Best Portable Record Player With Built In Speakers
If you are a music connoisseur who loves listening to music and sharing that music with friends, or has a sizable vinyl record collection and have moved multiple times in the past few years, a good portable record play with built-in speakers may be the perfect thing for you. There are numerous quality portable record players that have built in speakers that allow you to efficiently move the sound system between places. Many of these, in fact, are high quality record players whether you intend to move them or not. The trick is finding the record player with good enough speakers that are not a waste of your time or money.
What Is A Portable Record Player?
In the simplest definition possible, a portable record player is a turntable that plays vinyl records that you can easily transport from location to location. Back in the day, record players tended to be pretty big affairs: part of a unit with speakers and shelves, it was almost like a full shelf that someone installed along one wall. Behind the wood panels and shelves ran the wires to the speakers which, when turned on, would play the vinyl record. Over time, those units became smaller as electronic components became smaller. Now, instead of having a record player as a permanent fixture of a home, they can be carried from place-to-place. These more portable record players can be used with smaller, portable speakers or, as we will discuss below, already have smaller speakers installed in the unit itself.
Types of Record Players
As we have mentioned elsewhere, there are two primary categories of record players. Each category is a bit like a stage of the evolution of the vinyl record player. From its origins in the phonograph and gramophone, it steadily incorporated the use of electrical components that amplified the sound vibrations picked up by the needle hitting the vinyl record groove. These electrical signals, due in part as well to the method and materials used to make a vinyl record, were initially picked up “monophonically,” meaning the sound signs were combined to play as one out of any of the speakers. Hence, the first category: monophonic record players that combine the different sounds into one.
By the early-1960s, monophonic record players were being phased out for the new stereophonic sound systems. To really understand the difference between monophonic and stereophonic, you have to understand the way the sound vibrations created by music travel from the instrument to the ear. While it may appear that all of the instruments are playing as one, they are little more than sound waves piled on top of one another that reach the ear at (hopefully) the same moment. Stereophonic began to group these vibrations into two separate waves, which created a sound experience that was richer and deeper than monophonic sound.
Both monophonic and stereophonic record players have undergone a great amount of development since the beginning of the “digital age” we are living in now. Record players were now able to operate off of much smaller components and computer chips, which has allowed their size overall to shrink. On top of that, by virtue of the computer chips that were being installed in record players, they were now able to incorporate more technologically-advanced instruments, in particular USB and bluetooth, hands-free connectivity. The portable record players ranked below, save for one, are those that can be carried almost anywhere, have speakers included in them, but also have the ability to connect to speakers through bluetooth, USB, or other connective methods.
The Best Portable Record Players With Built-In Speakers
Now that you understand the development and current state of record players, you can begin looking for one that works for you. The following are all highly-portable record players with built-in speakers, meaning that as long as you have an electrical outlet and a record, you can play it wherever you go. We have also chosen to point out those units that can connect to other speaker systems as well in case you want to upgrade the sound system at some point.
The ION Audio Max LP is groovy, and we mean that in every sense of the word. Designed to look like it was plucked out of a 1970s bachelor pad, the record player comes with quality components to play any type of record, a dust cover to prevent dust from getting into the player and ruining the components or a record, and it comes with two speakers on the front of the unit. It has USB connectivity as well, meaning you can hook it up to computer speakers or connect it to a computer to record the vinyl. The easter egg bonus with this one is that it comes with a software CD to allow you to easily record the vinyl on the computer.
If you are looking for a portable record player that has all of the requisite components you need to enjoy listening to vinyl record players, the ION Audio Max has it. Speed control, an easily replaceable stylus, arm pressure adjustment and more are all included in this unit. The speakers are in the front but small enough to be out of the way so that they don’t take away from the overall design of the unit. Finally, the overall design of the piece makes this unit a winner, providing character not just through the music it plays but the design ethos it symbolizes.
These speakers are seriously tiny. We would suggest buying this piece only if you don’t care about volume or plan on upgrading the speakers at some point (we would suggest utilizing the USB connectivity to plug in computer speakers). On top of this, the ION Audio Max has been reported in numerous situations to come with a misaligned belt, which means that the record won’t spin correctly. This can usually be chalked up to faulty delivery methods, so it doesn’t take all that much away from the overall quality of the unit.
This thing looks like it played FDR’s fireside chats after it was done playing a big band album. A self-contained units with four decent speakers in the front (covered with a single piece of cloth that provides a vintage feel), this unit is a beautiful dark wood. And it comes with a lot more besides a record player on top: an AM/FM radio (with knobs and dials that look straight out of the 1950s), a CD player, USB connectivity, and an aux input that allows you to play MP3 files from your phone or tablet. The components are pretty good as well, including a replaceable stylus, pressure control, and variable speed. As the picture in its advertisement suggests, it would look perfect next to a leather armchair and decanter filled with scotch.
Most customers who buy this unit do so because there is so much included. It can be used to play vinyl (which it does beautifully), it can play CDs and MP3s, it doesn’t get too loud but still projects sound well, and its easily transportable. The included speakers, in conjunction with the internal components, create a really crisp sound that is almost unparalleled by other, vintage-looking, self-contained units.
Much of what comes in this can be found in comparable units that are far cheaper than the $199.99 asking price. Moreover, how long this unit will last has been debated in reviews: some say that it lasts for a long time, while others are finding that the speakers will fail after a while. This tends to happen, unfortunately, after the warranty period runs out. Finally, the pressure of the needle arm can be a bit wonky, causing it to provide sub-quality sound for newer vinyl.
This one is a bit different: while the unit is sold all-in-one, the speakers are separate from the turntable itself. Yet the turntable’s ability to communicate through bluetooth with the speakers allows it to be included on this list. The quality of this piece is unsurprising: audio technica is one of the best turntable creators on the market today. Their components are top-notch, the sound they emit is beautiful, and if you are looking for a record player that is well-worth every dollar while still being portable, this is one you should definitely consider.
Out of all the entries on this list, this player has the best sound quality. Audio technica’s components create beautiful sound, are durable, and are easily modified. The speakers the component comes with are also top-notch, producing sound volumes far higher than expected. Moreover, you can switch the speakers with even better speakers if you choose to upgrade, using the included wired ports. Finally, the device will save up to 8 options for how you want a record to play: simply group the type of record in under one of those categories, and then when you want to listen to a record of similar quality, simply choose that option, sit back, and enjoy the music!
Obviously, this entry can’t be considered a turntable with “built-in speakers” but since it comes with speakers that are high quality, connects to whatever speakers you have with bluetooth, etc., this unit is as portable as others. The only other downside is that there have been reports that the bluetooth pairing device is faulty: even then it has wired connection options that will work.
If you’re in to vinyl and record players, you are likely familiar with the Blues Brothers. Do you know how, at the beginning of their show, Elwood would come out with a briefcase of blues handcuffed around his wrist and Jake would unlock it to start the show? Well, now you can get a record player like that. Seriously, this thing is housed in a briefcase. Not only is the unit’s design really cool, but it also comes with some great components, including a USB port and Audacity Software for you to record vinyl to your computer, an aux port that allows you to plug your phone or tablet in and listen, speakers within the unit, and an arm and stylus that will play your vinyl record beautifully.
Honestly, there are more pros with this system that we can count. The portability is so good that it comes with a handle, it is light enough to literally carry by your side everywhere, and its internal speakers are good enough for this type of unit. Moreover, the inclusion of a USB drive, recording software, and various other jacks allow you to hook them up to other speakers if you choose to use it as a record player in a separate sound system or want to leave it at home but take the recorded music with you on your phone.
While it is very portable, easy to use, and cool to look at, its speakers aren’t exactly concert-quality. In fact, at times they are pretty bad. This may be why Jensen included so many options to hook it up to other speaker. Yet if you are looking for something low-key, do not mind the quality of speakers for the moment, then this unit is still a great record player you should consider.
These are not the only good portable record players with built-in speakers. Companies like Electrohome, Innovative Technology, and TechPlay have all been releasing really solid units are easily portable, have good sound quality, and great components that will work on any type of vinyl played. Choosing one is best done after considering what you want in a record player: if you want portability because you are on the move a lot, any of these will be great purchases and provide you the sound quality you desire. Check out these suggested record players and then, if you want to continue searching, look up these companies. You are bound to find one you like.