For those looking to jump into the world of vinyl without making a huge investment, record players with built-in speakers provide an easy gateway into the world of hi-fi. With these setups, there is no need for a power amp or preamp—you’ve got everything you need to listen to your music in one compact package.
Below, please check out our interactive table, where you can view some of the most popular turntables with built in speakers on the market, and ultimately see which one is the best match for you.
|ION Audio Mustang LP||$||Vinyl, Radio, USB and AUX input|
|Victrola VSC-550BT||$||Built-in Bluetooth|
|Audio Technica AT-LP60X||$||Plug and Play via Built-In Phono Preamp|
|MoFi StudioDeck||$$$||Pre-mounted StudioTracker MM Cartridge|
|Pro-Ject Debut Carbon DC||$$$||Black Gloss Finish|
|Pro-Ject T1 (Black)||$$||Features Ortofon OM5e Cartridge|
Downside to These Record Players?
However, there are some downsides when it comes to turntables that have built-in speakers. With these setups, your ability to upgrade is limited. While some allow you to connect your turntable to external speakers, some do not, limiting you to the constricted power and quality commonly found with these record players.
Additionally, most will not allow for smaller upgrades like cartridges, which can be pricey, but also make a huge difference in sound quality to an audiophile. In fact, you’re likely going to be purchasing a record player that has a ceramic cartridge. This isn’t necessarily ideal, as a Magnetic Cartridge not only provides better fidelity, but an ability to upgrade to an even better quality cartridge as well.
On top of that, it’s important to know that a player that has built in speakers will have major key settings preset by the manufacturer. Namely, tracking force and anti-skate control. The lack of tracking force adjustment might be the bigger deal here, because that means directly is tied to how much pressure the tonearm is putting on your stylus (needle) when it’s inside the groove of your record.
If there’s too little force, the music won’t sound right. And if there is too much force, not only with the music sound muddy, but you could be damaging your stylus and potentially the groove of your record.
With that said, if you’re someone that doesn’t have a large budget for your turntable purchase, or you see yourself as more of a casual listener when it comes to vinyl records, then a turntable with built in speakers might be exactly what you’re looking for. And if so, here are a few that are worth taking a closer look at:
Coming in at a modest $78, the Audio Max provides a budget-friendly price with a much higher end aesthetic. Its sturdy plinth boasts a natural wood finish that sits a dense one-piece base and is both pleasing to the eye and the ear by helping to minimize unwanted vibrations for a smooth sound.
The Audio Max features two small, built in stereo speakers on top of the plinth, which is good for avoiding any muffling of the sound, but also offers standard RCA outputs, so you are able to connect this record player to larger speakers if desired. Additionally, it offers an aux input, so you can play digital music from your phone or mp3 player through it, as well as a front-facing headphone output for those late-night private listening sessions.
There is only one knob for volume on the top of the plinth to keep design clean and uncluttered with a power button located in the back, along with its 12V dc power input, as well as a USB port. The USB port allows you to convert your favorite records into digital music with your computer and it even comes with EZ Vinyl Conversion Software, a nice bonus for this price range.
The Audio Max also includes a dustcover to keep your records clean and keep you from worrying whether you left one on the platter before you head to bed. It is a belt-driven turntable that is easily adjusted to play records at 33 1/3, 45, and 78 RPM and features a conical, diamond-tipped ceramic stylus.
Unfortunately, the cartridge is fixed to the tonearm, so no upgrading this crucial piece and if you do damage your stylus, a replacement must be ordered directly from ION. All things considered, this is a solid turntable at a budget-friendly price with great looks. Though it will leave something to be desired sound quality-wise, this is a great entry point with some options for vinyl beginners.
Gramovox ‘Floating Record’ Turntable
Though this turntable is one of the most expensive within the category by a longshot, its unique design and quality blows the competition out of the water. If the $550 price doesn’t scare you away, this work of art of a turntable is sure to impress even your snootiest audiophile friends and serve as a focal point for your entire home.
You read the title right, this is a turntable that plays records vertically, with a vertical platter that holds the record in place (with the center pin and the help of a record clamp), resting against the vertical platter while spinning under a vertical tonearm.
Uh, wow. Just wow.
This allows you to see your records from across the room while listening, creating the illusion that your records are floating in mid-air, rather than having to stand directly over it, especially appealing for those pretty colored vinyl records in your collection. It comes in walnut or maple hardwood, hand-built in Chicago, to best match your furniture and features two front-facing, built-in, dynamic, full-range stereo speakers for a much larger, clearer sound than you’d expect.
It is a belt-driven turntable that operates at 33 1/3rd and 45 RPMs, which is manually adjustable, with some concentration, by slipping the silicon belt over the inner or outer groove of the middle gear. It also features standard RCA connections, so you can play this record through external speakers and a headphone jack for private listening.
It also features a unique mute button in the back if for any reason you want to quickly turn the sound off without stopping the record. It also includes a built in 15w per channel digital amplifier that is valued at $200 itself, to give you an indication of the high-quality audio signal it can produce.
Another unique feature is the rarely found dual-voltage inputs, allowing you to plug into outlets overseas, giving a new meaning to the word portable. The pre-installed cartridge is of high-quality, but you are able to replace or upgrade it at will, another valuable feature for this category of record player.
Understandably so, the high price may scare the majority of vinyl newcomers away, but if you’re certain on pursuing vinyl as a hobby, the Vertical Turntable is an amazing place to start, with the ability to grow with you over time, serve as a conversation piece you can be proud of and impress just about anyone.
Hands down, this “Floating Record” is the coolest looking turntable on this list.
With that said, if you want to go the vertical turntable route, I think the Pro-Ject VT-E series is worth a look. But, it does not have built-in speakers.
Crosley is the most well-known name in the world of portable record players, with several models resembling a suitcase for easy transport. We’ve discussed on this very site whether you should or shouldn’t get a Crosley record player, and the results were…a bit of a mixed bag.
With that said, their Dansette Junior model is one of the newest in their ever-evolving line and is priced at an inclusive $170. With Crosley, its usually fashion over function and while this record player does everything you need it to do, it doesn’t come with a lot of extras, but it does make up for it with its classic retro design.
Your parents will swear you dug it out of the attic or that they had one just like it, but this modern take on a classic has some new tricks up its sleeve. In the 60s, Dansette record players were among the most common for the music lover on the go and they’ve stood the test of time.
The Junior version is smaller and lighter with bigger sound and some added capability in the form of an aux input and output, so you can play digital music from it, or connect it to another aux input. It does feature front-facing, dynamic, full range stereo speakers that sound pretty good on their own, but it also includes standard RCA outputs, so you can connect to something more powerful if need be.
It plays at 33 and 45 RPM and includes a headphone jack for private listening. The two-toned color scheme resembles the mod craze of the 60s and handles make it extra portable to bring the party with you. The price is toward the higher end of the spectrum for the category, but the design is pretty cool.
You also might enjoy reading: Ranking the Best Crosley Turntables on the Market
Victrola has been making turntables for over 100 years and they’ve continued to evolve their products to reach the Innovative Technology 3-Speed. At only $42, it is highly affordable featuring a suitcase design that is efficient and extremely portable.
This turntable offers more color options than almost any other with everything from tie dye to pink camo, so if customization and having a unique record player are important to you, this one is definitely worth considering. It spins at three speeds, 33 1/3, 45, 78 RPM, to accommodate your entire collection and features a handy auto-stop function so your records won’t spin endlessly until you can make it over to stop it.
It features Bluetooth capability so you can play music from your phone or other Bluetooth device without wires, but also includes an aux input if you’re old school. It is intuitive and easy to use fresh out of the box, but the sound quality is to be expected for a price so low. All in all, it is a solid beginner’s turntable to get you started, but is one that you’ll want to quickly replace if your vinyl addiction starts to spread.
Jensen has a number of affordable turntables and their 3-speed record player is near the top of the line of their record players that include speakers. It is belt driven to provide accurate speeds at 33, 45, 78 RPM and features a retro design with wood finishing and front-facing speakers.
The headphone jack allows you to crank it up loud and listen in private while the aux input will let you play music from a phone or mp3 player. RCA outputs allow you to connect it to bigger speakers, but it will play just fine on its own straight of the box. At $80, it’s a good value and throws in an added AM/FM radio just in case you get tired of your records.
The antique design will look nice on the shelf or on the go, but it does not allow you to swap or upgrade the cartridge, which does limit its appeal and your ability to grow with it. All factors considered, it’s a reasonable value with nice aesthetics if the suitcase look isn’t quite your cup of tea.
Best Record Player Without Built In Speakers?
So here’s a question—what if you don’t want a record player with speakers built into it…but you still want a solid beginner turntable that’s affordable? Well, here’s my favorite choice if you fall into this category.
Well, in my opinion, you really can’t go wrong with the Audio-Technica AT-LP60X (and, if you absolutely need a bluetooth record player, you can get the Audio-Technica AT-LP60XBT). And that’s because at just $99, not only does this record player provide great value, but with the touch of a button, the motor will turn on, the tonearm will cue to the first track of the record, and the stylus will drop into the groove to begin playing your record.
And when the record ends, the tonearm will pick itself back up and return to its rest. It’s hard to beat that kind of convenience for under $100.
Sure, there are no built-in speakers here—you will need external speakers to listen to the AT-LP60XBT. But, keep in mind that this turntable does come with a built-in phono preamp. And that means that you can connect this record player directly into a receiver, integrated amplifier, or even powered speakers and you’re ready to being listening to records immediately.
And the Winner Is…
After weighing all the factors and examining the competition, the best record player with built-in speakers is the ION Audio Max LP. Though no other record player in the category can match the quality and innovation of the Vertical Record player, it is difficult to justify the price.
However, the ION’s reasonable price point, stylish design, sound quality and ability to grow, upgrade and include other pieces make it the better overall choice for now and the future. It’s a great place to start your vinyl journey and you’ll be proud to show it off on your shelf.
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