RS Recommends: The Best Portable Record Players for On-the-Go Tunes
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If you’ve got a record collection sitting in your house collecting dust, a portable suitcase-style turntable is an excellent and affordable way to revisit and revitalize your forgotten stack.
Record players have gone through a ton of different versions and models over the years. Some were built for better sound, or less vibration, and featured designs that were both innovative as well as impractical, like the dashboard record player for cars. But suitcase turntables have stood the test of time. Listening to a record may not be as instant as streaming, but it’s all about the experience. A record locks you in for the full ride of the entire album, forcing you to focus on the artist’s creation the way they intended it to be heard.
The best portable record players, also sometimes referred to as suitcase turntables, are super convenient for listening to records outdoors, say, on a patio, or just being able to easily move it from room to room. And once the record ends, you often still have the option of streaming digitally from your device to the unit’s Bluetooth speakers. They’re also great for kids, or anyone looking to take their first step into collecting vinyl.
The built-in speakers on these aren’t meant to deliver the same quality as an audiophile turntable system (though most can be hooked up to externals through RCA or AUX connection), but are still designed to pump out sound loud enough for everyone to hear. Some systems also include the option of a USB port too, which lets you digitize your record collection right onto your PC, in MP3 or even WAV format, updating a classic player with modern tech.
Here, we’ve picked some of the best portable turntables and suitcase turntables for any vinyl collector.
1. Victrola Vintage Suitcase Record Player
Victrola is no stranger to record players. The company dates back to the early 1900s, manufacturing gramophones, and experimenting with recording techniques. Weighing in at under three pounds, this player features three speeds, along with a sturdy carrying handle with chrome accents to efficiently bring it with you anywhere. Bluetooth capability is included, and lets you stream tunes wirelessly from a device up to 33 feet away. Speakers are also included in the unit, but you’ve alternatively got the option to plug in externals through an AUX jack, or headphones. This model comes in over 30 colors, and is easy to clean too.
2. Music Public Kingdom Bluetooth Record Player
Stereo speakers blast out sound from the front of this solid player to fill up even a large room. But what really makes this model stand out sonically is the Audio Technica AT3600L magnetic cartridge on a metal tonearm that has a counterweight too. There’s also a lever for lifting the tonearm up and down, ensuring that your records don’t get scratched in the playing process. The platter and tonearm are mounted on springs as well, a clever extra feature to combat vibrations that could make the needle jump or skip. Though there’s no external handle, it still locks up tight with latches. This also comes with a felt platter mat, and plays at two speeds, along with Bluetooth to connect up your mobile devices.
3. Popsky Vintage-Style Turntable
At just under seven pounds, Popsky’s player is fully portable, with a retro design that closes up securely. Putting on a record takes only seconds, automatically stopping play when it ends, and the unit can be paired instantly with other devices via Bluetooth or an RCA hookup. Dynamic, full-range stereo speakers are built-in, and push out sound with plenty of volume. There’s also a USB port, which is usually rare for players at this price range, allowing you to digitize your favorite vinyls into an MP3 or WAV format and back them up on your computer.
4. Feir Vinyl Stereo Record Player
This portable, belt-driven, wooden cabinet system is ready to go right out of the box. For a small-sized suitcase player, the integrated speakers sound nice and clear, and can be cranked to a high volume. The Feir also features three speeds, a soft damping control, diamond-tipped needle, RCA/AUX-In, and a durable PU leather case with an integrated carrying handle. There’s also a USB for connecting up to a PC and digitizing your favorite records, and the unit automatically stops playing when the record ends. After that, securely close it up, grab the thick carry handle, and take it anywhere.
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