Victrola Record Player Review

Published Categorized as Turntable Reviews

This Victrola record player review will help you discover if you should invest your time and money into record collecting. And if you are considering the Victrola record player suitcase, then this article is for you.

Join us in this exciting Victrola record player review and find out all you need to know about this record player, its features, and its pros and cons. So, let’s dive right in.

victrola record player review

The Victrola Brand

Believe it or not, the Victrola brand has a long history. And not only for the rivalry that has spawned in this second vinyl era between Crosley vs Victrola.

Rather, Victrola has been in the recording industry for at least a century. It was, in fact, there at the very beginning of the recording and phonographic technology. Something that Crosley certainly cannot attest to. Yes, they have most likely been constructing record players for longer than your grandparents have been alive.

In 1906, the Victor Talking Machine Company brought the magic of sound into the homes of the masses with their first turntable. They constructed phonographs independently until their acquisition by the Radio Corporation of America (or RCA). They continued to operate under the subsidiary that all fans of 70s music will have seen (RCA Victor).

Though you might not get the impression nowadays, it really was the largest and most prestigious firm of its kind in the world at the time. They are the original progenitors of the now iconic ‘His Master’s Voice’ trademark. Purporting that their ‘Victrola’ line of phonographs could play music very clearly. Even a dog would be fooled into thinking that they were actually hearing their ‘master,’ were their master to record their voice with such technology.

Working in conjunction with the original inventor of the gramophone as well as the disc-shaped record – Emile Berliner – Eldridge R. Johnson worked to his very exact specifications in manufacturing his inventions.

Being involved with the very first versions of the gramophone is no joke – this is the beginning of recording technology as we know it. So it is nice to see that Victrola is still going strong in this second vinyl era.

Features

For such a small package, there really are a lot of features under the goods and outside. So we will do our best to outline each aspect carefully in this Victrola record player review.

Design

Being a portable turntable, you can expect it to come in its compact and transportable form. It has a carry handle that fits neatly in the hand, so you can easily move it around.

Considering the price point of many of these record players, this is rather durable. So you can safely knock this thing about and take it wherever you wish.

Victrola Vintage 3-Speed Bluetooth Portable Suitcase Record Player with Built-in Speakers | Upgraded Turntable Audio Sound| Includes Extra Stylus | American Flag (VSC-550BT-USA) Amercan

The number of design choices is really quite something to behold. Moreover, there is even the choice to grab it in a UK flag to mourn the loss of her Majesty the Queen.

Bluetooth Connectivity

Contrary to their very firm place in recording history, Victrola has equipped this vintage record player with Bluetooth capabilities, bringing the past into the present and taking both into the future.

This will very much appeal to the discerning millennial listener who does not want just to be limited to spinning discs. This type of listener wants to use the Victrola as an external Bluetooth speaker as well.

This is by no means going to be a great sound, but the party really is on you if you own one of these pieces of kit.

Shock Absorbing

One of the key points of concern with a turntable is whether it is going to be able to absorb the countless small vibrations that are going on all around it and outside of it.

Most of you will already have seen this kind of thing in action. Where a friend gets a little too excited and walks or jumps too much while a record is spinning. This, of course, can send the needle flying off in one direction or another.

Granted, this is a relatively inexpensive option for listening to one’s vinyl records. But still, the shock absorption could have been a lot better.

There is not, for example, a mat of any kind to put onto the turntable platter. Being one of the most important parts of a turntable for connecting the needle and record, this is pretty damn unacceptable and surely should not fly, considering the history and reputation of this company.

Inputs

Still, the Victrola here provides plenty of playback options, both in and out.

The headphone jack is a godsend for those wanting to enjoy some quality time with their records after dark.

Sure, you can send signals into the built-in speakers (this is a Bluetooth-enabled device, after all). But the real magic happens when you route the sound out through the RCA outputs, preferably into some powered speakers that are going to offer some serious audio performance.

Using external speakers, ideally, stereo speakers, will do wonders for the sound quality. This is a portable record player, one of the most inexpensive record players at that. So the prerogative is not going to be sound quality. Do the right thing and get your sound up to a good standard, for your own sake.

Speakers

Cheap record players, especially those in the suitcase style, are infamously rather quiet. They are transportable, do not fill out large spaces, and are the life of the party.

This will be fine enough if you are simply looking to use this in a bedroom or something.

Victrola Vintage 3-Speed Bluetooth Portable Suitcase Record Player with Built-in Speakers | Upgraded Turntable Audio Sound| Includes Extra Stylus | American Flag (VSC-550BT-USA) Amercan

Still, you get what you pay for, really, and this is an incredibly affordable piece of junk. I cannot imagine anybody turning to this for audio fidelity. It should come as no surprise that this record player sounds distorted.

Speeds

Oddly enough, the Victrola offers support for all three of the main vinyl record types, all three sizes (7-inch, 10-inch, and 12-inch) & speeds (33, 45, and 78 rpm).

This latter speed is especially uncommon nowadays. This also seems to be more of a nod to Victrola’s past as a manufacturer of turntables.

In the early days of this kind of technology, manufacturers designed records to spin at 78 rpm. This was the speed that Emile Berliner himself calculated to be most effective for audio fidelity.

Now, this was at a time when records consisted of shellac as opposed to vinyl. A brittle and fragile material that did very little for the fidelity of the audio anyhow.

Thus, when vinyl records came about, the speeds could be slowed down. This was because the records themselves were made from a material that was more conducive to audio fidelity. This meant more sound could be fitted onto one record.

Cueing

Seeing as the vast majority of those interested in this kind of record player will be beginners in the field of collecting records, the auto-cueing function of this record player will be incredibly helpful.

Those who are new to the hobby will like this function. This feature seeks to aid the user in precisely and safely cueing and lowering the needle onto the record.

Without guidance or assistance, this can very often lead to scratches deep into the surface of the record. So an auto-cue mechanism like this is a nice touch, especially considering how inexpensive the record player is overall.

It is nothing flashy, but it gets the job done, and that is all you can really ask from a record player of this variety.

Pros

There is a lot to love in the Victrola record player:

  • The automatic cueing is amply suited to those with not so much experience using a record player or turntable. This ensures that they do not scratch up the surface of their or someone else’s records.
  • This is a record player for the masses. It has many color options, and there will undoubtedly be one that will appeal to just about anyone looking for a suitcase record player.
  • This record player is not limited to records. But, rather, can also welcome auxiliary inputs and Bluetooth connectivity among its many folds.
  • If the speakers that the record player comes with are not cutting it for you, then the RCA outputs mean that the Victrola can be hooked up to just about any set of speakers you can conceive of.
  • Caters to all three of the most common record sizes and speeds. Something that plenty of other record players cannot attest to.
  • The sound quality is fine enough and will serve beginners amply.
  • The speakers are especially commendable, considering the relatively inexpensive price point.

Cons

There are, however, a few things that you ought to consider before jumping right in and buying a Victrola suitcase:

  • The design and construction, though relatively sturdy overall, have a few weak points. These tend to let the whole package down:
    • The tonearm, for example, is really rather flimsy and will likely not do the tonal response any favors.
    • Likewise, the platter itself feels rather cheap and reflective of the low price point, not even coming with a slip mat to absorb the extraneous vibrations that can otherwise disturb and ruin a good listening experience.
  • The speakers are fine enough for the price but lack flair and will not really be doing any records any favors.

Comparison ft. Crosley, Digitnow, and Jensen

It does not take long to realize that plenty of the suitcase models in this price range are very similar, if not exactly the same. So we thought we would include in this Victrola record player review a comparison between this turntable with a few others.

One look at the closely related Crosley Cruiser will tell you this for free, though you can just as easily see the similarities in their features and similar price points.

Crosley CR8005D-TU Cruiser Deluxe Vintage 3-Speed Bluetooth Suitcase Turntable, Aqua

If you are working on even more of a budget, then you can always opt to use the Digitnow suitcase turntable, offering the same sort of features for a slightly lower price than the Victrola and Crosley.

The Jensen goes some better, however, planting its roots into the home environment; it is less portable but far better at delivering a stable and full sonic response from your records.

Jensen® 3-Speed Stereo Turntable with Built-in Speakers

Final Tones

So, there you have it!

Hopefully, any of your burning questions about this piece of equipment have been answered through this Victrola record player review. Of course, you can do your own research and find the record player that best suits your needs. Though, if you do have any more questions about this Victrola record player review or any other queries, do not be afraid to drop them down below!

FAQs Victrola Record Player Review

Which record player brand is best?

There is no one brand that trumps all others, rather, there are certain brands that are good for different things. Victrola and Crosley are certainly some of the most dependable options for those working within the constraints of a budget. Audio-Technica and the like are best for those with a little more experience.

Can you play vinyl records on a Victrola?

Indeed, you can play vinyl records on Victrola. In fact, this is what they are designed to do! Also, they are perfectly capable in a lot of other areas, Bluetooth compatible, and ready to party! The RCA outputs and headphone jack extend this connectivity forth outwards and inwards.

Does Victrola have good sound?

Not really, no, though there are a bunch of different models, so it would be hard to say for sure. The suitcase models are not exactly well known for their audio fidelity, though this can be remedied by replacing the cartridge that comes built-in from the factory, just as it can with its counterpart, Crosley Cruiser.

Is Victrola record player a good brand?

In terms of branding and marketing, I would say that Victrola is a good brand. It is hard not to be considering it was likely the first brand of its kind in the entire world, at the very foundation of phonographic recording technology at the turn of the 19th century.

Why does my Victrola record player skip?

Probably because it is not very good. The Victrola and Crosley suitcase models are especially bad at absorbing external vibrations from around the space within which they are playing. Thus, any large or dramatic movements occurring in the surrounding space are likely going to have an effect on the playback to the point where in some instances, the needle might skip.

By Robert Halvari

My name is Robert Halvari - audio engineer and a total audiophile. I love vinyl because it has that natural character which brings music to life. I've been using and testing vinyl record players for around 15 years and I'm sharing my love and knowledge of vinyl by publishing all I know at Notes On Vinyl

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