DC to AC. ‘Class B’ amplifiers, on the other hand, convert more effectively but at the expense of signal distortion at the output. 

‘Class AB’ is a combination of the two, combining the low distortion of ‘Class A’ with the high efficiency of ‘Class B.’ With that said, we believe the best amp is a ‘Class D,’ which is a digital switching amplifier. These switches are either fully on or totally off, reducing power losses in the output devices and allowing for up to a 97 percent efficiency rate.

Sound Quality

Loudness has nothing to do with how good a speaker sounds. If a manufacturer says that their powered speaker can reach high volumes, you should approach with caution, keeping the Total Harmonic Distortion in mind. THD (Total Harmonic Distortion) is a measurement of how well a speaker can comprehend and reproduce your music without distortion. THD levels between 0.5 and 1% are considered good, whereas anything beyond 5% is deemed audibly awful by most individuals. In other words, the lower the number, the less distortion and hence the higher the sound quality.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Does my powered speaker need a subwoofer?

A subwoofer is only necessary if you want louder audio with more bass, as we explained in our buyer’s guide. Your speakers can focus on the medium to high range with the addition of a subwoofer, while the sub focusses on lower frequencies. The music will sound richer, more lively, and punchier, with a better overall sound. If you’re only going to watch movies or listen to podcasts, you can probably skip it.

Can I connect powered speakers to an amplifier?

No, powered speakers are not compatible with amplifiers. The reason for this is that their name is based on the assumption that they already have an amplifier placed in them. A separate pre-amp can, however, be connected. Before sending the signal to the amplifier, the pre-amp will switch between the several line-level sources and boost the signal. The result is a signal that is clear and accurate, with reduced noise, distortion, and gain.

How do I know if my speaker is active or passive?

Check to see if a speaker has an amplifier built into the cabinet to determine whether it is active or passive. A passive speaker is powered by an external amplifier and connected to it by a wire. Active speakers, on the other hand, require power, whereas passive speakers do not.

Do powered speakers sound better over time?

Powered speakers, like many other speakers, sound better after a period of break-in. To accomplish this, you need listen to your speakers for about 50-70 hours at medium level before deciding whether or not you like them. Materials loosen considerably during the break-in period, particularly the suspension components. The results can range from a minor improvement to a significant improvement in overall clarity and quality.

Can you daisy chain powered speakers?

Yes, the simplest method to do this is to connect the first powered speaker to the source component, then match plus to plus and minus to negative to link the rest. Speakers in parallel is the technical term for this method, which is also known as a daisy chain. When it comes to how many powered speakers you can daisy chain, the possibilities are endless. You can connect as many as you like as long as you have the necessary input and output connectors.

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