The 10 Best Amplified Speakers
This wiki has been updated 14 times since it was first published in May of 2019. Amplified speakers — also known as active or powered speakers — are equipped with internal amplifiers specifically designed to match the woofers and cones that they're driving. While passive speakers do have their merits, they require an external amp, whereas the models on our list are essentially plug-and-play. We've ranked our picks primarily based on sound quality, cost, value, and reliability. When users buy our independently chosen editorial choices, we may earn commissions to help fund the Wiki.
October 15, 2020:
In the latest revision of our ranking, two items have been replaced with their Bluetooth compatible counterparts, as with the introduction of more efficient technology, pro audio equipment, DJ equipment, and audio-visual setups are increasingly incorporating wireless functionality. Of course, they also offer additional freedom when using common digital devices such as our ubiquitous laptops and smartphones, and as such, deserve a place on our list.
First, we replaced the PreSonus Eris E3.5 with the PreSonus Eris E4.5 BT and then the Edifier R1850DB with the Edifier R2000DB. While both models have acoustic tuning dials to the rear, enabling the user to calibrate the speakers to suit their surroundings, as well as master volume controls and balanced wired inputs, they are best used for different purposes.
The PreSonus Eris E4.5 BT are excellent reference monitors and are an ideal choice for musicians and pro-audio enthusiasts. They are known for their excellent clarity, with a low end that you can feel and a wide sweet-spot for accurate stereo mixing. Their compact size, relative to their 50-watt output also makes these a favorite for smaller setups, as they sit neatly on a desktop without imposing too much on your workspace.
Alternatively, those who are looking for an addition to their home audio-visual setup would be better off considering the Edifier R2000DB. These are excellent bookshelf speakers with impressive bass, full-bodied mids, and very little roll-off at the top end. They include an optical input for lossless digital audio transfer, and as an added bonus, they also offer far better stereo separation than a soundbar.
Finally, we replaced the Edifier R980T with the Edifier R1280T, as while these are both great budget bookshelf models, offering exceptional value for money, the latter boasts an easily-accessible recessed side panel with equalization and volume controls, as well as a remote control, and their wood-effect styling suits many home decors.
May 14, 2019:
Our current list features options ranging from entry-level budget models all the way up to high-end studio-quality examples. If this is your first foray into the world of amplified speakers, the Edifier R980T have lots of appeal. Aesthetics aside, they are pretty fantastic for the cost. They're also easy to set up, but as soon as you push them, you'll feel their limitations—especially in the low end.
While musicians are likely to gravitate towards studio monitors like the PreSonus Eris E3.5 or the Neumann KH 120A (as they should), these models are equally viable as computer speakers.
Our #4 pick, the Klipsch R-51PM, balance convenience, quality, and visual appeal at once with their Bluetooth compatibility, high-quality components, and sleek design, meaning that they'd make a great pair of bookshelf speakers in your living room.
The countless awards the KEF LS50 have won are enough to clue you in: they are in a league of their own. Whether you ask audiophiles, clueless consumers who had enough money to buy the LS50 without knowing much about audio systems, or me, we'll all agree that this pair integrates high fidelity sound with the absolute ease of use that one would hope for in the age of streaming. Their many features aside: these speakers sound incredible.
Acoustic Energy AE1 The low-profile appearance of the Acoustic Energy AE1 is the only understated thing about this pair. Its deliciously punchy mid-end, lavish bass, glittering treble, and expansive dynamic range are the result of high-end hardware and expert engineering. This level of audio quality is often unheard of in a powered pair, usually requiring separate audiophile-grade components to attain such high fidelity, but these speakers do it all on their own at a very competitive price. acoustic-energy.co.uk