While new and spunky speakers are stealing the show everywhere, you sometimes feel like going back in time. The fragrance of wood and the warm sound of tubes seem more inviting than ever. While vintage speakers cost a bomb and need some struggle to be refurbished to their past state, there’s always another option: retro speakers. These are speakers that look like they are vintage. They go perfectly with a Victorian-style living room. And if you want to puff on a cigar and listen to Elvis Presley from iHeartRadio, you can do it on the retro speakers. These music-machines have moved on to better technology in essence but their architecture carries the grace of the past.
Are retro speakers any good?
You have to understand that retro speakers are designed to look antique. The machinery inside is all new. So they can be judged by similar parameters as other speakers with a slight compensation for their architecture. The best retro speakers selected here have proven to have a well-defined sound signature with no major problems like distortion or sibilance. Some of them like Marshall Acton are cut-throat rivals to Bose and UE speakers. While many retro speakers only focus on outer looks, we selected those that give equal importance to audio.
- 1 Top 10 Best Vintage and Retro Speakers in 2017 – Complete Chart
- 1.1 Marshall Acton M-ACCS-10127 Bluetooth Speaker
- 1.2 Pyle PUNP34BT Vintage Retro Classic Style Bluetooth Radio Sound System
- 1.3 JAM Rewind Wireless Speaker
- 1.4 GGMM M3 Retro Wi-Fi/Bluetooth Stereo Wireless Leather Speaker
- 1.5 Tesslor R301 Retro-style Tabletop AM/FM Hi-Fi Radio and speaker
- 1.6 Philips ORD7100R/37 Original Radio 30-Pin Charging Speaker Dock
- 1.7 Pyle PTCD54UB Bluetooth Vintage Classic Style Turntable Speaker System
- 1.8 Sharper Image SBT3002BK Retro Wireless Bluetooth Speaker
- 1.9 Wolverine RSR100 Retro Table Top Bluetooth Speaker and AM/FM Radio
- 1.10 Electrohome EANOS501 Winston Vinyl Turntable 3-in-1 Wooden Stereo System
Are retro speakers better than normal speakers?
Retro speakers that play MP3 may or may not be better than other normal speakers.Some of the best retro speakers like Marshall Acton or Jam Rewind compete neck-to-neck with other speakers at their price-point. However, some of them like Pyle PUNP34BT invest more in the original vintage look than on their audio. But appearance and audio have figured equally in our calculations.
Which are the best retro speakers?
Since this is a limited market, there were fewer options to choose from. But we dug deep and came up with 10 best retro speakers that look and sing like golden old times. The reasons we picked these:
Looks: Since there all sorts of speakers but you are specifically looking for a retro speaker, looks are on the top of your mind. Maybe you have a fancy guest room and you want to decorate it with all things retro. The best retro speakers seamlessly align modern controls on to an antique-looking architecture without compromising on audio quality.
Audio:We are discussing speakers, right? It would be silly not to consider audio as a major parameter of ranking. The best retro speakers wrap agreeable to outstanding sonic output into a vintage-looking package. Boomy lows and crass treble were avoided.
Value for money:We did not compare the speakers blatantly with each other. All of them come from various price-ranges. So we checked how well each speaker performed for its price. We want you to have maximum return on your investment.
Features:The retro speakers we found were riddled with features. From AM/FM radio to Bluetooth capability to even turntables, they seem to be covering a lot of acoustic ground with one device.
Top 10 Best Vintage and Retro Speakers in 2017 – Complete Chart
You can easily pick out a Marshall speaker from the crowd because of their classic design. They have retained the look and feel of vintage radios just so that you can remember music as it was meant to be, pure and simple. The Marshall Acton Bluetooth retro speaker has the same old school look that evokes nostalgia about the times life was simple. Although the design is retro, the features are all metro and suited for our lifestyle. It won the top spot on the best vintage and retro speakers list hands down.
Design and Features
Marshall invests heavily in both physical and sound engineering. The Acton Bluetooth retro speaker is designed as a cuboid of 10.4” x 6.3” x 5.9”. It is mounted on four stubs for elevation. The front face has a glazing grille with “Marshall” branded across it in their customary cursive font. The other faces are covered in a soft vinyl material.
The top face of this retro speaker carries all the buttons and knobs. A toggle button controls the power input. There are three knobs for: volume, bass level and treble level. This is a Bluetooth speaker that can also be used in the wired mode. So there are indicators to tell which type of source is streaming the music to Acton. It is shipped with a 3.5mm input-to-double-ended output cable. The cable is again a piece of art.
One thing that immediately struck us as lacking was that Acton does not work on battery charge. It is tied down by the power cord. We find solace in the fact that it weighs only 6.6 pounds by avoiding extra features. Apart from the cream exteriors, there’s also a more ornate-looking black model of Marshall Acton.
The sound signature of Marshall Acton retro speaker totally vindicates it price. It gives the mighty Bose speakers a run for their money in a more aesthetic package. The crooning comes out of two 0.75 inch tweeters and one 4-inch woofer. With its tiny frame, it can produce a whole lot of racket. Some users have reported problems with the Bluetooth connection drop. But we have not faced any issue yet. The wired mode of music playback is exceptionally smooth. It has enough refinement to make the music come alive, but not enough to be abrasive with bad records.
In spite of its size, the stereo separation between left and right channel is apparent in this retro speaker. It can easily light up a big room with its warm sound.
- Simple, yet clean retro look
- Smooth, warm audio
- Bass and treble volume knobs
- Can be used in wired mode
- Bluetooth connection drops for many customers
Pyle specializes in customized speakers. There were many surprise Pyle finds in our best in-ceiling speakers. So we once again resorted to their products for the best retro speakers. And PUNP34BT delivers on our expectations. The decorated face of the speaker is adorned with brass-colored knobs and retro dial for the radio functionality. It has a number of playback options right from Bluetooth to FM. This piece of beauty has every right to be on the best retro speakers list.
Design and Features
The Pyle PUNP34BT retro speaker made us stop and sigh. The stained wood case cannot be blinked and missed. While Marshall Acton had a simple, era-like look, the PUNP34BT indulges in all the architectural features of the yore. All its nuts and knobs are crafted out of quality materials. So this retro speaker has substance to go with its style.
The front face of PUNP34BT has strategically-placed speaker grille cutouts. The middle portion is dedicated to holding an antique metal panel with a glass dial. You can tune into AM/FM radio stations using it. The dial is very sensitive but not as accurate as a digital tuning. It is powered viaa 110V power cord. Like Marshall, there’s no option for battery power.
PUNP34BT retro speaker connects to playback devices wirelessly through Bluetooth. There’s a 3.5mm auxiliary input as well to connect portable devices like tablet or smartphones. It also has USB flash reader and an SD memory card reader. The RCA ports are instrumental in connecting to TVs. It has a USB port which can be used to charge another device.All this in a package of 7.1” x 11.8” x 7.1”. Wooden feet help it stay above the surface it is placed on.
For a casual listener, the Pyle PUNP34BT retro speaker would sound good. You get decent bass and distortion-free mids and highs. The volume does not get very loud in any mode, wired or wireless. So this speaker is meant more to be a part of your polished mahogany décor and elegant surroundings while you read a book sitting next to it. It is hardly the party material. The soft tones of jazz or 90s rock music will sound exactly like what you expect from a wood encased speaker.
- Exceptional retro looks
- AM/FM, Bluetooth, USB/SD card reader
- Doubles as a battery bank
- RCA ports and retro dial radio tuner
- Audio is average
Remember the VHS cassettes. They looked pretty funky. JAM Rewind recreates the magic by looking exactly like one. This pocketable little guy can do retro for you in the grey color or do uber-cool in its red model. We kept waiting for this highly affordable retro speaker to show a fault, but nothing of the sort happened. It continued to impress us with its audio, wireless performance and low weight, all the way to the best retro speakers list. We are literally falling over each other to get one more of these.
Design and Features
Jam Rewind is smartly named for its VHS tape architecture. At 5.8 ounce, it is lighter than the Marshall Acton too. It measures 5” x 8” x 2.5” in all directions, thus coming out to be more compact than Pyle PUNP34BT. The two active speakers are placed exactly where the two reels of VHS cassette should be. The positioning is both aesthetically and acoustically smart.
On the top face of this retro speaker, you will find all the important buttons. Since this is a Bluetooth speaker, the controls are also available onboard. These include volume, track navigation, Play/Pause and power button. The status of Bluetooth connection is indicated by voice prompts and an LED light. The Bluetooth connectivity has a range of 30 feet. A 3.5mm port can be used to connect it in the wired mode.
Jam Rewind one –ups the previous two retro speakers with battery power capability. It can ditch the power cord for 8 hours, once charged. This pint-sized speaker can be carried around in your pocket. It also has a speakerphone, so you can route your calls to this and use it for group chat or a meeting. We would pick up the red model, given another chance.
The Rewind retro speaker from Jam is equipped with two active speakers and two passive drivers. In spite of its puny size, it can chug out some pretty deep bass. And the highs are not shy either. Treble matches up with the bass, note-to-note. And all this rains down at sizeable volume. It is louder than the Pyle PUNP34BT. The natural audio flatters all genres and music types. It might not sound the same as Jawbone Mini Jambox, but it packs plenty of punch for its price and size.
The Pyle PUNP34BT ranks higher on our best retro speakers list because of it authentic vintage look. The Rewind retro speaker makes us nostalgic but it’s not as impressive as the former in appearance.
- Loud, natural sound
- Bold bass and treble
- Looks like VHS cassette tape
- Works in wired and Bluetooth mode
- Charging cable is short
GGMM M3 retro speaker has all kinds of wireless connectivity built into it. It is a true high-end speaker that needs its features to be fine-tuned a smidgen. Given its size and outer looks, you would think all the talents it claims are a load of smoke. But M3 is actually that good and even costs less than the Marshall Acton. The buttery audio might be less-than-perfect for the audiophile ears, but casual listeners are drooling at the specs of GGMM M3. Hence its place in the best retro speakers list.
Design and Features
The appearance of the GGMM M3 retro speaker is a cross between retro and contemporary. While three of its sides are sheathed in leather that gives them the aura of yesteryears, its front face is stainless aluminum alloy. This has cutouts for the speaker grilles of two drivers and tweeters. The Camel and Coffee models of the M3 are especially vintage-looking. The Black and Red versions can go with modern furnishing.
This retro speaker connects wirelessly through either Wi-Fi or Bluetooth. With Bluetooth, it will remember up to 16 devices synced to it, so you can seamlessly change the audio sources. Wi-Fi can be connected directly or through the router. With iPhones/iPads you can use Airplay, while with Bluetooth you can simply “Cast” the audio. But GGMM also has a more holistic option of an Android/iPhone app. This has minor bugs but it can otherwise control the speaker very well, even allowing you to set alarms to ring on M3.
The M3 retro speaker can be used to extend your existing speaker system for Surround Sound. It is also multiroom-capable, so you can share audio between two of them. It is AC-powered. You can connect it to devices in the wired mode using its 3.5mm port.
The GGMM M3 retro speaker aces in sound quality as well. Most people agree that it’s a delight to listen to. The bass is punchy and forms a solid base for the rest of the frequencies. It tends to relax a little at the mid-bass region, so it’s not as tight as the Sony SRS-X7. But M3 has meatier bass that makes the audio more enjoyable. Mids and high play with panache. Vocal ring clear over the cymbals and drums. The audio is warm and responds well to complicated tracks. Once you figure out how to connect the Wi-Fi, the audio rings true anywhere within 100 feet of the source. Sound quality is best over Wi-Fi.
- Can stream music over wires, Bluetooth and Wi-Fi
- Natural, warm sound signature with punchy bass
- Solid construction
- Partnering app
- App has minor bugs
- Tedious to connect to Wi-Fi the first time
Some people never do things halfway. Tesslor is a group of such folks. Their R301 retro tabletop and speaker is a bodily example of what attention to detail means. Claimed to be hand-crafted, this speaker has each dial and knob designed to resemble the artifacts of the past. The wood cabinet, the vintage metal embellishments and the delectable audio, all make for an undefeated combination for the best retro speakers list.
Design and Features
The core of the Tesslor R301 retro speaker is hidden in a wooden cabinet. The fervent lines and edges of the architecture declare the precision with which it has been crafted. The front side holds the ornate speaker grille. This has the tuning dial, volume knob, bass knob and a treble knob. Off to one side, you have a dial to select between different playback sources. Another dial works as a power control and doubles as a sleep timer.
The tuner display of this retro speaker is backlit and easy to read and operate. This is for the radio functionality alone. For playing music off smartphones, MP3 speakers, CD players et al. you have to connect them via the RCA plugs. We would have appreciated a 3.5mm plug for better compatibility with available cable and devices. It has a 0-120 sleep timer. If you set the timer it ticks and tocks at an audible volume. Some folks found it annoying.
Audio-wise Tesslor R301 retro speaker takes the cake. It is fantastic sounding through the lows, mids and highs. The AM/FM functions sail smooth. The 4-inch driver of R301 creates plenty of noise to get a small hostel room party going. The wooden cabinet makes for an acoustically smart chamber for the solid state electronics. You get a full range of frequencies which are consistent.
It’s best to play this retro speaker loud. Many people have complained that only volume can mask the ticking of the sleep timer which by default remains on all the time, courtesy it’s mating with the power on/off functionality.
- Handsome vintage design
- Has AM/FM radio
- Balanced audio
- Has sleep timer
- Sleep timer ticks all the time
- Only RCA plugs for connecting to audio playback devices
Philips ORD7100R/37 retro speaker rejuvenates one of their most iconic designs, the Philetta. It is more contemporary in its design than Philetta but you might find it matching the graceful white and off-white tones of your home. Its dock is customized to charge and play from iPhone and iPads. But other playback devices can be connected via a line-in.The cool-as-a-cucumber exterior is matched with hi-tech functionality in one of the best retro speakers.
Design and Features
Philips ORD7100R/37 retro speaker first caught our attention when contours of its Cream model gleamed at us. At 12.8” x 6.8” x 6.9”, it is mid-sized. As it remains tethered by a power cord, we didn’t give its portability any thought anyway. It is designed to emulate the architecture of Philetta speaker by Philips. So it’s partially retro, while it manages to incorporate a digital clock on its face.
The front side of this retro speaker has the controls and a dock. Any iPhone or iPad can be fit into this dock. It simultaneously charges and plays music from the Apple devices. Even if your iPhone has a cover, it can sit comfortably on the dock. When connected like that it automatically synchronizes the speaker time to that on the device. The digital clock gives you the time at a glance.
All devices other than Apple ones can be connected via a line-in cable at the back. You also have an option to listen to AM/FM. There’s a wire antenna that can be extended for good reception.
The ORD7100R/37 retro speaker reflects the audio quality that Philips is known for. All regular listeners find the sound warm and balanced in its elements. Bass has a powerful presence in its sound signature. Stereophiles tend to nitpick at the audio but we reigned in our inner critic. This is an innovative design with a lot of potential. The execution needs more time to be perfected. There’s also a HomeStudio app to control the music playback. But it’s best not to install this because it buggy.
- Beautiful in appearance
- Has AM/FM radio with antenna
- Enjoyable audio
- Has charging-cum-playback dock
- Partner app is buggy
Pyle PTCD54UB retro speaker goes much along the lines of Electrohome EANOS501. This is a combination package of turntable, speaker, CD player and radio. Designed with ornate antique finish metal panels, this speaker is meticulous in its details. They have ditched all things digital and gone for analogue knobs. If you are not up for the sophistication, remember that this would make an excellent birthday gift. We piled it onto the best retro speakers list.
Design and Features
We chose the Vintage Wood Style model of the Pyle PTCD54UB retro speaker for our tests. It looked more like the age. This is like a small attaché case which opens to reveal a turntable. You can play the vinyl collection you inherited or gathered over years. The front side has all the controls and knobs to manage its various functions. It comes with a remote to control it from a distance.
This is a Bluetooth-enabled speaker which can pair with smartphones, laptops, tablets etc.. Apart from the built-in CD player, you also have a cassette deck. Talk about old times! AM/FM radio stations can be tuned via display and tuning knobs in the front. You can also insert a USB flash drive to play songs through it. As an additional perk, this retro speaker offers Vinyl-to-MP3 recording capability. A headphone-out jack lets you listen to your music privately.
It’s hard to go into specifics of lows, mids and highs while talking about a maverick device like the Pyle PTCD54UB retro speaker. It sounds fun and warm, the combination that has worked for ages. A purist will want more details and brightness. But we were quite happy with what we heard here. The radio reception was good and radio played exactly like you imagine it does in Noir movies.
- Agreeable warm sound
- Bluetooth-enabled, radio
- CD-player, cassette player
- Headphone-out jack
- Modern vinyl records skip
A layer of leather on any device can instantly give it the retro look. That’s what Sharper Image does with their SBT3002 retro Bluetooth speaker. This looks like a radio from the era when radios were first used. The Black version is adequately modern but has the aesthetics of eras bygone. The fact that it can connect to most modern devices reminds us that it’s not conceptually stuck in the past. We stayed sharp as we welcomed it to our best retro speakers list.
Design and Features
Sharper Image SBT3002 retro speaker looks similar to the Marshall Acton but costs less than half of it. The front face is entirely speaker grille with tight gaps. All other sides are fashioned out of veneer wood and finished with leatherette.It looks very attractive and will go with an old-time room setting. The top side has an exposed area which serves as the control panel. This has bass and treble volume knobs apart from the normal volume of the speakers.
This retro speaker is Bluetooth enabled. It can connect wirelessly with your smartphone, tablet or laptop through this facility within 30 feet range of them. Although it charges via an AC outlet, it has a rechargeable battery. So you can carry the box around. It is pretty easy to operate unlike the GGMM M3 speaker. It is a gorgeous piece, especially in the White version. It is shipped with a power cord and a male-to-male auxiliary cord.
At its size, we expected the SBT3002 retro speaker to be slightly tinny. What we found was warm sound with suitable depth to it. It sounded far from hollow. The lower registers registered with us. Vocals and treble matched up to the agility of the lows. The sonic response isn’t high fidelity. But to a casual listener, it sounds great. If you look at other retro speakers in the same price range, you would not get the same performance. Take Pyle PUNP34BT as example.
- Sleek looks
- Has 3.5mm port
- Warm, full sound
- Volume is only moderate
Machine cannot have the same caring touch as humans do. Perhaps that’s why the handmade items look so lovely. Wolverine RSR100 retro speaker, with its handmade wooden cabinet, is a treat to behold. It has oodles of class and scores of audio talent. Being able to moonlight as a radio is an added perk. It pulls off the limited functionality with ease.Which is why we didn’t think twice before putting it on the best retro speakers list.
Design and Features
Wolverine RSR100 retro speaker will catch your eye out of a horde of speakers. It has a beautiful wood chamber with curved edges. Golden paneling ribbons these edges in a subtle touch. Two knobs are strategically placed for aesthetics and the controls are lined like the keys of a piano. A small screen in the front tells you the radiostation you are tuned to.
As mentioned before, this retro speaker also has AM/FM capability.A wire antenna helps with stable reception from nearby stations. Station presets are easy to set and recall when you listen to them regularly. It connects to their playback devices using Bluetooth.The controls and knobs have a plasticky feel to them as opposed to Pyle PUNP34BT in the same price range. But we haven’t had any issues with durability.
At its price, we did not expect great sound from the Wolverine RSR100 retro speaker. And it just meets our expectations. The audio is decent. Audiophile might scoff at the level of clarity. But the lesser mortals will be happy to have that kind of audio come out of such a pretty and retro package.There are no issues of distortion at high volumes or sibilance from the high frequencies. We were happy that it worked.
- Beautiful design
- AM/FM radio
- Decent audio
- Bluetooth enabled
- Audio could be better
There’s nothing as vintage or retro as a turntable. It evokes the images of vinyl discs that played music like it was meant to sound. The best a stereo manufacturer can do is build modern ports into a turntable. That’s exactly what Electrohome EANOS501 is guilty of. It’s like having whipped cream frosting on a chocolate muffin. The fact that this retro speaker is enclosed in jewelry –box design blends it right into a Renaissance-style living room. Plus, if you are vinyl collector, the turntable functionality is handy. We galloped with it straight to our best retro speakers list.
Design and Features
A wood veneer cabinet with speaker grille showing through delicate carvings conceals the musical core of the Electrohome EANOS501 retro speaker. The chamber is a mahogany shade of wood. The top side is the lid to the turntable. The front side holds the control panel done in metal with antique finish.
This retro speaker is not just a turntable for your vinyl records, it is also an AM/F M radio. A white backlit dial for radio station sits on the control panel. It has an auxiliary 3.5mm input for connecting to phones and tablets. The Play/Pause, track navigation, repeat buttons are situated on the control array. All CD-related buttons like open/close and program accompany them. There are two knobs: one for volume and one for selecting between different audio sources like AM, FM, aux etc..
The automatic turntable spins 7, 10 and 12-inch records at 33.33, 45 and 78 RPM speeds. It also has a headphone jack for private listening. Can it get any more convenient than this?
The audio experience with the Electrohome EANOS501 retro speaker has been bittersweet. If you are buying this primarily for the turntable functionality, there’s a chance that it won’t work with modern vinyl. People have found it to wobble. But it worked great for our parents’ old collection of music. And we only tested those. The sonic quality of vinyl can hardly be faulted. If you connect a modern playback device, the audio comes out loud enough for a mid-sized room. You get decent sound for the price. It won’t blow your mind though. The key takeaway is how well it sits in the Victorian-style furnishing and still produces tonally balanced audio.
- Ornately retro looks
- Has turntable, AM/FM and CD-player and 3.5mm aux port
- Has 3.5mm headphone jack
- Decent audio
- Turntable is wobbly for modern records