Powered tv speaker: Best powered speakers for 2023

Best powered speakers for 2023

In this article: I’ll provide shopping tips to help you find the best powered stereo speakers for your home or office listening area. And I’ll recommend six of the best powered stereo speaker models I’ve tried…

  1. Best desktop computer speakers — Audioengine HD3
  2. Best value — Kanto YU6
  3. Best powered speakers for TV — Klipsch The Nines
  4. Best bass — KEF LS50 Wireless II
  5. Best powered speakers for audiophiles — Sony Signature Series SA-Z1
  6. Best powered speakers for turntable users — Q Acoustics Q Active 200 System

… with a budget-friendly alternative to each pick.

I love powered stereo speakers. They’re basically bookshelf speakers with one or more amplifiers built in (also known as active speakers). They don’t need to run through a receiver or integrated amp, which is nice in a smaller space.

I’ve used a pair of Klipsch powered speakers at home for a while now. They give me everything I need to play music from my chosen sources — wired connections for my TV, gaming system, and turntable, plus Bluetooth for music streaming. And they sound excellent, which is really the most important thing!

The Klipsch speakers suit my situation best, but there are plenty of other models that fulfill different needs. This guide will give you an idea of what to look for when shopping for the best active speakers for your home. Then I’ll make some recommendations based on my hands-on (or is it ears-on?) experience with various models.

You can plug your computer or another music source directly into a set of powered speakers. It’s a simple, space-saving alternative to a traditional home audio component system.

How to choose the best powered speakers

Knowing which features you want will help narrow down your choices. Ask yourself the following questions as you browse.

What sources will you be using?

Most powered speakers feature Bluetooth, and many also offer built-in Wi-Fi for music streaming. Beyond that, the most important thing to confirm is that there are enough inputs for the wired connections you want to make. Consider the following situations you may encounter:

  • optical digital inputs are useful for connecting digital components like a CD player, or the optical output of your TV
  • If you want to directly connect a turntable, look for powered speakers with a phono input and built-in phono preamp
  • A USB or Ethernet connection is great for playing high-resolution music files stored on your computer or network
  • A stereo RCA input lets you connect the analog output from a CD player, streamer, or similar device
  • Some audiophile components offer balanced XLR inputs, and some of these speakers do, too
  • To keep things quiet for privacy or to avoid disturbing others, look for a pair with a headphone output
  • Voice control is available, with Amazon Alexa built-in or optional, or Google Assistant built-in or optional
  • Speakers with HDMI inputs are very popular for improving sound for movies, TV shows, and gaming
  • If you want to add more bass to your system, you’ll need speakers with a dedicated subwoofer output

Some systems offer the option to make a wireless subwoofer connection.

How loud do you want them to play?

A pair of smaller speakers may be plenty for your desktop system, but you’ll want something a little larger if you’re using them to enhance TV sound or listening to music in a larger room. A larger woofer diameter can play louder and lower, and more wattage from the built-in amplification gives you more power and clarity to fill out the soundstage in larger spaces.

KEF LS50 Wireless II speakers (background) offer impressive power and bass response, but the smaller KEF LSX speakers (foreground) may suit a smaller space better.

What about sound quality?

All of these speakers sound good, but how and where you intend to use them makes a difference. The largest, most powerful pair may not automatically be best for every situation.

Speakers with single woofers in the 4″ to 6″ range are what I’d call the average size. The Klipsch speakers I mentioned earlier are a good example. Speakers in this size range are good for general use in just about any room. They have enough power to fill a larger space.

Some manufacturers go all out to create an audiophile-grade experience. I’ve tested speakers like the KEF LS50 Wireless II and enjoyed them as much as any traditional high-end stereo system. Some models have multiple amplifiers built in, advanced digital signal processing to help EQ the speakers to suit your room, and even a dedicated midrange driver to create a more full, accurate sound.

Smaller desktop speakers — like the compact Kanto YU2 — are designed to flank your computer monitor and provide a near-field listening experience that won’t translate well if you try to crank them up in your living room. They’re really designed for up-close listening.

Compact YU2 speakers create an immersive near-field listening experience that’s ideal for desktop use.

What else will I need?

Speaker stands are important for getting the speakers at ear level for a proper soundstage, but they offer other advantages, too. A good set of stands can minimize vibrations that might cause your desk to rattle unpleasantly, or interfere with the smooth operation of your turntable.

Our top picks

I’ve had the good fortune to hear or use all of the powered stereo speakers we carry at Crutchfield, so I can make some informed recommendations for which speakers work best in specific situations.

Best desktop computer speakers — Audioengine HD3

Audioengine HD3 monitors are compact all-stars. The left speaker offers micro USB, 3.5mm minijack, and stereo RCA inputs. That’s plenty for the types of devices we tend to use when seated at a computer — they definitely work best when you sit close and angle them toward your ears to create an immersive near-field listening experience. And the built-in aptX HD Bluetooth makes for high-quality music streaming from compatible devices.

When I borrowed a pair to use at home, they were versatile enough to satisfy two very different computer users. I enjoyed listening to music out loud while working and paying bills. When I let my son use the computer for PC gaming, I had the option of declaring quiet time and asking him to plug a set of headphones into the front of the left speaker. Kind of a lifesaver.

Budget-friendly alternative

Mackie CR3-XBT speakers are compact and versatile, with built-in Bluetooth. And they offer a 1/4″ TRS input, so aspiring musicians and producers can use them as desktop studio monitors, too.

What our customers say about the Audioengine HD3 speakers

Great sound from a small set of speakers. Perfect for my home office set up.

Crutchfield Customer from Franklin, TN

Read all of the Crutchfield customer reviews

Best value — Kanto YU6

Kanto YU6 monitors are really my do-it-all all-stars. They feature a solid 5-1/4″ woofer and 1″ silk dome tweeter that reveal a warm, inviting sound. The bass is pretty surprising for speakers that don’t take up a ton of room, thanks to a rear-firing port on each speaker. I own a pair and have used them at home for years.

These speakers offer all the connections I need on the the left (powered) speaker:

  • dual optical digital inputs let me connect to my TV, and another digital component like a CD player
  • I’m a turntable owner, so I flip the switch on the RCA inputs to “phono” — they also accept line input
  • a 3. 5mm aux input lets you make a wired connection to your phone or tablet
  • a mono RCA output lets you connect to a powered subwoofer for even more bass

And the built-in aptX HD Bluetooth makes for high-quality music streaming from compatible devices.

I’d recommend these to anyone who’s trying to make the best out of a small space — like a bedroom or home office — where you want good sound quality without a bulky setup.

Budget-friendly alternative

Audioengine A2+ Wireless speakers lack the optical input offered by our main pick in this category, but they’re still a big-time customer favorite for music listening. The Aramid fiber woofer and silk dome tweeter offer a slightly warmer tone that some listeners prefer.

What our customers say about Kanto YU6 speakers

Amazing little speakers that deliver crisp and clean audio that fills a medium sized room.

Crutchfield customer from Chesterfield, VA

Read all of the Crutchfield customer reviews

    Best powered speakers for TV — Klipsch The Nines

    These speakers are the latest from the company that brought us the extremely popular R-41PM and R-51PM powered speakers. Klipsch excels at making powered speakers that look good, sound great, and have plenty of connections. And The Nines do all of that in crowd-pleasing fashion.

    The built-in HDMI ARC port is perfect for connecting a TV or gaming console, and the speakers can be your main living room speakers, especially if you don’t have space for a full surround sound system. Klipsch also provided an optical digital input, a minijack aux input, and a Type-B USB for connecting a computer. And there’s a dedicated phono input for turntable fans.

    I think the most impressive thing about The Nines is the rich, full sound they produce. Klipsch has been making dynamite speakers for a long time, and they loaded this pair with 8″ high-excursion woofers and a 1″ titanium tweeter in their signature Tractrix® horn. We demoed them at Crutchfield HQ and were absolutely delighted with the balanced, accurate, and impactful sound they delivered. There is a mono RCA output for connecting a powered sub, but The Nines go plenty deep on their own.

    Budget-friendly alternative

    A pair of ELAC Debut ConneX DCB41 speakers can do a lot, with a very reasonable price tag. The company is rightfully famous for creating big sound with relatively compact speakers, and the sound quality is always excellent. The active speaker in this set features an HDMI ARC port, so you can pair it with just about any TV.

    What our customers say about Klipsch The Nines

    These speakers floored me from day one. Crystal clear clarity, high fidelity… rich, full, and vibrant. The entire room is full.

    Crutchfield Customer from Crestwood, KY

    Read all of the Crutchfield customer reviews

      Best bass — KEF LS50 Wireless II

      A lot of clever design and technology go into each pair of these KEF LS50 Wireless II speakers. Most powered stereo speakers put one amplifier in the left speaker and run speaker wire to the passive speaker on the right. The LS50 wireless has two custom-designed amplifiers in each speaker — delivering 280 watts to each woofer, and 100 watts to each tweeter — so each driver gets exactly as much power as it needs.

      Now about that bass. The innovative Uni-Q driver configuration, the shape of the cabinet, and the built-in digital signal processing work together to create truly impressive low-end sound that goes down to 45 Hz without a subwoofer. I’ve heard a pair of the original LS50s fill our cavernous old training room at Crutchfield HQ, and I’ve heard the original and version II at home in my two-bedroom apartment. Let’s just say they both announce their presence with authority, in big rooms or small ones.

      Budget-friendly alternative

      I’m sort of cheating with this pick. Each individual, spherical Syng Cell Alpha goes beyond stereo sound into triphonic sound, thanks to three horn-loaded midrange drivers with concentrically mounted horn-loaded tweeters. But the similarly unconventional dual 6-1/2″ force-canceling subwoofers absolutely deliver room-filling bass that few other powered speakers can match.

      What our customers say about the KEF LS50 Wireless II speakers

      Outstanding audiophile standmount speaker with extended frequency response belying its relatively small size.

      Crutchfield Customer from Charlottesville, VA

      Read all of the Crutchfield customer reviews

        Best powered speakers for audiophiles — Sony Signature Series SA-Z1

        There are so many options for this category, but the Sony Signature Series SA-Z1 is so clearly the cream of the crop. Their unique driver layout and custom digital processing deliver top-notch sonic realism with a wide soundstage.

        They obviously look like nothing else in our warehouse, and they’ve got it where it counts when it comes to sound quality. Each speaker has two 4″ woofers placed back-to-back in a layout inspired by the Japanese Tsuzumi drum, with each woofer powered by a 35-watt amplifier. And each speaker combines a primary 3/4″ soft dome tweeter with two smaller “assist” tweeters for expanded off-axis response and increased acoustic realism.

        Audiophiles will definitely appreciate the plethora of connections, which include balanced XLR input, a proprietary port for high-res Sony Walkman® or Xperia devices, and a USB Type-B port that’s connected to a 32-bit/768kHz DAC that adds richness, warmth, and depth to high-resolution digital files.

        The upshot: they sound amazing.

        Budget-friendly alternative

        Proper amplification is a key element any time you’re trying to get great sound out of a pair of speakers. JBL 4305P Studio Monitors are bi-amped, meaning each woofer and tweeter has its own dedicated amplifier for greater headroom and lower distortion. They also sport a truly impressive array of inputs, including a pair of combo XLR/TRS inputs for a high-quality analog connection.

        What our customers say about the Sony Signature Series SA-Z1 speakers

        It’s like the artist plays in front of you. Or you are transported to the concert hall right away. This is magic. Highly recommended.

        – Crutchfield Customer from Seattle, WA

        Read all of the Crutchfield customer reviews

          Best powered speakers for turntable users — Q Acoustics Q Active 200 System

          This was one of the harder choices for me to make. There are plenty of powered speakers with built-in phono preamps, and they all sound pretty darn good. But the Q Acoustics Q Active 200 system gets my vote for sound quality plus versatility. The moving magnet phono input is on a separate hub, which most powered speakers don’t have, but the hub connects wirelessly to the DSP-enabled speakers, which gives you expanded placement options to suit your unique listening space. That ability to effectively customize their output for your listening needs gives them the edge.

          Budget-friendly alternative

          I love the signature combo of a rigid aluminum woofer with the highly responsive air motion transformer (AMT) tweeter on the Kanto TUK speakers. AMT “tweeters” are prized for their fidelity and ability to produce a wide soundstage, and that’s something I really want when I’m listening to vinyl. When I hooked them up at home, they even revealed a fair amount of subtle detail in favorite recordings I’d listened to numerous times before.

          What our expert says about the Q Acoustics Q Active System

          These speakers let me hear things I never noticed before, in songs I’d listened to several dozen times. Their ability to resolve minute details impressed me immensely.

          – Crutchfield copywriter Archer A.

          Read Crutchfield customer reviews

          A good pair of powered stereo speakers can let you connect all of your music sources, and save tons of space.

          Need help choosing?

          If you’ve narrowed down your options, but need a little help deciding between two strong contenders, we’re here to help. Contact us, and we’ll make sure you end up with everything you need.

          Acoustic Energy AE1 Active review

          When you purchase through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission. Here’s how it works.

          What Hi-Fi? Awards 2018 winner. Active speakers that do everything with a flourish
          Tested at £1000

          What Hi-Fi? Verdict

          It’s difficult to think of an amplifier/passive speakers combo that could better these Acoustic Energy active speakers at the price


          • +

            Clear, balanced and detailed

          • +

            Rhythmically exciting with fine dynamic range

          • +

            Adjustable treble and bass for versatile placement

          • Nothing of note

          Why you can trust What Hi-Fi?
          Our expert team reviews products in dedicated test rooms, to help you make the best choice for your budget. Find out more about how we test.

          We like tradition. It’s what puts sprouts on our plate every Christmas.

          (Year after year we shuffled them toward the edge of the plate, attempting to locate the mouth of some gluttonous house pet. Then, at some point, they became the highlight of the day.)

          Tradition also states that, every four years, there must be some blind, faint hope that our team will not exit the World Cup with a whimper.

          In hi-fi, tradition can mean a lot of boxes and a lot of clutter – but it can also mean finely tuned system-matching and plenty of scope for upgrading. It means versatility and, often, better overall performance.

          Active speakers are hardly a gargantuan deviation from tradition, but it’s rare to find a pair at this price that leave us struggling to come up with alternative separates that can match their talents.

          • Acoustic Energy AE1 Active at Richer Sounds for £1,050

          Build and compatibility

          Acoustic Energy’s AE1 Actives are relatively basic in terms of set-up and function. Connect them to your source via either their RCA or balanced XLR inputs and you’re ready to go.

          There’s no Bluetooth – but attaching a separate module post-purchase would be far more cost-effective than for AE to have integrated the technology itself, and decent pre-amps and streamers with wireless capability are far from hard to find.

          While not common, the AE1s’ method is scarcely rewriting the rulebook either. Each drive unit is driven by a dedicated 50W class A/B power amplifier module, while dials at the back of each cabinet allow for treble adjustment and bass cut up or down by 2dB.

          MORE: How to build the perfect speaker

          The drivers themselves are likely to be familiar to anyone already acquainted with Acoustic Energy speakers.

          The mid/bass drivers are products of the company’s pure piston ceramic aluminium cone technology, the use of metal for its rigidity targeting a more consistent output; the aluminium dome tweeters benefit from AE’s Wide Dispersion Technology waveguide for enhanced room integration.

          And they’re all wrapped up in a charmingly unassuming box. Available in Piano Black, Piano White or Piano Cherry real wood veneer finishes, the AE1s’ faces are bare but for the drivers underlined by the brand name – and at only 30cm tall they won’t dominate the landscape of your living room. The sonic landscape, however, is a different matter.

          MORE: How to buy speakers and set them up for the best sound

          We test the AE1s primarily using the balanced XLR connection to our reference Gamut pre-amp and Naim NDS/555 PS streamer, but the consistency of their character, irrespective of source or means of attachment, is worth celebrating right from the off.

          We end up with them slightly toed in, around 1.5m from boundary walls – but those bass and treble controls mean you’re free to tweak their response in synergy with their placement if space is at a premium.

          The AE1s deserve decent, hefty speaker stands. They never cross a line with our lighter speaker stands, but the sturdier the better – and they’re worthy of more than an MDF bookshelf.

          Their presentation is forward, but that’s not to say they lack subtlety or dimension, just that they’re endearingly excitable.

          MORE: How to build the perfect hi-fi system


          The range of music we play while testing – and the time spent listening, unable to tear ourselves away – is testament to their talent.

          We get through a hefty chunk of our library over a number of days, and with each album the AE1s’ response is absolutely a delight.

          Play Soulwax’s FROM DEEWEE and the speakers’ character reveals itself almost from the outset. The rising synthesizer phrases of Present Tense ring with clarity and vigour – there is granular detail to their waveforms and an climbing sense of anticipation.

          MORE: Best speaker deals – hi-fi, Bluetooth, wireless

          With Masterplanned we get a sense of the AE1s’ fine integration and balance. The synth hook stabs away at the low end, with substantial body in the midrange to showcase the vocal melody, and control over potentially coarse percussion in the treble.

          We’re also treated to these speakers’ punch and drive. Rhythms jab as much as time, able to contrast often quite ghostly vocal lines with the verve and swagger of their synth-led polyrhythmic accompaniments.

          MORE: Best hi-fi speakers 2018

          This record is so dependent on the delivery of its rhythmic personality, and the AE1s convey it brilliantly.

          Timing is spot on, of course, but equally the dynamic range is subtle and extensive enough to spotlight differing intensities of beats that can, texturally, be cluttered.

          Fast-forward to Is It Always Binary, for example, an unabashed album highlight. Relying on timing or timbre of the drums alone to differentiate rhythmic strands is not enough – the AE1s allow the 4/4 to pulse while busier strands lead each bar into the next.


          Simply, these AE1s do everything they do with a flourish. And that’s not only by the standards of directly competing active speaker alternatives, but also by what we’ve been able to achieve in any price-comparable amp/speakers combination.

          So yes, we love tradition, and we love hi-fi separates. But it’s a much more expensive pair of components that will offer a marked improvement on these Acoustic Energy active speakers – and you owe it to yourself to track down a pair to discover that for yourself.

          See all our Acoustic Energy reviews

          Acoustic Energy AE1 Active: Price Comparison





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          What Hi-Fi?, founded in 1976, is the world’s leading independent guide to buying and owning hi-fi and home entertainment products. Our comprehensive tests help you buy the very best for your money, with our advice sections giving you step-by-step information on how to get even more from your music and movies. Everything is tested by our dedicated team of in-house reviewers in our custom-built test rooms in London, Reading and Bath. Our coveted five-star rating and Awards are recognised all over the world as the ultimate seal of approval, so you can buy with absolute confidence.

          Read more about how we test

          China Tonewinner Subwoofer 10 inch TV Woofer Manufacturer


          / SERIES AB

          / Subwoofer Tonewinner 10″ TV woofer

          Active subwoofer overview SUB-10

          The sound of this subwoofer is extremely shocking, and it can create amazing low frequencies in a room of about 30 square meters, which is indispensable for home theater systems.

          1. Appearance characteristics

          The overall appearance of SUB-10 is elegant and refined in execution, and the reliability of the line is good. Use 10-inch large magnets, powerful long-throw subwoofer drivers and durable extra-thick MDF cabinets.

          2. Circuitry

          The 130 W (8 ohm) power amplifier built into the box is the power source for the active subwoofer. The circuit is a traditional high-precision electronic separation element, and the high-speed high-fidelity audio amplifier circuit is used as the main power amplifier. In today’s traditional high fidelity audio power amplifier circuit, which has been very mature, the reliability, sound quality, durability and stability of products can greatly reduce the chance of failure. So current Tonewinner subwoofers, whether they are Tonewinner branded products or OEM for many other brands. The design and manufacture or OEM of many well-known European and American brands use this very reliable and mature traditional analog audio power amplifier circuit. Tonewwinner’s SUB-10BC Home Active Midrange Subwoofer has no such circuitry. Therefore, the rejection rate is very low and everyone can choose it with confidence.

          3. Description of the main function

          For HI-FI enthusiasts, SUB-10BC can well complement the low frequencies in the original HI-FI or AV system, especially suitable for Tonewinner Fidelity series home theater system to enhance the bass in a large audiovisual environment, which can greatly improve the HI-FI performance great speakers and ultra-low frequency in the background music FI / AV.

          An active subwoofer is the ultimate home theater companion. It can greatly improve the sound of the live home theater effect and create an extremely shocking and immersive surround sound field. No matter how good the quality of the home theater itself is, it is very necessary to add one or more large-caliber active subwoofers. In fact, for home theaters, the effect of a subwoofer is indeed better than without a subwoofer. a lot of.



          ≥80 dB


          10″ x 1

          frequency response

          30Hz-250Hz (+1/-3dB)

          Input level

          ≤700 mVrms

          Specific consumption


          speaker box


          Supply voltage

          ~220V 50Hz



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          How to connect speakers to an LG TV – LG MAGAZINE Russia

          Modern LG TVs boast high-quality sound. Nevertheless, many owners of equipment want to further improve the audio system by connecting speakers to the TV. This allows you to enjoy surround sound of the highest quality.

          Before you start connecting speakers, you need to check which audio connectors your LG TV model is equipped with. The most common are digital HDMI connector, line-in (MiniJack) or specialized SCART or RCA speaker connectors.

          LG Smart TV models have the ability to connect wireless speakers via Bluetooth.

          Let’s consider each of them in more detail:

          HDMI – found in the most modern models of TVs and home theaters. Allows you to transfer information without loss of quality.

          If you are going to connect a powerful audio center with built-in amplifiers to your TV, it is recommended to use HDMI connectors.

          MiniJack , SCART (comb) and RCA (tulip) are not designed for high power audio systems. When using these connectors, you need to be especially careful, because if you connect acoustics with more than the permissible power to the TV, there is a risk of damage or even failure of the equipment.

          The second thing to look at is the speakers themselves. Acoustic systems are active and passive, and the connection method depends on their type.

          The active speaker system has a built-in amplifier and is connected to the mains for power. In the vast majority of cases, these speakers are connected to the TV using 3.5 mm inputs, designated MiniJack or TRS. In the event that your LG TV does not have such connectors, you can solve the problems by purchasing an additional MiniJack / RCA adapter.

          The passive speaker system is not equipped with an amplifier, it must be purchased separately and the speakers must be connected first to it, and only then through the amplifier to the TV. In this case, there is a possibility that the sound quality will not be optimal.

          Here’s what you need to pay attention to when choosing an amplifier:

          • Its power should not be higher than the power of the speakers (more than a third). Carefully read the User’s Guide to the columns – this information is sure to be there.
          • Amplifier and speaker impedance must be equal.
          • The wire with which the amplifier will be connected to the TV is very important. Experts recommend not using a cord with a cross section of less than 2 mm.

          How to connect speakers to your TV with wires: step-by-step instructions

          1. After deciding on the type of connector, connect the HDMI, RCA or MiniJack cable to the appropriate socket on the back of the TV.
          2. If you are connecting speakers from your computer to your TV, use your TV as a power source. To do this, connect them to any free USB port on the rear panel.
          3. Adjust the sound settings on the TV.

          How to connect wireless speakers to your TV: step-by-step instructions

          1. Turn on the TV with the remote control.
          2. In the “Menu” find the section Bluetooth and make sure that this option is active.
          3. In the list of available devices, find the Bluetooth speaker you want to connect.
          4. Synchronize devices.

          After you have successfully connected the speakers to your LG TV, you need to complete the process by adjusting the audio settings on the TV itself.

          • Select “Home” from the menu (“Home” icon).
          • Go to the “Settings” section (“Gear icon”).
          • In the upper right corner, find the icon with three vertical dots, and in it – the “Sound” section.
          • In the “Audio output” subsection, select “Audio output (optical/HDMI ARC)”.
          • Activate SIMPLINK mode.

          If you are using a speaker system that supports LG Sound Sync:

          • From the menu, select Home (Home icon).
          • Go to the “Settings” section (“Gear icon”).
          • In the upper right corner, find the icon with three vertical dots, and in it – the “Sound” section.