Table of Contents
- What is a Record Player?
- What is a Turntable?
- Record Players vs Turntables – What Are The Differences
- Record Players vs Turntables – Which One is Right for Me?
- Breaking Down the Advantages of Record Players and Turntables with Built in Speakers
- Our Picks – The Five Best Record Player with Built in Speakers
- 1ByOne Turntable with Built-in Stereo Speakers – Best Record Player with Built In Speakers for Beginners
- CMC Wockoder Portable Record Player – Best Vinyl Record Player with Speakers
- Musitrend 3-Speed Portable Record Player – Best Affordable Record Player with Built in Speakers
- Victrola Navigator 8-in-1 Classic Record Player – Best Record Player with Speakers Under $200
- Voksun Record Player With Speakers – Best Record Player with Good Speakers Under $100
- Our Picks – The Five Best Turntable with Built in Speakers
- Numark PT01 USB Portable Turntable – Best Turntable with Built in Speakers Under $200
- Jensen JTA-230 Stereo Turntable – Best Turntable with Built in Speakers Under $50
- Crosley CR6232A-BR Nomad Portable USB Turntable – Best Turntable with Speakers Under $150
- LP&No.1 Portable Stereo Turntable – Best Turntable With Speakers That Records to Digital Media
- Victrola 3-Speed Bluetooth Suitcase Turntable – Best Entry Level Turntable with Built in Speakers
- What to Look For When Buying Record Players and Turntables
- Our Favorite Record Player with Built in Speakers
- Our Favorite Turntable with Built in Speakers
- Final Thoughts
Regardless of whether you are just now getting into vinyl records or have been amassing a collection that you want to listen to the latest and greatest record player or turntable technology, finding the right audio equipment to play or vinyl records is never as simple or straightforward as most folks think it’s going to be.
Sure, record players and turntables are some of the oldest audio playback pieces of hardware ever created. There have been amazing record players and turntables for more than 100 years, capable of providing that rich, authentic, and super warm audio playback that you just don’t get with any other medium.
At the same time, though, there’s a world of difference between record players and turntables that are built today and those that were made at the turn-of-the-century (or even earlier).
Technology has advanced by leaps and bounds, construction materials are better today than ever before, and we understand exactly what it takes to get the best possible sound out of vinyl records right now in a way that we couldn’t have when this technology was still relatively new.
Combine that with the fact that vinyl records have been enjoying a huge boom in popularity over the last 10 years or so in the US, UK, Canada, and almost all other countries (after almost dying out completely in the 80s and 90s) and there are more record player and turntable options to pick and choose from than ever before, too.
But that’s why we have put together this quick guide.
By the time you are done with the inside information you’ll know exactly what to look for in a new record player or a new turntable. Not only do we highlight all of the ins and outs of what you want to focus on with these amazing pieces of hardware, but we also cover the fundamentals of features you should look for (and lookout for) and recommend five record players and turntables with built in speakers that are worth your hard earned money.
So sit back, relax, and cruise through this in-depth guide that breaks down the best record players and turntables with built-in speakers we’ve put together below.
What is a Record Player?
A lot of people use the terms “record player” and turntable interchangeably, and while the two share a lot of similarities with one another there are a couple of major differences that you want to know about when you are searching for something to playback your final record collection.
A record player involves more parts than a turntable, and almost always includes a couple of other pieces of audio system components that let you get the most out of your vinyl record collection. Record players usually include a pair of speakers (and sometimes a full on sound system) as well as an amplifier to go with the turntable, giving you basically an “all-in-one” kind of solution to play your records on.
Record players are universally seen as larger and heavier than turntables, which eliminates a lot of the portability you would have been able to get out a turntable along. In fact, you’ll often find record players built into larger pieces of furniture to sort of make them a bit more utilitarian and functional than they might have been otherwise – something that you usually don’t find with a turntable.
Because of all these extra bells and whistles record players are almost always more expensive than turntables, too. This isn’t always the case (particularly when you are talking about really high-end and finely tuned turntables), but as a general rule a record player will set you back more than a turntable.
What is a Turntable?
A turntable, on the other hand, is essentially the “heartbeat” of a record player without any other bells and whistles, without any extra accessories, and without any other components cluttering up the place.
You aren’t going to get any built-in speakers (for the most part), a dedicated amplifier, or anything other than turntable that actually plays back your records.
We are talking about a motor, a platter, and a stylus, cartridge, and a tone arm. Some turntables will include preamplifier components that let you connect to a dedicated sound system, but by and large this is a really strict down and streamlined kind of set up.
A lot of people really like turntables because they are designed to be super customizable and offer a lot more control over how your audio sounds than record players that come ready to go right out of the box, so to speak.
Sure, you will need extra components to get the most out of your turntable – you’ll need an amplifier, speakers, isolation platforms, etc. – but because you are able to pick and choose those components to work with your turntable you can really optimize your audio setup for the perfect listening experience.
The sheer amount of customization you are going to be able to enjoy when you go with a turntable may be attractive to some, but if you want a “no beating around the bush” set up that plays records well without a lot of fuss, then a record player might be something you want to focus in on.
Record Players vs Turntables – What Are The Differences
As we just highlighted a moment ago, the biggest difference between record players and turntables is that a record player lets you enjoy your vinyl record collection straight out of the box – without any fiddling around, without having to purchase other components, and without having to mess about with custom sound systems.
A turntable isn’t going to offer that great and experience until you’ve hooked it up to a couple of other audio components. That may or may not be something you are interested in or something that you have a budget for.
Another big difference between record players and turntables today is that a lot of modern record players are basically “all-in-one” media centers.
You’ll not only be able to play your vinyl record collection but you’ll also be able to throw tapes, CDs, and even MP3 players or your mobile device (sometimes via USB connections but sometimes via Bluetooth, too) in a way that just isn’t going to happen with a turntable.
Of course, on the flip side of things, record players almost universally do not have quite as high quality sound system components in the pre-amplification, amplification, and speaker department compared to the options you can buy to pair with your turntable.
This results in a somewhat less authentic sound than you might be expecting from your vinyl records, but it’s also going to hinder your ability to further extend your audio equipment – mostly because it has to be ready to work with the stuff your record fire already include.
Some modern options are going to give you an opportunity to bypass internal components completely and use your own external ones. But if you’re going to go down that road anyway you might be better off with a turntable.
Record Players vs Turntables – Which One is Right for Me?
Trying to decide between record players and turntables is a little bit more involved than just deciding on whether or not you want to take advantage of an all-in-one sort of sound system experience or if you’re looking to purchase a turntable that also includes speakers in the box.
Record players are ideal for those that are going to want to play music straightaway and are particularly attractive to those that do not want to have to research different speakers, different amplifiers, and other sound equipment just to hear their vinyl collection.
On the other side of things, though, there are plenty of people that want to listen to vinyl because it is so authentic, because it has such a rich sound quality, and because it offers so much to those that are serious audio enthusiasts.
Professionals – like DJs, for example – are going to need turntables for all of these reasons, using them to create music simply because a record player just can’t come close to offering the authenticity, richness, or the extendibility that a turntable does.
At the end of the day, the most important take away here is this:
A quality turntable is always going to sound better than a quality record player, provided it’s been hooked up to even halfway decent speakers and amplifiers.
Those looking for a quick fix or a simple set up for their home to listen to records every now and again can get away with a record player. Those that are dedicated to listening to music and as close to studio setting experience in their home as possible are going to instead want to check out turntables for sure.
Breaking Down the Advantages of Record Players and Turntables with Built in Speakers
The biggest advantages of purchasing of record players and turntables with speakers is that you are going to be listening to the most authentic sound possible from your vinyl record collection – listening to music that is 100% uncompressed and EXACTLY what the artist intended it to sound like.
Unlike every other form of music medium that involves at least a little bit of compression (with maybe the sole exception of FLAC digital files that still lose a little “something” in the digital conversion process), your vinyl records are going to sound warm, are going to sound real, and are going to sound like you are sitting center stage or in the studio with the artist that recorded the record in the first place.
The second big advantage is the ability to listen to your records with much improved musical dynamics thanks to the overall mastering process, something you just won’t get when files have been converted digitally.
Make no mistake about it, the digital music revolution has absolutely transformed the way that we listen to our favorite artists and discover new ones.
At the same time, though, the experience of streaming music digitally (like with Pandora or with Spotify, for example) is never going to be able to come close to listening to a live show or listening to artists in the studio or on vinyl.
Something always gets lost in translation and the overall experience is cheapened somewhat because of it. If you’re serious about music and really want to soak yourself the experience created by your favorite artists, nothing beats getting your hands on top-quality record players and turntables with speakers that can make the most of this medium.
The last couple of advantages we want to highlight have to do with the sort of “lifestyle” you’ll enjoy when you are listening on your record player or your turntable.
For starters, there are a lot of vintage artists that only ever recorded on vinyl and never made it over to a digital conversion. Even though the industry is doing a lot of work to bring artists over to the digital world, there are inevitably going to be some that get “lost to time” – except for on these records.
There’s really something cool about kicking back, relaxing, and listening to an artist that maybe you and a very small group of people around the world will ever have a chance to listen to again.
Secondly, even though vinyl records are ridiculously popular again they are still super inexpensive for the most part – unless you dive headfirst into the collectible world where things get kind of nutty.
Vinyl shops are popping up left and right, the internet is an effortless place to find all the records you could ever want, and you can still pop down to local flea markets and antique shops to buy buckets full of records at next to nothing prices.
The artwork on these old vinyl records is always really interesting to look at and the collectibility factor of these kinds of records isn’t ever going to disappear completely. You might not ever be able to make a million dollars or more from your record collection, but it’s always going to have tangible value that digital files never will.
Of course, on the flip side of things there are definitely some reasons not to get your hands on a record player or turntable.
This is definitely a more involved process for listening to music than simply finding your favorite song on Spotify, firing it up on your phone or tablet, and then streaming music to every room in your house, to your car, or to your wireless headphones wherever you might find yourself on the planet.
You’ll need space to set up your record player or your turntable but you’ll need even more space to save and collect your vinyl records. Unlike digital files that “live” 100% online and take up absolutely zero space whatsoever physically your record collection can get out of control in a hurry, with you having to dedicate a ton of floor space to your new hobby that you didn’t anticipate needing the first place.
Lastly, all quality record players and turntables are going to need a little bit of regular maintenance, little bit of regular cleaning, and a little bit of more delicate and focused care and attention than CDs and streaming music.
There isn’t a record player or a turntable out there that is truly “set it and forget it”, that’s for sure.
Our Picks – The Five Best Record Player with Built in Speakers
1ByOne Turntable with Built-in Stereo Speakers – Best Record Player with Built In Speakers for Beginners
Certainly one of the most attractive record player options on the market today with built-in speakers, this record player set up is super simple and straightforward to use, has a really smooth operating mechanism, and provides a fantastically balanced audio output – even if the speakers included are a little bit on the thinner and more compact side of things.
You’ll certainly appreciate the fact that this record player gives you an opportunity to choose between three different selectable speeds. Set up to play at 33 RPM, 45 RPM, and 78 RPM, the entire world (for the most part) of vinyl record options are going to be available to you when you choose this portable set up.
Of course, because this is a modern record player you’re also going to find a whole host of other input options to playback your favorite artists, too. A built-in USB connectivity option give you a chance to stream from your smart phone or tablet as well as your MP3 player, but you can also use dedicated audio inputs and a 3.5 mm auxiliary connection to play music from pretty much any audio hardware imaginable.
Bluetooth wireless connectivity is made possible with this record player unit as well, opening up a couple of other unique playback opportunities with modern devices.
Full range speakers (stereo speakers) are built right into the record player itself. This guarantees to a crossover that produces a high quality and very consistent sound, even if it isn’t necessarily the loudest record player on the planet today.
All in all, the 1ByOne Turntable with Built-in Stereo Speakers is a solid record player option for those looking for something with speakers built right in.
CMC Wockoder Portable Record Player – Best Vinyl Record Player with Speakers
The folks at CMC have been making fantastic portable record player options for quite a while now, and this particular set up combines old and new technology in a way that makes it one of the best hybrid options money can buy.
For starters, you’ll be able to playback 7 inch, 10 inch, and 12 inch records with zero difficulty whatsoever and you’ll be able to play at 33 RPM, 45 RPM, and 78 RPM as well. This brings a lot of versatility to this portable record player that you may not be able to find elsewhere – particularly at this incredibly affordable price point.
Add in the fact that this portable unit has been designed to connect to smart phone and tablet devices via Bluetooth connection, streaming all of your favorite music when you don’t want to play a record, and it’s easy to see why so many people really like everything it offers.
The CMC Wockoder Portable Record Player speaker set up provides full stereo sound (with two speakers on each side of the portable case), giving you a great listening experience while maintaining a super small and briefcase like form factor at the same time.
Musitrend 3-Speed Portable Record Player – Best Affordable Record Player with Built in Speakers
Capable of playing back at three different speeds (33 RPM, 45 RPM, and 78 RPM), you can easily adjust the speed that your records are playing at without any difficulty whatsoever – and you’ll be able to play records as large as 12 inches in diameter with no difficulty, too.
The thing that really helps this option to separate itself from the rest of the pack is the ability to record from your vinyl records right to a digital MP3 file.
All you have to do is throw your favorite record on this record player, start the recording process by pressing a button on the digital command panel, and you’ll be able to immediately start recording your music to a USB stick or SD card.
This is a great way to quickly and almost effortlessly digitize your entire vinyl collection (including records that might not ever have been digitized by the mainstream music industry before, too).
Ideally situated for folks that are operating on a budget that still want to listen to their vinyl record collection without having to spend a mountain of money on a record player, the Musitrend 3-Speed Portable Record Player is definitely the best affordable record player with built in speakers, looks high-end without a high-end price tag, and is one of the more versatile record player options with speakers built right in you’ll find on the market today.
This record player from Victrola (one of the legendary names in the record player and turntable business) is quite a throwback to record players of old – we are talking the kinds of audio equipment popular in the 1920s, 1930s, and 1940s – mixed with a lot of cutting-edge technology.
With a very vintage aesthetic you’d be forgiven for thinking that this was an antique until you “pop the hood” and started to look at all of the top-tier technology shoehorned inside of this unit. The built-in speakers are super loud, the preamp and amplifier modules are fantastic, and the overall usability of this ranks right up there with the best of the best options at this price point.
If you are looking for a true “all-in-one” kind of solution to enjoy all of your favorite music – cassette tapes, CDs, streaming music over Bluetooth, and even FM/AM radio – then it’s hard to imagine finding anything quite as well put together and as polished as the Victrola Navigator 8-in-1 Classic Record Player.
Voksun Record Player With Speakers – Best Record Player with Good Speakers Under $100
Featuring one of the cleanest and most elegant modern looks of all the portable record player options out there, this particular set up looks a lot like something the folks at Apple would have cooked up if they jumped into the record player game themselves.
While this minimalist design does mean that this record player goes without a dust cover or a tone arm balance it is going to be able to play all of your favorite records right out of the box with a powerful and consistent motor that spins at three speeds – 33 1/3 RPM, 45 RPM, and 78 RPM – without you having to worry about wow or flutter breaking up your listening experience.
If you want a luxurious record player that isn’t going to break your bank account into tiny little pieces, one with some of the best built-in speakers you’ll find in the portable record player world today, you need look no further than the Voksun Record Player With Speakers.
Our Picks – The Five Best Turntable with Built in Speakers
Numark PT01 USB Portable Turntable – Best Turntable with Built in Speakers Under $200
One of the few turntable choices we can actually recommend that runs off of battery power, you can take this with you on the go with more than 20 hours of continuous playback thanks to 6D batteries – or you can plug it into a wall outlet with the included AC power adapter if you’re going to be listening somewhere with a more consistent power supply.
The included speaker set up isn’t necessarily spectacular, but it’s one of the best for portable turntable options. Crystal-clear at low and high volume levels, and the turntable itself can handle 45s, 78s, and 12 inch LPs with no difficulty whatsoever.
If you are going to go with 78s, though, it’s not a bad idea to get your hands on a stylus that has been specifically designed to play those kinds of records. It’ll definitely make the experience
Those on the hunt for a rugged portable turntable that they can bring pretty much anywhere and everywhere they might want to listen to their favorite records will fall head over heels in love with all that this battery powered Numark PT01 USB Portable Turntable brings to the table.
Jensen JTA-230 Stereo Turntable – Best Turntable with Built in Speakers Under $50
Thing that really impressed us with this particular model is the needle that comes into contact with your records, a major piece of the puzzle when it comes to playback for this three speed motor option. It’s made with a metal cantilever that improves its reliability significantly, helping you to enjoy your music without the kinds of skips, bumps, and jumps you might be able to expect with other options.
The 4w built-in speakers aren’t exactly going to turn heads anytime soon from a sound quality standpoint, but they aren’t the worst things to listen to, either. You’ll be able to take advantage of USB, headphone jack, and RCA input and output options as well.
While the Jensen JTA-230 Stereo Turntable is technically portable, it isn’t anywhere close to the lightest or most convenient thing to move around, but it is going to give you a dedicated turntable system with a built-in speaker set up to produce one of the best values for the money in this market segment.
Crosley CR6232A-BR Nomad Portable USB Turntable – Best Turntable with Speakers Under $150
It’s tough to imagine there being a better looking portable turntable with built in speakers than this one right here.
Both ends of this suitcase style enclosure have speakers talked away inside of them, producing powerful stereo sound that is rich, authentic, and gets pretty loud when you dial them up to the highest setting. They aren’t on the level with third-party or dedicated speakers by any stretch of the imagination, but they still sound absolutely fantastic.
The magnetic cartridge is a dream to use and really results in smooth and buttery playback on a consistent basis. It would have been nice to see some improvements in the tone arm department, but other than that this is a nice machine across the board.
The Crosley CR6232A-BR Nomad Portable USB Turntable is a really attractive portable option that looks a bit like a retro piece of luggage, something from a throwback era that’s absolutely filled top to bottom with cutting-edge technology to help you enjoy your favorite records the way they were intended to be listened to.
LP&No.1 Portable Stereo Turntable – Best Turntable With Speakers That Records to Digital Media
Similar in looks and style to the Nomad we just mentioned a moment ago, this portable stereo turntable takes things to another level as far as the “suitcase style” record player/turntable options are concerned.
Featuring PU leather materials all over the outside of this turntable to give it a legitimate suitcase style aesthetic, you’ll be amazed the first time that you pop this turntable open at just how much high-quality audio equipment has been shoehorned inside of this compact form factor.
Really durable, really reliable, and offering a consistent experience thanks to the pair of speakers built right in, there’s a lot to like when it comes to this particular model – even if the speakers can be a little bit of a letdown when you’re trying to listen at high volume.
The LP&No.1 Portable Stereo Turntable is one of the few portable turntable options out there with recording capabilities, allowing you to play your favorite vinyl collectibles and have every single note digitally recorded and saved on a USB drive or an SD card.
Victrola 3-Speed Bluetooth Suitcase Turntable – Best Entry Level Turntable with Built in Speakers
Another option from the folks at Victrola, this turntable option and entry-level kind of solution that provides you everything you need to play vinyl collection on the go or at home for those that are just getting into the hobby.
Durability of this Victrola unit is off the charts, though, and you’re going to be able to enjoy some very loud volume levels coming out of the speakers built right into this compact set up – even without having to dial up the volume level with highest possible setting.
Bluetooth connectivity lets you connect your phone or your tablet for digital music streaming as well, opening up a lot of opportunities to play all of your music while on the go (even if you don’t have your final collection with you). RCA and headphone jack input/output options can be taken advantage of, too.
The Victrola 3-Speed Bluetooth Suitcase Turntable is an ideal set up for someone that is only beginning in the world of vinyl records as well as someone that wants to have a bit of a “backup” system that they can listen to should something happen to a more feature-rich or dedicated record player.
What to Look For When Buying Record Players and Turntables
Vinyl record sales have been coming back in a huge way over the last 15 years or so, with year after year consistent growth in the market especially in the US, UK, and Canada – not only for vintage and collectible vinyl records, but for brand-new special releases put out by current artists that want to cash in on this trend.
If you are going to be getting your hands on a new vinyl record player or a turntable you need to know that you are spending your money on something that is reliable, consistent, and worth the investment.
That’s why you’ll want to zero in on a handful of key areas before you make this purchase, including (but certainly not limited to):
- Overall build quality and reliability
- Playback quality (dictated large part by the tone arm and the needle)
- Ability to play the record sizes and speeds you are most interested in listening to
- Inclusion of high quality speakers that aren’t going to detract from your listening experience
- Price point and the budget that you are working with
- Ability to play other types of music and media via USB, Bluetooth, or traditional audio input and output options
Our Favorite Record Player with Built in Speakers
As far as our favorite record player with built-in speakers is concerned, it’s really hard not to fall head over heels in love with everything that the 1ByOne belt driven portable record player has to offer.
The style here is really clean and really minimalistic while remaining a bit of a throwback to record players of yesteryear, but the internals (from the turntable itself to the whole host of other media playback components and more) are absolutely cutting-edge pieces of tech.
It also doesn’t hurt that this record player sounds fantastic at all different volume levels – whether or not you are using the built-in speakers or have it set up to play over your own sound system.
Our Favorite Turntable with Built in Speakers
On the turntable side of things, the Numark PT01 USB Portable Turntable is absolutely fantastic.
Portable, powered by battery as well as an AC wall adapter, and with one of the smoothest operating turntable and tone arm mechanisms we see in the built-in speaker turntable space, this is going to help you enjoy all of your favorite vinyl records on the go (or at home) with rich, authentic sound.
So there you have it, our in-depth guide to finding the best record player and turntable options on the market today with built-in speakers.
You obviously can’t go wrong with any of the 10 options we highlighted in this quick guide, but our two favorite options (the ones we just mentioned above) are a couple that we found to stand head and shoulders above the rest of the pack.
Use the inside information throughout this guide to help you with your research and due diligence when looking for a new record player or turntable and you will never have worry about wasting your hard-earned money going forward. Best of luck and easy listening!