Do you have your favorite record in hand, and all that sits between you and soul-soothing music is a turntable? Worry not, we’ve got you covered!
Turntables, also known as record players, are some of the finest music inventions of our time. You could be an experienced record lover. Or maybe you have just bought your first album. Either way, you need a turntable that strikes a good balance between price and performance.
The market is not short of options, and with that comes the possibility that you might take home a substandard audio player. We are here to help you avoid just that. We took the time to scour the market in search of the best record player under $100. In the end, we settled on three models, any of which could be the ideal pick for you, depending on your priorities.
Nostalgic Classic Turntable
The Victrola Nostalgic Classic Wood is an incredibly popular turntable that brings out the best in aesthetic design. It comes enclosed in a wooden casing, resembling a box. This gives you the freedom to carry your music wherever you go.
Beyond aesthetics, you will love its three-speed technology that enables it to play all vinyl records, old and new. In fact, it’s also designed to play CDs, Cassettes, and FM radio. And to avoid the hassle and bustle that comes with trying to find good quality speakers, each unit features built-in, full-range beat makers.
It can play 33 1/3, 45, and 78 RPM records, and you will not sense any difference in sound quality. If you own an Apple device, a compatible cable is packed in the box for instant connection. What if you don’t? The record player is Bluetooth-enabled and compatible with a range of wireless devices.
If you’d rather use your headphones, the Victrola comes with a 3.55 auxiliary jack that works well with most models. It also has a pair of RCA jacks for you to connect a home entertainment component, such as the audio outputs of your DVD player or cable box, and pay the audio through the Victrola’s speakers.
For all its positives, the Victrola is a manual record player. This implies you have to cue the needle manually and the tone arm does not lift the needle automatically at the end of the record.
While the Victrola is the most decked out player on this list, this one by Jensen has to be one of the most complete turntables you will ever find, at least for the price. It can play 33 1/3, 45, and 78 RPM records, which translates to just about any records in existence.
Part of its popularity has to do with the ability to convert vinyl records into digital format. Audiophiles love the integrated software that allows them to record or edit their own content and convert files into mp3 format.
Its ability to alter both the pitch and tone of records gives this turntable an edge over other cheap record players. Besides pitch control, you can adjust volume or speed of play as you wish. You can also link the turntable to your headphones via a jack located on the front of the unit.
An auto-stop switch is also in place to enable you to pause or stop play anytime. At the back, you will find a USB port for instant connection to Windows/Mac. And in all honesty, the sound is great for a portable mobile player, thanks to two stereo speakers.
One of Jensen’s downsides is that the speakers fire sideways. Thus, the sound may be affected if you place something next to the turntable.
Besides the ability to play 33 1/3 and 45 RPM records, the Audio Technica AT-LP60K is fully automated. This means the tone arm will automatically place the needle at the beginning of the record. And unlike the other turntables on this article, the tone arm automatically returns to its rest once all tracks have played.
It’s popular for producing crisp, quality sound, and a sleek design that’s perfect for top-of-the-table placement. Its RCA jacks output audio signal to your preamp or receiver. Also, you will find the start, stop, and speed adjustment knobs conveniently located on the front.
While other models come with mediocre, easy-to-spoil phono cartridges, this turntable features an Audio Technica dual magnet cartridge that should see you through years of quality service. In case the stylus wears out, you can easily replace it.
Another nice feature you’re likely to love about the AT-LP60K is the isolation of the platter from vibrations, thanks to its well thought-out design. This results in increased clarity and sound definition. Each unit also comes with two sets of adapter cables.
Although the AT-LP60K cannot play 78 RPM records, the most popular records are 33 1/3 or 45 RPM. Therefore, this should not be a major determinant when you’re shopping for a turntable. However, you will need a stereo system to use this turntable.
The Victrola turntable brings out the best of vinyl music and FM radio. It is particularly popular among beginners owing to its simple setup, broad recording range, and seamless integration with wireless music devices.
The Jensen JTA-230 might not have the thrills of top-of-the-range turntables, but its versatility makes it ideal for music lovers who would want to immerse themselves in a mixture of vinyl, digital, and self-recorded content.
If you are a vinyl enthusiast looking for a turntable for use alongside an existing home theater or stereo system, the AT-LP60K would be the clear favorite.