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The Best Modern Speakers That Look Like Old-School Classics

Audio companies are going back in time, creating new speakers that have vintage vibes.

arcam solo unit speaker
JBL

Vintage loudspeakers will never go out of style. They have that classic look that audio enthusiasts love. Plus, you can hook them up to most new-age music systems and they'll still play beautifully; they aren't hamstrung by the latest wireless technologies or digital audio codecs. The problem, like many vintage audio components from the '60s, '70s and '80s, is that they are incredibly difficult to find and buy. (Not to mention expensive.)

The good news is that a lot of the classic speaker manufacturers, such as JBL and Klipsch, make new speakers that look like their classic speakers. They might be smaller than the loudspeakers of old, which makes them more affordable, or they might be integrated with more wireless (and analog) connections, which that also makes them more versatile.

Here are five examples.

Klipsch The Fives

Klipsch
Klipsch The Fives
amazon.com
$797.00
$618.88 (22% off)

The Fives is a pair of powered bookshelf speakers that have a similar wooden veneer and metal grille that recall some of Klipsch's most iconic heritage speakers, including its Forte and Heresy loudspeakers. And yet, these 2020-released speakers are packed with new-age wired and wireless connections that make them super versatile. They have built-in Bluetooth, so you can easily stream music. They have an integrated phono pre-amp, so you can pair hook them up to a turntable. They also support optical, aux (via mini-jack), USB and RCA connections. Maybe most importantly, they are one of the few powered speakers with an HDMI-ARC connection, so you can hook them up to your TV. No AV receiver required.

JBL L52 Classic

JBL
JBL L52 Classic
www.jblsynthesis.com
$1,000.00

Released in mid-2021, the JBL L52 Classic bookshelf speakers are essentially a smaller and more affordable version of the company's $2,500 L82 Classic — also great new speakers with vintage vibes. They're modeled after the company's iconic L100 loudspeakers from the 70s, as they have the same wooden veneer and striking Quadrex foam grille (available in black, blue or orange), but JBL updated the acoustics with its latest driver technologies so its sounds is very much fit for the 21st century.

Marshall Woburn II Bluetooth

Marshall
Marshall Woburn II
urbanoutfitters.com
$449.00

The Woburn II is a powerful powered speaker that's designed to look like Marshall's classic and beloved guitar and bass amps. It has a similar black-and-brass look with a metal grille and tactile volume knobs (for adjustable bass, treble and volume), but it works just like any other Bluetooth speaker. It has 3,5mm and RCA inputs, too, to give you some analog listening options. Unfortunately, there's no Wi-Fi connectivity.

JBL L75ms Music System

JBL
JBL L75ms Music System
www.jblsynthesis.com
$1,500.00

The JBL L75ms is a powered five-channel speaker consisting of two tweeters, two woofers and central midrange driver. It's designed to look like the company's Classic speakers (just like the L52 Classic) with a wood veneer and Quadrex foam grille, but it works like a modern system. It can stream music via AirPlay 2, Chromecast or Bluetooth. It has an HDMI ARC connection, so you can connect it to your TV and use as a soundbar. And it has a built-in phono preamp so you can connect it directly to your turntable.

McIntosh RS100

McIntosh
McIntosh RS100
crutchfield.com
$1,000.00

McIntosh has been the amplifier business for over 30 years and they've been well known for their distinct industrial design — tactile volume knobs, a black glass front panel, a green backlit McIntosh logo and a signature blue power meter — and it has brought all those iconic design characteristics to the RS100. The powered speaker plays high-resolution audio over Wi-Fi and can be integrated in a Play-Fi multi-room speaker system.

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