Q: I have $500 to put together a system for my son to play vinyl records and stream music from his phone, playing in his 12-by-14-foot bedroom now and eventually a dorm room. I am torn between powered speakers and a receiver with bookshelf speakers. I figure I can get a nicer turntable if I get powered speakers instead of separate components, and it would be easier to cart off to college, too. What do you recommend?
A: I usually prefer a receiver and speakers, but the paucity of quality stereo receivers under $200, as well as my discovery of an exceptional powered speaker, has me leaning toward the latter.
I strongly recommend the Kanto Yu powered Bluetooth speakers (kantoaudio.com) for your system. I tried them a month ago and found them to be one of the best small powered speakers I have ever heard. The sound has an unmistakable high-end quality, with a wide tonal range, surprisingly deep bass and that certain something that has you going through all the songs on your phone or tablet to hear how good they are going to sound.
They have an auxiliary input, as well as a subwoofer output, so you can use them with a separate powered subwoofer in a bigger room. They come with a remote and sell for $249. Add a Fluance RT-81 turntable with built-in phono preamp for $249 (fluance.com) and you have a $500 system with style and sound.
Save CD music while you can
Q: I saved your recommendations from Aug. 27, 2017, to buy an audio CD player that converts CD music to MP3 and records it directly to a flash drive. You suggested the Teac CD-P650 with a 64GB flash drive to get started. I would like to copy my music onto a flash drive. Is the Teac CD-P650 still what you would recommend?
A: I do still recommend the Teac CD-P650 (audio.teac.com), and I am delighted that it is still available three years later. High quality home audio CD players are becoming much less common, especially for under $200. You can use a DVD or Blu-ray player to play your CDs, but they tend to lack front displays and other useful features.
The CD-P650 makes copying the discs easy. Just put in the CD, insert the flash drive in the USB port, and a few button presses transfers the music from the CD to the flash drive. Given the increasing rarity of home CD players, I suggest you get the CD-P650 sooner rather than later. I have seen similar models from other manufacturers discontinued over the past year.
Send questions to Don Lindich at email@example.com. Get recommendations and read past columns at soundadvicenews.com.