Looking for an all-in-one affordable record player with built in speakers? I have some suggestions for you. I’ll also offer some guidance on what to look out for and how to make a good buying decision on a budget.
I’m going to be honest – when it comes to budget record players, cheap parts can be revealing in sound quality. Having said that, there are my recommendations for affordable record players with built-in speakers.
Budget Record Player Expectations
Modern record players with built-in speakers have many features which allow you to connect and play music off other devices as well as play your vinyl records.
Budget record players are not going to deliver exceptional sound quality but, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t buy one. If you’re on a tight budget, there’s no reason you shouldn’t be allowed to enjoy your vinyl records.
Here are some considerations when choosing the best affordable record player with built in speakers.
In most cases, built-in speakers on a budget record player will be good for listening on your own. More than two people talking will drown out most budget record players with built-in speakers. Having said that, some affordable record player speakers do produce a surprising amount of volume.
The sound will always lack bass frequencies. Most built-in speakers are small and low powered. The speaker is typically a little larger than the tweeter from a bookshelf speaker. The built-in speakers usually produce a thin, tinny sound.
I know this probably isn’t selling it to you but, I think it’s important to manage expectations. We’re used to purchasing budget MP3 players which can usually sound good if you spend $30 or $300. Vinyl produces an analog sound. Analogue is unforgiving when it comes to cheap parts.
Tonearm, Needle & Stylus
Budget record players have a fixed tonearm. A professional turntable has a balanced tonearm which allows you to adjust the pressure and, sometimes the height, to match the varying thickness of vinyl records. A fixed tonearm means your needle can only apply one pressure.
If your tonearm is too heavy, the needle will dig into the vinyl accelerating wear and tear. Your records will start to sound dull and lifeless. Not enough pressure and the needle won’t stay in the vinyl grooves properly, in some cases skipping which scratches your vinyl.
There is a fix for this. The recommended weight is usually given by the manufacturer. The issue with budget record players is information on correct tonearm weight is usually not offered by the manufacturer.
If the tonearm is too light, try using some putty to stick a dime to the top of the stylus. If you need more pressure – replace with a nickel. Add and remove until you arrive at the right pressure. This is going to take some trial and error if your manufacturer doesn’t include a recommended weight. You can use a scale gauge which is made specifically for measuring the pressure of tonearm on your vinyl.
If your tonearm is too heavy, you need to get some weight on top of the opposite end of the tonearm. This can be tricky because all fixed tonearms are different but essentially you need to lift the tonearm slightly to take pressure off the vinyl. Putty and coins are a good option for plastic or a small magnet if it’s metal. Again, this is going to take some trial and error and a scale gauge will come in handy.
What Is Considered Affordable?
I’ve judged affordable as everything under $150. If you want to focus on under $100, I have another post which focuses on the best record players under $100 coming out later this month – stay tuned! Having said that, many of the record players on this list are under $100.
Best Vintage Record Player with Built-in Speakers:
If you’re looking for a record player with some vintage features then consider the Crosley CR704D-PA. Crosley produces affordable record players, mostly with vintage design aesthetics.
Aside from vinyl records, the CR704D-PA plays CDs, tape cassettes, FM radio as well as AUX and Bluetooth inputs. All inputs play through the CR704D-PA’s built in speakers.
Cheapest Record Player with Built-in Speakers:
The Lauson CL504 is one of the cheapest record players you’ll find. As well as playing vinyl records, the CL504 has a ⅛ inch AUX in so you can play music through the built-in speakers from other devices.
The CL504 has USB and SD inputs with the ability to record to both. The only output is a ⅛ inch headphone output.
Best Portable Record Player with Built-in Speakers:
The Goodnew suitcase record player is feature packed. Fully portable with 1800mAh built-in battery and speakers enables you to take your records anywhere!
Inputs include ⅛ inch AUX and USB. Connect your Goodnew to your PC via USB to record your vinyl. Other outputs include RCA and ⅛ inch headphone jack.
Best Compact Record Player with Built-in Speakers:
The ClearClick Vintage Suitcase record player is the most compact you’ll find with built-in speakers. The ClearClick wood, leather and brass finishes give it a nostalgic, vintage aesthetic.
Record to PC via the USB output. Free software included. Other outputs include RCA and ⅛ inch headphone jack. Play music through the ClearClick’s built-in speakers via ⅛ AUX, USB and Bluetooth inputs.
Best Retro Record Player with Built-in Speakers:
The Victrola 50’s Retro is a great all-in-one record player. As well as vinyl records the 50’s Retro will play CDs, FM radio, ⅛ AUX, and Bluetooth inputs.
The 50’s Retro is available in black, red and blue.
Best HiFi Model:
If you’re looking for a HiFi style record player with built-in speakers the most affordable you’ll find is the Jensen JTA475B.
The JTA475B plays vinyl records, CDs, tape cassettes, FM radio and ⅛ inch AUX input. Outputs include an RCA and ⅛ inch headphone jack. The JTA475B comes with a remote control and two external speakers.
I understand that in many cases people can’t afford a decent turntable with speakers. But I think you’ll be surprised at how much you have to spend. Have a look at this post where I discuss some beginner record players.
As I say in almost every post, vinyl records produce an analog audio signal. Unlike digital MP3, turntables involve moving parts. Cheap parts are going to result in poor sound quality and you do run the risk of damaging your vinyl.